Charlene and Mike's Visit

Friday, February 7, 2014

Today is the day Charlene and Mike fly in from Regina, Saskatchewan.

The sun was out for the visit for sure.

We first of all did our own thing by me painting - sky and leaves at top left hand corner. Ken was taking to Terry O. on Gabriola and finding out about the grant application - it's a "go".

We went with Rene, the head cook, and Alfredo, the driver this time, in the burgundy, Los Arroyos Verdes van. We were to meet back at the OXXO store, something about parking fees. Ken checked the arrivals board and figured the plane was late. Then we walked the airport, looked in stores and at public art on the walls.  We even tried to watch flights landing. We figured we had better head back and start watching for the flight from Regina to come in. We were just about back at the arrivals area and there was Mike looking for us. He had left Charlene just outside the airport doors. There was a short wait for the Los Arroyos Verdes van, then all of us went to LA Verdes for a week of fun in the sun.

Those two got settled in their casa and Ken and I made supper in our Casa Fresa, our little casa for the three and a half weeks we will be here. We got to catch up a bit and enjoy each others company. We started making a few plans for the up coming week. Great to see them again!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

We had just barely woke up and we heard a knock on our patio gate.

It was Charlene and Mike. They had been up since six am. They went looking for coffee and breakfast - the restaurant opens at 8:00 am then they came here after coffee. All of us sat around on our outside patio and completed eating breakfast. Mike just got a new iPod for Christmas and he is trying to down load music to it with Ken's assistance.

We never found back seats for the Previa van. We did have a transportation plan, however. Ken and mike took the bed out of our van and put lawn chairs into it. We drove down to the beach and to Bucerias. The sand was not sticking to our feet which seemed a pleasant change. Mike spotted a restaurant/bar with a Saskatchewan Roughriders flag. We went there for a beverage. There were an extreme amount of people flogging their wares.  We were very close to the Mercado and their figured they would drum up a little extra business. We continued our walk through the market and up the main street of Bucerias passed stores and restaurant. I even was lucky enough to pet a black and white cat.  All black and white cats remind me of our precious, old cat Dickie that we had for about eighteen and a half years - very wonderful and loving thing.

We ate lunch at a lovely restaurant called Luna, Luna.

We drove to Chedrai. We got the car washed in the parking lot while we waited. We shopped for probably and hour, strolling the aisles for unusual items - sauces, canned soup, coffees, etc. Back for a swim.

Charlene and Mike hosted supper. We took salad - all was "super" delicious.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

We went and ate breakfast on Charlene and Mike's back deck.

We had a change from the usual breakfast fruit of papaya. We had mango and apple. We yakked lots then thought we should get going to the La Cruz Market. Off we went, Charlene and Mike sitting in lawn chairs in the back.

We drove into the market passed Victor's apartment building,we visited a few weeks back, and down into the La Cruz market parking lot. There is a guard there with a machine gun.  He is standing in a black outfit our in the hot sun.

We all went to the fish market first thing. Mike was able to identify the fish both big and small. Then we started sampling foods. Charlene and Mike bought yogurt, dip and an orange liquor, etc. We purchased shrimp and strawberries. Lunch time rolled around while at the market. All but Ken had fish tacos from what looked like a stressed out young vendor that did not know health codes (what were we thinking). Ken had the usual Greek food. Charlene and Mike bought the cutest crotchet shoes for Hunter, We left the market after watching some pelicans play. We went up into the town of La Cruz. Mike arranged a fishing charter for himself for tomorrow at 6:00  am. Then we walked up the street for a beverage - very enjoyable. Good talk with good people.

Once back to LAV we all went for a refreshing swim. Then Mike cooked up wonderful shrimp tacos for supper. We all participated, doing something - lovely evening.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Unfortunately we got a late start heading off to PV.

It seemed like a long ways to PV, passing through a bit of countryside but mostly built up town areas. Passed the big Walmart, passed the big coloured letters saying Puerto Vallarta, passed the airport, passed the hotel Charlene and Mike stayed in ten years ago Buenadventure. Mike went fishing at 6:00 am so it was just Charlene, Ken and me.

We came to the underground parking. we found about a week or so ago. We went to the close Starbucks. Then off to the Malecon. The ocean and the Malecon walk are glorious with all the brass statues, etc. We went to the Tropicana Hotel and Los Arcos Hotel to check them out. We walked through the veggie restaurant, planning to return but ate at the Margarita Restaurant. A black and white cat, Pancho, made us work for his attention. The waiter made guacamole and roasted pepper salsa at our table - very good. We basically did the same shopping loop as what Ken and I did on January 31. We wanted to show Charlene some funky areas that we like. I did not want to leave PV but we were tired and needed to get back to meet Mike.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mike noticed one of the workers at Los Arroyos Verdes watering and washing his front sidewalk at 6:00 am. Whoever it was they had to use a flashlight because it was not light yet.

Charlene wanted to leave by at least by 9:30 and we accomplished that.

We were on our way to Punta De Mita, along the Bahia de Banderas. Charlene and Mike appeared to really enjoy the scenery and the road. Mike was snapping pictures. They even rode for awhile with the big moon roof open, We just drove through Mita where the restaurants are which is by the beach.

Our small tour group passed resorts and along the curvy highway continued driving through the back edge of Sayulita. All of us were anxious to get to San Pancho . Once there we stopped at Entre Amigos for flan, etc. and to do a bit of shopping. Charlene bought a skirt and a shirt. We had a lunch at a veggie restaurant - Hotel Cielo Rojo. The chef and restaurant were written up in Soy Chef magazine. Three of us had beet burgers. After lunch we toured some of the open hotel rooms which were well appointed. On so delicious! At some point I bought a Hoichali beaded, green ankle braclet. We walked around after lunch to aid digestion.. This is the best sleepy, clean fishing village. Now Charlene and Mike's favourite, too.

