Sunday, 17 April 2016

Puerto Vallarta - Vacation is over April 15th

I had intended on using my previous blog entry to share what changes I had seen in P.V.. Although I mentioned some items, I got sidetracked. So....
• P.V. now has two Casino's. Previously there was one in the Hotel Zone. Now there is one in the downtown area just a short distance from the Rosetta Hotel at the beginning of the malecon.
• there is a very large sports area across from the Sheraton Hotel. There is a running track, soccer field, children's play area and outdoor stationery exercise equipment.
• the timeshare and holiday club people are still in abundance. However when I was not enticed by activities  (I've done them all). They offered money instead.  I attended a holiday club presentation and received  $2500 pesos. If I was willing to attend a second they would give me $3000 pesos - Mexican holidays have just become even more economical. For three hours of my time - including the time to the location and back... I received a tour of another location, taxi rides to and from, breakfast and $2500pesos.  The bonus was - this was the most low key presentation I have ever been too. It would have been much shorter but the agent and I began sharing holiday pictures.
• the Galeria Shopping Mall cinema also show movies in English with Spanish subtitles.
• there is an ecological preserve with in Puerto Vallarta very close to the marina. A crocodile from that area has now made its home in the marina - no swimming in the marina now.

Now some pictures of P.V.

And more P.V. sunset pictures.

Some of the people reading this blog may know my hobby is doing balloons sculptures. I met Mario a balloon twister on the Malecon and shared some new balloons with him.  As well, I helped out the entertainment crew at my hotel one day by making balloons for the kid - and adults.

Friday, 15 April 2016

More Puerto Vallarta

As I had mentioned, this is the seventh time I've been to P.V., the first time was in 1995. Each time I've seen changes. P.V. continues to grow. The first time I was here, I observed police attempting to get through the traffic - they had a portable flashing light that they slapped on the dash of the car, but no sirens. An officer was leaning out of the window and yelling and motioning to other drivers, trying to clear the way. For several years yhere have been regular patrol cars and but this year I have seen an increase in motorcycle police.

P.V. has a strong "enforcement " presence. There are district police, dressed in Blues, the military police dressed in brown and the tourist police with white shirts. As well you will see a military presence in P.V. and there are private security officers in many locations.  The tourist police generally don't carry guns.

Some new items I noticed this time - they now have emergency call stations in several locations in the downtown/Romantica area. 
This was a surprising new addition. The public bathrooms are gated. For $5 pesos you can enter.
The Malecon used to have a driving lanes in front of the shops, with sidewalks that you had to walk up three or fours steps to reach. This was necessary as the rainy season and the flash floods brought a torrential amount of water down from the hilly area to the ocean. After a hurricane a few years ago many of the stores and much of the malecon area was damaged. The government stepped in and provided funds for a makeover.  The original malecon area became walking only area and a much larger area for tourist.  It is beautifully decorated with statues, many which i included in the previous blog entry, stone inlays in the walkways and a better drainage system.  You can now walk from the beginning of the malecon, over the Cuale River and to Los Muertos Pier.

There are three bridges in the tourist area that cross over Cuales River, which separates the downtown area from the Romantica area. The first bridge, is a walking only bridge at the oceanside. You often see local families and tourists swimming in the river. Pelicans appear to congregate in this area. Fresh oysters and ceviche is sold. Isle Cuale is home to a few very nice restaurants, shopping sites and another area where artists are actively working. A small gallery is hidden away here. 

The second and third bridges are traffic bridges and they also have walkways to the shopping area on the Isle - swinging, wooden bridges. The third bridge is also beside the original flea market. It is still a three story market with a food court on the top floor.  However it is much more modern than past years and the cooking areas have commercial cooking equipment rather than small propane - outdoor type burners. Modernization has certainally taken some of the charmm away, but has provided a safer location.

The trees on Isle Cuale is home to many large iguanas and frequently you can see turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

P.V. April 9 & 10

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a beautiful city. Located on the Bay of Banderas and  built into the hills. It was one of Mexico's first tourist area and was  made increasingly popular when Elizabeth Taylor and John Huston stared in The Night of the Iguana in 1962.

Puerto Vallarta was one of the first cities to get a purified water system and most recently updated it to state of art and has won "safe water" awards for the past 16 years.

P.V. is an artists town. Markets are centered around artisians and their crafts whether that be sculptures, pottery, jewelry or food. Artisian markets are held Friday and Saturdays in the old town and the Marina. One Tuesday a month an additional market is held at the marina. I was luck to arrive at the market during set up and prior to the crowds.

P.V. also has sculptures throughout the tourist areas and free walks twice a week to share and explain them.

Where ever you are in the Hotel Zone, Old town,  Romantica Zone or Malecon you can see evidence of creativity.

The tourist areas are very clean, garbage cans and cleaners are abundant.  The wares peddlers are dressed in white and carry a license. No where did I see any "pushy" seller whether it was selling of silver jewelry, garments, blankets, wood carvings, hammock, henna tattoos, or food items. Minstrels also stroll the beaches stopping to play for tips through the beach area.

In the evenings, there is a subtle shift of tourists and services available. The malecon becomes an area of entertainment. Performers appear in traditional Aztec dress and instruments.  Mimes, clowns, balloon artists appear. Free entertainment occurs in the two stage areas. Small food vendors appear.

One evening a military officer was singing the most beautiful ballads outside the military museum. He attracted a large crowd and no one appeared to stay only for a song or two. If he hadn't taken a break I'm sure the crowd would have continued to get larger.