Saturday, March 21, 2009

Internet Problems

I shall post more tomorrow. Having a bit of an internet connection problem down here in old Mexico. A technician arrived today to try to figure it out and knew less than I did. I have done everything you would normally do and moved my PC to a friend's place where it works fine. Switched the modem from my place to his and it works fine. The technician insists it is either a problem with the modem, even after I showed him the modem works in a different unit, or is with my PC, even though I explained to him that the reason I could show him the modem worked was because I was using my PC.

Obviously the problem is something other than the modem or my PC. Today is Saturday so, maybe, on Monday they will get someone to actually figure out what is really wrong and fix it.

Tomorrow I will get down to my friend's place again, where I am now, and post something meaningful. Today I am just complaining.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sunset Deck Party

Last night we had another of our little parties out on the deck. I, once again, made my deviled eggs. I never make them the same way twice and this time I used some kind of a thick curry paste, in addition to mustard, creamy horseradish, and mayonaise with a few healthy dashes of a chipotle sauce. They turned out mighty fine, in my opinion. And they all went, so others must have liked them as well.

Bar Man And His Eggs

Everyone brought something, from rice pudding with lingonberry sauce to fried chicken wings. It was a very nice spread, indeed.

Plenty To Go Around

The table only looked pretty for a short time, though, because soon everyone descended on it like vultures on a dead zebra.

Vultures On A Dead Zebra

And Us

Most of the party-goers were dressed in their typical touristy gear. But Ira, who now lives down here full time, seems to have gone native.

Cowboy Ira

We ended the evening with a dessert of jello-shots. Just the thing.

Salud And Slurp

Another fun evening here in lovely Puerto Vallarta. Just a little over a week left before I return home and it seems like I just got here. Still a few fun things planned though, and I really do need to catch up on posting about some of the things I have already done.

Tomorrow morning I go out to a lawyer's office or a bank, not sure which, and finally, after nine years, finalize the trust on this place. In Mexico you can't, if you aren't a Mexican citizen, own land within twenty miles of the ocean or a border. Instead you get a 50 year bank trust that you can renew. If it happens, great. If not, who cares. This time, though, I think it might be for real, they want their money for the closing costs. I will let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Paddy's Day In Paradise

Ah, another St. Patrick's day here in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. And what better way to start the day off than with a bunch of friends and batch of green margaritas.

The Early Arrivals, Katherine And Dennis

Quickly Followed By Paul And Sharon

An Early Morning Toast

The Host And Hostess

We didn't linger around my place too long though. Sweeny's was having their traditional corned-beef and cabbage lunch and we didn't want to miss out.

Head On Up

What We Were After

We might have gotten their a wee bit early. They were still in the process of decorating the place.

No Expense Was Spared

Of course I had to buy another one of Sweeny's annual St. Patrick's Day tee-shirts. I think I have four of them now and, of course, the get worn just once. The Mysterious Chinese Woman says I should throw the older ones away, but that will never happen. Hey, I still have my original Bar Trek shirt. Old tee-shirts are the male equivalent of a scrapbook.

Tee Shirts Still Available

I quickly changed into mine and then was roped into helping with the decorating.

The Long-Winded Bar Man

The cook got into the swing of things as well with his leprechaun hat.

Looking Good

The waitress had some green stars on her cheek but this fellow, who didn't seem to even know what St. Patrick's day was, wanted stars in the color of the Mexican Flag on his cheek.

Viva La Mexico

We went with Paul and Sharon, Dennis and Katherine were to meet us later.

Paul And Sharon

But the real hit of the party was, of course, the food.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman About To Tuck In

Bar Man Tucking In

Katherine and Dennis didn't show up until we were done with our meals and about to leave. You won't believe what delayed them. Dennis had to get a manicure and a pedicure. If that wasn't bad enough, he actually had them apply nail polish to both his fingernails and his toenails. Just a light coat, he explained, as though that made any difference.

Dennis, Dumping One Down With Katherine

After taking a bit of a break the crowd re-formed at my place later on for pizza, green beer, wine, and mudslides.

