Since Wendyis the best friend ever, she picked us up before 8am on a Saturday morning and gave us a ride to the airport. It was pleasantly uncrowded, and we had plenty of time to get breakfast and food for the plane (does Northwest feed you on a 4.5 hour international flight? No, it does not). We sat by the gate, and managed to be the 2nd and 3rd last to board the plane. This was mostly intentional (who wants to sit on the plane for half an hour?), but it was kind of funny when they paged us. I apologized to the gate agent, and he said, “It’s ok, hon! Just being official!”
The flight was uneventful, and involved much giggling at Skymall, and the in-flight magazine crossword puzzle. As we were landing in Puerto Vallarta, Matt got to talking to the guy in our row, and got some good advice getting around. The people sitting in front of us overheard us telling him where we were staying, and said they were there too. We decided to share a cab.
We got off the plane and took the jetway right to a pair of waiting buses. We hopped on, and the buses rolled approximately 500 feet to the other side of the terminal. We hopped off, and went to wait in long lines for customs. It wasn’t too bad, except for the heat. It took me far too long to find my bag, so we asked a guy for help. He asked me to describe it, and we still couldn’t find anything. He started telling us that a lot of bags look exactly like that, and pointed to the one in front of him as an example. And, hey, it was my bag!! I appreciate the fact he didn’t smack me for that.
I’d read a lot about the timeshare bit in Puerto Vallarta, and knew we’d have to run a gauntlet of salespeople on the way out of the airport. Our new friends got caught up in the fracas briefly, believing they could get a cab that way. We spent some time fending off cab/shuttle attacks, and Matt and I ran to the ATM to get pesos. Finally, we escaped the airport and saw our destination: the cab stand across the highway. We dragged our bags up the incline, already gross and sweaty in the head, and descended to a waiting cab driver.
I asked him how much, and he said 100 pesos. Not per person like the shuttles (many of which take you to a timeshare first), but for each of us. That’s less than $2.50 apiece. SCORE.
We crowded into a tiny car with no air conditioning: me in the hump seat with Matt and Michelle on either side of me, and Bob in the front with one of our giant suitcases on his lap, because it didn’t fit in the trunk. We took off down a back street behind the airport, bumping over ruts and cobblestones, sometimes seeming like we were going to pull off into a dark courtyard. Instead, our driver pulled into the gas station. He had to put air in the back tires, because we were bottoming out.
We tore off into Puerto Vallarta, the cabbie weaving in and out of traffic, even pulling into turn lanes to go around other cars and run red lights. On the main drag, the cops waved him over to the side of the road. Matt and I were dying of amusement (and fear for the driving, obviously), but the other two were not as amused. They still weren’t convinced we’d make it to the hotel alive.
We arrived without incident, and went inside our hotel (the Sheraton Buganvilias) to check in. While we waited in line, Michelle noticed the pink Breast Cancer 3Day tag on my suitcase. She asked if I’d done it, and then told me that they’d been on the safety crew, riding motorcycles last year. I knewBob looked familiar!! We were thrilled.
The bellboy brought our bags up, and showed us around the room. It was great: we had a kitchen with everything we didn’t even need (like a blender!), an awesome Murphy bed, and a balcony overlooking a pool, with the ocean just beyond.
matt was excited to find futbol on TV
We sat on the balcony admiring the view for a while, then changed and went downstairs to see the resort. I’d chosen the place because it was one of the many options available from RCI, a voucher program that allows you to stay for a week at a timeshare. Their main goal is to get you to buy a place, but we were prepared to be on the lookout for salespeople. Oh, and I got the voucher for free from my parents, so we were there for the cost of airfare.
We got ourselves margaritas at the pool bar (one which I will probably remember as the best margarita of my life, mainly because of the surroundings), and toured the grounds. There was a line of beach chairs facing out toward the ocean, and a cute little cabana on a pier. There were palapas all over the beach, and flowering plants everywhere.
Walking around the second pool, we saw an iguana scuttling under a chair. I had no idea we’d see lizards that big in Mexico! They seemed to live by the pools.
We decided to swim in that pool, because it was far less crowded. The second we got in, I knew it was the best day ever.
