FINAL TRIP REPORT: AUGUST 2013 – PART 6
After a morning visit to the beach in Nuevo, my husband and I drove into downtown PV to Mundo de Azulejos to pick up our personalized name tile for our condo. They did a really beautiful job. We were so pleased. Then we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at The Pancake House on Basilio Badillo. After breakfast we stopped in next door to chat with Sean, the owner of Nacho Daddy. He and several workers are busily readying the new location. It is going to look fabulous! They are building a small wooden bridge at the entrance, and there are rocks and a waterfall on the right-hand side. Sean said he would be adding some new great new items to the menu, including steaks. The new location will be open in October.
We then hopped into the car and headed back to Nuevo to pick up our friends and take then to the airport. We also hooked up the bike rack on the trunk as after the airport drop off we went to the Galeria Vallarta Mall to take in my husband’s Specialized bike to get serviced at the Velo Specialized shop on the second floor. It was really pouring outside, so we decided to enjoy another movie in English at the Cinemex theater. On Tuesdays they offer 2X1 movies, but as today was Thursday the cost was $45 pesos each. After the movie we did a dry run to Vista Vallarta Golf Course, located 15 minutes east of the main highway starting at a turn-off near the giant Corona distribution plant. My hubby is joining the locals (a group of cyclists primarily in their early 20s) on a steep ride into the scenic green jungle. They will meet up at 7 a.m. in front of Vista Vallarta Golf Club to begin their intense but exhilarating ride that will last about 5 hours.
It was our day to give back something to the PV community we love so much. So after after a few loads of laundry at the condo, we hopped in the car and drove to Sam’s Club in Nuevo. We specifically went to purchase giant sacks of rice and beans. We then took these gifts to the orphanage Casa Hogar, which is located on the lateral of the main highway on the block between the Corona Factory to the north, and Alamo car rentals to the south. When we drove in and unloaded the food products the director was so incredibly happy. She said they were almost totally out of these items, so it was a real blessing that we arrived with just what they needed. Before we arrived she had been busy cooking in the kitchen, but took the time to give us a tour of the facility. Everything was very simple, but IMMACULATELY clean. Every single room. No exception. The walls are white, clean, and without dirty fingerprints, but need repainting. No artwork or murals hung on the walls for the children or staff to look at. The rooms all looked and smelled white-glove fresh, like a super clean convent, the maintenance of which nuns would approve of. The beds were all made up and tidy, but none of them had pillows. Tiny shoes were neatly lined up on a shelf. The children were all bathed and clean and had their hair done. The various areas of the small complex faced two main courtyards. There were specific areas for each age group. Babies were being lovingly tended to and played quietly. There was no crying. The older children were in school uniforms. All of the children were very well behaved, with zero chaos. It wasmeal time when we were there, and the children respectfully sat down at long tables, said grace aloud together, and had small bowls of what looked like a simple bean soup. Amazingly, there were only a handful of adults available to care for all the children, and they were doing a wonderful job. We learned that the orphanage survives completely on donations from the community and visitors, and does not receive any financial support from the government. We asked the director what items are most needed, and this is what she said: Food items such as meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables. They need diapers, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. The older children need two sets of school uniforms to attend public school; each uniform costs about $200-$250 pesos ($16-$20 USD) We inquired about community help days where groups of volunteers arrive with paint, gardening supplies, tools and such to beautify and upkeep the grounds. She said when volunteers arrive they spend time with the children, helping with homework, playing games, and holding them. They’ve never had a group of volunteers arrive to do much-needed painting of the white buildings or help with facility maintenance. She said what an incredible thing it would be to have a group of volunteers arrive and repaint all the white walls of Casa Hogar. My husband told her that when we return in January we will try and organize a group of volunteers to buy large drums of bright white paint and come in one day to repaint the buildings. My husband figures if worse come worst and we can’t find enough volunteers in January, we may need to hire two local workers to come in with us and our two daughters to do as much as we can. But goodness, if we start planning now and spread the word, I think good-hearted people will step forward to lend a helping hand. The orphanage really needs assistance, and I really believe in the concept of paying it forward whenever you can.
