The 1984 Adventures of Cowboy Bob & Bonanza Jellybean in Mexico!

In late 1983 BCTel-CT&S was in down-size mode... so we were returned to headquarters (from Victoria to Vancouver). Part of the down-sizing included the mass approval of leaves of absence. It had been 3 years since we had been back from our Pacific Rim Walkabout... wanderlust was again setting in. So I successfully obtained a 6 months leave of absence and we headed for Mexico for winter.

Saturday, September 29 - La Paz

[$1cdn=150p] - I awoke with a start at 5:43 am after a late night with Gorge in the bar. The "Happy Hour" stretched to 3, Joann's first 5 margaritas, my first 4 tequila's along with 4 beers. Ole!!

We had to be on the bus to Cabo San Lucas at 7:00 am. Zoom zoom ...we felt much more like sleeping but didn't want to face the noon sun in the bus. Checked out taxis ...out to the street to get a ride ...beautiful hot 25 oC morning ...crazy Mexicans jogging along the beach road ...pelicans keeping watch over the small fishing boats. Finally flagged a taxi $2.60cdn to the bus in time but only one seat left so we had to wait for the 9:00. Dam, could have had a leisurely breakfast by the pool after all.

Uneventful bus trip $4.35cdn/seat ...more 15 foot cactus just like in the movies. 12 o'clock high in San Jose de Cabo, looks a little too spread out and not at all close to the beach so another $0.65cdn and another 32 Km to The Cabo.

The town centre of Cabo is about 1 km from the beach. The most reasonably priced accommodation is the Gasbar Hotel $12.75cdn in the centre of town was too far from the beach for our beach bum mentality so we checked out the Hotel Marina $14.00cdn. Your hole in the wall Mexican cheapie, with shower and hot water [once the suns been up for two hours] a courtyard littered with abandoned debris, broken bottles and refrigerators etc. Perfectly adequate for our simple needs. The summer rains had taken their toll on the dirt roads throughout town leaving Grand Canyons cris-crossing everywhere. The Harbour had recently been enlarged with major dredging ...the more yachties the more money. Went to talk to the rental agent for a look at what was available. Million dollar houses littered the cliff west of town, some even had tennis courts carved out of the cliffs. We looked at a closed in palapa ...picture a 40 foot thatched umbrella with walls, windows and one room. Hot water? ...what do we need hot water for anyway? All this and still only $600US for the month of December.

Later we packed our mango, oranges and bottled water and headed off to the beach. About a 1 km hike around the marina brought us to The Hacienda an American five star hotel, a shortcut through the lobby, down past the 2 bedroom suites at $145US/night onto their beach, beautiful. The sand was quite coarse under foot, very clean and white stretched from the breakwater for about 3 km. Apparently the owner wont sell any of it although there must be some lease situations because there are a couple of restaurants on the beach. The air temp was 34 C and the water temp was 35 C.

Had diner at The Kan-Kun Grill, broiled fish $3.85cdn ...didn't linger too long after dinner, as the mosquitoes were hot and heavy.

Sunday, September 30 - Cabo San Lucas

Awoke early at 6:30 restless and sticky night. Breakfast at Taqueria's...

Ah those Mexican breakfasts, huevos rancheros, huevos fritos and coffee $3.00cdn ...beans with everything, they mix them with pork lard. Off shopping for lunch ...Chihuahua cheese, avocado, tomato and agua mineral sin gas then it was back to the beach via the Hacienda again. Caught a good 3-4 hours of the old sol, got to go slow ya know.

After a revitalizing shower we headed off to find a air ticket to Puerto Vallarta $51.86cdn, Cabo just wasn't what we were looking for in an extended semi-tropical stay of 3 or 4 months. Who knows if we were we ever going to find it in Mexico, I guess we were trying to relive or at least find a little of the magic we had in Thailand again. If Puerto Vallarta turned out to be a dud we were seriously entertaining the thought of going back to LA getting on a plane and going back to the mystiqu?of Thailand.

