startin er off
Wow, we really gotta stop procrastinating. After a day here, there is just too much to write, let alone after more than a week. Last Saturday, the 31st we had a surprise charter with a few huge families fresh in from New Orleans. They were all here for a week in a time share that consisted of two presidential suites with three rooms and three balconies each. They were a whole lot of fun. They brought almost an entire liquor store of booze with them includin a huge jug of Carlos Rossi and a bottle of bubbly. Needless to say, we the crew did not have to do much entertaining. They were all so proud of their southern roots and party skills that they entertained us. We dropped anchor for a few minutes to cool down after 2 hours of sailing and everyone was jumping off of every level of ladder they could.
moment of silence, please
One girl was stung by a jellyfish, another lost her lunch. We even got one kid to jump off the top rung of the ratlins (about 50ft.) which of course is just a small rope ladder that is attached to and angled in toward the mast so much that he is virtually right above the deck. This meant that he had to jump out off of a loose rope, dodging another steel line while the boat is rocking back and forth and stay vertical enough not to belly flop or land on his back. Well, he succeeded. In the past, Brad had jumped off the spreaders once and nearly died as he belly flopped from 65 feet, so this other kid jumping was a bit of a nail-biter for the old crew. They tipped well and we got home before dinner. That night we packed and went to bed early since we had to wake up before 6am in order to eat breakfast and get to Brad's so we could leave by 7am for our trip to Puerto Vallarta
Sunday the 1st: Up right on time. Breakfast downed. On the way to Brad's when he texted to get him a piping hot Burger King combo #1 to pamper his hangover from the night before because it was the Brenster's last night of playing at the Purple Onion and it was Kat's in-town birthday celebration. We got the food and got loaded in the back of Brad's truck (pads and all) and were out of town by 7:30. About an hour later we pull into a tiny town called Mesillas where Brad apparently had to pay one of his furniture builders. Having not told us that we were taking a detour Bri and I were a little thown off but pleasently surprised by the little community of furniture builders. It seemed like that was all they did in that little town.
I mean the town is called "little tables." What else would they do there? Right across from Brad's guy they had a little farm with goats and chickens and a big ol pig running around. Dinner for the locals I'm sure. We got back on track and Brad let us drive. By this time the sun was getting higher and hotter. We got onto the toll road and got to fly at 110km/hr with literally nobody else on the road. We would see about 2 cars per 10 minutes because nobody wants to pay the $4-$16 tolls. The AC sure was nice for the next 100 km when we pulled into Santiago de Ixcuintlan. This got us back on the free road and here we had a little lunch of shrimp empanadas and a round of Cokes.
Brad took over the driving again to get to another little town off of the free road called San Blas. San Blas was a really cute little surfing town set right between the outlets of two big rivers. The water was super brackish and it was like a foam party on the beach. All the little kids were loving the huge deposits of sick-nasty foam that washed up from the mixing of the water and just the general filth of the marina that was close by and of course human comsumption and waste. That's not to say that it wasn't a pretty beach, just not water I would want to swim in. But that didn't stop many people from enjoying it. Brad and Kat got some food here and we left. By this time the sun was almost unbearable.
Especially while driving in traffic through town. I must have used at least a quarter of the huge bottle of sunscreen we had. We stayed on the free road for the rest of the drive to PV. The free road is just a small two lane highway that winds through the hills with very few places to pass all the semis and beat up trucks. But the scenery is great since the flora and fauna come right up to the edge of the road. The trees gave some great shade and some pretty nauseating tunnel vision from the back of the truck. So much so that Brad, a person that has been working on a boat for the last 5 years and that grew up on smaller boats and in the ocean of Seattle and San Diego got so car sick that we had to pull over to let him barf up his lunch.
Knew we were close to PV because the small towns that the free road go through now had stop lights, "topes" and "vibradores" (rows of short speed bumps that progressively get closer together to try to get people to slow down). Finally we popped out of the trees and just like that were in civilization again. Coming into the north end of town we had to cross the border of the state of Nayarit into Jalisco, then pass through Nuevo Vallarta, then into the PV going by all the new develpments of man-made islands and 40+ story hotels and condos. We passed by the marina there and saw our good buddy with the huuuuge private yacht with it's own helicopter and 80ft day cruiser that we saw in Maz just a week earlier.
