30-days in Bucerias Mexico
MAR 09, 2020.
Talk about a slow morning. For some reason, we were “movin’ kind of slow, like Uncle Joe, at the Junction - Petty Coat Junction.” OK, that was an obscure reference, but you get the idea. The plan was to go to Playa (beach) Destiladeras to while away the day on the beach under a palapa. It is such a short bus ride to the beach that we didn’t hurry. However, we lost our cheap baseball hats that we purchased for swimming which made a stop at Walmart to purchase a few more hats necessary before going to the beach. No problem, Playa Destiladeras is an awesome place to be in the waning afternoon hours.
We had lunch at our new favorite restaurant, Los Pericos Restaurant, Bar and Cafe for shrimp fajitas - and Pericos did not disappoint. The shrimp fajitas came steaming and sizzling on a super-hot iron skillet with grilled veggies and cactus. Beans, guacamole, rice, and tortillas were all served on the side. The food and the friendly service blissfully started our day.
Wanda tried the Spanish Coffee and discovered she has a new addiction. I think the smiling bartender added a healthy dose of Kahlua with a huge dollop of real sweetened whip cream. At 95 pesos it was expensive, but jeez was it good.
We hitched a bus ride to Walmart at the Lago Real commercial center in Mescales to get more disposable hats. Even though it was in the opposite direction from the beach, we (especially me) really need to wear a hat for sun protection while swimming.
It was 4:30 pm when we reached Playa (beach) Destiladeras. Where did the day go? The waves were rather tame in the late afternoon, but we did catch a few large body-surfing waves.
Our earlier walks along the expansive beach at Playa (beach) Destiladeras, always headed south and away from Punta Mita. This time we walked north toward Punta Mita. Unlike the southern route, this stretch is lined with expensive houses and resorts. With one glaring exception, most buildings nicely blended into the environs. The more prominent resorts had large thatched roofed palapa bars sitting high up on the cliff overlooking the ocean. (A palapa is an open-sided thatched roof structure).
On our beach walk, we were entertained by whales breaching the surface just a little ways off the beach. One whale repeatedly turned on its side and lifted its gigantic flipper high in the air as if to wave at us. The Bay of Banderas is an important whale-spawning grounds.
The rocks guarding the north end of the beach stopped our progress after beach-shuffling a mile. We were still a few miles from reaching Punta Mita. Punta Mita is experiencing political struggles over “private vs public” access to a beautiful resource. In geographic terms, the word “punta” means the tip or point of a peninsula. The entire large peninsula, where the tiny village of Punta Mita sits, is privately owned by resort corporations. As such, they completely lock out all public access to the area. There is some resentment over that. Fortunately, Playa Destiladeras, one tiny fraction of the Punta Mita peninsula, still has public access - for now.
It was 7 pm when we finally wormed our way onto a fully-packed bus of workers returning home. The resorts do offer service jobs for the local communities. We were reminded as we arrived at our neighborhood at sunset that there is a mountain full of adventures in our forecast.
MAR 10, 2020.
This is the start of Wanda's DentoAmerica marathon. Her appointments began at 3 pm, and didn't return to our vacation home until 7 pm. Sadly, I had a gig today so Wanda was on her own.
My Buzzos gig was scheduled for the early evening and Jeff and I were eager to visit a guest band from our home state of Wisconsin called Road Trip. The Road Trip band, from the Fox River Valley in Wisconsin, came down to Puerto Nuevo to play music in Mexico. John Prigge, the band manager, hired Jeff to provide the sound system - apparently, Jeff knew some of the Wisconsin band members. Prigge scheduled two gigs in the local area; a big pool party at the RIU condo where the band was staying and a Friday gig at Chasers, a local Puerto Nuevo venture.
Jon and the rhythm guitar player showed up for our Buzzos gig. Jon also plays a mean real-deal Chicago-style harp. We were happy to have him sit-in for several tunes. He was great - he could play tasty laid-back fills when playing rhythm. The guys were gracious and had a good time.
Wanda made it back to the vacation home, feeling fine. She reported DentoAmerica had a Dental Cone Beam CT 3D imaging machine. The resulting 3D image gave a detailed look at her teeth, gums, nerve clusters and jaw bone that could be rotated 360º on all three axes and even zoom up on a portion of her jawbone and measure the bone density at that precise spot.
With that image, Kirk Siemens, Director, showed Wanda how to read the image, and determined that the bone graft she had done last year was strong enough to support an implant. He cursored the spot and it instantly showed Wanda that the density number was indeed dense enough for an implant.
However, the area located just under the nasal cavity wasn't thick enough to handle an implant without first performing a surgical procedure to secure the nasal tissue. Plan B - insert the implant post at an angle (the crown can be positioned straight). It was a tentative Plan B, because Dr. Oscar Ramos, the Surgical Specialist, would have to review and confirm that Plan B was doable. (Wanda's total cost for treatments described in the next week was under 5000 USD. Click here to see the price list for each treatment.)
DentoAmerica is a full-service dental facility under one roof. They have a surgeon, periodontist, endodontist, dentists, and more on staff as well as all the latest equipment and technology. The prices are reasonable when compared to the US. For instance, the implant takeaway costs for us was 1500 USD.
MAR 11, 2020.
