San Sebastián del Oeste – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 17th, 2019

San Sebastián del Oeste

!Hola!

I think I am finally getting the hang of this Spanish language. I know how to ask for someone to fix the sink. I can order food and drink, get a taxi…hmm. That is about it. An older man, a helper at Walmart, asked me today why I didn’t speak Spanish. I told him I was working on it, but he shook his head and declared I should have done that years ago. I don’t know why he felt that way, but I told him I would keep trying, but he shook his head again, as if to declare me hopeless. Oh, well. My new phrase today, direct from my language translator, is: ¿Alquiera en busca una cerveza? Is anyone up for a beer?

Today is a lovely day: a bit breezy, but the sun is shining, and all is well in Puerto Vallarta.

This morning I walked to Walmart. I can see that complex from where I sit, but to get there, one has to go around the marinas, past the Naval Base, then take your life in your hands to cross the busy boulevard. I didn’t trust the policeman who kept telling me to go, when trucks and buses were coming around the corner aiming for me. I waited until some locals crossed, then I went with them. Whew! Adventure looms everywhere.

Today is going to be a relaxing day for me. I have an appointment at a spa later this afternoon for manicure, pedicure, 50 minute massage and a facial for a cost of approximately $55. We will see how that turns out.

Yesterday, I took a tour up to an old town far up in the Sierra Madre, reported to be the oldest town in this area. San Sebastián del Oeste was established in 1605, and flourished due to silver mining. After that, gold was discovered up there, so mining for those minerals, plus lead, made San Sebastián a busy place, with the population in 1900 being around 20,000 persons. Now, there are fewer than 1,000 residents. The town is kept clean and pretty, as it is considered one of the “Pueblos Majicos”, due to its history. The town receives a subsidy from the Mexican government to keep it historically correct, including the thick adobe walls of the buildings, and red tile roofs and the architecture. The streets are made of rock: big rocks, little rocks, all cemented together in an uneven hodge podge, it seemed to me. There are sidewalks for about half of the town. I had to laugh, as we saw cars proceeding down the street, slowly bumping up and down. Not that it was needed, for the cars could not go very fast, but the speed bump on one of the side streets was constructed of a heavy rope thrown across the street. It had obviously been there a long time, for it was pretty well enmeshed into the rocks of the street.

Before we got to San Sebastián, which, by the way, is a two-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, we made three stops. Our guide told us that the first paved roads to that town were constructed in the 1960’s. Up till then, the only roads were dirt. Can you imagine, in the silver and gold mining days, goods and people had to be transported from Puerto Vallarta, where they arrived by ship. The primary means of transport, then, was by pack mule. The journey took two days.

Our first stop, about and hour from PV, was at a store called El Puente de Krystal, which I assume refers to the bridge over a huge ravine beside the store. I was happy that we stopped there, for Frank and I had visited that place on a tour a few years ago.

We watched a woman making home made tortillas from the masa de maiz. She had a big bowl of that lovely dough under the cloth beside her. When someone wanted a taco, she pulled off a ball of dough, pressed it into a tortilla, threw it onto the wood-fired stove top, let it cook until it puffed up, then she picked it up, turned it over. When it was done to her satisfaction, she pulled the tortilla off the grill, put it onto a small plate, then handed it to the customer. There were bowls of retried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded cheese and salsa prepared. The customer made his taco to his or her preference. I had two of the delicious tacos, for a cost of $1 each.

Our next stop was at a tequila factory, of course. Jalisco, the Mexican state we are in, is the birthplace of tequila, so on any tour, one ends up at a tasting of that beverage.

This place was very simple, with techniques for making tequila going back generations of this same family. They use pure blue agave, the leaves and the root, to begin the process.

I took tiny tastes of tequila, but I am not a connoisseur; others said it was very good.

Next, we visited a coffee farm. There, I did taste the product, and it was delicious. The coffee farm had been established over 100 years ago. There was a woman called Maria, who had been the mother of 21 children, who started the farm with her husband. She outlived him, so she continued the farm and coffee production. Her next-to-youngest son now runs the business, and he is getting up in years, also. Maria, by the way, lived to be 85 years old. I cannot even fathom having a baby almost every year, as she did, beginning with the first child when she was 15 years old, and her youngest, when she was 46. Holy moley! And then she ran the farm, which is about 20 acres, I believe.

We were given a lesson on coffee growing, harvesting, roasting. I also learned that this is an organic farm. An interesting side note is the farm uses natural pesticide: a mixture of oil, garlic and serrano pepper. Hmm. Sounds a lot like the recipe for shrimp ajillo I told you about in an earlier post, except the pepper or chile is different. I might try that on my plants at home and see if it will keep the squirrels away.

