Central America/Mexico

Playa del Carmen

Travel days always feel like a bit of a waste of time, but on long trips in particular they are an unavoidable necessity. Often spent in airport departure lounges or, worse, bus depots or train stations, they are a time of limbo, mostly spent waiting and traveling. Hurry up and wait. We luck out on our last day in Panama, …

Continue reading  

El Valle

A new day, a new adventure. We leave Santa Fe a day early and have booked Cabanas Merys on-line for the extra night in El Valle. We arrive at noon after an uneventful 4 hr drive east on the Pan-American carretera. We assume, partly because of the price, that the hotel will be well-signed and easy to find, but it’s …

Continue reading  

Santa Fe

We leave Boca Chica Wednesday morning and drive mostly along the Carreterra Pan-Americana, the highway that stretches all the way from Alaska to the southern tip of South America, except for a brief interruption in eastern Panama called the Darien Gap. Darien province is one of the few truly wild places left on the planet and the road has yet …

Continue reading  

Boca Chica

So much of our travel these days is pre-planned. We book flights, figure out a route, reserve a rental car, book hotels, buy a guidebook, read Trip Advisor. And yet, some of the best travel moments happen spontaneously and often serendipitously. Today, for example. We leave Boquete and quickly miss our exit from the 4-lane divided carretera. We could keep …

Continue reading  

Boquete

A water taxi to the mainland, a shuttle bus to the airport at Changuinola to pick up a rental car, a drive to Boquete. Just under 250 kms, but it takes 7 hrs. The water taxi is a super fast speed boat. The shuttle bus takes half an hour. The rest of the trip is on a tortuous, hilly, shoulder-less …

Continue reading  

Bocas del Toro

It’s 600 kms by land and 40 minutes via Air Panama, from Panama City to Bocas del Toro, but the cultural distance is immeasurable. From sky scrapers to crashing waves, broken concrete to sandy sea shores, terrazas to beach bars. From the urban jungle to the real jungle. What a contrast! The day starts with a panicky jolt when I …

Continue reading  

Panama City

The flight to Panama City routes through Los Angeles, takes half a day and all night, and even with our business class seats, it is tiring. Are we getting too old for this kind of ordeal? Maybe, but a deep-seated curiosity about the world drives our appetite for travel. Panama is country #55 for me, more or less the same …

Continue reading  

Compleanos in PV

“If you go alone, you go fast, but if you go together, you go far”. This African proverb so aptly applies to my first 65 years. I’ve been blessed with friends all along the way and many were able to join me for a week of bacchanalian fun in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Donna, the original, la loca, who I first …

Continue reading  

Sun, Sand, Surf & Scuba … and a Few Sharks

George Town, Cayman Islands We wrap up our time in Cuba with two days at a Varadero beach all-inclusive. The beach is truly spectacular. The Varadero Blau resort is fine, but kind of over-priced given the quality of the rooms, the food and, especially, the cocktails and wine. The first and only daiquiri I try (but cannot drink) is an …

Continue reading  

Frozen in the Fifties

La Habana, Cuba Havana is an intriguing mix of sensual and lively, Spanish colonial and Russian soviet, Caribbean & African (slave descendants), culturally rich but materially bereft. It is unlike anywhere we have ever travelled. It is a city of over two million with a huge colonial centre. At one time it was the third largest city in the new …

Continue reading  

chillin’ in PV

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico A taxi strike, protesting Uber coming to Guadalajara, throws a bit of a wrench into our Tuesday morning departure for Puerto Vallarta. The bus station is a good half hour drive from our hotel and we find out about the strike 2 hours before our bus leaves. Not a lot of time to work around the transportation …

Continue reading  

Ole!

Guadalajara, Mexico A very tiny plane to Cancun, then a flight to Mexico city, a short lay-over there and another short flight to Guadalajara makes for a long day and we are glad to arrive in time for dinner with friends Donna and Ron. The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is a cultural and educational centre. We lose count …

Continue reading  

Aquatic Safari

Cozumel, Mexico I recover from the ferry ride to Cozumel mostly by collapsing on a lounge bed on the beach, overdosed on Gravol (not that it did much good!), mojito in hand, as the sky clears and the sun comes out. Yay! Cozumel could not be any more different than Playa del Carmen. Instead of designer shops, there are local …

Continue reading  

Mayan Riviera

Playa del Carmen, Mexico Yes, we are off to Mexico again! I didn’t even bother to blog about the 5 day trip to Puerto Vallarta earlier in February! This time we are off to the Mayan Riviera, then Guadalajara and finally PV again. A stop in Edmonton on our way to Cancun early Thursday morning gives a better representation of …

Continue reading  

Feliz Anos!