We bobbed around the pool, and spent a long time climbing on each other. Everybody else there seemed to be in love, too, so it was the thing to do. I could’ve stayed in there forever, especially with the swim-up bar. You just give them your room number, and bam!, a margarita appears.
We stayed in the pool for a very long time, until it started to feel cold. Then we took up spots in our deck chairs to dry off, discussing how immensely stressed and angry we were. Then we’d sit there and laugh.
We went back to our room to shower and change, and headed toward the Malecon as the sun began to set. We didn’t know how long a walk it’d be, but it didn’t look too far on the map. If we needed to get a cab, we could grab one anywhere.
We discovered it was about a mile to the Malecon, which wasn’t bad at all. We’d pass the fenced-off area next to our resort with the scary falling-down empty house (the one I discovered later wasn’t empty at all, because there were lights and noises in there), then cross the ravine, which looked shady and posed the danger of falling. Then there was the weird fenced-off yard with the mini replica of Los Arcos, and the very happy graffiti.
After that, the gauntlet began. There were guys standing outside half the shops along the street, trying to get you to come inside. They were timeshare salesmen, but all had some kind of cover story, like selling you tequila or getting you a tour discount. They offered cash, free meals, and free shots. It would only get annoying when they were really out in force (like when the cruise ship arrived later in the week), but otherwise we just got really used to saying, ‘no, gracias!’ while we kept walking.
We reached the Malecon, and walked along it for a while, looking at the statues and the sand sculptures. It wasn’t super-crowded yet, but would get to be so later at night. Also, walking on the Malecon side meant avoiding the timeshare dudes in all the shops across the street.
We were in search of dinner somewhere overlooking the Malecon and the ocean, and La Chata seemed perfect. The server took us upstairs and got us a table along the balcony, where we could watch the sun set.
We ordered the house drink, and were very surprised when the waiter showed up with a couple of soup bowls. Then we realized that wasthe house drink. Hell yes!
We had an awesome dinner, and watched the sun set over the ocean. It was amazing. So was the atmosphere in the restaurant, with mariachis singing and dancing, and parties going on around us.
We were more than a little tipsy when we left, both of us unable to finish our second drink.
We took off down the Malecon, partly to see the sights, and also to find another bar to hang out in. The bars all had people standing at the entrances trying to pull people in; we successfully avoided a bunch of them, but one bar caught our attention. It was named ZOO, and the place was loud, wide-open, and had a dance floor in the back. We made a mental note and kept going.
A few blocks down, we ran into Bob and Michelle, who were out doing the same thing. We decided to go back to ZOO together. Walking in, they told us it was ladies’ night, but it took us a very long time to figure out what that meant. What we were able to determine was that everyone got 2-for-1s, and ladies got free margaritas. I think that’s how it worked, at least. We really had no idea.
The girls at the next table were going tequila shots, and this involved a highly elaborate setup. There was a snifter of 151, pineapple, and cinnamon dropped from above and set on fire so it seared the fruit. It was kind of spectacular. There was also a pair of shot girls wandering around blowing whistles, and the tequila shots were 2-for-1 as well. Of course we had to try them, so Matt and I paid our 40 pesos and got ready. They poured the shots and dumped them down our throats, then grabbed our heads and shook them back and forth. They pinched our foreheads, our noses, and one grabbed my boobs while the other pinched Matt’s nipples. And now every time I hear whistles blowing, I don’t know whether to be really excited or run away.
Also, we heard ‘Push It’. Just like we were at the 90s.
Bob and Michelle left a bit before we did. I have no idea what time we left, but we quickly discovered that the mile-long walk back to the resort was one of the best ideas ever. There were drunk people all over the street, thronging around Oxxos (the convenience store like 7-11, of which there were three on our walk back). We found one we could actually go inside instead of just ordered through the window, and got water and Nescafe to make coffee in the morning.
As we got to the ravine, we saw a scary-looking figure standing there, wearing all black. We were kind of concerned until we realized he was a cop, guarding the area on a Saturday night. Good idea, dudes. We made it back to the hotel safely, and, um, you can probably guess the rest.