Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Puerto Vallarta - Part 2

Here I am with a silly 'I can't believe that we are in Mexico' grin plastered on my face.

Note to self:
 Don't wear a polyester tank top, a polyester long sleeve shirt, pants, socks, and runners when arriving in Mexico ...

What was I thinking???
It was hot and humid and oh, did I mention hotWe weren't in moderate British Columbia, Fraser Valley temperatures any more.

It was about at that time, complete with permanent red-faced-Lori complexion, that someone on the shuttle bus bellowed out 'Let's make a Tim Horton's stop'.  We all giggled and settled into the ride to the resort hotel. 

For those interested, check out this web site of our  5* Riu Vallarta hotel:

I tried to snap a few pics as we weaved in and out of traffic.  Boy oh boy, do Mexicans ever slink by close to each other.  I was surprised when I looked down and I swear there was only about 8" between the bus and the next car.

Anyway ... one of the first sights of interest was this thatched roof.  Maybe constructed with palm leaves????  It was beautiful to me ... and we saw many like it throughout the week. 
*  Notice the Payless Car Rental sign ... English.  Smart move for attracting tourists arriving at the airport from Canada and the USA.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are many signs with the Spanish and English languages ... but many without.

Don't know exactly what this road sign says, but we passed it along the way.

At one of the red lights, and standing right on the center line ... not much more than 8" like I said before ... there stood a vendor peddling his wares.  See the flowers in the window?  You can't tell with this shot, but they were beautiful exotic flowers too.  
The bus driver ignored him and we sped onward.
Riu Vallarta is in a type of gated community about 25 minutes from the airport.  Inside the gate are many condos and hotel complexes.  Right away I felt safer that it had this little bit of extra security.

We arrived at about 6:00 pm ... if I can remember correctly ... I was still in a 'I can't believe that we are in Mexico' fog.
Here is a shot of our hotel lobby provided by Trip Advisor.  (Note:  I took many pictures, but I believe that I will supplement with a few borrowed pics.  Just a heads up)

Photos of Riu Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
This photo of Riu Vallarta is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Beautiful tile floor, huge flower arrangement, open air ... no doors to the lobby ... just stunning.  I wondered at the fact that the ceiling lights were turned off.  Power outage?  No.  I figured out later that it is most probably to keep the heat factor to a minimum.  In the evening, when needed, they were turned on.  Oh, ceiling fans were twirling everywhere.  There were a lot of hand painted designs on the ceiling ... and walls.  Quite unique and Mexican.  
Get a load of this Customer Service Desk.  Intricate iron work, fantastic coffered ceilings.  Love the tufted purple circular bench in the center.  Probably 14 foot ceilings.  All open air.  Took my breath away.

And this was just the lobby.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Puerto Vallarta - Part 1

After months and months of silence, I have come back to the blogging world ... and to tell you the honest truth, I'm kinda excited about it.

April, May, and June of 2011 was busy with middle child's wedding preparations and STRESS.  Dreamer married Dan the Man and now live about 20 minutes away ... I will post about that grand event later.

July and August somehow didn't happen ... or at least didn't have anything contained in their days to bother posting about.  

But on September 1st, Hubby announces to me that he needs to take a week off.  All work and no play makes Hubby a dull boy.  I quickly research hotels and B&Bs in our beautiful province of British Columbia, and await the okay to book the locations I had found.  In what seemed like the last hour, we instead toss around the idea of  the possibility of an Alaskan cruise.

I remembered that one of our condo tenants is a travel agent by trade.  I send a quick email telling her the week we have free and the amount we would like to spend.   In lightening speed she fires an email back saying that there are no cruises to be found, but what about an all inclusive to Mexico?

Mexico?  Drugs ... and crime ... and kidnappings ... and the D-word that plays havoc with your intestinal tract?

"Are you kidding?" I asked.

She wasn't,
and in less than 24 hours we were booked to go to Puerto Vallarta
for the week of September 10th to 17th.

I purchased ear buds at the Dollar Store, and readied myself for the long ... almost 5 hour ... flight. I am not keen about heights, and flying is far from a fun time time for me.  But with free access to many TV stations on a little screen embedded in the back of the seat in front of you, the hours quickly flew ha ha) by.

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta was uneventful except for the fact that as soon as we exited the plane, security escorted us to buses parked outside the airport building.  Hmmmm we wondered, what was happening? ... The temperature inside the bus was easily in the high 30s and the humidity was unbelievable.  Only a few got to sit down, the rest stood for the 'rapid transit' ride to the baggage and customs area.  There we grab our bags off of the carousel and wait in the customs line.  I was pleasantly surprised that all signs had English on them as well as Spanish.

We had previously been informed by our travel agent about going through customs.  Customs in Mexico is a roll of the dice. Or more accurately, a push of the button. You will be asked to press a button connected to a little traffic light that will tell your future:  Green light, and you just walk through, or Red light and your bags are inspected.

Hubby pressed the ominous button, and upon it flashing 'green',
we were motioned to proceed to the exit.

Next was getting through the crowds of venders and time share people.  We had been warned about them.  They are indeed very aggressive and are quite difficult to ignore ... but we persisted and pushed and pulled our bags through the crowd through the doors and through to the outside.  There we spied our Sun Quest agents in bright red t-shirts.  We gave our names, they loaded our luggage, and we climbed aboard the hotel shuttle bus.

In minutes, we found ourselves rumbling down the streets of Mexico.
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