Saturday, February 28, 2009

All Is Well In Paradise

"It Is Fine With Me" Pat desperately wants to leave a comment on my blog explaining her side of my last post. You need a Google account to do it though, and she doesn't have one. She has been trying to set one up but because we are in Mexico, when you go to the Google site the instructions are in Spanish. So far this has thwarted her.

Ah, but time heals all wounds. As you can see, we are all friends once again.

Huggy Huggy

My friends Rico and Sandy are showing up today and the whole gang will be here to greet them. My job is to make the frozen margaritas so I need to get a move on. I will try to catch up on my postings when I get a chance but with all my friends showing up here to escape the Minnesota winter, things have been a bit hectic. Fun, but hectic.

Stay tuned though, I promise that I will get more posted pretty soon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Well, That Didn't Take Long

Bar Man gets blamed for everything, and after only three days in Puerto Vallarta my friend's Jerry and Jon's wives are mad at me. Can you imagine. But I am innocent, I tell you, innocent.

On more than one occasion Pat, Jerry's wife, has loudly proclaimed that if us "boys" wanted to go out drinking it was fine with her, we just shouldn't expect her to tag along. Is it my fault that I took her at her word?

The Girls:

"It's Fine With Me" Pat

"Where's Jonny" Ruthie

The Mysterious Chinese Woman

After a lovely morning in Mismaloya and Boca (pictures to appear in another posting) we stopped at Steve's Sports Bar to use the bathroom and have a beer. The girls decided that they didn't want to sit in Steve's and drink beer so they left to do whatever girls do.

Well, we boys finished our beer and figured that as long as the women had already left this would be a good time to visit La Ballena Azul aka The Blue Whale. And so we did.

Jerry And Jon At The Blue Whale

We had a beer and a tequila there but Jerry and Jon, having gotten a taste of La Gloria de Infierno, thought that La Bellena Azul was a bit too refined for their taste. I will have to bring them here again late one night, their opinion may change.

Anyway, we decided to head back to La Gloria de Infierno for, shall we say, a few more beers and tequilas. At some point Jerry decided he had had enough and decided went home. Jon and I decided we would stay a bit longer. Then, to our credit, we also went back to La Palapa to see if the girls were there. They weren't, and we didn't see Jerry who was probably "takng a nap."

I suggested to Jon that we go to the Kit Kat Klub for a nightcap, and that is just what we did.

One More For The Road

Well, for some reason or another "It's Fine With Me" Pat decided our behavior wasn't fine with her and now I am being blamed for leading her husband astray, Ruthie, who knows better, just want along to be polite. The Mysterious Chinese Woman was, as usual, mysterious.

Oh, and what did the girls do while we were misbehaving? They came back to my place and drank wine before going out for dinner and drinks. How they must have suffered.

So there you have it. Am I to blame? I think not.

Just Look At That Innocent Face

More on our adventures and misadventures later. Now I have to go and see if anyone is still talking to me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Friends, More Mischief

Some more of my friends arrived in Puerto Vallarta today, fleeing the Minnesota winter. I got the time of their arrival wrong, however. I thought they were going to be here at noon but they weren't scheduled to arrive until 2:00 P.M. They are staying at La Palapa so we all decided to wait for them in the bar. What a surprise.


And Waiting

It was an easy wait, though. I was drinking excellent mojitos and we got complimentary, and really good sweet potato and plantain chips with a nice corn salsa.

After about an hour though we did get a bit peckish so we decided to have lunch. La Palapa is one of the classier restaurants on the beach and their food is excellent. We started out with a cerviche that was wrapped in guacomole to look like a lobster tail, albeit a green lobster tail.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman, A Bit Perplexed

The Green Lobster Tail

We also had sandwiches and mine, a mahi mahi sandwich, was excellent. Chris liked his Club Sandwich, and I forgot what the Mysterious Chinese Woman had but she said it was good. If you want to go top-of-the-line on the beach, you could do worse than La Palapa.

Soon enough my friends arrived and hailed us from their balcony.

Friends Jon, Ruthie, Jerry, and Pat

In the strange coincidence category, my friends are staying in the same unit at La Palapa in which there was a murder just a few days before. Someone apparently entered the unit through the sliding glass doors on the patio and was surprised during a burglery. The male occupent was then stabbed to death by the intruder. The unit is on the second floor and the intruder apparently gained entrance from the restaurant roof. The perpetrator has been apprehended and my friends didn't seem at all bothered. Kind of a "Things happen and what can you do about it" attitude.

They weren't particularly hungry and, of course I had just eaten, so we headed to Langostino's for a few buckets of beer.

Settling In, Puerto Vallarta Style

After unwinding a bit we decided to go for a little walk. For some reason we ended up crossing that little wooden bridge over the river.

