Saturday, February 28, 2015

Week Three Plus in Puerto Vallarta

Actually we have moved from Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco to Bucarias in the state of Nayarit. We have moved from Villa Del Palmar Downtown, as it is referred to now, to Villa Del Palmar Flamingos. This is a much newer resort, opened in 2005, 20 years after they started building VDP Downtown. The rooms are much larger with 2 baths, a laundry room, huge kitchen and dining room and huge deck.
Hard to leave the deck. I do go to water aerobics daily and we go down to the spa at sunset.
Last bit of shopping with Alicia, our favorite beach peddler, before we left VDP Downtown. She has just what you want, as long as it is a sarong or a beach dress. I'm getting very tan. Even William, who stays out of the sun, is getting some color.
Watching for the sunset our first evening at Flamingos.
Not too bad.
The first time in the pool there were iguanas, pretty big ones, on the small grass islands in the pool. Haven't seen them since though.
This is a pretty big resort. We are up on the 6th floor of building one.
Yesterday we had a Tacatzo at this small but highly rated Taco restaurant and then walked a long dusty block to Mega, a huge grocery/super store. We stocked up and took a taxi back. Too far to walk to Mega, unlike Soriana in Plaza Caracol across the street from VDP Downtown.
Tomorrow morning we are heading out early to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, on beyond Bucarias on the way to Punta Mita, for the Sunday Market and to stroll along the Marina.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Second Week in Puerto Vallarta

In the afternoon we go over to the beach side pool. Most day people have left and there are plenty of chairs available. We order drinks at the two for one happy hour prices and enjoy the last bits of sun. Also, shopping with our favorite beach peddler. Then on to the hot tub before dinner.
We made it down to the Oasis for a meal. Octopus tacos were not on the menu. This place is much larger than the tiny beach stand it was. I guess they have fought the big new high rise hotels for the right to be here next to the Rio Pitillal. Still pretty good and cheap.
We made it back before the rain hit. It rained pretty hard for a couple of hours. The water poured out of the balcony drain spouts and the paths were a bit flooded. We were cozy and safe. Lots of thunder and lightning.
Downtown at Coexist Bistro for lunch. After another shopping trip to the Municipal Market.
Walking back along the Malecon past a statue to dancers.

Downtown in the evening for Mardi Gras, upstairs at a Cuban restaurant, La Bodeguita Del Medio. Puerto Vallarta and Havana. Unclear where Hemingway hung out, but I am sure it was the restaurant in Havana. I keep trying to find good Cuban food. I am told it exists. Maybe in Cuba.

 After dark we are treated to a Gay Pride Parade. Hard to take pictures of a parade especially in the dark. The crowd was light here at the start of the Malecon. Tables around us had come prepared with masks and beads. We had plenty we could have brought, if we has thought about it.
Last meal from the chicken dinner from the Pollo shop across the street. Chicken salad tostada for lunch. We had two dinners and two lunches from that huge chicken and fixings. We now have tons of leftovers from our trip to the new Argentinian restaurant across the street. The servings of meat were huge. The Circus that was in the lot next to it has left to be replaced by a huge carnival. Kid magnet. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

First Week in Puerto Vallarta

I need to write something after a week in Mexico. But mostly we have been relaxing. The weather here has been quite mild. High 70's and low 80's. An old neighbor, Chief, from Canada, like many of the people here, complained that it was not hot enough. Saw him wearing a jacket once. The average age here looks to be over 50.

The front of the resort has been remodeled. They took down building seven which was next to the street and put in big fountains.

 The rooms have updated furniture and a bright Mexican color scheme. The first resort, to the left front, Villa del Mar, which had fixed week, fixed room, ownership will eventually be taken down and replaced with higher rise buildings. The owners had 30 year ownership and they are not being offered any renewal. It was built in the 80's.
On our 4th floor balcony

Just the two of us.

We went grocery shopping right away across the street. I have to remember that the grocery store has been Soriana for at least 20 years. When we first came it was Gigante. I like the Soriana. Good produce and good prices. We took a cab home as we planned. Because we bought too much for William to carry.

We've eaten out a few times. Usually saving half the meal for another time. I still have half the prime rib in the frig.

After the first day I have managed water aerobics every day.

Today I couldn't because of the Fiesta last night. I should never have a tequila shot and two margaritas. Ouch. But it was my idea to go. The dancing was fun, but we were tired and left before the mariachi band was done.

We made it downtown once so far. I did a bit of shopping in the big Municipal Market. We plan to go back Friday. Walking down from the Rio Cuale, we passed Langostinos, site of the grand Baker Borden wedding reception, but didn't stop.
 We were heading for La Palapa, a very old and high ranking restaurant.  The appetizer I had of barbecued octopus was fantastic.
La Palapa
This new pier reminded us of the lovely Sundial Bridge in Redding.
This large wall is around a school. It is decorated is mosaics all over. Individuals and businesses donated to the decor.
 No Urbanos just means no city traffic.

