Friday, August 10, 2012


A "Dipping Pool"

 Our Trip to Mexio: the short version.  [I canNOT get these pictures to move out of the way and make room for text, so it's just going where ever I can get it to go.  good luck reading!]

Travertine shell fossil
Dolphin Adventure. We were just looking.
 We went on three "Adventures" through Vallarta Adventures.  The first one was an Outdoor Adventure.  I have a few photos on Facebook, but will have to add them later.  A truck ride, a mule ride, zip lines, rain forest, speed boat, fishing village.  Fun stuff.  No camera with me.
 We also had an "Adventure to Walmart on the Bus."  No photos of that, but we went there on the bus and rode back in a taxi.  Our hotel was rather remote, but in a lovely resort area.  We had a kitchen, so bought groceries and cooked some of our own food in the room.  We ate out only part of the time, but most times when we did, we had leftovers for another meal in our room.

Another of the Vallarta Adventures we chose was the "Rythyms of the Night."  We rode a boat over, enjoyed the views and icy drinks (virgin pina coladas...mmmm), then had a nice dinner and a show.  But the show was first.  Photos follow.

Our Boat

Above is the ending of the Rythyms of the Night . . . our candle-lit dinner.

We wandered around the pool areas in our resort.  They were lovely 

 There were also lakes and canals and a river.  The river has crocodiles! We did not see any.  We did, however, see iguanas.  There's a photo of some below. Somewhere.
 Cool mosaic-work in the concrete around the pool and everywhere.  There were lots of nice details in many places.

 Above is the view from the top floor of our building.  We were not staying there, but I did go up to get a photo.  Below is a typical walkway between buildings, etc..  Very lush and green and pretty. 

 Hotel decor in the Mayan Palace.  It was pretty fancy.  There were Mayan Gods about 40 feet tall in the lobby. It was dark.  Very Dark.  Drums. Very impressive.

 Iguana. Zoom in.  He looks like a dinosaur.
 The restaurants around the resort were very nice.  We ate at this one, an oriental themed one. We actually only ate Mexican food once!

On our balcony we also had a nice cuddle chair.  We could only stand to be outside in the early a.m. when it was cool.
 Another final adventure was out to some pretty islands . . . well, they were rocky parts of what was left of islands after years being the target of bombing practice.  But they are a national park now, and bird refuge, etc.  We snorkeled and swam at the beach, observed the many gulls and pelicans and other birds, enjoyed a full day out on the water and boat.  And did not re-apply sunscreen.  Got severely  burned.  Good thing it was AFTER the other adventures.

View of hotels near downtown.

Ouchie sunburn, front view.

Ouchee sunburn, back view.

The Long Version.

[This part's for Mom.  Please don't even think about reading this if you don't enjoy details!]

We left for the airport very VERY early on Sunday morning July 22nd and arrived in Mexico in the mid afternoon.  I'd read little parts on a travel advisory web site about how taxis in Mexico at the airport worked, so I was somewhat prepared for the airport experience there.  We got through customs OK with no delays and very few people around. I knew to bypass the official-looking people right before the exit who were very insistent on getting your attention.  They are really time-share salesmen.  "Sharks" and "Body-Snatchers" are also what others refer to them as. ha.  So, we got past them, found an "Official Taxi" fellow, paid in advance.  All was good so far. I was expecting that.  But the website had also warned about some drivers who will make a stop and speak to someone, say that you owe more $, but it's not true.  They have a union, the rates are set, we'd paid.  So, I didn't fall for that ruse when the very nice and friendly taxi driver told us that we needed to pay more $ and we had to go back to see his supervisor, we'd not paid the right amount, it was $26 and we'd only paid $16....blah blah blah.  I kept saying firmly and politely, "We've paid our money, now please take us to our hotel."  But he went back to the airport!  Wow, we were feeling very vulnerable.  Well, I was at least.  We were insisting we'd paid $26, he was insisting we had not.  So, we pull up, see his supervisor who'd taken our order, as it were, Mike pulls out his wallet and to his great embarrassment and dismay, Mike really HAD only paid $16 instead of $26 for the taxi ride!! Yikes. We were so embarrassed.  He only had one twenty-dollar bill in his wallet and it still was.  He was just a little flustered as he was paying and did it wrong.  He knew he only had one twenty.  We were going to be really careful about not flashing large amounts of money.  And then, when we got to the hotel (after a sincere apology AND a tip!) Mike was still flustered enough that he left his wallet on the back seat of the taxi as we got out.  The bellboy caught it and handed it right to him.  Argh!  What kind of trip was this going to be???!!

It was a good one.  That was the worst of the money fiascos, I think.  We did very well the rest of the time.

