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Departure: Sacramento to Puerto Vallarta (Thu, Feb 14)

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This is my 2nd trip to Puerto Vallarta, having come here the same weekend – President’s Day – last year. Spending some time with my good friend, Jon Scott, was what got me here last year, along with the seductive idea of doing not much for several days. It’s for those same reasons that I came back. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it an annual thing. I will actually do more this year than last, so you’ll have to see where that takes you as we go through the weekend!

The weather’s going to suck while I’m here. Giving up cold and rainy Sacramento for moderate temps and lots of sun. I guess I’ll live.

And I’m ready for a little downtime. Life has been very busy since I got back from Europe last summer. Things quieted down around the holidays in December and I didn’t do much for the two 4-day weekends I had around Christmas and New Year’s except luxuriate in the fact that I didn’t have to do anything. But work has been pretty busy the last 6 weeks so this is a nice break before the Spring which is my busiest time of year. (A little thing called Open Enrollment…)

Mexican landscape from the plane, with the Gulf of California in the middle background and dark clouds above. Lots of shades of blue in this photo.
Mexican landscape from the plane, with the Gulf of California in the background. With the dark clouds above, I love all the shades of blue and green in this photo.

It was not the best travel day but that all comes with it. I tend to get pretty focused and adrenaline-pumped for 2-3 days leading up to a trip, and this was no exception. I’d worked 13.5 hours on Wednesday just to get everything done that I wanted to before being out for almost a week. I managed to get to sleep around 10pm OK despite how wired I was, but when I woke up at 2am it was clear I wasn’t going back to sleep. I watched an episode of the my current show (I only do one at a time, now “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, which I’m enjoying much more than I thought I would), had some breakfast, finished packing, left via Lyft around 4:20 for the airport.

I had a transfer in Phoenix but no layover – my flight was boarding already when I got off the plane, and we were on time. I usually try to put more space between flights but it kept the day moving for sure. Until we couldn’t take off because of some passengers who had some customs issues. Back to the gate. We were delayed over an hour. The flight was uneventful otherwise, but getting out of the Puerta Vallarta airport was excruciating: 1.5 hours from landing to final exit. Jon said 12 planes had all come in at once, he saw the “arrival” notices on the monitors. It was 45 minutes to deplane, get through immigration and get Jon’s bag – brought him a care package our friend Suzy had made for him – and another 45 minutes just to get through the final customs line. I finally made it to my hotel around 4:30. I’d already told Jon earlier in the morning he could just drop me off. I knew I’d be tired and that he and Pedro had Valentine’s Day plans.

I got settled in my room and left in search of food since I hadn’t eaten really for almost 12 hours at that point, with the exception of a couple of granola bars I had in my bag.

Gaby's restaurant - first level almost a full floor up from the street, with another level above that.
Gaby’s restaurant

I chose Gaby’s for dinner. It’s a block or two from my hotel on the same street. Last year when I was here this place was on the food tour I went on; we’d sampled mole enchiladas. In the next photo, I’m sitting upstairs by the 2nd post in the fence.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Not much of a view but the weather was nice and the food was great. The customer collection was awfully white so not sure how authentic this was but it was close to my hotel and I was starving. Authentic or not, everything was wonderful. I’ll have time in the trip to find something less touristy but this worked for how hungry I was.

Fajitas and flour tortillas
Fajitas and flour tortillas

I got beef fajitas, and they were incredible. Super tender. You know how sometimes you take a bite and the meat pulls out of the tortilla because your teeth can’t cut into it well? That never happened here. And those flour tortillas were practically a spiritual experience.

Amazing Flan
Amazing flan

The flan actually was a spiritual experience. Wow. Everything about the flavor and textures was stunning.

My hotel from the street
My hotel from the street

I’d brought my portable phone charger with me to the restaurant so came back to my room to drop that off and change clothes.

Hotel lobby
Hotel lobby
Sun dropping behing Banderas Bay
The sun was setting as I made my way out again

I didn’t really do much the rest of the evening but walk around. PV has a nice area around the river and I hung out there some and just relaxed listening to the sounds of the water and the people out enjoying a great evening. Then walked around town some just to get acquainted with it again.

The Puerta Vallarta sign at the Malecon, with the dolphin sculpture in the middle

On my way back to the hotel I walked a bit of the Malecon (boardwalk) to get this photo – it just felt required somehow.

Waves crashing against concrete steps just to the left of the sign

This is just to the left of the sign. Not a great photo in the dark, but I wanted to remember that I just sat here for awhile and listened to the waves crash against the steps. I did that a lot last year; it’s a sound I could listen to forever.

Selfie from the room

Requisite selfie, back in my room. Gotta have at least one a day.

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9 thoughts on “Departure: Sacramento to Puerto Vallarta (Thu, Feb 14)”

  1. Melanie Luckenbach says:

    I love following you on your trips! breeze in your hair, on a boat, the sunset…all of it

  2. Marianne says:

    I love following your adventures this way. HOpe your time in PV is wonderful. Please say hello to Jon. M

  3. Mary Albright says:

    Awesome. Listening to the ocean is the best

  4. Tracy Threlfall says:

    Thank you for taking us with you! Love you both, give Jon a hug fr me xo

  5. Jon says:

    I love the sound of that: Maybe I’ll make it an annual thing 😁

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