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Monday, October 7, 2013

Puerto Vallarta

I just flew in from Puerto Vallarta, and boy are my arms tired!

(crickets)

Okay, old joke. And technically I’ve been back for a week, so it already feels like a lifetime ago as I’ve gotten back into my life a bit. Although we’ve been living off an empty fridge and mini trips to the grocery store for the last week so I guess that’s not entirely true, but I’m gearing up for a big shop and some bulk cooking, so there. Anyways. The pictures in this post are all taken from my balcony because I was too afraid to lug my DSLR around and plus since we went kid-free and I was revelling in not having to lug around a load of Stuff for the week.

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Prior to this, the furthest south I have ever been was North Dakota. Since North Dakota is exactly as tropical as Manitoba, this was pretty exotic and exiting for Chris and I. Also, did I mention we went kid free? We went kid free. I’m not going to pretend we didn’t miss them; this was the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing Nicole since she was born 6 years ago. We were glad they were at home, sometimes more than others as we could enjoy/laugh about the maybe-too-adventurous bits without stressing about them, we didn’t have to worry about naptimes or bedtimes, and I could put my mom-voice away for a week.

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But of course, the whole week we kept talking about how Jackson would love this, or Olivia would love that, or what Nicole would say about this. (I’m freaking my eyes out!) I’m proud to say we managed to not wrestle the random stranger friends we made that week to the ground and force them to look at pictures. Granted that was possibly related to the fact that my phone died after I accidentally left my charger in a hotel in Calgary during an overnight stopover. Although after a few drinks on our last night we did corner one new friend and show her pictures from their week at home that we’d been sent on Chris’ phone, and I may have even said “Oh hey, she’s wearing the shirt I made.”

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The first few minutes in Puerto Vallarta are very intimidating. After you make it through customs with your luggage and think you’re in the home stretch, you reach The Hall of Timeshares Pushers. The last stretch is literally crowded with them, and even if you’ve been warned, the badges and desks might temporarily fool you into thinking they are airport staff looking to help the tourists out. After all, every other airport you’ve hit on the way has had people pointing you in the right direction with a smile and a wave. However, after a few minutes, you start to realize with a sinking feeling that you’ve been caught, and this person is not trying to help you get to your hotel so much as to try and get you to sign up for a timeshares-pushing tour. Once you finally wriggle free, you almost make it to the entrance and someone else snares you, making it sound like she’s going to help you get a good cab rate. As soon the line of conversation starts veering in the same direction as the last guy, you lose your patience and as rudely as you can, being Canadian, thank her repeatedly and pointedly and break free to make your escape. Finally you get out of the airport, and blinking into the sun, get snagged again and gutted for cabfare. You exchange glances with your significant other, and silently signal to each other that you don’t even care anymore, gladly forking over 200 pesos for what you later discover is a 50 peso cab ride. You also decide that next time you’re in Puerto Vallarta, you’re putting on shades and headphones, running for daylight, and making sure your hotel sends you a cab or has a shuttle.

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Once you hit your resort, though, you catch your breath and the beauty of the place can sink in. We came during the wet season, and it was often cloudy and sometimes rainy. The bay was murky red from river run-off instead of clear and blue. But the plants were in full-on tropical forest mode. The mountains were covered in green, which we were told aside from the trees tends to die off in the dry season. Iguanas wandered by, and tiny little lizards skittered by on the walls of the hotel in lieu of the usual pests. (I adored them, Chris said he’d prefer spiders.) 

I had expected to have a relaxing poolside vacation, but my husband had other plans. We swam with dolphins, went zip lining in the mountains, and went fishing at the mouth of the bay. We took a mini cruise to Rhythms of the Night, a beautiful night lit by torches and candles with delicious food and an amazing show, followed by drinks and dancing on the boat back. I had a brief encounter with tequila on our last night, and as a direct result had left the unopened bottle of tequila that we had been gifted as a tip for housekeeping when we left. We dodged street vendors hawking jewellery, tours, tshirts, and soft or hard drugs. One started off offering to take us parasailing and ended with offering us weed, which made us quite glad we had declined the parasailing. It was the most exciting and exhausting week I’ve ever had, with more new experiences packed into a week than I normally have in a year. We had such a blast but were so ready to go home to our kids and our routines when it was time!

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Then on our way home we stopped over for a few hours in Edmonton and did something I’d been as excited for as Mexico itself… finally met Maverick, our dear friends’ brave little “heart baby.” I wish we’d been up to spending more of those midnight hours catching up with his momma, but we were both toast, although Chris was better at faking alertness than I was. One or both of us will just have to go back to Edmonton soon. I even got a smile from the little guy, as if he didn’t already have me smitten to begin with. To see a blog post from a volunteer photographer that includes some photos and info about little Maverick you can click here. 

There’s going to be an online auction with proceeds going to heart families including Maverick’s on Oct 14-21 and once I have more info about that I will share it.

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