Our guide took us to a very nice restaurant in San Sebastián. It was tastefully decorated, and the food was scrumptious. We were served chicken mole, cheese quesadillas, shredded beef for tacos, rice and beans. I could see the cook making tortillas in the kitchen, and cooking them as needed.

We ended our tour in the town square, after visiting the church of San Sebastián.

All in all, it was a pleasurable day. After all that walking on the rocky streets, and listening to Mario tell us all the cultural information, we were a tired group that headed back to Puerto Vallarta. I was grateful to Mario, our guide, for in his real life, he is a history teacher. He gave us so much very good information, both on the history of Mexico and this area in particular, but he expanded more on the anthropological and sociological aspects of Mexico. I felt it was a very worthwhile trip, for me.

By the time I got back to the resort, though, my feet and my brain were tired. I settled into my room for a nap before I ventured out for dinner.

I stayed at the resort for dinner and was treated to a lovely sunset.

So, adios from Puerto Vallarta, until next time. This is, indeed, a restful place.

–Dolly

Original Post: Dolly Travels

Another Day in Puerto Vallarta – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 4th, 2019

Puerto Vallarta - Dolly Travels

!Hola, mi amigos,

Good morning, everyone,

It seems that time just is flying by, as every day I find something new to do; although, most of the time, I am simply relaxing and being lazy.

My youngest son, Rob, and his wife, Amy, joined me here a few days ago, so we have been exploring the town and the marina, primarily looking for the best food and drinks.

I have been here for 11 days already and I have eaten shrimp everyday. I am still not tired of it. Sometimes I have the fresh catch of the day, which so far has been either mahi mahi or red snapper, both of which have been delicious. If I have shrimp for lunch, then I might have the fish for dinner. Or vise versa.

One of my favorite dishes (above): Camarones in ajillo sauce. I had to look up the recipe. It is very simple, actually. The chef sautés garlic and chopped dried guajillo chiles in oil, then sautés the shrimp in that. The spicy oil is poured over the camarones when it is served. Here at the Tenampa pool bar, the shrimps are served with steamed veggies, a portion of rice, and for some reason, toasted bread. It is so good. I tell myself it is a healthy meal.

In the right, you can see the shrimp salad, which is another good choice. Those shrimp have also been sautéed in the chile oil.

Another favorite dish has been the fajitas del camarones. Just so much good food here, sometimes it is difficult to make a decision.

Okay, other than the food, walking has been on my agenda, nearly every day. I start my mornings with a three mile walk, up and around the marina, stopping for a Starbucks cappuccino, then continue on back to the condo. I have breakfast, then I write, every day, for at least an hour. Afternoons are devoted to relaxing by the pool or going into town.

Or, if I am not by the pool, relaxing by the beach, under a palapa, is also a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, there was a big market at the marina. Tents were set up all around the perimeter of the marina, selling all different types of merchandise: food stalls, taco wagons, dessert tents, where slices of some of the most delicious-looking cakes were sold. One stall had huge pans of paella and more pans of gumbo. Fortunately, I had already eaten, or I might have made a pig of myself.

There were also Indian dancers performing.

Yesterday, there was high clouds over the city, making the day a bit cooler, but no rain.
As we walked along the Malecon, we could see the waves crashing onto the shore. We watched pelicans diving into this waves to catch fish. Those big birds dive so fast, and so straight down, I had to wonder if they every suffer broken necks. They were amazing to watch.

Today, on my walk through the marina, I once more spotted a big crocodile. I think he was waiting for me, for today, his head was out of the water, up on the rocks, and he was smiling at me.

I was too mesmerized this morning to think to take a picture, for all I could think of, was the Disney song, “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, from the movie, “Peter Pan”. Now, of course, I can’t get the song out of my head.

So, life is fun, and I am getting work done on my book. Most of all, though, I am relaxing. This vacation was much-needed and I appreciate all of you who helped me get to this lovely, restful place.

I will close with a sunset picture from a few days ago. Now, it is lunch time, and the camarones at Tenampa Bar are calling for me to come enjoy them.

So, I shall say,

Hasta la vista, until we meet again.

Dolly

Villa Encantada – Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Villa

Author: , December 6th, 2018

Villa Encantada - Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Villa

Experience ultimate luxury in our large, 5,000 sf villa in the Conchas Chinas Hills. This new, five bedroom, five and a half bathroom villa is in the upscale Amapas area, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful vacation rental homes in Puerto Vallarta.

Villa Encantada is in the middle of a vibrant, tropical jungle, and has panoramic Banderas Bay views. It’s also a great place to watch the sun set from the wide pool deck. When the days are hot, you can cool down in our gorgeous turquoise blue pool, or relax with a drink at the outdoor bar under the shade of the palapa.

