Summer is definitely upon us here. The current temperature is 90 degrees, with 75% humidity. Nightly thunderstorms cool things off a bit, but by 10 am you can practically see the steam rising off the ground. It would be easy to become cave dwellers, and remain inside the air-conditioned comfort of the boat, but there is still a lot to do and see so we continue to venture out.
One of the items on our to-do list was to hike to the top of El Mirador, which provides a panoramic view of the city of Puerto Vallarta. Along the way, you pass through an area known as “Gringo Gulch” where PV’s well to-do live in colorful stucco houses which cling to the hillsides along the Rio Cuale. Courtyards and entryways are surrounded by unique walls, which make use of available building materials. I wonder if we could get away with glass on the top our wall back home? It would sure keep people from sitting on it and leaving trash in the yard…
We accidentally found Casa Kimberley, the home of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who first made it their home during filming of “The Night of the Iguana” in 1963. Iguanas are found just about everywhere here (apparently one made it onto the boat but all we saw was the tail sticking out of Kitt’s mouth). I thought they were plant eaters, but I saw someone feeding one of the marina iguanas a hot dog so I guess they will eat anything. They get quite large and we have seen them up to 6 ft in length.
We also traveled to the colonial mining town of San Sebastian. An hour and a half bus ride followed by a 15 minute taxi ride takes you up into the foothills of the Sierra Madres where the temperature and humidity are much lower. The town of San Sebastian was established in 1605, when silver was discovered. Today the town remains a traditional Mexican pueblo with narrow cobblestone streets, and whitewashed adobe buildings with tile roofs. If you really wanted to “get away from it all” this would be a nice place!
I am working hard at improving my Spanish and am making great strides. The hotel offers free lessons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and if there are no other guests, I get the instructor all to myself which is awesome. I am also learning a lot from “my guys” – my students at the community center. I have four regular students, all men in their thirties and forties. They are eager to learn, smart and funny, and it is a delight to teach them. I have to say, this is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had!