Saturday, January 31, 2015

Princess’s First Rodeo

Well with horses and stuff anyway.

So we had a chance to attend a Mexican rodeo. They are A LOT different than what we know as rodeo. First you may have to understand that Mexicans don’t personify animals, an animal is just that - an animal, not human reincarnated. They are animals. But they do find them very tasty and use them on tacos all the time. Now that we have the stage set, it is up to you if you read further.

The rodeo starts with girls in HUGE flowing dresses riding side saddle in a breath taking dance on horseback. They are all riding side saddle and charging the mounts around and crossing between each other. An amazing feat of Horseman ship set to music much like square dances we did in our youth.


Then we get into the Competition activities.

Calf Roping but Mexican style, TOTALLY different. A steer is turned loose and one of the Vaqueros on horseback charges up behind the ANIMAL (that word again) grabs it by the tail, turns the tail once around his leg then charges straight past the steer. Pulling it around at a dead run and dumping it—Rolling to a stop in the dirt. Some of the steers are not quite the same after this.




Bull riding and roping----a huge brahma is leathered up in the shoot. The rider is loaded. The gate opens and Owcheewawa!


All blazes cuts loose. The rider is thrown while other mounted riders swing their lariats and one will rope the front legs—loosely—while another captures the rear legs and DOWN we go then they---STRETCH—the bull out until it falls over and the Caballero’s can brand or work on the bull.




Horse Roping - This is just wild to watch but not for the weak of heart. With three mounted riders and one standing roper in the ring, a Mustang is turned into the arena. The mounted riders get the mustang running at top speed at the outside of the ring. While the Roper is doing tricks with his lariat. Quite entertaining. Then as the mustang running at FULL SPEED passes him he must lassos both front legs of the speeding horse. The end of the 150 foot coil of rope is looped around the Ropers neck. He falls to the ground on his back and when the mustang hits the end of the rope it pulls the roper across the dirt 30 or 40 feet while the Mustang is sent spinning though the air.


The rodeo was an all-day event. We spent six hours watching and being entertained with a variety of Rider/Horsemanship competitions and general cattleman working traditions. Quite entertaining though I will mention we almost left when some of the animals went down so hard they didn’t look like they would ever get up, and I have a fairly strong stomach.

Mexican people are much different then we Canadians. The Mexican Government has BANNED the use of Circus animals completely but Rodeo and Bullfighting is still a very active sport. Go figure.

Glad we had the opportunity to see this but truth be told, I prefer Western rodeo and Princess may have been to two rodeos---HER FIRST AND LAST.

A note from the Princess – So obviously the Cowboy’s words about what he observed and what I chose to photograph don’t match up . . . and that’s okay.

We ended our day with yet another new (to us) open-air dining establishment Mariscos.

It was a great day and another wonderful Mexican experience shared with our good friends Cliff & Helen.

We are so blessed!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pescado Zarandeado

Don’t worry – I can’t pronounce it either!

We are so fortunate to have friends down here with vehicles. We’ve got to see a lot more of this beautiful area than we ever planned. Our destination on this day with George & Mary was Chacala, a small quiet village nestled in a very private cove.

We found a clean quaint restaurant and moved our table out to the sun and sand to enjoy a few cold ones. Pacifico is a popular beer down here as well as Corona – both sell for 20 pesos each – that’s about 1.40 USD. Most of the prices that I quote will be in US Dollars simply because it is just too depressing to calculate the CD $ with the rates the way they are right now. Strangely enough the cost of a Coke is about the same – if not more.

Pescado Zarandeado is a unique and delicious traditional grilled fish dish served along Mexico’s Pacific Coast – a Puerto Vallarta specialty. The recipe uses a chile and garlic-based seasoning paste, and a final glazing of flavored mayonnaise before it goes on the grill. You can use any fairly thin fish filet for this very special dish – we chose the Red Snapper. The restaurant staff cook it for you but I forgot to take any photos of the grilling. Refer again to the prices of the Corona’s above.


After – We did a pretty good job!13-DSCN1515

And Yes – It was Delicious!

Other Gringo’s arrived by boat and brought their catch of the day with them to be grilled up by the restaurant. The charge for the fish and cooking is by the Kilo and I’m not sure how much that was.

Our total bill for the 4 of us was $630 pesos = $48.00 USD which included our refreshments, endless nachos & salsa plus the sides with the fish.

3 hours of entertainment = Priceless!



Another wonderful day. We are so blessed.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Last spring when The Cowboy & I decided to spend this winter in Mexico the first item on the agenda was to secure a comfortable place for us to call home for 5-6 months. Starting with Craig’s List and focusing on our wants and needs we were able to narrow it down to this 2 bedroom fully furnished condo in a 4 plex. Keep in mind that this was our first trip into the heart of this country so while location was important, we had no idea where we needed to be.

