Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy May! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

It might be May and things are supposed to start quieting down here but it certainly hasn't felt that way to us. Besides visits from Facebook friends and saying "see ya later" to others, May is now a month of celebrations and festivals. Still so much for us to decide where and what we'll spend money on. It's also the time when lots of construction, updates, closures, grand opening and reopenings occur all over the city. This town is literally in transition to beat the rainy season.

But before we got to May 1, we had to celebrate World Jazz Day on April 30th, which we did in fine fashion at Cuetes Y Cuates.  They featured fabulous jazz from 4pm until 11pm.  Since they are located right on the beach at the Los Muertos Pier, it's quite a nice venue!

Thursday, May 1, is quite a holiday here, as it's their Labor Day. And, there are huge penalties for employers if they don't follow the rules, so most places are closed except for mom & pops that don't have employees. 

It was also the day we had scheduled our teeth cleanings that we had bought through Cupocity. It was only 88pesos or $7US. Mike and I arrived 15 minutes early by bus. We still hold true to our timeliness and respect for other people's time. Upon arriving, there was a young lady sitting on the sidewalk talking away on her cell phone and having a FaceTime conversation with her boyfriend. We presumed she was office staff because the office was closed up tight for siesta lunch time.  So we decided to explore the neighborhood a bit. 

When we came back at almost 2 for our appointment, the young lady was still there yapping away. Oh, and she knew we were there from the beginning because we kept walking by her trying to make some eye contact. But then she got up and walked across the street to the tienda still on her phone. We waited and waited and no one came. We questioned ourselves on the date because of the holiday but were sure we were correct. We also tried calling both the office and cell phone numbers with no response. 

The young lady then came back about 2:10 but sat around the corner. At 2:15, the US allotted wait time, we started to walk away but decided one more time to try and make contact with this young lady. Just as we were ready to speak with her because she finally got off the phone she looked up and said "Are you my customers?"  Well, duh!!!!!

Within 15 minutes, she was finished with BOTH of us!!!  Yup, you get what you pay for! Lol. However, I must say, it was the first teeth cleaning we've had in Latin America with an actual water spray pick. All of the others have been the real old fashioned way of just utensil picking and flossing. But, needless to say, we won't be back to see her. She reminded me of a very narsasistic teenager!! No harm, no foul, live and learn, yada yada yada....

We met up with Facebook friends Mike and Phyllis Gowen from Del Ray Beach, FL on Friday evening starting out with drinks at Andale before moving on to Margarita Grill. This was a special place for them as they had been the very first customer back in January, 2008 when it opened on restaurant row. We had a very hardy meal, way more than we normally eat. But, oh so good!

Phyllis & Mike Gowen and Me at Andale.

Huge seafood bowls at Margarita Grill.

OMG, look at the size of those!! 

The four of us after stuffing ourselves. And, yes, those are the leftovers!

We followed Friday night out with the Gowen's with a catered party at our friends the DuBose's on Saturday. They rent a large bedroom suite in a beautiful private home at the entrance to Conchas Chinas. One of the other tenants, whose from Australia, had decided she wanted to have a party for several of her friends. 

The daughter of the owner of the home, Laura, made arrangements for quite the party with everyone pitching in $8 each. And, WOW, was it ever a terrific party!!  Scrumptious catered Mexican food, a 2 piece Mexican musical duo with fabulous singing, acoustic guitar & 3 different types of drums!!  Which then meant lots of great dancing. We had a spectacular time and met knew friends both locals and expats alike. 

Laura, ?, and Dora.


Nice one Bo!

On Monday, Mike and I decided we needed to do a Costco run. Since we leave to go back to the states on June 13, we decided to do a mass purchase so we don't have to go back again before we leave. At least that's the hope!  While there, we sucummed to the great price for a queen size memory foam mattress topper. Back home before we sold everything, we had a Temperpedic mattress and it's made traveling and sleeping in so many different beds a nightmare most of the time. Although our bed now is probably one of the best we've had, we decided life was too short to not buy it. OMG!!!!!! We're back in heaven and sleeping better than we have in 2 years!  Amazing what only $166US can do for your body and psyche. 

