A “Favorite Day” in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco (Part II)

Chair people; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico

Recently, I wrote about a “favorite day” spent in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It began on a city bus that dumped me unceremoniously at the edge of a Wal-Mart parking lot.

The “Photo Hike” (Intro)…

A “Photo Hike” through Puerto Vallarta (Part I)
Public bus; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico

And I was OK with that, actually… It was the bus transfer site, and I needed to pick up some bug repellant, being the “human of choice” for most biting insects. Armed with “hormiga”, the Spanish word for ant gleaned from a fellow traveler, and a vague notion to somehow illustrate “spray”, charade-style, I planned to pop in for the repellant and grab the next bus into town.

Wow. Wal-Mart is soooo different in Spanish! It actually generates a slight thrill in me to be completely lost. Good thing with the whims I occasionally follow… Suffice it to say that my spray motion and “hormiga” pronunciation landed me in the deodorant aisle, my blue-shirted escort smiling broadly as he helpfully repeated my spraying pantomime. It took a manager and another walk across the store to secure the desired insect repellant, but it was more like walking through some kitschy art gallery than “shopping” as most of the colorful advertising was indecipherable to me.

I scanned the splashy candy display on my way through check-out. “Hot” is to their candy confections as “sour” is to ours. It seems Mexicans will put peppers in and on about anything, which seems reasonable to a woman who carries hot sauce in her purse. How about chili-coated strawberry flavored gummies? Nothing is so odd that it can’t be perfectly normal somewhere in the world. I like that.

Dominos delivers; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco MexicoCrossing the parking lot by foot was slightly treacherous. Motorized traffic in Mexico always feels slightly disorganized and terribly aggressive, but I safely caught the “Centro” bus into Puerto Vallarta .

I disembarked with a huge smile in old Vallarta (Viejo), also called El Centro . After Taxi row; old Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexicosoaking it all in for maybe ten seconds, I instinctively headed east toward the lovely Banderas Bay . A waterfront promenade, the Malecon, gilded by whimsical bronze sculptures, frames the city in a splendid way. The sculptures, created by renowned Mexican artists, are more than lovely art pieces. They entertain and invite interaction as they sparkle in the sunlight.

NostalgiaI felt the melancholy warmth of “Nostalgia”, a bronzed couple fluidly gazing slightly behind themselves, their backs to the Bay, and photographed some wacky “chair people” (top photo).

Climbing the ladder; sculpture on Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MexicoOne of my favorite encounters of the day came beneath the sculpture of a “blob” of a mom (the weight of stress or gravity of aging, I wonder?) calling to her two blob children who are escaping up a ladder to nowhere. In the US there would be a fence around the base of the ladder and a plaque absolving the city of any responsibility should someone be tempted to climb and risk probable injury or death. In PV, it’s assumed that a ladder is for climbing, and so there are rarely just the two bronze children on the skyward escape route.

boy with I photographed a couple of brothers playing on and around the metallicized people. One of them grew extremely fascinated with my camera, thrilling to see his own image on the review screen. I had to Let me see!laugh as his eagerness to see his image resulted in photo after photo of him darting out of the frame toward me and my camera.

Crown of Templo de Guadelupe Cathedral with bird; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco MexicoAfter bartering for a handful of lovely Taxco silver bracelets and admiring some remarkable sand sculptures, I wandered inland to the Templo de Guadelupe Cathedral. Its filigreed crown commands notice, drawing devoted worshippers into a sanctuary, stunning in beauty and weighty with spiritual drama.

school children in Puerto Vallarta MX

Groups of uniformed children savored after-school ice cream on the sidewalks as I made my way back toward the oceanfront.

Beach vendor; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco MexicoI trailed a blanket vendor across the Rio Cuale, pausing to watch children swimming and splashing beneath the bridge.

Playa Olas Altas lay just beyond: a beach rimmed with outdoor restaurants Beach kebabs; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexicoas well as some on-the-beach dining. Dusk was only an hour away now as I wandered from melody to melody; enjoying the music, smells, and the lovely vivid colors of old Mexico.

Serenade on the Bay of Banderas; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico

On the not-so-far horizon, glowing ships bobbed in the Bay of Banderas hillside; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexicosetting sunlight as hills dotted with an innumerable variety of houses rose behind them, eventually becoming the Sierra Madre mountains.

I hated to leave, but feeling the need to be as prudent as I would want my daughter to be, I began retracing my steps. I did detour to see an enormous 300-year old tree, but who wouldn’t? A couple of shopkeepers helped me fine-tune my return route, one even writing down phrases for every eventuality. I was charmed by their helpfulness.

Finally, as the sun sank lower, I ran for the last bus out of town, feeling that satisfied glow that comes from filling a single day to its fullest.


6 Comments to A “Favorite Day” in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco (Part II)

  1. Some of most fun I had in England was visiting stores. I had a shopping advantage, as we all spoke the same language (most of the time) but it was fun seeing how they do things over there. “Fish Monger” (instead of Seafood) at the grocery still cracks me up.

  2. Your trip to England sounded amazing, Delmer! I’m not a great “shopper”, so the other language/culture thing goes a long way in entertaining me!
    Yeah, I like the alternate “seafood” designation. I’m thinking I should ask for the “Fish Monger, please” on my next Kroger venture…
    “Bon-voyage” to you and the boys!!

  3. Your descriptions as well as photos are so full of natural life. They are humming. The pictures only top them up. It is refreshing to see something you wouldn’t find in travel brochures.
    What a colorful report about a country one normally visualizes as half desert… Those hills with houses nested on its slopes are too beautiful. They could even be in the south of France.
    I would not have thought to find them in Mexico right by the ocean.

  4. Thank you Gabriele. That trip was significant to my life in so many ways, and I truly relished gathering in all the details of the experience.

  5. I am very impressed that there such artists in Mexico who create these sculptures at the first photo!

  6. Paphos Travel: These sculptures invite interaction and really add to the atmosphere along the waterfront.

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