Puerto Vallarta Day Two: Town & Taco Surprise

chili_peppers

I am totally wiped out. I feel like I’ve been relaxing all day, so I was a little confused about why I should be so tired, but then I realized that in the course of relaxing, I’ve gotten about five times as much exercise as I get on a regular day. Hooray exercise!

We went to bed at about 10:00 last night and slept straight through until almost 10:00 this morning. Aah! When I walked out to the balcony after waking, there was a brief moment where I wondered if the condo had detached from the shore and floated off into the ocean while we slept. I had thought the water came up close to the building last night, but it was nothing compared to how close it was this morning. I could see only water out the window until I walked up to the rail and looked straight down. The waves were lapping up against the stone wall that contains the condo’s patio and swimming pool. The stairs down from the patio let off directly into the water. It was really beautiful and, honestly, a little frightening. (I am much more easily frightened by nature than by boogey men.)

I had excellent bread and so-so cheese for breakfast (why not? it feels exotic and vacationy, unlike the Zucaritos (frosted flakes) Dustin had). We sat on the balcony and stared at the ocean for awhile until we decided to head into town and get some groceries.

A trip into town (Puerto Vallarta proper – we’re about five miles south in Punta Negra) can be had for 6 pesos on the local bus. Bus drivers are people who failed out of taxi school, I believe. The buses themselves only hold together by prayers. We careened through narrow roads between sheer cliffs and on the edge of sheer cliffs, coming within inches of disaster several times, and nearly killing at least three or four people who were waiting to be picked up. It was the same sort of thrill you get from a roller coaster.

This is the first Mexican town I’ve visited other than Cancun, and it struck me as a little less tourist-centric. Many of the signs were still in both Spanish and English (how is it we complain about doing the same thing in our own country, we who are so selfishly monolinguistic that we demand it of everyone else? Oh wait…) and we did get heckled walking along the shops, but there were also regular Mexicans going about their daily business with no concern for us at all, which is more than I can say for Cancun. We didn’t do a lot of touring, though. Dustin hadn’t been out to the beach at all yet, having spent most of yesterday working, so mostly we just wanted to get groceries and get back.

The grocery store was remarkable mostly for its multitudinous selection of peppers. Dustin went wild, buying all sorts of fresh and dried peppers that no one else is going to be brave enough to even try, since we can’t figure out what they are or how spicy they might be. They all look rather Death Spicy to me, especially the dried ones. Something about drying peppers makes them look evil.

We toted our selections home and chowed down on more tasty bread and so-so cheese for lunch (there was “salami” to add to the mix now too, but I thought it looked a little too slimy to be willing to try it). We then retired to the pool where I accidentally took a nap while streched out on the pool chair (oh, how I hope I’m not sunburned!) When I woke up, I convinced Dustin to take a walk up and down the beach with me.

There is only so far you can walk in either direction. To the south, even if you dodge around the jetties, you eventually come to a field of beautiful rounded boulders that completely replace the sandy beach. To the north, there is a jut of cliff that sticks way out into the water. The whole place is much more cliff-y/mountain-y than I expected. Our condo building is 10 stories. The first story lets out onto the beach, the 5th story lets out onto the street on the other side, and our rooms, on the 8th floor, look across the street into the lower bits of a mountain covered with palm trees. Pretty cool. Even the beach slopes down into the water much more steeply than any other beach I’ve ever visited.

After wallowing in the bathwater-temperature pool for awhile, we dragged ourselves back upstairs and I set to making dinner while Dustin went back to work. The theory for dinner was tacos, since we’d picked up FRESH tortillas and tortilla chips at the Toritilla Factory in town, but I discovered that the only spices in the entire joint were salt and pepper. I should have expected as much, but I’m spoiled with my own over-stocked spice cabinet at home, and didn’t even think about it while we were at the grocery store. This is what I came up with, and it wasn’t half bad:

ground beef
tomatoes (however many)
onion (about one)
garlic (the more the merrier)
jalepeno (one is more than enough)
mystery yellow pepper (which we made Dustin taste-test first to make sure it wasn’t Death-on-a-Stick)
pineapple vinegar (a few good splashes – why pineapple you ask? why not!)
ketchup (a little squeeze’ll do ya)
picante sauce (shake, two, three, four)
salt, pepper

I sauteed up all the veggies together with some vinegar, browned the meat separately, then added them to the same pan. Added a little ketchup and picante sauce to juice it up a bit, eh voila. It was a little bland – I would have loved some chili powder and cumin – but entirely passable. With fresh tortillas and a pile of cheese, it was a right respectable meal.

And now I’m writing up my blog and listening to the waves crash outside. They’re really loud.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes more swimming in the pool, kicking around in the waves, reading of books, and trying of the mango I bought today. I’ll also try to get some pictures I can put up. But not of me. My hair has gone totally poof-tastic in the humidity.

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2 thoughts on “Puerto Vallarta Day Two: Town & Taco Surprise

  1. “Tomorrow’s schedule includes more swimming in the pool, kicking around in the waves, reading of books, and trying of the mango I bought today. I’ll also try to get some pictures I can put up. But not of me. My hear has gone totally poof-tastic in the humidity.”

    Its good to know that even talented writer’s such as yourself make silly little errors 🙂 (im your brother its what I do!)

    a little advice on the chilis… smaller = hotter, dried normally equals milder but there are exceptions… if you dont want them to be as hot remove the seeds, roasting the peppers will also carmalize the sugars and give the peppers a sweeter taste…. (im your brother its what I do!)

  2. Excellent advice. The orange pepper was pretty tasty. The itty bitty habenero Dustin got was, in fact, Death On A Stick. Tonight we have a white colored pepper to try. We’ll see how it goes!

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