Adventure in PV paradise
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that jungle-fringed paradise on the Pacific side of the Mexican mainland. My son, Trevor, and I were going to have some fun!
I booked America West Airlines a few months ago (the rates are very reasonable) and booked an all-inclusive hotel through the Internet for a week1s stay. I decided on the Blue Bay, which is situated about midpoint on the Bay of Banderas. This bay was described to me as the third largest bay on the Pacific side of the hemisphere.
We got there on a Friday and were whisked to the hotel by shuttle. Our room was pretty good for two guys who don1t know any better anyway. There was air conditioning, hot water, potable water and a patio. We had a ground- floor room in a six-story section. There were beautiful, well-maintained grounds, and the staff was very friendly. Of course, we headed for the food first.
3PV,² as many people refer to Puerto Vallarta, is a fairly large city with about 300,000 population. The outlying areas add many more. Most of the hotels are along the beach, some within a few feet of the normally gentle surf.
The water is OK for swimming, but we spent more time in the enormous pool at the Blue Bay. We did snorkel on a day trip, where we were supposed to swim with the dolphins.
Unfortunately, the closest we got to a dolphin was through binoculars. They didn1t like tourists that day, so we ended up at a remote beach with 60 others. The food was good and the entertaining crew members were hilarious. I told one he should be on 3Whose Line is it Anyway?² They were very talented people.
We next went on a jungle tour. The hike was easy, but the rain forest is very hot and humid. We got to see a few bugs and birds, but not the boa constrictor my son wanted to see. We ate authentic Mexican food at a little stop along the way. The guide was colorful and friendly. We tipped him and the driver a few bucks. They deserved it.
Our next adventure was to the location of the film 3Predator,² starring Arnold Schwartzenegger and filmed in the mid 1980s. It is along a little river above the town of Mismoloya, south of PV. You travel a terrible road that donkeys could hardly make. Of course, we were in a taxi.
When we rounded the last curve of the road, we were surprised to see a beautiful restaurant and a bevy of modern, large tour buses. We hiked around for a while and saw the remains of the helicopter destroyed in the movie.
The water in the stream is crystal clear, but we didn1t drink any.(You can never be too cautious, right?) When we got home, we rushed to the VCR to see if we could recognize where things were.
The next couple of days were spent shopping, walking around town and eating. I must say that there was a lot of food. The Blue Bay served three large buffets a day, all you could eat. Too bad I am on a diet. The food was good, though, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Trevor was your typical American kid and kept eating the same omelet and any other easily recognizable food he could find every day.
Our last day was a doozy! We were to fly out at 2:21 p.m. on Oct. 25. At 9:30 a.m., Hurricane Lenna smashed into PV with incredible force.
Trevor and I had to run for our lives. Huge waves were smashing to pieces the beautiful place we spent a week enjoying. We were evacuated to a second floor bar across the main street from the hotel.
We all drank Coronas as we watched the wind tear apart the trees, roofs and anything else not tied down. Most of the first-floor contents of our hotel, as well as the Sheraton and others, could be seen floating down the main street. It was pretty depressing to see.
After about three hours, the wind died down, the water receded, and all the junk in the town seemed to be on the streets below us.
We got another room for the night, and the power finally was restored so people could cook and start the process of cleanup. America West got a big plane to fly us out on Saturday, and we got home about 11:30 p.m.
You could say we experienced a lot more adventure than we expected.
Todd J. Juvinall lives in Grass Valley.
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