Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Mystery Story Begins

Ah, being here in Puerto Vallarta I have so much time on my hands that I have begun to read mystery stories. So many I have decided to write one of my own. Please feel free to add your comments so that I can incorporate them.

Chapter One - The Start

I kneeled on the rubber mat that I brought from WallMart. It was only $3.95 and intended to be used in a bathtub. But is served my purpose well. The little suction cups clinging to the mud of the swamp where I waited for my prey.

I lined my titanium sights that I had coated with mud to prevent any glare and triangulated off Venus, low on the horizon, and Mars, hovering over the full moon. Adjusting for the wind, about ten miles an hour out of the east, estimated by the size of the waves in the bay, and adjusting for the tide, full at this time, I alingned the sights of my 357 magnum loaded with a bullet of my own design, a spent 45 casing with a double fill and capped with a soft copper scored head that would fragment on impact, on the white face that was framed in the window. A window frame hand-crafted by an artesian slave who lived here in Charleston two centruries ago. His mother was Alice and she had been ravaged on more than one occasion by her cruel master.

Oh, and for breakfast I had an omelette made with two egg-whites, some ham I cut off of the hind quarter of the one hog I still have left. The others having left, for some reason. I curdled the whites in an unfiltered olive oil I brought back from Spain and then gently folded in the ham and a bit cheese I made myself.

When I sensed the wind and the tide were just right I squeezed the trigger, hand fitted to my own finger by a craftsman who is also now dead, and a draw down to less than one half a gram of pressure. I sucked in my wind, held my breath, squeezed, and said Click.

Now was not the time. There would be another. I would be back.

After-Party Prequel

As I mentioned last time, after the poolside party we had the obligatory after-party where the real damage is done. But, the stage was set for some of our handiwork the night before.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman, Katherine, Dennis, and Bar Man went out for dinner at La Pizza Nostra, a nice Italian restaurant sandwiched between, go figure, another Italian restaurant and, another Italian restaurant. The little Italy of Puerto Vallarta, I guess. There is even a place where you can buy Italian ices and gelato.

La Pizza Nostra

It looks like they were trying to copy La Palapa's boat sign inside.

La Palapa Pizza Nostra

The whole gang settled in and our waiter, Gypsy, kindly took a picture of us. He was telling us how much he drank the night before and how hung-over he was. I guess this picture is evidence of that.

Or, Maybe, It Was Us

We hadn't been here too long before our friend Allison showed up to get a pizza to go.

Let The Party Begin

Allison pretty much made sure the party started by treating us all to a coffee drink made to her specifications. I can kind of remember Kahlua, Amaretto, and Rum, but I am sure there was something else as well. Even a bit of coffee.

Made To Spec And Delivered To Your Table

Ah, but it was good and we all enjoyed our after-dinner libation.

Mysterious Chinese Woman And Allison

Katherine And Dennis

And, of course, Bar Man and Dennis acting silly.

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes

Disentangled, At Last

But what, you may ask, did this have to do with the after-party prequel? Allison and Steve have this neat light pole outside of their patio. It looks like something you would see in New Orleans. However, it had but one of the four lightbulbs working and it was just a dingy 60 watt clear one.

As we were siting in the restaurant our eyes fixated on their lighting fixture.

Hmm, Are You Thinking What I Am Thinking

Dennis and Bar Man have minds that, pathologically, seem to work along the same lines.

Grated Cheeses Stink Alike; Er, I mean Great Minds...

We asked Gypsy where they got the red bulbs and he told us, Home Depot.

Our Co-Conspirator, Gypsy

For a lot of people the great ideas they get in bars stay there. Not so with this crew. Dennis went out and got the bulbs the next day and then, while everyone was at the party, we snuck off and installed them.

Not The Brightest Bulbs In The Bunch

I will say, Bar Man was mighty impressed with Dennis's agility. We couldn't find a ladder so we got a wooden stool from the ouside security area and balanced this on a plastic chair that we got off Allison and Steve's patio. Given that the ground underneath the light pole was uneven dirt and the stretch to the sockets was a long one, it was a miracle that heads went unbroken.

But The Results Were Worth It

Our work done, we headed back to the party. Nobody was the wiser, and we waited for our handiwork to be discovered.

Next post, the after-party.

Ah, a sad footnote. After not complaining about three burnt out bulbs and a dim one, the people upstairs from Steve and Allison's have now seen fit to complain about the new red ones. I love uptight, excuse my French, assholes, who can't seem to relax and have a good time. Everyone else I have talked to seemed to think the lights are cool and cheerful. It always takes that one sour apple in the barrel. Why do people like that even bother coming to Puerto Vallarta in the first place? These are the same people who complain about too many Mexicans on "our" beach.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Party!!! Party!!!

Well, for reasons, or for no reason, we decided to have a little party last night. Just a simple get-together with a bunch of friends. You know, the thing that turns into an all night affair and people regret the next day. Well, some people regret the next day, but not Bar Man.

Katherine and Dennis decided we should do a bit of decorating and bought streamers and little umbrellas to spruce up the area.

The Decorators At Work

Dennis Making A Final Adjustment

The Finished Product

The party was for Steve, and he was suitably impressed by the decorations.

All This For Me?

We pushed a couple of tables together at the end of the swimming pool along with a couple of umbrellas that we also decorated.

How Ornate

After their exhausting decorating efforts Dennis and Katherine took a much needed break by the pool.

Our Work Here Is Finished

And lest you think I was shirking my duties, I headed to the little bodega to buy ingredients for a humongous batch of peach daquiris.

