Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday afternoon, Puerto Vallarta

I stayed up as long as I could. I watched the Obamas go from one ball to the next, saying thank you to various audiences and dancing to "At Last (My love has come along)", over and over again. They're a lot younger than I am, so they outlasted me by several hours, or I presume they did, because I gave up and went to bed. My post-inauguration sleep was restless, troubled with aches and pains, but that may have been because I knew we were moving this morning - or else it was because I had taken it upon myself to alphabetize the hundreds of books in the park's 'library' - (or book exchange). I think the tv room/library may have been painted recently, and I know that the wooden shelves for the books had just been painted, so most of the books had been removed to storage. Thiess (the manager) and his assistant came out during the afternoon, after most of the crowd had dispersed, and put up another shelf. Then one of the regular tenants came out of his apartment, carrying boxes of books. I must have been carrying a lot of residual excitement from the inauguration, because I just started organizing. The job was very dusty, and the top shelf was at such a height that it made my neck ache to work up there, but I did it. I know there are more books to come, but somebody else can worry about that. After the beach cleanup on Monday and my library work yesterday, I finally felt a little as if I were part of the community - just in time to leave, of course.

We were up by 7 o'clock, and without rushing at all we were on the road by 9:00. Instead of going right out to the highway, we decided to investigate the side road that went out to Punta Mita, then swung back to catch the highway farther down. "Do you mean the road that looks like a dotted line on the map?" I asked. Well, yes, so it seemed. That was one interesting road. We turned right out of Sayulita, drove about three kilometers, and came to a place where the paved road simply ended. Ahead of us was a rutted track with potholes one one side and deadly looking rocks sticking out the hardened mud on the other. It was so bad, I just stopped. Robin got out of the car and was going to help me get turned around. There were four cars coming up behind us, and they all went on by. Robin asked one of the drivers and found out that the nasty road didn't last long, so we kept going, instead. We only had to go to the next curve, and there the pavement started up again. It's a mystery. Things got junglier as we went along, and there were numerous signs advising us, or so it seemed, not to run over the protected crabs. One sign mentioned the lizards. We saw neither crabs nor lizards on the road. Neither did we see much of the ocean - and that was what we had gone for. We figured there would be a lovely view from the point, and there probably is, but the road didn't go there. We passed big billboards advertising homes (not built yet) starting at $335,000 USD. We weren't sure whether these were to be separate homes on their own land, or condos. Down the road a bit there was an enormous construction project. I think it was the condo development, but it could just as easily have been a hospital or factory going up, given its size. I think if we'd forked out the $335,000 USD and gone to live in the development, we might have got the view.
In all, the detour was only about 11 or 12 kilometers. Then we rounded the point and headed back to the highway and on to Puerto Vallarta. Here we found the rv park pretty easily, if you don't count driving past it because there was no sign for it, and if you don't count having to drive in Puerto Vallarta, which is no fun at all. Unfortunately, it turns out that there's no wi-fi here at all. I'll have to make daily trips to an internet cafe. Also, the beach is a few blocks away, on the other side of the highway. The park itself, however, is pretty, and much more spacious than the one at Sayulita. We found TJ and Kris and Wade and Colleen here. We will all probably move on, either this coming Sunday or the following one, headed farther south.
So I've had my siesta, and now it's time to find that internet cafe..................................................
Well, no. It was time to walk to the Mega (Supermarket) to buy food for dinner. I took the laptop along, so that Robin could come home with the groceries and I could linger at the internet cafe. That was a great idea, except that just getting to the Mega was a nightmare. We walked the couple of blocks to the highway, which we had to cross. That involved crossing one (or two or three, depending on the congestion at any given point) lanes of vehicles on the service road - which is the road that the buses and trucks have to use, along with anybody that's trying to make a u-turn or turn left or visit one of the businesses along the side. That accomplished, we were on an island, waiting for traffic to clear on the main road (2 lanes), whereupon we scurried to the island in the middle and waited again for the traffic to clear on the main road, opposite direction (2 lanes)- which took us to the next island, where we could wait for a chance to cross the service road, opposite direction. I must have been tired, indeed, because I just freaked. I wanted to cross at a light. Robin figured it would be easier to jaywalk, and pointed out that everybody else was. I got stubborn. When we got to a light, I realized that, with so many banks of lights for so many different lanes of traffic, it was nearly impossible to figure out when it would be safe to cross - if ever. I relented, and we walked up the road a bit to where it was "safe" to jaywalk. It wasn't as bad as it had appeared, but by then I just wanted to go get back in the RV and leave. After grousing about Sayulita and tenement living for two weeks, I now wanted to go back to my little tiny space and hide. Poor Robin.
Anyway, we did make it to the Mega, where we did a lot of shopping - far too much to carry home - and besides, that would have involved crossing the highway again - so we caught a taxi. The driver had no idea where (or what) the RV park was, but he followed our directions very well, and we arrived home with our groceries - but without having seen an internet cafe along the way.
Meanwhile, our four friends had gone out to have a few beers and 2/1 rib dinners down on the beach somewhere, and they still haven't come home. It's after dark now - wow, it's 8 o'clock - so I don't see much chance of posting tonight. In the morning, I'll have Colleen or Kristin show me where the nearest internet access - preferably a cafe - is.


Thursday, Puerto Vallarta

Good morning - nope, good afternoon. We've arranged to go downtown by bus with Wade and Colleen. Wade can be our guide. I'm going to take the computer along and find a place to post, but we're also going to go find one of the English language bookstores. I would really like to read one of Obama's books, so now I have a quest. I am also going to see if I can find the hotel where I stayed with Karen so long ago. Oh, and last night, when it was still quite warm, I took a shower and put on the sarong I bought on the beach at Sayulita. I decided I was never going to wear anything but sarongs ever again, because it was so comfortable. I chickened out today, though, and changed into something more presentable for going downtown. Now I'm hot. I think I'll look for a second sarong. ;>)


Well, sarongless but with a mocha on the way - a mocha arriving beside me - I'm at the PV on Olas Altas in the old town. A couple of minutes ago, I think I found the hotel where Karen and I stayed twenty-odd years ago. It's called the Gaviota Vallarta, and it's located on Francisco I. Madero, just up from Playa los Muertos. It's quite a pretty hotel, and seeing it brings back great memories. The name doesn't sound at all familiar, but the hotel looks right. I can remember sitting outside our room, watching the antics of the kids who were supposed to be cleaning the rooms on the other side of the courtyard.

Wade and Colleen are with us. Wade is wearing a shirt he bought - in Mazatlan, I think - and it turns out that he's advertising a Mexico City soccer team, long-time rival of the Puerto Vallarta team. He's certainly causing a stir. Several people have told him he really should change his shirt, for his own safety - but then somebody else will come along and say naaaah, no big deal.

We are now within a block or so, I think, of the bookstore we're looking for, but I'm going to enjoy my 30 minutes of connectedness, along with the welcome shade in here.

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