Saturday, January 11, 2014

Another Week Gone Already??!! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Based on our last year's agenda of one month here and one month there, this should have been the week we began to eat what's left in the frig rather add to its contents, to do any excursions we had on our "must do" list, and to take stock of our feelings and impressions of where we were. But that just wasn't what we did. We continued to settle in and even bought a beautiful Anthinium flowering plant for our dining table.

We continued to explore the city by foot and found two terrific consignment shops where I began to replace the clothing I had left behind in Ecuador to meet lower luggage weight requirements and Mike bought a very nice shirt because he's getting tired of looking at himself in the same 5 shirts. I actually think he's beginning to understand women's mind sets based on the same premis. LOL  For $21, we purchased 1 shirt for Mike, 2 tops and 1 dress for me.  The dress is my favorite and was ONLY 20 pesos - $1.53 !!

I had scheduled a dentist appointment for Monday morning but the dentist wasn't there. After a half hour of waiting for him to show and being told he was on his way, we bagged it and moved on to other things. But, making lemonade out of lemons while waiting, I overheard a conversation between two men about Spanish lessons just up the block. I stopped one of the guys after they finished and we were told that the corner GLBT (LGBT in the states) community center was holding classes. 

So after doing some other running around, we stopped in and signed up. Mike started his one hour a day (MTW) on Tuesday because they had already started the day before. And, my classes start next Monday. Both are 10 lesson sessions for 800 pesos or $61 US. Mike's are conversation classes because he's at that level and he's finding them very helpful and useful. Mine will be more formal learning because I'm starting back at the beginner level even though I have some grasp. But it's been a year since my last lessons already so time to start from the beginning. 

Tuesday morning we went with our good friend, Mel Enge, to meet his landlord, Jorge Hernandez. Jorge is quite the figure around theses parts and is the owner of not only many apartments but the Andale restaurant & bar, an institution in Old Town. Even though Jorge got caught in a meeting, we were shown several apartments all over Old Town by his restaurant manager, Jorge. Amazing how many Jorge's we've met!! Hard keeping track of whose who. LOL

It was a great exercise, as all 3 buildings that we saw were completely different. Out of all of them, only one was of interest to us. But, we just knew it was way above our budget. However, that did not keep us from meeting up with Jorge the next morning back at Andale to confirm our feeling. It was also a form of respect since we hadn't met him the day before. What a gracious man!  Unfortunately, we were correct and the apartment we liked was not within our reach. 

Tuesday was a very busy day. So after spending the morning looking at Jorge's apartments and Mike's Spanish lesson, we had a couple of quiet hours on the sun deck at home. Then off to see another apartment away from the beach but in a very nice newer building still in Old Town. A nice layout with 2br/2ba and well furnished but with a very small balcony overlooking a typical Mexican neighborhood street. For the price ($800/mo), we've seen better for our likes with a 1br/1ba closer to the beach, larger terrace, and ocean views ($900/mo). It's all a matter of choices and priorities.

From there we were off to Expat Happy Hour at Langostino's on the beach again. Upon arriving, I had to go use the bano. On my way in, I passed a couple sitting alone at a table with "Kansas" written on their tags. We all wear name tags with our first names and with our state or province shown. So on my way out, I stopped and started a conversation. I quickly got Mike from the other end of the bar and a new good friendship began!  From there, the four of us went to dinner to continue getting to know each other. A fun night with Jerry Foote and Cathy Rice who hale from the Kansas side of my birth city, Kansas City, MO.

Mike, Jerry, Cathy, & Me.
The sun has finally moved further north and our pool deck finally has enough sun for me to enjoy sunbathing here at home. I even get warm enough to want to dip my feet into the really cold water of the pool so I can cool off. I'm not a cold water person at all!  We've found that many of the pools around here are actually heated so they can be used during the "winter". Ours is not a heated pool so I'll not be going in any further than my feet. Even Mike agrees with me about how cold it is.  But it sure is nice not to always have to go to the beach to enjoy the sun bathing.

Wanted to share a picture I took Wednesday while Mike was having Spanish lessons.  This donkey was tied to the electrical pole outside the Community Center.  So there is a bit of "old" Mexico still left in this town.  Love it!

