Thursday, April 29, 2010
We had stayed in Puerto Vallarta for 10 days, our longest yet but we got much accomplished. It took almost 4 hours to get to Punta Perula with a stop for lunch at one of the many small taquerias we encountered along the way. The road out of P.V. took us through the town center with it's narrow cobbled streets and, thanks to 3 cruise ships being in town, a lot of people and traffic. It was with much relief that we finally left the city behind and took Mex 200, a 2 lane road south. Punta Perula is a tiny beach town more or less midway between P.V. and the port of Manzanillo and will be our first stop along this beautiful stretch of coastline. WWith the beach just steps from our R.V., we are going to stay here a week and play in the waves. As an added bonus, there is WiFi, which we missed in P.V.
What a week. Problem solving and fun with Bruce & Jeanne. Problem 1: Monday morning while walking Winston, I noticed what looked like a huge boil behind his ear which was red and raw. Miguel and Gabi (who manage the park) came by and knowing they had dogs, we asked them for a vet hoping there was one not too far away. No worries, it seems the vet here does house calls. One hour later Dr. Manual arrives, checks out the ear and tells us it is a bite that had gotten infected. He prescribed anti-biotics and a germicidal spray and charged us 300 pesos (about $25). We also talked about our going to Guatamala and he said he would arrange for us to get a health certificate for Winston to enter the country, so this took care of another item on my to do list. I really like Winston's vet at home, Dr Vieira, but I know she doesn't do house calls or charge as little. Problem 2: We had ordered a surge protector to be delivered to Jeanne and Bruce's and they were going to bring it with them but it did not arrive in time. Tom went to the local DHL office in P.V. to see if we could mail it to them. No worries. We emailed Randy, who had agreed to be the go-between, with the DHL address. The package arrived Friday. Fantastic. Problem 3: When we entered Mexico through Nogales, we got the correct paperwork for the R.V. and a tourist card for Tom but no documentation for me! So, a visit to immigration was on our list to try to correct the error. We had been really fortunate at not being stopped by the police and had no wish to wait until we left Mexico to deal with this particular issue. Again, no worries, good fortune was on our side. It took 2 trips to immigration and 262 pesos and my tourist card would be ready for pickup on Monday. In between dealing with these issues, we had fun with Bruce and Jeanne. They had dinner at the R.V. with us one evening and we went to another restaurant "Mestizos" for dinner on Tuesday. The tables at this restaurant are arranged outside in a beautiful courtyard, under the trees and stars. We ordered, Sangria which was excellent and a bottle of wine to accompany our meal. Just fabulous. Thursday, Tom rented a 42 foot Catalina for us to sail the coast. There was not a lot of wind but it was very relaxing. At diffent times, we got pedicures, massages and I managed to get my hair cut and colored. It is now the most blond it has ever been! Friday, Bruce rented a car and we all (including Winston) went to Sayulita for lunch. I think they liked the town as much as Tom and I. And so, the week has flown by. Tom and I are once again by ourselves, planning our next stop along the way.
If not for our much anticipated meetup with Bruce and Jeanne in Puerto Vallarta we would have stayed longer at this great small town. We said goodbye to our new friends, Vicente and Arturo with promises to stay in touch. Winston was especially sad because they had a seemingly endless supply of vienna sausages which, much to his delight, they fed him with great abandon. It was an easy drive to P. V. and after a little trouble we found the trailer park. It is a large shady place, completely walled in, with plenty of room for Winston to roam. The greatest danger was finding a place to park that was not under a tree laden with coconuts. Falling coconuts are a huge hazard for R.V.'s and we certainly do not want to have one drop on top of our A.C. unit! After getting settled, we went in search of Bruce and Jeanne. It turns out their hotel is only about 4 blocks from the park, very convenient. After walking Winston, we dropped him off at the RV park and went back to their hotel for cocktails. After much discussion we decided on a restaurant called Cilantros for dinner but on arrival discovered that they are closed on Sundays. We walked for a while before going to Si Senors, a restaurant that the hotel recommended. Margaritas were delicious as was dinner. We headed home and arranged to meet the next day.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tom and I could live here! This is a great place to hang out - we could stay a month. The waves were fantastic for Tom to boogie board and surf. The local amenities were adequate for all our needs and relatively inexpensive compared to the larger cities of Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. We met 2 new friends from Leon, Guanajuato so Arturo y Vicente, if you read this "Hola gusta en saludarlos y mucho gracias para su tequila". On our last night here, they shared their tequila with us. Considering it came from a 5 litre plastic bottle, with no label, it was delicious and also considering the copious amounts we drank, no hangover to speak of! We look forward to meeting them again in 2 years in Leon and having another tequila night. Buenos nochas
Thursday, April 15, 2010
This will be our final stop before Puerto Vallarta. The drive along the coastal route was pretty. Sayulita is a small town but because of it's proximity to Puerto Vallarta, about 27 miles north, it is becoming more popular as a tourist destination. So, it has the services that tourists demand - good restaurants, a sports bar, where we were able to watch the NHL Playoffs, spa places offering everything from manis and pedis to massages and facials and a number of small grocery stores. The trailer park and bungalows are definitely the largest and commercial we have stayed at. The beach stretches along the rear of the property and there is a restaurant on the beach. The surfing here is excellent and Tom can't wait to try out the waves. Whilst I settled in, Tom took a quick walk to town to get beer and shrimp for dinner. We had a margarita at the restaurant and watched the sunset. I haven't felt like such a tourist in a while. The shrimp were excellent on the grill.
