Last January I was cold.
I was tired.
I needed a vacation.
The same was true the January before that one and the one before that one too.
I told Bernie last January that he NEEDED to get me someplace with warm ocean waters for January 2014.
We flew to Puerto Vallarta January 11 and stay a week at the Bel Air Resort.
It was perfect.
The sun was barely rising when we flew from snowy cold Salt Lake.
We switched planes in Los Angeles, then flew on to Puerto Vallarta.
A rainbow arched over the green Mexican jungles minutes before we landed.
I was thrilled to see it.
A rainbow is always a good sign!
We landed and got through customs and rented a car.
A fifteen minute drive later we were on the ground of the Bel Air Collections Resort.
The resort lobby was an open air affair.
As Bernie signed us in, two flutes of Mimosas were handed to us.
I love Mimosas!
How ever did they know?
Evenings looked like this later in the week.
But that first evening, when we arrived, the sun was just starting to sink low.
We walked past many palms and ponds to our room.
Laughed at the catalogued pillows on our bed...
We gawked at the hotel next door...
The sun played on the warm ocean waters.
Our sunset swim and body surfing session was everything I had hoped it would be after our all day flight.
The air was warm but not too warm.
It was perfect!
(Bernie had made the reservations; I had trusted him and hadn't even peeked at the website so it was all a grand surprise!)
After our swim and and quickly settling into our room we headed to the resort restaurant for dinner.
A margarita...it is a MUST in Mexico, si?
And coconut shrimp dinner.
In the morning I perched beside the infinity edged pool and relaxed.
Watched the birds.
I am more of a beach person than a pool person.
Just a few minutes by the pool were enough for me.
I walked the few yards down to the beach.
The beach had a few people; some jet skied, some sail planed, some kayaked and some...well for some folks they reported to their ocean front office to sell their wares.
I did wind up buying three wraps from this gentleman.
He would stand holding a wrap out so it would flutter in the breeze for about ten minutes, then he would carefully fold that one and unfurl another one.
When asked about a wrap he quickly slung it halter neck style around his own body to model it with a wide grin.
Every day he showed up.
I appreciated that he didn't bug anyone; he just quietly stood with his colorful wraps fluttering in the breeze.
I have never been particularly fond of blue but in this setting I rapidly grew fond of the color.
Finding a palm frond umbrella for shade: first order of beach business for me.
Second order of business:
Click a picture or two if something interesting came near enough to catch my eye.
A woman hawking roasted shrimp on a stick with her partner selling fresh fruit.
I was later told that the beach vendors live inland where everyone survives on just a few pesos a day.
A beach vending job is a means of bring home good pay.
Got to love their "office" space.
Who need a corner office with views like this place has?
A short walk from the beach back to our room takes me past a man made pond.
Turtles have moved in.
They seem to have the same daily schedule that we do:
Do nothing all day long.
There were fish that mimicked our other scheduling bit:
Did anyone here wanna iguana?
Iguanas peeked out all over the grounds.
Bernie went fishing on Monday.
I beached, napped, read and eventually explored the grounds a bit more.
Such a pretty fruit.
The plants were mostly labeled.
I forget what this thing was called.
It seemed rather modest though.
Heading back to my room again I was surprised to see a big iguana perched on the edge of the pond.
He gave me a peeved look and slunk slowly away from my reach.
Bernie had an iguana as a kid and has told me how iguana's favorite thing to eat is dandelions.
They look so fierce but actually are very mild mannered reptiles.
(I got to see blue iguana that were darn near human sized in Grand Cayman Island. That was a thrill too.)
This guy began to climb up a palm tree.
Up and up...
he went up and nestled in amongst the palm fronds.
I never went past that tree or spot again without looking for him, with no luck.
The pool area had music and bingo and water exercises.
Lots of folks with books and drinks.
The beach...didn't have music aside from the lulling sound of breaking waves.
Another reason I mostly hung out at the beach.
There was always things to see at the beach.
Things I could take pictures of.
The folks around the pool all ended their sentences with "eh?" and said "about" as "ah-boo-t.
I was pretty sure they would not appreciate me taking photos of them.
Just a hunch.
(Everyone at the resort was from Canada. It was the first time in my life I have ever been asked what part of Canada I was from!)
By afternoon the room had been made up and our towels had been twisted into fanciful shapes.
What was funny was some days the artistic flair was full on; other days the towel were just piled up folded or rolled.
Who knows what inspires towel art anyway?
Breakfast or lunch or dinner could be had inside or out.
Outside with the beach just steps away was always my choice.
We sort of laughed that the music was always songs from "our" generation.
As we looked around we realized everyone at the resort was "our" generation, or were the children with grandchildren of our generation, tagging along on a family vacation.
(My one complaint: Did every third song there have to be a Beatles song? Gosh I hate John Lennon's voice. Always have, always will.)
The water exercise ladies go at it for a full hour, starting with yoga stretches and then a young and very fit Mexican girl leads them on with hilarious sounds and counts.
I had eaten enough that I really should of been in there with them...but I just stubbornly kept getting fatter instead.
Back to the beach...
(These are shots taken over several days.)
The two sisters clutching hands and staring at the surf were so delightful to watch.
Want. to. paint. this.
Another guy showing up at his office.
A young couple with two young kids.
I was missing Luke bad about then.
This little guy was two months older than Luke.
A third sister joined in the fun.
"Three Muses At The Beach" would be a perfect title for this painting.
Work work work...
By our second to last day we got bold and asked for our breakfast to be served ON the beach.
It took a lot of discussion among the staff but they agreed.
Breakfast on the beach brings back some great childhood memories for me.
Breakfast on the beach is something I could want every day.
The young family at play.
A bit later a woman about my age came and gathered her grands and headed off with them.
The young parents went somewhere else for the day.
It was a win-win for everyone I think.
(Plus there was a children's play water park area on the grounds and a staffed play center with crafts and activities if grandma and grandpa needed a break!)
Seriously...aren't children on the beach the most beautiful thing?
Pelicans swam about or flew in formation overhead.
I did walk the shore a little bit.
That pretty much covers our time at the hotel.
I hope you can imagine yourself in these pictures, escaping the cold or tedium that January so often holds.
A week there was not nearly long enough.
But we did go do other things in the area too...
(To be continued.)