Then over a bridge and into the centro with all cobblestone roads and older more traditional architecture. We were on the hunt for a cheap hotel with air conditioning close to the beach. We went in and talked to about 4 different places and decided on one where they ended up giving us 40% off the cheapest room's rate and gave us the nicest, most expensive rooms with AC and refridgerators and a great view of the ocean and sunset to boot. We took up our stuff, showered and rested our behinds for a little while til the sunset and time for dinner. The time happens to change an hour right when you cross the state border, so we lost an hour of the time we didn't even know to begin with, so we didn't end up eating til like 10pm. It seemed like the sun never moved in PV since we were just that much closer to the equator or something, so we were all thrown off for the next few days.
We had a really good dinner (boneless buffalo wings and all) and went back to the hotel for some much deserved sleep after being in the back of that truck for over 8 hours.
Monday the 2nd: Happy Birthday Kat!! Massages all around. Well, at least for Kat and Brad. That's how they spent their morning. Bri and Scott decided that they needed to go to the store to buy Bri's special contact solution so that she didn't go blind. Of course we ended up buying some fried chicken with beans and rice while at Mega and of course there is no better place to eat it than right in front of the supermarket with plastic utensils and the fresh bottle of hot sauce that had just been opened. That's right when Brad texted Scott and when Scott realized that he was all out of minutes on his phone when he responded to Brad's text asking a question and got no answer.
bay of PV
So we hopped back on the bus and met up with the newly relaxed kids enjoying some vodka sodas and cigarettes at the local beach bar. We all decided that we wanted to go to a little beach way out of town to get some sun and salt water. We got to a really small beach where tourists go to catch little pangas (water taxis) out to the little islands and further beaches that are not accessible by car. We grabbed some seats and watched the tide come in. Nothing too spectacular, but relaxation was the theme of the day. We all went back into town and took a short nap, got showered and dressed and went out to a really fancy and expensive dinner: It was Kat's birthday you know. Scott ordered a steak (naughty), Bri got the seafood pasta special, Kat got the filet and Brad got a stuffed chicken breast.
While waiting for the check, Scott, without the knowledge of anyone else, got up and asked for a little birthday song from the waiters. They were quite accomadating and brought out a little chocolate lava cake and sang two songs. And that was the incredible birthday celebration in which we could partake. Relaxing, no? Went back to the hotel and went to bed.
Tuesday the 3rd: This day we tried to locate some dolphins to swim with since Kat was really wanting to do that. We found the water park and learned that it was like $140 to swim with the encaged mammals for just a few minutes, so they decided that it was not worth it. So we went to find a guy that Brad knew about that builds wood sail boats in PV.
Brad basically just wanted to swap info and be able to communicate with the guy. We went first to the PV marina and finally found parking spot after driving around this entire city center they called a marina. While walking to the docks, not even out of the parking lot yet, we heard a really nice CRUUUUNCH!! This poor girl ran directly into the back fender of a truck that was parked badly. Not a scratch on her car, but the truck's fender was completely concave. So, we proceeded on to the docks looking for the wood boats. Everyone we asked about them seemed not to know anything about the boats, but they did know where the marina office was, so we went and asked them what's up and they sent us up to the Nuevo Vallarta marina.
AAAaaaah of course. And sure enough that's where the guy was. We found the owner of many wood boats right away and learned quickly that he really doesn't have too much going on there. He had one really nice boat on which he does charters so we checked it out, but the crew was really busy so we didn't ask any questions and just took off. We went back to the beach bar and sat out for a few hours having a few beers watching all the street vendors walk by with their arrays of goods. At first it was a little annoying, but progressively got funnier and funnier. We even ended up buying a little beer coozie. Brad got some silly bat on a wire thingie and a paddle with chickens on top with strings running down to a wooden ball, which when rotated makes the chickens pluck the paddle.
You know what I'm talking about, right? After like 4 hours on the beach we went back to the hotel. Scott took a nap then we left for dinner. Just us two went to a little taco stand out on the street. Goooooood food, yet a little fly-ie. $7 later both of us were stuffed. While we were walking to meet up with Brad and Kat where they were eating we got pulled into a small tequila store for some tasting. The guy working there started asking a bunch of questions and serving us thimbles of tequilas of all flavors. He wanted to sell us a time-share, but after learning that we are living in Maz, he quickly realized that there wasn't much chance of selling us anything (he did offer $250 just for hearing his schpeil).
