The annual "BIG" party was scheduled for last night and we were all concerned about the weather.
It rained off and on all day with a brief interlude of blue sky in the afternoon.
The cooks arrived around 4pm, two hours later than planned. Their supplies indicated that they were prepared to make a variety of appies that our hosts did not recognize from the pre-approved list. There was tension in the air!
Strawberries stuffed with sweetened cream cheese
The skies opened again around 5:00pm and it continued to pour as the guests(70) began arriving around 7:00pm, travelling up the slick, rutted cobblestone road. Tires spun, hairdos were messed but everyone was in good humour. The bartender and his assistants were kept busy filling orders and offering taste tests of mango margaritas! Yummmhhh!
A Pastor Taco wagon(street style tacos) was finally set up in the garage because it was the only spot where the cook could stay dry and cook the meat on a spit. A young helper ran up and down the stairs delivering plates of small tacos with mounds of shaved meat to all the guests.
If the weather had cooperated it would have been fun to have him setup on the patio for everyone to watch his movements as he shaved the meat and deftly added a small piece of pineapple from the top to each order.
I joined Itza and her mother Rosy in the palapa for a chat about Itza's change of focus for schooling. She is currently studying Architecture, a dramatic change from her original plan to become a doctor.
So, despite the weather, everyone had a great time!
We went to see Leslie Jordan last night. He does a one man show laced with racy commentary about his life in show business. At 4'-11" he dominated the stage, mincing and pacing back and forth while feeding the audience with bits of gossip about stage and film characters. Leslie won an Emmy for his portrayal of Beverley Jordan in several episodes of "Will & Grace".
Rich with Leslie after the performance
holding a signed copy of "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet"
After a relaxing day at the beach and in the pool, there were six of us in the kitchen doing last minute prep while two invited guests offered encouragement from the bar. Fortunately the new kitchen could accommodate all of the activity. John was the gravy maker, Harvey mashed the potatoes, Rich carved the turkey, JAP mixed martinis, Doug searched out serving dishes and I offered advice.
Eight of us finally sat around the table for dinner... seven guys and me!! The dinner was delicious, interlaced with conversations about the day's disaster. Earlier in the day I had managed to plug the garburator with carrot and potato peelings. Harvey had applied his plumbing skills to the "Mexican style" installation of the new garburator. Apparently it isn't wise to feed more than 2 or 3 peelings at a time. Each telling of the story was embellished until it became the Christmas Tale of 2013!
On my morning walk I was thrilled to discover a couple of Mexican cowboys with their horses on the beach. It appeared that they were preparing for a photo shoot with long haired senoritas. These gorgeous horses were coaxed into positions and given much earned treats for their efforts.
After taking the second photo my camera advised me to charge the battery. Fortunately our daughter managed to get me a battery charger and she delivered it to a friend who will arrive in Puerto Vallarta soon. Meanwhile I will rely on a borrowed camera to keep the blog alive over Christmas.
The artistic touches in the Quinta are not restricted to paintings on the wall and sculptures by the pool. Our host decided to apply a silver foil finish to the powder room vanity. I might have opted for a can of spray paint.
First the undercoating is applied.
The silver foiling starts and little bits fly everywhere!
Last night we enjoyed an incredible stage production of "A Chorus Line" at the new ACT TWO Theatre. There was a great lineup of gringo and Mexican talent, dance routines were beautifully choreographed. All of the seats (sloped in movie theatre style) are equipped with cup holders for plastic cups of wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages to sip during the performance. Young waiters come around to take your orders. Nothing like a plastic cup of cabernet sauvignon!! Bags of popcorn are available in the foyer. The theatre also houses a small cabaret with plush red seating reminiscent of the movie "Cabaret". We hope to see "The Kinsey Sicks" at this venue before Christmas.
This morning I guided our two house guests, Rich & Harvey, to the fish market on San Salvadore. On the map of PV it looked like about a 4 mile walk but was really only about 3 1/2km. Enroute we stopped at Te Limon for breakfast. Harvey chose a table by the window and we settled in to be serenaded by a road destruction crew and backhoe! Yesterday our breakfast was flavoured with incense, today with exhaust fumes and VERY LOUD NOISE!!!
There was a huge storm overnight. The streets were like mini creeks but the air was sweet and fresh, such a relief from the humidity. At the market the guys bought prawns for dinner, had them deveined and shelled while we shopped for veggies. The skies opened again for another torrential downpour. Road work came to a halt as the excavations filled with water. We huddled under cover for a while and finally made a run for a taxi, getting soaked to the skin. The windows in the taxi were steamed and the windshield wipers didn't work! Our driver navigated through rivers of rain water in a semi-sightless state, avoiding collisions and pedestrians. By the time we returned to the Quinta the sun was shining.
Now I know how the editors of Vanity Fair feel when they get critiques about lack of editorial content ...too much advertising...too many pretty photos!! It is my goal to entertain the thousands of faithful followers to my blog... but folks, be patient! It is challenging to create headline stories for daily posts.
I think that the problem is the amount of testosterone that surrounds me these days! It interrupts my WAH or WAU...whatever!!
The story options today are: guest clears lime peels from garburetor and rids house of fruit flies ...or
carpenter's measurements for studio desk are five inches short ... or lit incense sticks at cafe do not enhance the flavour of an omelet ... or ... humid heat forces editor to abandon writing and escape to the comfort of the pool! Keep your fingers crossed that something amazing will occur later today!
