Of course, being that I was in a foreign country where the native language was something I was mostly unable to speak, my anxiety levels soared pretty high. I think my first trip venturing out of my hotel, I went to the OXXO (a very common convenience store) down the hill on the way into town. I used the ATM there to get some pesos and bought a cold drink. Because I went at the end of the tourist season, it was beginning to get very hot and humid. I wasn’t ready for it at all, the humidity was getting to me already. As mentioned in my previous entry, I was staying at Casa Anita. I have a screenshot of Google maps to show what it looked like since I really took very few pictures (something I always kick myself later for). The most amazing part of Casa Anita is that every room (except one, I think) is ocean view. The sunsets are so amazing and gorgeous and I could view them from my own private balcony every evening.
One thing I would have done differently is just deal with the heat of a regular pair of shoes/sneakers and take them with me. I wore sandals only which were fine except that I had to walk up and down a hill to get back to my hotel, and the streets are cobblestone which doesn’t make it easy to walk depending on your footwear. The sandals I wore had buckles which ended up rubbing away at the skin on my ankles. I didn’t bring any bandages with me, so I had to stop into a farmacia and buy some bandages, which ended up falling off of my skin from the humidity and dust, even when applied to clean and dry skin. I ended up having to go to a larger farmacia called Farmacia Guadalajara, which had more of a selection including bottles of liquid bandage.
I was still pretty nervous about attempting to communicate with people when I only knew the some very basic Spanish but I found that a lot of people spoke English and most people were very friendly.
I usually ate some meals in my hotel room since I had a kitchenette, but sometimes would eat breakfast or dinner out. I didn’t go to a lot of restaurants nor did I try any food from the taco stands around the city, though I would like to next time. I was trying to spend as little money as possible and the taco stands probably are really cheap but again I was just worried about my lack of language skills. I’d love to go back after learning more Spanish. I’m only working with the most basic stuff I learned in high school, but have been interested in taking classes as an adult…just need to find the time. This would help me a lot in Argentina as well!
Most of the restaurants I seemed to eat at were located on Basilio Badillo, including Fredy’s Tucan and Joe Jack’s Fish Shack. I’m sure they are super touristy spots but at the time I was there, there was never a wait at any restaurant I went to, no matter how touristy. I never did eat anywhere on the Malecon though, the boardwalk along the ocean. One day I did have breakfast at El Dorado on the beach, it was just nice to eat something then go sit on a comfortable couch out in the sand and read a book. I liked Joe Jack’s Fish Shack for dinner and would eat on the rooftop deck. The service at both Fredy’s Tucan and Joe Jack’s was excellent. I ordered Mexican breakfasts at Fredy’s Tucan and on my first day there ordered some kind of spicy omelette, and the server tried to talk me out of it. I guess he thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the spice, and when I got it, it wasn’t very spicy so I feared he had them cook it differently. I appreciated my server at Joe Jack’s who asked if I wanted hot sauce with my meals and brought me an incredibly delicious creamy garlic habanero sauce.
I did not enjoy the beach as much as I thought I would while I was in Puerto Vallarta. Part of this was due to the unwanted attention I was receiving already as a lone female. The man who had carried my bags to my room at the hotel had taken to chatting with me every time he saw me which was appreciated, because he seemed very nice and would call me “princesita”. Many of the men on the streets were very forward though typically polite but came on a lot stronger than I am used to. They would ask if I was married or had a boyfriend, even when I said yes, they would still ask me to go out with them to drink and dance. I was touched more often than I would have preferred to be, and I dressed very modestly so as to not stand out though it didn’t seem to help. Men couldn’t see much of me so they would compliment my feet, my shoes, my hands, anything they could see. I was very firm with my responses and was left alone after some small talk. When I am on the beach, I just want to relax and be left alone. I felt this wouldn’t be possible here. There were some beach vendors as well, trying to sell various things; most amusingly to me was the people who would walk around with books of flash art trying to sell tattoos. Of course they would approach me, seeing that I have tattoos already, in hopes of convincing me but unfortunately for them I put a lot of thought into my tattoo work and wouldn’t get something random from someone that I was unfamiliar with on a whim. I was polite to all the vendors, however, and just tried to enjoy a book on the beach. I did see a man walking a goat on a leash down the beach, wish I had gotten a photo of that!
More pictures and experiences walking around the town will come in my next update!