Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

1.16.10 — These are my notes from the Mexico trip with Jenn, Patty, and Shane in December of 2008.  They’re very lightly edited for clarity and comedy, but they’re essentially my raw daily iPhone notes.  I had some grand idea of writing a short book based on them, and I still might.  More likely I’ll just add some raving nonsense.  The trip wasn’t the lost weekend I’d fantasized about.  There was more fear and little loathing, but I’d brought a lot of that with me.  There was tons of love and crazy fun.  The overhead was a nightmare thanks to the snow and pet factors.
I’ve been sitting on this for over a year because I wanted to get the images done.  Which I have not done.  Because I hate them.  Trying to plow through them anyway.  Publishing my notes was an exercise to illicit interest and motivation from the rest of my brain.  It remains to be proven a success.  -c

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Sabado – arrived after 9, very tired, got room service and crashed.

Domingo – presentation, Josh was an asshole, villa del palmar flamingo was beautiful but small, spent the day on the beach drinking, bought a fishee and got earrings, sleepy time on bus.  Had a marginal dinner at the hotel and bought groceries, then hot tub and pool.

Lunes – breakfast buffet at hotel, took Centro to downtown, flea market. Looked at junk and was encouraged to buy it. Repeat. Bought tequila and got roped into another presentation, Had wonderful lunch and then more shopping on island, I’m getting tired by now. Back to the hotel for cold pool and hot tub.

Martes – presentation at Grand Mayan – glorious plastic place, great buffet breakfast, spent the day negotiating with Patty and the adorable Paola. Returned to hotel and laid on the beach until it got chilly just before sunset, sandwiches, then more pool/tub, Jenn is tired, up late drinking Damiana with P,S.

Miercoles – up early for city tour from La Leche (the milk.  it looks exactly like you think it does). Cavino was our sherpa. Warned us about all the tourist traps in town, then took us to see them all. We wisely stopped for street food (ceviche- I went back for two times) while Cavino sold jewelry. Saw the church of Guadalupe’s plastic Jesus, The Malecon, old town, and the fucking flea market. Again. Shane learned about deposits. Lost J&P, ran like a giant Celt and eventually found same. Continued on to the ass end of PV, for Tourist Trap drinks. It’s where they filmed Predator.  Well, no, it’s actually right *next* to that in the seriously swankier part.  No 160 peso lunch, thank you, we crave drink and levity. Saw a burro, and a seed fail. Had an Authentic Mexican Experience•. On to Don Crispin tourist distillery for tequilas and another burro. Bought booze that was almost not booze. There are no words to describe the smell of an agave pineapple decomposing in the tropical sun. Back to town for supper at Andale where we gave Jacinto’s ingles a workout with our picky americonish. We didn’t stay for the drag show, but there was a hell of a one.  Some of the stronger production value in old town, frankly.
After dinner, we walked norte thru gay town to a few more outdoor shops, out to the beach along Malecon, back up the island for one last round of mock haggling before jumping on a very full Centro. On board we met a Neew Yokur ra’ two, via “cwawfee”. Note to self-“cruises ah’ sow rushed”. Back to the hotel for pool, only J & S this time as P and I had the task of killing the Cafe. Grilled cheese followed, then a bit of reading and off to bed.

Jueves – we woke later and spent a lazy day drinking in the sun. With nothing to eat. At all. Got burned and dehydrated. What next? How about a booze cruise on the pirate party boat?! What should have been an irritatingly good time became The Voyage From Hell as I managed to toss my non-alcoholic drink into the festive plastic skull toilet early on. Seated in front of The Backstreet Boys, the party kicked up a notch with dinner below decks which, while excellent (cordon bleu for me) was too hot and cramped to stick with – in fact I was vommitty sweaty ill almost immediately. The madness drives me and Jenn back to the deck. Jenn took some time out to take the reins of sea sickness, and recovered just in time for the Aztec fuego ceremony. This inspired me to pay another visit to the skull god and offer what little chicken and noodles I’d managed to digest.  Things were getting good now.  The swashbuckleing finale went on (loudly.  god.  so loudly in my eyestem) without my participation – but it was damned impressive. The Backstreet Boys loved it. Then a bit more dancing. I’m fading fast. Jenn and I cannot wait to get off this boat. Bus the few blocks home with drunk amercans singing Feliz Navidad to tired, unimpressed Mexicans.  Open, but very polite and weirdly amusing, mockery.  Just icing on the cake of the day. Back to the room, ordered quesadillas (they know us now in room service.  we enjoy beans) and managed to keep them down. This day is finally over.

