Thursday, July 23, 2009

Puerto Vallarta - Day Three

After two days at sea we were ready for Puerto Vallarta. Originally we had intended to do an ATV excursion however that was eliminated through Carnival - safety issue. Therefore while I spent my time in the casino my hubby and oldest daughter attended the excursion meeting held in the Spectacular Theatre. They determined that the next best thing would be the Jeep Safari. The last time I was on a Jeep Safari was in the Canary Islands and I was almost killed four different times.

That was back in the early 80's when an ex-German WWII veteran enjoyed scaring the blank out of an all American tour group by racing through the mountains with 3,000 ft. drops off the very narrow dirt roads. He even took us up a road that hadn't been introduced as part of the safari. The most tense times were when jeeps stalled on curved hills and started rolling back with inches to spare before dropping off the side of the mountain to get going again. So with those vivid memories I was most anxious about this next Jeep Safari.

This was our first view of Puerto Vallarta:

We arrived early morning and were scheduled to leave at 10 pm. It's always fun to visit places you've never been. After the Caribbean I was expecting white sand beaches with turquoise waters and of course the Palm Trees swaying in the breeze up and down the beaches. Hmm... Not to be.

As we got closer these resorts seemed to be the place to go because the rest of the port was so built up.

The Americazation of Mexico

If you look real hard you'll see a Sam's and Walmart behind the ship.

Our first close up view of Puerto Vallarta

We exited the port in search of a pharmacy. I had lost my weekly supply of medications at the hotel in LA. Initially we were going to head to WalMart but were quickly rerouted by a local to another large store. I asked for my blood pressure medicine, unfortunately they didn't have it but they did have the Nexium I needed. Anyone who needs Nexium knows that in the States a prescription for one month can cost well over $400. No wonder people go to Mexico to get their meds. How about $20 for a 14 day supply? And no prescription necessary?

We were also at a loss of what to see prior to our scheduled 2:00 pm Jeep Safari. However that was quickly fixed by a Carnival rep who was on shore to help direct shoppers looking for good deals on jewelry. She indicated that we should get a cab and go downtown to the old city. I wish I had taken a picture of the cab - we all were barely able to fit into it.

Our cabbie was very nice and informinative. He dropped us at the marketplace in the old city and we walked back up along their "Boardwalk". Quite different from the type of boardwalk we know from the Jersey shore.

Perhaps it was our fault for not researching Puerto Vallarta prior to sailing however the excursions we had taken in the Caribbean were very informative about the countries we were visiting that we thought the same would occur on this cruise - not. Puerto Vallarta has a very interesting history. One in which I have enjoyed reading as I write this Blog.

We did have a wonderful walk back towards our ship and took some fantastic photos. Unknowingly we photographed all the right things.

Our ship can just barely be seen behind the high rises.

We learned that the sculpture of a seahorse in Puerto Vallarta's malecon, created by Rafel Zamarripa and called Caballeo del Mar, has become a symbol of the city.

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe's original structure itself was built during a 12-year period beginning in 1929. The interior is filled with hand-carved columns, decorative moldings and other rich detailing. An earthquake damaged the ornate crown that originally adorned the church. It was replaced, but the repair still creates controversy. The original crown is said to have been modeled after a tiara worn by the mistress of the Emperor Maximilian. We didn't get to see it but we did manage to get a great picture of the church overlooking Puerto Vallarta.

The arches known as Los Arcos, at the Aquiles Serdan outdoor amphitheater across from the Main Plaza, is where lively public performances are held many an evening against this distinctive backdrop. Recognized around the world as a symbol of this destination, the original four arches had been salvaged from a historic hacienda, while Martin Distancia Barragan created their replacements in Zapopan canterra stone.

As we continued our walk along the Boardwalk we were fortunate to see some local sand sculpturing. This is evidently a common occurrence.

We finally made our way to the Hard Rock Cafe for a cold drink and to find a cab to take us back to port.

Life in the heart of the old city.

We arrived back at our ship in time to freshen up, buy some water and regroup with the others who were going with us.

The Jeep Safari Adventure

Through the eyes of our guides.

Have a Firecrackin Great Day!!

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