Villa Encantada is a great place for families or a group of friends, with 5 elegant bedroom suites, each with private bath, wide balconies, a large sitting room, and a complete staff that make this house a tropical paradise.

Villa Encantada is close to downtown Puerto Vallarta in the Amapas/Conchas Chinas hills. We offer an open air paradise where you can enjoy the warm ocean breeze and the tropical evenings.

See the Villa Encantada Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

 

Casa De Los Arcos – Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Resort

Author: , March 29th, 2018

Casa De Los Arcos - Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly Resort

Casa de los Arcos has been operating as a Guest villa since the late 80’s and I have been the owner since 1994. We have been rated # 1 on Trip Advisor for Specialty Lodging for the last 4 years.

It is a magical place that allows our guest to get away from the stresses of everyday life and luxuriate in the sounds of the rustling trees, and soft breezes. Our views are nothing short of spectacular, whether you are sitting on your private terrace, or on one of the terraces in our Botanical gardens. Relax to the sounds of the waterfalls in the gardens or take a short stroll to the beach or downtown.

Casa de los Arcos has all the charm of old Mexico, and is awash with color and sunshine.

You can either enjoy this villa with a large group of your friends or family by renting the whole property, or take just rent one of the four “casas”.

The design of the villa allows for absolute privacy when you are in your suite, but there are large entertaining areas if you have rented the whole villa.

Each suite has its own character. The Museo is our newest addition. It is about 700 square feet of living space, with a master bedroom, with a full galley style kitchen, and spacious living and dining room. A few stairs up is the pool terrace.

The Casa Grande is on this level. It is a large 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite, with living room, dining room, and kitchen. Each bedroom opens onto a terrace. The main terrace spans the width of the villa, and has a large palapa covered bar. It is a great entertaining space that can hold up to 40 people

One level above the pool is the Palapa. This one bedroom suite is pure tropics, very romantic, and has fantastic views from everywhere. It boasts a palapa roof over the two living areas, a dining table that will seat 10, a large private sun terrace and a master suite that allows great views out to the ocean.

Our Casita is also a one bedroom suite, open concept living and dining area, private terrace and large master bedroom. It’s views are the best in the house. All suites are decorated in wonderful bright fabrics and hand painted Mexican tiles.

Our most recent addition is our Botanical Garden. It is lush with native plants, has two spacious terraces with unobstructed views, and two waterfalls.

Our staff are here Monday through Saturday, and our cook is available for an extra charge. We have wifi throughout the villa and gardens, cable tv, and,telephone.

Your hosts are on the property to insure that your time at Casa de los Arcos is all you want it to be. We will set up your airport transfers, and take you to the local store to stock your kitchen upon your arrival.

After that, enjoy our stunning sunset as you sip one of our famous margaritas.

See the Casa De Los Arcos Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

AREA Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Casitas LazDivaz – Costa Rica Lesbian Bed & Breakfast

Author: , March 23rd, 2018

Casitas LazDivaz - Costa Rica Lesbian Bed & Breakfast

Playa Samara is a four-kilometer stretch of gorgeous beach on the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, a National Geographic-designated Blue Zone, one of five areas in the world where people live longer, healthier, and happier lives than anywhere else on this planet.

Welcome to Casitas LazDivaz B&C, and experience the Rainbow Zone!

Enter our adults-only oasis through our whimsical driftwood gate, under the billowing rainbow flag, and find yourself in a serene tropical garden, where we celebrate diversity, welcoming guests from all walks of life.

Shaded by a full canopy of mature, indigenous trees teeming with wildlife, Casitas LazDivaz is a secluded compound of three cozy, private stand-alone cabins, outside of busy Samara Center, yet still within a five-minute beach stroll to the restaurants, shops, and entertainment in the lively Costa Rican village. Upon arrival, we will give you our annotated map to lead you to the activities and restaurants that we recommend

LazDivaz was conceived, designed, and lovingly built at the turn of the century by a couple of lesbian dreamers–an architect from Munich and a graphic designer from Boston. The European-standard construction is complemented by distinct, hand-crafted furniture and fixtures throughout.

Your comfort is our priority: the queen-size bed has an orthopedic mattress and high-count cotton sheets; ceiling fans supplement the ventilation in the breezy, open-air design; and the strong shower rains unlimited hot water.

Two casitas, Marlene Dietrich and Farinelli, each have a small refrigerator. WiFi is available throughout the premises.

Casita Tina Turner has a kitchen, with fridge, stove, microwave, toaster oven, blender, and all necessary utensils. Tina is larger than the other two, and is the most private, with an elevated porch that overlooks the garden.

Each morning we serve rich, steamy, high-altitude Costa Rican coffee, and offer fresh squeezed orange juice to get your day off to a healthful start.

