Friday, April 25, 2008

Off To The Jungle!

On Saturday, we'd had enough sun the previous day (as evidenced by how my back had turned an interesting shade of irridescent indigo), so it was time for an adventure. With the devil riding on my shoulder whispering "you said you'd stick to the beaten path," the beaten path.

Sidenote: In case you haven't heard, there's all this crap going on in the border towns of Mexico, particularly Tijuana and the neighboring town of Rosarito. The Feds (that would be the MEXICAN Feds) recently cracked down on the drug cartel populating those towns and man, let me tell ya, the drug guys are PISSED. I mean, literally, heads are rolling...into bars...into shops. It's not pretty. Although for the most part, these criminals aren't targeting American tourists...well, sometimes we get in the way. Of cool stuff like shoot-outs in the plaza at mid-day. Yeah, real nice.

As a result, people like me who frequent upper Baja, are staying away in droves. Sad, really. I hear the bars and restaurants are wastelands. And in the meantime, there's this pervasive misunderstanding that the entire country of Mexico has morphed into some sort of wild west apocolypse.

Hence, the pleas from my father the day before my scheduled departure. He begged. He cajoled. He played the guilt trip card.

Oy. I held my ground. "It'd be like if you were Canadian and were afraid of going to Lake Arrowhead because they've had some trouble in Miami. We'll be 2000 miles away!"

For some reason, this logic fell on deaf ears. I persevered and went anyway but along with my luggage, I toted a dose of paranoia because after all, aren't fathers always alarmingly RIGHT?

Which brings me back to Saturday. The hell with it, I decided. We're perfectly safe here in paradise. We could have done a public tour, but what's the fun in that? Instead we grabbed a cab, agreeing to pay $25 for a ride out to Chico's Paradise.

I hadn't been south of town in years, so it was nice to catch up on the changes...which were pretty much nil. Same hotels (different names and owners), same stretches of uninhabited beaches, same narrow two-lane road with slow trucks that simply must be passed on blind curves. I think Ann really enjoyed this part. Ha.

About an hour later, we pulled up to our destination. Since I could recall giving stranded tourists a lift back to town in the past, after quiet deliberation we arranged to pay Manuel (our cab driver) to stay and wait for an extra $15. (Oh, picture his dilemma: sit under a shady palapa listening to the melodious waterfall? Or spend the next couple hours driving back and forth across Puerto Vallarta, inhaling exhaust fumes? Right. No-brainer.)

We'd arrived early, so the place was quiet and peaceful. Seated at a table high above the river, we drank our first margarita and marveled at the young kid diving off the rocks for tips. (My memory card filled up so Ann has the good pictures and video.) By our second margarita, Ann was convinced she should try the natural water slide and I was considering the zip line, but cooler heads prevailed. (First, that devil was still firmly entrenched on my shoulder, and second, I didn't fancy having to explain injuries to Ann's husband. Still...every time someone sailed across the gorge, a screech of delight splitting the serenity, I LONGED to give it a try!)

The hours passed quickly and I started feeling bad about keeping Manuel so long but a quick check with him eased my mind. He didn't care. Who would?

Finally, we gathered up our stuff and clambered into the back of the cab, but I wasn't ready for the day to be over. "Take us somewhere interesting," I told Manuel.

More later when Blogger quits acting up...

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