Postcard From Puerto Vallarta

By , January 2, 2008 11:58 am

(Photo: Sunset from our balcony)

Christmas in Mexico was like a drink of cool water on a sweltering day. Especially in this year of extensive Christmas ruminations and soul searching.

It was almost like it wasn’t Christmas at all, which was fine with me for this year. The hotel had minimal decorations, a nativity, a few discreet Christmas trees and tasteful bows here and there…and NO Christmas music!!

The day after Christmas we went to a Mega hypermarket (the Mexican equivalent of a super Walmart) and there was not one single Christmas decoration to be seen. Astonishing! Did the elves whisk it all away at midnight or (more likely), were all the American-style plastic Santas, talking trees and inflatable snowmen simply never there to begin with? I suspect that Mexico does not engage in the same commercial Christmas orgy that takes place annually here in the US.

What a relief! This Christmas stillness allowed me to gather my thoughts and I feel I might actually be able to face the Holidays at home next year. I thought about all my Christmas/Holidays Unplugged posts and all your helpful and inspiring comments (thank you all so much for helping me!). I can do this. I can make the holidays what I feel they should be. After all, I can’t keep running away, can I? I do want my children to have happy Christmas traditions and memories other than airports and hotels.

As for the non-contemplative side of the trip. It was nice, but for someone like me who is always cold, I thought the weather was a little cool. Even the natives said it was cold. I can’t complain too much since it was high 60’s to low 70’s (Celsius: about 20 to 23 degrees) while here at home it got down to 2 degrees (Celsius: -17) and snowed.

The kids swam like crazy little fish despite the cool temperatures, and I got some reading done. I didn’t blog at all, although I used the lobby computer once for five minutes to moderate comments.

The trip down was fairly smooth, but the trip home was an adventure. First we lost the keys to the rental car. After searching the hotel room, the car, and the luggage for an hour, we eventually found them in an odd little drawer in the room (thank you youngest daughter!).

Upon arriving at the airport, it took half an hour to return the car and the line to check in was REALLY long. It was also slow-moving because they hand-searched every single checked bag since they don’t have x-ray for that there. We also discovered that the airline had moved the flight time earlier by two hours and had not notified us (thank you US Airways!). The security line was down the hall and around the corner, and that was BEFORE you even got to the giant maze of ropes. Fortunately we had factored in time for lunch in this whole process, bye-bye lunch.

I have done a lot of traveling in my life and I am a firm believer in the “everything happens for a reason” school of travel thought. Fortunately my husband is the same way. We thought perhaps we were simply meant to spend another night there. There are certainly worse places in the world to be stuck! Despite entering our zen-like travel state and planning on another night in Mexico, we somehow miraculously made it to the plane. We were the last ones on, but we were on. Upon arrival in Phoenix (only 42 degrees, 6 Celsius!) we were starving, tired and crabby so we wisely decided to spend the night.

The next morning, feeling much better, and after breakfast and a little fun shopping at the Ikea in Tempe, we headed home.

I didn’t take many photos, but here are a few:

A little restaurant:

An impressive field of Tequila Agave (Agave tequilana) used, of course, for making tequila:

My youngest daughter going for a brief Christmas Day walk, or rather “a drag” down the beach with her Dad before I had to carry her back to the hotel (for some reason she didn’t like the sand!):

Art shot – Town square, old mining town of San Sebastian:

Rock slide in front of us that shut down the road (for only half an hour though) on the way home from San Sebastian. Note the boulders in road and the dust cloud!:

12 Responses to “Postcard From Puerto Vallarta”

  1. Andrée says:

    Great! Thank you for sharing. With all the bad publicity that Mexico is having, this is a good public relations piece. The first photo of the restaurant is a work of art. The one of your daughter is hilarious. I wonder why she doesn’t like sand!

  2. LaDonnaMobile says:

    Looks like *I* need to send *you* a postcard that says, “Wish I were here!”

  3. another A-lister says:

    I am so glad you had a wonderful trip!! It sounds like it was just what you needed. I love the pictures you posted, especially the restaurant one. I hope your 3 little ones enjoyed the beach, despite the sand!!

  4. Shaping Youth says:

    Interestingly enough, my daughter’s first big beach experience at 18mos. was outside of Puerto Vallarta in a tiny surf town about 30 min. away called “Sayulita”…very local, non-touristy environs, and we spent Thanksgiving there in an eco-villa by the sea eating fish tacos instead of turkey…

    Even though it didn’t feel ‘traditional’ it was memorable for sure. Another year it was Easter in an eco-villa in Roatan, Honduras when she was 5. (yes, the bunny left a seashell trail)

    An island girl at heart (raised mostly in Hawaii) I find the tropical environs soothing and serene as a pleasant escape from the commercialism/glitz of US holidays which have been usurped by the marketing machine. Hadn’t even finished putting my tree up and already the Valentine aisles were starting to be stocked. egad.

    Your photos are lovely, and I agree w/Andree, that’s a ‘flickr find’ for sure…(or an istockphoto use fee photo for that matter ;-)

    Must be wonderful to be able to translate your talents into vacation keepsakes. Very cool. Thanks for the blog ping, ¡Felíz año nuevo! –a.

  5. CelticMommy says:

    I’m so glad you were able to just be mellow and enjoy the holiday with your family… sometimes we really need to step back and refocus on the things we hold most dear. I loved the pics of your trip! I agree about that first photograph of the dolls in the restaurant– gorgeous shot!

    My one son loves the beach. Loves being in the thick of it all messy and laughing. (like me) The other one… no thank you! No dirt, no sand, no mud. (like Daddy)

  6. utenzi says:

    The picture of the sunset is beautiful. It looks like you’re having a great vacation.

    I must admit to liking the post-Xmas sales though. I spent $100 at Wal-mart on candy 3 days after Christmas at 50% off. Yum-yum

  7. Kate in NJ says:

    Mine would bury herself in sand if possible..she still doesn’t get that
    everyone else does not enjoy being covered in sand.
    :-) Glad you had fun!

  8. Christine says:

    I’m so incredibly jealous!! LOL Sitting here in consant snow and teen temps, I miss the beach! (I’m a southerner who now lives in MI.)

    Loved the photos!! :)

  9. Jenny says:

    I’m so glad that you all had such a wonderful trip (except for the sand!). I never envisioned myself doing a tropical Christmas, but the beauty and non-commercialism you mentioned have made me start thinking about one. Sorry I missed the Project- I wrote it on my calendar and then proceeded to forget…AGAIN. So far, my fresh start deadline is working, so I’m optimistic about Puzzles. Have a good weekend!

  10. wishy the writer says:

    Awwwww… taking his daughter for a drag. What a Good Dad!

    tee hee,


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