Monday, April 12, 2010
We started our morning with a stroll down the beach with Winston to check out the waves. The ocean was flat so Tom forgo boogie boarding in lieu of making oatmeal for breakfast. The couple next to us had told us where to shop in the village and off we went. Turn left out of the park and at the first street, turn right. 5 short blocks later found us in front of a small sign on the left side stating simply "panaderia" (bakery). Through the gates and with the gesturing of an old man, we made our way to the back. Bread, fresh from the oven was displayed in front of us. Rolls, baquette style loaves, sweet breads, pastries and doughnuts were cooling on shelves. We made our selections - 4 large rolls and 2 of the baquettes - and handed over 25 pesos. Next, out of the bakery, turn right and right again down a narrow street. The first left brought us onto the main street that we had arrived in on last night. Main Street might be a misnoer, as it is a narrow cobbled street. Another stop at one of the many small markets for some fresh fruit - bananas and a pineapple - and potato chips. Now for the hard part. We had been told there was a man who sold freshly caught fish from his house but the rest was vague. Again, one stop at a market with our query "hombre y pescado dorado", roughly translated "man and a dorado fish" and with much gesturing by all, we learned that he lived three doors down. Upon entering through a doorway into a small entry we encountered 2 ice chests and the man. He showed us whole and filleted Dorado, freshly caught last night. We settled for a kilo of filleted fish for 90 pesos. Satisfied with our dinner purchases and navigating around a small village, we headed back to the camp site. Along the way, we encountered the village children coming from school and it occured to us that maybe the time zone had changed. Sure enough, we have been an hour off for the past few days. We got back, moved our clocks forward an hour and ate one of those delicious rolls with chicken salad sandwich for lunch. Then the next task of the day - bathing Winston. Before leaving for the village, Tom had filled our solar shower with water and we had left it in the sun. The time had come to introduce Winston to solar showering. It went as well as any other type of bath for Winston - he detested it, but he smells better. After that it was off to the beach to play, read and lie in the sun until sunset and dinner. While dinner is in the making, Skype is busy. We talked to both friends (Alla) and family (Bruce, Jeanne & Mom) and the conclusion, yet again, is that Skype is great! As was dinner - fish, rice and tomatoes with some baquette from the panaderia. Goodnight
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The towns and beaches to the north of Puerto Vallarta are well known for their beauty and sereneness, away from the hectic pace of the larger "touristy" city and Lo de Marcos is the most northern of them. We are at Pretty Sunset Trailer Park. It is quite small, only 8 spots but completely fenced in, so Winston can roam. There is a gate that opens directly onto the beach with palm trees for shade. Only one other couple is here, from Canada. The trailer park lived up to it's name at sunset, which was gorgeous. We made spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner, drank a Chilean cabernet with it and ate outside. As we finished up we heard the patter of rain on the awning. Ah, the tropical weather.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The day is bright and sunny. Tom couldn't wait to get in the ocean. He watched from our campsite, which has an unobstructed view of the water from about 15 feet away, some surfers out on a nearby point and had to go join them. I, feeling less energetic, took Winston for a walk on the beach whilst I drank my morning coffee. We ate lunch at the El Chaco restaurant, whole griiled fish and aguachile. I swam in the pool while Tom read. We are getting on Mexico time! Also, finding some things we forgot (or didn't know we needed) for the RV, so have been ordering on line. We are going to have to ask Jeanne and Bruce to bring them down for us. Again, live and learn. The sunset was a glowing orange ball tonight and early to bed because tomorrow is a travel day.
