Friday, March 05, 2010

Visitors From The North

My friends Rico and Sandy arrived yesterday from Minneapolis, land of 10,000 frozen solid lakes. A place where frozen food comes fresh from the garden.

Arriving In Paradise

Having gotten up at about 2:00 AM to catch their early morning flight I am sure they wanted nothing more than to just unwind on the beach. Of course I had other plans.

Party, Party, Party

I had invited a bunch of people, Marge and Wayne, Bill and Marcie, and Paul and Sharon to come over for frozen margaritas, jello shots and snacks to welcome the new arrivals.

Rico, Sandy, Wayne, Sharon and Paul

Bill, Marcie and Marge

I was particularly impressed with Marge who managed to coordinate her outfit with the frozen margaritas I had made.

Always Fashionable

I made some dynamite jellos shots. At least I thought so. Lime jello and Apple Pucker with little umbrellas. Wayne looked a little disappointed that I managed to get the lion's share.

Not Happy At All

Actually, they weren't all for me. I know how much Bill likes his umbrella drinks so I generously presented them to him. He teared up with joy.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I also made some goopy kind of thick cheese and chorizo fondue thing. It was good if you scooped some up and put it on a taco chip and then stuck it in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Scooping The Goop

It was a great party that didn't end until Wayne was throwing up in the sink and the Mysterious Chinese Woman was trying, unsuccessfully, to walk a straight line.

The Perfect Ending

Okay, that was a bit of an exageration. Wayne wasn't throwing up and the Mysterious Chinese Woman always looks like she is trying to walk a straight line.

It was a nice little get-together and I promised Rico and Sandy that today we could just relax on the beach. Let's see how that works out.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


The other day a group of 13 tourists, 7 of whom were children, were held up while on a horseback tour here in Puerto Vallarta. One of the bandits was armed with an AK-47 and the other had a machete. An unfortunate incident, to be sure, but the locals reaction to it borders on the absurd.

First, the tour operators wouldn't give out refunds, even though the tourists had to walk most of the way back because the bandits ran off their horses.

Second, the local authorities did almost nothing in terms of trying to find the bandits.

Third, and most hilarious, at least to me, the locals are now saying the news media is making much too big a deal of this and it, the news coverage and not the incident itself, will hurt tourism.

Now I live in Brooklyn where crime is certainly not unheard of. But I suspect that if thirteen tourists were held up in New York City by someone wielding an AK-47 it would probably make the front page. Somehow the people in Puerto Vallarta, particularly the expats, think this news should be buried in order to preserve their image.

Now don't get me wrong. I think Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful place, I come here every year and will continue to do so. But I have learned that any mention of crime here is considered to be strictly taboo as it will hurt the tourism industry. And, of course, it is always the United States or Canadian media that is blamed. The truly gory, full color pictures of bloody corpses and decapitated heads featured in the Mexican newspapers are, I guess, acceptable because potential tourists don't read them.

This is reminiscent of the Swine Flu problem when it was the United States that was blamed for all of the hysteria and the subsequent drop in tourism here. Never mind that Puerto Vallarta shut down all of their bars and restaurants, it was all the fault of the United States media, particularly CNN. Meanwhile, CNN was bending over backwards to say that travel restrictions were unnecessary.

Ah well, such is life in paradise. Shit happens, just don't mention the smell.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Road To Ixtapa

Last Saturday Bill, Marcie, The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to take a bus ride to Ixtapa, one of the little towns outside of Puerto Vallarta. Just a 6.5 peso ride on one of the city buses. I am not sure if we got off in the center of town, but we did get off by a restaurant.

Velasco, I Think

Maybe Velasco is the name of the people who own and run the restaurant. We walked around a bit and asked a couple of people what they thought the best restaurant was and they both said this one.

The group in front of the restaurant. Actually two pictures. Someone has to be the person taking them.

Hmm, Missing Marcie

Now Bar Man Is Missing

Hey, no complaints. The food was good and reasonably priced and the beers were only a buck. I started out with cerviche on those little round taco things.

Ah, Raw Fish

My philosophy is to always push the edge when it comes to eating. Raw fish in a small town on the far outskirts of Puerto Vallarta seemed to be a step in the right direction.

I ordered a combination platter of a fish filet, shrimp, and octopus. It came with a scoop of rice and a nice salad.

Generous Portions, And Very Good

Bill really liked the butter on his bread. He has been complaining about the butter here in Mexico and asked the proprietor what brand he used. I think it was a kind of generally available butter but he said he added a little salt and lime juice to it.

A Little Bit Of Butter

Everyone enjoyed their meal and everyone in the restaurant was very friendly. The waiter took a picture of us so we got one of those hard to come by full group shots.

Everyone Smile

While walking around we spotted a butcher shop and I asked if I could take a couple of pictures. You kind of knew the meat had to be fresh.

Just Cut Me Off A Rib Or A Limb

I love the deep fried pig fat that they sell in Mexico. Kind of like those pork rinds you can buy but so much better. Crispy on the outside with just a bit of the juicy fat in the middle.

Got's To Have Them

The Mysterious Chinese Woman did a little, well, not quite window shopping.

Just My Size

As we were waiting for the bus back to Puerto Vallarta I spotted a little stand across the street selling the Mexican equivalent of snow cones.

Mexican Snow Cone Stand

Of Course I Had To Have One, Tamarindo

The proprietor and I bonded. Probably because no gringo had ever frequented her stand before.

Me And My Amiga

Of course Bill was positive that if the raw fish didn't kill me the snow cone surely would.

No Guts, No Glory

After a fun-filled afternoon we caught the bus back to Puerto Vallarta and, I am happy to say, I suffered no ill effects from my questionable diet. In fact the next day I had the rest of the deep-fried pig fat for breakfast.