On the beach just beyond the gate, under the shade of coconut palms, we hang colorful hammocks, an enticement to while away the hours reading, floating in a reverie, sharing a double hammock with your love, or just chilling to the music of the waves as they lull away your cares. Some call that state of static bliss “nirvana.” We call it “Samara Syndrome.”

Protected from strong currents by a barrier reef, Playa Samara is one of the safest swimming beaches in Costa Rica. The gentle waves are perfect for beginning surfers, the wide strand excellent for running, and the hills above prime hiking spots. The protected wildlife refuge on Isla Chora, just a few hundred meters from shore, is accessible by ocean kayak.

At twilight, we gather on our rustic driftwood bench, sipping libations and communing with the dazzling spectacle of light and color that unfolds as sunset fades into night, after which we sometimes light a fire pit to extend both our time on the beach, and the sense of community that often evolves among our guests.

See the Casitas LazDivaz Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Costa Rica Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Old Town Puerto Vallarta – Dolly Travels

Author: , February 15th, 2018

Old Town Puerto Vallarta

Hola, once more.

This will be my last blog post from Puerto Vallarta this year. Next year, I hope to spend longer than a week. I love this town.

When I told the kids that I wanted to go back to explore Old Town Vallarta, Rob asked me, “What will you do there?”

“Oh, just walk around, and see what the Old Town is like,” was my reply. What I really thought was, it will be more “What can I learn by going back there:” Rather than what can I do there.

I took the bus to town again, by myself. I call it the “Chicken Bus”. Although no one here is transporting chickens, the buses look similar to the ones I have seen in other places of Mexico and Costa Rica, where cages of chickens were being carried on top of the buses.

The bus stop is on the street in front of our hotel entrance. The fare is 7.50 pesos, which is about 42 cents in US money.

After a bumpy ride, for most of the streets are made of cobblestones, and I am sure the buses do not have the best springs, I arrived in the main part of Puerto Vallarta, near the Cathedral of Guadalupe. I knew I wanted to go further east, into the old town from that church, so I followed the streets that Chef Julio had taken us on, the other day when we went to the Mercado.

There is a river that empties into the sea, at the southern end of the main part of town. This river, the Cuale River, creates an island called the Isla Cuale. Now it is a lovely park.

A staircase crosses the river on the north side, and leads to an upper affluent neighborhood, where Elizabeth Taylor lived, while she was filming the movie, “The Night of the Iguana”. That movie brought Puerto Vallarta to the attention of travelers, and as the locals tell me, that was the beginning of the town becoming a tourist attraction.

A statue of John Huston sits at the entrance to the park. That man was the director of the movie, “The Night of the Iguana”. He made the film here, as he had already fallen in love with Puerto Vallarta. In fact, his home was at Las Caletas, the beach where we saw “Rhythm of the NIghts”. He gave that property to the town of Puerto Vallarta.

As I walked further into Old Town, I saw the everyday life of those residents, going on quietly, without the hustle and bustle of the touristy part of town.

I found the Mercado again, and after a few more blocks, the streets ended, so I made my way back toward the main part of Puerto Vallarta.

At the very western end of the park, I found a small restaurant that served breakfast. Although it was almost noon, I decided to have brunch instead of lunch.

This cafe, called “Incanto”, had a guitarist playing soft music for the patrons.

On the other side of the river is another restaurant that was closed, for workmen were trimming a large bamboo tree that sat at the end of the restaurant. The roots of that tree were actually down at the river’s edge.

There was a man with a machete trimming a tree by the river. The branches fell at the river’s edge, and two more workmen went down there and piled the branches up. Then the machete man went down there and trimmed those branches into tall poles, and stacked them up . All the work was done with a machete. And it was all done while I was having my meal.

« Rhythm of the NIghts and Other Adventures in Puerto VallartaWarm Places »
Old Town Puerto Vallarta
January 16, 2018 by dollygoolsby
2 Votes

Hola, once more.

This will be my last blog post from Puerto Vallarta this year. Next year, I hope to spend longer than a week. I love this town.

When I told the kids that I wanted to go back to explore Old Town Vallarta, Rob asked me, “What will you do there?”

“Oh, just walk around, and see what the Old Town is like,” was my reply. What I really thought was, it will be more “What can I learn by going back there:” Rather than what can I do there.

I took the bus to town again, by myself. I call it the “Chicken Bus”. Although no one here is transporting chickens, the buses look similar to the ones I have seen in other places of Mexico and Costa Rica, where cages of chickens were being carried on top of the buses.

The bus stop is on the street in front of our hotel entrance. The fare is 7.50 pesos, which is about 42 cents in US money.

