Saturday, February 27, 2016

Galeria Contempo exhibits new painting by John Ashley-Pryce

This is the latest painting by John Ashley-Pryce, our PV host,
to be exhibited at Galeria Contempo in Puerto Vallarta.
It is acrylic on canvas 120cm x 150cm. 

Back in Vancouver

We are back in Vancouver! When our heads hit the pillow we realized that it was 3:00am (Puerto Vallarta time). When we rousted ourselves from bed we realized that the building manager had not left the key & fob for entry to the garage where our car is parked. Arrangements had been made with her to leave them on the kitchen table. What a quandary! All of our Vancouver clothing was in the trunk of the car and it was not a warm enough day to wander around in light PV clothes. We knocked on her answer. So...with John layered in t-shirts and with me in a borrowed fleecy from our host's closet on top of capris and t-shirt we wandered in search of coffee.

Enroute we passed several newly arrived refugees hanging around outside a nearby hotel. While enjoying our coffee we watched as a young boy approached the street corner. He appeared to be alone. Two women stopped and talked with him, returning with him to his father. When they entered the cafe we chatted with them. They were from Lebanon and have lived in Vancouver for 44 years. Fortunately they were able to speak Arabic and assist the father and son. We shared an interesting discussion about Lebanon, Syria and Greece.

On our return the building manager was waiting with the key and fob so we hauled all the stuff out of the car...up to the apartment and switched into appropriate clothes.

Before John's nap time we rehung the draperies in the bedroom and reorganized our things. Tonight we are having dinner with family before collapsing into bed again. I think tomorrow will be a day of recovery as my head cold is full blown and the time changes that accompany travel tend to sap our energy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Three more sleeps

Only three more sleeps
until we fly north
leaving the sun behind
as we grab our umbrellas
and seek the warmth of sweaters.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Juan and a mystery lady!

At the Southside Shuffle last night John couldn't resist posing with this gorgeous lady!

The streets were alive again with gallery visitors
as we cruised along and enjoyed the works of many artists.

Afterward we enjoyed a delicious dinner of parmesan chicken!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Today's wandering

This morning we wandered in the heat and humidity.

These young admirers were impressed by his creative touches.

We stopped for brunch at La Cerveceria UNION
and were amazed by the 50 foot long bar. 
The face of the bar was coated with beer bottle caps!...millions of them!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Well Strung Quartet

We had the pleasure of seeing the Well Strung Quartet last night. Their concert was even better than last year's. These four guys are consummate musicians, singers and entertainers. They create "popsicles"...combining classical compositions from Mozart, Beetoven, Bach with current pop songs.

Edmund Bagnell - First violin

Trevor Wadleigh - Violist

Daniel Shevlin - Cellist

Christopher Marchant - Second violin

Before the concert we shared a meal of tapas at 116 Pulpito. This little place serves delicious tapa sized dishes of everything from bacon wrapped shrimp to a savoury humous and creative pizzas. It was another wonderful evening!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Campaign buggy!

Not sure who they are campaigning for!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine dinner

For Valentine's dinner we decided to drive down the hill to a small restaurant on the highway. Unfortunately, we discovered that it is closed on Sundays. Faced with a choice between driving back up the hill and prepping a meal...or...driving into PV to find a restaurant with an empty table...we opted to drive into town. I swore that I would not drive that road at night...but...I also swore that I wasn't going to make dinner on Valentine's Day.

El Brujo, our restaurant of choice in PV had about 20 people waiting outside for tables so we wandered down the street and found Casa Naranjo, an upscale restaurant with several empty tables. The food was designer-ish (i.e.) small overpriced portions, the service was excellent and the margaritas were minuscule. So, Instead of enjoying an inexpensive meal in a roadside diner we emptied our wallets!!

