I had zero problems getting to sleep last night and slept straight through about 6.5 hours, which is decent for me. Up a little before 6, I worked on the blog in my room until I could hear the ladies in the kitchen next door. My room is right next to the kitchen and the dining area is right outside my door. Convenient.
Although breakfast isn’t served until 8am, I went out about 7:20 figuring coffee would be ready. And, thankfully, it was, since there isn’t any in the room.
Breakfast here is simple but it works. This morning it was eggs scrambled with a variety of peppers, tortilla chips with a kind of enchilada sauce poured over them, with cheese sprinkled on top; refried beans, and fruit. The yellow is of course pineapple; not sure what the red/orange looking stuff it but it was good. Guava maybe?
I sat here for about 1.5 hours over breakfast, ridiculously fresh orange juice and lots of coffee. Not a bad way to start the day. I left about 9:10 to meet Jon.
I met Jon by Gaby’s, where I had dinner last night, a block away.
If you walk up these stairs and cross I think 2 streets, you’ll get to Jon’s place.
I turned around from there to take this shot, with the ever present paper flags waving over the street, and the bay in the background.
Jon has a couple of good friends he spends a good amount of time with, Jimmy and Christopher. I met Jimmy last year, but Christopher was sick as I recall and we missed each other. This year, Christopher’s sister and her husband, Melissa and Richard, are visting as well, and they’d arranged a private boat to go whale watching and invited us to go along. The 5 of us met here at the pier at 10am.
I somehow never got this guy’s name, probably because I don’t think he said a word the entire trip. It just occurred to me that maybe he doesn’t speak English since, now that I think about it, the other guy who talked to us the entire time, usually (always?) talked to this one in Spanish. I love the clouds and almost low fog in front of the mountains in the background.
Juan was the owner of the boat and was a great tour guide. He’s lived here all his life, used to work for the city, and has been in business for himself as a boat operator for 4 years.
Juan took this for us. Front to back, left to right: Jimmy, me, Melissa, Christopher, Jon, Richard, and the driver.
It was a great morning out on Banderas Bay. The water was very smooth which made for an easy ride even at higher speeds. I’d never been whale watching so had no idea what to expect. But there’s no real science to it, you just drive around in the boat until you see something. There are “footprints” the whales leave behind – very smooth areas of water, like glass – which can be a clue that they’re nearby, so even if you don’t see them out of the water, a sign of that – and they’re surprisingly easy to spot – tells you they were in the vicinity very recently.
We came across a mother and a baby pretty early on, and followed them around for about an hour. There wasn’t a lot of activity – no exciting jumps out of the water! This video was the 1st I took of them and it’s about as good as it got. But it was a very relaxing morning just being out on the water, and the weather was perfect. The high late in the afternoon was 80, it was only 75 in the morning.
We started to make our way to lunch around Noon and it took about an hour to get where we were going. We passed a school of dolphins and a shark on the way. There were also birds following us almost the entire time because the boat was stirring up the fish and they were diving all around us into the water to get their lunch.
We were pretty far out most of the time and it made for great views.
Lunch would be on a beach called Playa Las Animas. One of the unique things about Mexico to me is the jungle – and from this distance you get an interesting perspective of jungle covered hills.
And from here you get a clearer picture of that jungle. We had lunch on the beach at the left end of this photo.
The boat got as close to the shore as it could then we had to step off into the water a little. I said “Jon, you should be in this photo” and I get goofball.
The most important thing to do was use the restroom, which Christoper and I bee-lined for. It was up into the restaurant in the back, uphill the whole way. This was the view coming back down; our table was just to the right of that empty one on the beach.
He asked if I wanted to pet it. I passed.
I wish I would have remembered to take a photo of this before we tore into it because the presentation was really nice. But the taste was even better. It had a ton of lime juice in it, which I love. I’ll take lime over lemon any day and it’s one of the things I appreciate about Mexico: lime is the default in iced tea, not lemon (which I’m not wild about).
This is one of those dishes you order once for the experience and then never need to do it again. Langostinos drowning in a sauce which Christoper swears was some kind of spicy mayo/ketchup thing. It looked like thousand island but wasn’t. This was really more like eating crab and they didn’t bring a claw cracker until I asked for one. Tasty but messy AND A Lot of Work for not a lot of payback.