Dinner was a simple light salad at home. Listened to a little Bob Plant, Michael J and The Eurythmics, and caught up on a little of what your reading. We luckily managed to snag a different fan from room 201, a lot quieter. Using the old one was a catch 22 situation, if you didn't have the fan on it was too hot to sleep, but turn it on and the bloody rattling and whining was too much to sleep with. A restful night it wasn't.

Monday, October 1 - Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta

Up at sunrise ...pack ...breakfast at Taqueria's, French toast... Mmm, with Log Cabin syrup even. $1.20cdn ...met some LA tourists from a cruise ship that had stopped for 4 hr. ...also met Eric a Danish fellow about 50'ish, the Harbour Master of Manzanillo ...he's been living in Mexico for about 5 years and is on a vacation to see the Baja all the way up to San Diego, said we should look him up if we get that far south.

Hiked up to the bus depot about a mile. Caught the 9:00 am bus to La Paz, $2.00cdn for them to drop us off at the turn off to the Airport. Not too far to hike but luckily a taxi picked us up gratis after only 200 ft. The Mexicana 727 left on time at 11:20 for the 50 min. complementary cheese and crackers and open bar flight to PV, that's what you call Puerto Vallarta when your cool. (and you know that we's way cool)

The view out the port hole after we landed at PV afforded me the hilarious view of the Mexicana "gorillas" unloading the baggage. In the brief time I saw 3 cases thrown onto the unloading belt only to fall a good 8 feet to the tarmac and spew their guts. The humidity smacked us in the face like a hot wash cloth at a Sushi Bar. Surprising but nice after the dry heat of the Baja. The terminal is about the same size as Kelowna or Perth except for the throngs of touts that have either the ride or the accommodation of the century. Being the world travellers that we are it was the local bus for us. Out on the main highway into town we stood at the vaguely marked bus stop, I think. After 20 minutes of watching the traffic flow, a bus went by but didn't stop. It was an old rickety rig that looked similar to the style used for school buses back home. The only thing to indicate their route or destination was what looked like white shoe polish scribbled on the front window. It looked as if it had started out as a full sized bus, had been filled with people then shrunk so that every opening bulged like The Hulk going through one of his transformations. As the next one approached we waved madly to flag it down. It edged off the road slightly and sort of slowed to a roll and we jumped in... gave the driver $0.13cdn each. Whew we made it. The road into town was the main north-south highway on the west coast or Mexico, a 2 lane back country road with major Hotels either in full operation or just being built, lining the coast all the way into PV reminiscent of Waikiki. Turned out to be a good thing that first bus pasted us by. As we rounded a bend in the highway not far from town there it was turned turtle in the ditch. Couldn't tell if anyone was injured but we weren't.

It didn't take us long to find a fairly reasonable $8.00cdn Hotel with a private balcony overlooking the street to catch all the action. The Casa Lina was on the south side of the river that dissected old PV. This equated to the wrong side of the tracks. But that too depended on which side of the tracks/river you were looking from. Anyway the Lina was a cut rate Mexican working man's hotel/Casa very typical style with the tiled central courtyard filled with plants, laundry, children's toys, people having a siesta (if it was siesta time... not a prerequisite) and the obligatory Myna bird. The banks were closed so we wandered around town while Joann checked out every clothing tienda in captivity.

Nice town at first glance, lots of restaurants and bars:

Fish Dinner $5.35 - $6.65cdn
Lobster Dinner $14.65 - $20.00cdn
Shrimp $10.00 - $13.35cdn
Steak $16.5cdn
Mexican meal $5.35 - $6.65cdn
Beer $1.00 - $1.65cdn
Soda $0.45 - $1.00cdn

Ended up at Benito's Pizza for a medium veggie $5.65cdn, pleasantly surprised and very good. While on our after dinner stroll we found a little shop selling green coconuts, it was a wonderful flash back to South East Asia. Funny thing was that we were constantly comparing Mexico to Thailand etc. we returned to our quaint little balcony with the coconut, a couple of mangoes a pineapple and a bottle of agua purifica, Just hung out and watched d the Puerto Vallarta evening unfold.

