Thursday, March 24, 2005

A ¨Holy¨ Ghost Town

This is Holy Week in Mexico and Puerto Vallarta is packed with people on holiday. There are tents on the beach and a merry-go-round with live ponies. Quite a festival. I decided to get out of town, but that proved to be a mistake. Everyone in the town I went to, Cruz de Huancaxtle, or La Cruz for short, must have come to Puerto Vallarta. Only one restaurant was open and it didn´t have a bar. The only bar that I found that was open was in the lobby to a small hotel.

345) Philo´s

A semi open-air place with a large palapa covering it. White stucco walls and a small stage set off in one corner covered by a smaller palapa. There was a drum-kit, microphones, and wiring so it looked like it would be cranking up later. Philo, the owner of the place, is from Mendocino, California where he operated a music studio and used to play with various people in the ¨Shuffle Band.¨ The name of the band comes from the fact that the various people would shuffle in and shuffle out.

The bar itself is a large blue cement thing with a pale-pink tile top. Along the top edge of the bar is painted some weird designs including red-spotted mushrooms that seem to be glowing, beach scenes, birds, various designs. It was quite colorful. The bar chairs are the same style that they had in Roma´s and Las Palomas. A wide pinkish cement foot-rest keeps you from being able to pull them comfortably up to the bar though.

Not much decor behind the bar; a metal rack for glasses, a glass front refrigerator holding beer, soda, and wine, a large Corona beer cooler, a smaller Snapple cooler that held more soda and wine, but no snapple, and ice chest and a water bottle on a stand. On one wall was a Banderas Bay American Legion flag, Post 14. There was a pool-table in a back room.

I had a Corona and caught the bus back to town.

346) Casa Vallarta

Back in town on Avenue Mexico was this bar tucked in back of what looks like a breakfast place. It has a nice bar though, but with a bartender that had to be walked through the process of making a rum and tonic. After twice trying to use mineral water I had to try to describe what a tonic bottle looked like. Then he was out of Bacardi rum and couldn´t quite grasp the fact that Appleton was also a rum and not, in fact, apple juice. Finally, out of exasperation, someone else cut and squeezed a lime into the glass because he couldn´t seem to grasp the concept. I assume he is new.

The bar white-brick with a nice marble-finish top to it. The bar-chairs are metal rod with rattan seats and backs. There is a nice large-screen Sony television, but it wasn´t turned on. There are three white-brick arches behind the bar and they have mirrors behind them. They have a shelf on the bottom of each of them made of the same material as the bar-top and they hold the glasses. Their are two more glass shelves above that one that hold the liquor except for the top shelf of the middle shelf that holds a statue of a reclining, or dead, Mayan or Aztec. The spaces between the arches are occupied by wine-racks. The walls are bright yellow and pink.

I had the long-in-the-making rum and tonic.

347) El Party

Down the street a bit, where Avenue Mexico turns into Paseo Diaz Ordaz, is this hole-in-the-wall that is more of a place to pop in and get a drink in a go-cup and then head on out. They do have a narrow blue-wood bar though and even though my beer was served in a styrofoam cup with a cover and a straw sticking out of it, I stuck to my guns and drank it in place.

Although there is a rack with various sized glasses above the bar, this is strictly for show because they are never used, everything is served in some kind of a plastic or styrofoam container that you can take with you. Strings of Christmas lights hang from the rack, but they are used. Blue and pink florescent lights garishly illuminate the place. The front of the bar looks like an advertisement for Corona with a beach scene featuring Corana beach umbrellas, limes wearing sunglasses, and a curvey blond wearing a thong bikini. My wife tried to tell me her (the woman curvey blond, not my wife) buttocks were artificially enhanced. This was based upon my wife´s careful appraisal of the uplift and other structural characteristics.

There were also a couple of small blue-wood protrusions along one wall where you could, in theory, set your drink down. I seriously doubt if anyone, other than me, ever actually drinks in this prison-cell sized establishment, unless maybe it was raining really hard. This is a good place to pop in and get a Derrame Cerebral, Orgasmo, or Kamikaze Azul to go.

I settled for a Corona and headed home to just barely catch sunset at the pool.

Not a bad day, 347 down for the year and 653 left to go. I plan on hitting my 350 for the year tomorrow and then taking a bit of a breather.

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