Friends often ask, “Why, with so many wonderful places to see, do you go back to Puerto Vallarta?” Our response is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But, it’s more than that. It’s like returning to visit old friends. Actually, we are the new kids on the block there. We’ve met several couples who have been returning for many years. Met a couple this year who’ve been returning to Puerto Vallarta for 35 years.
We’re greeted by people we recognize and who recognize us. Ramon takes our luggage, smiles, shakes my hand and says, “Welcome back.” Margaret behind the desk also remembers us. We have requested room 317 for sentimental reasons and because our friends we met on the beach five years ago will be next door. Our adjoining balconies will allow us more opportunities to visit after a day on the beach.
I have my morning routine. I wake early. I learned early that the best place for coffee is OXXO. I bring back coffee to Susan and we spend a few minutes planning the day. At Los Arcos there are pool people and beach people. I’m sure that each doesn’t understand the other’s preference. We are beach people. Emilio has our chaises ready. I was greeted with the same warmth, a great smile and a complicated Mexican handshake yesterday when I went out to say, “Hola.” He places us in the first row on the ocean.
Each morning I spend some time alone, checking emails and Facebook on my iPad. The sun rises behind me. The surf slams onto shore. Seagulls stalk the shore and pelicans glide the surface looking for food. The fresh salt air. The wet sand between my toes. Ah, I think, we have arrived.
First to arrive on the beach is Jose, our pastry vendor. He carries a tray of assorted pastries on his head. I hear him as he approaches, “Chocolate, banana cream, coconut cream, strawberry.” This morning he, too, recognizes me.
Later Susan arrives to share a second cup of coffee and her pastry. This morning I bought her a chocolate cream. Soon Pedro, a jewelry vendor, stops. He, too, remembers us. He has a splendid array of glittering silver in his iconic tray. And as the morning turns to noon we enjoy a parade of other vendors, buying grilled shrimp or fish on a stick, fruit, cucumbers, and watching parasailing or fishing boats. The mountains on the south rise up out of the bay while towers of hotels parallel it on the north.
Each year we meet new people and are introduced to new restaurants. We renewed our friendship with Oscar and Patty from Tacoma. We became friends with Robert and David from Boston. We agreed to meet again next February when we all return to Puerto Vallarta.