sandy grasso-boyd, photographer

First Night and Day of our Adventures in Puerto Vallarta, Thursday and Friday, November 7 & 8

We arrived at at Puerto Vallarta Airport and were met at the gate by a helpful wheelchair assistant. He was able to quickly get us through customs and rescue our baggage, without incident. Our journey to the front of the terminal was so fast that we missed our sign carrying Rotarian host, PV Sur President Pedro Covarubias Sandoval. For what seemed like nearly an hour we tried to connect up with Pedro. Finally we met out in front of the terminal and were taken to his truck and into PV, by way of the tunnel route. He stopped by the location of the evening party, which helped to orient us for our first evening's driving on the many cobble stone streets in PV.

We arrived at our condominium home for the next three weeks, after a seemingly hair raising ride from the main highway up a winding cobble stone street to the beautiful 8 story Horizon Condominium, perched near the top of the bluff overlooking PV and Banderes Bay. Our 4th floor suite has a large patio which looks down on on a breathtaking robins egg blue oval swimming pool. The view through the all glass doors, which are opened most of the time, is great.

After briefly getting settled, we took our condo owners Jeep to the evening's dinner party site, following Pedro's driving instruction through the Tunnel Road.

Our first night was a wonderful party of Rotarians and sister city folks up at the penthouse of the incoming district governor Carlos. Wine and food, Sandy stuck with hibiscus tea, the Mexican name I can't remember. Bill as usual was very social, meeting and talking to everyone. Just before we were to leave, he brought over a couple to meet me. It turned out to be George and Joanne Williams, our condo owner Bob's neighbors upstairs and the Rotarian that Bob's partner Ginger had mentioned previously. What a lovely coincidence. We got a little lost on the way home and ended up near the Malecon instead of the Tunnel road, but Sandy was able to figure our where to turn.

They invited us up to their penthouse for breakfast the next morning and went with us to Boca de Tomatlon to meet the rest of the group. Thank goodness they drove the coast road that was full of holes. The day was a comedy of errors. When we thought we had missed the group, George commandeered a Panga boat and took us to Yelapa. Arriving at Yelapa , we found the group hadn't arrived yet so we sat drinking beer and I had my first piƱa colada which set me off laughing. ( I am a cheap drunk).

Then we finally spied the boats with our friends but the were landing at the other side of beach around Yelapa. Since the clinic we were to visit was between us , we found a young muchacho to take us on a shortcut to the clinic. a shortcut that had us wade across the wide river and up a steep set of stairs. You can imagine how exhausted I was but it was fun and we finally met up with the group. However the way back to their boats was steep and tedious but scenic.

Next stop, after struggling to get out of the boat, was Quimixto, where the community prepared a lovely lunch for us while those who could climb another steep hills end to a clinic sponsored by the Rotarians and Sister City folk. I pulled up another chair put my feet up, leaned my head back and promptly fell asleep. I was glad when after getting back the boat, that the group decided not to stop at Animas. ( by the way, while I am writing this, the fireworks down at the bay have begun)'.

What a beautiful view we have from this lovely condo that we.swapped our house for over Bandaras Bay in PV. . We had a lovely supper of pasta and puttenesca sauce that Bob prepared and left for us. Bill has just returned from a quick shopping at OXXO, the local equivalent of a convenience store and put a delicious ice cream pop in front of me. So I bid you good night until reporting on our next adventure in Puerto Vallarta.

