Hello, friends and family!
Are you already tired of the cold, rain and/or snow? Do you have to get up in the dark and get home in the dark? Stressed out by the hectic pace of work and life? Well, take a deep breath, relax your neck and shoulders, and read this. For a few minutes, at least, you can be On Vallarta Time!
Arriving at the airport here (PVR) is always an experience. You can’t see much from the runway, just some dusty weeds and green trees in the distance, but lit feels really different and exciting. Most of the flights all arrive at the same time, so as you move through immigration and customs there are usually long lines that snake back and forth. But you make new friends in line and nobody gets frustrated, because, after all, you’re in Mexico! Let the fun begin!
With luggage piled on a cart, and after passing the gauntlet of time share sharks (don’t make eye contact!), you finally make your way to the main public terminal. Maybe somebody is meeting you, but if not, it’s easy to arrange for an official taxi at one of the booths. PVR has been air conditioned for a few years, so it’s quite comfortable.
But when you step outside, Wham! — you’re hit with an almost overwhelming wave of heat and humidity! It feels like breathing in a steam bath. Instant sweat. Then on your cab ride into the city, you start seeing familiar buildings, and the amazingly green mountains covered with jungle against a perfectly clear blue sky. It’s at that moment you realize you’ve arrived back home!
That’s the way it is for us, anyway, when we arrive at the end of October. It’s still very hot then, but all the trees and plants are lush and happy from the rainy season that has just ended. Vallarta is in a tropical wet/dry climate, meaning there is a rainy season followed by a dry season. And when it rains, it really rains! Water often runs in flooded streets, and the rivers are full to the tops of their banks with muddy water. Once the rainy season ends in September or October (it’s getting later every year) it seldom rains until June. But it starts getting hot in May, and sometimes the rains don’t come until late July or August.
Then, magically, sometime around late November, the weather “flips.” Suddenly it’s cooler and less humid. This year, that happened for us a little over a week ago. Now it’s quite comfortable, with daytime highs in the low to mid-80’s, the evenings in the 70’s, and it gets down to the mid-60’s at night.
So, the weather — that’s one thing that’s different for us northern folks. Another is the very concept of time itself. Except maybe for a few tourists, nobody is in a hurry. If it doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow, mañana. If a plumber is coming to your house at 10:00, expect him at 11 or 11:30. Everything is slower-paced. Arriving on time for a party is a big faux pas. If you start to get frustrated by late deliveries or nearby construction that seems to take forever, just remember, you’re in Mexico now. Time is more elastic here. Relax, it will happen, don’t worry. That, my friends, is being On Vallarta Time!
Here are some pictures of our first month here.
The view from our terrace the first morning. It never gets old.
While we were gone, a little gecko took up residence behind the ironwork of the door out to the terrace.
Here’s another “accidental pet.” The upstairs neighbor keeps a couple of these small parrots. They don’t fly very well, so every once in a while one falls down to our terrace and hangs out on our plants. It was easy to get him to climb on my finger so I could pass him back up.
We arrived during the Day of the Dead celebrations. Along the Malecón, the boardwalk/seawall in the center of downtown, local hotels sponsored giant (over 10 feet tall) Catrinas. Catrina is the iconic skeletonized symbol of the Day of the Dead. It had just rained, so some of the papier-mâché figures were a little worse for wear, but I got some pictures.
This is a beautiful Day of the Dead altar in the lobby of a hotel. Have you seen the movie Coco? I recommend it. The colors and music are great, very Mexico, and it explains the Day of the Dead pretty well.
Here’s an iguana in a tree by the Cuale River. If you’re having trouble making it out, its face is in shadow.
Each year in the main square by the Guadalupe Church is an exhibition of madonnari, or street art, done with chalk. These sometimes amazing paintings are also sponsored by hotels, restaurants or organizations. Here are a few of them.
Here’s a shot of the church from the square.
We went out to dinner at Bravos restaurant with our good friends Pat and Vic Goodwin on their 55th wedding anniversary. Here we all are with restaurant owner Michael Boufford.
A sunset from our terrace.
Here we are at the weekly jam session of our ukulele (and other instruments) group, Los Strumbreros.
A wandering beach musician stopped by to listen and played a song for us. I played along.
And finally, from the “Only in Mexico” file:
These are mannequins in front of a men’s clothing store sporting masks of world leaders. From left we have Kim Jung-un, Trump, Putin and (we think) former AG Sessions.
This family on our block always dries their clothes on their car. It must get pretty hot, so I guess it probably works!
Lots of our activities don’t appear in these pictures, mostly because to us they are mostly routine or are things I’ve written about before. We continue to log beach time, we’ve had lots of meals out either by ourselves or with friends, we’ve been on extended shopping trips to the supermarkets (both to buy necessities and to seek out the A/C!), and we continue with the regular Monday Pub Trivia. We also went on our annual trek to El Tuito for Thanksgiving with friends at Kai Doyle’s house.
The holidays are upon us and Christmas is coming! Our decorations will be going up soon and more and more people are coming to town, including people we know from home and friends we see and hang out with only here. We are looking forward to a very busy and fun time.
Well, that’s all for this edition of OnVallartaTime! I hope you enjoyed it. As always, comments are welcome. It may take me a while but I read and try to respond to each one. Until next time!