House Guest Number Four or: Muchachos en el Barrio

He Said:


Marcia has had three different female friends as live-in guests since we’ve been here, leaving me during this time often feeling like the proverbial odd man out.

My turn came at last in February: my good friend of 45+ years, Tom, came down from St. Paul (the city not the saint!) and spent ten days with us… and, though he has traveled in Asia and Africa and lived for years in Europe, his only previous visit to Mexico involved a lost weekend or two in Tijuana before shipping out with the Marines in the late 60s from Camp Pendelton to Vietnam.

Tom is pushing 70 now and 70 has already pushed me.  Between his diabetes and my emphysema, we quickly eliminated scuba diving and the zip-line experience, mostly in favor of drinking, dining, and simply meandering around town. Marcia, of course, did insist that we go whale watching and also visit the Botanical Gardens, a nice bus trip away from Puerto Vallarta to the south.

Pre whale watching breakfast
At the gardens
Marcia and Betsy joined us for lunch at the gardens
Waiting for the bus…Ash Wednesday tribute

I greatly enjoyed Tom’s company. It was good to catch up on things with him and to have him get a taste of our lives here in Mexico.  He also seamlessly fit in with the masculine, three times a week, round table at Monchi’s bar. 


Had to do Pancho’s Takos
Last breakfast with Tom…pesos not dollars

An old man drinking coffee

in a failing narco-state,

still feels strangely comfortable

and, damn, the weather’s great!


Tom enjoys writing. He has kindly agreed to guest blog for this post. Take it away Tom…

He Said Too:

 Donkey song

5 hours in a plane

The sun goes down every evening like an  Aztec sacrificial tribute to the Pacific.

 Zona Romantico is all of that, with inclines, cobblestones, uneven steps all very much like young love; barely a square meter of level ground or sure footing. Unlike love, never a bad meal with $4 breakfasts, 6 dollar Lunches, and $10 dinners all of which include a delicious drink and a tip large enough to identify you as a “nice” American. Dollar beers and rum or tequila fresh fruit drinks, a bottle of Chilean Chardonnay, or a big glass of Argentinian Merlot outdoors in the salty offshore evening breeze.You don’t have to be in love to live here; if you want company, there are lots of small dogs and a few urban roosters to tell you to wake up.    

  The burro in a courtyard somewhere nearby bellows occasionally and it is triumphal, not plaintive. As if to say I am retired and do not have to lug painful panniers over these uneven streets, up these cruel mountain paths or stand for photos with the chubby children of tourists, Senor Burro declares”My working days are over and a carrot every once in a while would be nice.”

 The whales swim in the bay and from the deck of a purpose built catamaran, it is like being on a dance floor at sea with the orchestra bringing you drinks and small tasty sandwiches.Every once in a while a tail or a fin will indicate, like a burlesque review, the promise of more to come. You leave delighted by their proximity and relieved there are no hard feelings for the oil lamps used to write the stories of them.

 You can’t do or see everything, but you can get around eventually to most. A couple of dollars and less than an hour on a tidy regional bus takes you along the coast and up the mountains into a benign jungle where the local Arboretum is home to a fauna fireworks display and another nice place for a drink and lunch with birds of many colors.

 Everybody that comes here likes this place. As Senor Burro declares “Hee Haw.”   

 Thanks for the Hospitality 




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