Second Day of our Adventures in Puerto Vallarta, Saturday, November 9

What a day! The PV Sister City know how to throw a party! We met the group down at their Los Arcos hotel at 8 and boarded a Canadian-Rotary sponsored school bus to head south on route 200 toward el Tuito , a small Mexican Pueblo, We Passed the harbor of Boca de Tomalin, where we had yesterday went to Yelapa by boat. After that we were immersed in jungle as we climbed up to the higher altitudes where pine trees began to appear. A hour later we arrived at El Tuito, a lovely little Mexican Village, where we were greeted in the main square by a throng of lovely children in their dance costumes and their families members lining the presentation square. Bill immediately went within the arcade where the waiting children were delighted to see his clown foolery. He even danced with them on an individual basis. Shortly later, we were treated to a community made breakfast of tacos and rice. Then we all sat down to watch the presentation consisting of each grade of children doing a lovely folklorical dances. I shot movies, I was so moved, I had tears in my eyes. I felt I was in the midst of the filming of a movie. We found out that the Rotary Club of Tuito had just been formed a year ago and so met both the President and the lady who is in charge of international projects. We told her to send a proposal to us, because I would like to find a way to do district grant to support the children of the community, we exchanged cards and bid our farewell.

Back on the bus we next went to the Botanical Gardens of PV, a lush place and a sister to the SB Botanical B & G garden to Santa Barbara. They specialize in bromilads and epiphytes. Plants that grow in the air. It was a beautiful place and we enjoyed refreshments in their restaurant overlooking the forest and river.

Our last stop before returning home was the amazing home of architect Cachi and his wife Gabrielle, also Rotarians. The home overlooked the bay of Boca de totaling with sn infinity pool jutting out over the cliff. We were served a delicious lunch and under ending tequila. Not me, I stuck with diet coke. Or hibiscus drink.

A few hours hours later,well satiated and lubricated, we got back on the bus to return to PV.

That was not the end of our day. After a well deserved rest. We made reservation at The Blue shrimp, a restaurant recommended by Ginger and Bob. At 9, we had a lovely dinner of shrimp ( me scampi, Bill garlic shrimp) overlooking the beach. We drove home happy with our dinner and lovely day.

Third Day of our Adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Sunday, November 9

Thank goodness it was Sunday. We had the morning to ourselves and could begin to read some of Gingers and Bobs excellent notes. We had a leisurely morning and then drove to the main square to check out both the Tourist bureau and the I Madonnari chalk drawings in the main plaza. We couldn't believe that we hit upon a handicap parking spot nearby. The bureau didn't have much mors than what Ginger had given us. The Sistrer City Santa Barbara, had brought down at their cost five SB artists including Kathy Koury the founder of SB I Madonnnari event. Other Mexican artists joined them. . I include a photo of one BW drawing I really liked.. We then strolled the Malecon a little ways checking out the interesting sculptures. . On the way, we sat down next to a clown making balloons. As his business seemed really slow. I offered to take his photos for 20 pesos. The photo is below. On the way back to the car, I found a store window of clothing to my liking and ended up spending close to an hour trying on different items. It was still so hot even in the store, but I purchased two blouses, a pair of pants made of gauzy light material and jewelry for about 1000 pesos that's about $75 US . We then drove further north to locate the house of the party tonight . We ended up parking next to the Malecon and went to to have a quick lunch at off all places Bubba Gump Shrinp.Co. When we returned, we ran into Joanne who invited us to take a swim with her and George, so instead if taking a nap, we got to swim in this humongous pool that had underwater seating at a bar. Meeting some other guys from the condo. Joanne supplied beer and wine for us all. It was so comfortable. (see photo) . After changing we jumped in a cab with Joanne, George and their friend Adam and headed for the evening dinner party at a beautiful three story 6,000 sq. ft. "Casa Romantica" home, of PV Sur Rotarian, Guy de Mangeon and his lovely wife Patricia. Guy is also a SB resident, and owner of the "Berry Man" produce distribution company. His story is a real rags to riches tale, which he delighted to elaborate. Check it out on his company website. It was Another fun evening of food, drinks and romantic guitar music. Bill, again drank too much, there being lots of beer, and tequila available. Sandy, who hadn't had a drop of liquor, was tired of the frivolity and wanted to get to bed. We took a cab back to our condo where George and Joanne invited us up to their penthouse suite for coffee and brandy at midnight. Of course , Bill said yes. However it turned out to be a special time when George shared about his failing brother and the rest of his family.

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