The original plan was for me to catch a bus into Bucerias and have Shannon and Linda meet me there. As I was getting ready, the idea of sweating myself out walking into town and waiting an indeterminate amount of time for the Compostela bus began losing its appeal. I decided on a whim to give Eduardo a call on the off chance he was free to give me a ride up to their hotel. He had a few things to finish up first but was over within a half hour and we took off for Rancho Banderas. We were stuck behind an oversized bulldozer on a flatbed truck and the drive seemed to take forever.
Shannon and Linda were there outside the hotel waiting. I hopped in the car we wound our way down the road through La Cruz and into Bucerias. We did a quick drive by of the hotel they are moving to for their last night on Saturday. Nice looking spot right on the water of Banderas Bay. From there, we cruised over to Estaciones to stop by mechanic Steve’s shop to see if he could find a replacement for the broken tail light on the rental car. Steve was able to locate one and said it would be delivered by early afternoon. We continued on to PV figuring to return on the way back and get it installed.
We arrived in Puerto Vallarta ready for lunch and did a few circuits driving around looking for a parking spot. After a bit of touring about the city, we opted to park in the underground lot by the malecon. I told Shannon to bring the validation card so we can pay for our parking as we walk back into the garage at the end of the day.
We strolled along the malecon dodging touts and taking in the beautiful views and interesting sights along the walking promenade. I bought myself a toy, one of the flying lucha libre dudes that suspends in the air on a little parachute. The ocean was varying shades of greens and blues shimmering in the background. We passed by sand castle artists, bronze statues and the flying Indians climbing up their pole getting ready to spin to the earth. Hunger was driving us more than the desire to watch their performance so we kept walking looking to find the right restaurant to have lunch.
We looked at a few dining establishments then backtracked to one that seemed to fill the bill with a view of the water and the passing parade of people on the malecon. The Cervezeria Union I think it was called. The food was good and the company even better. Especially after getting a few bites of food in our bellies. I felt like the snickers commercials where a few bites transformed me from the axe murderer back into the Brady bunch guy. Shannon’s word for it is ‘hangry’. After some oysters, calamari, and main dishes, we were ready to continue our wandering along the waterfront.
We did some shopping. Both Linda and I were interested in the colorful Huichol bead art and found a store full of cool art a few blocks down the boulevard. Linda bought a cool iguana and I finally took the leap and purchased a beaded jaguar head to go with the painted wooden ones I’ve picked up traveling through Oaxaca. The clerk who helped us explained all of the Huichol symbolism behind the patterns in the designs.
The arches near the park were draped in flags from around the world, providing them with color and an appearance of movement. Tourists were lining up to take photos standing in front of the large letters spelling out Puerto Vallarta on the boardwalk.
We crossed over to the park then visited the cathedral. We went inside and sat quietly in a pew each getting lost in our own inner spaces. It was a peaceful place and prayers went out to Pete.
Back outside, we dodged traffic and walked down the busy road so I could find a consultoria and have a doctor look at my tick bite. I removed the tick Sunday and the spot has been hard like a pebble under the skin. This morning it had turned red and looked a little funky. The nurse said it was normal sometimes to be this way. She said to watch for fever or infection and gave a prescription for an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medicine.
We walked back to the parking lot and uh-oh, we couldn’t find the parking ticket. Searched and searched to no avail. We went back and forth with the girl, but in the end we had to show our ids and registration and pay an overage fee for not having the time stamped card. Their big concern is letting someone drive off with a car that isn’t theirs (that and getting as much cash out of you as they can). We pulled out into the rattling chorus of buses, taxis and general lunacy that is downtown driving. Shannon did a good job negotiating the afternoon traffic as we rumbled across the cobblestone streets.
We made it back to Bucerias shortly after five and Steve was there waiting with our part. He quickly installed the new tail light assembly and it was as good as new. We thanked him and hurried back to the captive dogs to let them out for a bathroom break. Said goodbye to my friends then took the grateful hounds for a tour around the neighborhood. As I was exiting the grounds, the nuns who are staying in the bungalow next to the entrance were standing outside waiting for one of their friends. I said hello and they said they were heading to mass. I asked them to pray for Pete so they practiced pronouncing Ma-ho-ney and promised to put in a word for him.
When I got back from the walk, I grabbed my goggles and water camera and swam out to the reef. Water felt awesome and there are very few people on the beach. Took some more test shots trying for fish among the rocks. As I was coming in, a fishing boat was separating all of the fish from the net and sorting them out.
The family from the room below me was packing up as I passed by. I talked to the father for a few minutes. They are from far away Aguascalientes and tomorrow they load up the Suburban and head back up. I went up and Facetimed PJ, fed the dogs and myself then rested up admiring my new jaguar head hanging on the wall.