My attempt at a trip report

Report on your Puerto Vallarta trip, hotel, restaurant, tour, etc.

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ellen
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My attempt at a trip report

Post by ellen » Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:55 pm

I have never done a trip report before but since people who were there during the invasion are getting so much flack for not posting, I will give it a whirl. Unlike Joyce, I don't keep a journal and 5 months of details are hard to remember and likely pretty boring!
I arrived October 17 by myself but my neighbours were already in residence so I certainly wasn't alone. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I bought a condo downtown, up the hill from Si Senor in February of 2003. There are only 6 units and the owners are for the most part all friends now. Between my arrival date and December 12, when I returned to Canada for Christmas, I had 3 friends come for a visit, all separately, so for 4 weeks in total I had company. The rest of the time I did my own thing. The experience is completely different from that of someone who stays in a resort. Condo living, especially when it's your own condo, is more like just being at home. You do the same things but in a better climate. I shopped, cooked, ate, read, watched tv, visited friends, attended some meetings, etc., etc. What I learned in the total 5 months I was there was that I love this place more than ever but that it has a side to it that you only see when you're there for awhile. There are just as many intrigues and even sort of scandals in PV as there are anywhere else. There is a hierarchy of society among the ex-pat community that is based on money, education, pedigree, address, etc. Thankfully, there are many, many people who are not interested in that sort of thing, so there is a group of friends for everyone. I would say, from my limited experience, that there are also certain organizations that are faintly elitist, while there are others that welcome all with open arms. There is heroism as well as pettiness, and altruism and selfishness live side by side just like in any other place in the world. This visit I became more entrenched in the life of an ex-pat and I can't wait to return. I started writing articles for the Guadalajara Reporter, thanks to Sue Fornoff from the All Vallarta Board, who became a good friend and introduced me to the editor of the GR. That gave me an introduction into the community which ended up with 3 of my articles being published, and even a little blurb about me in Vallarta Today, thanks to the very helpful and supportive friendship extended to me by local writer Twila Crawford.
In the whole 5 months I only spent 2 afternoons at the beach. I didn't parasail, get my hair braided, go on any boat excursions, take a canopy tour or any other kind of tour except the house tour. I went to the movies twice, to the children's shelter "El Refugio" 5 times, to 2 networking breakfasts at Banana Cantina, a hilarious and entertaining talk at Cornerstone Hospital by well-known hairdresser Len, a talk at the I.F.C. by cardiologist Dr. Jorge Chavez, a potluck dinner in Bucerias, the Santa Barbara Dinner Theater, a few art walks and to see Willie and Lobo. I joined the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and attended their weekend workshop in early February. In fact, my story about the workshop was the first article I had printed in the G.R. Also in attendance at this workshop were people from the writers groups in San Miguel de Allende and the Lake Chapala/Ajijic area. We all had a chance to talk at Saturday night's dinner at La Hacienda and they seemed to abhor the prices and traffic of Vallarta.
Among the restaurants I went to that I would recommend for various reasons and in no particular order were Bruce's Back Alley Bistro, Vitea, Julia's Tex-Mex Cantina, 4 E's in the Marina, Cafe Bohemio, Cafe Tizoc, La Esquina de los Caprichos, Encanto, Mariscos Polo, Le Bistro, River Cafe, El Arrayan, Picnic, Barcelona Tapas, Si Senor, The Lazy Lizard, Sandrina's in Bucerias, Tacon Marlyn, Vaca Grill, Pipis, Mariscos Malecon and Tacos Mucino, and of course, there were many more little places where we dropped in and had a decent meal but can't remember. The food and ambiance are always consistent at CyC's, too and this became our Friday night and sometimes Saturday night gathering place for an hour or 2. We went to Starbucks once and found it very expensive but, all in all, like the Peninsula Plaza. Probably the highlights of our trip were the many times we took the bus to Bucerias on a Sunday to see Bubba and the Bottomfeeders and have dinner at El Pescador. We also enjoyed the 2 times we saw the Redneck Mothers at Que! Pasa. Another activity I enjoyed was taking the bus to Bucerias twice a month on Thursdays to attend meetings of the local chapter of an organization I have belonged to for 30 years, Beta Sigma Phi. Meeting the wonderul Phillipa Vernon-Powell who runs New Life In Mexico was an honour and I look forward to being able to help her in some small way in the future. She works with boys who have been abused and unbelievably mistreated and gets them off the streets and gets them psychiatric, medical and dental care as well as schooling.
One week Dave and I rented a little pickup truck and drove to the Guadalajara area, stopping in Compostela for lunch. We liked the drive north through small towns but found it fairly tedious once we got on the toll road and would not look forward to doing it again. We stayed in a B&B in Tlaquepaque, which we loved. We shopped in the downtown area of Tlaquepaque, which is a pedestrians only area where former haciendas and residences have been turned into shops and restaurants. We also spent an afternoon in the market town of Tonala but since we weren't looking for bric-a-brac, we didn't like it as much. The purpose of our trip was to find 2 chairs of the Equipale style for our livingroom. We finally found the town 50 minutes or so outside Guadalajara where they make them. Of course, we got "lost" on the way there so it actually took us much longer than the 50 minutes the internet told us it would take. One of the stores there made the chairs to our specifications in 3 hours while we hung around town, napping on park benches in the Zocalo, and trying to find other ways to pass the time in a very small Mexican town. Thank goodness for internet cafes. The chairs cost us US$47.00 each and were exactly what we wanted. Staying at the same B&B were some couples who have places in Manzanillo and when we told them we had to come to Guadalajara to find the chairs because they are several hundred dollars in P.V., their response was something like, "what do you expect - everyone knows how expensive PV is".
It was great to meet Joyce and Fred and to "live" with her for the 7 weeks she was renting a condo in our building. She fit right in and was a great addition to Condo Ibiza. I also made another wonderful friend who posts here sometimes, Maureen Power (aka mpower), who teaches Spanish at the I.F.C. She and I met at a luncheon at Vaca Grill in early December and felt like we had known each other for years after just an hour. The many times I spent in her company were awesome. We had a dinner party on December 29th, after returning there on December 27 from Christmas at home, and Maureen and her husband Francisco joined us along with the aforementioned Sue Fornoff and her husband Harold Sokelove. I thought it was quite ironic that I was so organized for once and set the dinner table on the open-air terrace an hour or 2 before our guests were expected. It started pouring down rain 15 or 20 minutes before anyone arrived. Serves me right! Luckily, we have a covered palapa area too, so Dave and I just ran out and moved everything to the table there. It was raining but still warm and pleasant and it didn't spoil anything.
In the course of our visit we also met several people from this board whose company we enjoyed so much - Fred and Joyce (freddiep and travelbug), Mogens, Des and Sherry (northmb), Tom and Lorrie (tojo and lojo), Mike and Nadine (chi-mike), Millicent (BellaLuna), Helen (helenf), Sylvia and Mark (Winnipeg gal) and Jim and Laurie (smitty). If I've forgotten anyone, I'm sorry. Maybe next year I'll keep a journal!
Last edited by ellen on Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by tandr2 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:26 pm

