Bridgie's Babble - Jan. 15, 2008
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Sometime between Christmas and New Years we made a trip via the bus from La Cruz to a “final stop” in
Puerto Vallarta, which dropped us off in the Zona Hotelera . From there we walked along Zona Centro,
eventually meandering down to the ocean to walk the malecon heading south. Once we crossed the Rio
Cuale we were in the land of Zona Romantica and hungry! It was quite the walk, after all.  Using our Lonely
Planet Guide, we checked out several recommended restaurants before joining the waiting line outside to
Café de Olla. And this is where the real fun began.

First, we were treated to the strongest, bowl sized margaritas (5 shorts tequila and 1 shot lime juice?) in
history. We sipped them down while waiting for our dinner. They were delicious! So, of course, we had to
have another (this one we shared) when our dinner arrived. The meals were abundant and excellent.  We
gladly paid the $50.00 tab at the end of the meal and were happy with our bargain.  We strolled after
dinner, stopping at some of the craft stalls to admire the fine wares. This is something one shouldn’t do after
a couple of bowls of tequila. Let me explain why.  During our stay in the Sea of Cortez we often envied the
family on s/v La Solana. They had a hammock strung between the forestay and the mast that was always
occupied by someone while at anchor. What a luxurious way to live!  And there one stood…right in front of
our eyes. A doublewide beauty with our name written all over it. We were ruthless in our bartering skills.
We held our ground until satisfied that our negotiation skills proved themselves to be perfect. After the
vendor reduced his price down from $110.00 USD to $50.00 we walked away with  "the steal of a
lifetime" (that's tequila talk, a double wide hammock that now needs a home ON THE VERY SMALL
SAILSOON). Currently, while not suspended above the foredeck, it looks for a place to reside on the
boat, moving from V berth to Salon as space allows.

We continued to stroll in the direction of the bus route, stopping and being tempted along the way to buy
some Huichol art. However, our bartering skills were getting weak, as was our will and desire. We moved
on. Eventually we hopped a local bus to get us back towards the direction from which we’d come on foot.
It was dark and we’d gone several miles, passing through local neighborhoods and seeing sites (well, sort
of) that we hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing on the way in. The bus, which had been full when we boarded,
was starting to empty out pretty quickly. Suddenly I heard a woman’s voice behind me. She commented in
Spanish that the gringos (that had to be us) were lost. Well, of course I had to disagree. We weren’t lost;
we just didn’t know where we were…Never-the-less, we were having a good time on the tour. She
insisted that we explain to the driver where we hoped to end up, which we did. He took us back to a pick
up point near Wal-Mart where we could catch a bus and head back to La Cruz. Less than 2 hours later we
were back on Sailsoon with a new hammock.

By the way, since we’ve left P.V. we have seen hammocks for sale in many styles and fibers including the
one we bought. Did we get a bargain at $50.00? Um, no. Down the coast a bit, that was the vendor’s
opening bid. Moral of the story? Don’t miss the margaritas at Café de Olla…they don’t sharpen your skills
but they do make you smile! And only bring enough money to pay for them and the bus fare back….the
correct bus, I guess!
The smile says it all....we bargained hard and won!
Step one. Tie it to the mast and then the forestay
Step two. Test it out
Step three. Take a nap.
Sorry, photos of return  bus trip were too fuzzy to
publish. Maybe next time.
Next Bridgie's Babble Jan 29, 2008