Bucerias, Mexico, February-March 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fresh mango margaritas flow freely and free all day every day. French, Thai, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, and even English theme nights sweep the restaurants. We’re at the Royal DeCameron all-inclusive on Banderas Bay, just up from Puerto Vallarta. A few minutes further up the beach is the market village of Bucerias, with a beautiful little church, children playing in the courtyard among the trees and grass, an old man selling necklaces on the street, and over a hundred market stalls with pottery, t-shirts, jewellery, flip-flops, poor art, and beautiful blankets.

The trip here was a bit difficult. To get good seats for our 6am flight, we got up at 2am and were at the airport, excited and sleepy, by 3am. We lounged by the Haida sculpture, then by the gate, and got on the plane by 5:30. It sped down the runway at 6:05… then slammed on the brakes half-way down, screeched to a stop at the end of the runway, and returned to the gate. The pilot explained a light had come on, something to do with cabin pressure, probably a glitch, but they had to check. We sat while they diagnosed, then replaced a part. At 8am we sped down the runway again… slammed on the brakes, and returned to the gate again. Time to disembark, sit at the gate for an hour or two, for an 11am delayed flight. At 10am they postponed the flight to 11pm, since the crew was beyond their allowed duty period, and a backup crew was not available until evening. Home to nap for an hour, drink some tea, and return to the airport. Hooray, it left nearly on time at 11:15 (someone got so upset they left the plane just before 11, and their luggage had to be found and removed!). We got into Puerto Vallarta around 7am and to the hotel around 8, in time to digest that the hotel is very pretty, and the beds very comfortable. Crash til noon.

OK enough about that adventure. We rapidly settled into a relaxing routine, and by 24 hours later we all felt as if we’d been professional pool-side do-nothing experts for weeks. Ahhh… no socks for days. No rain. No stress. Good food and drink abounding all day with not work. Happy friendly staff with beautiful Mexican accents.

The days sweep by at the relaxed pace of the breakers. I worried before that I’d be bored with two weeks of nothing, but now I’m so glad we have another week to go… I enjoy the casual Internet café, and I haven’t finished the two books I brought yet… too much beach-walking, and swimming, and pina-coladas to relax with first.

Here’s a typical day:

  • Wake up around 8, gradually make our way to breakfast by 9:30. The last couple days, Xin and I have gone outside to do half an hour of yoga first, on the beach, or on the grass. On the beach, 100 Mexicans wandered by saying “buenos dias!” while we stretched.
  • Wander to the Tropika or Flamingos restaurants for breakfast buffet, overlooking the beach: omelettes to order, cheese tacos, porridge, cereal, salad bar, guacamole, hot spiced coconut milk or chocolate, papayas & pineapple, and on.
  • Walk to Bucerias to buy a blanket. Go there along the beach, watching the surfers and waveboarders, pelicans fishing, whale-watching ships go by, parasails, and sunburn victims lapping up more Vitamin D. In Bucerias, stroll through the non-tourist bits of town, see the Mexicans line up for fresh tacos from a street stall, or play video games in the arcade.
  • Have a swim in the pool outside our balcony, to cool off. Maybe one pina colada.
  • Lunch at the same buffet, or another one.
  • Spend the afternoon blogging, or reading by the pool, or trying out the parasailing. Mom watches babies playing in the pool, and helps them with their toys.
  • Yoga or Tai Chi classes are at 5:30pm, comfortably before dinner. They’re just 30 minutes, very simple, but on the beach with the sun sinking toward the ocean and the waves rolling near us.
  • There are about 7 dinner restaurants, all different nationalities from Brazilian to Japanese, Italian to Thai. Our favourites are the oddly least popular Mexican! The variety and healthiness of the food is wonderful.
  • Since lunch was late, dinner was at 8… and the live theatre show is at 9:15. The same dance troupe works hard to create a different show for each day of the week, drawing themes from around the world. They’re not world class, but they’re professionals working hard, and sometimes surprise us with terrific skills. The choreographer lead swan dives from a running jump and tucks into a somersault; the yogi puts a hat on her head with her feet, while curled over backwards; the 10-year-old rope twirler dances through spinning hoops of lasso. The girls are pretty and the boys are very strong dancers. It’s fun.
  • We have trouble staying up late enough to go to the disco, which supposedly is open til 3 – we’re usually in bed by 10:30, happy to sleep.

One day we took the city bus to the Centro of Puerto Vallarta, 15 pesos each way ($1.50), and so much fun. Colourful signs on the bus. On one, a man playing guitar and singing romantic songs, happy to get a few pesos tip. PV’s a tourist haven, but that means there are lots of cute bars and nightclubs and restaurants and boutiques, lots of interesting sculptures on the promenade by the beach, thousands of interesting people walking by.

The hotel charges 50 pesos for an hour of internet access, at 3 kiosks that always have lineups. Just outside the hotel gate is the cutest little internet café. The plump girl serving coffee has the friendliest, nicest smile I’ve ever seen. She scribbles in a notebook when you sit down and start using wireless (if you remind her), and rounds it down when you leave (if you look for her, to pay), and charges 30 pesos per hour. They play Mexican soccer matches on the TV, and almost forget to charge you for the coffee or water you might order.