Saturday, February 06, 2010

Birthdays And Un-Birthdays

I apologize for the somewhat untimeliness if this post, but my internet connection sucks. I did find a spot down in the entryway to the pool area where I can pick up a good signal and stay out of the bright sun so I should be able to post a bit more frequently.

Last Sunday, the day after we arrived here in beautiful, usually warm and sunny Puerto Vallarta, I was going to take the Mysterious Chinese Woman to La Palapa for what I thought was her official birthday. La Palapa is probably the best beachside restaurant in this town. Also the priciest, but that stands to reason. We were at the poolside deck, or whatever, discussing our plans with friends of ours and before you know it we had a whole group joining us for the festivities.

Just Look For The Boat

There were nine of us altogether so we had to wait a bit for the restaurant to clear enough tables and push them together for us. It was chilly and drizzling so that precluded eating outside, which is often a pleasant alternative.

Pre-Dinner Cocktails

The first picture was with Bill, Marcie doing the snapping, and the second is with Marcie, Bill doing the snapping. Kind of like one of those can you find the 10 differences between the two pictures puzzles.

We had just about enough time for a cocktail and then we were all seated at a table with a view of the beach and bay beyond.

The Whole Crowd

And, of course, the Mysterious Chinese Woman got her un-birthday cake.

Isn't This Special

She is so cute when she is happy.

They did do a nice job on the cake. I think it was Marcie who arranged it, still under the impression that it really was a birthday party.

Nice Cake

The next day was also overcast and rainy. Man what a stretch of weather. I awoke to see what looked like a ghost-liner pulling into port.

Arriving In Sunny Puerto Vallarta

After moping about the house most of the day we did go out to celebrate the Mysterious Chinese Woman's real official birthday. This time there were only six of us and we went to new place. And I do mean new. It wasn't here last year.

Amapa Sunset

You can get to this place from either the street level one flight of stairs up from the beach or from the beach itself. The street level entrance used to have this statue of a shark and no stairs down to the beach.

The Shark

The Beach Entrance

The exterior shots of both La Palapa and Amapa Sunset were not taken the nights we went. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had to wait a couple of days before the weather cleared up to take some pictures in the sun.

The Happy Birthday Crew

I was very pleased with my dinner choice, grilled octopus. Maybe not the best I have ever had, but pretty damned good.

Crunchy Outside, Soft And Chewy Center

Even my friend Bill found something on the menu he liked.

We Could Have Gone To McDonald's

Everyone had a good time, as usual, and we all, except maybe Bill, thought we would come here again. But then Bill ran into trouble trying to bring four pounds of butter down here in his carry-on luggage because he doesn't like Mexican butter.

Note to self, butter is no longer permitted in carry-on luggage.

This afternoon a bunch of us are heading out of town a bit and going to a chili and pasta contest of some sort. I will be sure to post about that tomorrow, now that I have found a spot where I can get a fairly reliable internet connection.

Interestingly, or not, one of my Mexican friends here never heard of chili until she went to Wisconsin with with her husband who has a house/cabin there. She likes chili though, now that she has had a chance to try it.

Had to turn off CNN this morning because I simply could not take seeing Obama give another speech. Someone really should tell him that over-exposure in the media isn't helping his cause at all. At least in my opinion. And this seems to be an opinion shared by many of the people I talk to as well.

Okay, that wasn't meant to be a political comment. Just a comment about wearing out your welcome, I guess. Or something like that.

And rather than wear out mine I shall bid you a fond adios and will post about today's field trip tomorrow.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Still Gloomy

But, as a few people have commented, I should not complain. It is worse back home in Brooklyn. At least it isn't raining, yet. Just really overcast. Last night we lost power for a bit and this morning we don't have any cable or satellite or whatever television service we usually have. Forced to spend the morning watching Spanish lanquage cartoons.

Here are a couple of pictures from Wednesday to give you an idea of what it was like. They don't really do the rain justice, though.

The View From My Balcony

A Little Waterfall Across The Street

A Brief Interlude

The Joys Of Eating At Home

Hey, it wasn't all that bad, but I sure hope it doesn't rain all day again today. I want to get out and take a couple of exterior shots of where we celebrated the Mysterious Chinese Woman's non-birthday and birthday so I can post those pictures.

Here Is A Teaser

You know you are getting old when you remember when a 100 point move in the Dow was an unusual occurence.

Grrr, it just started raining again. It looks like it might clear up though, but I can't really see what might be lying behind the mountains and moving this way.