And Across We Go

And Along Came Pat

Well, once you cross that bridge you are only a couple of blocks away from my favorite bar, La Gloria de Infierno. I would have been totally remiss if I hadn't brought them in.

The Boys Quickly Settled In

The Girls Did Too

Pat Really Settled In

She kept wanting to send a round of drinks to the boys at the bar, but I was able to dissuade her. Ruthie said she had a professional image to uphold and somehow managed to avoid being photographed. There might be one of her in someone else's camera though, and if I can get hold of it I shall post it.

From there we headed to my place for a beer and some popcorn.

Back To My Place

We ran into Dennis and Katherine on the way up and invited them in to join the fun.

The More The Merrier

Then we headed down to the pool deck for sunset and ran into a little party which we crashed. Well, not really. I knew about it in advance but it had kind of slipped my mind.

The Fun Never Stops

There was plenty of great food, so we all dug in.

Digging In

Most of it was provided by Marcie. She is an excellent cook and although her specialties are chocolate desserts, her chicken breasts and roasted broccoli were great. I am not a big chicken breast fan, preferring the legs and thighs, but these were really good. Nice and juicy and really flavorful.

Chef Marcie, On The Right

I am sad to say that I do not remember the name of the guy, but the other woman in the picture is Nina.

After the party we all headed over to my friends place for some more drinks and catching up. It was too dark and we were too busy chatting to take anymore pictures except for this one of the Pirate Ship returning to port.

Ahoy, Matey

My friends arrived two days ago so I have some catching up to do with yesterday's events. Today we are taking the bus to Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan so that will be fun. This is Jerry and Pat's first visit to Puerto Vallart so everything is new to them. That always makes things more fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Charro Championship Part Two

Not a whole lot more to post about the Charro Championship. They did have some dynamite food stands though. The tacos we had were delicious and at less than a dollar each a real steal. They didn't use pre-ground meat either. They grilled the flank steaks and then chopped the meat up right on the spot.

Grilling The Meat

The Mysterious Chinese Woman seemed very pleased with her's.

Happy Happy

Bar Man And Marcie Chowing Down

There were all kinds of stuff for sale as well, mostly charro related, as you might imagine.

Sombrero, Anyone?

Or Perhaps A Saddle

Well, that is about it, except for the gratuitous shot of a glamorous blond.

The Glamorous Blond

That is, of course, my friend Katherine. She also took a lot of pictures and I was hoping to include some of them but she uploaded them somewhere and hasn't been able to get them to me for some reason. Oh well, you have probably seen enough pictures of the rodeo already.

My friends Jerry, Pat, Jon, and Ruthie showed up yesterday afternoon and I got to show them around a bit. As you know, that is one of my favorite things. Having people visit me either here in Puerto Vallarta or at home in Brooklyn and then being able to show them some of my favorite places. Either tomorrow or later today I should be able to start posting about our adventures.

There is a new online directory for Puerto Vallarta and they selected my blog as one of their featured links. I am so proud. Can Travel + Leisure be far behind.

Just click their logo to visit their site:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And Finally, The Rodeo

After a long taxi ride we arrived at the old bull ring where the 7th Annual National Charro Championship was being held. This is a five day event with 35 teams from throughout Mexico competing in a variety of categories. And it is five long days, events starting at 11:00 A.M. and lasting until around 10:00 P.M. A lot of bang for your 80 pesos or about five and a half bucks, American.

The Ticket Booth

This isn't exactly like a professional rodeo in the United States or Canada. Most of these guys are regular cowboys who probably only compete in this one event. The top prize in each of the seven categories is, I believe, a saddle. Not the kind of prize money you usually see.

The do have some events that we are used to such as bucking broncos and bull riding, but the horses are smaller and don't buck as much. Same with the bulls.

My trivia for the day. Did you know that one of the most famous bucking bulls ever was Little Yellow Jacket and that Bernie Taupin was a part owner? Little Yellow Jacket retired in 2005. During his career he allowed just 12 of 86 riders to stay on the full eight seconds and was bull of the year in the Professional Bull Riding circuit three years in a row. In a PBR promotion a one million dollar prize was offered if the selected rider could stay on him for the full eight seconds. Chris Shivers lasted 1.8 seconds.

But enough of that, back to the Charro Championships. Sadly I didn't get a lot of action shots. My little point and click is good for bars, but not so great for the long-distance action shots. However, if you are interested in some good pictures I would encourage you to visit this website, just click on the picture:

I did get a few shots though, so you will have to suffer through them.

Some Of The Charros

The Bull Tail Pulling Competition

That tail pulling is quite a tricky manuever. The charro races behind the bull, grabs the tail and as he pulls it he takes one foot out of the stirrup and pushes on the bulls back leg to bring him down.

