That title is a little premature. We are not yet at the sunset of our little journey south. But, we are literally within sight of it. This photograph is a sunset at La Manzanilla, where we spent the night.
Hold it. Weren't Darrel, Jiggs, and Steve supposed to be in Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday night?
That was the plan, but it went out la ventana before we left Rincon de Guayabitos on Tuesday morning. We had doubts whether we wanted to make such a short drive in one day.
We decided to take a quick tour of two villages north of Puerto Vallarta that were on my potential retirement list: San Francisco (or, as it is known by its nickname, San Pancho) and Sayulita. I had stricken each of them for various reasons. I was probably right about San Francisco. It is far too crowded, almost claustrophobic.
I have changed my mind about Sayulita, however. We visited only briefly, but both Darrel and I liked the feel of the vilage. I surprised myself because it has that patina of gentrification that makes me feel uneasy in Mexico. A certain San Miguel de Allende aura by the sea. I will be back for another look.
Because we were alreay so far out on the point above Puerto Vallarta, we decided to take the road out to the tip of Puenta de Mita to see where the Rich Folk live.
There are some extraordinary houses on the point. But I cannot understand why anyone would want to shell out millions of dollars to live so close to your neighbors. Upper class tenement living, I suppose.
1st Mate had suggested that we stop by La Cruz de Huanacastle. That was an easy choice because I had looked at condominia near the marina in the past. After getting a better look around Mexico, I do not want to live as if I am in San Diego. But it is a very nice area.
It was just about noon when we decided to drive into Puerto Vallarta to take a look at accomodations -- and to find a bank. The peso reservoir was once again drained.
I have been in Puerto Vallarta at noon hour before. It is a big town and lots of tourists and locals are on the move. Tuesday was no exception.
We had intended to take the bypass around Old Town. But I could not find it. As a result we went through the center of tourist mania. But I have no complaint. I had not visited that area of town, and I found the experience interesting -- even if it was not unlike seeing Manhattan at noon from the driver's seat of a truck.
Once we were out of town, we hurtled down the road toward Melaque.
Somewhere along the way, I decided LaManzanilla would be a great place to stop. I could show Darrel one of the world's best beaches, and we could look at the houses I had considered buying a year ago.
For those of you who complain about the road between Puerto Vallarta and Melaque, I offer a dissent. The rural roads of Oregon are no worse. My brother and I learned to drive on roads just as narrow with hazards equal to those we encountered. That does not mean the road hazards are not be be respected. Even the cuotas can be dangeropus. We saw a disemboweled horse just south of Mazatlan on an exit ramp.
The photograph below is a good example of mobile hazards. The pickup is filled with field workers -- all standing. And the motorcycle is driving at Little Old Lady from Pasadena speed. Try coming up behind either one at 60 MPH.
Even with those dangers, we made the drive from theairport at Puerto Vallarta is just under three hours. And that was with a gasoline, bathroom, and peso exchange break along the way.
We pulled off of Highway 200 at La Manzanilla and met with my real estate pal, Daniel, who directed us to a good dog-friendly hotel. I suspect we ended up paying about double tariff again, but I was just happy to have a nice bed for the night.
For dinner, I took Darrel to one of my favorite little restaurants in town: Lora Loko. I had enchiladas Mexicana; he had shrimp enchiladas. Maybe we have just been on the road a long time, but both of our meals were some of the best Mexican food that the two of us have eaten.
And our view for dinner? The photograph at the top of the post. What a great way to end a day on the road.
But we still have one last segment.
On Wednesday, we will complete the drive to Melaque. That should not be difficult. It is just over the hill. But, before we leave La Manzanilla, we will have a look around to see if it might be a good spot to live when I leave Melaque.