Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some By Land, A Few By Sea

The other day we held our annual Walter Krebb Memorial Walk. Walter was a regular here in Puerto Vallart for many years and loved to lead a fairly arduous nature walk from Boca de Tomatlan to Quimixto. Walter has passed away but the walk has lived on. I am not sure for how many more years though. It is, as I said, a fairly arduous walk.

My friend Dennis is much too old to endure such a hike so I, good buddy that I am, decided to take the water taxi with him to Quimixto to meet up with the group. The fact that it took me two days to recover from the walk last year had absolutely, I repeat, absolutely, nothing to do with my decision. The Mysterious Chinese Woman, who would have succumbed to insect bites if she hiked, and my buddy Chris also decided the water taxi was a good idea.

Our Taxi Arrives

We can catch the water taxi right from the pier that is next to Cuates y Cuetes and it is 140 pesos or a bit less than $10 for the ride.

Heading Out

Included in our trip, for free, was an up close view of a baby humpback whale who was joined by his mother. There have been plenty of sightings from shore but seeing them up close and personal is always a treat. Unfortunately the boat was too crowded and the sighting too short for me to be able to dig out my camera, inside a ziplock bag and tucked in my pocket, for a picture.

After a fun and bouncy ride we landed at Quimixto and our little group departed. The rest of the passengers were continuing on to Yelapa.

Bye Bye

There isn't a whole lot in Quimixto, but the beaches are quiet and uncrowded. Several day cruises stop here though and there is a fairly large restaurant to accomodate them.

Restaurant Signage Mexico Style

We bypassed the larger restaurants and even this small place that was tough to ignore. It was getting to be beer time.

Must Be Strong

The beach alternates between rocky and sandy and the birds seem to prefer the rocks.

Two Egrets On The Rocks, Please

And soon enough we arrived at a really small, almost non-existant restaurant that Walter somehow found years ago and to which we always return. A few chairs and tables on the beach with umbrellas and we were ready for our beers. After that rough sea-voyage and walk along the beach we really needed them.

Ahh, A Well-Deserved Cerveza

Soon the intrepid hikers joined us and somehow seemed less than impressed by what we considered to be an tortuous journey. The fact that they had to hike about four miles on fairly rough and up and down terrain may have made them a bit unsympathetic.

Dennis tried, with little success, to convince his girlfriend, Katherine, who did hike, how rough his trip was.

But Honey, The Pounding Seas, The Threat Of Pirates

Marcie and Bill took turns in the lone hammock resting their weary legs.

Me First

My Turn

Bill vowed never to do the hike again but his wife Marcie seemed up for another one. I guess the women really are the stronger sex.

Wading in the little estuary next to the restaurant was also a big hit.

Ahh, Feels Good

A whole herd of horses came down to drink and roll around in the water and sand. They were a bit too far away for me to get any pictures with my little shoot and click, but Katherine may have gotten some decent shots. If she lets me download a few I will post them.

There isn't much of a choice of food here, cheese tostados, fish fillets, and shrimp. I think we ate everything he had and I don't know if he gets too many customers other than us. I am sure most of the day-trippers never get to this part of the beach.

Settling In For Lunch

I had the fish fillet, el Dorado, and it was delicious. Simply prepared but very flavorful. Just a squeeze of fresh lime on top and that was plenty. A very generous portion as well.

We spent a couple of hours here eating, drinking cerveza, having a few shots of tequila and chatting. Then it was time to take another water taxi back to Boca de Tomatlan

Gathering At The Taxi Stand

Always A Few Stragglers

A Full Load

A relatively short trip by boat back to Boca, but it made you appreciate the trek that the more stalwart of our group had made. Of course, they pointed that out to us enough. They just didn't seem to appreciate how dangerous a long sea voyage can be.

And soon enough we were back at Boca, a nice enough day-trip in its own right, and only 6 pesos by bus from town.

The Beach At Boca

Just a bus ride home and our day was done. A mighty fine day it was too. I applaud those who actually did the hike, but think I will take the water route next year as well. After all, someone has to keep Dennis company.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chris's Arrival

On Wednesday my friend Chris arrived in Puerto Vallarta. He will be staying with us for a week so this gives me another excuse for bad behavior. All in the name of "Showing him around." This, even though he has been here many times before.

I had a frozen ginger margarita waiting for him we he got to my place at around noon. Then we headed to Cuete Cuate's for lunch. I still had yesterday's bar on my brain so, for some reason, I thought it would be a fine idea to take him there.

Maybe Not Such A Great Idea

The Two Old Gringos

And, of course, I had to point out my favorite taco stand.

Posing For The Camera

Of course being so close to La Ballena Azul it just seemed somehow right to pop in there as well.

