The Same, but Different

Sunday morning I sleep in a bit, making my way downstairs around 9:30. I head down to the beach and find that the old Bite Me Beach Club has re-opened, after having been closed during last year’s visit. This is exciting because they served excellent food and the setting on the beach is excellent. Now called Lido, I find it’s been opened by Michele – the French guy with the two well-behaved Jack Russel’s and a restaurant aptly named, ‘Michele’, up the street. The menu is unimpressive. Just a few basic items… eggs, any way you like, omelette any way you like, etc. Deciding how I want my eggs in the morning is the last thing I want to have to decide – I want options presented for me to select from! I skim the remainder of the menu and zero in on granola, fruit and yogurt and my mind is made up. The serving size is appropriate, though the Americano is served in an espresso-sized mug – so small you have to extend your pinky finger to grab a hold of it. I sense a stop at Dee’s in the very near future.

There’s a man sitting alone across the patio with two dogs that I can only describe as lab-sized Westies. They’re energetic and happy, though frustrated with their leashes as they try to grab the pigeons taunting them beyond reach.

There’s a group of four older gentlemen as well. A fifth joins them and asks the single man about his dogs, “Are they boys?”


“I keep seeing dogs here in Vallarta, and they’re all boys! I’ve been looking and I cannot find a girl dog here!”

One of the group of four he’s joining asks him, “And why, exactly, are you seeking a female dog?”

They all chuckle. I settle up with the check and depart.

Little things about Mexico are coming back to me. Cultural nuances that I hadn’t thought about over the last year. For instance, you have to ask for your check in Mexico – they never bring it to your table without being asked for it. Also, if you cross paths with a lady on the street, you’re not to take the right-side of the path, you’re to take the side closest to the curb.

Dee’s is up next, where I get a real-sized Americano. I spend a little time there sending out invoices. I could get used to sending out invoices from Mexico.

Dee is absent again and I wonder if she’s just taken the weekend off, or if she’s out of town. I haven’t seen the lesbians who run the chocolate store next door, either.

Ernesto, the drunken time-share selling cutie I met last year passes by. One of the older gentlemen sitting near me stops him and says hello. The exchange is odd. From where I sit, it seems like the older man is trying to show off Ernesto to the two he’s sitting with. Ernesto is uncomfortable and wants to continue on his way, which he does, only stopping briefly. It seems likely Ernesto is still spending time with the company of older men who are happy to buy him drinks for his company. They probably don’t realize they’re killing him. He may not know it either.

I head back to the hotel and change into my running shoes. The gym is closed on Sundays and I have been trying to get into running – buying the Nike sensor and heart monitor that tracks your runs.

I huff it up the stairs next to The Swedes. They’re steep and go straight up the mountain to the highway. I continue along the highway, running up the mountain. I don’t realize it until later when I plug the heart rate monitor into my computer, but I run nearly two miles up the hill. That’s a lot for me!

I circle back down to the beach and make my way north, stopping in at Blue Chairs to survey the crowd. I stop and chat for a bit with Adolfo and his friends Ronald and Chino, whom I met at Sama last night.

I make my way back to the hotel and shower. Heading back out to La Polapa for lunch. Though I have a fabulous seared tuna steak with greens and potatoes, It’s my first exposure again to the pesky beach vendors trying to sell you plastic junk and offering hits off a marijuana pipe.

I get in a quick nap before the 6:30 AA meeting. There are about 20 people in attendance. One with 11 days sober and others with 30 years. I recognize only about 4 or 5 there – the rest are unknown to me. Turns out the guy with 11 days grew up in Southwest Minneapolis, near Lake Harriet, but lives here in Vallarta now. Small world.

Three of the guys and I head to the beach to watch the sun go down. It’s a beautiful night.

Sunset at Los Muertos Beach
Sunset at Los Muertos Beach

I take my leave and head to Cafe San Angel to grab a quick dinner and get in some blogging for the evening. On the way I passed the corner where the bookstore / coffeeshop used to be. It appears to be under renovations. Along Los Olas, I run into Dudley and his dog Sasha – the cutest little dog. And a girl dog, no less. She’s a mix between a Golden Retriever and a Chihuahua. She’s got the coat of a golden, but the size of the Chihuahua, making her look like a miniature Golden Retriever. She’s adorable, with a personality to match.

Sasha, the miniature Golden Retriever
Sasha, the miniature Golden Retriever

Making it to Cafe San Angel, I get a chicken wrap and begin blogging. At 10:30 the solo performer from last year is still hear. Guitar magic and an angel’s voice.

So while some storefronts have changed or disappeared, there are new venues as well. Some of the people are no longer here, but some are the same, and new faces have been added.