My Favorite Little Bodega

We decided to cut down on the work by ordering our food form Archies's Wok. For those of you who are new to my blog, Archie was John Huston's personal chef during the time John Huston spent in the area after directing Night Of The Iquana. He opened this restaurant in 1986 and his wife, Cindy, now runs it, Archie having passed on to the great wok in the sky.

The food is great and sometimes they have a woman who plays the harp entertaining you while you dine. The influence is largely Thai. The menus are kind of like coloring books and children are given one with crayons to color in while they wait for their food. The finished products are then used for their menu. Kind of cool.

One From Column A And Two From Column B

Well, once the food arrived it didn't take us long to dig in.

Mine, Mine, Mine

And then there was a bit of a lull in the action as everyone settled in to enjoy their meal.

Bar Man And The Mysterious Chinese Woman

My tee-shirt was a gift form Allison and Steve and is a Widmer Brothers shirt. Widmer Brothers is a Portland, Oregon brewery and their signature beer, perhaps their only one, is Hefeweizen. Allison and Steve live in Vancouver, Washington which is just about a ten minute drive from Portland.

After our dinner we settled back to watch a beautiful sunset.

Puerto Vallarta Sunset

Allison wanted me to try to get a picture of her "eating" the sun. I couldn't quite manage it though. Looks more like she is about to urp up, if you ask me.

One Drink Over The Line, Sweet Jesus

Of course no real party really starts until after sunset, and this one was no exception. Tom and Delorous seranaded us with a couple of songs including their much called for "I Did It My Way."

A Classic Duet

We had them hanging from the rafters, or at least the balconies, for this one.

The Cheap Seats

After Tom and Delorous were finished we still had the uber sound system that Allison brought down to keep the music going.

Kind Of Like Van Halen's

And then Allison decided we all needed more to drink and went up to make Mud Slides. Her faithful companion, Sharon, was ready, willing, and able to assist.

Just What We Needed

There was a bit of a concern as to whether or not Sharon was going to share.

Share On, Sharon

I think we all had a good time.

Toasting Who Knows What

And of course you always have to have the obligatory picture of someone taking a picture.

Say Cheese, Or Something

And one of the Mysterious Chinese Woman vamping.

Ready For Her Closeup

And then it was time to sort the little umbrellas and call it a night.

Sorting The Umbrellas

But, of course, we didn't really call it a night. What is a party without an after-party. I will have to post about that latter though. Don't want to wear you out. Let's just say, It was interesting.

A Preview

More tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rico And Sandy's Last Night

Sadly, it appears that not too many pictures were taken of Rico and Sandy's last night in Puerto Vallarta. I suspect that this is partially due to the mini bar crawl that took place earlier in the day.

Rico and Sandy were kind enough to treat us to dinner at Cafe Bohemio. It is a nice little reataurant set in a bit of a courtyard with tables among the several trees.

Rico And Sandy Looking Good

Mysterious Chinese Woman Looking Good, Bar Man Just Looking

The Whole Crowd

We had a lovely meal with a couple glasses of beers and then it was an early night. As you have already seen, there was an early mimosa party held the next morning to see them off.

Sorry for the abbreviated post, but if you read my last two you can probably understand why. I will try to do better in the future.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mini Bar Crawl - Part Deux

Back to my side of town and a couple of old regulars that remain popular stops on any bar crawl. First, of course, had to be the La Ballena Azul, the infamous Blue Whale. Always a crowd pleaser, but getting a bit upscale since they remodeled the bar and replaced the old wooden furniture with the free plastic stuff you get from your beer distributer.

Almost There

I am not positive, but Sharon seems to have that "Are we sure we want to do this" look on her face.

Are We Sure About This?

I think she was still discussing this point with Sandy.

Well, What Do You Think?

Eventually she resigned herself to the inevitable.

When In Rome

Of course Dennis and Katherine settled right in. Well, Dennis had to put a napkin in his ear because the jukebox was really blaring away.

Just Like Home, Can You Turn It Down

And, of course, Bar Man is happy in just about any place that has a bar.

Like Pigs In Mud

I think the real reason Sharon looked a bit upset is that she was in a hurry to get to her favorite place.

Oh, Goody, Now We Can Party

Alberto rushed over to greet us and I am really starting to feel like a regular. I wish he would have tee-shirts made.

Old Pal Alberto

Of course it didn't take us long to settle in for the afternoon.

Ah, Just Perfect

Although we didn't order it, we were served some excellent grilled bonito, a member of the mackeral family. Bonito is a firm fleshed fish that is rather dark in color. In fact when it was first served to us we thought it might be beef. It was quite tasty.

The Fish Was This Big

Wrapped up in a soft taco and doused with a bit of salsa picante this was an excellent afternoon snack.

Chowing Down Bonito Style

Nothing to do after a snack like that but have another round.

Set 'Em Up Again, Por Favor

And Sharon was happy at last.

Oh Paul, Just Like I Always Dreamed It Would Be

Even Dennis and Katherine were swept up by the romantic setting.

Can We Come Back Soon?

The girls really did have a good time, and next time I want to sit at the bar like los tres amigoes behind them.

Merrily Chatting Away

And Bar Man was content as well.

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better

And, lest you get the wrong idea, I am holding a shot of tequila. The water bottle just happens to be behind my hand. Never drink the bottled water in Mexico.

The most surprising part of the day was that Rico had recovered from what ailed him and the rest of us managed to recover from the day enough to go out for dinner. It was Rico and Sandy's last day so they treated the Mysterious Chinese Woman and me to a nice farewell dinner at Cafe Bohemio. More on that later.