A Whale Of A Tale

Mexico, or at least Puerto Vallarata, has jumped on the no-smoking band wagon so unless you have a bar with good ventilation smoking is banned. There is no way you can say La Ballena Azul has good ventilation. I am not sure how rigidly they inforce the no-smoking regulation but the machine that sold the single cigarettes has been removed. Even La Gloria de Infierno had no-smoking signs posted.

Well, we weren't in there to smoke anyway.

One Or Two For The Road

We did make it back to the deck for sunset. Not too many people were there but Morris was. Although he didn't join us in the day's festivities he seemed to enjoy hearing about them.

Morris, Ready For His Close-UP

Morris didn't like the picture I originally posted, said it made him look terrible. I have oblinged him by posting a new picture that I took at last night's deck party. He does look much more dashing.

Now I don't want to give you the idea that all we do is hit the bars. The next day we actually took a nice little boat ride so we could drink on a remote beach.

Our Taxi Arriving To Pick Us Up

And today we are heading out to a rodeo, so stay tuned for more Puerto Vallarta adventures.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

La Gloria de Infierno

Ah, one of my favorite, relatively undiscovered, places in Puerto Vallarta. And with a name like La Gloria de Infierno (The Glory of Hell) how could it not be. This is the place that is on a corner just two blocks from Rizo's, the big supermarket on the river. I bet thousands of tourists have passed it by on their way back from doing a bit of shopping. I bet I am one of the few to ever step inside. I have never seen a non-Mexican other than me and whoever came in with in here.

It is easy to see why. It looks, for all the world, like someplace that has been closed for years. The truth of the matter is I have never been by when it hasn't been open.

La Gloria de Infierno's Main Entrance Side

The Less Conspicuous Side

The give-away is the music blaring from inside and, very rarely, someone entering or leaving through these inviting swinging doors.

Do Step Inside

This is where I took everyone after Pipi's, something I am sure they were all overjoyed with. Well, I think Dennis and Katherine enjoyed themselves.


I have been popping in here for a number of years so I am no longer a novelty.

The Regulars

Nobody seems to pay us much mind except the occasional borracho who might wander in our direction trying to cage a free drink before being intercepted by the watchful proprietor. One of the patrons did ask us why we came here though. I said "Where, Puerto Vallarta?" He laughed and said "No, this place." I said I liked the ambience, which provoked more laughter.

We always get good service and they always set out a plate of peanuts or something for us to nibble on.

My friends were taking a lot of pictures so I didn't take many myself, not exactly the kind of place where taking a lot of pictures seems appropriate. Although nobody really seems to mind.

Just across the street from here is one of my favorite taco stands too. You can get loaded in La Gloria de Infierno and walk a few steps to get some really good local food.

My Favorite Taco Place

And just up the street two blocks is the infamous Azul Ballena which I have written about before and will assuredly write about again. A great place to stop for your after taco drink. You can have a hell of a night on the town for about ten bucks. Well, a good night for ten bucks, a great night for twenty.

We passed on the tacos and Azul Ballena but Dennis, Katherine, Bar Man, and the Mysterious Chinese Woman did stop at Sweeny's on the way home.

Never Say Die

All and all a very memorable, for the most part, day.

Oh, there was a loud explosion on the street in front of our place yesterday and the electicity in our part of town went out. I couldn't make my deviled eggs and the pool party was postponed until Friday. Someone came out about five hours later and poked at the transformer that had emitted the bang with a long stick, some major sparking took place, and the electricity came back on.

My friend Chris is about to arrive so I must make some frozen margaritas to welcome him. I made a simple syrup mixture with lime juice and ginger and just a bit of adobe sauce to give it a bit of a bit. We shall see how it all turns out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lunch At Pipi's

Ah, the ever festive Pipi's, you can see it from blocks away.

Always A Celebration

As I said before, this is a bit of a touristy place, but then, I guess, in a way most of the places in Puerto Vallarta are touristy. Hell, most of Puerto Vallarta is touristy. But this place is a bit more touristy than most. Still, a lot of fun and good value for your money.

You get free salsa and chips, no biggie, but then you get free guacamole made to your specification right at your table.

Guac To Spec

Pick Your Poisons

Now Bar Man is not a big fan of avocados, but for guacamole I make an exception. You may be surprised to know that the word "avocado" derives from the Spanish word "aquacate" which, in turn, is from the Nahuatl word "ahuacatl" which means, drumroll, please, testicle. You may never look at an avocado, or even a testicle, the same way again. On the other hand, then next time you are offered one, either an avocado or a testicle, you will be able to liven up the conversation. Well, if you were offered a testicle the conversation was probably pretty lively already.

