Up early in the morning, I see the big cruise ship pull into Banderas Bay and release its launch-load of tourists on the beach.
I brought our yoga mats with us, since we intended to carry on with our practice while here.
Although we had planned to go to the drop-in class at the Paradise Community Centre, we didn’t make it this morning; instead, we rolled out the mats on the very hard tile living room floor and did a 40 minute vinyasa flow session to the sound of screeching mynah birds, setting us up nicely for the walk to come.
Once again rolling down the hill, we first stopped into PV’s version of a dollar store, nothing over 25 pesos, looking for the ever-elusive pasta pot and finding nothing larger than a thimble in terms of cooking pots.
From there, we proceeded to Isla Cuale and the arts and culture centre on the island’s sandbar, hoping to see the printmaking studio in action.
Again this year it was closed … is it ever open, I wonder … but the music, sculpture, painting, and drama studios were open and we watched some folks carving plaster
and painting landscapes for a bit before climbing the new staircase from the island up to Gringo Gultch from where we had a beautiful view out over the south side hills.
Some of the restaurants and bars that we saw last time are shuttered and taken over by cats; in fact, each of the closed buildings has become a home for what looks like a fair colony of felines.
What was formerly the Bistro Jazz Bar is now a cat mecca; this guy gazed at me balefully as I snapped his picture.
Do they like jazz music, I wonder?
Down alongside the Municipal Market, just a block from the beach, we found the small food stand that had impressed us last time.
Ty sampled the tostado con pulpo (octopus) and a shrimp taco, while I enjoyed a really good chicken taco, and the obligatory coronas.
The beer was more expensive than the food; if we could just forgo the coronas, we could eat very inexpensively here!
Thus fortified we continued our search for a large pasta pot and a cheap place to stay in the future.
We stumbled across the Hotel Catedral Vallarta, a boutique property just a block off the beach and Dante was kind enough to show us several different varieties of rooms with kitchenettes, all really very nice but too costly for us. Below is the spiral staircase leading to the penthouse’s private rooftop terrace.
After checking out the Municipal Market and some appliance stores and finding nary a pasta pot to be seen, we strolled back across the Cuale River’s pedestrian suspension bridge, Ty amusing himself by jumping up and down and rocking the bridge-boat as we were trying to cross.
On one of the side streets we did find an inexpensive pasta pot finally – huzzah! small joys – and pot in hand, investigated the Hotel Bel Mar, located near the Hacienda de Vallarta. Its lobby was full of quite nice black and white woodcuts which impressed me, but the price was a bit too high for what it offered.
On our stroll back up to the hilltop ranch we stopped at the beer store for a Michelada, one of PV’s best drinks, under a gigantic tree. We had seen people drinking these concoctions the other day and been amazed at their fantastic appearance.
The Michelada is not unlike a Bloody Caesar, except with beer instead of vodka, and topped with a huge and incredible garnish of giant shrimp, roasted peanuts, carrots, cucumbers, radish, spices, paprika, and a large slice of a mysterious white vegetable.
Ty is trying to learn Spanish and has decided to learn one or two phrases a day; today’s phrase was “How much is the dog in the window?” but we had a bit of trouble with the similarity between quando (when) and quanto (how much), and the resurgence of hitherto unsuspected words from childhood French lessons.
Determined to remember the phrase, Ty needed a mnemonic device – “toe” for quanto and “doh” for quando – which yielded the ever-handy “How much is that toe fungus in the window” that metamorphosed into “How much is that doggie with toe fungus in the window” … stay tuned for later innovations in Spanish learning.
See a few more photos here.