While it is always wonderful to get a chance to thaw out in the tropics, Ursa and I have to be very careful on trips like these. The change in temperature between work in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was a difference of 109 degrees F (74 F in Puerto Vallarta and -35 F in Prudhoe Bay), so it can be hard on your body to acclimatize, and while in a weakened state, your body can be susceptible to all manner of illnesses. Also, 4 months of Alaska winter will make you a nice shade of pasty white, so sunburns can get nasty, very fast. And lest we forget about the infamous traveller's diarrhea known as "Montezuma's Revenge". An uncomfortable cross section of these is what awaited us on our arrival in paradise.
|The view of Banderas Bay from our patio|
El Malecon is also the heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta's nightlife. The boardwalk is lined with bunches of bars, clubs, and tequila tasting rooms. Great spots for afternoon cocktails or dancing the night away.
|photo by Ursa Davis|
Lost in my description of this tour was the most special activity. Juan had made sure that we all picked up a bag of candy to hand out to the local children. Every village that we passed through the kids recognized Juan and came running. It was a wonderful touch for the day.
|Masked Tityra photo by Ursa Davis|
|Crested Caracara photo by Ursa Davis|
|Brown Pelican Photo by Ursa Davis|
Si Sinor which featured outstanding traditional Mexican fare.
But for all the glitz of the resorts, we still felt a little underwhelmed by all the places that were supposed to wow us. Far better were the restaurants a little off the beaten path, not associated with the facades of the resorts. Our favorite of these places was Las Adelitas which was a delicious local barbecue restaurant. Delicious BBQ, good drinks and the best chili rellenos we had in Mexico.
|blue corn tortillas getting fried up|
Also, the street vendors have some awesome eats. While we were laid up with sunburns and sickness, we hit a nearby rotisserie chicken vendor that was fabulous.
Destination LibationI've decided to forgo the "Home Cooking" segment of my blog, in lieu of a "Destination Libation" segment. While I still love to cook, let's face it, I'm a better drinker than I am a cooker. So these will henceforth highlight a wine, beer, or cocktail that reminds me of this particular destination.
So I know that this being a post about Mexico, I should be dropping the ubiquitous margarita recipe but to tell you the truth the margaritas just weren't doing it for me in Puerto Vallarta. I pretty much stuck with sangrias and my new favorite warm weather drink, the Ron Collins. Collins drinks are a pretty simple idea featuring your favorite flavor of alcohol mixed with lemon and soda water. The traditional version of this mix is the Tom Collins which is a gin drink, another common version is the Vodka Collins (betcha can't guess what's in that), but I was feeling rummy and went with the Ron Collins, which uses Ron Bacardi rum. This recipe is courtesy of everyone over at Drunk Man's Guide.
2 oz light rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 Tbl sugar
3 oz club soda
Add the first three ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a tall glass and garnish with the lime slice and the cherry.
To be perfectly honest, what appeals most to me about travel is getting a taste of local culture. Unfortunately we ended up renting a condo at a resort, and resorts by their very nature are designed to insulate people from getting too much local culture. It's nothing against resorts or cruise ships, it's just that we vacation in a different way. The room did have a stellar view though, which we were grateful for.
I don't want to disparage Puerto Vallarta though. The beaches were amazing and the drinks were frequent, the tours were fascinating, the food was good, and overall we had a great trip. Relaxing at first, exciting at the end, and overall a great break from winter in Alaska.
I can't believe that it has taken me this long to bring up our last day. On March 20, 2012, Ursa and I were sitting on our patio on the 16th floor of our building, having some morning coffee and doing some reading on our Kindles. I started getting a strange sensation, almost as if the whole building was swaying. My immediate reaction was to chalk the feeling up to vertigo or perhaps a head rush from too much coffee. Then I looked over at Ursa who was staring at me with a terrified look on her face, and that's when I realized "Oh shit! That wasn't vertigo!" Little did we know that a magnitude 7.4 earthquake had struck to the south of us in Acapulco. Fortunately the epicenter was far enough away from us that the effects were not to bad, other than to give us a little scare.
|photo by Ursa Davis|