We still need to walk down the beach to the Oasis. I remember the octopus tacos I scared Leah with. Very delicious. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Rapid City SD to Jackson WY

On the way out of Rapid City we see patches of dead bug trees. The bark beetle is killing a lot of pine trees. We have seen these dead patches throughout South Dakota. The only way to treat is to cut and spray.

Deadwood. Why all the motel rooms? Answer. All the gambling houses. They only outlawed brothels in the 1980's. The Taco John's is advertising Ghost Pepper wings. Good thing the hospital is across the street.

Deadwood has capitalized on the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. Moral: Don't sit with your back to the door. My Wild Bill never does. Beware the dead man's poker hand, 2 eights, 2 aces and a nine. Also it's probably not a good idea to go gambling to make a stake for your new bride.

The Wild Bill Bar has memories for a dear friend. He was served his first drink here. We don't know if he went upstairs.

The bust of Wild Bill downtown was sculpted by Korczak, the sculptor of Crazy Horse.
His youngest daughter, Monique, and the grandson of the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, James Borglum, collaborated on the seated sculpture of Wild Bill just beyond the Tin Lizzie.
The bust of this figure is in one of the museums at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

After Deadwood we head down Spearfish Canyon, catching a couple of waterfalls, Roughneck falls and Bridalveil.

Out on the prairie again we stop at Vore Buffalo Jump. The sinkhole has filled in over the thousands of years of use.
The prairie tribes used to drive groups of buffalo over the edge. Easier to get enough meat and hides for the winter, since buffalo were hard to kill with spears and bows and arrows.

Then we head to Devil's Tower. The Lakota name for the tower is Mato Tipila or Bear's Lodge. The military officer who reported the name seems to have misunderstood the translation of the Lakota name. We hiked the Tower Trail, a paved 1.3 mile path with some ups and downs. This is a spiritual place for the Lakota. No climbing is allowed during June when Lakota celebrations are held. I found it hard to believe that the climbers sued saying the one month ban on climbing violated their rights. Thankfully a judge found otherwise.

The Circle of Sacred Smoke is near the picnic area where we ate lunch.
The prairie dogs are moving in. One loop of the campground is closed because of them and they are at the edge of the amphitheater.

On our way to Buffalo WY we see lots of coal trains. One long coal train after another, all Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
We pass a huge open pit coal mine and coal processing facilities.
Also a large pipeline is being built here along the railroad tracks next to I90. Lots of pumping oil wells here also.

It is cold overnight in Buffalo and there is some melting snow on the steps to the bathrooms. Driving on 16 out of Buffalo We did not think about crossing the Big Horn Mountains and Powder River Pass at 9,666 feet.
Once we make it over the top and down the top portion of the pass on the snowy road, we can enjoy the canyon. It is like going down into the grand canyon with the huge rock walls.
Signs at the side of the road tell the names of the formations and their ages. At 4,500 feet we come out of the bottom of the canyon. We have a flat drive in the basin on into Cody, WY, passing over the Continental Divide. We are getting closer to home. But having a hard time finding a place to stop, as most campgrounds are buttoning up for the winter.

Here we are in Cody, Wyoming. Another Bill. Buffalo Bill Cody started this town and it is still a peon to him. We go out to dinner at the hotel he built in 1902 and called “just the swellest hotel that ever was.” The hotel is named The Irma after his youngest daughter.
Lots of cool Halloween decorations on this old fireplace mantle
Just outside Cody
Near Sylvan Pass

Going over Sylvan Pass to Yellowstone is not bad. The snow was night before last and has been cleaned off and the pass has been sanded.
We watch out for a few icy places. We are just making a loop around Yellowstone lake. Some roads and all campgrounds and facilities are closed, except for a few stray restrooms. We take a short hike on the trail in the snow at West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Right at the intersection from West Thumb we saw a huge wolf just trotting along the road.
William wanted it to slow down for another picture, so he called “Hey boy” to it. We laughed about that. The wolf paid no attention.
Hey boy

We headed on into Grand Teton National Park. Again everything is buttoned down but the scenery. We take most of the side roads in the park.

Fifty years ago I spent a summer working in the Laundry at Colter Bay.
Somewhat like slave labor. Our room was deducted from our pay, but we had to buy our own food at tourist prices. I wanted some money to take home, so I would eat a candy bar on the way to work. Slave over laundry all day. Then eat a cup of soup and a jello for my other meal. I was down to a size 6 at the end of the summer. Old sizes. Then I hitch hiked into Jackson and spent all my money, except what I needed to get home, on gifts, mostly for William.
Grand Teton

Mount Moran at Jenny Lake

On into Jackson, where we stop to admire the antler arches that have been here forever.
William remembers the Cowboy Bar, but it is now a lunch and dinner spot and doesn't open until 4. We head over to the other famous bar, The Silver Dollar Bar, in the Wort Hotel. The bar is inlaid with more than 2,000 silver liberty dollars.
We have a drink to celebrate. I have a Silver Dollar Daly that reminds me of Teton Tea from long ago.

It will be pedal to the metal time from now on. We will be checking the weather reports to make it over Donner Summit before the snow flies.