I'm still dreaming of pina coladas and warm ocean breezes. Did I mention that our resort had two roof top hot tubs overlooking all of Puerto Vallarta? As the clouds rolled in (as they did every day) and the wind picked up in the late afternoon, the temperature dropped to the point where a hot tub was perfect. And watching pelicans fly overhead as the sun went down on evening #2 seemed the perfect way to wind down the day.
Day three saw another late start, and in the afternoon a journey through downtown Puerto Vallarta was in order. After eating resort food for two days, an authentic Mexican meal was high on my priority list. We wandered off the main drag and found a small restaurant which served us freshly made gaucamole and salsa with chips, then one of the finest enchilada platters I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Ridiculously full, it kept me fueled for the rest of the afternoon. Some things of note: all the souvenir shops have all the same stuff - once you've hit one or two, you really don't need to bother with the rest; bargaining with shopkeepers is an art; wear comfortable shoes; watch the ocean - we watched in awe as hundreds of dolphins, pelicans, and other birds dove and sliced through the waves in an ecstatic feeding frenzy.
We also visited some interesting stores, including an entire gallery devoted to beaded figurines and tapestries. Done by hand, the figure is covered in beeswax and each bead is placed individually with a long needle. No patterns are used, so each piece is unique. The colours were vibrant and fun, and pieces ranged from a small egg to a three foot giraffe.
My favourite was this wall of iguanas, which stretched well beyond the borders of this picture.
Before our trip, Curtis had talked to a friend who had fished near a pier downtown, so we walked well into old Vallarta to find it. Small and short, the end of the pier was packed with all manner of people, some with rods, others with nets, and the rest with hand lines, fishing away the afternoon while pelicans circled and dove all around. We saw four fish caught while we watched, one on a rod and three by net, although I think the pelicans vastly out fished the humans.
And yes, there were women and children fishing as well, although one unfortunate boy was nearly knocked out when he walked into a weight being spun on a hand line. Despite the chaotic scene and lack of success, those fishing seemed relaxed and comfortable, and I could picture them repeating this routine day in and day out. As tourists littered the boardwalk, bars and shops along the beach, as the parasailers flew by and children danced in the waves, a small glimpse of normal Puerto Vallartan life showed itself on that short pier. And I am happy to report we were only approached once while on the pier with an offer of a chartered fishing trip. As the only two foreigners out there, I was anticipating being bombarded as it is nearly impossible to take two steps anywhere while in a touristy area without someone trying to sell you something.
With plans for an adventure the next day, we still stayed up way too late that night and thus started our journey on day four much later than anticipated. Stay tuned...