I Couldn't Resist Dennis's Hands

Ah, the pizzas. We ordered them from La Pizza Nostra and they showed up right on time, delivered to our door.

Dennis And Katherine ordered the 4 Quesos, a combination of roquefort, mozzarella, chedder, and parmesan cheeses and then added black olives and pepperoni.

The Dennis And Katherine Special

Allison and Steve ordered a combination of their own that included pepperoni, ham, pineapple, onions, black olives, and mushrooms.

Allison And Steve's Combination

Bar Man and the Mysterious Chinese Woman were uninspired and just ordered the Mexicana off the menu. This was a combination of Mexican sausage (chorizo), onion, and hot peppers.

The Very Spicy Mexicana

We didn't spend too much time admiring the pizzas though, chowing down was the order of the day.

Steve And Allison And Their Throw-Everything-On-It Special

Dennis About To Dig In

Dennis And Katherine Enjoying A Spot Of Wine

The Mysterious Chinese Woman Ready For A Bite

Paul and Sharon stopped by later for coffee and mudslides and we all sat around and talked about everything under the sun until about midnight. And for us old farts, that is kind of late. Then it was time for everyone to head off into the sunset. But not before one parting shot of those of us who had our, you can only buy the here, folks, get them while they last, 2009 Sweeny's St. Patrick's Day tee-shirts.

Don't You Wish You Had One?

Today will be kind of a low-key recovery day, but there is a deck party this evening. That means I will be making my always-in-demand deviled eggs. I am going to add a bit of baking soda to the water when I boil them this time. That, supposedly, makes them easier to peel. I will let you know how it works out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back To Boca

A few of us headed out to spend a quiet afternoon out at Boca De Tomtalan, still a relatively small town at the mouth of the river by the same name. To get there you pick up the bus at the corner by Steve's Sports Bar, pay your 6 pesos, and hope you get a seat.

Always A Crowded Bus

The Mysterious Chinese Woman managed to worm her way into one, while Bar Man stood in the back amongst a group of young surfers who had their boards and buckets of beer.

So Smug

Once we got off the bus we headed down the hill, one-hundred-eleven steps, according to Dennis, to the little town itself.

Down, Down, Down We Go

At the bottom of the hill is a little bodega where you can pick up any last minute supplies that you may have forgotten.

If We Don't Have It, You Don't Get It

There are actually a few more stores and restaurants in town, but it still retains it's old Mexico look and feel.

The Main Drag

But our objective was to just pretty much veg out on the beach, have a few beers, and maybe a bite to eat.

Ah, This Is The Life

We usually stop at the same little outdoor restaurant so by now the proprietor knows us and he went out of his way to accomodate us. Moving tables together, adjusting umbrellas, just generally tending to our needs.

Cerveza, Por Favor

And A Bit Of A Nosh

You still have a few beach vendors coming by, but nothing like back in Puerto Vallarta. Usually I am pretty good at shooing them away, but how could you chase this one off?

So Cute

She actually had something I could use, too. A brightly colored little bag that was just the right size for my camera. I couldn't even bring myself to haggle her down from her asking price of 60 pesos. I was afraid she might cry.

Somewhat out of place was this yacht that was anchored just off-shore.

We Have Been Discovered

Apparently, Monday was some kind of a Mexican holiday, but I really couldn't figure out which one. As a result there were a lot of Mexican families and groups of friends gathered on the beach and adding a festive note to our visit.

Free Entertainment

A Family Get-Together

The Children At Play

My friend Dennis found some new friends too.

Going To The Dogs

At the restaurant down the beach these fishies on stickies were slowly cooking away and were looking pretty good.

Fish On A Stick

For the locals who live in the small towns south of Boca the water taxis are the only real way to get here. And they are the primary means of moving supplies as well. You will sometimes see a boat loaded with cement blocks or bags of cement heading on out to some construction site. During the school week these also serve as the school bus and you will see the kids, all in their uniforms, piling onto the boats to be taken back home.

