Thursday, 28 February 2013

Bucerias (Day 2)

Firstly and most important, we have two birthday's tomorrow!!

Shawn: our most amazing son-in-law, has a birthday. Shawn, we hope you and Teagan have a wonderful day in the mountains of Field. We know you love your little cabin in the mountains and we will toast you tomorrow from Mexico!! This is one of your favourite flowers, hibiscus, at least that is what we think, since it is tattooed on both Doug & I. Beautiful pink. I think you would really love the sounds of the birds here. They were carrying on with quite the performance.....Have a great and happy birthday!! We will be thinking of you!!

Bruce: our very great and dear friend, is our next birthday celebrant for tomorrow. We have known Bruce (...and his lovely wife, Cindy) since 1988. Wow - that hardly seems possible, does it guys? They have been unwavering friends since. Our favourite memory is of them walking down our old street, carrying their kids' swing set when they were moving in. We decided then and there that anyone who could walk three blocks, carrying a swing set would be great neighbours and friends and they are! It is so wonderful that we can now meet them just a few miles away, in Nuevo Vallarta for the day tomorrow at their resort. We will leave our mciro-bikini and banana hammock in Bucerias so as we do not embarrass you!! We are SO looking forward to our day with you!!  Nuevo Vallarta may never be the same!!!  We will ensure that you have a great and amazing birthday, our friend!!
Won't lie, I "borrowed" this from the little kid next door,
Really, couldn't he have kept it blown up, for heavens sake!!
You know how we like to sleep in, right? Well, we didn't today as we felt some weird sense of needing to get up once we looked at the clock. Only problem is that Bucerias runs on Puerto Vallarta time, which is one hour earlier. I HATE it when I get robbed of an hour sleep. You all know how that feels, right?!!

It's nice here at Marco's Place. If a person is looking for any "stars" on a hotel, this is not the place for you. It is a quaint Mexican hotel with a little pool and very kind owners. And, sometimes having "stars" isn't what you need. First, we started off with a breakfast of fresh pastries. A nice gentleman dropped into the courtyard with what is essentially fresh (still warm) fruit pies. If I become a diabetic here, this will be why:

Mine was better than Doug's. It had pineapple and his had apple...
(personal opinion, I suppose...)
Then we decided that we would walk the market and then the beach. The market is, basically a very intense few blocks of many people trying to sell as many things as possible. I appreciate their efforts but it made me miss my market in Valle de Juarez. It is more like an outdoor shopping mall. Still, everyone has to make a living. We did find that our new Spanish phrase, taught to us by our very own Professora Contreras... "no gracias, solo mirando" to come in extremely handy. In fact, it usually stopped any vendors in their tracks. thanks Barb!! 
Beach walk is always great. For some reason it seemed a good idea to try and walk all the way down the beach to Neuvo Vallarta to try and find the resort that Bruce & Cindy were staying in. Not that we could have gotten on the property without them setting the dogs on us, but still, we could see where they were staying, since we are "officially" going there tomorrow as their guests (dogs will be kept inside....) Well, it turned out to be a 2 hour walk one way. Make no mistake, when you look down a beach and think "oh, that's not too far" think again. It's a mirage my friends!! We were nearly dead from thirst and sore feet by the time we got back to Bucerias. Oh, and it was 2 hours ONE way!!!!  We straggled back, barely alive and managed to make ourselves a margarita and then go out for a quick dinner. (Dinner by the way, was not that good and was WAY too expensive for what we got. Welcome to the beach town!!) Anyway, here it is, in a coco"nut" shell, so to speak!!
 Barb - I think we need one of these for the campground!!
Love this door. This is for Bob Bortolin. I know how you
liked the doors in Italy. I will show you this one when you are here!!
Looking south towards Nuevo Vallarta. We walked almost to the
farthest bit of land you see on the beach.
Like the shoes in the restaurant last weekend, I don't know why I take pictures
of these things. Dead fish. Not more needs saying......I know....
Water rushing up at you. Pretty sure that we got wet for this one.... 
(I know, like you haven't seen the beach before!!)
Random boats at one of the resorts....
We thought this place looked pretty garish and out of place.
Just our opinion....
We literally trudged our way back and that IS the only way you can describe our walking for the return trip. Like a couple of doomed people....just trudging. We then "found" ourselves at a little restaurant just down the road from our little hotel. It certainly wasn't the best meal we ever had but the location was nice and there was an entertaining parrot who paid us a visit....
To the right....
and to the left...
THIS looks like the perfect place for our little Gus!!
(did we mention that he has his own passport now??!!)
Pretty cute except that right after this, the little bag bit my finger. Turns out she really only likes men!! I had her put into my taco....she was good. Just kidding!!!!!!
See our little friend on Doug's shoulder?
Just for the record, the little bag bit him too!!
We wish you were all here!!
Thanks for hanging in there tonight for all my dribble, drabble!!  I do have pictures of the inside of our little room but I will show you those tomorrow!
Again, Happy Birthdays to Shawn and Bruce tomorrow!!
Tea time for us!!
Cheers friends!!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Valle de Juarez to Bucerias

