Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three Days in a Row

Some people might get bored but three (and before I check out tomorrow, and a half) days of sitting by the pool in 80 degree weather reading fluff novels and eating tacos is a great way to spend some time. It's the same M.O. (exactly) as last year, but when you've figured out what you like, variation is overrated.

I really think he's going to miss me
wedding on the beach this evening

Friday, January 25, 2013


three shades of blue: sky - sea - pool
I realize I'm going on about this far more than the suject warrants, but I really don't care for corn tortillas (unless they're fried). They get soggy and fall apart, and they're just too... corn-y. So my triumph last night when I pulled a packet of flour tortillas out of my bag just as the taco-cart guy was going to run off to buy tortillas, corn, no doubt, to make my dinner, turned out to be more than a fluke when today at the pool I ordered fajitas (with flour tortillas) and the nice señorita told me the kitchen was out of flour tortillas. No problem, I told her, I have some in my room.

I went back to the same taco-cart guy for dinner later, he remembered me and had stocked up.

Taco Time

I have now mastered taking the bus in two languages,* the first of course being Icelandic This resort no longer offers a shuttle into town so the options are a $10-taxi ride or the bus for seventy cents.  Being in dire need of tacos and not wanted to add $20 to the bill, I opted for the bus today. The stop is across the street from the hotel and I was surprised to find that it was more than half filled with gringos going into town from the various resorts on the coast. Everything in town looked familiar from last year and I was sure I would be able to re-find the tortillaria at which I'd had so much success buying flour tortillas last year, but even though I focused on where I was going and what turns I was taking, my deficient sense of direction kicked in and I couldn't find the tortilla factory and got mildly lost for about five minutes. Flour tortillas were a must-find for the day since taco-cart tacos were a must-eat, and most of the carts only have corn tortillas, and luckily they had them at the Mexican 7 Eleven I walked into (it's actually called XOXO and there's one on half the street corners, but Mexican 7 Eleven is as apt a description as any). I got some yogurt for tomorrow so I don't have to spend $17 on eggs at the hotel restaurant again, milk for my coffee (which was lukewarm and weak at the restaurant this morning; luckily I brought some Starbucks instant singles to have in my room - say what you want about Starbucks, those packets of instant are great), and the vital flour tortillas. The first couple of carts I stopped at didn't have carnitas (although I don't think pork is called that here), and by the third one I was tired of walking around so I switched to pollo and the guy was going to make them for me but first said "uno momento" and something about "tortillas" and made to run off, and I was able to put together that he didn't have any tortillas and was going to go get some, but luckily I had a whole package on me. So I gave him the tortillas, he made me some muy delicioso tacos, I got back on the bus and got dropped off right in front of the hotel.

*Full disclosure: I didn't actually have to speak Spanish beyond "señorand pointing out the door while smiling at the bus driver, but still.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Same Time Next Year*

This could have been the view from my room

It was not an auspicious start to my re-vacation here but all is well now. Getting through immigration at the Puerto Vallarta airport took almost an hour; I shared a cab with a slightly crazy woman from Los Angeles who had packed a microwave in one of her suitcases (she lives here part time); and when I got to the resort, my room wasn't ready or there was an issue - whatever it was, I was in the lobby for a good 30 minutes before I had a key and was being escorted by Jose to my room. I knew something was amiss when we got into the elevator in the main building instead of heading toward the building near the pool which is where I stayed last year. We took the elevator up, then across the sky bridge to the residence tower (is there a hotel anywhere in Mexico that isn't also a timeshare property?). We got part way up when Jose asked me to wait while he got a golf cart. He returned, did an eight-point turn in a very large golf cart, and we continued up the hill. Up, up, up, and then up some more. I saw a sign that said "golf carts only beyond this point" which I found troubling because a person should always be able to escape by foot. I was getting concerned and asked Jose where we were going and he said my room was in the new tower (which was under construction last year when I was here). I told him it seemed a long way from the pool and the main building and he said it was, but there was another pool near my room. I told him I'd really prefer to be where I was last year and he said he would find out if they could give me a different room. When we got where we were going, the view was SPECTACULAR and I wondered if I was making a mistake in my plan to raise hell until I got the room that I wanted, but the area was really isolated and there wasn't another soul around. I like my solitude but this was almost creepy. I told Jose I really didn't want to stay up in the hills but I'd like to see the room - which was probably a mistake because it was gorgeous. Brand new, beautifully decorated in super-modern white, silver, burgundy, and dark wood. The bathroom was the entire length of the bedroom and sitting area and had a white oval tub on a bed of pebbles overlooking a wide expanse of the bay. There was a balcony with a hammock and a lounge chair - I'd never have to leave my room (but if I wanted to, I just had to make a call and someone would come and fetch me in a golf cart). But it felt weird to be up there all by myself, so we motored on back down the hill, with Jose talking into his secret-service-type-phone, trying to find me another room. When we got back down to the lobby, I told the woman at reception that I didn't want to be so far from the rest of the resort, that I appreciated how lovely the room they had given me was (it was in fact an upgrade to a junior suite) but that I didn't want to stay up there. She told me that all the deluxe rooms which is what I had booked were full in the main building but she could put me in a honeymoon suite for an additional $80 a day. I told her I didn't want to pay any more than what I had booked, and suggested very politely that she should give me the honeymoon suite (jacuzzi on the balcony) for the same price. She said she couldn't do that and I kept pushing ("this is my second time here, I came here last year and returned because I liked it so much..." yadda, yadda, yadda) and I think I almost had her but instead, she bumped someone else who had a deluxe room booked but who hadn't checked in yet to the hilltop suite, and gave me the deluxe, which when I finally got there, looked exactly like the room I stayed in last year, and was almost shabby (not really) in comparison to the suite I had just given up.

By then I was tired and slightly buzzed from the ridiculously potent margarita I had while waiting for them to find me another room so I unpacked, took a shower, turned on the TV and watched Li Na upset Maria Sharapova in the semi-final round of the Australian Open.

*Re: the title of this post, I love this movie and I love the sappy song that plays throughout it, sung by Johnny Matthis and Jane Olivor, but composed by Marvin Hamlisch who was truly one of the greats. The movie version of the song is too sappy to post here, but here's Mr. H playing it on the piano