I woke up a little before 5 I believe, so maybe 6.5 hours sleep which is normal for me and the best of the last several nights. I woke up with that anticipation I always get about going home, this bizarre mix of working in the last pieces of vacation, making final preparations to leave, and that “ready to be back home” thing that creeps up, no matter how fabulous the trip was. Home is home.
It was still overcast this morning but it cleared up a couple of hours later. Breakfast was the same as always, I didn’t even think to take a photo of it this time. You’ve seen it before :).
I like getting massages in this town because the quality is great and the prices cheap comparatively – $80 for 90 minutes, when I pay at least 50% more than that back home. When I’d left my massage Saturday night I scheduled another for 9am this morning. I started moving in that direction around 8:30. It’s only a 16 minute walk, but I wanted to take my time.
Since Google estimated the same walking time going along the Malecon as it did going through town I opted for the former.
I had left a little early in anticipation of one final session of step sitting. Not this morning though. The first 10-20 feet of the Malecon was wet due to high tide. Still pretty to watch.
The massage was as good as always. I was a little early, they took me right away, and I left a little before 10:30. I had just enough time for one more thing I wanted to do.
When I come back I really want to commit to at least one meal a day coming from the street vendors. I realized I was going to leave without sampling any and this was my final opportunity. I’d remembered from my walk yesterday (and from the food tour I did last year) that were were some on Constitution so made my way back into town. My guess is the farther away you get from the beach the more authentic it gets. This is about 4 blocks in.
This is what you get for 30 pesos, or about $1.50 US. A soft pork taco and crispy beef. Just a little bit of cabbage, onion, and cilantro on each. Greasy in a good way. Perfect.
I made it back to my room before 11am. Showered, finished packing, checked out, Jon picked me up at 11:30 to take me to the airport.
We made the same stop we made last year on the way to the airport for coconut water. Perfectly refreshing.
Most of this was written in the PVR airport early Monday afternoon. My trek home was gratefully uneventful. I had a brief stop in Phoenix. It took an hour to deplane, get through customs and then security again. I was able to sit in the lounge about 30 minutes and got a few bites to eat, mostly soup, and pita chips with hummus. I was home about 7:15pm.
I always finish with a bit of retrospection. I really am serious about coming back this weekend next year, and maybe every. Jon reminded me that when I left last year I said “well, at least it’s better than Cozumel” where he was living before, which it absolutely is. I left then thinking I’d never be back. As I continued to think about it, I also knew that last year’s trip was really intended to be more like a retreat – doing not much was the whole point, and that’s what I did. But I knew there was a bunch of stuff that I didn’t take advantage of even for not being a beach/water kind of person. This trip confirmed that. There’s definitely more stuff I can find to do and at the moment I am planning on returning this same weekend next year. It’s a good time for me to get away from work, and it’s already a 3day weekend for me, so adding a few days to that is easy.
The big surprise on this trip of course was the Outdoor Adventure. That it was involved as it was, and that I actually did all of it and enjoyed the heck out of it. As I commented to Art Monday morning (I woke up to a post on my Facebook from him along the lines of “Enjoy being shot out of a cannon or whatever you’re doing today”), there’s an Extreme version of that adventure, so maybe that’s next year 🙂 The confidence and competence of the young crew made you feel safe even if you were scared, which is a neat trick when you think about it. Their youth fostered lots of inappropriate humor timed perfectly to keep things relaxed, and you could tell that they worked really well as a team. I would definitely do another tour with this company, Vallarta Adventures, and already wrote them a nice review on TripAdvisor. (They highly encouraged that but I would have done it anyway – I tend to write a few reviews after every trip, so far have over 50 out there…)
The people here are all very friendly, and tolerate my lack of Spanish, which is really a crime. If I really am going to spend more time here, I need to work on that.
And as I always think when I’m in Mexico – this is my 3rd time I guess – it’s a 3rd world country and so much of it is shockingly poor, especially when there is so much obvious money floating around. It’s easy to take for granted everything we have at home and this exposure certainly helps with gratitude.
And somewhat related to that, I definitely do want to eat more street food next time. What I’ve sampled so far is amazing and super cheap, and I know that’s how those families make their living. You don’t really get any more authentic than this, evidenced by the locals who swarm those carts. But I definitely need to brush up on my Spanish to navigate those. At least I know pollo and that gets me somewhere. I know: I’ll just focus my Spanish study on all the language associated with tacos!
The next trip is New York City. I’ll be leaving June 26, returning July 13. I’m going to a gay & sober men’s conference for the first part and then staying, just because I can. I’ve always wanted to spend a lot of time in NYC so I’m finally doing it. Already got tickets for 4 Broadway shows :). Thanks for coming along for this ride and I hope to see you then!