After a bumpy ride, for most of the streets are made of cobblestones, and I am sure the buses do not have the best springs, I arrived in the main part of Puerto Vallarta, near the Cathedral of Guadalupe. I knew I wanted to go further east, into the old town from that church, so I followed the streets that Chef Julio had taken us on, the other day when we went to the Mercado.

There is a river that empties into the sea, at the southern end of the main part of town. This river, the Cuale River, creates and island called the Isla Cuale. Now it is a lovely park.

A staircase crosses the river on the north side, and leads to an upper affluent neighborhood, where Elizabeth Taylor lived, while she was filming the movie, “The Night of the Iguana”. That movie brought Puerto Vallarta to the attention of travelers, and as the locals tell me, that was the beginning of the town becoming a tourist attraction.

Some of the homes up in that neighborhood now.

A statue of John Huston sits at the entrance to the park. That man was the director of the movie, “The Night of the Iguana”. He made the film here, as he had already fallen in love with Puerto Vallarta. In fact, his home was at Las Caletas, the beach where we saw “Rhythm of the NIghts”. He gave that property to the town of Puerto Vallarta.

As I walked further into Old Town, I saw the everyday life of those residents, going om quietly, without the hustle and bustle of the touristy part of town.

The apartments are newer, the streets are quiet. The tangle of electrical wires overhead is a bit disconcerting.

I liked this place. I think it is a restaurant below, but the tower had small tables and chairs on three levels. It must be a good place for Happy Hour, for a few people

I found the Mercado again, and after a few more blocks, the streets ended, so I made my way back toward the main part of Puerto Vallarta.

At the very western end of the park, I found a small restaurant that served breakfast. Although it was almost noon, I decided to have brunch instead of lunch.

This cafe, called “Incanto”, had a guitarist playing soft music for the patrons.

You can see the river flowing below the deck. On the other side of the river is another restaurant that was closed, for workmen were trimming a large bamboo tree that sat at the end of the restaurant. The roots of that tree were actually down at the river’s edge.

I don’t know if you can see him, but at the right side of the tree, standing on a 12-foot ladder, is a man with a machete trimming that tree. The branches fell at the river’s edge, and two more workmen went down there and piled the branches up. Then the machete man went down there and trimmed those branches into tall poles, and stacked them up . All the work was done with a machete. And it was all done while I was having my meal.

After my wonderful breakfast and the best cup of coffee I have had , I meandered back into town.

The peaceful River Cuale.

The Crown Dome of the Cathedral

One of the many sculptures along the Malecon.

I finished my day in town by walking the length of the Malecon, then I caught another “Chicken Bus” and made my way back to our hotel.

Later, as we were waiting for our dinner, at Victor’s at the marina., I had time to contemplate what a relaxing week we had enjoyed. Although we were active, we were never stressed. I enjoyed the non-stress times immensely.

So here I am, dreaming of my return to one of my favorite cities . Puerto Vallarta.

Adios, Puerto Vallarta, until next year.

A Puerto Vallarta Cooking Class – Dolly Travels

Author: , February 5th, 2018

Puerto Vallarta cooking class - Dolly Travels

Hola!

Once again I am in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, one of my favorite towns to visit. My son, Rob, and his wife, Amy came down with me to enjoy some sunny weather, and it has been a delight to be able to wear shorts, t-shirts and sandals again.

One day, Rob rented a car and the three of us drove up to a little town called Sayulita. That town is one of the Pueblos Magicos, a designation given by the government to certain villages that are unique in their culture, their pride in their community, and has some history or traditions, legends, that set the village apart from others. A village with that designation receives money from the government to make improvements where needed and to promote tourism.

Personally, I think the town has gone overboard on the tourism part of the agreement, for the little village was so crowded it was not fun for me to be there. At any rate, it is a pretty little town, on the beach, with apparently some of the best surfing waves of that northern side of Nayarit.

The waves are not very high at this point, but some amateur surfers were going to ride the little waves, if they could.

The meals were delicious. After lunch on the beach, we walked around the little town for a short time, but it was just too crowded with tour groups and other tourists to be enjoyable.

After we got back to our hotel, Rob told me that he did not ever want to drive in Mexico again, but I thought he did a good job. We had only driven a little over an hour each way, but I would not have wanted to drive, either.

Yesterday, we stayed in Puerto Vallarta. We went into town, and had cooking lessons at one of the restaurants there, called Gaby’s. Now that was an activity that I enjoyed immensely.

Chef Julio Cesar met us at 9:00 a.m. After preliminary introductions, he gave each of us and apron and a shopping bag, then led us on a trip through part of Old Town Vallarta to the mercato, where we bought fresh fruit, vegetables, dried chilies. While we were shopping Chef Julio told us about the food as well as some of the culture of Puerto Vallarta.

Chef Julio picked out some fresh peppers. Oh, yes, he did throw in some of those orange and green habanero peppers. I am certainly glad that Julio knew what he needed from this array.

