Come January 2020, I decided that besides getting a break from the cold and what has been a stressful six-month work schedule, I needed time to reflect on the planning of this blog. I committed to staying put in one place and keeping my wanderlust in check in order to develop the blog. Getting this done at home just did not seem possible with all of the daily personal and work distractions.
Much of what you see and read today was framed during this January trip making it easier to complete the blog in time for my birthday. This is the birthing of a concept living in my head now for several years with my fair share of doubts and feelings of abandonment. But I stuck to it, and here we are with so much more ahead to achieve (even in the midst of a pandemic).
Why travel to Mexico? I love the rich cultural heritage that this country offers and look forward to many many travels here. There are so many interesting non-resort communities that are deserving of your visiting. Puerto Vallarta is a getaway destination resort town, and like many of Mexico beach communities is fueled by the timeshare market, a well-oiled machine that has made Puerta Vallerta ever-growing economy dependent on tourism. More than 50 % of the jobs in this region are supported by tourism. Mining and fishing have been all-together abandoned. While there are many new residential developments for the area’s growing middle class, there are huge pockets of poverty in the outskirts as more folks seek employment and move to neighborhoods where basic public services are lacking, and rent is cheap.
Notably, this city actively welcomes the LGBTQ community offering them many travel services for their families. It’s unclear to me if this is simply tolerance vs acceptance as Mexico remains a heavily Catholic society. Did you know that LGBTQ parents are raising an estimated 2 to 3.7 million children in the US?
After several days of settling in and to get away from the confinements of resort living, I took a cab to the center of the city to the promenade El Malecon, a walkable, slightly hilly commercial district with a pedestrian walkway facing the ocean. The area reminded me a bit of Cabo San Luca, very commercialized, noisy with lots of retail, bars, and eateries. As you walk away from the beach area through narrow cobblestone streets and alleys, you can witness daily living such as local shopping, kids in their red uniforms dispatched from school, and attendance at a funeral mass at the main town church… truly a snapshot of small-town Mexican life.
I spent most of my time taking photos and following the town’s art-walk map, which I recommend, visiting galleries that have wonderful art, both indigenous and contemporary, most of it by Mexican artists. Many of the galleries and boutiques are owned by expatriates from the US and Canada (no surprise here) who have retired or live here most of the winter months.
I ended the day with finding a small old charming taco restaurant ordering authentic fish tacos and a Margarita and later taking an Uber back to the resort to catch one more sunset.