Thursday, June 10, 2010

North of going south

Elvis at the Hard Rock in Puerto Vallarta

An adoring Elvis fan in Puerto Vallarta
It has been more than a week since I posted because I have been on vacation with my family in Puerto Vallarta. I did have computer access while I was south of the border and could have posted, however, I have learned from blogging for almost six years that you don't broadcast to the world when you are out of town.

There are other things you learn from blogging. If you have a blog open to anyone (which is the only way to do it if you want anyone to read it) you also shouldn't post pictures of your family or identifiable personal information that can be used by identity thieves. In addition you probably shouldn't use your blog as a confessional, diss on religions, political parties or your right wing or born again brothers. Anything that would trigger a visit  from Homeland Security is probably not a prudent thing to blog about, either.

But I digress.

Although I had Internet access in Mexico the last thing I really wanted to do was sit in my room blogging, Tweeting, checking in on Four Square or updating my Facebook page. It was an all inclusive resort, so the only thing I wanted to do was go to the beach, the pool, the restaurant and the bar. It was also 85 degrees and sunny everyday so if I hung out in the room posting every day, I would have pretty much have deserved the title of pathetic loser.

 I tell you, I love Mexico. I love the contradictions of the culture. I love the consistent inconsistency. You can order the same dish at a restaurant every day and it will be different every time. And although there are signs posted about dress codes and restrictions on the pool use, no one (staff or customers) pays the slightest bit of attention to them. I also love the fact that you can see a construction project going on and come back five years later and see the same construction project going on without any apparent progress. And I love the fact that the only music they seem to play in resort hotels is Michael Jackson't Thriller album. Finally, I love that you can say, "Stay thirsty my friends" to a bartender a hundred times and they still smile at you and nod even though they think you are just a stupid, drunken gringo.

I will not rail on American tourists in Mexico. I didn't see that much bad behavior on this trip. And regardless, probably 70 percent of the people at the resort were Mexican and not Americans anyway. On one visit to downtown Puerto Vallarta, I did see the throngs from the cruise ships plodding along like a scene from Night of the Living Tourist, though, melting from the heat and humidity. I saw the look of desperation in their eyes as they pawed through the $4 t-shirts and sampled flavored tequilas, glancing at their wristwatches to make sure they had time to make it to Senior Frogs before they had to pour themselves back on the ship.

My Mexico  t-shirt and Senior Frog days are over. I like to wear a shirt more than once before it shrinks three sizes and becomes a dust rag. And I like to think I have too much gray hair and dignity to do Jello shots and dance on tables at Senor Frogs.

I do give into my vice of purchasing Cuban cigars to smoke while I am in Mexico. I went into a shop that declared it sold only genuine Cuban cigars and was ushered into a air conditioned walk-in humidor where a old gentleman originally from New York who reminded me of Tony Soprano's uncle soft sold me on buying three small Habano's to get a ten percent discount. He showed me his machine that he'd paid $400 for to identify genuine Cuban cigar's from the secret hologram on the box seal.  Then he ushered me to the cash register where he had to use a thumb print scanner before the cashier could give me my 10 percent discount on my 110 peso cigars. I felt like I scammed them because they also gave me a box of matches and a cool little mesh bag to carry the cigars in.

Other than the obvious money making angle, I have to confess I don't understand the whole time share scam. Every Mexican resort town I have ever been too has a cadre of people bent on getting you to spend three hours on a hard sell pitch to invest in a time share in exchange for a free breakfast and cab ride. The minute you step out of baggage claim at the airport you run this gauntlet of people tugging at your shirt sleeve, handing you maps, and insisting they have your shuttle to your hotel. Like Nigerian spammers, they must get enough rubes who have apparently been living in a cave, fall for the scam and get locked in a room with three guys and a PowerPoint selling the merits of vacationing in the same place at the same time for a week out of each year for the next twenty years of your life.

I have always wondered why cruise ships don't have the equivalent of a time share. Then you would at least get the option of seeing different ports on your vacation.

But I digress again.

Despite the time share people and the guys trying to get me to jump into a harness attached to a parachute and be towed around Banderos Bay, I basically had a nice vacation. It helped make up for the torture of ten hours of air travel and near full body cavity search I endured at the gate leaving Puerto Vallarta (I think the security person was also a time share salesperson).

Now that I am back in the land of perpetual precipitation, Mexico is just a dream (which is coincidentally the name of the resort we stayed at).  I will now give it a few days and then start planning for my next trip south.

Maybe I should have bought one of those time shares.


Pernicious Panda said...

Welcome back. If you are into cigars, you don't need to leave the States. Have you heard of McMinnimin's Edgefield? My husband and I went a couple of years ago and visited (as in "walked through") their cigar longue. Smelled great! But since neither of us smoke, we moved on to the beer. Either way, good stuff!

Time said...

Thanks. I have heard of McMinnimin's. But I really only smoke cigars when I'm out of the country or on a cruise. It is something about the forbidden quality of a Cuban cigar that appeals to me.