Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Bathtub

Hello again and welcome to OnVallartaTime, the site that brings you updates on our adventures in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

A lot has happened since the last post, including fun visits from Peggy’s brother John and wife Garland, and our Oregon friend Liep. We took a day trip to a small town in northern Banderas Bay, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and we have discovered some new bars and restaurants, widened and deepened our circle of friends here in Vallarta, took the short bus ride to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens and participated in some fun charity events. We enjoyed a couple of days of welcome, cleansing tropical rains. And, of course, when we’re not busy doing something else we continue to spend our days enjoying the sunny weather and the beach.

During all of this, we endured a week of disruption of our lives when our landlord arranged for the dismantling and reconstruction of the tile bathtub in the master bathroom, the (eventual) subject of this post.

But first, to our visitors! We really enjoy it when we get visits from our family and friends from out of town. It’s one of the benefits of living in a worldwide vacation destination. For the first time, Peggy’s brother John and his wife Garland joined us. During their stay, we were able to take them to some of our favorite places, and I think they got a taste of what it’s like for us to live here on a more long-term basis. We had a great time seeing the sights, spending time on the beach and enjoying some of the world-class restaurants in this town.

imageGarland, John and Peggy at dinner at the Hacienda San Angel.

imagePeggy, Garland and John at a small beachside bar in Boca de Tomatlán, waiting for the water taxi to Ocean Grill.

imageGarland, John, Peggy Eve and I at the Ocean Grill.

The Ocean Grill is a wonderful restaurant and an adventure in itself, and we love to take guests here (we took Liep also). To get there, you take a bus (or a very expensive cab) to Boca de Tomatlán, a town south of Vallarta. It’s about a half hour scenic cliffside ride. At Boca, you take a water taxi around the point to the restaurant. Getting in and out of the boat is always a challenge, especially if the water is a bit rough that day. After lunch, you take the boat back to Boca and go back to town.

This year, I was able to arrange a private boat at Boca to take us back to the Los Muertos Pier in Vallarta (both times!). For the boat ride, we invited a few other lucky folks from the restaurant to round out the full complement and to make the fare a little cheaper per person.  On the way back, the Captain earns his tip by stopping at Los Arcos, The Arches, some remarkable rock formations and a popular snorkeling spot about halfway back to the city. (If you want to know more about the Ocean Grill, I did an entire post on it in January of last year.)

imageEve, Peggy and Liep at the Ocean Grill.

imageThe famous bathroom, up the hill at the Ocean Grill. The view from here is incredible!

imageOne of the Los Arcos arches.

imageThis formation is called El Angel. With a little imagination you can see the head and outstretched wings above the arch.

imageBack in Vallarta, here is the group of us at Serranos steak house: me, Peggy, Liep, Eve and our friend Kai Doyle, a full-time Vallarta resident.

Now to the subject of this post, the bathtub! We knew that we would have to put up with the disruption sooner or later. Our landlord, Bernardo, had let us know that our bathtub was leaking into the apartment below. They had a renter in there who was understandably not pleased, and Bernardo wanted to rent it longer term, impossible with water dripping from the ceiling.

The tub was beautiful, decorated artistically with traditional clay tile. It had been in place for nine years. Bernardo’s handyman had tried sealing it, thinking the grout was failing, but that didn’t work. Bernardo finally hired a professional tiler, and it turned out that one shouldn’t use that kind of tile or grout for something that’s supposed to hold water because just a little chip in the glaze can make the tile absorb water, leading eventually to a leak. And even though we only used the tub for showers, that was enough.

The new plan was to remove all the old tile, re-seal the concrete tub with epoxy, tile the interior with glass venetian tile (like a swimming pool) using an epoxy-based grout, ensuring that no water could leak below. We were sorry to see the beautiful old tile go, but we understood the need. To add to the disruption, they decided to replace the tile floor of the shower in the guest bathroom as well. It was floor tile, not glass or ceramic, another potential problem. This was less than two weeks before John and Garland were scheduled to visit, and we wanted to get it out of the way before then, so we bit the bullet and said OK.

imageThe old clay tile bathtub. Pretty, isn’t it?

imageAnother “before” picture, from above.

imageThis is Alfredo, the master tiler, and his son Fernando (in the tub), preparing to demo the tile.

imageThey are putting up some plastic to keep the dust from coming into the rest of the house.  A bit quixotic, didn’t do much good.

imageTo begin the demo, they used a “cricket,” a small hand-held circular saw, to cut around the top of the tile. One guy cuts, the other tries to catch the dust with the shopvac. Lots of dust!

imageAlfredo spends all afternoon chipping out the old tile with a hammer and chisel.

imageAlmost done!

imageSealed with the epoxy compound, needs to dry overnight

imageRe-tiling begins.

imageDone for the day. Needs to set up overnight so Alfredo can stand on this part to finish.

imageAlmost! Just the finishing touches left…

imageTa-dah! The finished tub. Looks pretty good, considering. Not as decorative, but the colors are close.

imageThere was lots of dust everywhere, and daily cleanup of the track the workers used from the bathroom to the door.

So that concludes the saga of the bathtub! I’m not going to show you the shower, but it’s kind of boring anyway. Suffice it to say that all the tile work, switching our stuff from bathroom to bathroom, and all of the cleanup got done in time for our visitors.

As a parting shot, here’s a picture of a beautiful sunset which I  took up on the roof of John and Garland’s condo building, reflected in the infinity pool.


And one more bonus shot I found on the Internet, a cool picture of Puerto Vallarta, our second home:


That’s it for OnVallartaTime! See you next time!