2/7 – The alarm didn’t sound at the planned 530, a harbinger of things to come. We still arrived at the airport with time to spare for a quick breakfast at Lori’s, but it was close enough to get the wife’s blood flowing. Four hours from push back to passport control in Puerto Vallarta and Noah traveled like a pro. The airport was a hot mess and car rental was creepy enough to make my skin crawl. We were the only people there, it took at least 30 minutes, and were expected to endure a timeshare pitch. After my initial rebuff, he objection handled with “C’mon, you’re rich, you want to save money on vacation.” I should try that the next time one of my prospects gives me the brush off.
We got lost en route to Garza Blanca but eventually arrived to be pleasantly surprised at how nice the resort was. New, clean, great service; the type of thing a guy can get used to once he makes peace with a few quirks. We arrived to find Jeremy, Randi and Rory already checked in and it was so great to see them, especially my adorable little niece. She is now old enough to crawl and looks up at me with wide, comprehending eyes that tell me she knows that although this only our second meeting, we share a special bond that goes beyond bagels and bargain shopping.
Oceanfront dinner at the hotel was admirable. The food was good enough, but nothing compared to view of the sun setting over the water and the incredible company. It’s great to see Jer & Randi and there will be no shortage of laughs this week with them around.
It’s always a shock to share a room with Noah; each trip he wakes up with a progressively louder cry. It’s like he’s trying to be the next Pavarotti! He appears to have 2 new teeth cutting right through the gum and that nagging cough doesn’t help matters. Hopefully we get acquainted with his new surroundings in a few nights.
2/8 – We woke with the sun around 7 and headed down for a less than satisfying buffet breakfast. I am so glad we did not opt for all-inclusive because I couldn’t handle a week of that. After, we all piled into the minivan for a trip to–where else–Wal-Mart. The store I hate and avoid most at home becomes my best friend when traveling. I race around trying my best to find cookable food, diapers and easy snacks. I even discover an aisle with dirt bikes and four-wheelers. Maybe this ain’t so bad?
Upon return, we head down to the pool, order up lunch and I begin to chase Noah around the kiddie section. What fun it is to be a Dad! Noah has gotten more adventurous and it’s exciting to watch the way his mind works. Each time he gets progressively closer to the deep step into the pool and when he knows I’ll catch him, he struts up to and over the edge. This is what they call a ‘kiddie pool’ around here; a shallow section that opens directly into a deep pool. Safey first!
After, we retire to the room and take our time to shower and get ready for dinner. We opted to try the other restaurant on the property and Bocados STK, located high up on the hillside, had a view that did not disappoint. The adults. Noah protested and quickly informed us in his best alto that he would not be sitting quietly in this beautiful, romantic restaurant. No. Rookie parent on vacation mistake for us. Never take a toddler to a quiet, fancy restaurant so close to bedtime. Rory on the other hand, is the perfect little infant. I look on jealously as she gulps from a bottle, then takes a little nap in her strolla. Did I even enjoy that dry-aged ribeye? Was it good or was I anxious the whole time? It’s hard to tell in the dark, was that really medium rare?
2/9 – I wake up at 1AM, shivering, confused with an entirely unsettled feeling in my stomach. I don’t think I need to draw you a picture here, but suffice to say the day was lost.
I heard “they” had a nice day at the pool.
Montezuma 1, Chad 0.
2/10 – After a marginally improved night, I was encouraged to feel better by the Mrs. A fair request after she so kindly nursed me back to health yesterday. Fortunately, my stomach chose to comply. We took the minivan to Old Town in the morning and explored the tourist trap waterfront area. We generously supported the local economy buying a few souvenirs before eating lunch in a random, authentic side place off the main drag. I don’t even recall the name, but the four of us ate for less than $20 with tip and the taco’s were incredible; slow cooked pork in red sauce and tortillas that came right off the flat top. Alan would be proud.
After probably spending too much time on my feet, we headed back for nap time followed by another dip in the pool. This time I took Noah to the beach and we played in the surf. They have a protected harbor, so it’s pretty mellow by the shore. He loved running back and forth and digging in the mud. We swim around the pool together and at one point he leans and gives me a little kiss. Or maybe he nodded his head vigorously and said ‘NO!’ Memories…
Props to our good friend Abby Per Lee for the dinner recommendation; El Mole de Jovito did not disappoint. This was exactly the type of eating I’d dreamt of when we booked this trip. Abuela’s secret mole recipe handed down through generations, takes days to simmer and a list of spices that I could never assemble. There are three different options and we are brought samples to enjoy with tortilla chips. A cool breeze blows in off the street while a young man plays guitar, singing songs of the broken hearted. Ahh, vacation. Jeremy and Randi seem happy as well.
Noah, Jamie and I all sleep through the night.