Living Like a Local in Puerto Vallarta
Summer now is a completely different animal. Temperatures will be in the 32 to 36 Celsius range or about 90 degrees or above daily. I frankly never look to see how hot it is. To me hot is hot and that’s good enough for me. When you know it’s this or that temperature, then you feel even hotter. I think it’s psychological. The humidity is insane. I’ve seen 100% humidity and you’d think it would be raining, but you’d be wrong amigo. So at this point you’re probably shaking your head and asking yourself why anybody would hang around for this sort of torture?
Pulled over by a Police Officer: Ok, so you rent this car, you’re driving down the street cautiously but things are different here. Sometimes you make left hand turns from the right hand side or the streets are not marked at all and you have to figure this out as you go along. So this serious looking police officer in his best English informs you that you did something you can’t understand wrong. This is when not understanding Spanish is your friend or enemy, depending on how you use your “ignorance” …. Now you can be stupid which is believable. Or you can act like you know something. Me, I can talk with these guys and remedy the situation. You couldn’t, so you do this…
Puerto Vallarta has over six million people yearly come into our airport destined for local hotels and destinations. Mexico for the most part is an open country, but Mexico has immigration laws which for years they (Mexicans) haven’t enforced. Now you may argue with that point, I know many people who have been deported, my brother included. Normally the deportation laws are used for the worst type of offenders, like forgetting an ice cream in your hand and forgetting to pay for in a mini-super. But now it’s worse. What you think you know about immigration law is most likely from what you’re already doing and getting away with. You were told by friends, family and even Mexican Real Estate agents you had no problems of any kind. Just keep coming down, spending your money in the local markets as a blood line to the local and state economy. There are no legal issues with older retired people and travelers other than the normal tourism issues daily which are quiet common. Now for the Law abiding, “mind their own business” types. It may be interesting for you to learn, you could be a criminal in the eyes of Mexican Immigration law.
I naturally make “chit chat” with customers and I discovered this thin blonde lady was working with the “Bomberos” or Fire Dept. here in Puerto Vallarta. Naturally I thought that was pretty cool, so I asked her a few brief questions. Hoping for a short answer this thin blonde told me how bad the situation was in the Bomberos and frankly I was shocked. I finally asked what this nice ladies name was and she told me Christena Callahan. She was from Canada, Calgary to be exact. And out of the goodness of her heart and a desire to try and make the world a better place, started working with local groups. She would discuss what was needed, then like a “Stiletto Bulldog” went out and started making things happen in Canada!
People always ask me what it’s like to live in Mexico? Mexico is a pretty diverse place and I’ve only really lived in Puerto Vallarta, for better or worse it’s been fun. Being in the Sportfishing business I work with many visiting tourist looking to go fishing. Now we have a couple of boats, but I also work with many boats in Marina Vallarta. Many of the Captains and Crews become friends and with time are almost family. Once you get away from the “tourism leaches” the people in PV are incredible. Famous for being nice people, the “Pata Saladas” or original locals will do anything they can for you with a smile.
Living in Puerto Vallarta for as long as I have, I’ve seen many changes. I remember when Puerto Vallarta was a “small” town on the Bay of Banderas. Things always change, but in reality Puerto Vallarta is still much the same, without the hotels. You may say, “without hotels”? Yes, you see when I arrived to PV all of the hotels were located in the downtown area. People would go to breakfast in El Centro / down town, leaving the several nice hotels for a brief while. Now the hotels had restaurants naturally, but food was “extra”. And for the most part, you got gauged, but you bit the bullet because it was “there” and convenient. Most people would agree that breakfast and drinks around the pool had its “cost”. People would walk around and shop at the many unique “tiendas” or shops in English. The town was always in a constant state of movement. The town would literally “breathe” with tourism as the cities “life giving breath”. That was more than ten years ago. Puerto Vallarta still has some hotels, but nothing like the “good old days”.