…..of course it makes sense to take a vacation!
We like to do something special for John’s birthday since it’s only a week after the anniversary of our first date (22 years now! Whodda thunkit?). Back in May before we knew what the summer would be like here in the tropics, and before we knew how well our air-conditioner would work for the boat, John reserved us a room in a hotel the next town over for his birthday weekend.
So last Friday, off to Bucerias we went. We even splurged and took a taxi (fare: 85 pesos. Plus 15 peso tip – 100 pesos, or just under six dollars total. Yeah, big spenders.) to the Hotel Suites Nadia.
Our room was on the 4th floor, which is really the 5th floor to you US dwellers. Here the floor at ground level is not the 1st floor, the floor just above it is. All the rooms have ocean-facing balconies, and we could see the masts in the marina at La Cruz when we looked out.
The view from our room toward La Cruz. The masts are all sticking up just above where the arrow is pointing.
And then this dude, pushing his wheelbarrow through the sand. He’s selling fruit snacks to the beach goers.
The hotel was around $80 US/night, air-conditioned with a balcony and small kitchenette. The headboard looked like dark bricks, and were complete with straw – old-timey adobe style.
Bucerias is bigger than La Cruz, so the night-life is livelier. There is also a teeming tourist zone with restaurants and street shops where the braver gringos can practice bargaining and Spanish skills (the most useful phrase being “No, gracias” uttered at nearly every vendor you pass). There is also an Arts District on the other side of the Kissing Bridge with more upscale shops, galleries, restaurants and condos, condos condos. All in a one- or two-mile square area so easily walkable.
The Kissing Bridge is over the arroyo that separates the tourist hub from the Arts District.
Spoiler alert: Most of our activities involved eating, drinking and shopping. Friday night a squall blew through with heavy rain and winds for a half hour or so, and that punched up the surf for the rest of the weekend. It was a fun to get away, nice to get off the boat and have a change of scenery for awhile, and I even turned on the TV and watched the NFL channel for a few minutes.
Following is a taste of what you might experience if you were to have a hotel-based vacation in Mexico.
Coco shell filled with a beverage and topped with cucumber, jicama, coco meat, seafood and various sauces. Like an edible jenga game. My favorite Humpy’s coozie from Anchorage in the background.
These little dudes were selling treats which they are carrying in the crate between them. The kid on the right in the Superman t-shirt is gonna be a Latino heartbreaker some day.
The treats that we bought, flaky dough filled with jam, topped with icing and sprinkles. John called them “girl cookies” but he ate his share.
I had a pedicure! It’s supposed to look like the little fish swam from my right toe to my left toe, leaving a trail of bubbles behind. This is what you get when you speak minimal Spanish and can’t draw either.
First birthday dinner at La Paya – seafood platter for two “I talk to the kitchen and get you good price” for two lobster (they were tiny, tiny, tiny) and six shrimp (there were jumbo, jumbo, jumbo and wrapped in bacon with cream sauce).
How you know you paid too much Part 1 – they show up with a free dessert (grilled plaintain with a cinnamon vanilla sauce – like banana cake only no cake).
How you know you paid too much Part 2 – then they show up with free tequila shots, and leave the bottle on the table.
Mario (age 2) and Cesy (age 7 or 8) stopped by and since I’m a sucker for kids selling stuff, I bought some more bobbing animals.
Dino – he’s supposed to be a crocodile but we think he’s more dinosour. We use these guys as markers for our Mexican Train games. (Click here for video). We also have a turtle and a fish (his tail moves) in the bobbing series as well as some carved stone figures. Either Dino is the coolest one yet, or I had too many margaritas.
Giovanni, manager at the Drunken Duck. Guess where he grew up.
The bar stools are labeled, this one was named for me.”Princess” was my other choice, but somehow I got seated in “Viagra Lover”.
The squall on Friday evening kept the surf up all weekend. Yes, we could hear this in our 4th/5th floor room all night (click here for video).
So you want a table with an ocean view – is this close enough for you?
Pre-lunch at Karen’s Place. Best bar location that we’ve found so far. It feels very caribbean to sit in the open air, next to the sand and water.
Random sidewalk near the plaza
Souvenir shopping for the kids back home.
I bought this for my great-niece, and it’s special because I conducted the entire question, answer and bargaining transaction with the mom in Spanish! The daughter (who Mom deferred to for pricing) accepted my first offer (she said) because I spoke Spanish. I’ve heard there are three prices – gringo, gringo who speaks Spanish, and locals. Or maybe she wanted to get back to the other group who was buying a lot more.
And because you can’t have too many birthday dinners or treats, we went to Frascati here in the marina Sunday night after our return. The waiters there seem to like us and brought John a special treat – crepe filled with vanilla ice cream and covered in hot fudge.
Instead of closing with a sunset, this shot shows a summer squall descending upon the marina. Pretty awesome stuff.