The one nice thing about Pipi's is that even real men can enjoy a pink drink.

My Big Pink Drink

Okay, now how many of you, after reading about avocados and testicles, subconsciously read the caption of the above picture as something slightly different?

The Ladies Enjoying Their Big Drinks

I think Dennis was showing Marcie the proper way to dunk a taco chip.

Always Scoop Towards You

They have a fairly standard menu here, but still a lot of selections are available.

Marie Studying Her Options

Getting Help From Hubby Peter

They made a joint decision and got the combination platter which seemed to have a bit of everything.

A Mexican Fiesta On A Plate

Bar Man opted for a spicy stew of beef tips, whatever they are, and it was spicy indeed. I broke a sweat and needed a tissue when my nose began to run. Thank goodness for the big pink drink.

Here's A Tip, Try The Beef Tips

The specialty of the house seems to be the fajitas, your choice of chicken, shrimp, or steak. The Mysterious Chinese Woman opted for the shrimp and the portion was large enough so that we had leftovers for lunch today.

They Don't Skimp On The Shrimp

Others opted for the steak fajitas and the chicken fajitas. Equally large portions and quite tasty.

Steak Fajitas

The chicken fajitas were down at the other end of the table so I didn't manage to get a picture of them. I did get a picture of the whole table though. Well, except for Marie, who was hidden behind Peter and Bill who was hidden behind the Mysterious Chinese Woman.

Almost The Whole Table

These are a bit better.

Half The Table Plus Bar Man

Half The Table Minus Bar Man

Okay, so how many people were at the table? Got to try to keep your minds active.

Across the street was a store sellng masks that was having a going-out-of-business sale. I think the only thing left for them to sell was the mask above the door.

Mascara se Vende

A bit down the street towards home was a little gallery and this cheerful picture caught my eye. It is how I like to imagine flying down to Puerto Vallarta would be.

A Fun Filled Flight

On the way home and across a couple of wooden bridges we stopped in a bar where ordering a pink drink would definitely not be the thing to do. But more on that another time. Now I am off to make deviled eggs for a poolside party we are having tonight.

A Romantic Evening

As has been usual of late, I am running a bit behind on my posts. Yesterday was a classic and, like the 60's, only partially remembered. Good tequila though so relatively clear-headed this morning. Much to the Mysterious Chinese Woman's chagrin, I might add. She seems to think I should suffer for what she perceives as my sins.

We all headed out to Cafe Bohemio for our Valentine's Day Dinner. This place always has good food and the owner, Sol Rose, is a stitch and a half. We wandered by about an hour before our reservations just to make sure we were all good-to-go and then headed next door for a pre-dinner libation. Although the sign indicates that it is a pizza place it is actually much more, a nice Italian restaurant that also serves good pizzas. The recently took out a couple of tables and threw in a sofa and a couple of chairs to create a nice outdoor space to enjoy a cocktail.

Ah, Romantico

And then back to Bohemio where the flamboyant Sol gave us his usual welcome.

Kisses, Everyone

I think he took a real shine to my friend Bill, but then we all do.

They had a Valentine's Day special cocktail that sounded good when it was described but tasted, to me, at least, like an overly-sweet Singapore Sling.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman Seemed To Like Her's

My friend Dennis, you can't take him anywhere, wasn't quite so enthusiastic.

You Call This A Drink?

The only reason we let him tag along with us is that we like his girlfriend, Katherine.

Her We Like

Bill and his wife Marcie won the cutest couple award.

And The Trophy Goes To

Bar Man and the Mysterious Chinese Woman came in second, but I think it was my fault. I am just not as cute as Bill

Second Place Goes To

Last Place Was A Given

Poor Katherine.

They had some Valentine's Day specials and I opted for the hanger steak. It was really good, flavorful and tender and served with a few shrimp to boot.

Decent Grunts

The Mysterious Chinese Woman opted for the whole red snapper. They were little, but you got two of them and she said they were quite good.

Succulent Snapper

It was verry apparent that she really did like them.

Good To The Bone

Katherine decided she would go into the souvenir business by making earrings out of the left overs.

Looks Great, Smells, Well...

Dessert was a refreshing ice cream and strawberry concoction that was a good end to the meal.

Dairy Queen Worthy

By the end of the evening it looked like Sol was already gearing up for Saint Patrick's Day.

I'm A Little Leprecaun, Yes I Am

I told Sol I was a bit disappointed that he didn't have little heart-shaped meatloafs on the menu and he said "What a great idea, maybe next year."

For those of you who may never make it to Puerto Vallarta or Cafe Bohemio, you can have the virtual experience of having Sol, complete with songs, show you how to make his signature dish by clicking his picture below.

Don't laugh so hard you cut yourself.