Trivia time, Do you know the first solo Beatle to have seven consecutive Top Ten singles? Drum roll please. It was Ringo Starr. I know this because he is playing Radio City in New York in July and there was a nice article about him in the New York Daily News.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Very Brief Update

The weather cleared up today and this evening I saw my first sunset since I got here. My internet connection ranges from horrible to none. No modem available for a DSL connection this year and because I am in the back of the building the wireless is almost useless. As a result I haven't been able to upload any pictures. Tomorrow I will hit an internet cafe so I can upload the pictures that I have and post something of a bit more interest.

Nobody has ever seen anything like the weather we have had the last two days, not this time of year. Constant rain, thunder and lightning, and very high winds. We lost about a dozen umbrellas from the pool deck area and the beach.

Today it was a bit overcast and we did get a shower, also unusual for this time of year, but not unheard of. It cleared up in the afternoon but is quite cool again this evening. Supposedly things will return to normal by tomorrow.

I feel sorry for the people who are just here for a week.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gloomy, Gloomy, Gloomy

I will post pictures tomorrow. Too rainy and gloomy to do anything but drink today. I have been coming to Puerto Vallarta for over twenty years and have never seen weather like this before. Just a steady overcast, rainy day and chilly. Rained all night, although we did make it to dinner and back last night before it started. The rain never let up all day. Supposed to be like this tomorrow too. Had a slight break and I made it to the nearby bodega or whatever they call it in Mexico and got some wine, great tacos and a cheese and chorizo fondue thing to bring back home.

I am now on my second Prey novel by Sandford and listening to Jimmy Buffet to keep my spirits up.

Am I the only one who thinks President Obama should be spending more time in Washington trying to fix our problems than in places like New Hampshire at town hall meetings trying to explain what he is trying to do? I don't mean to be political, but his advisors should tell him to spend less time in front of the cameras trying to impress us with his eloquence and more time behind his desk trying to get things done.

Eloquence: the practice or art of using language with fluency and aptness.

I love this whole "Don't ask, don't tell" policy debate. When I was in the Army the top of the chain of command was the President of The United States. I also learned that you didn't disobey a direct order from a superior unless you wanted to face a court martial. Maybe I am missing something here, but can't President Obama just issue an order that you can't discriminate against homosexuals in the military, if that is what he really wants? If it isn't what he wants, stop beating around the bush and say so.

Politics: The art of avoiding responsibility while trying to convince people you are in charge and simultaneously trying to stay in office.

I am begining to see the advantages of a benign dictatorship.

Actually, I thought you had to be gay to join the Navy. Probably because I watched South Pacific when I was young. Except for the Seabees, John Wayne was in the Seabees, at least in that one movie. But come to think of it, John Wayne's real name was Marion Morrison. And Wayne's conquests allegedly included Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea and Montgomery Clift, with whom he allegedly had a torrid affair during the making of Red River in 1948.

I am just cranky because it is cold and rainy when it is supposed to be sunny and warm.

Still, a million things that need fixing and President Obama thinks his time is best spent in New Hampshire at a town hall meeting. Got to wonder.

I promise, I will be more upbeat tomorrow, regardless of the weather.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Confusing Day

Ah, morning in Puerto Vallarta. And here is a picture of my little paradise by the sea. It was Playa de Sol when I bought, then became Blue Seas when the owner tried to reposition it as a gay and lesbian (aren't lesbians gay) resort, and is soon to become something like One Beach Street Vallarta now that we have a new owner. Life here is a bit like a soap opera.

Currently Blue Seas

Across the street they must have had a party or something, but it looks like I missed it.

The Sad Remnants

We went to bed so early on the day we arrived that we were up well before dawn. Once dawn broke we decided to head out for a bit of breakfast and saw the early morning deliveries being made.

Truck, I Don't Need No Truck

Both yesterday and today I noticed an unusually large number of pelicans close to shore and even walking along the beach. I figured there must be a lot of fish in close because they were feeding like mad. Then this morning on the way to breakfast we passed all of these guys with their fishing lines.

Competing With The Pelicans

We hit Langostino's for breakfast so we could eat and look out at Banderas Bay.

Not Bad For About Five Bucks

Although my time down here starts on January 30th when I use my friend Bruce's time as well as my own, last year we came down on January 31st to take a non-stop flight out of Newark. Continental, for some reason, only runs the non-stops on Saturdays and, maybe Sundays. The Mysterious Chinese Woman celebrates her "official" birthday on February 1st so last year the day after we arrived we went out to dinner to celebrate.