We left the Villas Onac, reluctantly having spent a super few days here but if we are to get to Puerto Vallarta by next week, we've got to keep heading south. The weather has changed a little. Last nights winds have brought clouds and we have light rain intermittently on our drive. We came on Mex 15 on the toll road. Expensive - 2 toll booths totalling 400 pesos, about $33.00. Leaving Mex 15, we wound through the mountains before descending into San Blas. San Blas is not like Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan. There's no "Gold Zone" or scads of tourists. It is a small, rustic, off the beaten track place, with a beautiful old town. However, our intent was not to stay in San Blas but head a little further south to a campground recommended by Paul & Terry, a couple from Canada, who had arrived at the Villas Onac the day before we left. El Chaco R.V. Park is located just a couple of miles from San Blas but does not have the jejene(pronounced he-he-nee) problem. San Blas is home to this nasty little gnat that are most prevalent in the summer months but they can show up at any time. They're a sort of sand fly and are quite tiny but with a big bite. They are the reason given why San Blas has been saved from becoming another Cancun or Ixtapa. We arrived at the park and there is only one other RV here which looks as though the owners have taken up residency here. We will talk to them on Saturday. As with most places, the sidewalks roll up early and by sunset, which is a big red glowing ball in the sky, everyone is settling in and whilst Tom has a cold beer, I am sipping on a glass of white wine from Chile.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Decided to spend some extra time here. It is just the type of place we were looking for. Right on the beach. Seconds away from the sand and sea. Weather, sunny in the low 80's with a slight breeze to cool things off. Waves for us to play and body surf in. And a shady spot were Winston can start to feel better. We don't know what was/is wrong with him but he is definitely more alert and happy than when we arrived. All in all, a great couple of days. More tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Good news and bad news. The drive was easy. The camp ground "The Villas Onac" is great. Right on the beach. We walk a few steps to the ocean. It also has a swimming pool and showers. A couple of the villas are occupied and there are 2 other R.V.s here. One, a Swiss couple from St. Moritz have travelled from Argentina through South and Central America, Mexico and plan on driving the complete Pan American Highway, all the way to Alaska. We visited with them for quite a while, chatting over a bottle of red Chilean wine. They were very helpful and gave us an insight on what we might expect from the various countries. In a nut shell, they loved South America and did not like or feel safe in Honduras, Nigaragua and El Salvador. Surprise! The other couple of RVers have been travelling down here for more than 20 years and have been as far as Nicaragua so they are also helpful. Now the bad news. Winston, who has been super the whole trip is not feeling good. He has shallow breathing and seems to have trouble getting into the RV. We can't decide if it is his back legs but his tail is down and he acts like he is in pain. If he doesn't get any better, I will contact his doctor in San Jose and see if she can help find an English speaking vet in Puerto Vallarta. We will keep you all updated. Also, thank-you for the emails back. I know quite a few of you are following us either by our blogs or Google calendar.
Monday, April 5, 2010
The second leg of our 500 mile drive to Mazatlan. With the exception of more toll booths to stop at (5 in all), the road was easy and we made the town in about 4 hours. This is Good Friday and school is out, so for a lot of Mexicans this is a holiday week. When we arrived in town, Tom and I reminisced about our trip here a couple of years ago. At that time it was September and Mexican Independence Day, it was a mob scene in town and this was no different. The first camp-site we selected "The Mar Rosa", which is very close to the tourist center, was full. So we headed to another "The Punta Cerritos" that we had checked out on our last trip that is located to the north of town. Much quieter and we were glad the Mar Rosa didn't work out. We stayed until Tuesday. The weather was fabulous, in the 80's, with a breeze. Got to the beach and Tom played in some waves. But to be in Puerto Vallarta by the 17th, we need to move on. Next place - Teacapan.
The first leg of our 2 day marathom to Mazatlan. Although there seems to be plenty of police activity, it appears to be directed more towards the Mexicans travelling than the Americans. The road was much better than when entering Mexico. Most importantly for Tom it was wider, so passing those trucks or when the buses pass us (they drive like demons), it doesn't feel as though we will be pushed off the road. This is agriculture country. Plenty of corn, potatoes and greens being grown. However, we were on the toll road and passed 5 toll booths for a total of $35 USD in tolls. Los Michos was desolate. We were the only people camping at the one R. V. park in town and against better judgement and all the advise we had heard about the dangers of camping alone, we stayed there. By nine at night - believe me, when darkness falls and with no exterior lights, nine feels late - we had sufficiently spooked ourselves into second guessing our decision to stay there and almost drove to the nearest hotel. We stayed because it had also been impressed upon us the dangers of driving at night but needless to say, we slept fitfully and got on the road early next day. Unharmed but promising ourselves that in the future, should we pull into a park with no other RVers, we will go to a hotel and request parking there. Live and learn.