Travel Blog 27: Home in Vallarta

Nuevo Vallarta opened my eyes to a side of Mexico I had yet to see. Resorts are full of week long vacationers sitting by the swimming pool with two-for-one drink specials and reservations for restaurants on the grounds. No cash or credit cards are exchanged as everything is signed to the hotel room. The gym is full of athletes keeping in shape while the beach is a mission to reach. Shuttles transport guests to various places on site. The lazy river and wave pool stand as the most entertaining activities during the day, but ping pong tornaments also create smiles as well. Navigating my way through this environment, I finally found my sister, brother in law, 17 year old nephew, 15 year old nephew, and 12 year old niece. The valet took Blaze away from me so I packed a backpack of clothes and games for the week. Stepping on to the beach, I saw my family playing frisbee long before they spotted me. The sun was setting perfectly while my sister and brother in law lounged together watching their children. I soaked in this beautiful sight for 30 seconds before announcing myself, “Mi familia!!”

An onslaught of hugs gave me a smile inside and out that provided the perfect cure for the exhausting drive it took to reach this point. Throughout the week, we played nerf football in the pool, worked out in the gymnasium, and ate everything in sight. My favorite memory of the week was packing the family of five into Blaze for a journey to Puerto Vallarta for dinner. Dinner at Pipi’s Restaurant was full of shrimp fajitas, a Cadillac Margarita, and a chance to dance with my sister that I haven’t had in years. The mariachi band gave us a memory we’ll remember forever!

When it came time for the family to head back to Chicago, problems in my personal world escalated as Blaze faced several issues before exiting. The resort required their staff park the vehicle, which in turn put on the emergency brake. Blaze is a sensitive vehicle with no release for the parking brake. The staff drove me to their private parking deck where their mechanic manually released the brake, but triggered a wiring issue forcing the car to not start. In the end, I made it out hours later with my clock flipped to a different world, which is how I felt with no plan of what’s to come.

A visit to Sayulita, my main hope for an apartment for the month of April led to an economic setback with prices far exceeding monthly rent in the U.S.A. Unsure of what to do, the beautiful beach town of Litibu in Higuera Blanco became my escape with a free parking spot beside the beach. Smiles filled my eyes with gorgeous sunsets, soft sand to walk, and no problems with spending the night.

Unsure of where to go, this area that gringos love so much was causing a great deal of drama for this tired traveler. Visiting the small town of Bucerias, prices weren’t too bad, but staying for a month didn’t feel like the most private location for the goals I had in mind. As I prepared to leave town with no direction, I stumbled upon a place named Gringo’s Book Store. With an obsession of used book stores, I couldn’t resist. This introduced me to Joanna and Patricia, the heroes I didn’t see coming. During my hunt for an apartment to write two stories jumbling around my head, my search for privacy culminated when they said, “We have an apartment in Puerto Vallarta that is vacant due to Covid.”

The keys were handed over and I had a new mission; find the apartment in Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romántica!

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