Wanda’s appointment was for 3:30 pm. We decadently stayed in bed until 10:30 am and didn’t get out the door until noon.
Since Wanda can only eat soft foods for the rest our stay in Mexico, we went to our new favorite restaurant, Los Pericos Restaurant, Bar and Cafe for pancakes. I cheated and had my favorite, huevos rancheros. Los Pericos’ version of rancheros is absolutely delicious.
Wanda arrived at DentoAmerica a little after 3 pm to have an old filling removed and have a root canal completed in preparation for a permanent crown. Wanda was pretty numb after the procedures but was happy to report that Dr. Juan Carlos made the procedure painless - even after the Novocain wore off. Click here to see the price list for each treatment
Our new evening routine is binging on Netflix’s movie, Blacklist. We have seven episodes to entertain us for a long time.
MAR 12, 2020.
Wanda spent at least 5 hours in several dentists' chairs: Dr. Kevin had previously removed a filling and an old crown that was irritating the gum line. Today Dr. Kevin will prepare those two teeth with abutments and posts to install two crowns later in the week.
The later session on this same evening with Dr. Oscar Ramos, the Surgical Specialist, is to extract the two wisdom teeth plus one other tooth to make way for two implants - the new sturdy anchors for the bridge to be placed later in the week.
Wanda was a trooper, but it did take its toll on her energy level. We were given strict orders not to do anything physical, including no sun for the next few days. She continues to report no pain issues even though she was given a block of ice with a protective wrap to use every 15 minutes, ibuprofen and a pain pill to take at night just before bedtime. Click here to see the price list for each treatment.
All my plans for trips to San Sebastián, Quimixto, and Guayabitos went out the door. Oh well, there's always next year.
MAR 13, 2020.
Wanda woke up with a large chipmunk cheek, which slowly reduced in size as the day wore on. Since she could only eat soft foods, we went back to Los Pericos Restaurant, Bar and Cafe for the soup of the day.
I had a bowl of their delicious tortilla soup while Wanda ordered something new, the Chili Relleno soup. As good as my tortilla soup was, Wanda’s Chili Relleno was terrific. It tasted like a creamy asparagus soup and puréed grilled green pepper soup. Mmmmmmm.
By late afternoon, Wanda was ready to rest. Jeff and Teri were heading to Puerto Nuevo to watch the Road Trip band and the Gecko Band concert at Chasers Bar. It is on the outskirts of Puerto Nuevo, so instead of being held at a swanky resort tavern, it was a typical Mexican bar with broken, uneven cement floor, open sides, slightly dingy, and an aromatic taco kitchen. But it was a large venue with plenty of tables and chairs. I tagged along.
The Gecko Band played the first set. The Geico Band I remembered from last year, had a bass player that knew his way around a 5-string bass, a drummer that was tight and driving, a terrific guitar player, and a spark plug of a young woman singing up a storm. I was impressed.
Sadly, this year, the drummer and bass player left to form a band of their own. The girl singer is doing an acoustic thing that does not take advantage of her high energy showmanship. The group is down to two original members, mixed with a new drummer and bass player. They are tight, and still good, but not as exceptional as I had remembered.
As soon as Road Trip started playing their set, it was special. They have two fabulous front-performers; a lead male singer and a lead female singer. Musically, they were insanely tight and well balanced. Their three-part harmony (the guitar player also sings) was spot on. They blew the doors off the place. OK, there wasn’t any door at the club, but you get the idea. The Gecko Band, customarily considered the gold standard in the area, were flabbergasted. I was proud that a Wisconsin band came down and stole the show.
The band, the band manager, the bar owner, and the crowd all agreed - Road Trip needs to come back down next year. Prigge talked about having the three of us ( Joe, Jeff, and me) open up for Road Trip next year. I felt honored. We’ll see.
MAR 14, 2020.
Wanda was under strict orders to not do anything strenuous nor get too much sun. I didn't understand the sun thing, but Wanda was pretty wiped out anyway. Our main activity during this time was to find restaurants that served soup. Pannino's Restaurant had a wonderful cream-of-mushroom soup that was 2-die-4.
Netflix snacks were needed for binging the evening away watching episodes of Blacklist. This required a shopping trip at La Comer (a large Walmart-like department/grocery store) to pick up some soft white corn tortillas, refried beans, guacamole and salsa.
MAR 15, 2020.
Wanda had a 7:00 am dentist appointment. We reached DentoAmerica around 6:40 am. Sometime around 7:20 am, Wanda was called to discuss a change in appointments. (Click here to see the price list for each treatment.) Wanda's Monday appointment was now added to her Tuesday schedule. No big deal, except getting up at 5 am was a bitch.
Well, time for breakfast. We tried a new place, Comida Mexicana. It was great.
MAR 16, 2020.
I played the final Buzzo's gig for this season. I will surely miss playing in gigs nearly as much as I'll miss the 80ºF weather in Mexico.
Wanda's final day with DentoAmerica ended with two appointments. Dr. Kevin, Dentist, placed the crowns on the lower jaw and made final impressions for a mouth guard to hand to Wanda after her last appointment. Dr. Oscar Ramos, the Surgical Specialist, placed the temporary crowns on the two implant abutments. The permanent crowns will be placed next year after time goes by for the implants to heal. Click here to see the price list for each treatment.
Packing to return to Wisconsin was a somber endeavor.