Mexico for Thanksgiving

November 30, 2007   

Mary Coleman owner of the Farr 40 Astra that I race in San Francisco with her partner Jim Forrest bought a penthouse condo on the beach in Puerto Vallerta. She kindly invited a few of us to spend Thanksgiving with her in the sun. I bought my ticket long before getting my 3 month job in New Zealand so it was a long haul to say the least to get there.

The catering truck ran into the Quantus plane in AKL the pilot thought it was fixed so after sitting at the gate for an hour and half he put us on the plane. We sat on the plane for 2 1/2 hours on the runway leaving AKL at 11:50 at night. There was a medical emergency in flight and we were met by an ambulance and fire men. Then when we landed in LAX the tow bar broke off the plane so they had to repair that before they could get us to a gate. Missed my connection to SFO so they wanted me to sit in LAX airport for 8 hours waiting for another flight – not my idea of a good time. Long and short of it was I got my flight changed to 8am the next day to Mexico from LAX so I didn’t have to go back to SFO and arrive at 11pm to leave early the next morning. Next challenge was to find someone to stay with in LA over Thanksgiving week when everyone is going away. So I started dialing for dollars as it were. Found a friend willing to give me a bed then had to figure out how to get to the bed! Again all the rental cars were booked with the big rental companies so I ended up paying a lot of money for a local company which gave me a dirty car with 140,000 miles on it. A far cry from the one I got last weekend in NZ which had 7km on the dial for less money :-). So off I drove down to Newport Beach.

5am wake up to make my early flight down to Mexico. This was my first time to Mexico (I don’t count Tijauna) but nuevo Vallerta is really just condo complex after condo complex on the shore of Banderas bay so I was in effect staying in the US. Mary, Jim, Magda, George, Bob and Terri had been there for the week so by the time I turned up on Wednesday they were already in local relax mode. Gus and Delphine came in the same afternoon as myself.

Mary had as usual planned everything beautifully and provided copious amounts of delicious food. Thanksgiving morning we went for a ride on a steam launch through the canals and saw all the wildlife including croccodiles, pelicans, dolphins and many iguanas. We had a typical thanksgiving dinner with a flair at a restuarant in the cobbled streets 20 minutes from the house. It was a warm night and there was the usual mexican band walking amoungst the tables.

On Friday we rented a boat for the day and went to a small fishing village along the coast there wasn’t much sailing until the afternoon when a little wind came in. The boat was a 30 year old beautifully restored wooden yawl built to take a beating. The crew was attentive and Gus, Delphine and I had a great time swimming from the shore back to the boat – a touch cold at first but you got use to it. We had dinner at a French place on the beach it was good food but we weren’t sure it was worth the two hour wait for our entrees!

Saturday was a lie on the beach and read a book day. In the evening we all crammed into the Jeep with two of us in the boot and went to PVYC for drinks. Then on to PV old town to Fajitas Republic a really good mexican restuarant on cobbled streets of old Vallerta. A stroll along the boardwalk was needed to walk off the food. There were fireworks from a pirate ship, sculptures, jugglers, all amongst the typical warm climate atmosphere where everything overflows onto the pavements at night. Delphine had cotton candy and then it was time to go to Mary and Jim’s favorite bar. I liked the bar because it played country and western! The also had a donkey – a real live one – for patrons to ride around the bar – we have some great pictures of Gus and Delphine on the poor donkey. Lots of margaritas, shots of tequila and in my case shirley temples later we made our way home to comfortable beds.

Sunday it was time to go home to San Francisco. My flight luckly left and arrived on time so I was able to get to Daniel couch in Marin in time for 8 hours of sleep. Monday I was able to spend a great day hanging out with my nephew who has learnt to walk and is very proud of himself. He wants to do it himself now and not be held back in anyway. Then it was off to the airport again for another 13 hour airplane trip back to Auckland, NZ.

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