Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life in Gringolandia – February 21 – 29

Paradise Village Marina is in the heart of Paradise Village (see:, which includes an all-inclusive resort, a hotel, condominiums, pools, tennis courts, a golf course, restaurants, a Bengal tiger breeding program (no kidding - see:, fractional ownership units and Paradise Village Plaza, an air conditioned shopping mall.  It would be at home in the Inland Empire of Southern California (except perhaps the tigers).  In Mexico, even if one doesn't consider the tigers, it’s just plain weird. 

While visiting a nearby chandelry we were asked by a gringo eployee how we liked the marina.  When we hesitated . . . and finally said it was a little bit odd she said:  "Yes, we call it Gringolandia."  Perfect

However, as we admitted to the woman in the chandelry, it’s oddly comforting to stay at a really clean resort filled with Canadians and Republicans after three days bashing about in the ocean dodging “fishing boats” and going without sleep. 
After we arrived “in Paradise” on the 21st, we cleaned ourselves and Abracadabra, dressed like tourists (or at least sailors in clean clothes) and met Irene and Frank for dinner.  The next three days with them were spent committing acts of tourism in Puerto Vallarta:

including posing with statues along the Malecon.  This statue is called The Gossip Bench, but we decide that in honor of Fank and Irene's honeymoon we'd call it the Listen to Each Other, The Marriage Therapist Said bench:

We also joined Tom Salmon, an acquaintace of Frank and Irene's that lives in PV, for dinner at a restaurant that was really wonderful - despite having the unfortunately touristy name of No Way Jose.  Tom tells us it's quite popular with locals, and after our meal, we understand why. 

On Thursday we went on a day sail on Abracadabra in Banderas Bay:

and spotted several whales (which Frank captured with his fancy-schmancy camera!):

Frank and Irene left on the 24th -- and we were left to honeymoon without them! 
One day we ventured out of Paradise to a fancy shopping mall in Puerto Vallarta.  The mall is anchored by a department store named "Liverpool".  Something seems lost in translation when the name of a working class town is used for a fancy store.  It’s as though someone renamed Macy’s “Buffalo”.
Again, it was oddly pleasant to visit an air conditioned shopping mall and drink a latte at a Starbucks after several months in “real” Mexico.  We visited the Telcel center in the mall and signed up for a new in-country telephone and a 3-G computer connection, so hopefully we will have better intenet access going forward.  And, to treat ourselves (even more than the latte and 3-G - how is that possible?) we saw The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo - the American version -- at a real movie theater, in English!  It was really nice to watch a movie on a screen larger than our computer screen.
The rest of our time in Gringolandia (perfect!) was spent hanging around the various swimming pools at Paradise Village trying to even up our sailor tans.  We never got over thinking how odd the place was – but we actually enjoyed it for the week!  

On the 29th we departed Paradise Village Marina and headed “home” to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle to find that the marina here is in full swing preparing for a series of sail boat races that begin this weekend -- The Copa Mexico (see:, including MexORC (see:  There are Lasers and C420s zipping around the harbor and the Bay, and rows of J-24s on trailers.  Last night Tacos en la Calle (one of our favorite taco places) was packed with tables of sailors in town to race or to watch and various support crew members.  Our return to sleepy little La Cruz may not be quite what we had planned!  
We expect to be leaving La Cruz to go north before most of the racing starts on the 9th, but we're enjoying watching the trials for the C420s, and dodging event personnel as they rush around getting ready.  It's hard to imagine all of the potholes in La Cruz can be filled by the time the important people arrive, but there are crews working day and night in an attempt to do just that.  And we're hoping that we can get out of town before breaking an ankle while they're tearing everything up!

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