Tuesday, October 2 - Puerto Vallarta

Today we have a couple of things on the agenda: number one is to change some money and then find "Nelly's" laundry. My Levi's are standing by themselves and the hand wash thing just won't cut it. A Maytag and some hot water are definitely in order.

El Banco didn't open till 9:00 am so we headed off to find somewhere to have some tosta and coffee. Henry's Bar and Grill looks like a great place, no walls, open to the river, the warm morning sun streaming through the lush vegetation.

The El Banco rate was 148.83p to the Canadian dollar and Nelly's charged me $1.00cdn for the jeans. Their rates were $2.00cdn per load, hours 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

With the business for the day complete we were bushed. Let's check out the beaches. Para-sailers by the dozens, hawkers with carvings, string bikini's, Tasco silver jeweler, etc. Let's have lunch on the beach... a couple of soda's and a chicken salad sandwich sounds like a great idea. The "La Palapas" was a huge pseudo native hut that would have been at home anywhere in the tropics of the Pacific. From here we could see several Para-sailers cruising the bay... hawkers working the beach... the water was not great... more like English Bay than what the tropics should have been like.

A hike down the coastal road sounded like a good idea at the time. The condos and the private houses up on the side hill were out of this world. We continued south towards some of the 1st class hotels watching for the combi bus #2. The bus never showed but the sun got hotter than the hubs of... a negotiated $1.65cdn and the taxi took us down to the Camino Real. Same old story, if you act like you belong, no one says boo. Went through the luxurious lobby down past the pool bar and on to the beach. Once your on the beach they can't say diddly cause in Mexico, no one can own the beach... it belongs to all. After a short stay we grabbed a taxi back to town and got the cold young green coconut out of the fridge... very refreshing.

Later on we went to Carlos O'Briens Bar and Grill on the waterfront... this the place to be seen in. Great music... good food and of course the main draw... Happy Hour. The joint was packed with cool folks... 2 hours later and the chick that was with me was 3 margaritas to the wind.

Wednesday, October 3 - Puerto Vallarta

The alarm went off after the chickens and dogs... check out and off to catch the "Princess Yelapa" at 0930 at the marina pier. These booze cruises go every morning at 0930 and leave Yelapa at 2pm - for $10.00cdn.

On arrival at Yelapa the fleet of Pongas (20 foot open fibreglass outboard boats) come to meet the Princess... there is no wharf so this is how you disembark... ferried through the surf to the beach. Once on the beach we're met by boys with 4 foot iguanas, ladies selling crocheted bikinis and Valentio with the "Don't get you feet wet in the river", shuttle boat to the village.

We find out the best restaurant on the beach is "Domingo's", sit and be cool trying to suss out the place. We're greeted at the front tables by the gang of about a dozen gringos drinking cerbesa, soda and brandy, Bacardi and coke, lemon aids, margaritas and coco locos. It's a motley crew of alcoholics, old hippies, drop outs, hang around'ers and general weirdoes... quite an amazing microcosm. They figured that maybe we had an idea to stay a while, it was probably the back packs. Carl had been here two weeks from LA to visit Ben whose helping Santiago with something? Carl says Ben might be able to help us out with something and Ben says ya just as Valentino (who we were told to contact) and Maria ( who tried to nail us down on the beach) happen by. Tempers and the status quo get a little ruffled cause Ben is caught trying to sublet ( a legal no-no). You see, Yelapa is an Indian reservation. The only people who are allowed to own land are those born here. For the last 20 years, gringos have been coming here, leasing land and building houses off varying size and investment. The leases are usually for 5 years and may or not be renewed, so one has to be cognizant of the fact that you may have to walk away and abandon your investment. Even so, some of the places are amazingly substantial and expensive.

Duty requires that we make the effort to check out what Valentino has to offer... cheap, yes but I thought that a dirt floored cottage was a little less than adequate for our needs. Back at Domingo's we meet Ala, a Scottish lass who has just finished a small place up river and is a little short of funds. We agree to take her place at $10.00cdn/day for a couple of weeks while we look at what else is on the market. Ala's place turns out to be a little dream cottage a half kilometre up river.

