December 12, 2006

Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

Hi Everyone!

We've been remiss at sending out an update as we've been so busy since we arrived here in Puerto Vallarta on November 14th.

The passage from Cabo San Lucas was quite uneventful. We cast off at 11 AM on Nov 12th, filled up at the fuel dock and headed out.

The remains of a tropical storm had left unsettled weather along our route, but nothing worrisome. We had no winds to speak of, with a few scattered rain clouds with distant thunder and lightning. Seas weren't too bad either. The second day all that cleared out. Unlike two years ago, we didn't have enough wind to sail so we had to motor sail the whole way.

We arrived in Paradise Village at 8 AM on the Nov 14th and pulled right into our assigned slip, E-44. This is way out at the end of the Resort and Marina (which ends at E-60). This is so far out, that locally it's referred to as "Tepic", after a town that's about 100 miles North of here.

It's actually quite pleasant down here - It's well protected, quiet, with no surge from the harbor entrance. The only disadvantages are that it's a quarter mile or more walk up the dock to the Yacht Club and the Cable TV signal mostly poops out before it get's here. We only get about a dozen, snowy channels of the 70 or so available (this is supposed to be fixed soon).

It is a good place to spot the alligators while sitting on the boat or exploring the canals beyond our dock. The mangrove trees make it look like a jungle, interspersed with lovely homes.

What is really eerie is going up the canal at night to to the "Fajita Republic" restaurant. It is totally dark except for maybe a distant light until reaching the restaurant. Just up from a dilapidated dock is the open air rustic dinning deck strung with cords of welcoming hanging lights. Good food and interesting ambiance.

The first week here was consumed with errands, boat chores and catching up with friends that we haven't seen in a while. Then off on Nov 20th, by plane, to Harrisburg PA to spend Thanksgiving with Mary's family. We had a great time visiting the family and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The time went too fast though and soon we found ourselves back in PV.

Upon our return on Tuesday the November 28th, we joined Alice's Spanish class over at Estudio Cafe. We took the first 6 (of 10) lessons from her 2 years ago and were delighted to find that they were up to lesson 6 when we were able to rejoin. We've not missed a one since. The 10th and final lesson of her beginner series is tomorrow, Dec 13th.

Before we left for Thanksgiving, we were already organizing a trip to El Eden for a canopy tour on Nov 30th: Flying through the tree tops over a river on zip lines. So many other friends wanted to come too that we ended up with a group of 20. We had a blast zipping, eating and then sipping tequila at a local distillery. This was constructed using the old site of Schwarzenegger's Terminator movie.

The following Saturday, Dec 2nd, was the Chili Cook-off, one of our favorite events. We joined the team organized by Heidi and John on Raven. We did most of the cooking as Heidi was busy coordinating the decorations too. The team made a pirate ship out of cardboard as the team theme was "Queen Anne's Revenge - Blackbeard's favorite Chili". We re-used our pirate costumes that we had onboard for the event. I guess we were quite a site. Some of the local Mexicans were asking to pose with Bill and I and have their picture taken.

It was a great success! The team won both for best decoration and best Chili! Mary is already thinking of a possible theme for next year.

The following week we relaxed as Bill had come down with a scratchy throat. That means Bill on the computer and Mary making jewelry.

Last Saturday Nov 11th, we went over to the El Farol Restaurant in Jarretaderas (the village about 2 miles from here) with Anne and Charlie from Sunseeker to enjoy a classic Mexican holiday dish: Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce) see http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/000114print.php for a picture and recipe. It was quite delicious!

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is today, the 12th of December. The celebration of her day started on the Dec 1st and is continuing thru today.

There have been parades every day in the evening with floats, music, great costumes, dancing, and the locals families marching with candles. Plus all along the parade route to the church are street vendors selling all sorts of foods that we love to sample.

Hopefully we can get some of our pictures posted soon!

Warmest Regards to all for a Happy Holidays!

Bill and Mary

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