The chef created very artistic presentations of our food
which included the addition of pureed cauliflower,
a streak of beige across the plate!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bus trips and market

Last night we drove down to Mismaloya village and parked the car before boarding a bus into PV to meet friends for dinner. I refuse to drive the road at night. There are no street lights on the route and my night vision is not what it used to be. The bus held about 65 people by the time we reached town at 6:30pm full of Mexicans who had finished their work day in Mismaloya.

Our dinner at Basilio was delicious and we caught up on the lives of our friends who have been homeless for almost 3 at their daughters' homes and visiting between friends on both coasts of the USA. They finally decided to put down roots in Olympia Washington, near a daughter's home and have started construction on a small house. We learned that living out of suitcases is not their idea of how they want to live the rest of their lives. I wonder how long we'll last?!

The return bus trip to Mismaloya was just as packed. Passengers were standing in the wheel well until about halfway back. This time it was an equal mix of gringos and Mexicans. It costs eight pesos (60 cents) for the trip versus about 200 pesos ($15) for a taxi.

This morning Isabelle, our maid, brought us cupcakes for St. Valentines Day.

I didn't realize that the sprinkles were heart shaped until I looked at the photo!
We have to save two of these delicacies for the guys when they return on Tuesday...hah!

During a brief visit to the Saturday market 
we discovered creative "rainbow" bagels!
I wonder what purple tastes like??

The line ups for all three bakeries at the market were at least 50-60 people long...maybe 70 people in the bagel line. I overheard one woman commenting "Oh! look at the donuts!" The breads are all amazing but we are still trying to avoid breads and pastas so I walked past very quickly and headed to Dee's for a coffee and muffin! Made sense to me!

I love these beaded necklaces made by a young local woman.
Each bead is meticulously strung in her creations.
The cost is 1400 pesos (about $100) each.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Isabelle and Juan Carlos

The leakage mess was eventually cleaned up and retiled. You would never know that anything happened.

Our maid, Isabelle, is busy in the condo twice a week...washing, wiping and changing the sheets. At home the sheets were never changed that frequently! So...I have tried to hold onto the sheets that actually fit the bed (most don't) for an entire week! Everything is cleaned with a cloth...cushions, carpets, couches, counters...even windows. The result is that nothing is really "cleaned". Everything is dusted or flicked!

I learned this morning that Isabelle is the mother of two young children. She doesn't look a minute older than nineteen! She made it clear that two children were enough...finito! I told her that we had four children and we were also finito! She laughed!

The other employee, Juan Carlos, is a handyman. He doesn't appear to be older than sixteen years but is in charge of pool maintenance, toilet repairs, water delivery and general maintenance. It is important to check the dipping pool before submerging because he will throw a load of chlorine crystals into the pool that take at least two days to dissolve! Meanwhile my bathing suit is slowly disintegrating and my skin is revolting from daily floats!

I suggested that they hug each other and the result was extreme embarrassment!
Instead they just moved closer together.

We are very happy to be spending time in this country of smiling faces and friendly people. 
Mexicans are gracious, accommodating and sweet!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Music and a mess

What a day we had today!...up at 3:45am to take our hosts to the airport for their trip to the Yucatan. Back in bed by 5:45am for a short snooze then off to town for our usual coffee stop. Decided to park the vehicle in Mismaloya village and take the bus into town...worst bus ride we have had so far. The driver didn't slow for any of the 20 speed bumps along the way!!

On the return trip we had the pleasure of listening to a young couple perform songs on the bus. They were the best buskers we have heard...their songs were full of energy and fun!

I had never seen this type of keyboard that he played like bagpipes,
blowing into the instrument while playing the keyboard.

Back at the condo we were surprised to find the patio floor jackhammered open again exposing yet another leak...or maybe the same one...who knows?!! We would appreciate having someone explain in advance that there will be work taking place. The owner speaks perfect English but never bothers to visit the condo and advise the tenants of any disruptions or loss of water.

The mess at 12:30pm when the repair guy disappeared.