Condo Robert 1 Dining - 1

These photos are from the ad – completely equipped kitchen includes all dishes, pots & pans, cooking & baking utensils, even wine glasses! May not have all the comforts that we have at home and now I’m questioning why I have 2 full drawers full of all those handy kitchen gadgets at our home. A ‘new to me’ gadget’ is a lime squeezer and while it looks like a garlic press, it does not serve well to mince whole garlic cloves. Just sayin’!

Condo Robert 1 Living - 2

All utilities are included except electric (last month $7.00) – unlimited internet & satellite TV. Propane is supplied for the stove and hot water heater. Drinking water in the kitchen comes complete with UV filter system.


With the large walk-in shower this pristine bathroom not only creates an ensuite from the master bedroom but also has an access door from the hallway/living room area.

Condo Robert 1 Bathroom

Condo Robert 1 Master Bedroom

A dresser and lamps have been added to this very large, sun filled bedroom. Both bedrooms have lots of shelves and closets.

Condo Robert 1 Master Bedroom - 3

Very roomy with ceiling fans in every room

Condo Robert 1Master Bedroom - 1

This is the extra bedroom that has your name on it! Consider this to be an open invitation to anyone out there reading this.

Condo Robert 1 2nd Bedroom

The icing on top of the cake has to be this spacious roof-top terrace. We start our day here while watching the sun rise over the mountains while enjoying our morning coffee.

Spacious Roof Top Terrace

Or our evening refreshments at sunset complete with star gazing and viewing the nightly fireworks from the Malecon.

Internet is also working on the terrace!

Close to a 360 degree view of the Sierra Madre – Mother Mountain – range.There is also a laundry room and another spacious patio area complete with clothes lines.

Mountain View

Sometimes we have get-togethers with our neighbours . . .


Or just enjoy a quiet relaxing brunch or a glass of wine with friends. . .


This is our little piece of paradise. We are feeling very blessed to be able to do this and in fact, are making plans to do it all over again next year.

We signed a 6 month (Nov to Apr) contract which is considered a long term lease to get a better rate:

6 months = $49,500 Pesos and with today’s exchange rates works out to $3,388.37 US$ or $565 US per month. Plus $500.00 US security deposit.

To take it one step further and again with today’s rates that works out to $702.00 CDN per month. We feel we would be hard pressed to find a fully furnished, utilities included, 2 bedroom apartment in Canada for the winter.

To ease your minds - we are in a ‘real Mexican’ neighbourhood but have never felt safer. All of the people down here are extremely friendly and very helpful. We both agree that we feel safer here than we ever did in the 7 years we spent in the Rio Grande Valley.

Mexico is a Third World country which means it is a poor, underprivileged country. What you don’t hear about this beautiful country is, they are happy, very proud and friendly people who are grateful and sincerely content with the life God has given them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Exploring Mexico

Our day started out with a nice relaxing brunch on our terrace.


We met our new found friends Cliff & Helen last summer through a long time mutual friend and turns out they live about just minutes away from our summer place. Cliff has been coming to Puerto Vallarta for about 18 years now so he’s very knowledgeable about the area.


With no destination in mind we headed south and stopped for some awesome views of Banderas Bay coastline.


As luck would have it we found this place:


and were treated to our very own personal tour guide. He was very informative and personable.


While checking out the next few photos you’ll see that we became quite personable as well . . .


We had no idea they made so many different flavors of tequila. We tasted coffee, chocolate, almond  . . . and several combinations of those.


My favorite was ‘Peanut butter’ . . . sooooo smooth & creamy!


Night of The Iguana movie site marker:


Before John Huston’s 1964 film, The Night of the Iguana, Puerto Vallarta was a just sleepy fishing village on the Pacific Coast where the states of Jalisco and Nayarit meet. But Liz Taylor came to keep an eye on her lover Richard Burton while he was filming with the voluptuous Ava Gardner. The publicity buzz about Burton and Liz’s torrid affair and the movie put Vallarta on the tourist map.”


Cliff is an excellent tour guide although there were times we questioned that . . .


That is in fact, water you see above the dash of the vehicle. Brings a whole new meaning to ‘off roadin’ wouldn’t you say?


A recently closed outdoor restaurant with beautiful landscaped grounds in a jungle-like setting. Serenity!







Further down the road to a sleepy little village at the mouth of the river.

Difficult to see but there’s a guy up there harvesting the coconuts  . . . with a machete!



Just some photos of the area while the tide is coming in. This area of Mexico pleasantly surprises us with it’s diversity.


From humble shacks to massive mansions . . .


This shot is a close up of the place in the upper left corner above.



One of our last stops for the day was Conchos Chinos where the wealthier tourists choose to stay. There are also a lot of large beautiful permanent residences on this very elite hillside village. 


This shot was taken from the penthouse of a neighboring complex where we were invited for a very personal tour . . . Our tour didn’t end here but the battery life in my camera did!

Back to PV to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Joe Jack’s Fish Shack. Replenished our bodies and the battery in my camera we headed back down to The Malecon to enjoy the Friday night dancers:

1-What a day - with Cliff & Helen

We had an awesome day making amazing memories with a great couple! Thanks Cliff & Helen!