Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Puerto Vallarta - beach city on the Pacific

The Beach - actually too many to name!

At the hostel I met a young lady from Holland who told me the beach was nice but the water is like bath water. The hostel/hotel owner asked: "You did not see any Mexicans in the water, did you? It's too cold." The next day, yesterday, I went to the beach. Several things are different from home. The sun is very bright, not a surprise. The beach is 1 1/2 short blocks from my hostel. If you turn right, it's Olas Altas Beach - high waves beach & I'm told can be rough. If you go right, it's more calm.

The sand is clean and hot like home. The water is cool to cold depending on your experience. But it takes almost no time to adjust to it. Very pleasant & indeed only 'gringos were in the ocean!'

At home I am used to people selling pictures, sodas etc. Here due to two factors:

  1. the extreme poverty
  2. the wealth of most gringos here
there is an almost non-stop stream of Mexican men & women who sell everything from sunglasses, jewelry, kits, little toys and on. It occurred to me yesterday that if each of us with far more money than these people bought 2 or 3 of the things an outing, the difference we could make in their lives. You could do this for about 4-6 dollars total - not a tough deal.

Added to that desperately needed income is the fact that the person would experience a little less disappointment in a daily grind that ranges 10-12 hours of non-stop walking on a hot beach or in the streets.

Andales Hot Spot - (and foreigners living on Mexico)

The largest group of foreigners in P Vallarta is Canadians, by far. You meet Americans but not lots. In the afternoon or evening, in a bar around the corner from my hostel, Andales, you can find 'gringos' having a drink or coffee. Many are great; some quite self impressed and/or absorbed.

Only one of the persons I've met makes an effort to speak or learn Spanish. but they can be more than happy to live here on the cheap, enjoying terrific climate, good food, and service of maids & other people who earn roughly 20 - 70 peso a day. That's about $ 1.60 - $ 5.59 A DAY.
Hopefully you can understand my use of on Mexico rather than in Mexico.

Gratefully there are those who do what they can to tip well and be respectful. You can have a 1 bedroom apartment, including bottled water, electric & furnished for $ 400 a month.

Stop Signs - What are they? !

Both in Tlaquepaque and here in Vallarta, there are some but few stop signs. As my teacher said to me in English: Run for your life when crossing the street! That is literally true. Pedestrians seem invisible to drivers who do not slow down!

Today it's Yelapa. Nex visit a zip line tour.

Check out the video on the Canopy Tours on this page.

Yelapa (Yeh - La -Pa) was probably first populated by a some Native Americans of the tribe that originated in the ancient circular town of Tenacatitlan, 100 miles north, as they migrated south to eventually form Mexico City and become the Aztec empire. The word means 'gathering place' or 'meeting place' and, although it lies on the same latitude as Hawaii, has been likened to Tahiti.

The road south of Puerto Vallarta does not go all the way around the bay but cuts inland at Boca de Tomatlan. To get to Yelapa you must take a boat from Boca de Tomatlan , Los Muertos beach or the beach just south of the Rosita Hotel. Yelapa can also be reached by mountain bike or hiking down from El Tuito, high in the mountains behind the village. There is a daily cruise boat that drops tourists off for about two hours.

Best Way to get there. Take the Boca/Mismaloya bus from the South Bus Terminal (see Map) 7 pesos, when you get off the bus walk down to the beach (use insect repellent on your legs, lots of noseeum's on this beach), there you will find people waiting for a water taxi and a gentleman selling tickets, better to pay on the boat, to Yelapa 60 pesos.. From Boca de Tomatlan, the water taxi leaves about every 1 hour see Schedule
The Los Muertos water taxi leaves from the pier about every 2 hours from 9:30 AM till 6:00pm, 7 days a week. During high season, there maybe less in Low Season. 120 pesos one way.
Be aware that the last water taxi back to Puerto Vallarta leaves around 5:00 PM (to Boca) - miss it and you stay the night!
Tip: If you want to spend all day and avoid the crowds of tourist who arrive on the large boat aroun noon, leave boca early, 9 AM, and around 11:30 AM - or wait till you see the tour boats coming - hike up the river where there's a nice waterfall and swimming pool, all the tourists will go to the little one behind the village. Time your return to 2:30 PM and the boats will have left.

Yelapa is truly unique. A small village of about 1,500 native residents, now with electricity that arrives by wire and not by solar cell. There used to be only five phones - one is in the hotel but more are arriving; no roads - no vehicles; 300 resident/semi-resident Gringos; no police force - say no more! Well. that's changed, there's now a local police force.

Many years ago a few gringos discovered Yelapa and found it to their liking and moved in. In those days there were no brick or cement houses only Palapas, palm frond roofs on four or more posts with maybe some bamboo walls for privacy and a sleeping loft. If you were lucky you had bottled gas, shipped in by panga from Boca de Tomatlan, or just wood to cook on.

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.