A Travellerspoint blog

Botanical Garden

December 1, 2015

After purchasing our bus tickets for Friday and then arranging for a tour to San Sebastian for tomorrow, we went and got back on the same bus as yesterday. This time we rode it further, about 1/2 hour, to the Botanical Garden. We had visited it last time we were in PV and thought it would be good to see it again. It actually hadn't changed all that much. Some jungle trails, some more manicured trails, lots of interesting plants. We walked down to the river and thought we should not have forgotten our swimsuits! It would have been very refreshing on a hot day to have a dip in the water. We had a very nice lunch on the balcony of the main building and got to watch a Plain-Capped Starthroat hummingbird visit the feeder several times. We saw quite a few colourful birds, all ones we have seen on previous trips, but nice to see anyway. Don got some good photos of them.
Chachalaca

Chachalaca

Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbird

Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbird


We caught the bus back into town and found our way back to our hotel. Our hotel is very close to the river and we often have to cross the river to get to the bus or whatever. We can do this on the traffic bridges, but we can also take the shortcut very close to the hotel, which is a swinging bridge across to the island, a few steps on the island, and another swinging bridge to the other side of the river. I still have not mastered the walking on the swinging bridge - probably look very drunk to any watchers - but it's nicer than the traffic bridges.

Because it's the first of December, the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe has started. Each evening for 12 days, there are processions thru the streets to the Church of Guadalupe. "Combining traditional Aztec and Christian motifs, young warriors dance in the streets commemorating the miraculous apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Indian peasant Juan Diego on December 12, 1531."(from the Discovery Vallarta website) So after we had supper at Bravos, a very nice restaurant with excellent food, we wandered over by the church. After a while, we got to see a couple of processions. Apparently, different family groups sponsor and participate in them. They have to schedule the processions so everyone doesn't end up at the church at once - it's just not big enough! So here is a short video of one of the groups. These people danced for about 10 minutes in front of us and had been doing the same thing on each block for a few blocks. Hard work!

I've also included a picture of the "Icteo-Dermic treatment" station or the place where you put your feet in the water and let the fish eat the dead skin!
Dead skin cleaning station

Dead skin cleaning station

Posted by katdill 19:38 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Snorkeling at Mismaloya

November 30, 2015

Today we decided to go to Mismaloya, a little beach town south of PV, so Don could try out the snorkeling there. We walked over a few blocks and caught a bus which took us south on the only highway about 20 minutes. Cost 8 pesos each or about 75 cents. We got off the bus and walked down to the beach. It is in a nice little cove, which also has a huge resort complex in it. We walked along a path which went out towards the point, above the rocks. There was a great sculpture at the end of the path, an old palm tree trunk with a very large iguana sculpture on it. Very impressive!
Huge Iguana statue

Huge Iguana statue


Don decided to start snorkeling from a place out on the rocks and I brought all his stuff back to the beach to wait for him.
Setting off for a snorkel

Setting off for a snorkel


I found a nice shade place to sit with a table and chairs, the beach level of one of the little eateries that line the beach. The young waiter was great - did not pressure me to buy anything at all. We got to watch some of the boats bring their customers back into shore. One couple had caught a nice Mahi-mahi.
Mahi-mahi

Mahi-mahi


We went upstairs to their deck area and had lunch. Good food, made on the spot. After lunch, Don went back in for another snorkel and I sat and enjoyed the view with another beer.
Once he was done, we packed up and caught the bus back again. The buses run very regularly and seem quite reliable, although they are like old school buses. We got back to the hotel and rested up for a bit, before going out to have a drink at a bar just around the corner from the hotel. Then we had a walk on the Malecon, before having pizza for supper at Pinnochio's. This restaurant also has 3 or 4 special chairs with tanks of little fish that eat the dead skin off your feet. Some women had this done, while we were there and seemed very pleased with the result. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of this - maybe another day.

While walking after supper, we came upon another activity at the open air theatre. It seemed to be a cheer-leading competition!?! The groups of young people were very athletic and did some amazing gymnastics. There was a table of judges and at the end the winners were announced. The young teeny boppers did a lot of screaming, they were so excited!
One of the cheer-leading groups

One of the cheer-leading groups

Posted by katdill 19:56 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Even Dancing Horses!!

November 29, 2015

sunny 30 °C

After breakfast we went off to find Elizabeth Taylor's house, or more precisely the arch built between her house and Richard Burton's. After some interesting exploring, we finally succeeded! Burton's house has been torn down and some very rich condos put up instead. They have kept the archway up over the street. Taylor's house is all closed up and is for sale. When we got back to the hotel after lunch, I looked it up online. For only 650,000 US you could purchase this large house that Liz lived in!
Plaque on new condo building

Plaque on new condo building

Bridge that was built to join Taylor and Burton's houses

Bridge that was built to join Taylor and Burton's houses


We did some more exploring up on the hill (Gringo Gulch) and found some of the restaurants on Don's list of good places to eat. At least one of them is so expensive, I don't think we will be eating there! It is interesting walking the cobblestone streets, although the cobblestones are hard on your feet if there isn't a sidewalk. I tried to stay on the shady side when I could, as even before noon, it is very hot in the sun.