Monday evening we caught up with our friend, Barb, for her birthday along with friends, Karen and Lindy at the Signature Lounge up the hill.  As it was also Karen and Lindy's last night before flying home to Chicago, we also toasted to everyone's summer no matter where they were going to be. The really good news,however, was finding out that the price of limes had just gone back down to normal because production was back up so Mike had a huge lime margarita that tasted awesome!

Manny, the owner of Signature and a wonderful guy!

Unfortunately, I woke up with a very bad tooth ache Tuesday morning. Fortunately, I was able to get an appointment at 1pm with a wonderful young dentist, Dr. Israel Blanco, who had been recommended by a friend whose had lots of dental work done. His office is quite well equipped and his credentials impecacble!  After a couple of X-rays with the latest wireless digital X-ray camara, it appeared that the tooth had a small infection around the root and might have a hairline crack below the gum. 

His goal was to save the tooth, mine was to stop the pain. Since it was the very last molar on the bottom left, it wasn't going to be missed by me. But he was cautious and wanted me to take some antibiotics first to see if that's where the actual pain was coming from. As he was going to be leaving for a conference in Mexico City for the next week, a return appointment was set for the 19th. So off I went to the Farmacia for drugs. Total cost for emergency office visit and X-ray = $38; Drugs $21. 

The rest of the week was pretty quiet for us. We took care of some business back home via DocuSign. Gotta love that program!  Used it for my real estate business and it works like a charm. And, I also worked on our presentation that we're giving at the International Living Ultimate 2014 Conference here in Puerto Vallarta June 4-7. It's a bit stressful trying to get it as succinct as I want it to be. My mind just keeps going off to "other" thoughts that are getting stirred up by the process. At least I have time to enjoy those thoughts along the way to the final product!

We also finally heard from the accountant of our previous landlord. Supposedly, we will be receiving our money this coming Friday or Saturday. Don't hold your breath. I'm not!

The other happenings last week was another 6.4 earthquake down on the coast in the same area it hit just a few weeks ago. A few of the beach buildings here in PV had some swaying going on. I, on the hand, mentioned to Mike how all of a sudden I wasn't feeling so well. Felt a bit like seasickness. Funny that it happened right as the earthquake was doing it's shake, rattle, and roll. Coincidence?? I actually think not. 

Also, this past week the International Beach Volleyball Tournament was being held here. An empty parcel of land right on the beach next to the Sheraton was transformed in a matter of days from wasteland to a beautiful venue with main stadium, 3 other courts, food court, and concession stands. So on Friday afternoon, Mike and I went to check it out. This event was totally FREE to the public and was well attended. We saw Argentina, China, Australia, Austria, Chile, USA, Mexico, Switzerland. The men's final was ultimately won by Latvia, Italy took 2nd with Mexico taking 3rd.

USA vs. Chile

Yes, the Mexican team had cheerleaders!

It was a very hot Friday afternoon. Most of the crowds came out a bit later.

Mexico vs. Switzerland

VIP covered/shaded section.

The announcer.
The 2nd Annual Bugambilia Festival began Friday evening with us attending a cocktail party at Oscar's Restaurant on the Island. What a spectacular and beautiful event!!  This will definitely become a regular for us. It was also a nice evening of catching up with friends, David and Judy, who had just returned from 2 weeks of vacation in the Yucatan. The Festival continued into the park in Old Town with food vendors and a music performance on stage by Daniel Portela and his new band. 

Oscar's Restaurant where the cocktail party was held.

Bugambilia petals lining the sidewalk to entry.

Mike with a very strong Bugambilia Martini!!

La Grim Factory, a terrific jazz band!

One of the table exhibits with gorgeous flowers.

This panga hangs from the rafters and was adorned with beautiful flora!

Bugambilia Queen.

Our friends, Felix, Judy, David, and Me.

