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Week Three

30-days in Bucerias Mexico

 

MAR 02, 2020. 
No zip lining today - although it was in our original plans for the day until we realized a significant part of the zip line package is two hours of jumping waves in a large Zodiak Raft powered by three 300 hp Yamaha engines. To me, this ride was the highlight of the adventure. For Mo, who gets motion sick just looking at the waves from a chaise lounge, it would have been a nightmare.

Plan B: Vallarta Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are located in the mountains requiring us to take three different buses. Even the bus ride got Mo a bit queasy, but she gutted out the adventurous mountain ride along the canyon road.

Wanda and I went to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens last year, and we were impressed with the colors and beauty of the area. Nestled in the rugged Rio Tomatlan River canyon, the Vallarta Gardens feature acres of gorgeous flower and cactus displays.

Along with the floral displays, we wandered the jungle trail that took us to a refreshing natural swimming pool formed by humongous boulders in the cool sweet waters of Tomatland River.

After all of that, we dined at the beautiful Hacienda Oro Restaurant. Our table, high up on the third-floor balcony overlooking the jungle canopy, was as impressive as the food. And the food was terrific. Wanda and I split a fish taco plate that included a magnificent sauce. Mo got a guacamole dish, which we all raided to go with our tortilla chips and salsa. Kack got a fish sandwich that she reported to be tasty.


Sadly, we made our way home, knowing this was our last evening together. We stopped off to get a couple more Pacifico 40s, and I made the last of our fruit juice and tequila drinks and enjoyed more family chatter.

 

MAR 03, 2020. 
Today's mission was to get Mo and Kack safely home. Our part was to get them to the airport on time. With the Coronavirus scare, we wanted to get them at the airport within 2 hours of the boarding time.

There was plenty of time to walk to Paninos for breakfast, then return to the Airbnb to pick up the luggage. Originally, we were going to use the bus, but Wanda wimped out and called an Uber for just 200 MXN pesos (9 USD).

At the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR), Mo and Kack found the nearest self-service kiosk to get a printout of their ticket before going to the check-in counter. Before entering the check-in line, a couple of no-nonsense, dedicated Delta personnel stopped them to ask questions related to the virus. Satisfied with the answers, the agent allowed them to enter the check-in line finally.  It was a long day for the two Wisconsin travelers scheduled to arrive in Green Bay after 2 am. We already missed their presence.

After dropping the ladies off at the airport, we took the bus back to the Airbnb. I had to get ready for a pick up at 3:30 pm and enjoy my final band gig with Jeff at Buzzos Seafood Restaurant-Bar until 6:30 pm. I always enjoy playing at Buzzos Seafood Restaurant-Bar because the crowds are simply the best to entertain and there is that barrel of Tequila to tap into.

MAR 04, 2020. 
Wanda's. dental vacation begins this week. Before leaving Wisconsin, Wanda filled out the online registration form and requested an overall consultation. Since retiring from American Airlines, we no longer have Dental insurance, therefore, she was looking to Bucerias for the possibility of annual checkups - if they wowed her -- and they did wow her.

 

DentoAmerica

at the Lagos Real Mall

The initial appointment took less than one hour and included a Dental Exam and a Basic Consultation with Dr. Kevin. Due to gum issues resulting from a wisdom tooth (being used as an anchor for a bridge) causing  gum and bone density complications, Dr. Kevin scheduled a periodontist appointment on Friday before putting together a treatment program. Wanda left the office a bit shaken as she knew something wasn't feeling right even though she had no pain.

On the way back to Bucerias, we stopped off at La Comer Supermarket, a giant and surprisingly modern department and grocery store. In the parking lot, Wanda suggested we wander through the Wednesday Forever Spring Market for a bite to eat. It was a good call. We decided on grilled shish Kebabs and a large comfort-brownie. We also noticed many of the same booths we saw at Sayulita's Friday Market and the Sunday Art Fair in La Cruz. Good to know information for extended future shopping plans.

 

We planned to use the rest of today to catch our breath after a whirlwind two weeks of beaches. I had bills to pay online, and Wanda wanted to add a few more days on her website. Later that afternoon, we took an afternoon break and walked to the Sunshine Bar Buceria to see Jeff playing his solo gig.  Lucky us - we took advantage of the 2-for-1 Margarita Happy Hour thoroughly enjoying our very tasty and powerful lime Margarita on the rocks. Happily, but unplanned, we weaved our way back home. Mexico is addicting that way.

 

MAR 05, 2020. 
It was another lazy day only scheduling a short walk into Bucerias for lunch. Earlier in the week, we eyed the  Pericos Bar and Cafe's banner of daily specials and headed straight away excited to try a different place for lunch.

The special of the day was chicken Chili Relleno, homemade tortilla chips and salsa, and a margarita-to-die-for. Our first-ever Chili Relleno order turned out to be a sizeable stuffed-grilled pepper. The salsa for the homemade tortilla chips was wonderful and served in a genuine volcanic-stone bowl. We split one order as there was too much food for two orders. The cost was 189 MXN pesos (10 USD).

 

For a supper break on this same lazy day, we went back to the Sunshine Bar Buceria and ordered the biggest shrimp burrito served with a yummy white sauce and french fries on the side.  Again, the food in the greater Puerto area is unbelievable

 

MAR 06, 2020. 
Wanda's dental day of reckoning starts: Dr. Latisse, the periodontist, started the day with a deep cleaning of gums and teeth then meticulously going over the full array of X-rays with both of us.

