Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pescado Zarandeado

Don’t worry – I can’t pronounce it either!

We are so fortunate to have friends down here with vehicles. We’ve got to see a lot more of this beautiful area than we ever planned. Our destination on this day with George & Mary was Chacala, a small quiet village nestled in a very private cove.

We found a clean quaint restaurant and moved our table out to the sun and sand to enjoy a few cold ones. Pacifico is a popular beer down here as well as Corona – both sell for 20 pesos each – that’s about 1.40 USD. Most of the prices that I quote will be in US Dollars simply because it is just too depressing to calculate the CD $ with the rates the way they are right now. Strangely enough the cost of a Coke is about the same – if not more.

Pescado Zarandeado is a unique and delicious traditional grilled fish dish served along Mexico’s Pacific Coast – a Puerto Vallarta specialty. The recipe uses a chile and garlic-based seasoning paste, and a final glazing of flavored mayonnaise before it goes on the grill. You can use any fairly thin fish filet for this very special dish – we chose the Red Snapper. The restaurant staff cook it for you but I forgot to take any photos of the grilling. Refer again to the prices of the Corona’s above.

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After – We did a pretty good job!13-DSCN1515

And Yes – It was Delicious!

Other Gringo’s arrived by boat and brought their catch of the day with them to be grilled up by the restaurant. The charge for the fish and cooking is by the Kilo and I’m not sure how much that was.

Our total bill for the 4 of us was $630 pesos = $48.00 USD which included our refreshments, endless nachos & salsa plus the sides with the fish.

3 hours of entertainment = Priceless!

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Another wonderful day. We are so blessed.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Last spring when The Cowboy & I decided to spend this winter in Mexico the first item on the agenda was to secure a comfortable place for us to call home for 5-6 months. Starting with Craig’s List and focusing on our wants and needs we were able to narrow it down to this 2 bedroom fully furnished condo in a 4 plex. Keep in mind that this was our first trip into the heart of this country so while location was important, we had no idea where we needed to be.

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These photos are from the ad – completely equipped kitchen includes all dishes, pots & pans, cooking & baking utensils, even wine glasses! May not have all the comforts that we have at home and now I’m questioning why I have 2 full drawers full of all those handy kitchen gadgets at our home. A ‘new to me’ gadget’ is a lime squeezer and while it looks like a garlic press, it does not serve well to mince whole garlic cloves. Just sayin’!

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All utilities are included except electric (last month $7.00) – unlimited internet & satellite TV. Propane is supplied for the stove and hot water heater. Drinking water in the kitchen comes complete with UV filter system.

Hallway

With the large walk-in shower this pristine bathroom not only creates an ensuite from the master bedroom but also has an access door from the hallway/living room area.

Condo Robert 1 Bathroom

Condo Robert 1 Master Bedroom

A dresser and lamps have been added to this very large, sun filled bedroom. Both bedrooms have lots of shelves and closets.

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Very roomy with ceiling fans in every room

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This is the extra bedroom that has your name on it! Consider this to be an open invitation to anyone out there reading this.

Condo Robert 1 2nd Bedroom

The icing on top of the cake has to be this spacious roof-top terrace. We start our day here while watching the sun rise over the mountains while enjoying our morning coffee.

Spacious Roof Top Terrace

Or our evening refreshments at sunset complete with star gazing and viewing the nightly fireworks from the Malecon.

Internet is also working on the terrace!

Close to a 360 degree view of the Sierra Madre – Mother Mountain – range.There is also a laundry room and another spacious patio area complete with clothes lines.

Mountain View

Sometimes we have get-togethers with our neighbours . . .

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Or just enjoy a quiet relaxing brunch or a glass of wine with friends. . .

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This is our little piece of paradise. We are feeling very blessed to be able to do this and in fact, are making plans to do it all over again next year.

We signed a 6 month (Nov to Apr) contract which is considered a long term lease to get a better rate:

6 months = $49,500 Pesos and with today’s exchange rates works out to $3,388.37 US$ or $565 US per month. Plus $500.00 US security deposit.

To take it one step further and again with today’s rates that works out to $702.00 CDN per month. We feel we would be hard pressed to find a fully furnished, utilities included, 2 bedroom apartment in Canada for the winter.

To ease your minds - we are in a ‘real Mexican’ neighbourhood but have never felt safer. All of the people down here are extremely friendly and very helpful. We both agree that we feel safer here than we ever did in the 7 years we spent in the Rio Grande Valley.

Mexico is a Third World country which means it is a poor, underprivileged country. What you don’t hear about this beautiful country is, they are happy, very proud and friendly people who are grateful and sincerely content with the life God has given them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Exploring Mexico

Our day started out with a nice relaxing brunch on our terrace.