The mess at sign of the repair guy.
Leakage onto the floor below will be a lake by morning!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Construction site

We enjoyed a delicious brunch today at Thom and Connie's
before visiting the site where our friends' house is under construction.

 The swimming pool is framed.

The pool sits above the arroyo.

Doug and the two Juans on the site.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Seared tuna and a mess!

Last night we wandered through several downtown galleries before heading to a restaurant that had been recommended...Martini en Fuente. This place was originally in Mismaloya and just moved into PV last year. It is a small, quaint Mexican restaurant owned by chef Roberto who employs Carlos, a very friendly server. A guitarist played soft Mexican tunes in the background while we enjoyed seared tuna steaks with a balsamic reduction sauce. Delicious!!

This morning I went in search of another cafe/bookstore that I discovered the other day. It had disappeared! Often these small places close on the weekends so I'll look again next week. Enroute I found the following images.

The cantaloupe wheelbarrow.

A traditional greeter.

Embellished garage door.

We also stopped at Dee's Cafe for our morning ritual of coffee, tea, scone & banana chocolate muffin.

Dee's days start at 4:00am.

Dee's equipment...she makes everything from scratch including cookies, scones,
muffins, breads, cinnammon buns, apple cake. It is all amazing!!

We returned to the condo to discover that a guy was drilling (jackhammering) the patio tiles because of a leak in the hot water pipes that feed the entire building. Of course there was no warning that our lives would be disrupted today by noise and mess.

Just after I captured this reflection of him, he drilled through
the hot water pipe and there was water everywhere!
The result is that there is no water anywhere in the building!

This is just a small portion of the mess!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The gym and a float

John has signed up for three sessions a week with Tito, his personal trainer, at the gym. This leaves me with plenty of time to wander the streets of PV in search of photos and bargains. I dropped into Page in the Sun to find reading material this morning and came away with "Keeping Faith" by Jodi Picoult. I have enjoyed other books by this author so hopefully this one will be a good read.

These three images caught my eye alongside one of many VW bugs.

Across the street I discovered the Starving Artist Studio Gallery.

Coca Cola delivered to your door in a cooler on the back of a bike.

Do you want to eat in this restaurant?
That's the menu that he's holding in his bony hand!

Every afternoon I launch a thick floating mat in the dipping pool and hoist my body onboard for a 1/2 hour float in the sun. I lay on my back and watch the birds soaring overhead and the butterflies flitting between trumpet flowers. The sky is always a deep blue. The temperature is always warm. Sometimes there is music from the beach below or chatter from the maids but usually it is relaxing and quiet...and John naps, recovering from his training session at the gym.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A blank canvas

We're home alone today while the guys are off to the gym, car insurance and architect. It is very quiet with the exception of the odd outburst through speakers at the all-inclusive hotel down the hill. Their announcements ricochet off the walls and hills around us...sometimes in the morning and, unfortunately, often at night.

I finally relented and bought a blank canvas yesterday with the thought of creating one painting before we leave here. Our hosts will be away next week so the studio will be empty. I am looking forward to dipping brushes into puddles of paint and watching the canvas transform from white to multi-hued. Fingers crossed

Monday, February 1, 2016

Shopping for stir fry

Another trip into town this morning and a walk to the market for stir fry ingredients...broccoli, peppers, onion, zucchini and a couple of apples. A stop at the "chicken man" for chicken breasts (pechuga) then down the road to the pharmacy for eggs and body wash. Somehow I manage to wash my entire head and body with shampoo but my spouse needs a separate product for his body!

Along the way we spotted a wall of posters outside Cassandra Shaw Jewelery shop and discovered that it is possible to buy Theatre tickets for half price on Saturdays between 10am-1pm.

Several Theatres offer a wide variety of entertainment
with incredible talent every night of the week!

We finally hopped on the bus for our trip back to Mismaloya.

I am intrigued by the cash boxes on these buses.
The drivers are very skilled at making change.