I’m sitting on my deck on this day, Dec. 6, 2013. I’m listening to La Fiesta de Guadalupe from all the resorts on the bay. Puerto Vallarta and all the surrounding cities are celebrating this holiday all the way through the 12th of December. It is a party every night and happening everywhere you go around the entire Banderas Bay.I had the honor of entertaining and being entertained for the last three weeks. A very nice lady by the name of Jan from Montana, who has been coming here for 30 years, let me be a tourist and showed me all her favorite spots around the bay.
We went to little villages on the ocean, tasted many different fare at excellent eateries both on the water (actually, tables in the sand like you see in the commercials) and up high in the hills of the Sierra Madres with breathtaking panoramic views.
I especially enjoyed a little place in La Cruz with a Jimmy Buffett atmosphere and music. We even sailed on a beautiful boat owned by a guy who went to Crawford HS the same time as me but was one year junior. He has sailed the world.
Right on the heels of Jan going home came three lovely lady friends from San Diego. We had many excellent dinners in festive restaurants as well as more sedate and quiet dinners along the marina. We played tennis, took boat ride adventures to places inaccessible by car and rode horses to waterfalls and went snorkeling with angel fish and even enjoyed a fabulous lunch on the beach with unlimited margaritas. It was so cool.
All the ladies were astonished at the beauty of the area as well as the friendliness of the natives. As one woman we met from Washington said, “my friends thought I was nuts coming to Mexico what with all the news of violence. I have had the most fabulous time and will encourage all my friends to come here as it rivals Hawaii with its mountains and falls and beautiful waters at a fraction of the cost.”
My friends said much the same thing. Unfortunately our national press has misstated the reality of Mexico and instead focused on the cartels killing each other along the borders. I could go on and on about the reasons for the press discouraging American travelers from coming here but then I would be going into a grand dissertation on the failings of our own government instead, which consistently points fingers and never takes blame for callous lies and scandals.
I received many calls and e-mails this last week from readers of my column who are so exasperated by what is going on in the United States and would love to learn more about my experiences now that I live part time down here. All I can say is don’t believe what you hear and read about Mexico. For some reason our government wants to discredit this country and it all goes back to the failed Fast and Furious scandal.
There is absolutely nothing to fear here and it is like going back in time. The people are fabulous, there is no graffiti anywhere, there are no teenagers hanging around street corners smoking cigarettes or pot, the kids all wear school uniforms and complete families, including teenagers, flock and frolic in the ocean together with picnics in the sand. I swear it is the United States 50 years ago down here.
People think I promote Mexico because I want to make a buck selling condos. Right here in print I want to tell you that I have not made one dime. Anyone who has contacted me and is interested in this part of my world is always referred over to a lady friend of mine who sadly lost her husband to brain cancer suddenly two years ago. As Ana tells me, people who visit here fall in love with the place but people always fall in love with their vacation destinations.
It takes the average visitor about seven years to pull the trigger. No one comes here, falls in love and then walks into a real estate office and buys a home or condo. It takes several trips to any exotic place before serious investing takes place.
I write about Puerto Vallarta because it took me more than seven years of visiting to eventually buy and it was the best thing I’ve done in 30 years. But, that is me. I don’t expect anyone to be like me because we are all different. I have been extolling the virtues of the medical facilities and excellent medical care here. That is really what sold me. I wasn’t about to go somewhere where I could not be taken care of adequately if I had a medical emergency.
Two weeks ago I met a lady, about my age, and her daughter on the beach in Nuevo Vallarta. They were here on a charity and humanitarian visit to save unhealthy dogs. She had to be flown out of a remote location and rushed into surgery at one of the excellent hospitals here. The doctors told her that she would have died had she arrived 10 minutes later. Apparently she had recently had surgery on internal organs back home in Canada. They so botched the surgery that she nearly died while here.
When I met her she had been released from the hospital 48 hours earlier and was taking in the beautiful 85 degree weather and strolling the beach with her lovely daughter in a bikini and a huge narrow bandage from just under her bra to the top of her bikini bottoms. She was from Vancouver escaping the frigid weather and was happy to be alive.
Next week I have another friend coming and then for New Years, two more will be here to welcome in the New Year with me. They know how to party here! I will be exhausted and need a vacation when I get home in January but I wouldn’t trade this peace for anything. God is good and so is life.