Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring has arrived on Yukon Street

The last few days we've felt the arrival of spring, with more light, warmth and sunshine. In the garden cheery primroses, crocuses and tiny daffodils are popping up.

Yesterday all the kids from the apartment across the street tumbled out onto the sidewalk and into the park to play.

The park's looking good with the flowering cherry trees and green grass. It's looking up here on Yukon Street.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A turtle treat

Puerto Vallarta gave me a last little goodbye surprise yesterday morning as I was walking the beach before we headed off for the trip home. I almost stepped on them as I walked, but happened to see what looked like scaly baby birds emerging from the sand. Looking closer I saw that it was two tiny turtles that had just hatched and were crawling out of a hole.

I called to a couple of Mexican women on the beach and they came over and one started digging the rest of them out while the other went to get someone who would take care of the babies. It seems that the usual procedure is to keep them in together and then release them into the water at nighttime when there are fewer predators.

 By the time the experts came there was quite a crowd of people watching more and more sand covered hatchlings emerge. I counted 29 at one point. Sadly some people were picking them up, which seemed wrong to me.

The guys who came to help told us not to touch them at all. And in fact I watched them spend quite a bit of time washing their hands with sand before they proceeded to dig out the rest of the brood. Apparently there are often as many as 80 babies hatched at once.

They were fully formed complete with scales on their fins and around their necks and shells that hardened up quite quickly. But they were pretty small, only about 3 inches long. Their colour was a pale greyish sandy tone, probably protective colouration.

Apparently these are the type that grow to be the large sea turtles that look like this and weigh up to 160 pounds. But only a small number of these babies will ever make it to adulthood because they are vulnerable to both birds and sea creatures.

I loved this little glimpse of nature's work. What a miraculous thing to see!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A glimpse of beach and art in PV

The very first time I was in Puerto Vallarta I saw these arches down in the centre of town. That was in 1974 and PV was a much smaller place. Some of the spots remain, like Los Arcos Hotel and Daquiri Dick's where I recall swimming in the warm water and loving it.

I still love it. I love the creamy surf that floats up on the smooth sand. Jan and I have spent at least half our time here at the beach.

The rest of the time has been spent exploring the galleries in the old town....

Today Jan bought a painting, not this one and not in this gallery, but it's very Mexican and gorgeous.

Yesterday we took a catamaran out to the Marietta Islands about 24 kilometers from the marina. They are an ecological preserve so you can only go ashore at one small beach. It's home to many brown and blue-footed boobies plus other sea birds.

We had the chance to snorkel or kayak there. We chose snorkeling. Jan even managed to do it with her wrist brace on.

I managed to get a couple of jellyfish stings but it didn't spoil the day. the last part of the trip involved swimming under a stone arch into a hidden beach, which was quite spectacular.  Of course the tiny beach was crowded with people from several tour boats so it wasn't as hidden and private as we thought it might be. Still, a peak experience.

Here are the blue-footed boobies perching on a float and flying by. 

Two last photos from the day--me at the bow of the boat and the sunset over the swimming pool at our hotel.

Tomorrow we fly back to Victoria, somewhat tanned and very relaxed. A week's getaway at this time of year is a nice way to get through early February.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ups and downs of a tour day

This morning we took a tour up into the mountains to visit the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. In typical Mexico fashion we spent more than an hour on the bus picking people up from different hotels and then transferring to another van with concomitant mixups about who was on which tour. Then we stopped at a jewelry store to use the bathrooms, along with fairly high pressure sales to purchase fire opals and silver. By then Jan wasn't feeling well after sitting in the back of the van with no outside view as it bumped over cobblestones, which obliterated any meaning from the guide's spiel.  She ditched the tour and headed back to the hotel.

After that though, things got better. We wound around the old road to Mismaloya where Night of the Iguana was filmed int he 60s. Now it's home to many famous people who have holiday homes there. It's a stunning location. Then we headed up into the mountains to the very beautiful botanical gardens. This place is the real deal. It's affiliated with other gardens all over North America and has a stunning collection of orchids and bromeliads.

Here are few photos.

The restaurant served hand made tortillas.

And had stunning outlook and decor.

I took the stairs down to a lovely, clear river.

The gardens were the highlight of the tour. After that we were taken to a restaurant in a tiny village and served a mediocre seafood lunch for which we paid through the nose. That was followed by a visit to an artisan tequila makers, where we were treated to tastings of several kinds of flavoured and aged tequila. I think this was the real deal, but it's hard to know.

The tequila is apparently made in very small batches from blue agave without any additives. The product tasted very good, not harsh at all and left no weird feeling or hangover. We're told that it's because it's very pure.  I might even have purchased a bottle, had I not spent all my money on the mediocre lunch.

Here's one of the owners extolling the virtues of their product.

Overall I'd give this tour a 5.5 out of 10. The gardens and the tequila tasting made it worthwhile. But I was really ticked off when the admissions desk at the gardens refunded Jan's share of the admission, 100 pesos, which the tour guide pocketed even after I suggested that I could return it to her.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

From the mountains to the tropics--and an accident

I don't want to make you jealous but I'm now in Puerto Vallarta at the Canto del Sol Resort on the beach. My sister and I ran away from the grey clouds for a week and we're settling in nicely.

 This morning we managed to change from the worst room in the place (overlooking the huge air conditioning units that sounded like an airplane taking off) ...

to a lovely one overlooking the pool and the sunset.

We also arranged for a couple of tours later on in the week and then hit the beach with a couple of mango margaritas. These drinks make a person feel very mellow. So mellow in fact that we both purchased a silver necklace from one of the beach vendors after bargaining very hard. Plus I bought a beachy dress so now we are set for the next six days.

Update: This was written last night before Jan got up in the night and got confused about the bathroom layout and ended up falling into the shower and fracturing her wrist.

Here she is yesterday afternnoon....

and again today wearing her sling and her immobilization device.

We spent the morning at the hospital, which was excellent but it's put a bit of a crimp in our style. Jan's being a trouper and is determined not to let this ruin our trip. But she's on pain killers and so it's an early night for us tonight.