Colima, Mexico Cloudy skies our last morning in Manzanillo produce a gorgeous sunrise. An auspicious start to the day! We drive to Colima, where we spend the remaining days of this junket at the Hotel Ceballos, an atmospheric hotel in the “zona historica”. Ornate cathedrals, parks full of lush greenery and colourful blooms, and shaded, arched porticoes grace this part …

Continue reading  

Carless in Manzanillo

Manzanillo, Mexico Saturday we walk in sweltering heat for over an hour to be at the Thrifty car rental office a 1 PM sharp to pick up the rental car we had reserved. When we reserved it on Thursday, the friendly girl who made the reservation emphasized the need to show up at 1, not 2 as we had originally …

Continue reading  

Feliz Navidad

Manzanillo, Mexico As Craig makes his next Scrabble move, I sit on the balcony of our hotel room, overlooking Manzanillo Bay, with a full moon coming up over the eastern horizon, looking very orange as the sun is just setting in the west. Soon we will wander down and have a tasty feast of quesadillas and guacamole, washed down with …

Continue reading  

Black Rock, Belize

We fly from San Pedro to San Ignacio, a town on the western border of Belize, close to Guatemala. Our resort, Black Rock, is off the grid, on a river, in the jungle. We are greeted by greenery, tropical flowers and colourful toucans. Being November, it is the rainy season and we are in the rain forest. The wettest day …

Continue reading  

San Pedro, Belize

Isla San Pedro sits off the north coast of Belize, very close to southern Mexico. It is reputed to be the island that Madonna sings about in her song “La Isla Bonita”. And it is bonita indeed. Very pretty. We learn to scuba dive here. Chuck and Robbie’s dive shop is within walking distance of our hotel, the Casa Cayes, …

Continue reading  

Baja

When I get an email from Donna, forwarding an invitation from Lars and Marianne, about a kayaking trip in the Sea of Cortez, I jump at the opportunity. And sign on immediately. Black Feather tours has a trip in February. A one week excursion in kayaks, paddling around Isla Espiritu Santo. Island of the Holy Spirit. The scenery alone is …

Continue reading  

Mexico 2013

I’m turning 60. As hard as this is for me to believe, math does not lie. I was born in 1953 and the current year is 2013. It’s not been the best year on record. More than a year. Beginning with Craig’s stroke in Budapest in July 2012, followed by a ski fall the next winter, and then the Boston …

Continue reading  

Puerto Vallarta 2012

November 2012. We’ve survived Craig’s Budapest adventure and my family’s drama over Paris. I am turning 59 at the end of the month. My friend Donna suggests a trip to Puerto Vallarta. Gets a suite at the Sheraton. Invites Seonag. Off we go for a girls’ week. Britta is there as well. She and her buddy, who has a condo …

Continue reading  

Puerto Penasco 2011

November 2011. Donna’s neighbour Vivian is driving her van down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. On the northern shore of the Sea of Cortez or, as some call it, the Gulf of California. The beach for Arizona. A short drive south west from Phoenix, across a pokey border crossing, through Organ Pipe National Park. Into the Sonoran desert. Nowhere have I …

Continue reading  

Mexico Feb 2011

February 2011 is, as usual, overbooked. We are in the midst of listing our half duplex on E 14th for sale in order to provide funds for the E 2nd Ave project. An interim move to E 19th is tempting. We give the main floor tenant notice so we can move in, list the duplex for sale and give the …

Continue reading  

Latin America 2009

It is February 2009 and I’ve been retired a month. Time for a trip!! Wanting to visit Steve & Lisa at their beach house at Ponoloya, Nicaragua, we fly to Managua, take a bus to Leon and cajole a taxi driver to take us to Ponoloya. He doesn’t want to go because the road is so very bad and he …

Continue reading  

Mexico 2006

April 2006. Puerto Vallarta. Costa del Sol Sur. A big group: Donna, Ron, Jeanne, Don, Seonag, Debra, Sharon, Ray, Bruce, Syl, Craig & I. An early celebration of Craig’s 50th. Jeanne’s too. This time Seonag is the first to arrive and has been drinking, starting with the greeting margarita, and then a few more to keep the first one company. …

Continue reading  

Mexico 2003

It is 2003. I’m turning 50 soon. We haven’t had a major trip since Spain, two years ago. In between my dad died. The twin towers came down. Work finishing our cottage goes on and on. We build a suite in the top floor of E 19th. Buy a development property in our ‘hood, down the hill on E 14th. …

Continue reading  

Mexico 1993

November 1993. I am turning 40. Wow! In the middle of a masters degree at UBC. Living still at 1235 E 20th Ave. Our first house. Purchased in 1988. A few renovations. Two cats in the yard. Micheal and Ann-Marie in the basement suite. A month long trip to the Yucatan to celebrate my milestone birthday. Cancun. Merida, Chichen Itza, …

Continue reading