Puerto Vallarta – A Nice Break From Summer

Some of you may know this, others won’t, many won’t care, and some are now simply confused – but I am currently in Zacatecas, Mexico. As luck would have it, when informed of my decision to quit my job in favour of one just down the street, my boss developed a rather dim view of continuing my employment for another month. As a result, 3 1/2 weeks were to be my oyster. And, thanks to Jamie finding me a cheap flight, Mexico became the clam of choice. Um, just an expression, Layne.

Anyway, my system of e-mailing worked out so well last time, in lieu of a journal, that I thought I’d give it a shot again, albeit on a much smaller scale (2 weeks). So here goes…

After spending Saturday night out drinking with Faizan and friends in Calgary, my trip to the airport, flight, and landing in Puerto Vallarta all went off without a hitch, surprisingly enough. Getting in a 12:30am made things a little trickier, but I actually still had time to make a quick tour of the bar scene after tracking down a hotel room. The next day was spent on the beach sun tanning and fending off the advances of hordes of touts and one old broad who claimed every one of her tattoos was done at a different Grateful Dead concert, always while on acid, of course. With her unbelievable collection of wrinkles (in a string bikini) she resembled a 2-week old balloon with the air let out.

It doesn’t take long to notice that Puerto Vallarta is hugely popular with the gay male community. They basically have their own beach, Blue Chairs Beach, which turns out to be surprisingly lacking in speedos, gold chains and pillow fights. I know this because, preoccupied with my flight from Grandma Deadhead, it took me several minutes to notice the distinctive baby-blue shade of my recliner. I calmly, but briskly, headed back in the direction of the obviously more heterosexual white chairs, looking every inch the well-meaning liberal battling with some residual homophobia (I’m cool with it on TV, just not entirely comfortable with it oiled up next to me, looking like I’m on the make or something).

The following day I went snorkeling at Los Arcos, a couple tiny little offshore islands (rocks, really) about 20km south of Puerto Vallarta. Snorkel trips with dive shops cost about $US50. Instead, I took the bus for 4 pesos and swam out about a hundred yards to where the dive boats were anchored (mind you, I did scrape my feet up pretty good on the rocks). I don’t know about the diving, but the snorkeling was pretty murky and mediocre. I soon decided to head back to town and the beach, where I managed to get expelled from some hotel lounge chairs. I felt both trashy and morally superior at the same time. Go figure.

All in all, I decided that two days was long enough for a first go at Puerto Vallarta and that it was time to move inland to Guadalajara. Due, in varying parts, to a late-sleeping bus agent, another who spoke only Spanish, an ill-advised lunch stop, and a healthy dose of poor planning, I stumbled out onto the bus station tarmac just in time to wave adios to the back of the bus I should have been on. Frustrating, although I ended up just waiting another hour and using the same ticket so it was no big deal. Of course, by this time I really had to go to the bathroom, but the public can had a 2-peso charge (about $0.30) and all I had was a ridiculously large 200-peso bill (more horrible planning). Ironically, I had just given my last 2 1/2 pesos to a guy who got on our bus a few blocks before the station to sing and play guitar. I spent the next while shuttling from shop to shop breaking my money down into ever-smaller increments through the purchase of several bland and useless snack treats, until, finally, I could afford to urinate publicly. On the plus side, the wait just flew by.

Well, I think that’s enough for today. I’ll fill you in on Guadalajara and my trip to Zacatecas sometime this weekend, hopefully. See you all soon.

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