Adios Puerto Vallarta, Hasta Luego

No doubt about it, the highlight of our visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this year was our visit by Senior Iggy, the Iguana.

No doubt about it, the highlight of our visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this year was our visit by Senior Iggy, the Iguana.

It was time to say goodbye to Puerto Vallarta. We packed up our clothes, laptops, dock kits, etc., and were wondering where we would find space for the goodies we had bought. Like most experienced travellers, we carry minimum luggage. Space is at a premium. Somehow, we always seem to have a few square inches to spare, however. Our Kindles help; a travelling library is no longer required.

Checkout was at 10:00. The plane was leaving at 3:30. Translate: Lots of time to kill. We headed over to the hotel’s open-air restaurant that overlooks Banderas Bay. Maybe some dolphins would entertain us. We didn’t see any, but Angel, the headwaiter, spotted us and came hurrying over. Peggy has befriended him over the years. I am in charge of generous tips. The combination assures excellent service.

 Peggy and Angel at Krystal Hotel in Puerto Vallarta

Peggy and our waiter, Angel, at the Krystal Hotel.

While we missed seeing any dolphins during breakfast, we found this father-son look-a-like team rather amusing.

While we missed seeing any dolphins during breakfast, we found this scene rather amusing. I wonder who the boy’s father is? (Grin)

As always, we had enjoyed our two weeks— one with friends and one on our own. We had eaten several good meals, sat out on the beach, watched beautiful sunsets, appreciated the art, and enjoyed the wildlife, including Senior Iguana, who had stopped by for a visit. Walking three to five miles a day and limiting ourselves to one major meal meant we might go home skinnier than we came. That would be a first.

Much of the art on the Malecon encourages interaction, much like Burning Man art. Here I am with our friends Ken and Leslie Lake.

Much of the art on the Malecon encourages interaction, much like Burning Man art. Here I am with our friends Ken and Leslie Lake.

Numerous good restaurants in Puerto Vallarta always tempt us. Peggy chomps down on a tropical creation.

Numerous good restaurants in Puerto Vallarta always tempt us. Peggy chomps down on a tropical creation.

Tropical look in Puerto Vallarta

Speaking of the tropics, this plant certainly had a tropical look.

7 Tropical flowers in Puerto Valarta

As did this flower.

 Palm tree in Puerto Vallarta

And this palm tree.

Pigeon with flying symbol on back in Puerto Vallarta

Pigeons are  found everywhere but this fellow with his unusual ‘flight patter’ on his back caught my attention. I must have chased after him for ten minutes with my camera.

A view of our hotel. When we started going to Puerto Vallarta, the Krystal stood side by side with one-two story buildings. Now surrounding skyscrapers have destroyed the ambience.

A view of our hotel. When we started going to Puerto Vallarta, the Krystal stood side by side with one-two story buildings. Now it is surrounded by skyscrapers. So much for ambience.

We would head out to the beach every evening to catch the sunset. I liked the silhouette of these palm tress created by the setting sun.

We headed out to the beach every evening to catch the sunset. I liked the silhouette of these palm tress that was created by the setting sun.

14 Cowboy and cruise ship in Puerto Vallarta

Old and new Puerto Vallarta: A cowboy stops to talk with someone as a cruise ship disappears into the distance.

Counting up left over pesos is always part of our departure ritual. Peggy’s responsibility is to then go out and spend them. She darted across the street to the furniture-plus store while I worked on writing in the hotel’s lobby. I now have another blog in the Grand Canyon series (you will see it on Friday), and Peggy has two new colorful cereal bowls.

Finally, after what seemed like a long, long time, we grabbed a cab for the short ten-minute ride to the airport. And here I have something important to report— the security-check was a pleasure. What?? No way!!! Peggy and I work really hard to make TSA officials in the US laugh. On rare occasions, we even get a glimmer of a grin. I think TSA has a no-smile rule, like the guards at Buckingham Palace. But here, the agents were actually smiling on their own, like they enjoyed their jobs, like they were happy to see visitors, like they recognized the odds of us being terrorists were infinitesimally small. Back in the US they probably would have been fired.

15 Sunset in Puerto Vallarta

A final Puerto Vallarta sunset.

NEXT BLOG: Back to the Grand Canyon and hostile spirits from another realm.

The Day of the Iguana… Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

As the iguana stared balefully back at me, his eye seemed to grow.

As the iguana stared balefully back at me, his eye seemed to grow.

 

Peggy and I are in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While she works on her next Cotswolds post, I decided to slip one in on Puerto Vallarta.

I was home alone when I heard the scratching on our door. Peggy had gone off with our friends Ken and Leslie in hopes of finding Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby. I had wished them luck. The Internet is an on again/off again proposition here at the Krystal Hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

I looked up, thinking maybe the maid had come early, or the pool man. But usually they knock and shout “Ola.” No one was there. I went back to writing. I was editing Peggy’s blog on the villages of the Cotswolds.

SCRATCH, SCRATCH, SCRATCH. “What the…?” I thought, looking up again. The villa has these large, arch-shaped doors made of frosted glass that let in light but not prying eyeballs. Off to the right I spotted what appeared to be large, scary head staring at me through the opaque glass. I recognized it.

