Bridgie's Babble - Jan. 15, 2008
click to enlarge images
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
Step one. Tie it to the mast and then the
Step two. Test it out
Step three. Take a nap.