Photos - Banderas Bay, Mexico

We found ourselves in Bahia de Banderas (that’s Spanish for Banderas Bay) just in time for the Christmas Holiday Season.  This was
going to be our first Christmas away from family and home and would take some getting used to. While in San Blas we had purchased
a 12” table top Christmas tree with a bark covered pine trunk, a couple of small red “ornaments” and a string of outdoor lights. John
and I set to work fashioning more tree decorations from our fine collection of small seashells.  From home we took out a few treasured
pieces and a couple of candles to complete the décor, hanging them throughout the cabin. As a final touch John strung the set of lights
from a halyard (it had 5 flashing mode settings!) above the dodger and down each side of the cockpit. How festive!  However, we
looked forward to experiencing another culture’s celebration practices and I was hoping to find some authentic decorations to add to
the collection.
What better place to start than Puerto Vallarta?! We hopped the bus at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and made the 1 hr. trek, stopping at
Wal-Mart! It may seem peculiar but it had been over a year since we had been in a Wal-Mart and we were “curious”. Most items were
comparable to the U.S. with a couple of exceptions:

1. There were no Christmas decorations for sale nor were there any adorning the aisles in merriment. We spotted one small shelf that
offered a few xmas linens and serving plates. There weren’t any lights, wrapping paper, ribbon and bows. We never found Santa
Clause or his reindeer. Guess there is no market for the “fluff” here. This explained why we didn’t see any houses along the way
dressed in holiday cheer. After all, it was only 4 days until Christmas so there should have been some evidence at the world’s largest

2. Free Samples….those are sweet words to budget minded cruisers but when the samples are liquor, even better! Yup, this location
had an extensive collection of wine, beer and liquor. At the end of each aisle stood a generous representative who was more than happy
to let you taste their product. Sometimes you even got a free glass (which, by the way, makes a great candle holder). Now there’s a
marketing plan for you! Drink, be merry and continue shopping (for things you didn’t really need or want).

The days following we took side trips by foot and bus to the local towns, visiting craft stalls and small shops. We concluded that
Mexico has a different agenda when it comes to the celebration of Christmas. Very few houses or businesses had trees and/or

Christmas Day at Philo’s and the revival of Gringo Christmas!

Philo’s is a wonderful restaurant/bar in “La Cruz” that offers a good time for locals and visitors alike. The owner Philo and his staff co-
coordinated a collection of toy donations, which were wrapped and prepared for distribution by Santa after dinner on Christmas night.
They also contributed their time, facilities, and turkeys with dressing and gravy to those “misplaced souls” (misfit cruisers?) looking to
gather and celebrate.  We, along with approximately 150 others, were among that group to participate in the potluck dinner while the
band played on. The food was fantastic and plentiful. While we cruisers were having dinner a single line of more than 400 children
formed outside along the street. Santa was in route and they were waiting patiently for his arrival. Finally, the moment arrived. Santa
sat at the edge of the stage, a bag full of gifts by his side. One by one he took a child on his lap, had a conversation and bestowed a
gift. He was very thirsty when he completed his 2-hour task and headed straight for the bar. The band started playing again and so did
the dancing. Meanwhile, people lingered in the streets (where the overflow tables were also set up). The owner of Cirque, a very nice
sailboat, gave lessons on juggling balls, batons and the like. He was very good and quite an entertainment.

This year didn’t prove to be the year we celebrated as the Mexicans do. We didn’t go to church or eat tamales. Mostly we were in the
company of “gringos’ from the U.S. and Canada. However, it sure was fun and we got to eat turkey and all the fixings; items that one
can only dream of during the regular cruising season. That’s ok with us! And, John made a fantastic eggnog with fresh eggs but let’s
not talk about the cholesterol factor after months of eating shell fish. : )

We remained in the area through New Years Day and made several trips by bus to nearby places.  Since a photo (or two) is worth a
thousand words, we’ll stop here and let you relax and look at the photos with captions, which are better than boring stories. The end.
Pirate s/v Adios and a 'ship-of-the-line' face-off for battle.
Sand sculptures off the malecon in Puerto Vallarta.
Christmas dinner at Philo's.
Overflow crowd. l-r.
Wild Flower), Dave + Kelly(Sweet Lorraine),
Melinda + Justin + George (
Southern Belle)
Girls just want to have fun at Philo's Christmas party.
l-r Gail
(Blew Moon), Jayne (Adios), ?????
Sailsoon's Christmas decor on the salon table.
Owner Philo getting into the juggling act with pro juggler
(s/v Cirque).
Huston and Gail (s/v Blew Moon) foreground
John (
Sailsoon), Dave (Sweet Lorraine) background
Every year at Christmas Philo's Studio Bar in La Cruz organizes a Santa gift giveaway for the local kids. This year over four
hundred children visited Santa's lap. He also supplies the turkey and dressing for a huge Christmas potluck. A merry time
was had by all. Thank You Philo's!
Glen Tieman's hand-built polyneisan catamaran. On his
previous cat he was able to cruise on 1-3 dollars a day for
many years.
La Cruz skyline.
The 'French' resturant in La Cruz.
Huichol art gallery Hukuri in La Cruz.