The holidays were very good for us here in Mexico. We enjoyed a visit from our daughter, Stephanie, and we had a great Holiday Open House to show off the home renovations and let Stephanie meet some of our friends and neighbors. Ziggy and Marley liked the attention Steph heaped upon them!
Having the Open House also forced us to get the artwork on our walls. Now we can show you the finished product — part of it, at least.
Here’s a short video showing the living room (no sound this time). We are particularly pleased with how the fireplace turned out:
You may remember there was a lot of purple in the living room, especially on the fireplace. We decided to make the fireplace the same color as the walls and add a row of tiles from our local vendor of Talavera style pottery and art. We hope to put more Talavera artwork in the front courtyard and on the patio. Love the colors!
Here’s what our office/TV room looks like now:
And here’s the guest room and guest bath:
There’s more artwork to install. Deciding how to decorate the master bedroom comes next. But with most of our art on the walls, Leslie and I feel much more “at home” now.
What’s next? Landscaping and an improved front courtyard. We know the fountain in front needs to be moved because it’s right in front of the door and a few people have come close to falling because of its location. We’ll be working soon with a landscaper to develop a plan, ensuring that we have blooming plants all year round and a nice herb garden as well.
A few photos below to show our Christmas decorations. And we hope 2022 will be a better year for everybody!
We have arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the difference between this city and San Miguel de Allende – where we lived for the past six weeks – is amazing. It’s bigger. More than 300,000 in the metropolitan area, with lots more traffic. It’s a beach town at sea level, with high temps and moderate-to-high humidities. Even more Americans and Canadians.
Leslie and I were able to rent a modern three-bedroom condo in Marina Vallarta that backs up to a golf course. We have a small pool in a huge outdoor space with lots of tables and chairs. We’ve already had one visitor (see photo below)! And we’re seeing (and hearing) a number of birds I can’t easily identify. A sparrow-sized cutie with a reddish-pink head and chest, a larger bird with yellow on its chest and a streak from its eye backward along its head, and a woodpecker. And what I think may have been a goldfinch – not sure.
Hal, our Canadian landlord for the next two months, has a local administrator for his property. Rosanna picked us up at the airport on Wednesday and gave us some pointers on the marina area.
“It’s very safe here,” she said. “You can walk all around the area any time of day or night and you’ll be safe. Just one thing that you must never do: Never, ever, walk across the golf course at night.”
I was having a difficult time figuring out why. Would we be attacked by banditos lurking the links after hours? Bopped on the head by golf balls from blind golfers playing in the dark to avoid crowds? No and no.
“Crocodiles,” she said. “In the dark, you might step on one, and they don’t like it when you step on them.”
Right. What’s now a huge marina with lots of boats and tons of shops and restaurants, not to mention a plethora of condos, was once a swamp. There are still crocs here. It’s their habitat. So the danger is from wildlife, not from a wild life.
Rosanna has been very helpful. On Friday, she took us on a tour of Vallarta, showing us a bit of the old city and pointing out areas we will need to explore in depth over the next two months. She also took us to a local mercado for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as seafood and meat.
There’s also a Wal-Mart and a Costco, in addition to Mexican grocery stores very much like the one we patronized in San Miguel. More on cost of living next time, but at first glance it appears prices are slightly higher here than in San Miguel.
We attended our first Vallarta ex-pats dinner on our second day in town. A number of them live here in the marina area, including Mike and Sara, the group leaders. There’s a social event almost every week.
We also attended Sunday morning services at Iglesia Cristo del Mar, or Christ Church by the Sea. But…it’s not really by the sea, more like on a really busy street close to the airport! I dressed as I would for any summer Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville. Boy, was I overdressed! Shorts and t-shirts are not out of place here. It’s another outpost of the Anglican Church in Mexico, like the one we attended in SMA, and we enjoyed the service in what is essentially a big open-air palapa. Nice people. We will be back.
We’re really excited that John and Anne Mixen, friends from Grace UMC, are right here in Vallarta this week for a well-deserved vacation. We’re meeting them this evening to watch the sunset and enjoy dinner and conversation.
I’ll leave you with the view from our patio toward the golf course. We planned to do things today but we’re still on the patio because of a comment I made during lunch, “This is just about perfect, and you don’t often get perfect.” Maybe more often here in Vallarta. We’ll let you know.