Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Bus Ride

The weather wasn't the greatest, not good enough for hanging out on the beach but good enough for a bus ride.

316) Mi Ranchito

We took the bus to Boca de Tomatlan, a little village just past Mismaloya. It sits on the mouth of a river that is pretty low this time of year but quite large during the rainy season. Mi Ranchito is one of about three or four bar/restaurants sitting on a little beach. Waiters for the various restaurants vie for your attention and business. The beach used to be much larger but still hasn't recovered from the hurricane a couple of years ago. They have built a primitive bulkhead. Two guys with wheelbarrows were digging up sand from the small delta at the river's mouth and hauling it up to backfill behind the bulkhead. Another three guys were picking up cement blocks and loading them into a small fishing boat to take further south along the bay.

Mi Ranchito had a little wooden-plank bar sitting under an orangish clay-tile roof. The top of the bar was covered with a dark-brown vinyl. Behind the bar are a couple of plain wooden shelves covered with green, yellow, and orange patterned cloth. The attraction of this place is the relative seclusion of the beach and the numerous plastic chairs and tables covered with brightly covered tablecloths that sit on the water's edge under small palapas. This is a good place to catch a water taxi to smaller secluded beaches that cannot be reached buy bus or car. Boca de Tomatlan is as far south as you can go on the bay without using a boat.

The weather wasn't very cooperative, a bit of sun, then clouds, and too chilly to just hang out. We decided to take a bus further up into the mountains.

I had a Pacifico before heading out.

317) Centro Botanero el Banjo

We took the bus quite a way up the mountain to the small town of El Tuito. The sign says the population is 3,500 but it appears to be much smaller. I suspect that is because much of the population lives not in the little town itself but out in the farms and ranches that surround it. We walked around a bit before finding this place on the street one block off of the main drag. There is a little cement building painted white with a large, dirt-floor area surrounded by a wooden fence. There are a number of white plastic Corona chairs and Pacifico tables. The jukebox is in a padlocked iron cage secured to a cement slab.

The small wooden slat bar sits in a back corner up against the small cement building that houses a very small kitchen. On the wall behind the bar is a painting of three Mexican gentlemen quaffing beverages while seated at a small round table. Next to that over the buildings doorway is a painting of a horse's head with pink mountains and a waterfall in the background. The limited menu was also painted on the wall. The waitress spoke no English but seemed pleased that I was writing about the pictures. Perhaps she, or someone she knew, painted them. The waitress also liked our digital camera and after we showed her how it worked she took pictures of us. I don't think they get too many tourists stopping into their place.

There wasn't much more to see in the town and the busses only ran every hour. We made it back to the town-square just in time to catch one heading back.

I had a Pacifico.

318) Teo's

We took the bus back down and stopped off just before Mismaloya. There are a couple of restaurants there, El Set and John Houston's Night of the Iquana. These are both located near the remnants of the sets for "Night of the Iquana." The filming of this movie is what put Puerto Vallarta on the map. Neither of the places were open yet because we got there too late for lunch and too early for dinner.

We took the somewhat steep cement steps (at least now there is a railing) down to the beach and stopped at Teo's. There are a lot of little bar/restaurants on this stretch but this was the second one we came to and the waiter did a good job of encourging us to "check it out." It a concrete slab about 25 feet by 25 feet elevated above the beach by yellow concrete posts. You climb up a brick staircase to get to it. Large Canadian, Mexican, and American flags were blowing in the breeze. Half of the slab is covered by a red vinyl awning with a Coca Cola logo. Behind the slab is an orange concrete structure with the typical tile roof. This houses the small kitchen and a small curved bar covered in brown vinyl that had a large diamond shaped pattern. Framed montages of happy customers adorned the walls. The tables and chairs are the typical white plastic ones supplied by Corona. The tables were covered by pale green tablecloths with white, fringed tablecloths set diagonally on top. The drinks the women ordered each came adorned with large, bright-red hibiscus.

I had a banana daiquiri

319) Ramada Miramar

Heading down towards where you catch the bus back to downtown Puerto Vallarta and down a dirt road behind the huge Mismaloya Hotel, you come to a small wooden bridge across a small river. Here you find a truly delightful place that is in no way associated with the Ramada Hotel. It sits on the edge of the river and is surrounded by lush foilage full of birds and butterflies. The river itself had numerous birds of various types either stalking or swimming about. You would never guess that you are within a stone's throw of a crowded beach and hotel.

Crossing the bridge you go up a small staircase and enter a red-tiled deck with two levels. The lower half is open air with the back half covered with a red tile roof. Bamboo railings surround this part of the deck. The elevated part, where the small bar is, is covered by a large palapa. Green iron railings surround this area. The lower deck has mostly the same white plastic tables you see and chairs you see everywhere but covered with bright tablecloths. Ours was orange. There was also one large wooden table with ornate wooden chairs that was covered by a nice white lace tablecloth. The tables and chairs on the upper deck are wooden and covered with the same bright tablecloths. The bar itself had a white marble-like top with a bamboo front. Simple wooden shelving behind the bar held the liquor supply. More montages of happy customers adorned the walls. Flags draped one wall.

Only one of the women ordered a drink here, that Chinese woman was getting a little tipsy so she settled for bottled water. The one drink came with a nice white hibiscus though.

This is a very nice place and if you ever get to Mismaloya I would urge you to seek it out before heading to the numerous places on the beach.

I had a frozen margarita and we caught the bus back to town. We stopped at a couple of places when we got back, Steve's and Sweeny's (where we had excellent meals as well), but they were both repeats.

Not a bad day and at 319 I now have only 681 left to go. Looks like I should easily make my 325 before leaving Mexico but I suspect there will be a lot of repeaters tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day.


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kimberly sayer said...

Talk of Tomatlan where you can take a water taxi that will take you to the famous and popular nearby beaches, Las Animas, Quimixto, Majahuitas and Yelapa (these beaches are accessible only by sea), as Boca de Tomatlan is the last place on the coastal road.costa rica fishing
To continue on the road very soon see the lush jungle into pine forest and clay, and would shortly after arriving in El Tuito, agricultural village near.

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