It is time to comment on the medical assistance that we have received since arriving in Puerto Vallarta. The day after we arrived John had a 1 1/2 hour consultation with a Cardiologist who assessed him and his medications. At that time John had considerable fluid retention throughout his body and his blood pressure was very low. The recommendation was to stop taking two new medications and add another water pill for one week. At no time did we feel rushed. He referred John to a Vascular Doctor on the same day. Total cost = $80.00.
Later that day we had a 1 1/2 hour consultation with the Vascular Doctor that included an ultrasound on each leg from groin to ankle. The examination was very thorough and not rushed. His recommendation was to continue with the water pills, exercise daily and purchase some compression stockings. Total cost including the ultrasounds = $200.
One week later John visited the Cardiologist again. The Doctor met us in the full waiting room, took his blood pressure and announced that it was normal. He spent 10 minutes talking with John about his health. With about 14 pounds of fluid gone, he reduced the water pill dosage for another week and a further reduction after that. Total cost = nil.
Yesterday we saw the Vascular Doctor again. He examined John's legs thoroughly, said that everything looked really good and recommended that John continue with exercise and wearing the stockings. There was nothing more that he could do. Total cost = $40.
It is possible that John would have received the same suggestions from physicians at home ...but, how long would he have waited and what damage could have been done in the interim??? We are extremely pleased with the speed of appointments, the cost and the attention from both physicians.
Meanwhile, as a Christmas gift, I gave John a gym membership and several sessions with a personal trainer in PV. Tito, the trainer, has put him through a range of activities, given him a list of suggested supplements and instructions on "how to walk properly". We tested his walking ability this morning on a 6 1/2km trek about town. It is still a struggle for him to coordinate his "swinging" arms with his "walking" legs!!.. but the main idea of "chest out, stomach in and head up" seems to have clicked. He returns sweaty from the gym and experiences some discomfort for a day but is totally dedicated to the effort. His weight is now approximately 20 pounds less than when we arrived three weeks ago. Bravo!
This afternoon I revisited our favourite coffee house while John had his second session at the gym. Page in the Sun has the best collection of used English language books in Puerto Vallarta. They also serve great coffee and, if you're lucky, a tasty banana chocolate chip muffin!
This wall of books is only a portion of what is available. There are also sections of French, German, Spanish, travel, art and children's books. Something for everyone. The clientele is varied with Spanish classes at one table, construction discussions at another and several laptops enjoying free wi-fi.
It was a busy day of shopping today. We started in Tonala at a business that manufactured everything from furniture to lamps from a collection of discarded metal, wood, plastic, glass. It was overwhelming! We even discovered three old "Coca-Cola" red typewriters alongside an old Underwood. The guys selected a small chandelier and arranged to have it spray painted white, to have the ceiling mounting changed and to have different glass attached to each of the six lights...ready for pickup tomorrow morning at 10am before we leave.
Next stop was a glass factory where we watched about 24 guys, in lime green t-shirts, creating a variety of glassware. Some had bandaged arms! Six glasses were purchased. Then we stopped at another glass factory where they created large plates and lampshades. Two lampshades were purchased. On to another glass store to purchase hearts and yet another one to buy glass tear drops for a chandelier.
Around noon we were on the road again, driving to San Juan Evangelista to pick up a ceramic virgin
from the master potter Martin Ibarra. His pottery is hidden behind a door in the wall on a narrow street
in this small town. The interior is crude with brick walls and a dugout earth floor. Martin (pronounced Marteen) sits on a small stool while his helper crouches on a step. The tools are rudimentary. The three small kilns are wood fired and unpredictable. The finished results are exquisite!!
He demonstrated how he incises designs on his creations. Pulling a small piece of clay from a plastic bag he proceeded to create a bird whistle while we watched. He succeeded in creating five different tones, etched feathers on the wings and gave it to me as a gift! Unfortunately the 16th century church across the street was not open for viewing so we left Martin and drove to Ajijic for a late lunch.
The buildings in the centre of town were colourful and interesting but there seemed to be too many gringos lazing around. Not sure that I would be happy to live here.
From Ajijic we drove to Chapala for a walk on their Malecon. Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest freshwater lake. It is the primary source of water for Guadalajara and over the years it has shrunk drastically.
Back in Tlaquepaque we picked up a piece of woven fabric from Guatemala for a seat cover. They brought us a delicious cup of coffee as the negotiations were being completed. Now(8pm) it's time to decide whether we have the energy or interest in eating before collapsing on our beds.
Oh dear! I was so addled, stressed, discumbobulated when we left Vancouver that I didn't pack the battery chargers for my cameras! That will eventually make a huge difference to my blogging unless I borrow a camera. Maybe the battery will last for 2 months??
We left PV this morning and drove to Tlaquepaque vis Mascota and Guadalajara. Our first stop in Mascota coincided with a Sunday church service. Standing outside we listened to the congregation sing praises and watched as they all shook hands and hugged one another. The church was full!
This bucolic mural is backdrop for a sculpture
of a beloved Mascota clergyman from the past.
Seven and a half hours later we arrived in Tlaquepaque and checked into our quaint hotel. Behind a blank, uninteresting wall we discovered an oasis of greenery, a swimming pool, restaurant and our suite with a winding metal staircase up to the second bedroom. Needless to say, our bedroom is on the ground level! After the long drive we wandered through the town and visited Sergio Bustamante's gallery.
Sergio's works are displayed in room after room with an outdoor water feature in the centre.
The sculptures are often whimsical, sometimes colourful
and always tell a story. His first exhibition was held in 1966.
Since then, he has maintained a studio and gallery in Tlaquepaque.