We were leaving the next day anyway, so there really was no time. After the thimbles of tequila, we got to where Brad and Kat were eating and got there just in time to watch the pirate ship that does tours in PV shoot off its fireworks. It sets off the show at 9:00pm sharp every night. We watched the fireworks, they finished up their dinner and we went back to the hotel for bed.
Wednesday the 4th: We got up super early today to tackle another 8 hours in the back of the truck. With luck it was good and cloudy this morning and because of the landscape it was still dark as night at 7:00am. Crossing the small mountain range right off the coast, we found ourselves in some really thick fog. Literally in the clouds- the visibility was little to none and we thought it was raining, but it was really just the condensation on all the trees that we were directly under.
Thank goodness it was not raining with us two in the back. We made it all the way to the first toll before the sun was hardly up and that's where we traded drivers. Bri and I got in to drive and to really enjoy some good AC. The drive east was really nice. Lakes out on the horizon, much greener and more agave fields since we were in the state Jalisco. "Tequila" cannot be made anywhere else in the world but Jalisco, Mexico. Kind of like champagne. So therefore, lots of agave. When liquor is made with agave elsewhere, it is called something different like mezcal or raicilla. Taking the toll road the whole road to Guadalajara
made the trip pretty quick, much less than 8 hours at least.
if you look really close there's a hermit crab in this picture
We went through some good sized foot hills, then dropped back into a valley where Guadalajara came into the view. Greg had taken a night bus into Guad the night before and was there early this morning waiting for us to show up. He made his way all around the main square with the big cathedral and many other monuments. He also ended up finding a nice hotel for us to stay in. It was 420 pesos a night, 130 years old, and the toilets didn't really work but it was charming. We had seen on Sigur Ros' website that they were playing in Guadalajara on the night of the 5th, so we went on a hunt for the venue. After a long, hot search around centro for tickets, we decided to go back to our hotel and try to find info on the internet. Just then- Scott saw Jonis (the lead singer) getting his freakin shoes shined in the plaza!!!!!! The whole band walked up but no one seemed to know where the show was the next night.
We got a photo of their schedule and of Jonis. That evening we drank some tequila and squirt, hit a few bars, and tried the sandwich that Guadalajara is known for: torta ahogada (drowned sandwich). It's basically pork on a baguette covered in a tomato sauce. It was really delicious and they seemed to cost 25 pesos no matter where we were.
Thursday, June 5th: Day of the Show! Woke up a bit hungover after little sleep. Had breakfast in the plaza. Finally found the show location- a tent north of town with 2,000 capacity. People were waiting in line at noon and rumor had it that there might still be some tickets left. We found a hotel close to the train station, had some lunch and then headed to the show location and got in line. Our timing was perfect, because upon arriving we found a guy scalping some tickets for 400 pesos (less than box office price).
We bought them and didn't see another person with tickets to sell again. We stood in the hot sun in line from 3pm until the doors opened at 7pm and we finally were allowed to approch the stage at 7:30. We waited until the sun went down for the opening act. They were good but different. The crowd was getting impatient and being really discespectful. By the time we were almost in tears because our feet hurt so bad from standing for almost 7 hours straight, Sigur Ros went on. The show was absolutely amazing! The crowd's energy really turned around and it was a great show. Everyone had their cameras out taking photos and video of the entire show. Go to youtube and check out sigur ros guadalajara and I'm sure you'll see us there. We took a little hiatus from the center of the crowd to get some water and rest our feet while in line for the water a guy turned to Scott and asked if he was the one that was taking pictures of the band yesterday in the centro.
He sure was. The guy turned out to be hospitality for the band while in Guad. He is good friends with the promoter. What a job. We hung out in the back of the crowd for the rest of the show to take in everything. 200 peso cab ride home and straight to bed.
Friday, June 6th: Went shopping at a 3 story mall. Brad and Kat went crazy, because it's hard to find cute, inexpensive clothes in Mazatlan. They shopped for 3 hours straight and loaded up on stuff. We went to Chili's for lunch (Bri can't escape it) and it was just like a Chili's in the states. Rode home in the afternoon with Greg in the back of the truck with us. The drive was over 5 hours but it went pretty fast. It couldn't have been cheap since if seemed like we were stopping to pay tolls quite often.
mary jane check point