DentoAmerica

at the Lagos Real Mall

We were smitten by Dr. Latisse's professionalism and impressed with how she was able to translate her knowledge for us to understand including the many good things that are going for her right now. The treatment program could fit into our two-week schedule with several appointments and a follow-up next winter after a healing period.

Wanda's main issue was jawbone deterioration, due to using the wisdom tooth as a bridge anchor. Wisdom teeth are the weakest teeth to act as anchors since they only have one root. Who knew? The Wisconsin Dentist who initially planned the bridge had planned to use the same tooth as an anchor for the bridge. The local Dentist that actually placed the bridge did not mention that it would not be a good idea to use that wisdom tooth as an anchor. Why? Well, that is a whole different kind of story to tell for another time.

The bottom line was everything is fixable in a two-step process and would obligate a return to Bucerias next year. The time between phase one and phase two is for healing. For those that would like details of treatment and the cost, check here.

DentoAmerica

at the Lagos Real Mall

Wanda spent 3 hours in two different dental chairs this first day. DentoAmerica is a one-stop clinic for all your dental needs, which made tight scheduling between treatments possible. The front desk receptionists (and schedulers, etc.) handed Wanda an aggressive list of appointments for our final 12 days in Mexico. Unfortunately, there won't be much time to explore more since the Drs and nurses strongly suggested no more sun or physical activities for the next two weeks.

On the very bright side, the cost estimates were reasonable, and the clinic's level of competency made Wanda feel like they were good captains of their ship. All she had to do was sit back, relax and let them take over.

 

MAR 07, 2020. 
I spent much of the day practicing for the big gig this evening. Jeff booked a sweet private party for us at a posh condo in Puerto Nuevo, the Miami of Mexico.

Puerto Nuevo is a large community wholly taken over by high-rise condos and hotels. At the center of the community is a large inland marina accessed by a deep-river outlet to the ocean. The entire community, hugging the beach for several miles, is meticulously manicured. There is an exclusive golf course in the middle. You would never know you were in Mexico, which kind of defeats the whole reason to come to Mexico. These people spend a lot of money to have a place they could have had in California or Florida.
 

The condo we played at is located in the choicest spot in Puerto Nuevo. It was at the mouth of the marina with a gorgeous beach next door. On the pool patio, you could watch the yachts glide by.

The food at the catered party fit the setting. The appetizer buffet alone was a multi-course meal. The band received unlimited drinks, 100 USD, plus 550 MXN pesos in tips each. It was a great night. Jeff and I performed our best gig ever, and the condo owners loved us.

The condo we played at is located in the choicest spot in Puerto Nuevo. It was at the mouth of the marina with a gorgeous beach next door. On the pool patio, you could watch the yachts glide by.

The food at the catered party fit the setting. The appetizer buffet alone was a multi-course meal. The band received unlimited drinks, 100 USD, plus 550 MXN pesos in tips each. It was a great night. Jeff and I performed our best gig ever, and the condo owners loved us.

MAR 08, 2020. 
After a sluggish morning, we decided to make this an active day since Wanda didn't have a dentist's appointment scheduled. We've been craving to check out that jungle trail we discovered at our last Sayulita visit. Access to Sayulita is just a 15-minute bus ride on one of the zillion buses that go between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita.

 

On the walk into town, we stopped to watch a few innings at a local baseball game in the ballpark. The teams consisted mostly of rotund guys in their forties. The uniforms were not uniform; that is, each side had several different uniforms like it was an all-star game. Still, the quality of play was outstanding - good pitching, hitting, and excellent fielding.

We've grown fond of the uncountable sidewalk restaurants in Sayulita. The food has always been very good, the prices are low, and the atmosphere is pure 1960s Mexican psychedelic. We have fun just picking a new cafe to eat, and today we picked the Aaaaaaaaay Caramba (that's one way to be first in the telephone book). We split a giant quesadilla plate with beans, rice, salad, grilled veggies, and a big fat quesadilla—the sauces on the side burst with new flavors.

Pleasantly satisfied, we struck out for the trail. It starts at the far southern end of the Sayulita beach. This time we brought our shoes. The rocky climb up the cliffside was arduous. Once on top, the trail followed the top of the cliff line along the coast. The trail, although not rocky, was still tricky with plenty of steep climbs and drops with tree roots providing steps. In places, the jungle was so thick that we literally walked into a dark tunnel of foliage.

The path to reach the beach, swung deep into the jungle with many steep switchbacks. It was tough to find enough purchase so as not to slide or fall. When the path finally delivered us to the beach, we were dumbstruck by the spectacular rock formations. They were striated with colorful layers of shale, all tilted in crazy directions. Some monumental tectonic forces uplifted these giant rock walls. How different and prehistoric this hidden world looked. I almost thought we'd see a pterodactyl fly across the sky. We walked the entire mile of beach to the rocky wall at the other end before turning back for our return climb to civilization.

It was after 6 pm by the time we reached the bus terminal in Sayulita. On Tuesday, Wanda will have to venture to the dentist by herself. I will be playing a final gig at Buzzos. Therefore, we decided to take the bus to Lago Real, the commercial center just outside of Mescales, where DentoAmerica is located. Usually, when we ride the bus, I keep track of where to get on and off. This time, the idea was for Wanda to carefully watch where to get out, as kind of a dry run. With a Walmart also being at Lago Real, we wanted to pick up on some more beans, rice, and tortilla chips for an evening snack - two birds with one stone.

We finally plopped down on the sofa at the Airbnb around 8 pm, totally exhausted. Wanda's fitness tracker reported that we clocked 9.68 miles of walking. That deserved some nachos and salsa.