We took our time over lunch and sat and visited for about 1.5 hours. It took us another 1.5 hours to get back to the pier. And the water was Way Choppier than it was in the morning, making for an uncomfortable ride at times.
But the views were fun. This particular stretch of beach was pretty empty. Again, I love the jungle in the background.
Believe it or not, this was an accident. I’d had my phone on trying to capture something when we hit a wave – there was Lots of Big Bounces on the way back – and I almost dropped my phone. When I looked down I realized I’d hit the button to turn the camera around, which led to the photo below. I didn’t realize I’d taken this one until I got back to my room and started working on the blog.
We passed lots of beautiful homes along the way, and many hotels as well.
,We made our way over to an area the guy last year took me, too, where there were huge rocks coming out of the water, and lots of fish. Great place for snorkeling. We were here to feed the fish.
It was a little after 4pm by the time we got back to the pier. We all said our goodbyes, thanked Christopher for putting such a great day together, and went our separate ways. I went back to my room, took a shower I desperately needed, and prepped photos and videos for the blog. I went out again about 6pm in search of dinner.
I took this from the 2nd floor landing of the hotel. I just like the way this hotel looks. That’s my room at the top of the stairs on the 3rd floor, with the breakfast area directly across from it under the canopy on the right.
I decided to take a friend’s suggestion and try Tacos Revolucion. (Thanks again, Matt!) TripAdvisor ranked it 51 out of 973 restaurants so I figured it was a safe bet.
I actually took this on the way out. The sidewalk seating was completely empty when I got there but they also offered inside or “in the back.” I decided to check that out and liked it so stayed.
The outdoor seating in the back was nice and quiet, much more my style. I sat at the empty table in the foreground of the photo.
I got tuba to drink. I’d tasted this for the first time last year on the walking tour I did but had never seen it on a menu before. It’s palm juice with apples, pecans and not sure what else. Naturally sweet and very refreshing.
The chips and salsa in the back were served automatically. The green was my favorite – avocado and green tomato with just a small amount of chili – wonderful. The brown a fairly typical salsa for these parts. The yellow was pineapple and habanero. I had the teeniest bit on one chip and it was enough – didn’t have anymore. I don’t like to be in pain when I eat!
In front is panela asada. I like to try things that I’ve never had before that sound like they might be good. This was a total score on that front. The menu said something about “grilled cheese” so I was like “sign me up!” That’s the white stuff: cakes of panela cheese, grilled. You ate it with a fork like you would a meat patty. It was kind of incredible. Who cares about the refried beans next to it after that. Although, it was the same kind of cheese grated on top so I did eat that!
On the left is a pescado (fish) taco, in (I’m pretty sure) that same sauce I had at lunch!, with some fresh pico de gallo on top. It was pretty tasty. That thing on the right is the taco revolution. I figured if they named the restaurant after it I had to try it. See the inside of it next photo.
Is it a taco? Enchilada? Quesadilla? A little of each I think. Inside is several kinds of meat with peppers and lots of melted cheese, wrapped in a corn tortilla and I think grilled, then wrapped again in a flour tortilla. It was tasty and by far the cheapest meal I’ve had: with tip 230 pesos, which is $11.95 in US dollars.
And that was the day. I got back to my room around 8pm and worked on the blog until 11pm. I’d have uploaded it before I went to bed but am having trouble getting the whale video to upload on YouTube. And it’s not even that great 🙂 Oh well, will wait anyway.
PS: I love that both my laptop and my Kindle hooked right up to the wifi here. It made me think of “home is wherever your wifi connects automatically…” Sort of fits with my idea of coming back once a year.
PPS: I couldn’t get the right video clip of the whales on YouTube, it was the weirdest thing. Maybe some of you who know about video editing can explain what I did wrong. I had edited the clip from 57 seconds to something over 30. The clip I wanted was on my phone. But the clip that would upload contained all the stuff I edited out and end just after where I wanted it to begin. Did it 3x, same result each. Finally got it to upload to OneDrive so am using a link from there. Hopefully that worked.