Around The Bay

 

Banderas-Bay-Mexico-mapWe have now journeyed around most of Banderas Bay … by bus – from Boca de Tomatlan on the right hand side to Punta Mita at the extreme left.  The coastline is about 100 km long as it’s a very big bay.

Our first outing to Boca was to go to the Ocean Grill restaurant for lunch.  This required us to take 3 separate busses which took 90 minutes to journey the approx. 40 km to get there.  The bus ride was exhilarating looking out at small beaches and upscale villas and resorts.  It cost us only about $3.50CDN each.  We met our friends in Boca as planned but unfortunately the restaurant decided not to open that day.  They claimed the waves were too rough for our short boat ride from the pier to the restaurant.  Bruce remarked that it was much calmer that day than the last time they had been there.  Such is life.  We had a great lunch at another restaurant taking the “Pacifico” beer in.  We headed home by bus stopping in PV for a little souvenir shopping.

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Our second outing was to Punta Mita at the other end of Banderas Bay.  This time we took 2 busses lasting approx. 90 mins to get there.  This ride was scary going around some blind hairpin corners almost on two wheels.  Punta Mita is a fishing village and luxury resort town known for upscale homes, golf courses and private beaches. The public El Anclote Beach, backed by restaurants, has gentle surf. We had la nice lunch as we watched kids learning to surf.  The beach is rather rocky here and not to our liking.  Offshore are the Marieta Islands, with wildlife such as humpback whales and blue-footed boobies (birds).  We wandered around town, did some shopping and caught the bus for home.  This time the bus stalled several times and the young driver drove into a gas station to gas it up with everyone on board.  He then proceeded to drag race other busses as we hung on for dear life.  This is Mexico folks!  Another great day!

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And we are under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe here, even on the bus where this photo was taken.

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Golf Fix

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Well Dave finally had his golf fix in Mexico.  A friend of Bruce’s, Don is a member at the Vidanta Golf Club here in Nuevo Vallarta.  He invited Dave to play and Marie encouraged him to go.

Vidanta is the largest hotel and resort developer and operator in Mexico and is currently developing a $1.3B US Cirque du Soleil theme park here.  We have been through the huge Vidanta time share resort several times. It is so big, you cannot find your way out and must take multiple shuttle busses just to get around inside.

To get to and from the course, Dave took a Lime scooter.  It’s fun and convenient.  With the app on your phone, you simply unlock, use, park and relock the electric scooter in the place of your choice.  They sit outside our complex and are always readily available.  Neat!

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Scooter Dave

Of course Vidanta Golf is very very fancy.  Each group must take a local caddy who advises you distances, hands you your club, cleans them and tells you which side of the hole to put to on the green.  The Nayar course we played is very beautiful with lots of sand and water.  Like Florida, the grass is very hard and dry making for long rolls and tougher putting and chipping.

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Garth tees off

The course requires us to drive over the longest golf bridge in the world to get to and from parts of the course.  There is quite a lot of wildlife around including crocodiles, iguanas, many beautiful song birds and blooming Jacaranda trees.

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We had a very good time and were completely exhausted at the end due to the heat and strong sun.  Overall. I played not too bad.  Will definitely play again!

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Artruro our caddy was great!

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With Don, Heather and Bruce

Thanks Don, Heather and Bruce  for arranging this wonderful Mexican golf experience!  Fore!!!

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Alfred David Morgan 1921-65

Alf circa 1964

A few years ago I started a private family blog called Family Sketches on another blogging platform. I have looked at how to transfer the content to mattersofthemoment and not been able to figure it out yet (it is a 10 step detailed process…).

So here I provide a link to a biography I wrote of my father using mom’s treasure chest of family documents and photos. I have changed the settings so this should now be available to the general public.  If you still cannot access it, would someone please pet me know.

So here is the life story of my father Alfred David Morgan.  Miss you dad.

David

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Amigos

One of the joys of travel is to experience it with friends and family from home.  This year in Mexico we have been blessed with the presence of some friends visiting.  It is so great to get together in perennial summer weather to share a meal, a laugh and talk about the weather back home!  Here are a few images of our recent get togethers with our amigos from home.

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Bruce and Judy from Barrie – long time friends

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Bob and Carol of Arnprior – Bob and Dave back play golf together

 

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Michelle of Arnprior and daughter from NYC – it was Michelle’s birthday

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Mike and Sharon of Arnprior – good friends for many years

And here are photos of some group get togethers we have had recently.

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On the Riviera Nayarit Beach

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Another perfect sunset right from our table in PV

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Happy Hour by the pool

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At Fajita Republic

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Return engagement at the Encore in Bucerias

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With Deacon Mike on Ash Wednesday

Mexico is as safe as anywhere with welcoming people, great weather and wonderful food.  So what are you waiting for…?…come on down amigos!

