March 7, 2008

Crocs and Costco - on the road to Puerto Vallarta

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - The past three days have been filled with, well, I won't exactly say, adventure, but...

Wednesday night, we had a farewell dinner with our friend Mario who was leaving his almost completed beach house to return to Portland, Oregon. Mario has been the occupant of the Grey Goose Express which will probably be moved in the next week or so to our beach lot - about a quarter mile away. And we will also be house sitting Mario's casa (a few days a week) for the next couple of months until he and his wife Sharon return in June. (Thanks Mario! Thanks Sharon!)

Mario and pooch
Mario and his beach dog watch the sunset

That night Mario, the Admiral and I and Pat & Sanders all went to a tiny taqueria in Rebalsito, a nearby village. The restaurant was next door to a local billard parlor and was kept busy with orders to go, put in my young guys carrying pool cues. The food, cooked on a grill right in the center of the place was very good. And the bill came to about $15 U.S. for the five of us (including several cervezas).

The next day we hit the road for Puerto Vallarta to do some paperwork for Sylvia and also to see son Dustin - and a brand-new Costco.

Yup, a Costco.

Puerto Vallarta Costco
Inside the new Costco in Puerto Vallarta

We reverted to U.S. consumers for a brief time, loading the cart with stuff we just can't get to the south. I threw in a bottle of rum - certainly available in La Manzanilla - and a case of Coca-Cola so that we can have Cuba Libres at the house as well as at Palapa Joes. Sylvia bought an Ipod speaker system that had to be returned today. While the store is in good shape, the return policies - and system - need a little fine tuning.

In another nod to the Americanization of Puerto Vallarta, we had lunch at a Chili's restaurant, located in the swankest mall I have seen in Mexico. In fact, the department store (called Liverpool) really gives any Nordstrom's a good run for its money - all of it.

But while I have eaten in many Chili's restaurant's in the U.S., I've never eaten at one with this view:

View from Chili's in Puerto Vallarta
View from Chili's in Puerto Vallarta

But you are still wondering about the crocodile reference, right?

The day before we left for Puerto Vallarta, Sanders and I had walked down the beach about a mile and came back along a road that skirts the crocodile swamp and the mangroves. The area is unfenced and crocs sometimes crawl up on the bank and sun themselves. Smart animals, even if they don't use sunscreen.

Very few people actually walk right next to the water there.

Regardless, we walked up to the water's edge where we had to turn to get back to the beach, only to see a croc give us a hairy eyeball and slide off into the water. (OK, crocs don't have hairy eyeballs. But he did look at us.)

I think we will not walk that road at night, no matter how bright our flashlight is.

Croc swims away
Disturbed from his nap...

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