(Warning… this is a very long post with lots of photos)
Flying trip back to Puerto Vallarta
The Wednesday after we arrived, Kevin hopped on a water taxi back to PV for more peso’s. Turns out, if you arrive with only American dollars, you pay more than if paying in peso’s. There is a better exchange rate in PV and even better is getting peso’s in the US before you arrive. In the US we could have gotten 14 peso’s/$1usd, PV was 12-13 peso’s/$1usd, Yelapa was 10 peso’s/$1usd.
From the pier looking back towards the village. (Notice the white bird on the lower left-hand side, and the Mexican dump trucks leaning against the rail on the right.)
White bird with gloriously decked out yellow feet!
From the water-taxi of La Playa.
They had a name for this… not a nice name either! Bird-s**t Rock. Pelican’s had it all very well white-washed!
Left to My Own Devices!
On my explorations, I tried to notice things, things that were similar to our own environment here. The little tour ended at a waterfall, La Cascada, just a 10-minute walk from the center of the village.
I started in our own Casa Grace. Looking out from our balcony, you can see the locals use whatever they have at hand to fix a problem. Also since they have limited space, rooftops often become backyards used for gardening and clothes drying. The black tanks seen on the rooftops are cisterns for the water supply. Each house has their own.
This was the cistern on a neighboring home.
The jungle grows thick all around the village. No-one bothers clearing it away except to build a structure. This was taken off the upper balcony in our casa looking up the hill away from the bay.
My first business of the day was to find out when our plane took off from PV so we knew when we needed to be at the airport. Somehow, I’d gotten away from home without printing off an itinerary! So I went up to Shambala, where they have good food and drinks and wifi! (This is when I finally found out that the Ducks won the Rose Bowl!)
My next stop was the waterfall but there was so much to see on the way!
This cute little dog was always here, everyday, hardly able to keep his eyes open.
These “garbage collection” sites were all over the village. There was even recycling!
It was exceptionally clean except for the horse/donkey manure and dog poop. But you’d just walk around it and the when the sun had dried it sufficiently in the afternoon someone would make it disappear.
One of the most disconcerting things I came across was paths that went directly through a home.
This little building was the privy and kitchen belonging to the house directly across from it. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the house. It was in a poorer section of the village and was pretty unkempt.
This was the kitchen sink. It was on the opposite side of the building in the above picture. It did have a little lean-to roof over it but no walls. Gorgeous view though!
Not far from this little home, was the river (nearly a creek this time of year). Some hardworking person was doing their laundry here.
A comment about their laundry: These women were not opposed to wearing light colors and especially whites and pinks and they dressed their little girls in them too. It amazed me that they always seemed so bright and clean! One of the local gringos said, “these women are Clorox Queens!”
This was the Ace Hardware type store. Surprisingly well stocked for as small as it was.
Notice wheelbarrow. It seemed every household had one. It was used to haul everything from laundry and groceries to cement and straw and everything in between.
The path leading up to the waterfall was lined with color and vendors selling their wares.
Behind all this color was the tangle of water and electrical lines. I thought of my dad and father-in-law and how it would make them shudder!
More water lines. We never did see any sewage drain pipes but I knew as I took a shower I could hear the water coming out down below in the jungle floor. Now, as I walked through the village, there were a number of these little streams and I realized it was their grey water system running to the bay. Sewage water goes into septic tanks.
I finally arrived at La Cascada. It’s most interesting… in Mexico (and maybe this is just everywhere outside of the U.S.) there were no bars, rails or fences keeping you away from the thing you went to see. People clambered over slippery, sharp rocks to get to the pool at the bottom and go for a swim or stand under the falls.
IN THE AFTERNOON…
…Kevin joined me and set out again.
Being a trucker, Kevin was fascinated by all the modes of transportation. So he labeled them.
Tanker Truck Driver
Drinking water was delivered all over the village by this kid. He would pick-up the empty containers everyday, bring them to the water plant (which I failed to get a picture of), they would sanitize them and refill with purified drinking water and he would deliver them in the afternoon.
These were some adorable children on their way to school in the morning.
I loved this picture. He struck quite a pose as Kevin took his picture.
There was lots of equine transportation in the village. If you lived very far out of the village (up-river) you would want a good sure-footed creature to haul all of your stuff!
There were some particularly beautiful vistas of the bay at certain spots.
This was taken from “Heart-attack” Hill which was quite steep. This was the view from a good resting stop on the way up. This would be the pier and La Playita.
This was of La Playa or the main beach. The big river runs between the village and beach. Most of the tourist would go to the beach to hang out. You’ll see a populated part of the beach. There are cabanas that keep them well supplied with food and drink. This was the expensive part of Yelapa. Prices here rivaled the U.S.
This was not what I’d call a typical house… more of a upper-class home. Still with no windows or doors that I can tell.
That evening we went out to eat at the fanciest restaurant in town… El Cerrito’s. The owner is standing at the top of the stairs greeting guests as they arrive.
Our waiter, Raymond took this photo. Interestingly, he’s also the owner of Shambala, the place we’d go for delicious margaritas and wi-fi. After he was finished here at 10:30 or so, he’d go to work as security for the hotel on the beach.
Our faces were glowing as the only light on the terraced dining area were torches and candles.
Funny story… we were sitting there chatting and the table next to us starts making wild motions with their arms towards us. We looked askance not understanding anything they were saying when finally he runs over and throws the blazing napkins on our table to the ground. Lol… we hadn’t even noticed the candles had set our napkin holder on fire!
Kevin’s dinner of Seafood Pasta
My dinner of Coconut Shrimp drizzled with some kind of yummy sauce over a bed of rice!
It astounds me, at times, the connections you make with people in passing. While we were at this restaurant, a couple we’d met on the water-taxi that very first day were eating there. While we were all standing around waiting for the taxi, Kevin had mentioned we were going to Yelapa for the first time and it was to celebrate my 50th birthday. These Canadians had been there once before and were just coming for 3 days.
Apparently the fire at our table alerted them, they saw us and sent over a shot of tequila especially for me as a birthday gift! Lol… I had no idea what to do with it so the waiter explained it was best with a pinch of salt, shot-swallow and then squeeze lime in your mouth. I’m not sure if that was to quench the fire or not!
But it was fun to have an unexpected birthday present from people we connected with so randomly! Put the thought firmly in my mind to do something unexpected for someone else on their special day.
Happy Birthday to me!