Viernes – I am tired of this vacation. Up late, light breakfast, took bus to Nuevo, Grand Mayan. Okay… now things are turning around.
The Grand Mayan is where rich Americans stay when they really want to feel like they’re in Mexico. The place is palacial, which is something considering the setting around it. We first hit the lazy river, a sushi boat buffet Made of People. The wave section was clearly a crowd favorite, but only from 1-3.  Fun level at break-even. I think this was where I got so totally sick of the word “mojito”. We perfected our high-speed landing techniques on the Mayan water slide. I wonder if they would have given up human sacrifice if they could have slid wildly down the sides of their pyramids on inner tubes.  Had a reasonable lunch at Samba. Shane’s burger pretty much put the ceviche to shame. I knew I’d ordered the wrong thing – by now I’m bloody sick of tortillas. After lunch, it was back to the river for another float, then on to the  beach in hopes of catching big waves and the eye of the parasail hombres. Sadly it was not to be, as that ship had only sailed until 3 and we were well into the 5 o’clock hour. The one damn thing I’d come to do… Fuck. So the kids played in the World Wide Wavepool for a bit while I moped on the playa and spent some time with my camera. Nice sunsets. but no clouds to speak of.  Kind of a dull scene.  Talked to a D300 shooter, nice guy. Collected the kids, who have been cavorting with foam like fish for many waves.  Changed, settled the bill and hit the streets looking for our bus home. Had a talk with Jenn about culture. Off the bus,  made a side trip to the (much nicer – remember this) Soriana Market for supplies, then S&P stopped for Gellato. Jenn and I talk more about culture, and the bits of it we can hardly stand much longer.  Breathe.  Back to Villa del Palmar for one last night. Jenn lays on the puzzlingly made-up couch, and I come out to the pool to write this.
Out on the beach, drunken Americans are boozing it up one more time before checking out of our plastic paradiso, shamefully hammered. They slur the words to Let It Snow. The pool is full of newcomers and tired veterans alike, trying to milk that last drop of decadence before the bell rings them back to their other fake realities back home. Will any of us truly wake from this dream? I have one more night to pretend I don’t care.  The kids go to bed, but I’m up.  I borrow Jenn’s brown dress and go to the beach.  I walk north about a mile.  I am exquisitely alone in a gigantic landscape of mountains and city lights.  No shoes.  Warm water.  Have a very intense meta moment.  I feel what it feels like to be in this skin in this world.

Sabado – up early after a sleepless night. Had grilled cheese for breaky and it gave me a tummy. I finally killed that blasted toilet. Take that! We packed up and stowed the gear, parked our bundas on the beach and waited for the parachute man to come.

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Puerto Vallarta is glistening below me in the mid day sun. The sounds of the noontime crowd and the waves fade as I climb into a light haze.  The Sierra Madres are my only other companion, stretching their arms around in every direction but west, where the sea meets the sky at a foggy line so far away. I can see groups of rays in the swirlls of turquoise and blue and green. The resorts below team with visible life, except for one.  The one I’m interested in.  An empty hull of an abandoned, or more likely never even finished, tropical paradise.  The slow, slender birds that cruise the shore are nesting there – life after people.  I’m alone here, with the city and the mountains and the sky.  And 600 vertical feet from the nearest human.

*  *  *

The boat turns west and then north again, towing me back to Villa del Palmar, to earth, to my friends, to the last leg of our Journey of Discovery.
Aeropuerto, I’m impatient and it shows when I snap at Jenn. I apologize.  Luckily the line at AA was short and we got an earlier flight. We try to resist 86 peso per slice pizza even though the smell has us aching for home.
On the plane we strike gold – emergency exit row with plenty of leg room and an empty third seat. I know at that moment that this is the most comfortable plane ride I will ever have. The sky is clear and bright, the mountains are beautiful, and there is plenty of interesting geography to study across northern Mexico. Learn more about rock formations near Monterey.  Astounding.  Sadly, the Rio Grande is under clouds so I don’t get to see the moment we repatriate. I get lots of pictures. Our layover in Dallas is unexpectedly short, so there is no time for the liesurely dinner I’d planned.  We rush to the one place that welcomes all Americans home with open McArms. Double Quarter Pounders have never tasted so good, but we won’t be loving them for long. Sadly our connecting flight was not so fortunate with row selection, as we were once again given the seats that would have caused Rosa Parks to start a movement. This was made worse by a strong headwind that added 40 minutes to the flight.
(Jenn – this flight is taking forever. Candy-apple-red is reflecting like the moon in front of me. Young and old Mexico sitting next to us. Guess which one is acting uncomfortable?! As we talk about home I feel the comfort of a relationship with a history.  And a story. Remember these tiny moments. There is much love tonight.)


The plane circles for an hour, and lands in a foot of snow.  The airframe lurches laterally in small jerks.  Not much, but deathly alarming enough.  The mind can easily conjure the plane sideways.  We stabilize, and the crowd goes wild. LOUD applause from all on board.  Jenn and I have a Moment.  Relief.  Almost off this damn plane.
It is December 20th, 2008.  Seattle is under many, many inches of snow.  As is the Jetta.  I’m wearing a hoodie and jeans and thin tennies.  Jennifer heroically de-snows the car, using only a towel.  DNA was right!  I warm up car.  We have a long, slow drive home over snow packed highways.  No troubles.

We arrive home to over a foot of snow.  Exhausted.  It takes an hour to get the car out of the road and up the driveway, with a lot of digging and heaving – leaving it in the road isn’t a safe option.  I cannot wait to get in bed.  It’s really early in the morning.

Jack is desperate.  Ivan looks irritated.  Something smells wrong.  Jack has urinated heavily on the bed. My side. Both cats are utterly miserable.  Everything must be stripped and washed.  The mattress has to dry out.  We can’t sleep in here tonight.  I begin crying.  Out to the couch.  Which has also been soaked.  Fuck. Everything.  I stay up all night doing laundry, Jenn sleeps on futon.  Begin to hallucinate.

The snow is falling heavily again.


~ by ChrissyOne on January 16, 2010.

2 Responses to “Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico”

  1. Damn girl, you didn’t get any pictures of the Backstreet Boys? lol Skinny Nick?

    • The name was metaphorical. I think I did get one blurry picture of these 4 frat guys that were loudly partying behind us, but that was an ugly scene all around, and my professionalism had long since slipped away. >.<

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