Her builder, Manuel is working on a large gringo house next door... every day men don snorkel masks and crawl around rocks in the river try for fresh water shrimp and crawdads (crayfish). Across the river women sing and wash their dishes and clothes every morning. Life revolves around the sun, up at 6 or 7, in bed at 8 or 9... only coal oil and candles a romantic glow. The water comes from wells and has to be boiled for 20 minutes to guarantee that all is killed. The bathroom is nice and clean... western bucket flush toilet, but no paper is to go into the sensitive septic system... instead any used toilet paper is put in a waste basket and burned daily. Our mosquito net is a great security blanket... it will keep out the scorpions... Ala says she kills 2 or 3 daily... YIKES!

Saturday, October 6 - Yelapa

Ala's place was wonderful but we couldn't see ourselves living there till the first week in January. It was cute and neat as a pin, but just a bit too petite. So we kept our feelers out to see what came up. Frank from California said his neighbour, Cadillac Ed had a place that he thought was available. When we were first introduced we sat down and Ed proceeded to snip off little bits from some beautiful aromatic buds (a friend of his grows these amazing hybrids up in Arizona and mails them down to Ed), pulls out his Proto-Pipe (a beautiful little piece of brass machining) A few puffs later, Joann and I saw God or at least it looked a lot like him/her. All this accommodation stuff has to be done in such a cloak and dagger manner. Ed had 2 places leased, Casa Blanca, a beautiful whitewashed block house with a palapa roof in a garden of banana, limes, mangoes and coconuts where he lives and Casa David next door.

We moved into Casa David ($300USD), it came with a killer view of the Yelapa river delta, Galdino the gardener and Rosalyn the maid. Galdino keeps Ed's grass cut, the water pump running and anything else that strikes Ed's fancy. Wages are 5000 pesos for 3 days a week... most of the time he sits and talks with Ed and drinks beer. Ed figures it's a cheap Spanish lesson.

An ex Kirby vacuum salesman, Ed's about 65-70 and basically hangs out all day. The story goes that 6 years ago he was in Puerto Vallarta on vacation with his wife and had his Cadillac break down. While they waited for the parts to come, he came to Yelapa on a whim, met some people who took him up river on a hike where he dropped acid for the first time in his life... and realised he was in Nirvana. It affected him so much that when he returned to the States he sold his business, left his wife who didn't want to accompany him and headed back to Yelapa. He's been here ever since.

Thursday, October 11 - Yelapa

We made it down to the beach before the boats arrived... that's a first. Soak up a little sun, play a little volley ball... Byron showed up with a bucket full of small bonito... everybody got one... Ben said he'd have a fish fry up at Casa Niki that evening... BYOB.

About 400pm we headed across the river and up the hillside in search of Casa Niki. Cocktails on the lanai and fish tacos... Mmm. The trek home was quite an adventure in the pitch black night.

Friday, October 12 - Yelapa

Joann went to the beach to try and sublet Ala's house... I met her after a visit with Ed. Played a little volley ball again but this time I ended up with a separated shoulder... should be fine in about 5 or 6 wk... ouch. Early dinner of fish stew then I walked up river to see Manuel. Had a green coconut and a couple of joints... Manuel speaks very little English and my Spanish is nada, so nice visit but quiet. The trip back to Casa David was one to remember. Right after I crossed over the river my torch went dead... I couldn't see my hand in front of my face let alone the trail. Each step was a challenge... outstretched hands just like I was playing "blindman's bluff"... it took an hour and a half to make the 500 meters, but I did make it without injury.

Serenaded to sleep by the sounds of Susan crying and swearing at Frank.

Saturday October 13 - Yelapa

Another shitty day in paradise... the activity starts about 0830... people, dogs and horses start coming across the river to get ready for the daily circus.

My shoulder ain't great but it can only get better... very weird to see Frank and Susan nuzzling after last night's screaming session.

Bought a half dozen sourdough buns from Ellen... 360p... I can't imagine living here in paradise and making and selling sour dough buns trying to make a buck... there's all kinds here.