After buying the produce we needed, Julio took us to a tortilleria, where we bought fresh masa. The ladies that ran this shop make everything from scratch. They soak the dried corn in lime water, then grind it into flour and make the masa. They also make tortillas to sell by the dozen, and the shop was quite busy that morning.

Back at the restaurant, we really got down to business. We made our tortillas from the fresh masa. That was an experience to remember, for as easy as it looks to make those little things, all sorts of things can go wrong. We did get a few that were not torn, but the nice thing about working with masa is that it is like Play Dough…if at first, they don’t turn out well, just roll the dough up into a ball again and do it over.

Chef Julio instructed me on making the strawberry masa for sweet tamales. Those were certainly different. We put the masa on the corn husks, then added fresh pineapple and raisins, rolled them up and they steamed while we made the rest of our dinner.

Our luncheon went on and on and on. We had chilies rellenos, mole chicken enchiladas, ceviche, swordfish empanadas, five or six different salsas, then our sweet tamales.

We left the restaurant after six hours of shopping, cooking and eating. We were all stuffed, but I must say, it was a wonderful day. I loved having this hands-on cooking experience.

After the class was finished, Chef Julio gave us a tour of the restaurant. It is a family-owned business, started by his mother and father many years ago. The family home was turned into the restaurant, and now they are expanding it. His mother was at the cash register yesterday and his grandmother was having lunch in the restaurant.

Chef Julio is going to email the recipes to us. I might be brave enough to try some of these at home. I might have to look hard to find some of the ingredients, but as much as I love to cook, that will be another pleasant, fun experience.

If you find yourself in Puerto Vallarta, and want to take a cooking class, I highly recommend Gaby’s. The restaurant is just 2 blocks up the street from the Church of Guadalupe, the main cathedral in Puerto Vallarta.

Now we are relaxing at the hotel, for tonight we are going on another cultural experience called “Rhythm of the Nights”. I will have to tell you about that tomorrow. (If you want, you can look up my blog posts from January, 2017 and August, 2017, for I had taken that tour on both those dates. ).

Adios for now.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel Resources

Puerto Vallarta Weather – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 4th, 2017

Puerto Vallarta

Buenos Dias, again.

I usually do not write posts back to back, but I have so much to tell you, and besides that, my 24 hours of internet access will expire in the morning.

I was dismayed when I checked the weather forecast for Puerto Vallarta before we left home, to find that thunderstorms were predicted for every day that we would be here. We had the resort accommodations reserved; we had booked our flights, and if nothing else, Frank and I are flexible. So here we are, and we have been very fortunate. The first night we were here, it rained cats and dogs for about an hour, then we have had good weather.

Yesterday, we had a reservation to take a boat trip out to the island of Las Caletas to see the show called, “Rhythm of the NIghts”, which is a Cirque de Soleil type of show, but it depicts many myths and legends of the native Mexican people, especially from this area of Jalisco. The island itself was owned by the movie director, John Houston. This is where he lived while directing the film, “Night of the Iguana”, several years ago. He gave this island to the people of Puerto Vallarta upon his death. The island has been kept as close to being as it was in John Houston’s time as possible.

We came to the island by boat, as I said. The trip from the marina in Puerto Vallarta took about 45 minutes. As we were traveling, I told the young lady next to me, who was celebrating her 50th birthday, that the first time we took this trip, dolphins swam alongside the boat.

“Oh,” she exclaimed. “That must have been so great to see that.” The words were hardly out of her mouth when another passenger alerted us to the fact that a pod of dolphins were following us. I tried to count them, but they would dive, then swim closer to the boat, and dive again, but as close as I could count, there were at least ten of those lovely creatures, and they followed us for about ten minutes. That was indeed a highlight of our boat ride. I told the lady that the dolphins did it for her, to wish her a Happy Birthday. She smiled, being so touched.

I could not get a picture of the dolphins, of course, but the sea and the sky were so spectacular last night. All of us knew that at any minute, the clouds could come over those Sierra Madre mountains and rain on our parade, so we were grateful for the beautiful evening.

Before long, we docked at the island. As we left the boat, the crew members gave each couple a large umbrella. Just in case, they said.

We all walked up the dirt paths that were lined with votive candles to light our way, until we reached the amphitheater where the show would be performed.

I have nothing with which to compare this show, except for other Cirque de Soleil performances. Each of the performers were incredibly talented. The loose story line included many of the stories from Mexican history, such as the Deer Dance. A costumed actor, dressed as a magnificent quetzal, that royal bird of this area and Central America, flew over our heads on a wire. There was action in so many different areas, it was hard to tell where to watch, at times.