A Booming Taxi Business

Over the years that I have been coming here, the boats seem to be the same, but the motors used to be 15 and 25 horsepower Johnson's and the like. Now they all seem to be 75 horsepower and up Yamaha's. The taxi business must be lucrative. But, bigger motors, more trips, so they probably pay for themselves.

You can take a water taxi all the way back to Puerto Vallarta if you would like. And if you linger too long and the buses have stopped running, you may have to.

The Last Water Taxi

Let me simply say, if this happens to you, you won't have much leverage when it comes to haggling on a price. Trust me, I know from first-hand experience.

We didn't linger that long and after a relaxing afternoon on the beach we did catch the bus and made it back to Puerto Vallarta just before sunset. From Boca you can't really see the sun set on the water, it just slips behind the mountains so you get an early nightfall. I think this is where Dracula might vacation.


I went out this morning to buy some supplies to make green frozen margritas for St. Patricks day. Always a good breakfast drink. Anyway, I asked the lady at the store what holiday it was yesterday and she told me it was Benito Juarez's birthday. He served five terms as president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872. My confusion was due to the article in the PVMirror, an always questionable source of information, that gave the day of the national holiday as March 21st. That is his actual birthday, but what is the point of having a national holiday on a Saturday.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Beachside Brunch

We decided to have a little brunch on the beach yesterday and Bar Man wanted to try a dingy little hole-in-the-wall just a bit north of where we stay.


I have passed this place hundred's of times but never stopped in. It really is an easy place to pass by because it, literally, looks like it is falling down.

Duct Tape And A Prayer

The Bar

The Kitchen Area

The setting is also somewhat suspect. Although it is on the beach, those mats that you see are all that separates it from this lovely little waterway.

Who Knows What Evil Lurks Beneath The Surface

This is just part of the "drainage system" that they have here in Puerto Vallarta. There is a little bridge over it so you can walk along the beach without wading through it. That was what I was standing on when I took the picture. The flow seems to stop right under the bridge so, at least lately, it doesn't actually get into the ocean. I am sure that is not the case during the rainy season though.

There have been an unusually large number of mosquitoes here this year. They are nice big ones too. I haven't been bitten, but the Mysterious Chinese Woman has gotten a few bites. The other night she was complaining about hearing one buzzing around her head when she was trying to sleep. My friend Paul mentioned the same thing. And no, they weren't sleeping together.

I suspect the stagnate water in these drainage ditches provides an ideal breeding ground for the little buggers.

Although the service at Fidencio's was on the slow, near glacial, side, once I got my first beer I didn't mind. Always fun to just sit and people watch. There were mostly Mexicans here today and a few families had little kids that seemed to have great fun playing in the sand.

I ordered a shrimp and octopus coctail and it was, quite probably, the best one I have ever had.

Simply Deveined, Er, Divine

It was served warm, kind of like a soup. The shrimp were as big as my thumb, not those little ones that you usually get, and there were at least eight. The chunks of octopus were large and tender, perfectly cooked. The sauce was tomato based, nice and spicy, with onions, cilantro, and who knows what else. And for 90 pesos, or just a bit over $6 U.S. it was a real steal.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered a fish taco and a shrimp taco. Surprisingly, both the fish and the shrimp were deep-fried. A bit unusual, but they were both excellent.

The Deep-Fried Tacos

You could tell the fish was fresh and the shrimp were nice and tender. No funky old oil taste either. It is obvious that they only prepare something after you order it, so waiting a bit for your food is no big dea.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman Was Pleased

The two beers and the tacos were about $1 U.S. each and the Mysterious Chinese Woman had a glass of orange juice. The whole meal for the two of us, with the beers and including a generous tip, cost about $15 U.S. Now how can you beat a deal like that. And to be able to enjoy a dynamite ocean view to boot.

Today a few of us are heading out to Boca for a day at the beach and maybe dinner as well. This time I promise I will post about the trip. I still have pictures from our last couple of excursions out there that I need to post as well.

Tomorrow, of course, is St. Patrick's Day so I am sure that will be eventful. Almost too much fun, if such a thing is possible.