We went to Puerto Vallerta, in Mexico, to allow Ce to get a well-deserved break and myself a visa extension. We were actually way too stressed about the visa situation to enjoy our first trip in Mexican territory, and the weather was not too clement either (seems like our horoscopes were not great, we should have checked first!). Still we did enjoy the rich culture, the varied food and the exotic fauna & luxuriant vegetation.
Despite the lack of planning, we found ourselves incredibly lucky to be in Puerto Vallarta the week leading to the 12th of December, when there are daily processions dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The first evening, we were having our dinner just around the Church, when we heard loud music and songs. Even if some of the singers were painfully tone deaf, it was a very good surprise for our first day in Puerto Vallarta. This first procession was the Scouts of Puerto Vallarta heading to the church. I was quite crossed at Ce, as she had advised me to leave the camera at the hotel. But fortunately these processions took place every evening during our stay, so we managed to take lots of pics the next days.
The processions consisted of people wearing white, holding candles and singing to Vallarta’s patron saint, and some in South American traditional dresses, performing complex choreographies. The costumes were really beautiful and surprising, using lots of colourful feathers but including pictures of the Virgin too. Each neighbourhoods, parishes, hotels, businesses and civic associations form processions, march into the cathedral behind their banners all of which will end in a church mass. We could not believe it when we saw the ambulances too!
The Church of the Lady of Guadalupe “was built during a 12-year period beginning in 1929. The interior is filled with hand-carved columns, decorative mouldings and other rich detailing. An earthquake damaged the ornate crown that originally adorned the church. It was replaced, but the repair still creates controversy. The original crown is said to have been modeled after a tiara worn by the mistress of the Emperor Maximilian.”
Love love love the Mexican food but of course staying in an heavy touristic zone, one cannot really expect traditional mexican food... Still we had one or two very nice dinners, and many poor ones...
Pictures of the yummy ones:
The last picture on the right is a street stall where we had our best and cheapest dinner: they served delicious small tacos filled with guacamole, oignons, perfectly roasted meat and lots of spicy sauces that come in 4 different colours and spiciness gradation: from light green for wise European chicas, brown for bold European chicas, dark green with bits for Eupean chicas that do not wish to finish their vacation alive and finally the red one for the locals! Stopped at the brown one. I copied a local by adding a tiny bit of lime, and caramba that what luscious!
The Fauna & Flora:
We loved the luxuriance of the vegetation. Being hopeless at growing stuff, I was just amazed by the size of the trees, green plants, flowers (see how knowledgable I am about green stuff...).
The two lovely pets on the Hotel roof are REAL, and not in plastic at all! I was gobsmacked when I noticed them by accident (unfortunatly you can not see from the picture how huge they were! somewhere around 80cm each). To add to my amazement, a lady told me that they were living there and loved nothing more than sunbathing and then diving into the swimmingpool from the balconies! As you can imagine we never went to swim in these pools after that!
We took the local bus to go to a white sand beach where, we couldn't believe it, a few dolphins gave us a free show. We were disappointed not to be able to go and see Whales but this was a very good consolation.
All in all it was a rather interesting stay even if we could not do any snorkelling. The specimen of stunning blue fish that we saw being gutted on the pier by a teenage fisher however gave us an overview of what we could have seen... maybe next time.
However I've managed to have my first bath in the Pacific Ocean at Sunset and that was glorious as the sunshine was reverberating all over the skyscraper glass facades, and from the sea that was a striking view!