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We met our new found friends Cliff & Helen last summer through a long time mutual friend and turns out they live about just minutes away from our summer place. Cliff has been coming to Puerto Vallarta for about 18 years now so he’s very knowledgeable about the area.

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With no destination in mind we headed south and stopped for some awesome views of Banderas Bay coastline.

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As luck would have it we found this place:

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and were treated to our very own personal tour guide. He was very informative and personable.

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While checking out the next few photos you’ll see that we became quite personable as well . . .

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We had no idea they made so many different flavors of tequila. We tasted coffee, chocolate, almond  . . . and several combinations of those.

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My favorite was ‘Peanut butter’ . . . sooooo smooth & creamy!

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Night of The Iguana movie site marker:

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Before John Huston’s 1964 film, The Night of the Iguana, Puerto Vallarta was a just sleepy fishing village on the Pacific Coast where the states of Jalisco and Nayarit meet. But Liz Taylor came to keep an eye on her lover Richard Burton while he was filming with the voluptuous Ava Gardner. The publicity buzz about Burton and Liz’s torrid affair and the movie put Vallarta on the tourist map.”

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Cliff is an excellent tour guide although there were times we questioned that . . .

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That is in fact, water you see above the dash of the vehicle. Brings a whole new meaning to ‘off roadin’ wouldn’t you say?

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A recently closed outdoor restaurant with beautiful landscaped grounds in a jungle-like setting. Serenity!

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Further down the road to a sleepy little village at the mouth of the river.

Difficult to see but there’s a guy up there harvesting the coconuts  . . . with a machete!

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Just some photos of the area while the tide is coming in. This area of Mexico pleasantly surprises us with it’s diversity.

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From humble shacks to massive mansions . . .

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This shot is a close up of the place in the upper left corner above.

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One of our last stops for the day was Conchos Chinos where the wealthier tourists choose to stay. There are also a lot of large beautiful permanent residences on this very elite hillside village. 

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This shot was taken from the penthouse of a neighboring complex where we were invited for a very personal tour . . . Our tour didn’t end here but the battery life in my camera did!

Back to PV to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Joe Jack’s Fish Shack. Replenished our bodies and the battery in my camera we headed back down to The Malecon to enjoy the Friday night dancers:

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We had an awesome day making amazing memories with a great couple! Thanks Cliff & Helen!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rhythms of The Night

A couple of weeks ago the Cowboy & I decided we wanted to do something special for our anniversary this year. As if just being in Puerto Vallarta isn’t enough!

You can click Puerto Vallarta Adventures to see why we were attracted to this “Unforgettable evening under the stars . . .”

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The Cowboy doesn’t look too sure about our new found friend, Rosie.

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Since we had arrived and checked in early (our ticket was number 1) we were the very first couple to board the large two decker tritoon.

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Here come the others behind us. Not sure how many there were but would guess about 200 passengers.

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And that’s how I roll!

Quoting straight from their brochure:

“Much of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in the stories and folklore of civilizations past. Our Rhythms of the Night dance performance illustrates how ancient pre-Columbian religions and beliefs influenced the myths, legends, and cultures of Mexico.”

“Cruise across the bay, surrounded by spectacular views, until the flicker of torches guides us into the secluded cove of Las Caletas Beach Hideaway.”

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The friendly and welcoming crew on the boat kept us entertained the whole trip and didn’t miss a beat – offering up trays of margaritas, beer and a wide assortment of drinks and appetizers.

 

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“Haunting flutes and pulsating drums summon you along a torch-lit path to a pyramid set in the shadowy jungle. In a mystical amphitheater under a star-studded sky, witness Mexico’s mythological past come alive through the universal language of contemporary dance and music.”

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“With a beautiful view of the cove from your seaside table, enjoy a sumptuous and romantic candlelight dinner, with delectable offering fit for the gods. An open-bar with a wide selection of beverages and an attentive staff help make your dining experience a meal to remember.”

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There were several beautiful and bountiful buffet stations set up all along the beach each serving about 8 – 10 couples each so there was no waiting.

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The water was literally lapping at our feet on the rocks just below our table.

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We both chose tiramisu with chocolate covered strawberries and flan for dessert. Yum!

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“Enjoy a return journey under the moon and stars with the beautiful lights of Vallarta as our beacon.”

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On the return trip we were treated to our own private performance by the crew’s version of KISS! It was excellent!

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We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the live performance in the amphitheater but it was INCREDIBLE! The lively music and acrobatics/dancing kept us totally captivated. Cirque de Soleil has nothing over this troupe. Amazing choreography and the outstanding costumes helped to pull this whole show together with a real ‘WOW” factor!

Needless to say, the whole evening was such a wonderful experience, one we’ll never forget. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this cruise to anyone. The cost was $119.00 each – but because we booked 2 other tours we did get a discount – or at least we think we did – and that’s what counts. Regardless, It was worth every penny!