Our tickets out of Western MT were booked in the dead of winter. Which in some cases I'm sure contributed to the overall success of the trip. White blasted the land and the mercury hovered in the twenties, who wouldn't want to go to Mexico? The promise of 90 degree temps with the equivalent in shirt-soaking humidity sounded like the perfect remedy to winter's cold clutch. Never mind the soon to be 21 month old twin girls that would surely attempt to take over the cockpit while en route to our destination.
Oh the preparation, you have no idea my friend. We analyzed every possible toddler necessity one may need while in a 3rd world county. In the end after a massive heap of baby gear, medicines and clothes were sorted on the bed, we crammed it all into two suitcases and maxed out our baggage weight (50lb/bag). Distractions for the kids on the plane were priority numero uno (that's number one for those the don't speak Espanol). Let it be known that you should not underestimate the power of a 50 cent Winnie the Pooh wrapped in a gift sack. These little gems ran interference on the kids like nobody's business.
Three legs on the plane dropped us into Puerto Vallarta. After which we hit up the Mega SuperMarket and stocked up on 20 pounds of chorizo, drinkable yogurt and diapers (Okay, a few other items were added to the card). We learned that efficiency in a mexican super market and paying with traveler's checks do not go hand in hand. After solving the dinero challenge, I was greeted with another. One of the girls decided that the foreign smells and heat did not agree with the bottle of milk she had finished 2 hours earlier. T was unfortunately wore the brunt of her upchuck. Prior to that moment I did not know how to say "Clean Up on Aisle 7" in spanish.
The winding jungle road out of Puerto Vallarta north was a great introduction. We topped the rise and dropped down into the great town of Sayulita. Our driver knew the name of the house we were staying at, didn't even need an address. After 18 hours of travel it felt muy bueno to be setting up shop at the casa. Sounds cliche, but the place had sweeping ocean views from the patio/hammock with ocean breezes blowing through the palm trees.
The next 2 weeks or so were mainly spent something like this; walking down to the beach at dawn to try and catch a wave, lounging by the pool in the sweltering mid-day heat, sucking down Pacifico's laced with lime, sampling the best fish taco's at great little restaurants, enjoying the surf and sun at some great beaches, and constantly pondering what else we should put on the tortillas (I should have brought a case of those home). Another cliche, it was good to leave all the worries at home.
The sounds and sights of a different culture were refreshing. The slower way of life, cobble and dirt streets were perfect. My only recommendation is that they place air-conditioned booths every 300 yards for gringos like myself. I would then be able to dry my sweat soaked clothes and avoid all moisture related sores and diseases. JK. Our whole crew had a great time. A six year old learned to surf; twins developed a fine taste for sand and to frolick in the ocean spray; a land locked mountain boy caught some waves and landed a monster 30lb dorado; and parents relaxed and watched as their kids enjoyed a new world.
And I even came home a smarter man. I learned that passing on corners is not a good idea, making coffee with mexican tap water speeds up "Montezuma's revenge", the key to fish tacos is fish, mexican speed bumps are big, watching sheet lightning on the roof is exciting, wearing sandals where scorpions lurk is a good thing, and last but not least - Mama is always right. I could go on but hopefully I'm painting the picture that this vacation was just plain kick ass.
And finally, the fish that made my year, a 30 pound dorado (aka Mahi Mahi, dolphin fish).