Ribbon Cutting
Sean Carey & Jim Lee. Jim is the Event Planner.

Daniel Portela with is band on center stage. 
After enjoying the evening, we headed home but were fairly easily swayed into stopping for the Grand Opening evening at Half Time Sports Bar & Restaurant. The space had been another restaurant but they did a superb job of renovating it into an inviting venue. Albeit, they are very proud of their drinks and we probably won't be going back unless they have decent happy hour pricing.

Love the multiple Mexican star lighting!

By 1am I woke up with an excruciating tooth ache!! And, I mean on a scale of 1-10 it was a 9.5!!! And I have a very high threshold of pain. Mike always carries a pharmacy around with him so I didn't hesitate to take one of his hydrocodone. It dulled the pain just enough to let me get 3 hours of rest before flairing up again. This time I took one of his pain meds given to him for his bad shoulder back in Ecuador. This one knocked me out good and I slept pain free until 10am. 

My dilemma was that Dr. Blanco was out of town with no partner. So I had Mike call the dentist's office that we had heard speak at the medical conference back in February that we attended, Avant Garde - Dr. Octavio. I must admit that one of the reasons we had not gone to see him initially was fear of cost. We were simply concerned that their charges would be much higher because of their lush offices and the fact that they are catering to Gringos. We've been proven wrong!

However, their offices are not located on a bus route. You must either take a bus to Costco and then a short cab ride or walk the last 1/2 mile. But because I was in pain I didn't want the bouncing around of the bus ride so we took a cab from home, $8US each way. I know that's not much but when you're on a budget, adding normally unnecessary expenditures, begins to add up. 

Regardless, I was just thrilled that on a Saturday and Mexico's Mother's Day on top of it, that I was able to get an appointment. I was ushered right in and had 2 actual dentists looking at my mouth. After 2 more high-tec X-rays and some wiggling of my painful tooth, the verdict was that it needed to come out on Monday morning. I just hoped I could make it another 2 nights. And, no charge for the visit. It would all be part of the tooth pulling bill on Monday. 

The plan was to lay low for the rest of the weekend until Monday's appointment. Right.... Received an invitation to join some friends at the Sheraton for their Sunday brunch. Now how could we pass that up??  Being included in friend's get togethers is all part of being a member of the community and a welcoming into the fold.

So after another good night's sleep without pain, we took the bus to join everyone on the beach with Tammy Prust, Sean Moore, Joe King Carrasco (all owners of Nacho Daddy), Mike Yonchenko (harmonica player for Sean's band) & Lea, his wife, David Guilmette, Nancy Page, and Kim, Joe's manager. A fabulous group of friends to spend 5.5 hours (yes, that's what I said!) to eat, drink, and be Merry with!! Food, food, and more food plus we drank 6 bottles of free flowing champagne!!  Entry fee for a "local" of only $24US. And, if you're so inclined, it includes the full day of pool use. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful day!

The view from our table.

A terrific Mariachi band to serenade us.

Sean Moore, Tammy Prust, Nancy Page, David & Lea Yonchenko.

David Guilmette and Me.

Our fabulous Marimba band.

Eye Candy.

Reality hit home yesterday morning. Dentist appointment at 10am for the tooth pulling. Since I wasn't in pain, we hopped a bus to Costco and then we caught a cab to the dentist office. Funny thing, and there always seems to be, the bus we caught took us on a long joy ride through many outlying areas we'd never been through before. Wish we hadn't been so nervous about being late so we could've enjoyed the ride more!

Arrived at 9:58am. Whew!  Only to find that I wasn't on the schedule. No biggy. And in minutes I was shown into the procedure room, had received umpteen Novocain injections, covered in a tarp only showing my mouth and I was done and out of there in 10 minutes!!  They were fantastic and I had no pain whatsoever during the whole thing!!  And the cost for pre & post plus the extraction was only a mere $77US!!  Will definitely not go bankrupt without insurance here!!

So until I share our journey again, thanks for following along and certainly hope you have a great week!

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