Labor Day 2012 provided us with one last opportunity to visit the beach town that made us love beaches, Puerto Vallarta. Joining us on this trip were our friends Alex, who had not been to Vallarta since his childhood years, and Tom, a co-worker that loves PV as much as we do. We often cross paths with Tom in PV (like when he officiated this wedding), but this was the first trip we had purposefully coordinated together. Our ability to make this journey was appreciated even more so than previous trips, as security concerns over the previous weekend had initially made it look like this long-planned trip would have to be cancelled.
We arrived just before sunset on Friday evening and left midmorning on Monday. The weekend wasn't filled with anything extraordinary. Which is what made it completely special
We walked along the Malecón (Boardwalk), as always. We had a late night snack at The Dog House, as is the norm. We had breakfast at my favorite beachfront restaurant, Mi Querencia. We ate here for the first time in February 2010, then somehow "lost" it, and rediscovered it during a July trip to PV with our friends Carlos and Sergio. I'm not sure how we lost it, because it never moved, but I digress...We browsed the art galleries. We drank. We got too much sun. We swam a lot. The weekend was absolutely, perfectly, typically Vallarta. We did all of the things that we always love doing and will miss dearly when we leave.
We deviated from our normal course only once and booked a day cruise through our hotel which allowed us to go snorkeling alongside beautiful rock formations and spend some time on this gorgeous but tiny beach.
Monday arrived all too soon, and with it the sad understanding that this was or final beach day in Mexico. Tom and Alex still have plenty of chances to taste the salty sea air of any number of Mexican beaches, but it's over for poor Aaron and TJ. While the four of us bobbed lazily in the early morning waves of the Playa de los Muertos shoreline, TJ made an executive decision: we would load up the car and leave immediately.
Faced with the option of staying on familiar turf or taking one last opportunity to explore a not-as-familiar beach, we decided to use the last couple of hours before heading home to revisit the small beach town known as Sayulita. Our last trip had been un poco loco and we both wanted to take away an alternative memory, for comparison's sake. Tom and Alex, on the other hand, just wanted to try something new and unknown. There's not a whole lot to say, really. We traded one beach for another, this time bobbing lazily in the late morning waves of Sayulita's main beach (which, for the life of me, I can not find the name of). We considered surfing lessons but immediately decided that such exertion really would detract from the lazy bobbing. I haggled halfheartedly with a beach vendor (Well, he haggled wholeheartedly, and I haggled no-heatedly, so it averages out to half). We all agreed that Sayulita is a beautiful beach oasis worth visiting...but maybe only on your way to or from Vallarta. It's such a small town that the nightlife and energy of Vallarta eclipse it.
...But then we had lunch. We dragged our not-wanting-to-leave feet down Marin Street, Sayulita's main drag, looking for suitable dining options and ultimately settling on a street taco vendor. Mostly because she, unlike other restaurants, was open at noon. She only had two items on the menu: grilled mahi mahi and grilled shrimp. Oh. My. God. If the fish tacos TJ and I had last time were lackluster, these were blockbuster. Best. Tacos. EVER. We started out with two. Then had two more. *nomnomnom*. For these tacos, I could return to Sayulita every weekend. PV ain't got nuthin' on them. Nowhere else, either, for that matter.
While we ate, a woman peddling homemade jewelry approached us. We aren't normally keen on street fare, but I guess the good vibes from taco had heaven rubbed off. Tom and I both bought necklaces featuring handmade owl tokens, dubbing ourselves forevermore Owl Buddies.
Alas, sunburned and filled to bursting with seafood and memories, it was time to say goodbye to the beaches of Jalisco and Nayarit.
I hope life provides an opportunity to return one day. For someone that never cared for the beach or the ocean, I'm going to miss them both terribly. I look forward to Israel and the beaches of Tel Aviv.
But for now, I must focus on wrapping things up in Guadalajara. A meager five weeks remain in what has been an amazing two year experience. There's still so much to see and do. Let's see what we can manage, shall we?