We got checked into our hotel.  Yes, it was a time share deal-i-o.  We agreed to listen to their "90 minute presentation" because the gifts were just too good to pass up.  Over 200 American dollars in credit to use on our room expenses and a free breakfast.  3000 pesos sounds like a lot of money.  Well, it is.  And all restaurants at the resort have to be charged to the room, no cash accepted.  And the little convenience stores around--no cash, just charge to the room.  And room service, if you used that sort of stuff (we don't) So we did agree to go to the presentation on Tuesday morning because our  Adventure that day wasn't really until the evening.  It was so convenient, truly, to just charge things to the room, knowing we had a "Tab" in place to charge it to. (well, that, and the credit card imprint they were holding.ha)

That evening we wandered to the beach and ate at a little place that was called "The Havana Moon." Not really busy while we were there, but they took very good care of us and the food was plentiful for TWO meals.  We walked back to our room and tried out our "Dipping Pool."

Your should know that it was incredibly hot and humid in Puerto Vallarta at this time of year.  Wow.  I sweat so much.  As a matter of fact, I think I perspired more in that one week than in my entire life combined.  Including Hawaii and time spent in Georgia and Texas.   I'm so grateful our room was comfortable and air-conditioned.  And that dipping pool.   . . . .  well, we really used it a lot and loved it.  We had a balcony that overlooked the ceiling of the first and second floors, so we couldn't see anyone and they couldn't see us.  Just our own private little cool pool.  It was great. 

On Monday we kind of got our bearings, traveled by bus to Walmart to pick up some groceries.  The bus was local, was not air-conditioned and I felt a little vulnerable since I don't speak the language and we'd not actually seen the stop where we needed to get off.  Plus, our bearings were not able to get straight.  I swear, Mike was more turned around than *I* was!  I seldom have a sense of direction, but he was always turned around.  The lobby and elevators were kind of the same, the hall was the same, and he was always surprised when we arrived at one place or another and found it was the complete opposite of where he thought he was going to be.  I had the hotel figured out, but that was all.  I did get straightened out eventually and *I* led the way! HA!  Well, not all the time, but getting to and from the room, yes.

We took a public bus to Walmart and took a taxi back to the resort.  Our building was smaller than the others, so we didn't have much traffic out front.  The Grand Mayan, which was huge and busy and where Nick and Kaylee were going to be staying, was so different!  They had restaurants, we did not.  The had pool, water slide, lazy river, we did not.  They had tons of people around, we did not.  I kind of wondered why the bell-boys' luggage carts had large plastic totes stacked in them.  Well, lots of families go on vacation there, apparently, and they shop at Walmart for groceries [and water], too, and haul their grocery bags up to their rooms in those totes!  Many, many local families around.  It was kind of fun.  There we lots of Canadians, too.  And plenty of Americans, a few Europeans.  Anyway, we just hauled our Walmart bags up to our room on our own, as we hadn't bought that much.  We even ended up with
 left-overs to leave for Nick and Kaylee.

Tuesday morning was our first "Vallarta Adventure."   Our first one was the "Outdoor Adventure." Woo Hoo! We walked about 20 minutes over to their place of business, past a swampy area where we were attacked by mosquitoes!  Wow, they were thick.  We got checked in and waited around with other folks, watched people and dolphins that they had there for a "Dolphin Adventure." We boarded a boat there at their dock and sped about 20 minutes or so across Banderas Bay to a little inlet with a tiny fishing village.  Pelicans were all around, the homes (some quite large and spacious, others were mere shacks) perched right on the rocks.  The water was clear, lots of kids on the beach and in the water, having fun.  We boarded a couple of large yellow trucks and headed further inland and up the canyon on a very rough and bumpy road to their base camp. There we got suited up in our rappelling gear, mounted mules and headed further up the mountain for about a 20 or 30 minute ride to our first zip line ride.  We were in a rain forest by now, and it was gorgeous!  The sky was a little overcast, so it wasn't terribly hot, the views were gorgeous.  They are very safe and thorough in all they do.  They are also very fast.  My mule was the slowest, so I was nearly the last one to go down that zip line (the longest one of the day).  I think I forgot to shut my mouth the whole way down!!  It's a wonder I didn't swallow a bug.  We really didn't see many creatures.  Their business runs a lot of people through there, so if there WERE animals, they were hiding.  That's OK, though. I'm fine with not seeing any jaguars in the wild.  We saw one real snake and one fake snake.  Zip Lines, a rappel down a waterfall, a zip into the stream/river.  We were soaked thoroughly,, but it felt really nice because we were always so hot.  We hiked a little to get back to base camp and just really enjoyed the scenery.  When we were at the base camp, the guides downloaded the photos they took of us.  There was a photographer and we were not allowed to bring our cameras on the zip lines. Safety reasons.  You really have to pay attention and are in charge of braking.  My arm was so sore the next few days from that different movement!  We snacked on chips and cucumber salsa while waiting,  and while we were there, a huge thunder storm rolled in!  Loud, close lightning. It was pretty spectacular to be in the rain forest during a rain storm.  And the guides were going to be taking out another group that afternoon!! 

