Hola, mi bonitas!
I have returned from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was wonderfully surreal and as soon as we got home, I wished I was right back on the beach there. There entire trip I had the constant "I could live here." I really think I could. Cheap, fresh, delicious fruit; perfect climate, beautiful land, culture and people; it's my dream come true! Most importantly, it's on the same continent as home. That means I'd be able to get my tiny house there with no problems.
The first day we woke up at 3 AM to catch our plane at Vancouver Airport. We took a 45 minute flight to Seattle, where we got on a 4 hour flight for our destination. We were all pretty sleepy, but also super stoked.
*Note: I legit look 14 in all these photos... Ugh. I am aware of how un-photogenic I am.
We got to our resort and our jaws dropped. IT WAS SO NICE. Literally, it's 6/5 stars and you understand why as soon as you get there. This place has everything, and it all smells nice. There is not a speck of dirt anywhere, ever. My mom described it as "swank". Swank it was. I didn't take too many pictures of it, I was busy relaxing and getting tan... but you can get the idea.
We met my aunt and uncle (they're my favourite relatives) and got the party started! We ogled over our room for a bit, changed, then walked along the beach towards the restaurant we were going for dinner, called Eddie's Place (my dad's name!) As we were walking, we saw a baby turtle "sanctuary", basically a safe place to keep the hatching turtles until they can go into the ocean themselves. Muy bueno.
Time for MAGARITAASS! I probably had about two a day along with my mom and aunt Em (yes, we've got the same name). The boys mostly stuck to cervezas.
The second day we went grocery shopping at The Mega. It's like Costco. This day was one of the most exciting for me because it was the first time I saw mexican fruit, and it's prices. FRUIT IS SO CHEAP. In fact, everything is cheaper. I'm seriously considering living in Mexico, and the price of fruit was a great sign that it would be very possible. I sort of died of happiness; I was running around screaming with glee... I don't want to know what the locals thought.
We also saw organic soy milk was available in almost all the stores we went to! The plant-based revolution continues!
My fave fruits of the vacation were papaya and avocado. The papaya was HUGE, and ridiculously tasty (especially compared to the stuff we get here, shipped from Hawaii). The avocado was way creamier and super ripe. Basically guacamole in a shell.
The rest of the day was pretty lazy, we walked around the property, saying Hola to everyone and finally realizing we were actually in Mexico under the sun. We met this really cool artist named Veronikah. She's totally chill and pretty darn unique. Short, super tan, neon pink boy-short hair, and really lean.
My family had REALLY fresh shrimp for dinner (we bought it earlier that day in the village from a fisherman who just caught it), and I had salad and a guacamole and salsa wrap.
The third day we zip-trekking! It was amazing. Not only did I get to see the beautiful and virtually untouched landscape of Mexico, we also got to spend the morning flying through the protected jungle on zip-lines. Getting to the site, I watched fields of grass and tiny brick houses go by. Again, I kept thinking - I could live here!!! Anyhoo, we got there and had a great time. We zip-lined, repelled from trees, climbed super shaky ladders, and laughed a lot with our fellow adventurers and instructors. It was great to see the all the unusual flora and fauna. We definitely weren't in BC anymore...
It was a busy day! Because when we got back to the resort, I went para-sailing too! It was really fun, and surprisingly not frightening in the least. It was actually quite peaceful. I wish I could of stayed up there for an hour - high above all the noise of people, able to see far across the ocean and mountains on Vallarta. Stunning. One funny thing about the para-sailing... I unknowingly advertised for a STRIP CLUB! It wasn't until I was up in the air that I noticed the parachute said "Candy's Girls". When I got back to the ground we asked what that was and the guy told us. We just laughed.
Day Four was pretty chill. We went grocery shopping again and then hung out on la playa. Got some sun in for my tan =)
The fifth day we went fishing. Well, I just tagged along to enjoy the fresh sea air and my family's company, as I would hope you assumed. But things did not go as we planned. Now, I have been on the ocean MANY times, I've driven boats and consider myself pretty experienced on the water. However, the waves this time were really weird since we were so far out... and almost everyone got sea sick! It was a first for us all. I had it the worst and basically just sat curled up trying to distract my mind from where I was, and how I was feeling. This went on for 6 hours. I really don't remember much. But I do know that I took all that brain power to focus on the building plans for my house! I've got much more detailed ideas now =)
I almost kissed the ground when we got back to the dock.
The rest of the day I took advantage of to lay in the sun and darken my tan. Gotta get that vitamin D! We had FRESH fish (caught that day on the boat) for dinner, and I had my usual salad, cactus leaf, salsa and guac in a hand-made tortilla.
The sixth day was also a lazy day (thank GOODNESS! We'd been pretty busy so far) and then we went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. The highlight of the night was when the waiter brought my little brother a tequila shot after we jokingly told him he should. Daniel was gonna be a wimp and not drink it, but that waiter came back and practically shoved it down his throat! We couldn't stop laughing. Mexicans really know how to party. So does my family. We were kind of the entertainment for others, most nights.
Day Seven was a fave for me. We finally got to go into Old Town (Zona Romántico) Puerto Vallarta; where the streets are dusty, cobbled, and hundreds of years old. The buildings aren't much different. As we walked through the tiny streets I wondered what those walls had seen. Little balconies with twisted iron railings and plants growing where they could; clothes hanging on make-shift line through doorways; good, simple people working hard in the sun for their families. I wish I'd taken more photos to show you!