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The Rhythm of Bucerias

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Bucerias (pronounced” buusaireeus”) is a pretty beach resort town on the NW shore of Banderas Bay.  It is the next town over from Nuevo Vallarta, so not too far from us.  The other night we decided to meet Judy and Bruce there for some live music over dinner.

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Looking back towards our place from Bucerias beach

We took a cab as it was our first time getting there but next time, we can take a bus and walk the last 20 minutes, we learned.  We arrived early and took a stroll through the beautiful cobblestone streets, dotted with boutique hotels, shops and restaurants.  It was very relaxed and interesting.

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We found the local artisan market and Dave bought a buffalo carved out of ironstone wood.  We wandered through the stalls chuckling at some of the tee-shirt and licence plate messages.

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The highlight was going to the Encore for some great live music.  A kick-ass blues band from Vancouver was playing.  One of the members had been in the Downchild Blues Band and two in the Powder Blues band which Dave had enjoyed seeing in Vancouver several times in the early 80s.

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The hostess was most engaging and fitted us in nicely.  We had some great food and the band took the stage at 7 PM.  Well the singer/trumpet player Will Ward sounded like David Clayton Thomas (of Blood, Sweat and Tears fame) and the rest of the band players – bass, keyboards, sax and drums were all professional musicians.  It was a fantastic sound to behold and we enjoyed every minute of their 2 hour+ concert in the warm open air.  Ms Armi Grand, owner of the restaurant is a talented jazz singer too and took the floor to sing a couple of beautiful numbers.

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Judy and Marie enjoying the evening

It was indeed a superb evening, our kind of music, our kind of place.  We booked a front row table for March 6 when the Vancouver All Stars R&B Band returns.  I mentioned this to Will the singer on the way out and he said they will have some new material then.  Wow, got to love this place Bucerias!

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Hasta luego amigos!

 

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The Kite Runner

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Khaled Hosseini, 2003

A bestseller at the time, this is a story that puts a human face on the Afghanistan conflict in the words of an Afghan born American.

It is the story of Amir, his father Baba and his half-brother Hassan. It traces Amir’s privileged upbringing in an upscale neighbourhood in Kabul, starting in the early 70s. Baba, a lofty Pashtun, is a wealthy merchant and great man who raises his son after Amir’s mother dies in childbirth. Amir is great friends with Hassan, the son of their servant, a lowly Hasara. They fly kites together in competitions until one day, Hassan is sexually abused by the neighborhood bully, while unbeknownst to anyone,  Amir looks on, too fearful to intervene. He never tells anyone what happened to Hassan and carries this guilt for years.

Amir and Baba go about their lives as everything collapses, escaping to Pakistan and then emigrating to California. Years later Amir, now a successful writer,  is called back to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s son from an orphanage. It is only then that he finds out that he and Hassaan were actually half-brothers, so he in fact is the half-uncle of little Sohrab.

After much violence and drama, Amir brings Sohrab to America where he too starts to fly kites.  An interesting read but a little too contrived a story in my view. I found myself wishing it would end about 100 pages sooner.

I liked Baba’s character development. He did his duty to everyone, built a orphange and was successful in business. However he never told Amir and Hassan about their brotherly relationship.  Family reputation and avoiding shame is everything in Afghan society. I liked the information about the Pashtuns who are culturally superior to the Shiite Hasaras. The references to the Soviet invasion, communist takeover, Northern Alliance regime and finally the Taliban tyranny, complete with beard police (all men must sport long beards) and public stonings, was indeed educational and gruesome.  I would have liked more information on this though to better understand the context in which the story is unfolding.

I found the series of Afghan names, types of food they eat and references to the Koran a little vexing to remember. Sometimes I could not remember who was who.  Afghans do like lamb kabob and spinach.

I would rate this book 7.5 out of 10 simply because it was a little overdone. I note Khaled’s later books (this was his first) seem to have been rated slightly higher. Nevertheless a  good read about a far off place that I had a little understanding of and would like to learn more about..

 

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Moonset

 

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Marie and I went out with our friends Judy and Bruce the other night for a great dinner at Casa Isabel on the hill overlooking PV‎. Their daughter and her friend were here for a visit too. Lisa brought us some incense which is almost impossible to find here. It was another perfect sunset and later a moonset evening.

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IMG_2733The food, service, view and ambiance were exceptional including the flaming Mexican coffee service. One of the highlights was the bus ride home. There were crowds outside everywhere. We passed the fair grounds – packed with revelers. There were kids on the bus laughing, tourists like us and some people just coming home from work. We passed a barber shop with its doors wide open at 10 PM!

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Later, Dave happened to get up at 4:40 AM and look out the window. He saw this huge orange globe setting in the low hills above La Cruz at the north end of the bay. It was the first moonset he remembers seeing that clearly. Stunning!