We had lunch down by the water at La Langosta Loca. Had some good food and watched someone para sailing from right by the restaurant. We came back to the hotel for a rest and tried to find a way to watch the Grey Cup in our hotel room. Finally came to the conclusion that wasn't going to work and went out to go to a sports bar. As we started down the street we could hear drums and music. We knew there was a band concert this evening, but this music was coming from the wrong direction. We followed the sound and found a band performing on a street corner and dancing horses! There were several different riders and horses and they seemed to take turns dancing to the music. I filmed a short video to give you the idea.

As we walked back along the Malecon we found the band concert happening in the town square. We listened to a bit, but it wasn't very good so we went on to Paradise Burgers, a sports bar that had advertised having the Grey Cup. We got there just before half time and enjoyed a good supper and drinks while we watched the rest of the game. The few people who were in there watching the game were all cheering for the Eskimos, so they were all happy!

Walking back we came to the open theatre and found a fundraiser for kids with cancer going on. So we watched it for awhile, nothing very spectacular, all in Spanish, but enjoyable. Then finally back to the hotel. Quite a full day, it seems.

I remembered to post the picture of Don in the tiny hotel elevator. Enjoy.
Tiny Elevator

Tiny Elevator

Posted by katdill 20:21 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Exploring the Neighbourhood

November 28, 2015

After breakfast in the hotel's rooftop breakfast room, we set out to explore the neighbourhood and get oriented with our previous memories of PV. We were here for a week back in the January or February of 2010, we think. We walked along the malecon, which is a paved walkway along the shoreline, in front of some of the many hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. One man was wading out in the water fishing with just a baited hook and a coil of line. He could throw that hook out a long way, but we didn't see him catch anything.
Fisherman

Fisherman


We found the Saturday farmer's market, which was fun to walk thru and had excellent cinnamon buns and good coffee.
Woman weaving with a backstrap loom at the market

Woman weaving with a backstrap loom at the market


We went far enough south to see the hotel we stayed in last time, and then headed back to check out some markets we remembered. We also tried to find Elizabeth Taylor's old house but couldn't figure it out. After I did more Internet research, we think we may try again, but apparently there isn't very much left of it. We had lunch at a nice little place along the beach, Vitea Oceanfront Bistro. Very good food and nice ambiance. We came back to our hotel, to pack up our stuff and change to a different room. The first room window opened onto the air conditioner air shaft and was very noisy. So we moved up a floor and over to the street side, which seems much quieter. We just cooled it for awhile then and Don did some research into the best restaurants to eat in and I checked out some of the real estate deals!
The Malecon has some wonderful sculpture along its length. It's great to see people getting their pictures taken with the sculptures and interacting with them.
Rotunda del Mar by Alejandro Colunga

Rotunda del Mar by Alejandro Colunga

Don sitting on one of the Rotunda seats

Don sitting on one of the Rotunda seats


As the afternoon cooled down, we went to the Cheeky Monkey for a drink and then to Mariscos Tino's for supper. Tino's had pretty good food but we had been warned by some of the reviews we would receive a time share pitch and we did! We cut that off immediately, but the man (owner?) had lots to say about things to do.... After supper we walked back along the malecon to a open theatre-like space which had a kind of TeleMiracle event going on - raising money for disabled kids in the community by having people donate the tops from plastic drink bottles. Apparently, they sell them and make money that way! Unfortunately for us, this was all in rapid Spanish and we could hardly figure out what was going on. If Don hadn't got an introduction to it in English during the afternoon, we would have been pretty clueless! Don had been told a Mariachi band would be playing at 10:00 pm, but after sitting thru an hour of jokes and audience participation which was incomprehensible, as well as some very junior dance performers, I gave it up and went back to the hotel. Don stayed and when he got back he reported he enjoyed the band very much once they finally got on.

Posted by katdill 19:42 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Safe Arrival

November 27, 2015

We left Saskatoon around 1:30 pm and with a brief stop in Calgary to change planes, we arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 8:30 pm. And it was raining!! Our taxi driver said it had been raining for 3 days, but apparently this is the last of it. I think the rain is linked to Hurricane Sandra, which is going north of here. Our hotel, the Hotel Porto Allegro, has the smallest elevator I have ever seen! With Don and I in it, with our two suitcases, there was no room for anyone else. The whole elevator is mirrored so it's not so claustrophobic, I guess. Our room is also very small, but that's not a big deal for us. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a picture of the elevator, it has to be seen to be believed!

Posted by katdill 20:13 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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