Monika’s Birthday 2018 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

November 9, 2018

Oh my God! Another Monika birthday. You know how she loves birthdays. It is her special day of the year, which often runs into several days or weeks! You may recall some week-long backpacking trips into the Sierras, or was it battling a Pacific storm on the cliffs of Point Arena, or climbing the backside of Yosemite’s Half Dome, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 18,000 feet? Should I mention cruising around Cuba in a 1957 Plymouth? This year, Mexico was the draw. What better way to celebrate a birthday than swimming with dolphins, eating tacos, enjoying a few margaritas, standing under a waterfall in the jungle—or how about watching the progress of class-5 hurricane Willa from a rooftop in Puerto Vallarta.

What a Ride!

Being taken for a ride by two dolphins was really fun.

Being taken for a ride by two dolphins was really fun.

We had (yeah, I get to go too) been invited by old friends, Fred Walti III and Karen Rutherford, to stay at their slightly remodeled adobe home a short walk from the beach in Puerto Vallarta. OK slightly more than remodeled, like a gourmet kitchen, a pizza oven, two barbecue area and walls covered with a beautiful Mexican art collection and great views from the fourth floor sunning deck overlooking the bay. Oh, I forgot the outdoor swimming pool on the 3rd floor just down the hall from the master bedroom. I lost count of how many other bedrooms there were but do check out their website, http://www.coronaadobe.com.

Heidi, the playful Sea Lion

Gary and sea lion Heidi were goofing around.

Gary and sea lion Heidi were goofing around.

To our delight, Eduardo Payan, our longtime Mexican friend from Chihuahua, decided to help celebrate Monika’s birthday. We hadn’t seen each other for years. It was high time to catch up. Dinner was celebrated at the old town Mi Pueblito Restaurant right on the beach. It was Oaxacan night. A dance group performed various dances from that state.

Wanna dance Birthday Girl?

Wanna dance, birthday girl?

Wanna dance, birthday girl?

Livening things up a little, after a fun swim with the dolphins, Chris Collard, (ex-editor of Overland Journal), and his wife Suzy joined us on a local bus to the famous Botanical Gardens and then hopped on a boat to Yelapa, a fishing village and old hippy hangout. You can only get there by boat. We strolled through the village, swam in the 80° clear water, hiked to a jungle waterfall, shopped at the local stores and hung out at one of the beach palapa restaurants where we met Mario, the iguana. (He was vegetarian.) Sometimes we did exactly what you are supposed to do on a beach at a remote fishing village—-nothing.

Mario, the iguana, likes hanging out with Monika.

Mario, the iguana, likes hanging out with Monika.

The weather was hot and humid, to be expected this time of the year, and then Hurricane Willa showed up totally uninvited to the party. Rated as a Class 5 disaster for the beach towns along the Pacific coast including Puerto Vallarta, we jumped on the last taxi boat out of Yelapa back to La Boca where we caught a bus to town. The entire port of Puerto Vallarta was already closed. Never a boring moment. Everyone hunkered down. The town was quiet, the restaurants were closed, the stores along the Malecón (boardwalk) were boarded up. In the end, nothing happened in PV. A bit of wind, a bit of rain and some higher than normal waves. The city returned to its normal vibes. Life was good and Monika’s birthday, once again, was full of new experiences. She can’t wait for the next one, well maybe mine will get in the way first…….

2 Responses to “Monika’s Birthday 2018 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico”

  1. Monica – wishing you a very happy birthday. Sounds like you and Gary had a wonderful time in P.V. thanks for the photos. glad the hurricane missed you all. Roger and Elizabeth

  2. Thanks for the vicarious experience of sharing Monika’s birthday. You two do live life to the fullest!

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