After leaving Casa Hogar we decided to have lunch at a place that makes us laugh every time we pass by: Sofa King Good. Yep! Just blend the words together and you’ll see what I mean. LOL. The parking lot always has a lot of cars out front and a steady stream of people flowing in and out. So we wanted to see if it could actually live up to it’s name. And you know what? Yes. It IS in fact, sofa king good! It’s primarily a steak house where you can order individual menu items like rib eye, carne asada, etc. by the plate or by the kilo and serve it family style. It was another great restaurant choice close to the airport, along the main highway, right next to Dominos Pizza, Subway, and Church’s Chicken.
After lunch we went back to the condo and spent the afternoon floating in the infinity pools and watching kite surfers from the beach as they enjoyed the cool, unseasonal winds that blew through the area that day. Then we washed up and went out for dinner in the little town of La Cruz.
As most every day these last two weeks, we rose before the sun. We showered and my hubby slipped into his cycling shorts, jersey, and cleats, and prepped his sports drink. He took his red-colored Specialized bike downstairs while I followed behind holding his helmet, gloves and cycling glasses. It was 6:40 a.m. Together we attached his bike to the back of the car, chose a song from the playlist (American Pie) and entered the highway. We were headed to Vista Vallarta Golf Club so he could join up with the locals for their Saturday ride up dirt paths through the jungle. The ride would be challenging, and the views amazing. The drive up to the meeting spot was also challenging, as some roads were paved while others were dirt and had series of deep potholes from the rain. I assured my husband that I could find my way back to Nuevo after dropping him off. With Sweet Home Alabama playing in the background, we unloaded his bike, confirmed the pick-up point at the completion of the ride, then he cycled off with the group. Turning the car around I could visualize all the twists and turns, lefts and rights that were needed to find my way back to the main highway. But curiousity always gets the best of me. On a dirt road I drove beside a rancher riding a horse and wondered what the day held for him. But my thoughts were soon distracted by an ATV that went zooming by, and I wondered where the rider was heading off to. I had a peek at his face and from his expression I supposed it was somewhere really fun. Then a bus passed by and I was curious about its route and decided to follow it for a bit to see where it was heading. I found myself in a cute, newer, working-class area that was just waking up and beginning the day. I smiled as I passed colorful playgrounds. I made acfew lefts and rights and was again on a rough dirt road. I looked around and realized I had absolutely no idea where I was! So I pulled over to the side of the road and looked up at the hills and jungle. This particular situation called for a more serious song on the playlist: AC/DC Back in Black. I breathed in and re-entered the roadway. After a while I saw signs for the new, huge and beautiful, ultra-modern international convention center and headed in that direction. I could definitely find my way back from that point. Soon I was at a stop, flanked by Global Gas and the Corona factory. I entered the highway heading north. My morning curiosity satisfied, I thought I deserved a Starbucks. So I entered Nuevo and made a bee-line to Paradise Plaza Mall. Passing the Vallarta Adventures Center, I sighed. This was the first trip we had not done at least one VA tour. No zip lining excursion, no evening sail, no Las Caletas. Oh, well. These sweet excursions would have to wait until our return trip in January.
Back at the condo I decided to get started on closing down shop. We depart for home tomorrow and there is always so much prep work that needs to get done. Surfboards need to be taken downstairs to storage, boogie boards put back on the shelf, loads of laundry, emptying out the refrigerator. Sigh. But if I can get all these things done before My hubby calls me to pick him up, then after we pick up his second bike from the bike shop (it was dropped off there for maintenance) at Galerias Vallarta, then the remainder of our day is wide open for fun!
Now that I’ve taken a break to write this FINAL trip report, my Starbucks cup is now empty. It’s time to start cleaning up the condo and get ready for my husband’s phone call. I know he’ll have so much to share with me about his exciting ride with the locals. I’ll bring him back here to shower and we’ll begin enjoying the rest of the day together. Here in the world of beach, ocean, sun, life is good. :-)