We visited a farmer's market and immediately met a VEGAN vendor selling baked goods. The company was Wild Flour. She said she had pretty much sold out so she gave me a piece of pumpkin bread, no charge. Wow. This was yet another "I could live here" moment. It was easier being vegan here than at home!!! Crazy thing: the vendor is actually a fan of my blog! She contacted me when I got home and told me so. I couldn't believe it. But then again, it's a small world.
I also got some killer coconut ice cream from another vendor, and put some chocolate peanut butter on it from another. I was in heaven as I walked through the market, noting all the gluten-free, vegan, organic and local products. We saw some fresh organic noni too!
After we left the market, I wanted to find this organic store my uncle (he's not vegan AT ALL, so I was quite proud of him) told me about. It was Organic Superfoods and we had seen the brand in a few stores, selling hummus and almond butter. Awesome to see, just like the soy milk. We found the shop across the street from a giant, ancient, wise tree growing the middle of the road.
Woo-hoo! It was great inside! They had everything I could possibly need being a vegan and health nut in Mexico. They had stuff I can't get here! Everything from maca root powder to virgin coconut oil to fake meat to organic soap. I bought this bag, it was cute and I HAD to buy something from this lovely little place. AGAIN, I was seeing how practical it might be to live here. An article (and useful site!) about eating organic in Mexico is here.
To make the idea of eventually moving here even MORE realistic, I had zero trouble eating delicious raw and vegan food in the heart of Old Town (NOT for tourists, this is real Mexico). We sat down at our table in a little restaurant on the corner of a street and quickly found out they had no vegetalien food. Looked like I was going to be just drinking water for this meal. But the waitress said she would try to come up with something.
In the end, I got a better meal than anyone! They came out with a beautiful plate of guacamole surrounded by fresh veggies, with salsa, beans and hot torillas. Who says eating vegan/raw when travelling is tough?
We were just getting back to the main street of town when I saw a coconut stand. I HAD to buy one. It was one of my goals for the vacation. They sliced off the top for me and stuck a straw in. It was the most delicious coconut I've ever had! So sweet and fresh. I chugged it. Then I went back to the stand and asked them to cut it open so I could get the meat. They did and even put it in a bag and asked if I wanted chili or lime on it =)
The rest of the day was spent on the beach and relaxing with the fam.
Day Seven was also just lovely. We FINALLY didn't have one thing planned so we really did just lay about. I got some serious sun in and had a very peaceful and mindful beach walk. As I was dancing in the waves and throwing my arms around in tropical bliss this cute Mexican guy came up to me and asked if I spoke Espanol. I said just a little. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him and so off we went.
Despite the language barrier we were able to talk about all kinds of things for several hours! We sat down in the sand and covered everything from life aspirations to marijuana to reincarnation to religion. Quite a lovely boy... I got his email ;) So I did meet a cute Mexican boy after all! My prediction was 50% correct; since he wasn't exactly vegan... ah well. Can't win 'em all. I walked back to the room and ate a papaya.
What else would you expect from me?
That night was our last in Paradise. We celebrated by going out to a local place recommended by a cabbie we had the first day, Hector. He was a fun guy...
The food was the best we'd had all week, and we ALL enjoyed cervezas and margaritas. Then for dessert they surprised us with tequila shots! Those put us all over the edge a little and the night became exceptionally more fun. We were fist pumping and dancing and singing with everyone around us. Like I said: we ARE the entertainment most places we go. Me encanta.
Day Eight - THE LAST DAY! We packed, checked out of the room, and hung around the pool and enjoyed our last margaritas until we had to leave. My aunt and uncle were staying another week (jeeeaallouuss) so we said our farewells. They said they'd love to invite us back next year.... FINGERS CROSSED!
All in all it was a fantastic and amazing trip. I really hope we get to go back next year. But if not - I'm REALLY thinking of moving to Mexico, people. Perhaps not Puerto Vallarta (I don't want to live in a city), but maybe on the outskirts of a town because I will have to have fruit available and what not. I'd like to live near the ocean, but also have a shady area with lots of trees. We will see.
Staying in the big resort was awesome, but throughout the whole week I had the underlying knowledge that this luxury is not sustainable, and I also felt guilty most of the time because it's just not my style. My favourite parts were driving through the country side on gravel roads, and walking through the dusty cobbled streets of Old Town, seeing people work; not laying at poolside ordering drinks from uber polite waiters and never seeing a dirty dish... or dirty anything for that matter. Although it was gorgeous, swank and beautiful - it wasn't real. I definitely could not live like that for more than 1-2 weeks.
Something else I continued to think about throughout the vacation, especially when walking and driving through the real town and countryside... was a book I just read called One Hundred Years Of Solitude. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's a beautiful book originally written in Spanish, chronicling a family over generations, living in a small town in South America. As the family and the town go through one hundred years - there is the ultimate theme of isolation in them all. Each family member, and the town itself in relation to the rest of the world. To make this easier to understand...
Just read the book.
Anyhoo - I realized more deeply how true the novel is about South America; as well as people in general. We are all destined to have some form of isolation from others, just as the region is destined to be different than all others, and never find true understanding with others. We are born, we live, and ultimately we die alone. We are creatures of solitude, no matter what we do in life.
Woops - didn't mean for this post to end on such a dark note! I don't even think what I wrote makes sense... But like I said. Read the book. Then go to Mexico or anywhere in South America. You will see =)
That's it, folks! I hope you enjoyed reading this ridiculously long post. You probably don't even care, ha ha.
Adios for now, amigos!