We were not permitted to take pictures of the performers or any during the show, but this is one of the paths, as viewed from the boat. As you can see, the jungle comes right down to the water.

We watched the show, the actors took their bows, we started up the trail toward the large covered area where dinner would be served. Little raindrops started falling, but it was a very light rain. Later, as we were eating, the rain came down in sheets. The little dirt paths became running rivulets of mud. By the time we had to leave to go back to the boat, the rain was still coming down like crazy. Despite the shelter of the large umbrella for the two of us, we were soaked by the time we got to the boat. All of us looked like half-drowned cats.

Once we were on the boat and all the covers were zipped into place, the crew of our boat gave us another show that was pretty amazing. These guys did take-off and lip synced songs and dance routines from Frank Sinatra, to Prince, to Elvis, the Blues Brothers, then one of the crew performed some magic with glass spheres, that reminded me of a show I had seen in Las Vegas a long time ago.

When we got back to the marina, all the rain had stopped. Puerto Vallarta was dry as a bone. Thank goodness, for I had not been clever enough to bring our umbrellas with us.

One afternoon, one of the chefs here at the resort, gave a cooking class. Yay!! I would get to learn a new recipe or technique after all.

Puerto Vallarta - Chef LucianoChef Luciano, from Uruguay, taught us how to make ceviche.

Chef Luciano did not speak English, but I watched carefully, and one of the young girls, an employee of the resort, acted as a translator. Chef Luciano made this ceviche with salmon, so, I will give you the recipe now, because it was so delicious. I made notes while he cut things up. I have found that cooking, much like music, has its own universal language.

Salmon Ceviche

1 fresh salmon filet, about 1/4 pound, trimmed of skin, and cut into small cubes 1/2 red onion, chopped into small dice
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped into small dice.
Mix these three ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Squeeze the juice of three or four Mexican limes over this, add about a teaspoon of fine sea salt; drizzle with olive oil. Mix together well. Set aside while preparing the remainder of the ingredients: 1 ripe avocado, peeled, diced small
1 tablespoon capers, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 to 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Add these to fish mixture, stir well, then set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. The lime juice will cook the fish nicely in that time.
To serve, prepare thin slices of toasted baguette. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each baguette slice, then spoon ceviche onto those slices. Serve immediately.
Chef Luciano said the cream cheese helps keep the bread crunchy, not soggy. We did not wait 10 minutes for the ceviche to sit. We ate it as soon as he had mixed all the ingredients together and put the mixture on the baguette slices. It did not taste like raw fish, so I guess the lime juice did its job quickly.

Personally, I would serve the ceviche with tortilla chips, but this was the way it was prepared for us, and, as I said, it was delicious.

Puerto Vallarta - FrankToday was a quiet day for us, as the weather threatened to break loose all day long. Finally it did, although the rain waited until about 5:30 to start. When the rain starts here, it seems it doesn’t know how to fall gently. We had just a few warning sprinkles, as we were getting ready to go out to dinner.

“Should we take the umbrellas?” I asked Frank, for we were only going about 100 yards.

We decided that we should, and by the time we got down to the ground floor, the rain was coming down in buckets again. We made it to the restaurant and enjoyed a light meal, and by the time we were ready to leave, the rain had stopped. Crazy.

During Happy Hour, the waiter brings our two-for-one drinks all at the same time. By the way, this sangria is just freshly made lemonade with red wine floated onto it, and I like it very much.

Now it is dark, the rain has stopped, and we are enjoying a quiet evening, again.

I hope we get to go back to town tomorrow. We will do that, if it doesn’t rain. I will be sure to let you know how that goes.

P.S. A note regarding my blog post of earlier today: Frank told me that the song, “Lamente Bourincano,” that he requested from the musicians when we were in town the other day, is one that he remembers his father singing. That is the reason he loves to hear it now. It must be quite well-known here, for the musicians knew it right away.

Adios for now,
Dolly

Puerto Vallarta in the Summer

Author: , August 18th, 2017

Puerto Vallarta

Buenos dias, amigos,

Frank and I decided we needed a vacation. Therefore, here we are in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This city is one of my favorite vacation spots, but I do have to say, that it is Hot! Hot! Hot! And humid. Perhaps August isn’t the best time to visit here.

Puerto VallartaWe arrived Saturday night, so Sunday, we just spent the day here, getting acclimated to the time difference (they are one Central Time here) and the climate difference.

On Monday, we took a cab to town, as I wanted to see some of the local places, places I had visited before. I wanted to go inside the cathedral here; a wedding was taking place inside, so I had to bypass a visit that day.

