30 June 2014

Back in Puerto Vallarta

It’s been way too long, but I have finally made it back outside the confines of California and right into the heat of the tropics. Within minutes of arriving, I felt a huge rush of joy. I suppose it’s the combination of the climate - hot and muggy; the people – Mexican; and the grand adventure of it all.
Since the minute I stepped off the plane and asked the guy at the gate who won the Mexico/Netherlands match, it’s been a non-stop adventure of little bits of happiness, one after another. My Spanish is good enough to engage anyone in a conversation and believe me, I talk to everyone. Sometimes I stop and marvel at how this once, painfully shy little girl, turned into such a conversationalist. I chatted with the taxi driver who hopes to do a chef’s course. I talked to the gentleman selling crafts, the proceeds of which will go to help various charitable organizations. There were conversations with the folks at the produce market to make sure the tropical fruits I was buying were ready to eat. And the man on the park bench, five month old kitten at his side, who told me the kitty belonged to no one and I was welcome to take it home.  

I should back up and say that hearing the results of the World Cup match, in which Mexico lost, is not on the list of things to be happy about. One of the main reasons I am here is because I couldn’t bear watching another World Cup in the US. Having said that, I must say that I am thrilled to see the excitement that is ringing around Team USA and the World Cup 2014 in general. However, it’s never quite as crazy and wonderful as it is in the rest of the world. Now that Mexico is out of the running, I don’t know how the rest of the Cup will be commemorated, but I will find out.
It’s been four years since I was last in Puerto Vallarta and I’m interested to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. I easily found the produce market, the grilled chicken market, and the fresh tortilla factory. Sadly, the local, family owned Rizo supermarket is no longer around. There are plenty of mini-marts nearby where I can get yogurt and juice, and fresh fruits and vegetables are just up the street, but I really wish Rizo were there.

I had heard that the Malecon, the walkway along the beautiful Bay of Banderas, had been partly closed to traffic. That sounded like a fantastic idea, and today I was up early to take a walk along its length in the grey, morning light. I have no idea why, but it just felt wrong. All along the Malecon there are beautiful brass sculptures. I especially love the alien-creature looking ones. I have no idea why the lack of street, that is now a walkway, should change the feel of the artwork. Perhaps it is because there had been a one or two foot drop down to the street from the Malecon, and now it is all filled in. I felt like the sculptures couldn’t breathe.  Maybe it was the lack of sunshine. Maybe I just have to get used to it. Maybe I’ll figure out why it doesn’t look right.

Right now I am listening to birds chirp in the trees outside my windows. The geckos in my room are quiet for the moment, but they’ve been talking to me since I arrived.  I’ve seen white herons and iguanas, and a squirrel that has a monkey tail.  I’m keeping my eye out for parrots.
The smell of all those delicious fresh fruits – guava, passion fruit, pineapple and others, are beckoning me to dig in. Life is definitely good!