WOW - a new title!!! Well, a bit temporary but still, something new for you all to look at!!

So, we packed up the van and left Hacienda Contreras at 8:30 a.m. this morning. We had quite a little nice group of folks to send us off - thanks everyone! Glad you all cared!! But, you know, we are coming back, right??!!

Anyway, it was along drive as we (ahem....) took the sorta long way around via Hwy 70. It is the old highway and weaves it's way through the mountains. Now, just to prep everyone, I had a hard time taking pictures through the MOST twisty part as I was nervous to take my eyes off the road!! Honestly, for all those BC/Alberta drivers out there, it was like driving through the Roger Pass/Golden OLD highway except for 5 hours straight. Poor Doug, I am sure he sweat out 10 lbs for sure!! Our van held the course and once I stopped screaming (ha ha) I enjoyed the ride....

Here are some pictures of the journey. First we tip-toed our way past the western edge of Guadalajara. Such a huge town. Looking forward to seeing it next!. After you turn and head more westerly you head towards the town of Ameca. This seems to be a predominantly sugar cane area. Sugar cane is very, very messy esecially when being transported. Perhaps, in part, to the fact that they pile the trucks up SO high. It's, crazy!!. Check this out:  

Nuts, huh?!
Everywhere there seems to be little restaurants,
obviously sponsored by Coca-Cola!!
Very desert looking, like the southern interior of B.C.
As always, you can never really show the sheer drops, valleys and blind corners of these roads.There were several parts where the road was washed out and they had cones up to warn you...not to mention the big truck that was broken down, dead stopped in a blind corner!! Good thing Euri has good brakes is all I can say!! 
Just some humour, in the middle of NOWHERE!!! If you
survived the road so far, you deserve a Coke, I guess!!
Four hours into it we had "road lunch" at a Pemex gas station after filling up.
Yup, good old peanut butter and jam sandwiches!!
Nice town of Mascota. Wait til you see the main road that goes through the town!!
This is how small the roads are. And, it is ALL cobblestone, through
about 3 miles of town. Thumpity, thump, thump, the whole way!!
Then, see what we found right on the other side of town, coming right at us:
This little car wasn't much bigger than some of those cows!!
It was pretty funny for sure!! AND, they went on and on and on!!
Then you get the odd one that would only walk on my side of the road.
I could have reached out and touched them!!
Another blind corner...
Wow, anyway, it was quite the ride and for sure we went the l-o-n-g way around, but we had lots of time so we didn't mind. DEFINITELY this is not the route for motor homes. In fact, we saw no big trucks after Mascota so that's your clue!! It is an old route to the coast.
Everyone talks about the toll highway versus the "free" highways. If this was an example, I am happy to stick with the toll highways. You get enough of the little free roads anyway but after a whole day of topes in many, many little towns, we will happily stick to the toll roads for now!
We drove around Bucerias for quite some time, checking out the various campgrounds, or more accurately, what was left of the campgrounds. At least two of them are now closed (this after MUCH driving around looking for them....) and the other two we saw had only big rigs in them and they were sandwiched in like sardines. We don't like that. We actually are in Marco's Place Hotel, right in the heart of Bucerias. We checked this little place out last year and liked what we saw. The rates for here are only about $10-15 more per night than the sardine camping, on gravel down the road. Even has a little kitchenette so we can still do our own meals, which by the way, tonight, was done in the AMAZING crock pot of mine, all the way from Valle de Juarez to here!! Check out our pictures (...not of the crock pot, the hotel):
 View from our room...
Cute murals on the walls...
Doug, finally out from behind the wheel!!
That's our room, on the bottom, last door and window you
see on the right hand side...
 They even let us park Euri right inside their gates, that way we don't
have to unload the bikes!! 
That is the day. Pretty good bunch of pictures for a driving day. You know how I usually don't get much on those days, right? Didn't you love the cows on the middle of the highway. Love it!!!
Tomorrow I will do some photos of the inside of the room. We just sorta threw our stuff into the room so it's not as tidy as I like!! We plan on sleeping in (what else is new...) and doing some nice market shopping here in town. We won't go far. On Friday, we are being treated as guests at the Dreams Villa Magna Resort thanks to friends, Bruce & Cindy. So nice of them. We can hardly wait to see them and see their fancy new digs!!
Might even be too tired for tea tonight!!
Cheers friends!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

