01/07/2006, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
I have been having a great time with Titima here. I managed to pick up a cold virus somewhere. Thank goodness for Titima's strong constitution she only had one down day fighting it off. I was still hacking and she was fancy free. Titima arrived on Christmas eve and I immediately whisked her off by bus to La Cruz on the north Banderas Bay. Philo's Bar was having a cruiser potluck where the highlight of the evening was Santa handing out gifts to some of the town children. Philo came down from the states five years ago. He stopped here, bought a bar and has been doing this each year except one year when he took off for the South Pacific only to get an offer he couldn't refuse to buy his boat by a French couple in Fiji. So he came back.
Great fun seeing the glee of the children.
Christmas day we met other cruisers and local gringos at the P.V. Walmart parking lot in the morning. Vera, a transplanted Washingtonian, has been here 50 years. She has dedicated here life to helping the poor here and is involved in the Children of the Dump organization. We came together to load deliver and handout 500 chickens, bags of rice and beans and clothing to the families that live in the local land fill. Poor dirty little kids living without much hope of better. No education, no medical care. I wanted to devote a day a week to help Vera while I am here but realize now that I won't be here that long to do much.
I brought Laule'a into Marina Vallarta on Dec 17 for 6 weeks to have an easy access place while Titima is here as well as a place to leave while I fly back to the states in Jan. Titima leaves on Jan 5 and I have a ticket to Oakland on Jan 10 returning Jan 24. I might return earlier because I have so much to do on the boat still.
I finally got boat insurance through a Dutch company. $2400 per year all the way to Thailand.
Titima and I have been exploring around to find some decent authentic local food. Hard to do in this tourist crazy scene. This week the numbers of international tourists have been matched by the Mexican tourists from Guadalajara and Mexico City. Today we were invited to a dinner at a small restaurant in the country by permanent resident cruiser gringos that I met through the VHF net. Delicious seafood cerviche and beers in a backyard setting. Horseback rides, donkeys, local kids and dogs wandering through. Concho, the owner, used to manage Marina Vallarta and his brother Eric is the port captain at Nuevo Vallarta where the Paradise Village Marina is located. Concho was too big hearted to want to continue putting up with the money grasping owners of the Marina and got out.
There are so many gringos down here interested in buying into the property scene. Some of the cruisers have sold their houses in the states and are impressed by the investment and living opportunities in the Mexican Riviera. Building is everywhere with beachfront property out of sight. The area is a natural hurricane hole with large mountains on the north and south protecting it. But the Mexican political and financial systems are primitive.
I am anxious to get going out of here but I am here until March. The sailing, hanging out and the seafood can't be beat. Not to go unmentioned, the whale watching is great.
I am recovering today from seeing Titima off back to Bangkok yesterday. I am still awestruck by her and it is a heart breaker to see her go. All the more impetuous to get this show rolling to the South Pacific.