This is the one where you bring your horse to a full gallup and then when you hit a mark reign him in to see how quickly you can get him to stop.

Acceleration And Braking

This is a real crowd pleaser, the how long can you keep your horse inside the circle competition. It can go on for hours.

The Mounts Tension Mounts

Just kidding, this is part of a roping event and this guy is a spotter or something. I never could figure out exactly how this all works and how you deterimine the winner.

And, of course, there was the live music.

So This Is Where "Doc" Severinsen Ended Up

I decided to test out my cast iron stomach early on. The beer wasn't cold yet so the guy gave me some chunks of ice that he chipped off the blocks that were cooling it down. I survived though.

Beer On The Rocks

There were several of us who went, including my friend "Two Caps" Dennis.

"Two Caps" Dennis

Now why, you might ask, does Dennis have two caps. Well..., it starts with a pretty girl or two.

Two Pretty Girls

My friend Chris was a bit upset with them for blocking his view.

Then add some tequila.

Two Pretty Girls And Tequila

Well, two pretty girls selling tequila and a free cap thrown in with every bottle.

And Then It Starts

I told the Mysterious Chinese Woman that she could have the cap and the tequila if I could have the girl, and she said okay.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman With Her Spoils

But I Did Get The Girl

Actually, this woman was selling some might fine jerky that came with a little package of hotsauce. It was a delicious snack.

Don't Jerk With Me

The jerky was so good that we went looking for more but she was sold out. I will have to see if I can find some in a store somewhere.

I will post more on the Charro Championships a bit later. Now I am off to the beach and then, around noon, a few of my friends from Minnesota are showing up and I need to be on hand to greet them. Who knows what mischief we will be getting into, but I expect we will have fun.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tacos And Tinsel Town

I still have stuff to post about the rodeo, and who knows what else. Falling a bit behind but I will try to catch up. Just too much going on around here.

Last night my friend Marcie invited the whole gang down to her place for a taco party. She had all the ingredients set up and then demonstrated the proper way to wrap them in the soft taco shell. Kind of like rolling a large joint.

All The Fixings

The rolling technique was not grasped by everyone. The biggest mistake was not folding over the ends. This, of course, results in half the ingredients falling out the end you are not eating. No big deal, that is what forks and plates are for.

Our Hostess, Marcie

Marie With The Pre-Roll

Peter With A Commendable Roll

Dennis Didn't Roll At All

Katherine Fixing To Roll

Chris On A Roll

Bar Man In His Role

After tacos and some mighty fine chocolate chip cookies we headed down the the pool deck to catch the sunset before heading to my place for an Academy Awards party. Our attention was diverted from the sunset, though, by a drug bust that was taking place on the street below.

Just Like Home

Sad to say, this wasn't an isolated incident. There have been a number of "police actions" in the past several days. Most have to do with drugs, using and selling, loud music, and lewd behavior including prostitution. The focal point of the activity seems to be the Blue Chairs just down the beach from us.

Ah well, what can you do. Trouble in Paradise as Randy Newman would say. And from the album of that name, the theme of my little gathering:

There's a party at my house tonight
Everybody's wound up nice and tight
They'll be rockin' and rollin' till the mornin' light
There's a party at my house tonight

Well, maybe once upon a time that would have been the theme. At our age we are lucky if we can stay awake to see who won Best Actress, let alone Best Movie. Well, really, after the awards for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing and trying to figure out what the hell the difference between the two might be, what is left.

Getting Ready For The Big Night

Popcorn And M&Ms Just Seemed Right

Van Halen didn't show up so we left in the brown ones.

And Then On With The Show

We were all just glued to the set.

When it was all over and "Slumdog Millionaire" walked off with the Oscar for everything from Best Picture to the aforementioned Sound Mixing there was a general consensus that out-sourcing has finally taken over the film industry. I fully expect Lou Dobbs to be ranting that we should all "Watch American" on his next program.

Everyone had a good time and behaved well, except for Dennis who found where I had hidden my tequila.

Poor Katherine

Next time, the rodeo, I promise. I know you can hardly wait.

Oh, by the way, that Van Halen and brown M&Ms thing. Van Halen's standard performance contract did, indeed, have a clause that specified that all of the brown M&Ms had to be removed from the bowl of them they had placed in their dressing room. If they were not removed they had the right to cancel the performance and still receive full compensation. However, it was not, as is often reported, just an egotistical whim.

When most groups had three or four trucks of equipment, Van Halen's shows typically had 18 and very elaborate specifications for setting up the sound stage. Embedded in the specifications was the request for the removal of the brown M&Ms. If they found brown M&Ms they knew the specifications had not been thoroughly read and the sound stage was probably not set up properly.

See, now aren't you glad you read this post all the way to the end?