Went with Dr. Bob up to see upper Hank's house... a long climb up the d200 stairs... beautiful terraces, big swimming pool... big ideas and lots of money spent then abandoned before completion.

Sunday October 14 - Yelapa

As I sit writing in this journal, enjoying a morning cup of coffee, four parakeets go screeching and dive bombing around the palm trees while Rosalyn washes up the dishes from last night's dinner and this mornings breakfast before cleaning the rest of the house.

Sunday always brings hordes of tourists, good for the Yelapians. Sat with Manuel at Domingo's for a couple of Coronas and a Spanish lesson

Off we go on the trek to Casa Elaina. Ben and Carl are having a Texas chicken BBQ. It's about a 500 foot climb; first up the stairs then turn left at Shit Creek and up through people's back yards. Made it, now I need a shower. Ben, Carl, Pablo, Shalemar, Ellen, Poncho, Ann, Juls, Christine, Jerry, Camille and a new couple... you see we're not the new ones any more. Great BBQ, and a great foot massage, but I forget who from. We could be at any cocktail party at any home in a tropical paradise.

Monday October 15 - Yelapa

It was a real tropical rain storm last night, I had to shift over to one side of the bed so as not to get soaked. Morning brought the steamy sun, and made it even more humid.

Poncho sold us a couple of nice fresh filets he'd just speared. Stopped at Ed's for a smoke... that puts a whole new complexion on the day.

Manuel came up for dinner a little drunk with a bag of Caguamma (turtle) eggs. He said he'd already eaten 30 and wanted us to partake with him. He kept snickering about how good they are as virility booster. I finally gulped and tore open two of the soft white leather skinned orbs. emptying them into a glass with lime juice and salsa... down the hatch. Didn't taste anything but the condiments.

Maybe there is something to the myth... after Manuel left we wrote an new hammock chapter for The Kama Sutra.

Tuesday October 16 - Yelapa

The shoulder is still real sore but little bit more mobile. Tuesdays are best for grocery shopping.

Poker game is at Ed's at 1500... Frank, Sebastian, Allan, Yvonea, Ed and me... frank is such a money grub and bore. I was up and down all night but ended up loosing 2000p by 1000P.

Wednesday October 17 - Yelapa

Ben went to PV this morning and maybe to LA for a court case. We've been here 2 weeks now and time management is not improving... there's just not enough time in the day to do anything.

Thursday October 18 - Yelapa

Had brunch on the beach at Domingo's and watched the zoo arrive.

took some lemon grass out to Bob and Donnali. they're staying out at Casa Bigote (House of Moustache), the owner sports a large one, he's Bob's neighbour back in Palo Alto.

Pancho brought some Bota fillets, man do they ever taste amazingly like lobster.

Friday October 19 - Yelapa

Brunch on the beach... Big party on the beach all day for Talli... a disco at the Yacht Club and the back to the Shapiro house.

Sunday October 21 - Yelapa

Ah yes, another rough day in paradise... Lots of children on the beach on Sundays... took some photos... only five feet of river at the mouth now, the river is getting lower and lower, it shouldn't be long now before it seals up till next rainy season or at least till there's a real big storm.

Forgot to pay the rent yesterday... Ed said he'd evict us if we weren't careful.

Turns out the grey cat we adopted was Frank's, but Frank (or Susan) got a new one... never thought about it but Ed is going to be stuck with all the animals in the area when the transients go home... Frank says not to worry he'll take care of the situation before he leaves... whatever that means.

Monday October 22 - Yelapa

Went up to the tourist waterfall in the village with Donnali and her friend Susan. Had lunch at the little restaurant there and then took a dip under the falls... very small but very refreshing. On the way back down the trail we passed by the rosewood carvers... they do amazingly beautiful work with the limited tools they have... 14x6 inch salad bowls are $50USD... mortar and pestle are 2500p... and chop sticks are 500p for a pair.

Shopped at both tiendas to get the best variation... cat food is 100p per can for sardines which we share with Wendy... used to be Zorra whom we (I) think is pregnant.

Play 4 games of crib with Ed... he skunked me 3 of them... I must be teaching him too well, beginners luck.

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