Though I have mentioned The Girl’s connection with Mexico on a number of occasions within these pages I now feel the need to expand a little in that regard. As I have indicated before, Mexico is a favourite haunt for Canadians wishing to escape the rigours of the north American winters. Many of them do so through a similar mechanism as did she – the purchase of a timeshare slot in a resort.
Such a purchase sadly has in common with that of a new automobile the immediate and irretrievable drop in value the instant that it is (metaphorically) driven off the lot. The Girl and her co-purchaser thus found themselves each in possession of half a timeshare, neither part of which has a significant monetary value. It made sense therefore that they should continue to make use thereof in alternate years.
Now, the way that these things work is that – should one wish to visit a resort other than that in which one has purchased – it is possible to trade ‘points’ for slots elsewhere, as did we in Europe whilst we were still living in the UK. It is also possible to accumulate these points.
All of this by way of explanation of the fact that the first week of our stay here was in the delightful resort in the Marina at Puerto Vallarta in which the original timeshare had been purchased, whilst for the second week we have moved a little nearer to the centre of town to another resort for which The Girl has traded points (being for logistical reasons unable to get two weeks in the same location). All one need know is that both are delightful and that the Mexicans are a wonderfully friendly and positive people.
The Pacific coast of Mexico has much to recommend it, not least of course that – in the week before Christmas – the temperature is in the mid-twenties and the sun is shining. This naturally makes the customary Christmas decoration – with its emphasis on snow and sleighs and suchlike – seem somewhat out of place and it has to be said that this is quite unlike any run-up to Christmas that I have previously experienced.
The staff at the first resort held their Christmas party by the beach on one bosky evening whilst we were there. We peeped, fascinated, from our balcony at the merry-making. They had wisely chosen not to go with a Christmassy theme but settled instead on… pirates!
Much fun was clearly had…
Another considerable selling point here is the exceptionally good value. Both of the apartments we have inhabited are fully equipped with kitchens (and twin bathrooms!) so we have been able to cater for ourselves, but given that eating out is so reasonable it can be a tough choice to make. Taxis are also very reasonably priced and the fares are fixed and notified before each trip, so there are no unexpected extras and getting around is easy.
Even cheaper are the buses, for which each trip is covered by a fixed rate equivalent to around a (Canadian) dollar for the two of us. The buses themselves are something to be experienced. Not since a visit to India in the 80s has bus travel been such an adventure. The vehicles have an ageless look about them (in much the way that the 50s Beaver floatplanes do in BC, though the latter appear considerably better maintained) and as far as can be told have no suspension at all. As a result the outside lane of each road (being mostly cobbled or paved with small blocks) has a profile not unlike the Rockies!
It seems miraculous that some of these ancient vehicles have not shaken thsmselves apart (or maybe they have and on the edge of town somewhere there is a big broken bus graveyard!). Suffice to say that those with loose fillings should probably stick to the taxis and, though since there appears to be no limit on the number of passengers that can be carried at any time there is little likelihood of ones actually being thrown around the bus, should one take the plunge one should cling on tightly at all times.
I feel inclined to write more about my first visit to this surprising country – and certainly to post more pictures – but my hosting provider has abruptly decided that I may not load further images from here in Mexico. There should – for example – have been a photo of a bus attached to the latter part of this missive…
This will doubtless be a trivial issue to resolve but further postings must needs now follow our return to the chilly coast of BC this weekend.