Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In mid-February one of my well-up-the-chain-of-command bosses at work surprised me with an offer of a free trip to Puerto Vallarta, all expenses paid, as part of an annual rewards program. Wendy and I were a last-minute addition to the group that was going -- someone had dropped out, and I was apparently next on the list -- and we were temporarily in a bit of a bind. Forest was coming for a visit at the end of the month, and we had a party planned for her, just when we were now supposed to be in Mexico. Fortunately, Wendy is neither one to turn down a vacation nor one who's afraid to change plans, so after a quick consultation with Forest we moved her party back a week and started packing the sunscreen.
Our Friday morning flight was made lass-than-pleasant by having to sit next to an extremely inebriated man who proceeded to get more drunk throughout the flight and give us all sorts of "useful" advice, such as "Don't buy drugs from Mexican cops." Thanks buddy.
Although this was a work-sponsored trip, at an all-inclusive resort (our first time in such a surreal place), we only had a few organized activities with my co-workers. The first evening we had a sunset reception / cocktail party next to the pool, which was a great way to get into the vacation mode; afterwards Wendy and I went to Piaf, the on-resort French-styled restaurant. The wine at Piaf in also complimentary, but they do have an up-sell menu (for additional, and outrageous, prices) that looked a lot better. When the sommelier realized that we weren't very enthusiastic about the standard wines, he brought us one of the better wines that had a water-damaged label and gave it to us at no charge; now that's service! We had a nightcap at the lobby bar after dinner and enjoyed the warm evening air before turning in.
On Saturday elected to spend most of the day lounging around the pool (with a swim-up bar!), soaking our Seattle-pale skin in the sun. That evening, however, we went into Puerto Vallarta proper to have a rum drinks at La Bodeguita del Medio, a great Cuban place, followed by dinner at the unusually-named Daiquiri Dick's, where the ex-wife of a friend of ours was a chef and manager. Not only did we have a fantastic meal next to the beach, after dropping off several hard-to-find-in-Mexico American amenties, were given a 2 kg bag of coffee beans to take home.
It was on Saturday that we also discovered the 'all-inclusive' moniker means just that; we could order a full bottle of liquor per person per day to the room (and ice and vermouth were freely available) so we knew immediately what that meant: home-made martinis!!
Sunday was our day to wander around Puerto Vallarta's downtown and beaches, and buy some tequila to bring home. Being Sunday, many of the shops were closed and the whole city was pretty sleepy.
Monday was ziplining! Neither of us had ever been before. We took a bus for about an hour and a half up into the mountains north and east of PV, had a brief instructional class, and started zipping between the trees. I was very proud of Wendy; heights are not her favorite thing, but she did great and ended up having a lot of fun. We did a total of 19 lines, and finished with a rappel from about 65 feet. I was about twice the size, or more, of any of our guides, so they had a little difficulty manipulating me at the transition points, but they were all very professional.
When we got back to the hotel, we had a company dinner, including fireworks on the beach, and finished up at the lobby bar.
On our final day, we enjoyed the poolside bar until the last possible minute, not knowing when we'd see the sun again.
Our full photo set can be found here.