Then we boarded the trucks and went back to the beach/dock.  We stopped at a little place on the way where they make tequila and were shown how many different types there are, people could taste it if they wished (we did not), and we could smell it brewing there.  P.U.!  When we got going again, we rode down to the beach/area and waited for the other truck load of people to arrive so we could put everyone in the boat for the ride across the bay.  I think they spent more time than they should have, tasting tequila. ;-)  The boat ride back found us stopping to put on rain jackets, but not everyone did. 
Mike and I hadn't even changed out of our wet clothes.  We brought a change of clothes with us, but figured we'd be sweating and dirty within 10 minutes, so why bother?  After the boat ride back to their shop/business, we walked back to our Luxury Resort looking like drowned, dirty rats! ha... but we did kind of slink in a side door and head straight for the elevator rather than straight through the main lobby.  Yes, we bought the pictures they sold us for huge prices, but we really wanted at least one souvenir from the trip and decided that would be it.  I mean, when else are we ever going to do any thing like that again?

We enjoyed our dipping pool that night, too!  That was the night we went to the Italian restaurant for our dinner.  I had shrimp alfredo and Mike had Prime Rib.  We had plenty for the next day, too.  And lots of different rolls and bread sticks.  Plenty of water.  We drank nothing but bottled water the whole time.  I was very careful.  Mike was not, but neither of us got any tummy troubles.  We think they had a good filter system within the resort where we stayed.

We were pretty tuckered out and slept well that night.  The next day we didn't have to get up early for anything, but we had a breakfast appointment at 9 am to meet with the timeshare folks.  That's what we did first.  We had a lovely buffet breakfast at yet another of the buildings.  We listened, and listened, we toured the property.  We listened and listened some more.  We said, "No, thank you."  A lot.  They talked and talked and talked some more.  Yes, we all know these folks don't take no for an answer.  But, FIVE HOURS later, they finally did [take "no" for our answer!!].  Yikes.  But 5 hours of time on vacation was worth it.  It paid for most of our meals and incidentals.  And Mike learned a lot about a different plan...something to research for the future, perhaps.  But, we most likely won't go back there again.  It was fun and nice and all.  But too far away.  I had to keep telling the guy when he asked, "What would it take to make you happy?  What is it that you need?" or something like that.  My goal for that day was to make it to the Lazy River at the pool over at the Grand Mayan!  I had to tell him about 5 times, "I really need to get to the lazy river.  We've been here since Sunday and I have not been in the pool yet.  I really need to go to the lazy river."

Yes, we finally made it to the lazy river.  Mike hurt his knee pretty badly in it, unfortunately.  We did the slide, too.  Looked at the wave pools, enjoyed the other pools, listened to the entertainment, music, laughter and commotion, then we returned to our room and our own, private,cool, comfortable, quiet dipping pool.  Aahhh.  I think we just ate our leftovers for lunch in our room, and then in the evening, we rode a taxi to the Vallarta Adventures place and boarded a different boat-- a covered twin-hulled, double decker catamaran, for a sail across the bay.  We enjoyed the show.  The show was nice. It was full of very talented people--dancers, acrobats.  Great costumes and makeup. Nicely done.  But, since it was an evening out, it seemed like we should have dressed up a little (totally unnecessary, but what did we know?), so Mike wore jeans, I wore long pants. Big mistake. It never cooled off and we about died of heat stroke in that stifling heat.  We finally found some respite at dinner when we were seated under a whirling ceiling fan.  The buffet dinner there was really nice.  The candles everywhere (and I mean EVERYwhere) made it really pretty.  It was a nice evening, and I was very tired on the boat ride back.  We grabbed a taxi back to our room and zonked out. It was close to midnight when we got to bed.

The next morning, we had to be at the Vallarta Adventures place by 8 am.  I didn't realize they had a continental breakfast there for us, so we ate good food in our room first, then headed over there.  THIS day's adventure was "Las Marietas".  We were to go snorkeling, kayaking, play on a beach and/or go birdwatching.  The boat ride out was very nice, we had fun entertainment from our crew.   The snorkeling was very nice. Then we headed over to a beach.  But I thought we were going over on the big boat to the beach area.  I thought I'd have my bag, my snacks, my sunscreen.  My mistake.  At the beach, we could only take a towel.  They wanted nothing to be left behind on this national park beach, so nothing but a towel was allowed to be taken.  Well, we went over in a little launch and I didn't get to reapply sunscreen before heading I got burnt.  Badly.  Mike kept a t-shirt on, so he was OK.  We were gone for most of the day between the boat ride there and back, and lunch on the big boat, and the activities.  It was a fun day.  I did take my hat, so I guess it could have been a lot worse.