VdJ (Day 21): Pajarete!

Today we are making preparations to head over to the coast. We have some very good friends, Bruce & Cindy, who are holidaying in Nuevo Vallarta. This is between Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias. We will go over and camp somewhere close by (or do a economical little hotel we know of in Bucerias) and be able to spend Friday dinner with them. It is Bruce's birthday!

Can't start out even a mini trip without washing up Euri. First though, had to use up some really nice fruit before we leave, so I made us a shake to have with breakfast. All fresh fruit from the market. Yummy!! Oh, the best part of a larger rig is that it comes with things like a blender!!!

Doesn't he look sharp?
Oh, the other exciting news is that Euri is getting a full body work and paint job done in town. Probably at the end of April. Jesus uses special imron paint that is used on aircraft, marine and commercial trucks. Perfect colour match and guaranteed. Total cost you ask, including rust removal and body work: $1,000 Cdn - I the heck out of the $6,500 Cdn estimate we had done in Nanaimo. Yup, we L-O-V-E it here!!
Al & Colleen are also having Sunny, their motorhome, worked on right now. They are stripping off all the old decals and hand painting them on and repainting the whole rig in an acrylic paint. People here have had work done before and , apparently, the shop does an absolutely amazing job! They will pay about $2,300 Cdn for the whole job and are saving about $17,000 Cdn over the estimate they received in Canada.....should be interesting!! We will keep you all up to speed on how the process is going!
Some of us went with Barb over to Sal's cousin's small dairy farm in the next little town, about 5 minutes away. She gets milk right from Francisco and she pasteurises it herself. She gives a lot to the kittens here but also uses it for themselves. The benefit of a trip like this is that we get to try a neat traditional drink called pajarete. It is an old drink that the farmers used to have when they were up and getting ready for the day. They would also have some semita. Semita is a sweet, round bread that they would combine for a hearty breakfast with pajarete. Sounds pretty good to me.
First, we put some chocolate-type powder in the cup and add enough 96% pure cane alcohol (now, that's strong!!) to cover the powder (about 1.5 oz) "mas o menos" -> which means more or less. The reason you add the sugar cane alcohol is that it actually kills any bacteria that may be in the milk. Then, if you are good with milking, you can add your own milk, right from the cow OR, like me, have Francisco do it much quicker for you:
Cup ready....
Peter was pretty good at it!!
Francisco makes it look REALLY easy!!
Oh my gosh - let's see Starbucks beat this??
The modern dairy farmer, talking on the cell phone WHILE milking!
(See the stream??!!)
Fred fills up Barb's milk container... 
Francisco's small little barn...
Back at the park, Barb gets ready with the filter for the milk pasteurisation process.
That white filter is under that centre piece then it is pushed down.
Then you pour the mikl into the whole funnel and it drains into a pot below.
Ready for the stove and 160 degrees.....
 There was almost nothing in the filter....
Ready for cooking!!
It was very interesting for me. Being raised a city girl, all I ever saw was milk in the dairy case. No matter how old I get, these things always are interesting to me! Not to mention that it was very tasty!! I will be happy if we can bring some of our company over there when they come to see us. This isn't something you see everyday for sure!! Thanks Barb!!
Well, that's it. We spent most of the day putting stuff back into Euri for our trip to the coast. It should take us about 6 hours to get to Bucerias. We will be leaving on Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. SHARP!!!
We will connect with everyone from there!!
Cheers friends!!