My idea of paradise is blue skies, warm temperatures, a hotel with a lovely swimming pool and comfortable chaises, and excellent food. Everyone’s idea of paradise is different but I just spent a week in Puerto Vallarta.
It actually rained the first night and there was no sunset to be seen but the rest of the week was delightful. Our favorite restaurant is Repollo Rojo (The Red Cabbage), a combination art gallery and epitome of true Mexican cooking. Over the years, the chef/owner has become a good friend. One of the specialties there is Frida’s Feast, the menu from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s wedding. It consists of Cream of Peanut Soup, Chile en Nogada, Mole Poblano, and Flan. Chile en Nogada is the national dish because it is green, white, and red, the colors of the Mexican flag.
Each morning we took the bus into the center of town to have breakfast and then walked extensively, often on the Malecon which is like a concrete boardwalk along the edge of the ocean. Much to my dismay, global warming was really evident. The sea level is much higher now and most of the beach has disappeared. All along the Malecon are metal sculptures that reflect the area and its heritage and impart a real sense of place.
Sitting in one of the tables by the window for lunch at another favorite restaurant, La Dolce Vita, we could people watch and bird watch. There are huge birds there, somewhat similar to pelicans, called Frigate Birds and seeing them dive bomb their prey in the ocean is an amazing sight. They roost in the trees by the Rio Cuale that flows into the ocean. Why, you might ask, do we eat at an Italian restaurant? Because the food is so good, it’s like being in Italy.
There is color everywhere. In any major city in the United States, where there are freight doors in the sidewalk, they are always steel gray. In Puerto Vallarta, they are brightly painted in very artistic designs.
Tropical flowers are everywhere, of course, and this time I saw a vine that I don’t remember seeing before, Thunbergia grandiflora. It was profusely in bloom at our hotel and also at the small hotel in the center of town that we go to watch the sunset. Portulaca, that we grow as an annual for hot, dry, sunny spots was growing as a weed in the some of the sidewalk beds.
On the last day, we visited the Galeria des Artistes where Evelyne Boren displays her paintings each year. Until now, her themes have been Mexico, Provence, and Tuscany but this year she added polo playing. I can’t say I was enthused by those but her artistry was still quite evident. My favorite painting was a watercolor of the San Miguel d’Allende flower market. I was really tempted to buy it but don’t have any more empty walls. Oh well, the image will remain in my mind for a long time.