The floors in our room were travertine.  I laid on the floor to soothe the heat on my back.  I bought some aloe vera gel from the little resort shop in our building so help soothe the heat and pain.  Luckily, my swim suit straps coordinate with bra straps, so I could get dressed and kind of function. Just please don't touch. I think that's the night we ate in and had a nice breakfast meal for dinner--something like french toast or maybe we ate leftovers.  I can't remember.  But we did eat really well while we were gone.  Too well!! ha.

Our three adventure days were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, so Friday was lay low, we bought a t-shirt at the Vallarta Adventures shop, walking there and back.  Mike's knee felt a bit better.  We, of course, spent time in our dipping pool every day.  I rinsed out clothing occasionally (in the bathroom sink, not our dipping pool! ha) because we were just so dang sweaty all the time!  Normally, we never go through that many articles of clothing.  Gucky!  We also checked in for Nick and Kaylee at the Grand Mayan and they had dipping pool, too!  Their place was just as nice as ours was, a one-bedroom suite.  Only, I liked the art and decor in our room much better.

Friday night Mike and I ate at the Oriental restaurant.  We spent time walking to and from the Internet place, too,  trying to figure out airport times, etc...  It was in a little boutique that sold $300 swim suits, among other things.  Yikes.  Not peso, but dollars.  Outrageous.  The sweet lady told me I could go try one on if I'd like.  I wonder...would it make a difference? ha. The dinner that night was just enough for one meal.  We just relaxed and read and watched TV in our nice, air-conditioned room during the evening.  The summer olympics had begun by then.  And enjoyed the pool, of course!

Saturday morning, Mike and I strolled along the beach, explored another resort area, just relaxed.  Dug through all our money stashes everywhere and found we had all sorts of dollars we didn't realize we had.  That's always a fun thing.  So we didn't hesitate to take taxis anymore. ha.  A taxi here and a taxi there does add up.  But I wouldn't have wanted to drive on some of those roads!

Saturday afternoon, we got a taxi and met our kids at the airport.  The Concierge at our building was so nice to tell us how to get a less expensive taxi to get back... because, you know we all love to save money.  We had to wait a long time for Nick and Kaylee because 4 flights came in about the same time and there was a log jam of people to go through the customs dept.  And no organized lines!  Well, some parts finally led to lines, but they did have to wait a long time. 

But, we made it, we took them to Walmart to get a few more groceries (more water!), then to the hotel so they could drop off luggage,then we all headed into town for dinner at a real Mexican restaurant, Pipi's.  It was really nice, there were Mariachi singers, good food, great guacamole, lots of food. Lots and LOTS of food!  We strolled along the malacon after dinner, took pictures of the sunset, hunted for a souvenir or two, then grabbed a taxi back to our respective rooms.   It was late when we got in, very hot and tired. No time for a dip in the pool!

Sunday morning, we took them to the same buffet we'd had our other breakfast at, and we had a chance to wander the grounds some more.  Our flight didn't leave until afternoon, but we did need to pack and check out before 10 a.m.  So Mike and I did that after breakfast,  then took our bags to Nick and Kaylee's apt.  They went out to the pool area for a while while Mike and I stayed in and rested and watched TV, I enjoyed their dipping pool in at attempt to cool off.  We ate our leftovers for lunch, then shortly after that, we said our goodbyes and Mike and I hopped in a taxi and headed for the airport for our trip home.  That was uneventful.  We love uneventful trips.  I really love flying over land in daylight hours.  I had such a great view of Los Angeles!!  It was amazingly clear and quite lovely.  Our flight took us from Puerto Vallarta to San  Fransisco.  We had a bit of a layover, so we ate some dinner there, then flew to Las Vegas where Eric picked us up.  We got into our driveway about 2:40 a.m. on Monday, hit the pillow about 3.  What a day!  I'm so glad I took Monday off work so I could unpack, do laundry and just relax and get ready for the real world.  My sunburn didn't peel, thanks to many ounces of straight aloe vera gel.  I was sticky and gooey from that for a while, but it was worth it.  I came back appearing to be all tan and relaxed.  And I was.

There you go, Mom.  Enough detail for you???  :-)  We had a really great time, and Nick and Kaylee did too,--after they got rid of the parents. ha.

1 comment:

Donna said...

I LOVE the details and read with great interest. We went to Cancun in February and it was hot and muggy then as well... Can imagine summer is just as bad at the same/similar latitude. :). Sounds like a great time! Made me want to go to Mexico sometime soon.