Puerto VallartaFrank and I wandered down one block toward the Malecon, the walkway that parallels the sea. We remembered that we needed to find a Bancomat, so we wandered down another block or two, found what we wanted, got some Mexican Pesos, wandered some more. To me, it was enjoyable, just looking into the different shops (I cannot say “Window shopping”, for the merchandise was right there in the open. At the park, we watched some children at play; like children everywhere, one little boy was trying to escape from his mother, while his sibling went in another direction.

There were small grocery stores, shoe stores, clothing stores, electronic stores, and of course, many bars and restaurants.

We came to a restaurant that looked interesting. It was nearing lunch time, and there were no patrons in the restaurant yet. That made me a bit suspicious , but Frank looked at the menu, and he decided we could have a drink and a snack. We weren’t quite ready for lunch yet. The proprietor greeted us and told us that we could be seated and he would bring a menu. He told us that there was a cooking class going on in the back room, and soon it would finish, then the chef could begin making lunch for customers.

Cooking class? Oh, how did I miss that!! I told the proprietor that cooking was a passion of mine, so he invited me to watch the remainder of the class. I put that cooking class on my bucket list for my next visit to Puerto Vallarta. The chef was finishing a soup, where he had heated three large rocks, and put them into a pottery bowl of broth, with some diced vegetables and shrimp. As I watched, I could see the broth bubbling around the stones. Soon, right before my very eyes, the shrimp and vegetables were cooked without coming near a stove.

Puerto Vallarta - Gaby's RestaurantIf any of you are planning a trip down here in the near future, look up http://www.gabyrestaurant.com.mx. That will give you information on the address as well as the cooking classes. Apparently, this chef is on a cooking show down here and seems to be well-known. He certainly knew how to make soup in an interesting fashion.

Puerto VallartaAs Frank was eating his little snack, I mentioned to the owner of the restaurant that I was allergic to tequila. That man went into the back of the restaurant and came back to the table with a little glass of what he called a “medicina ” for allergies.

We left the restaurant and continued on our exploration walk of Puerto Vallarta. Only two blocks west was the Malecon, the long walk that parallels the sea. I love that walkway. It was cooler there, also, than it had been, for a lovely breeze was blowing off the water.

Puerto VallartaThis walkway is about two miles long, and we only walked a small portion of it. There are shops on the left of us, trees and flowers are planted in the middle of the walkway, then sculptures are interspersed along the right side.

We walked, stopped to look at things, then walked some more. Sometime, after about two hours or so of this, I decided I was hungry. I wanted some shrimp tacos from my favorite Puerto Vallarta restaurant, La Fuente de la Puente.

Puerto VallartaThis restaurant sits right at the river bank, hence the name, which means, the Fountain at the Point, as the bridge over the river is right there.

We found our way there, without any problem. Soon we had ordered our lunch, and were enjoying a cool drink while we waited for our food. Then, when we were eating, the same musicians that we had seen in Gaby’s, came into the restaurant. They saw us, and came over, as we were all laughing. Frank asked them to sing that same song again and they did. That was a fun experience.

Finally, our long day in town was finished. We caught a bus back toward our hotel, making a side trip to WalMart for some groceries. Soon we were back at our resort, and as I was bemoaning the fact that we were too late to make Happy Hour, one of the attendants told me that Happy Hour on that day was from 5:00 p.m to 6:00. We made it!!

I got a bell boy to help me take the groceries up to our room, while Frank got us a table at the open air restaurant near the lobby.

Oh, just as an aside, one reason that I love Puerto Vallarta is that it is not an expensive place to visit. For instance, at WalMart, I bought fresh fruit and vegetables for salad, cold cuts, cheese, some pastries and bread, a few other items all for 350 Mexican pesos, which sounds like a lot of money, but is the equivalent of about $19 US.

So we made Happy Hour, and relaxed after a long day of just enjoying being in Puerto Vallarta.

I have more to tell you, but it will have to go into another blog, for this one is getting too big. And it is almost Happy Hour time again.

Adios for now,
Dolly

Ciao for now,
Dolly

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica

Author: , July 27th, 2017

Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta

There are few locations in Latin America that can legitimately claim to offer a true gay village—which makes Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica a notable standout. As you can probably guess, the Mexican city’s area means “romantic zone” or “district of romance,” and that signifies it is a place for romance to be enjoyed by everyone.

This is an equal-opportunity romance zone, and local residents and businesses take pride in being inclusive and supportive of everyone, including the LGBT community. This section of town is home to many hotels, restaurants and other attractions that are owned and/or managed by those in the LGBT community, and these and other local hotspots make it a priority to express their support of LGBT residents and visitors.

This welcoming stance may not be surprising, given the community’s proud affiliations and memberships related to organizations such as the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. The local business community is also openly supportive of groups such as GLAAD, HMI and the GMHC.

By Bobbi Dempsey – Full Story at Travel Pulse

Puerto Vallarta – Zona Romantica Gay Travel Resources

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