Ervin and Debbie Ducommun came to Camp Pendleton from Missouri to visit their son while he was completing Marine Cobra Helicopter flight certification.
While in town the Ducommuns did what most visitors to our beautiful North Coast do. They read The Coast News.
The Ducommuns entered my contest giveaway to Puerto Vallarta and were the lucky winners. I actually met them in the airport in Puerto Vallarta. They arrived 15 minutes before I had to board my flight home on April 23. As soon as I saw them I felt the light that they carry. I knew they would have a great time. They did and here is an excerpt from their testimonial:
Dear Mr. Moris,
After the shock of being informed that we had won your contest, we immediately set about to learn interesting facts and places re/ the city. We never enter contests and seldom address letters to any publication but we were so taken by your column we felt compelled to write a thank you for how much interesting information it contained and common sense regarding world travel.
Our hearts are forever tied to Mexico after helping at an orphanage there several years ago. When you wrote of all the bad and mistaken press exaggeration on how dangerous it is there and that far worse happens Stateside and is never reported (or at least printed) we knew we had found a writer that truly KNEW of what he wrote!
In the two years we helped in the orphanage, and after several subsequent visits, we have never (praise God) incurred any trouble. I’m sure one can have differing experiences but that’s part of traveling anywhere! Well, jargon and assurance is not even needed regarding Puerto Vallarta. Even a misinformed press release is forced to admit that if the traveler finds safety a #1 priority, all the statistics, wherever assembled, rates P.V. one of the two safest cities in all of Mexico and seventh safest in the world.
Whether walking empty streets, taking public transportation, eating and drinking safe food and water, P.V. rates 5 Stars! What always interests us even more than the safety factors (even when we were traveling with our kids), is the natives. When it comes to friendliness, courtesy (to visitors and their fellow citizens) P.V. is a city to emulate.
We have visited very few cities where the natives instinctively rise and offer their seats on public transportation or will exchange seats among themselves so we could sit together. Yes, Deb & I definitely prefer traveling on public transportation and eating and living with the native populace. How else can one truly experience a country or culture? All inclusive tours are not for us, thank you.
It was so kind of you, Joe, to offer your little Mercedes, along with everything in your home, to make sure we had a “one of a kind” vacation. Let us assure whoever your next lucky winner may be — you are in for a great trip!!!
We left you a sketchy “daily journal” of what we did each day and OF COURSE, with over 600 restaurants, we listed the two or three per day that we greatly enjoyed. Not one bad meal and that included a wide, but prudent, sampling of street food. The choices of “day trips,” i.e., adventure cruises (snorkeling, whale watching, talented performers, meals in the jungle while viewing incredible sunsets, art museums, endless craft displays, strolling the Malecon (their boardwalk) and talented musicians everywhere, the list is endless.
We also thoroughly enjoyed attending the Calvary Chapel you attend there as well. We had great conversation with your pastor too.
Again, what makes all these outings such a special bookmark in time is the expressed joy, affection and helpful attitude of the P.V. citizens. We are all created equal. Every human cherishes acceptance, love and respect. Be a giver of same.
As Joe so often mentions in his column, you will be the richer for it. Let go and LIVE. Joe, you are making a lot of people happy with your uplifting, highly informative (best of all accurate) column. Then to throw in this giant kicker of a dream vacation, saying thank you seems soooo weak.
Please come visit us if you ever find yourself in Missouri. We would love to see you again and share our small part of the world.
Kindest regards, Ervin & Debbie Ducommun.
I will be giving another trip to Puerto Vallarta away soon for a date in early November, which is another time of near perfect weather. Please don’t hesitate to find my ad and enter today. You never know. Just ask Erv and Deb Ducommun.