Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cuando las ranas crien cola

"Cuando las ranas crien cola". If the online Spanish Dictionary is not leading me astray (Spanish speakers out there, please correct me if I'm wrong), that should interpret to be "That'll be the day!" If "Three Amigos" was in Spanish, that line would be used. It also is used by me now that our exploratory trip to Mexico is behind us. Adam's friend from Mexico, Miguel, had filled his head with ideas of being able to buy a plot of land on the beach in MX for $8,000, building a house for under $30,000, and supporting your family for $1000 a month. Beach front property was more like $85,000. I tried to keep an open mind because Adam has a lot of great ideas, but now I say "Cuando las ranas crien cola!" We returned from Mexico late on Thursday night. Throughout the entire trip I kept thinking of wonderful things to blog, but I didn't write anything down, now my mind is blank. Adam and I did have a wonderful time together. We laughed, we roamed carefree, and fell more and more in love.

I'll just start with some pictures and stories here that I think are of interest to friends and family. While on the trip we decided to start Bennett World Travel Blog to log pictures and opinions about the places we stayed and activities we enjoyed (or vice versa).

We flew into Puerto Vallarta and rented a car. Some highlights of driving in Mexico are: slow lane vs. fast lane and the crazy way the two interchange; if the car in front of you turns on it's left blinker it could mean A) I'm turning left or B) I'm driving slow, go ahead and pass me on the left. Two polar opposite meanings to the same signal = bad idea.
Puerta Vallarta has many lures for the American shopper such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Home Depot.
Maybe you are wondering why Adam is not looking at the camera. If it were magically possible for you to follow his line of sight you would see the police officer walking over to tell me in Spanish that it is NOT OK to take pictures in Home Depot.
This was a beautiful garden on a hill we saw on our drive out of PV.
Adam wanted to stop at this "authentic" Mexican restaurant. The food was OK, there were chickens walking around our feet, and if I describe the bathroom you might just start to cry.

From Puerto Vallarta our map indicated that we drive south for about 200 km on MXC 200. It appeared to be a major highway from it's size and color on the map, but in many ways we found our map to be a liar. Instead of 2.5 hours, it took us about 5. When we finally got to Barra de Navidad, it was dark. We found a safe enough looking hotel for $25 a night but we should have known better than to get a place with no A/C. There was a ceiling fan, and another fan that blew on me but didn't reach Adam. He thought it would help to soak the top sheet in cold water and sleep under it, but it didn't.

The next night, however, was much, much better. We drove from Barra de Navidad to a bigger resort town by the name of Manzanillo. We found this place that had a great pool plus a Jacuzzi on the deck.
Here is Adam and our trusty little rent-a-car. He just bumped his head in the trunk. Ouch.
This is our friend, Fernando. While driving to the beach at Tenacatita, we saw this young lad on the side of the road in need of a ride. He left his home in Cihuatlan (about 50 km away) early that morning with this basket of goodies and was hitchhiking to the beach to sell them all. He didn't speak any English, but we still could communicate a bit. That afternoon we watched him sell his treats up and down the beach. On our way out of town, there he was again in need of a ride. We were following Adam's friend Miguel to his house in Cuautitlan so we could only get Fernando about half way to his destination. Later, Miguel chastised Adam and said "Never pick up a hitchhiker in Mexico!"
The restaurant on the beach of Tenacatita. We wanted to scuba or snorkel out there because it is supposed to be great, but we never got a chance.

Here we are at Miguel's house. This little parrot was awfully fond of Adam and his ear.

We went into town that night and stopped by this wonderful ice cream shop. Very yummy.
This is the 300 year old Catholic Church in Cihuatlan. It just so happened to be a major Catholic holiday (I think they frequently have major holidays) the weekend we were there. The town square was full of people, a band was playing, there were carnival rides for the kids, and a fireworks show like I've never before witnessed. About six guys set up a giant fireworks statue on the street. One guy lit a fuse with a cigarette and one section of the fireworks would go off. There were about 7 or 8 different fuses. Each time giant wheels of fire would spin around, sending rockets of flaming fireworks off into the crowd. This would be a major fire hazard in the U.S., but everyone around us seemed to enjoy it immensely. The grand finale was a flaming cross next to a flaming heart and a flaming crown that shot 500 ft into the air. Breathtaking.

The next morning there was a big parade to celebrate the arrival of a bishop from a neighboring city and the celebration of a good corn harvest.
Miguel and his wife, Mave, bough Adam this authentic sombrero.
Then they took us to a water park/restaurant. My favorite quote from Adam: "They probably shouldn't have all these power lines going over the pool."
After saying "adios" to Miguel and his family, we drove back to the coast for more adventures.

It was a rainy day and there was a storm off the coast. The waves at this beach were some of the largest I've ever seen. Here is Adam trying to do some clam diggin' by hand, to no avail. We found a cabana to stay at that night, dropped our stuff, and started walking down the beach. We ended up at these cliffs with a stair case over to an amazing hidden beach. We were walking in a rain storm for over two hours, but it was worth it to see all this:

After a day at this beach in Isla de Navidad, we drove back to Puerta Vallarta. We spend a day scuba diving on rough, choppy waters. I almost puked several times. In fact, I felt crappy the last few days of the trip. While battling nausea, the though came into my mind "Maybe you are pregnant." When we got home I rushed to take a pregnancy test (several years ago I bought 25 tests for $10 online, so I just had a few sitting around) and sure enough, positive. We are probably 4 weeks along, happily expecting baby #4 in early May! What a wonderful blessing it was to have my mother-in-law, Le Anne, watching our kids while we were in Mexico. She cleaned and organized like you wouldn't believe! The kids absoluely love her, also. On the night we flew in, Gram, Pop, Le Anne and the kids took a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Now that is some seriously loving grandparents! My parents pitched in too and had everyone over for dinner on Sunday. I'm so grateful to our family for all their help.


Maren said...

What a fun trip, Mindi! Lance and I really need a vacation by ourselves, too. (Time to start planning...)

And congrats on baby #4 - how exciting!

Liesl Law said...

That looks awesome. I think Jeremy and I have given up our vacation idea this year (my brothers wedding was EXPENSIVE) but he has family going to be backpacking in Ecuador next spring...we hope to join them for a kid free adventure!

Congrats on the pregnancy...we need to get together soon to play!

ballerina girl said...

What an adventure, and I'm glad you both made it back safe and sound!

Darla said...

When frogs grows tails...that's the translation. Same thing, ya know. Like, 'that'll never happen'. What a fun trip, Mindi. I LOVE mexico. I know it's dirty, a little scary, and pretty 3rd world..., but I guess that's why I love it!! (:

Jessica said...

Great post Mind. I guess Adam has a hard time passing up a hitchhiker because he can relate to them. It looks like you had a ton of fun. Congrats on baby #4 that is awesome.

Reid and Rebecca said...

Don't tell Adam, but I'm glad you're not moving to Mexico. :) Congratulations on your pregnancy!