Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving in Montana

Family enjoying a walk in the snow.  We arrived in Philipsburg Montana Wednesday night after a smooth 7 hour drive through two mountain passes.
Sister Chris enjoying all the hoopla.

Sledding is a new favorite pass time for the girls
Snuggling with Papa Danny before dinner
Pat and Chris worked hard to serve us up a fantastic Thanksgiving meal!!!
Now that is a table scape.  Chris's whole house looks like a speciality shop!
Sweet Palace Candy store in downtown was a fun treat

Buffello viewing and buffello burger eating at Doe Brothers soda shop!

Winter in Philipsburg!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Outside the Resort (Mexico Part II)

 The first morning in Puerto Vallarta we left the resort, bartered for a cab ride and hit the beach in downtown P.V.
 Breakfast on the beach.  We had a lot of meals outside under a palapa. (see previous photo)
 Then we started walking all around this amazing are a few common scenes.
 A random art gallery was discovered

 We walked and we walked heading for the flee market.  Just as we approached this cool spot called the River Cafe my friends were persuaded to stop for a refreshing drink. (it was very hot and humid) They met some new friends as they were taking a break.

  These guys seemed to hang out in lots of surprising places. Just about every establishment had their own resident iguanas.
  See the pavilion off to the left?  Later that evening we came back for an absolutely amazing meal in this very same spot.

 While everyone else was taking a break I ventured across this crazy suspended wooden bridge where the locals jiggled it on purpose as tourists stepped on it.  Yep I screamed a little at first as they all smirked at me.  lol
The reward for making it across the bridge was this three story market.

 On the way back across the bridge to catch up with the rest of the gang, this lovely older man let me take his picture.  He had such a sweet spirit about him, at peace with his world.  When I first saw him I knew I wanted his picture for perhaps a painting or drawing down the road.
 So I must admit I found this Starbucks right down by the malecon (boardwalk) and could not resist the airconditioning and the ice maybe perhaps... I visited it a few times =)

 The beautiful malecon in downtown Puerto Vallarta.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not What I Expected (Mexico Part I)

Well it has been over 13 days since I have set my feet back on the soil in my home town.  My husband and I with 3 other fabulous couples spent 10 amazing days in the sunny port side town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

 This was the rather creepy entrance to The Grand Mayan resort we stayed at, see the door way below to get a sense of the scale.

 The gang is all here!

 These pictures give you a bit of an idea how big this resort was.  This was one building and complex of about four different hotels on the grounds.  It was totally over the top.

 Below part of our balcony and view out the front of the hotel. 

 On our way past dozens of pools to get to the beach.
 This was a favorite lunch spot.  There were many, many restaurants scattered all around.  Trams were used to give you a ride from here to there.
 The pools are interconnected and you could swim from one area to the next. Something I rather enjoyed doing!
 The bar pool in the background where you could swim up to an under water stool and have a Margarita.  This was obviously not happy hour yet.

 This was the backside of the water slide disguised as a Mayan temple. There were two wave pools (below) and around the whole place was a lazy river you could slowly float around in an inner tube.

 Following are a bunch of pictures from the resort.  I will be posting more pictures about the people, the city and the culture.   Take a wander if you will and try to imagine...

 On the far left you can see the lazy river.

 There were all sorts of nooks and crannies...we never did get around the whole place, it was immense.
 Of coarse some flora for me!

 Yes it was hot and sunny.  Yes it was touristy and third world.  Yes it was semi tropical and humid.  Yes it had the essences of Tijuana as in EVERYTHING was a negotiation and or a bartering ordeal  =)  All that, I did expect.

What was not expected was the impact this piece of the world had on my spirit.  Was it the people? Hmmm I think so.  Was it the culture, oh definitely.  Was it the unguarded beauty on a lonely beach at sunset.  Yes I know so.  Was it long meandering walks past dozens of resort beaches to come to the end of it all and find and old marina with real locals preparing good food, making a meager living and a heart open to the world.  Absolutely!!!

I hope some of my pictures can tell a better story, one my heart can't quite put into words yet.  All I know is that I want to go back.  Maybe again and again.  I think I have a glimpse for the first time of what a snowbird is all about, perhaps even an ex pat.  Now I love my town, my family and the good old U.S.A.  Nothing like it I am sure.  BUT...there is something amazing about getting away from it all for a special moment in time where life is so different yet so heart warming and inviting, to a place full of warmth in more ways than one, a place called P.V. under a lovely Mexican sun!
    A big thank you to great friends who landed us this over the top vacation by trading in their timeshare weeks for us.  It was a steel of a deal I still can't believe =]
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