Bye bye Banderas

After what seems like an extraordinary amount of time spent in the bay of Banderas, we’ve finally moved on. It’s been great, but the time came and now we’re moving south and east toward the next great spot. Here are some assorted tales of our time in PV.

The neighbours

Greg and Mellisa have been anchored near us in La Cruz for a couple weeks. I’ve never spoken to Greg and Mellisa, I nod hello when we pass each other, but that’s the extent of our relationship. I know their names because Kirstyn had one brief conversation with them at the dinghy dock. They’re easily recognized in the anchorage because their dinghy motor is painted in yellow and black stripes like a bumblebee. This morning, while Kirstyn and I were enjoying our morning coffee, four Mexican men left Greg and Mellisa’s boat in their bumblebee dinghy. A while later Greg returned to his boat alone. Obviously we’re gonna speculate. Did those four men spend the night on Greg and Mellisa’s boat? The only theory I can come up with that seems at all plausible, is that Greg and Mellisa had hosted an all night, cocaine fuelled sex party. Greg probably filmed while Mellisa got wild with the four guests. Mellisa whipped them, beat them, fucked them and sucked them, all the while yelling “make America great again!” And “build the wall!” Like a sex crazed maniac. I could be mistaken, but I think that’s what happened.

After a series of events, that included cruising around in a RAV4 with the host of a popular Guadalajara television news show, we ended up at a house in Puerto Vallarta with a bunch of ladies from Winnipeg. Our cell phone is out of data, so we used the house wifi to get an Uber some time around midnight. Kirstyn plugged the info into the phone app and soon our car arrived. As we drove away, we of course lost our wifi signal and assumed we were headed toward whatever destination Kirstyn had originally plugged into the app. Our driver looked at his phone repeatedly and seemed a little confused, possibly even worried, but didn’t voice any concerns and continued driving. There was tension in the car, we took a bunch of turns, we seemed to be heading toward a part of town I’d never been to. The driver didn’t look at us. No one spoke. Crazy thoughts were going through my head. I peaked over at the driver’s phone showing us on the Uber map. We were nowhere near the ocean. The driver kept looking at the map. I was getting worried. Is this it? Are we being kidnaped by a Mexican cartel? Should we jump out of the car at a stoplight? How would I let Kirstyn know, she was sitting directly behind me. Are we going to a bar one of the ladies told Kirstyn about? Shit, shit, shit. The driver seemed to be avoiding looking at me. We were driving through residential streets. There were no other cars on there road. The driver noticed me looking at his phone, he turned the screen so I couldn’t see, but I knew we were getting close to the destination marked on the map. Fuck, where are we going? Finally the driver looked at me. He looks worried, he’s sweating even with the air conditioner on. He points to a sprawling complex with a security guard at the gate, some sort of institution that tourists probably don’t visit at midnight. “You go here?” He asks. I turn and look at Kirstyn “this isn’t the malecon” she says. Definitely not the malecon. The driver still looks worried “this is the address” he tells me “we made a mistake, could you take us to the malecon?” He thinks, I ask “quanto?” He thinks for a moment. “Ninety pesos” he tells me “si” there’s still tension in the car. “Lo siento” I tell the driver. He laughs “no problem!” He says. No more tension, we drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction to the malecon. When we’re out of the car Kirstyn says “I thought we were fucked” “So did I and I think the driver thought we were about to carjack him.” Not getting kidnaped might be the best thing that’s happened to us all week.

After spending the afternoon enjoying some beverages on the boat with Mary and Ilene, we decided to take them up on their offer of a ride to town. We went to the dollar beer place in Nuevo Vallarta in the hope of finding Cristobal, who’s phone has been out of service for a few days. Sure enough, he was drinking beer at a park bench with a few of his coworkers. He introduced me to one guy but the other guy, who was very drunk, was busy making out with an equally drunk woman. We scampered back over to the bar, which had run out of beer. The waiter told us he could sell us dollar margaritas so we were still in business. After a few of those, Cristobal asked if we want to get some… and made the universal smoking gesture. We headed to the taxi stand, negotiated, $200 pesos. “You sure?” I ask “yeah, we got to pay him good.” Cristobal told me. We drive to an Oxxo about 5 blocks away. “You shouldn’t come with me” Cristobal tells me in the car. A moment later “put on this hat so they think you’re Mexican.” He hands me a white ball cap. Even through the haze of all day drinking, I can see that Cristobal is very drunk, so I put on the hat, backwards, and follow him down a dimly lit street. Our cab waits at the Oxxo. Nobody could possibly see through my disguise. We round a corner and see a man standing in the street. Another man sits on a bench hidden in the shadows. Cristobal speaks to the man in the street in a hushed voice. I try to act casual and don’t speak. After we round the corner heading back to the Oxxo Cristobal tells me “that was close, he didn’t believe you were Mexican but I told him you’re from Monterrey.” “What would have happened if he didn’t believe you?” “We would’ve had to pay the gringo price.” Back at Cristobal’s boat, he asked me how much I paid the taxi driver. “$200” I tell him. “Are you crazy!” “You said $200!” “I did? Shit, I’m drunk”

Have you ever seen a giant manta wray? I’m not talking about a large manta wray, this is the real deal. Sometimes those guys wingtips stick out of the water when they’re at the surface. It kinda looks like two sharks swimming side by side with their dorsal fins out of the water. Imagine if jaws had a twin brother and they cruised around together eating townsfolk and tourists. A seasoned veteran like myself wouldn’t make that mistake, but I can see how you could think that’s what you’re looking at. Going for a morning swim is a key part of my hygiene and fitness routine, so the sight of two fins cruising past the boat was slightly unnerving. I got in the dinghy to check him out, got up real close, and he was somewhat larger than our little boat. This totally ruined my morning swim, remember that crocodile guy? Crikey! Didn’t he get stabbed through the heart by one of those things? Sarah claims it was some other seagoing critter, but I’m not taking any risks this early in the morning.

Maybe you’re aware that it gets hot in Puerto Vallarta, and sometimes I sweat a bit. I also have a great tan, like an athlete. That’s why I drink a fair bit of Gatorade. Gatorade isn’t cheap my friends, and that’s why I buy the flavour crystals and make it myself. It comes in three flavours here, green orange and red. But red is scarce, almost to the point that it’s a luxury item. I found one can of red at the La Comer store a few weeks ago. Very luxurious.

Dave the pilot, who hails from some undisclosed location near Niagara Falls Ontario, likes to have the odd rum and coke at an establishment we’ve been frequenting. Dave spent most of his career flying passenger jets for airlines in Africa and South America. After a bunch of beers, I mentioned my admiration for the Boeing 747. Dave grabbed a book off his living room bookshelf, a handbook for big jet pilots circa 1970 something. Dave has flown everything from Twin Otters and DC-3’s up to 747’s. He’s delivered a Twin Otter from Newfoundland to Europe with bladder tanks in the back full of fuel. Dave never saw UFO’s. He’s turning 80 years old and has a young Mexican girlfriend. Cheers Dave.