Breakfast Of Champions

Some of the most interesting and fun days are the ones where you just grab a bus out of town and get off when you see something interesting. I highly recommend it, at least if you are in Puerto Vallarta.

Our Friends To The North And South

Heh, I got a few comments from people when I pointed out that Mexico is part of North America. Funny how we in the United States have a somewhat distorted view of the world and where we sit in it.

For example, did you know that Toronto is south of Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle? Or that you drive almost due south from Detroit to get to Windsor, Canada?

And did you know that Juarez, Mexico is north of Austin, Texas and way north of Miami, Florida? In fact Juarez is north of the whole state of Florida.

Of course all of this is subject to change because scientists now say that the earthquake in Chile has knocked the earth off its axis.

Bending over backwards to keep you informed.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Oh! Canada!

Well, it was a hell of a game. And, let's be honest, Canada, USA, they all play professional hockey, and mostly for United State's teams. The Olympics ain't what they used to be. Not like the old days, by golly.

Still, a few of us searched in vain for a place to watch the game in the bars here in Puerto Vallarta, but every place was either packed or not showing the game. We finally parked ourselves in, of all places, bite me! (don't blame me, they don't capitalize their name) right across from Blue Seas where we all stay.

They had a table and a small flat-screen television where we could park ourselves to watch the games.

Boring pictures of us drinking follow. Turn your heads if you don't want to see them.

Bill And Marcie

Sharon And Paul

The Mysterious Chinese Woman And Bar Man

Beers are only 20 pesos or about $1.75 and the margaritas are 35 pesos or a bit under $3.00 so not a bad deal. Stay away from the appetizers though, not very tasty.

After two periods with Canada leading 2 to 1 Paul and Sharon and me and the Mysterious Chinese Woman headed up to my place to watch the rest of the game. Bill and Marcie had had enough.

Well, you know the exciting end. With 24 seconds left the USA tied it up and it looked like God was on our (USA's) side. Hey, we all know He or She or It doesn't really care about war, famine, and natural disasters but is very interested in the outcome of sports events.

But then there must have been a flurry of prayers sent up by our northern neighbors and, well, you know the rest.

Sharon had to take pictures of the victory, even if it was just from my kind of lousy television.

Savor The Memory


Being the kind of guy I am, I simply shared a congratulatory shot of racillia with Paul.


Of course this morning my view of the beach was compromised by my neighbors.

How Rude

But hey, we are all Americans here, North (and that includes both Canada and Mexico) Central and South. I await the day when bull fighting becomes an Olympic event. And, if curling made it in, Why not?

Oh, and if they want to make curling more appealing, have the women's curling team wear outfits like the women's figure skaters. Nude curling would be even a bigger hit. Actually, from a male's perspective, any sport that involves women would be more appealing if played naked.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Peter At Pipi's

The oft ignored - or so HE claims - Peter had his day last week, we celebrated his birthday at Pipi's. I have written about Pipi's before. It is a bit touristy, but in a good way. You get generous portions of very good food at a reasonable price. Their drinks, although touristy large, don't lack for alcoholic content and are delicious. And the service is always very good and exceptionally friendly.

Peter Heading To His Fate And Fete

And More Of The Crowd Following Along

They make a delicious guacamole thing right at your table and you can tell them if you want more or less of any of the ingredients. I wanted to get a picture of the process but, as you can see, it was Peter's day.

Look At Me! Look At Me!

That is Marcie and Bill sitting to the left, but then you probably already knew that. And you can just see a bit ot the Mysterious Chinese Woman peeking at the process. Or, perhaps, staring at Peter. Hey, let's give the nod to Peter because, after all, it is HIS day.

This, in my opinion, is a much better picture of the guacamole guy.

Don't You Agree?

But, back to Peter.

Peter And Marie About To Enjoy Their Drinks

Hmm, it looks like Marie found her's a bit on the sour side. Or maybe Peter said something to her about hogging the picture.


And here is Peter's brother Tom and his lovely wife Bella enjoying their drinks.

Just Yummy

And, of course -

Bar Man And The Mysterious Chinese Woman

Bill and Marcie were with us as well but were sitting in the back and I didn't get a close-up of them. I hope I will be forgiven.

We were serenaded by a couple of gentlemen playing something that sounded like "One Ton-A-Manure" or something like that. I suspect it has something to do with the number of small farms in the area.

One Ton-A-Manure

All our meals were delicious, and to give you an idea of the size of the helpings, here is Bella's salad.

And, You Can Eat The Bowl

Here is another picture of Bella, just because I like taking pictures of her and she likes to have her picture taken.

Bella And Her Main Course

But, and what have I been thinking, back to Peter. It was his birthday, after all. And so he got the obigatory cake served to him by the more-than-willing staff.

Open Wide

But you knew it wouldn't be as simple as that. Why decorate the cake when you can -

Decorate Peter

But Peter was rewarded for being a good sport about the whole thing.


One of the waiters volunteered to take a group picture so we do have one that includes Bill and Marcie.

The Whole Crowd

And finally, after a couple of hours of fun and food, it was time to head back home.

All Good Things

Just another fun-filled day in Puerto Vallarta and just another reason why I love to come here every year.

And a quick change of the subject. You know when you see someone make fun of how an attempt at an English translation of a foreign languge sign sometimes looks funny? Well, my interpretation of the dangerous bridge sign left a bit to be desired.

I translated it as:


That "cross lowlands" didn't make much sense even when I wrote it. A more appropriate translation should have been:


Not that that translation made me feel any better.

My friend Sharon, the one who waded across the river rather than crossing the bridge the last time we visited Boca, showed up yesterday. Her only comment was "See, I told you so."

Yeah, but I didn't have to change my pants.

It's Up To My, Uh, Well, My...