Wednesday late afternoon we walked south down the highway to go find another apartment that I had been discussing with the owner over the Internet. I know we had seen it years ago when walking the beach. Our recollection was correct again. It was way too far from town to consider without a car. But, boy did we get a good walk in! And, on our way back along the beach we got to see the burned out structure from a huge fire the day before of a brand new beach club. It hadn't even opened yet. Appears the thatched roof caught on fire by a torch being used to weld some of the support columns. Sad!

This used to be a beautiful thatched roof Palapa.  But not anymore!


Thursday we walked over the swinging foot bridges (there are many) to the "other" side into New Town.  Our goal was to try and find a memory foam mattress pad for our bed.  Despite all the assurances from our landlord beforehand, the bed is still very hard and we're waking up in some pain every morning.  So since Costco and Walmart didn't have any, off to LAN we went.  It took us through some neighborhoods we hadn't walked yet this time in PV and we enjoyed the stroll.  Nope nothing!

But, throughout our walk up to LAN and our stroll back along the Malecón, with a stop for $1 margaritas and beer, at Cheeky Monkey, Mike took some fabulous pictures.  So, please, enjoy the visual tour!!



Café Artiste in the Gallery District.  Have to go!!

The beautiful crown of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Many, many art statues distributed throughout the Malecón.

The New Malecón!!

Yesterday we walked up the river road to explore and discovered a whole different neighborhood. A mix of gentrification and old Mexico. Loved the vibe with a more Bohemian feel. Right up our alley. Unfortunately, we'd probably have to give up the ocean view but we'd be on a gorgeous river still within easy walking distance to the center of everything and the beach. Along the way we found two places I had been wanting to visit - Que Pasa & Uncommon Ground. 

A fruit that Mike tasted.  He thinks it's called Mammee

 Que Pasa Restaurant / Bar
Homes climbing up the hillside along the river.

This is Del Rio B&B. The art column is actually the elevator shaft!

Awww! The kitty had broken through the screen so it could hang out and watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood.

A beautiful river - Rio Cuale that divides Old Town from New Town,

A beautiful stairway near the Rio to the homes on the hillside in New Town.

Supposed to be a whale. 

John Huston, at his finest!
At Uncommon Ground, Anne, co-owner, started to talk to us and invited us in to just look around. Wow!! What an awesome space!! So very eclectic and serene. Everything had been shipped in from their restaurant/bar outside of New York City 8 years ago. A place we both definitely want to frequent again. We did indulge and share a kick ass margarita since it was Happy Hour for $3 with tip. And, the owners, Anne & Lydia, are fantastic ladies! 

We continue to enjoy watching the sunset from different places on the beach. But, I've finally given in and been bribed away from my usual white wine (@$3.50/glass) by $1 margaritas at either the Sea Monkey on Los Muertos beach or it's sister, Cheeky Monkey, on the Malecon. It's an inexpensive way to do this activity more regularly and keep within budget. They both serve $1 beers also for Mike ALL day, EVERY day!

So here's a sampling of the many sunsets this week.  Too many good ones to chose from....

I've decided to give the dentist another chance and made an appointment for tomorrow (yes, Sunday) morning. I saw his office and was pleased with its cleanliness. Cost will be 300 pesos or $24. 

There is so much to do here that we've had to take a deep breath and realize we don't have to do it all right now!  This is a whole new process and discipline. We're NOT on vacation like so many here so we've set aside evenings to just stay at home and watch TV or Netflix. Not an easy thing to do when you're in a huge party town. Actually, it reminds me of going off to college and having to learn how to "balance" studying and partying.  The more things change, the more they stay the same!!

So there are football playoffs both today and tomorrow, so that's what's on the agenda!  Today we'll head down to Nacho Daddy and catch up with our friend, Mel. And, tomorrow we're going to Cindy and Bert's to watch the games at their home. And, Cindy and I will probably sneak down to the beach for a bit. 

As our first full month is coming to a close, I will be posting the updated budget analysis mid week. Stay tuned and thanks again for following along on this truly amazing journey were making....

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