Living in the Pacific Northwest, we never really considered air conditioning as a necessity. However now that we are living in Puerto Vallarta on the Central Mexican coast during summer, it has indeed become a necessity. I fully understand the idea of “siesta” now. From about 2 to 6 pm, the heat and humidity becomes intense, and it just makes sense to lay low during the heat of the day. Many small businesses are closed for several hours during this time, and businesses with AC are very popular. The vast majority of the Mexican population goes with AC due to the high cost of electricity. Our electric bill for the boat last month was about $70 USD, which is more than most Mexicans earn in a week. The hotel workers here in Paradise Village work 6 days a week, 10-12 hrs a day and earn on average about $50 USD a week – and these are highly sought after jobs which require at least some English fluency.
Along with the heat comes rain – lots of rain, which fortunately falls mostly at night. Two nights ago we got 3 in. of rain in three hours – impressive. I did get caught without an umbrella the other day, and by the time I got from the bus to an awning across the street I was completely wet. By the time I had walked the eight blocks to the community center where I teach, I had to wade through ankle-deep water to cross the street. A lot of the recent heavy rain is due to the seemingly constant stream of tropical storms/hurricanes that have been marching up the coast and heading to Hawaii. We haven’t yet had storm force winds here -I hope we don’t!
The rain has made everything green, and plants grow inches a day. There are some beautiful trees that are in bloom right now, but I don’t know what they are called (Scott in LA, maybe you can help on this tree ID too?).
We had lunch and drinks out at Punta Mita (northern point of Banderas Bay) with some friends the other day, and one of the vendors offered words of advice dispensed by a canary. I have became pretty good at just saying “No gracias” to the many vendors which ply the beaches with a variety of wares, but this sounded interesting. My canary advice was “You have it in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now, by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely and discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you said today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime”. Nice.
Also of note was the 10th Annual International Marlin & Tuna Fishing Tournament which wrapped up last weekend. Top prize included a new car for the team with the biggest marlin. We mostly saw black marlin, which aren’t very good to eat (unless smoked, and then they are very good). The winning fish weighed 176 kilos (about 390 lbs) – too bad the guy who caught the 383 kilo marlin didn’t register…
Next week we will take a road trip to Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. We are looking forward to seeing some new sights and staying in a fancy hotel!