Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mexico Magic

Sunrise, best time of day.

Chandelier in the newly refurbished Flamingo buffet restaurant.

Gargoyles and pottery at the main entry. The water was not running this night.

Main lobby with Christmas tree.

Mariachi band on 'Mexico Night'.

Some of the entertainers trying to rev up the crowd on Mexico night.

There was a 70's theme night where the food was American, you know, pizza, pasta, hamburgers, French fries, and hot dogs. Being off red meat for many years now, I thought I would treat myself to a freshly grilled burger for old times sake. I stuck to the safe condiments, and even avoided the one that looked like ketchup but could have Mexican Red Hot Sauce. Mayo, lettuce and tomato were my choices and my first bite was taken with great relish until I realised that the mayo was not regular mayo, but a mayo-like substance that was laced with cilantro. There are few things that I dislike more than cilantro, so the burger was basically ruined and my one hamburger of the year was a bust.

I could not finish the burger so comforted myself with a desert sampler. No cilantro here, only sugar and calories.

When you walk the isle at a Mexican beach wedding, this is what it looks like.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Typical Day On Vacation

Six in the morning and time to get the day going. We do not want to miss a second of the sunrise as we head out to the beach for our early morning walk.

This morning there is a lone fisherman catching his breakfast. Sometimes there would be a group of fisherman spreading their nets on the beach, pulling the 10 inch silver fish from the strands.

Walking into the sunrise without sunglasses. The air is so humid you can see the moisture and feel it condense on your cool skin.

You never know what you will find stranded on the beach. This time it is a Blowfish that got washed up in the big surf. We also saw about 25 Giant Sea Turtle nesting sites (where they had laid their eggs during the night), however, some predators had got to the depressions in the sand and had dug up the eggs and eaten all the contents, leaving only a scattered mess of shrivelled white shells.

After an invigorating walk, a hearty breakfast was in order. Coffee, orange juice, two eggs over easy, a meat turnover, bacon, a piece of roasted chicken, and roasted potatoes. After this, I usually filled a plate with fruits, such as cantaloupe, mango, watermelon, pineapple and orange slices with a breakfast pastry and second cup of coffee with a glass of cactus/celery juice. Yummy!   

Then, to the beach or the pool. The heat would get to me after a while and I preferred cooling off in the pool as opposed to the ocean, which left me feeling sticky.

A typical scene at the beach, a vendor trying to sell his goods to a vacationer.

Often, in the late afternoon, there would be a wedding at the beach and the special tables and chairs would be set up on the lawns for the wedding guests.

And the day would end in another spectacular sunset.

After capturing the colour with my camera, we would have dinner at a spot where we could see the sky and the beach and marvel at how the sky would continue to saturate with colour long after the sun dipped below the horizon.

This was my dinner one night. Looks like fish, rice, a pasta salad, coleslaw ( second only to White Spot coleslaw) a potato ball, and perhaps a pork chop. After the third day I was off the wine and beer as my old allergies were plaguing me again. (very itchy hives on the back of my neck)
After dinner we would wander around the impromptu markets in the front of the complex and then take in the show at the outdoor theatre. Back home and in bed by 11 pm. exhausted and happy. And the beds were great!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mexican Junk

Just another day dawning in paradise.

Today it is time for the obligatory trip to the little village of Bucerias where we check out the street markets.

Leather goods, and pretty good quality too. Nothing made in China here.

It is always very colourful.

It was early and not all the stands were open.

They see a camera and they call out "Hey, paparazzi".

They give the impression that they do not like their photo taken. I learned a trick from reading a National Geographic photographer's blog. You hang the camera from your neck with a wide angle lens, set your camera to 'auto' mode, extend to full wide angle, hit the timer for a 5 second delay, press the shutter and then just stand there with your hands in your pockets and five seconds later the shutter will deploy. You can be looking out toward the beach and nobody suspects they just had their photo taken.

Poor unsuspecting 'hat lady'.

The quaint cobblestone town square was being torn up, being readied  for a face lift.

busylizzy shops, I look.

The vendors beckon and cajole. "For you, almost free" "If you buy something from me you get free Mexican luggage" ( a plastic shopping bag) "Everything half price today" "We have all kinds of stuff you don't need" and the list goes on.

If you don't bargain, you will be ripped off. One should never walk away with a purchase for more than half of the asking price. Best thing is to act disinterested after looking at something you would like to purchase. Hem, haw, and start to walk away. Then the prices start plummeting.

They take $US, $CD and Pesos so you have to be careful in the translation. They will gladly convert the price for you but they round up to an advantage for themselves every time. They do this all day long and are good at it.

We walk back home along the beach and are glad we have a safe and clean refuge to go home to.

Friday, December 27, 2013


I was up at 6:30 every morning to catch the sunrise. I had fourteen of them and I was not going to miss one. They were not all spectacular, but the added bonus is that early morning is the best time of day, cool and fresh.

One thing a tourist to Mexico has to get used to is vendors. They are everywhere and for the most part, if you do not make eye contact, or politely say that you are not buying today, they will leave you alone. Each vendor is selling a different commodity and is laden with Mexican junk (their words)  as they walk down the beach or the cobblestone roads. The time share sharks are the worst and will attempt to engage in very fluent English and friendly banter. Once you respond, you are done. We resorted to "Sprechen Deutch?" but to no avail. Best to ignore and walk on by.

There was little evidence of Christmas in our location. This tree and a little lit up shepherd boy were the only traces of the type of hype we get here in Canada. Even the Christmas music was missing except at the introduction to the shows where they would play a Christmas music video. I must say that with the heat and humidity, this real pine tree had a wonderful and strong scent that did remind us of home.

Mexico is a country of contrasts. Here we have a derelict house that has been there as long as we have been coming, and right next door is the Riu Palace, which really is a Palace. There is old and ratty beside new and fancy everywhere you look. I guess you could say there is little ghettoization in PV.   

A beautiful Fan Palm taken at night.

This house, which was situated right behind our resort, was what we saw every time we descended the stairs from our room. We commented several times that it reminded us of Bethlehem. The day after we get home, we discover, much to our surprise, that this house belongs to the owner of Clancy's meats right here in Abbotsford.

The Riu Palace at sunrise, without the ratty neighbour in the photo.

The best time of the day was always the dawn walks on the beach. We would head south so we could watch the sun come up over the Sierra Madre Mountains. One hour every morning and one hour at 4 pm and we had our exercise for the day. (besides the 45 steps up and 45 steps down each time we went to our room) We really toughened our feet and our ankles walking barefoot in the sand every day.

We would watch and photograph the sunset every night at 6:15 pm. and then have a lovely dinner as the sky darkened.

We had 14 days of sunshine except for one part afternoon of high thin overcast, and two hours of torrential downpour on the day we left.