This is an email I received from a close friend of mine the day before we left on our trip. My responses are in BLUE.
“So I was thinking about the fact that you’re leaving Bellingham tomorrow and venturing south of the border, and so I thought to myself, “Self, you like making lists. Why not make a list for Linda?” So here we go:
Things for you to Pack/Do for/In Puerto Vallarta…
1. Beach Towels – so you get a little less unnecessary sand in your buttcrack (We all know this is not 100% avoidable)
Packed one. Didn’t need it. The resort provides them. PLUS, Didn’t go on the beach other than to walk. It wasn’t the cleanest beach I’ve ever seen. First time ever, just hung out at the pool.
2. A spritzer bottle and corona to keep Rick from drooling at the sight of you in a swimsuit.
Very flattering of you to say, but Rick was sick almost from the beginning. Although he needed cooling off, it wasn’t from the sight of me in my swimsuit.
3. Pick a person at your hotel to follow around with your camera. Preferably someone really colourful or interesting or BOTH. (ie: that man with the beer belly and neon speedo)
Fortunately, never saw THAT kind of speedo! Whew! And…UNfortunately, I think I was the probably the weird person there that others might have followed around with a camera! I don’t really like to get all made up first thing in the morning, especially on vacation, and being at a resort for the first time was a real eye opener for me. I’d get up early, and throw on a pair of shorts and a top and walk down to get sweet rolls or fruit to have in the room, and EVERYONE else, staff and guests alike were washed, polished, and shined like I was at a Mary Kay Convention! People actually stared at me. (I didn’t care. I was on vacation.)
4. If your hotel has water aerobics classes during the day, take one and compliment yourself on how FABULOUS you look.
We ACTUALLY did this! We did water aerobics! I felt like an old lady in Palm Springs. BUT…I did compliment myself afterward. (oh, and when I say we, yes, I mean Rick did it too!)
5. Lots of books to read. (Although with you, this one really goes without saying).
Ah…you know me well. I read “How Starbucks Saved My Life” and finished it on the plane on the way home. Then I sat and cried for half an hour. LOVED THAT BOOK. Read it. I dare you.
6. Have dessert at least once. You deserve it. Plus those salads never REALLY fill you up, do they??
I’ll have you know, I didn’t have ONE salad! And I ate dessert twice. Exactly twice. (saved those calories for the margaritas.)
7. Leave your camera in the hotel room for half a day without thinking about it. I dare you.
Ok, I did it. It was tough, but my battery died, and I had no choice. I felt naked.
8. I wish I had thought of this list earlier, otherwise #8 would be to listen to the playlist created by yours truly.
Since you didn’t think of it earlier, I bought a CD at dinner one night when we were treated to live music. I loved what I heard and bought the CD. It’s called Facundo Acosta by La Marca. Or maybe it’s La Marca by Facundo Acosta. I’m not sure. I don’t speak Spanish. But the musician was good, the CD is all original songs by him, and he looks a little like Jesus on the cover.
9. Do something REALLY embarrassingly touristy.
Hmmm…Unless you count carrying my camera everywhere I went (except…see number 7), I don’t think I stood out as particularly embarrassingly touristy. I’ll work on that on my next trip. Or I’ll fake it here at home some evening…
10. Go snorkeling and try, just TRY, to touch a fish. In my experience this is completely and utterly impossible.
Again, I’ve let you down. The only snorkeling was on a boat cruise we went on, and the water was so dark and murky I just knew I wouldn’t see anything, so opted to stay with our stuff and watch my camera. Rick snorkeled and saw no fish. I say, Go With Your Gut.
11. If you have a blender, go to the liquor store and buy pineapple rum. Mix with ice, coconut milk and tangerine mango or some other fruit juice, and voila, your very own pina colada. Think about it. $15 for the pineapple rum. You could get maybe two pina coladas in the bar for the same price…with the bottle? Probably like ten. Wonderful.
a. Too much work. b. I don’t like Pina Coladas. c. The blender was in use for other things. We brought coffee, you know, the stuff we get from my uncle, and no grinder. No grinder to be found anywhere. Couldn’t even find one to buy. So I used the blender. Here’s a tip: The blender works GREAT for coffee grinding, just takes a little longer and is REALLY REALLY loud, so if you can remember, and if you love your spouse, grind the coffee the night before.
12. Have fun and sip a margarita for me!”
We had a great time! And see number 6.
A few more photos from our trip:
The first night we went to the open market this little boy came running out at us from nowhere. I think I might have had the word SUCKER written on my back in spanish because he came right up to me selling these bracelets and headbands. I understood “40 pesos”, but rick only had 50s. I HAD to buy this yellow one he is holding up in this picture for Abbie. Rick handed him 50 pesos and the little guy looked so worried. Rick motioned to him to keep the change. I gestured to my camera and said “photo?” and he shyly nodded his head and smiled. I knew that the headband wouldn’t be a big deal to Abbie, but I knew how she would react to this picture. I was right. When I showed it to her last night she teared up and said “I just want that little boy”. I knew she would remember our last missions trip to Tiajuana and the real life impact seeing all those children and how they lived had on her.
(This is a picture of her from that trip:)