Friday, January 9, 2009
Viaje a Vallarta Viejo
We just got back from a short "weekend" trip in Puerto Vallarta with Erica and Fred. We stayed in Old Vallarta this time, an area of PV a good walk south of the main Señor Frog's/Hard Rock Café tourist district.
Old Vallarta - Vallarta Viejo - isn't devoid of tourists, of course, but it does have a smaller, quirkier feel than its northern cousin. There are used-paperback bookstores and little coffee shops with baked goods on more than one street corner. A wide range of restaurants, most with enterprising guitarists strolling in and out offering diners a song or two, light up the streets in the evenings. We took advantage of the opportunity to not only get some good Pacific Ocean seafood but some hard-to-find-in-Guadalajara American-style hamburgers and pizza, too.
At night we stayed in a small, semi-budget hotel with a spacious rooftop terrace overlooking the Playa de los Muertos (the Beach of the Dead, and no, I don't know why it's called that - I'm afraid to ask). Somehow, despite being across the street from the beach, we ended up with an ocean view (!) from our balcony.
(Above: Actual view from our hotel balcony. Two bedrooms. Ocean view. Less than US $60/night. I love Mexico.)
Also during our trip: After investigating in the local tourist office and stopping a few locals on the street, Chris and I finally found a rosca de reyes in a grocery store near our hotel, and so succeeded in our goal of having the Mexican version of king cake for the Dia de Reyes on Tuesday.
(Above: Life-size sand sculptures of the Magi making their way to Jesus.)
Truth be told, though, we spent most of our time sprawled out on the sandy beach: soaking up the sun, eating shrimp-on-a-stick from strolling vendors, whale-watching (Fred, with his eagle-eyes, actually spotted leaping humpback whales from the shore; in contrast, I always seem to look up after everyone has pointed excitedly and catch, sigh, only the distinctive whale-tail heading back into the water), and doing lots and lots of reading.
Tomorrow, for Erica and Fred's last day, we're going to try and head to Tequila, where they produce, well, I think you know what. Oh, Jalisco, your wonders never cease...