Mike talked to an owner of a screen printed shop who's name was Shannon. I asked him if he knew why San Francisco gets called San Pancho. He knew the answer. The town is named after the paton saint for animals and in Spanish he is called San Francisco. In Spanish Pancho is the nickname for Francis.  Locals began calling the town San Pancho and it seems to have stuck.

We drove to Rincon de Guayabitos to show those two the wonderful Gringo homes on the water.  All of us were very tired so we did not return to Sayulita that day but went to our home base.

We had supper at our casa, did our usual walk about, then off to bed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Today was "poolside".

We wanted to bask in the sun, rest and relax. First Mike and Ken cooked us up a "super" delicious breakfast - eggs, shrimp in an orange liquor reduction. We also had Oaxaca cheese and the carnivores had bacon. My breakfast was "sin" bacon. Off to the pool about 11:30. It was a bit hot on the head, you really needed a hat if just floating  around in the pool. We did just float for awhile on pool noodles. All of us except Ken (renewing our medical, travel insurance over the internet) were laying in the sun or shade catching more than a few rays. Then we returned to our casa for cold beverage.

Mike had Rene the head cook grill up the rest of the fish he caught. She made fantastic tuna tacos with avocado. We had appetizers of jimaca and mango. Our main course was a big piece of amber jack fish in adobo salsa or sauce with delicious salad and rice. Ken had pineapple pork ribs. Mike went and got the fudge he had made for us our to the fridge and that was the perfect dessert for a wonderful meal. What we did not eat of the fudge he left for the staff. He also tipped Rene and Julio (waiter) big time.

Ken drove us into Bucerias to see the sunset on the beach which was spectacular. We saw a dog running in circles he was so happy. Later Ken pointed out that the person he was running around was not his owner.  She had her own dog that the running dog must have taken a fancy to.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mike got up at 4:30 am to get ready to go fishing at 6:00 am.

His ride coming from La Cruz was about twenty minutes late. He really enjoyed his fishing trips with Hector, his son and his nephew. They caught many fish, a boat load. The boat was based in Nuevo Vallarta marina.

The three of us, Charlene, Ken and I, had a wonderful breakfast prepared by Ken. Then we were off to Sayulita. There was a circus or exhibition truck driving in front of us for part of the trip. How do I know? It was obviously part of a kids ride.

Once in Sayulita we parked in the shade. We walked around the town showing Charlene highlights from our point of view. We walked on sandbags across the river, we walked the beach - twice. We looked up at the iguanas in the iguan tree or garden, we looked in the stores. Charlene liked the "fish" Oaxaca carpets. We saw many dogs and many vendors selling Mexican art. Being in Sayulita, we saw many hippie types and surfers. It is a younger crowd than many places along the west coast. We ate at the same bakery and taco shop as the last time we were here.

Once back at Los Arroyos Verdes we found that Mike was back from his fishing adventure. The workers here brought a cleaned barbecue into our courtyard. They started it as well. Mike had filleted and cut up Bonita Tuna and cooked it. He fried the red Snapper. Ridiculously delicious!!!

Then we all went into the Bucerias Art Walk for the evening. Mike was absolutely exhausted from getting up so early.

Friday, February 14, 2014 Happy Valentine's Day
Texted Charlene and Mike to come on over for breakfast - fried potatoes, fish, scrambled eggs - yum and made by my Valentine, Ken.

After a good Valentine breakfast and great company we donned our bathing suits for a morning swim. Those guys packed up their belongings. Fun time floating around in the sun. Then we got ready for our airport ride. It must have not been easy for those guys having to go back to a record breading cold winter. We all said our good-byes and "I love you". Before we knew it Charlene and Mike were boarding for NOB - Regina. We had a wonderful week together which seemed to pass by way too quickly.

To leave the airport parking lot you return to the airport building and pay at an automated payment machine after scanning your parking ticket. I felt bad when those two left. Ken being the eternal optimist said we should be glad they made the big trip down here. Yes, we both are happy about that. Wish it was for longer.

We went to Nuevo Vallarta by the marina for lunch - great tacos. We walked to see the parrots but they were not there. We saw dolphins and instead.

We packed up most of our belongings in about two and a half hours. We ate and went for a walk seeing the cow and kitten again before we left.

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Our last day at Los Arroyos Verde.

Our task was to finish up packing our belongings, pay our final tally, say good-bye and leave. We were able to say "adios" to our housekeeper again. I felt bad leaving as we had such a great time here. What is new about how I feel, this is usually how i feel about leaving every wonderful place in Mexico.

We drove north west towards La Cruz on the now familiar highway to Sayulita along MX 200. This is on the highway up towards where we started going east and on to Tequila. Between Las Varas and Tequila the landscape got drier and much less lush.

We stopped in Tequila for lunch. We walked around looking for a particular tequila and for a great lunch place. We found the great lunch spot which made roasted tomato salsa in front of us. We did not find the tequila. We did, however, discover a museum for that family's brand. We thought Tequila is a town we should explore some more. It seems authentic, with a traditional town center. It was clean, people were friendly, it just seemed interesting.

We were late for arriving in Ajijic at Niki's - we missed the party. There were people there from Canada that Niki wanted us to meet and we missed out.  It was great to see Niki again. We got to see Meesha, the very well trained Malinois dog she had last year. Meesha obviously remembered us. We got to meet Jack, Niki's other Malinois dog whom she rescued only months earlier.  He too appears well trained already. Niki graciously showed us around her wonderful, new home.  It had lots of Mexican style and lots of room.

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