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We have seen whales frolicking in the bay near sunset. There are iguanas in some trees and Angel brings his trained hawk everyday to keep the birds away from the open air restaurant. The sand on the beach as the waters recede reveals thousands of sparkling golden flecks. We have chatted with quite a few friendly Canadians and Mexicans and chaff at how fast the day goes by.  There have been about 6 weddings right outside our window, always fun to watch.

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These kind of things are different from FL and make this place uniquely unique. Sorry to drone on about Banderas Bay, but it is starting to feel like home.

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P.S. We went to Mass mostly in Spanish at the nearby Paradise Village community hall with 650 others.  On the back of the Sunday (English) Missals was printed “Donated by Rev. James L. Holland, OMI”, who is from Canada.

 

 

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The Rhythm of NV

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We moved into our condo in Nuevo Vallarta not without incident. We met our agent Jesica, got the keys and checked things out. Needed some light bulbs, a stand for the water jug and an iron. Fine.  Jesica was very kind to take us to Walmart and Mega for grocery shopping.  Then we went to pay the rent.

Scotiabank had told us in Canada that we could walk into the local Scotiabank branch here‎ and withdraw cash from our account. Not true, totally different system here with no link to our accounts in Canada, the manager explained.  I had to request a 48 hour ATM limit increase to withdraw sufficient cash over 2 days.  Anyway, after 2 trips to the bank, we paid up – there were stacks of cash on the table to do this – this is Mexico.

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With Arnprior golf buddy Bob and his wife Carol before we moved to NV

We are ‎very happy in the beautiful condo owned by a man in Guadalahara. It is on the 8th floor overlooking Banduras Bay. We are 250 steps from the beach and can hear the breakers crashing all day and night long. It is simply beautiful beyond belief here!

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There is a resort hotel part of the complex so there are lots of people, families and younger children around the 3 huge swimming pools. We are able to grab a free beach umbrella and chairs as long as we go down early with our towels to reserve. There is a nice little poolside snack bar where we can get fish tacos and a great happy hour.

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Local iguana (he likes the pool too!)

Bruce and Judy came over for dinner the other night and we caught up. The next day we met them on the “Directo” bus to PV and did a Costco run into town. All went well and we took a cab back. Their daughter and her friend are coming for a week so we are planning our next outing together.

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Our biggest decision each day is which direction to walk on the beach. It is always sunny, comfortable and relaxed. The rhythm of NV is very agreeable to us. Feeling very appreciative for all God’s gifts. Hope he is good to you too.  God bless.

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The Rhythm of PV

Hola, we move out to our condo in Nuevo Vallarta today. We spent 5 great days in PV.

There are no clocks here – in the room, on the street. Time does not seem critical. There is no need for weather forecasts either – every day is sunny and pleasant. There is a daily rhythm here that is a pleasure to experience.

People are relaxed and friendly. Mexicans work hard, 6 or even 7 days a week. They are generally cheerful and happy. Yes, we are accosted everywhere to buy trinkets and time shares but you just smile and shake your head. They do not persist and do not seem disappointed.

‎Last night we returned from dinner with Bob and Carol and walked along the malencon. This is the people walkway along the ocean front here. There were thousands of people out enjoying the evening – families, seniors, tourists and young people. Today is a national holiday here – Constitution Day, so the crowds were bigger.

We have had nothing but good safe times here and highly recommend PV as a jumping off point for a Mexican adventurer.

PS We have met dozens of Canadians here and only 1 or 2 Americans. Seems Canadians have adopted Mexico as their 2nd country, at least in winter.

Saludos from the fun side of the Wall,

Dave and Marie

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A Harrowing Journey

Hola! We have acclimatized now in PV after a harrowing journey from the great white north. We drove to Michelle and Tim’s on Monday when it was clear and cold. That night the storm hit that had been forecast. Perhaps not as much snow as forecast, but our drive into the airport was on snow covered roads with thick snow showers. Tim was so kind to drive us at 5h00.

As we enter we look up at the screen and see flight cancellations. The 6h00 flight to Toronto is cancelled and the 8h00 too. We look for ours at 7h00 and incredibly, it shows as on time! We check in and there is no mention of a cancellation.

We get to Toronto about 30 min late but our flight to PV is delayed too. We finally board and after being deiced in parallel with 11 other planes, we take off from the snowiest January ever. We arrived at our hotel about 2 hrs late, but heh, we made it! Tha‎nks be to God, as several other southern flights that day were scrubbed or 10 hour delayed.

Our hotel is basic but is in a great location a half block from the beach with friendly people. We have everything we need. We are enjoying the Mexicans and their great food.
Especially at Pancho’s Tacos! There are a lot of fellow Canadians here.‎ We managed to get our phones working and visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Stay warm!

Saludos for now.

Dave and Marie

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