This year, not really thinking about it, I just assumed that the day after we arrived it would be her birthday. I gave her a good morning kiss and wished her a happy birthday and she did nothing to dispell my opinion. Later we met friends by the pool for cocktails and I told them it was the Mysterious Chinese Woman's birthday and I was going to take her to La Palapa for dinner. Before it was all over there were nine of us celebrating her birthday and she even got a nice little birthday dessert at the restaurant.

Of course it really wasn't her birthday at all. Today is her "official" birthday. The Mysterious Chinese Woman claims she didn't realize the mistake either, but I have my suspicions.

For some reason I didn't bring my camera but my friend Marcie did. I will try to borrow her camera today and upload the pictures of the non-birthday party (I kind of feel like the Mad Hatter) to post later.

By the way, the Mysterious Chinese Woman has her "official" birthday and then her real birthday which is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, and only my Mysterious Chinese Mother-In-Law can it figure out. I try to keep the number of birthday celebrations down to just two a year, but obviously failed this time around. The Mysterious Chinese Woman claims that last night was just a Birthday Eve celebration.

This is usually the dry season down here but we had a sprinkle in the afternoon yesterday, more sprinkles in the evening, and a real storm after we were all safely home from dinner. This morning it was still raining when I woke up but has stopped now. Looking toward the mountains it was still really overcast and gray.

A Gray Beginning

Looking out over the bay, though, you could see it was starting to clear and the storm appeared to be moving east fairly rapidly.

Things Are Looking Brighter

I think I will go down and hit the gym now. I vowed not to just let myself go during the eight weeks that I am here and try to at least attempt to counter some of the effects of the tequila and beer that I consume. I will say, however, that you do walk a lot while you are here and once you get off the beach a few blocks it is a lot of up and down, so that helps. Then I will scout out a suitable location to take the Mysterious Chinese Woman for her real "official" birthday. I doubt if everyone who went last night will be tagging along, though.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Puerto Vallarta - I Have Returned

Yesterday I was reminded of the scene in Cat Ballou where Kid Shelleen passes out after drinking and shooting a pint bottle of whisky and Jackson Two-Bears says something like "Shortest day I have ever seen." I always like to give you a bit of trivia, my favorite in this movie was seeing Dobbie Gillis again.

Anyway, the day wasn't really all that short, just the part of it I spent here in Puerto Vallarta. Got up at 2:00 AM, got picked up by my car service at 4:45 AM, was sitting at the gate waiting for my 8:30 AM flight by 6:15 and after a six hour flight I was in sunny Puerto Vallarta. An hour later, after clearing immigration and customs, running the time-share guantlet and a taxi ride, I was back on lovely Los Muertos beach.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I quickly changed into more appropriate clothes, shorts and tee-shirts, and hit Cuate y' Cuate on the beach for a couple of beers. Then we stopped at a new place back a few blocks, O'Rourke's, for another beer. Picked up some supplies (rum, Coke, and beer for me) and headed back to our place for a quick nap before dinner.

Hah, our quick nap lasted until 3:00 AM this morning, a bit too late for dinner even here in the Romantic District. Dozed until about 6:00 AM, checked to see if I could get a wireless connection (I can, but only outside on my little balcony) and felt compelled to keep you informed of what was going on.

Last year I had a regular internet connection inside my apartment, but somehow this year there were no available modems. Also, I have been hearing that the wireless connection is a bit unreliable. It seems to be working fine this morning, though, so no big deal. I do most of my work in the early mornings and evenings anyway. During the day it is a bit too bright to work out here.

This morning I will go for a walk along the malecon to check out the lay of the land and see what has changed. I have already noticed one new place, the aforementioned O'Rourkes, and seen a few shuttered store fronts. I had planned on going to Sweeny's for my first beer here, but it doesn't open until 4:00 PM this year. Still stays open until everyone stops drinking and you can get food until 4:00 AM. I ran into Sweeny on my way to Cuate y' Cuate and asked him about the late closing. He said tourism is really down this year, about a third less than normal, and it just didn't pay for him to open earlier in the day.

Well, Puerto Vallarta still looks crowded to me. I don't like it when everything is packed, but I sure don't like to see the places I like hurting for business or, even worse, closing down.

Okay, off to explore the town a bit. Kind of an overcast day with hints of blue sky peeking through and already nice and warm. The surf is pounding in the background and life is good.