Awesome job Ellen! Enjoyed reading your report. One day we will be able to live there for longer than a week or two... maybe once the kids are grown and on their own. :)

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Post by palapa_gal » Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:30 pm

What a great first trip report and not boring at all. Sounds like you have made some terrific friends and had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing.

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trip report

Post by mshuckleberrys » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:43 pm

Hi Ellen, Good one!!!! Norma

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Post by travelbug_jp » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:53 pm

Ellen I really enjoyed reading your trip report and it most certainly was not boring. It is so well written that it doesn't surprise me that you are freelancing for the GR. I especially appreciate that you were so honest and unbiased about what your experiences were with the ex-pat community.
I'm sure when you get back there you will pick right up where you left off. Hopefully I'll be able to join you again!

Joyce

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ellen
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Post by ellen » Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:06 pm

travelbug_jp wrote:Ellen I really enjoyed reading your trip report and it most certainly was not boring. It is so well written that it doesn't surprise me that you are freelancing for the GR. I especially appreciate that you were so honest and unbiased about what your experiences were with the ex-pat community.
I'm sure when you get back there you will pick right up where you left off. Hopefully I'll be able to join you again!

Joyce
Thank you, Joyce. And what do you mean, "hopefully" you'll be able to join us again? I thought it was a sure thing!

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Post by michelle/tyler » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:33 pm

just what the doctor ordered for a dark and dreary day in manitoba thanks ellen I really enjoyed it.

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Post by travelbug_jp » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:51 pm

Joyce[/quote]

Thank you, Joyce. And what do you mean, "hopefully" you'll be able to join us again? I thought it was a sure thing![/quote]

Well it is, I just haven't told Fred yet! Ooops, I guess I just did :?

Joyce

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ellen
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Post by ellen » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:08 pm

travelbug_jp wrote:Joyce
Thank you, Joyce. And what do you mean, "hopefully" you'll be able to join us again? I thought it was a sure thing![/quote]

Well it is, I just haven't told Fred yet! Ooops, I guess I just did :?

Joyce[/quote]

Sorry if I let a cat out a bag.......

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Post by Plus4 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:43 pm

Good report ellen .....I always enjoyed your posts when you popped in to say hola from PV.
Congrats on getting your articles published..nice of Sue to help you out...
I agree with Lori ...looks like you have made some terrific friends...
In Dec. I hope we can meet you and your hubby... :)
Thanks for taking the time to share your vacation in PV with us .

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Ellen's Report

Post by smitty » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:11 pm

I loved reading your report Ellen . :)

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Post by ellen » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:39 am

Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I'm glad you liked the trip report and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the coming years.

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Post by Ann » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:51 am

Great report.

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Post by sjl330 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:36 pm

Wonderful report Ellen. I love reading trip reports. I just wish I could write more of them, lol. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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Awesome read!!!

Post by DELETED » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:11 pm

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ellen
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Re: Awesome read!!!

Post by ellen » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:37 pm

mexibeach wrote:What an excellent trip report Ellen!!! and congrats on your new freelance "career" :D Of course you know how much I love reading about your travels and/or life in PV. Having had a small taste of condo life down there, I hear ya about how different (read better) it is compared to the AI hotels/resorts. I cannot wait to spend 4-5 mos down there with hubby. Meanwhile, we continue with our journies north of PV on our yearly vacations. Some of my most favorite memories or from our travels to the smaller towns/villages north of PV - it is just amazing meeting the locals and ex-pats in these places and sharing life experiences. Nothing beats those vacations for me!!!

So now... when do you return to PV? 8)
Thanks, Bretta. I'm not sure when I will be returning. I had originally planned to do the same as last year - October + but now we are planning another visit to the UK in early October to meet up with our son and daughter-in-law, who are going over for a wedding. Our son wants to meet his new nephew, who is to be born next week. We will probably all meet at our daughter's house. Then said daughter wants to come home for November and stay until Christmas. Since she lives in England and I don't see her often I am questioning the wisdom of going to Mexico during her trip.

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Post by Winnipeg gal 1 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:18 pm

What a great report.I also looked forward to reading all your little mini reports.Thanks for sharing your adventures. :)

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Post by lanhawk » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:43 am

Interesting read, definitely a different perspective, than my 10 day "tourist" view.

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Re: Awesome read!!!

Post by DELETED » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:11 pm

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