The doorways to our villa in Puerto Vallarta were arched. The iguana appeared in the lower right window.

The doorways to our villa in Puerto Vallarta were arched. The iguana appeared in the lower right window.

The head of the iguana appearing through frosted glass reminded me of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The head of the iguana appearing through frosted glass reminded me of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

“Aha!” went racing through my mind, “Senior Iguana is here for a visit.” I rushed over to the door and opened it, wondering if he would come in. It would be amusing to watch Peggy, Ken and Leslie’s reaction to finding a large lizard hanging out on the floor of our living room. Maybe I could entice him up onto the couch with a banana.

I found the Puerto Vallarta iguana outside scratching at our window. Was it asking to come in?

I found the Puerto Vallarta iguana outside scratching at our window. Was it asking to come in?

“Ola, Buenos Dias Senior Iggy. Welcome!” I proclaimed. Senior Iggy stared up at me balefully and said not a word. Maybe he didn’t like being called Iggy. He went back to scratching the window with his long claws.

I went inside and retrieved a banana. Back outside I sat down on the porch step, peeled the banana, and tossed a piece to the iguana. He ignored it, like he was ignoring me. It was then that I noticed that Iggy was staring at the window, not through it. He had found true love in a perfect reflection of himself. What’s a puny banana in comparison?

I discovered the iguana was admiring its reflection in the window and wondered if it was breeding season and the large Puerto Vallarta lizard believed he had found true love— or possibly a rival.

I discovered the iguana was admiring its reflection in the window and wondered if it was breeding season and the large Puerto Vallarta lizard believed he had found true love— or possibly a rival.

I was still sitting on the doorstep when Ken, Leslie and Peggy returned. I heard them laughing with one of the gardeners when they spotted me sitting with the iguana. “They are good to eat,” the gardener told them. “They taste like chicken.” Naturally. My friends approached quietly, not wanting to scare Iggy.

“Don’t worry, the iguana is in love.” I doubt that a brass band would have disturbed him. Ken, Leslie, and Peggy each sat down on the porch step where I had been to admire our new best friend. We went inside with the iguana still staring at himself, deeply in love, or perhaps lust. He was still there when we left 45 minutes later, but had departed when we returned in four hours, undoubtedly heart-broken.

Peggy sat where I had and admired the iguana as he tried to reach his reflection.

Peggy sat where I had and admired the iguana as he tried to reach his reflection.

Two days later Peggy and I noticed that another iguana was outside, this time at the door leading to our pool. “Do you think he will come in if we open the door this time?” Peggy asked. “One way to find out,” I responded. Sure enough, a few minutes later we saw a head peaking in. And then the whole iguana followed. Peggy quickly jumped up and closed the door to our bedroom. We might find an iguana in our living room and kitchen amusing. Sleeping under our bed or in our shower would be another issue. He (I am assuming it was a male) wandered around looking for the beautiful girl iguana he knew lived in our villa. He stopped to eat a couple of mosquitos, his big tongue lashing out. (“Go big fellow!” we urged.) Finally, I opened the front door. Off he went.

We left the door open to see if the iguana would come inside searching for the other iguana. We were thrilled to see his head appear…

We left the door open to see if the iguana would come inside searching for the other iguana. We were thrilled to see his head appear…

…Soon to be followed by the rest of the iguana.

…Soon to be followed by the rest of the iguana.

The iguana settled onto the floor and checked us our. He looked much less beat up than the first iguana that had come to visit. Note the size of the claws.

The iguana settled onto the floor and checked us out. He looked much less beat up than the first iguana that had come to visit. Note the size of the claws.

He was truly a handsome specimen.

He was truly a handsome specimen.

Iguanas are common in Puerto Vallarta. We often spot them on the Rio Cuale, big fellows hanging out in the trees above the river— and this isn’t the first time we have spotted them at our villa. Their images are captured in everything from tourist trinkets to expensive art. They even played a major role in Puerto Vallarta’s top industry: tourism.

This big fellow was taking his afternoon siesta in a tree next Puerto Vallarta’s attractive River Cuale.

This big fellow was taking his afternoon siesta in a tree next Puerto Vallarta’s attractive River Cuale.

This small vase with a beaded iguana was made by our friend, Ernesto, a Huichol Indian, for our grandson Ethan whom he had met two years ago.

This small vase with a beaded iguana was made by our friend, Ernesto, a Huichol Indian, for our grandson Ethan whom he had met two years ago.

We found this large mural of an iguana in Old Town Puerto Vallarta.

We found this large mural of an iguana in Old Town Puerto Vallarta.

In 1964, Hollywood director John Huston brought his all-star cast of Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, and Deborah Kerr to the area to film The Night of the Iguana (thus the title of this blog), which was based on a play written by Tennessee Williams in 1961. To add a little spice, Burton, who was still married, brought along his future wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Hollywood had discovered Puerto Vallarta, and, because of the scandal between Dick and Liz, the world did as well.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had adjoining houses connected by a bridge when they were in Puerto Vallarta for filming The Night of the Iguana in 1964.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had adjoining houses connected by a bridge when they were in Puerto Vallarta for filming The Night of the Iguana in 1964.