Mexico (9th June to 14th June)

Tuesday, 14th June, 2005

Leaving Mexico, and the sanctuary of the resort was difficult. A quick lesson in spanish has taught us many words, but none that describe the feeling of being thrown back out into the world where email and mobile phones work.

At Punta Mita resort, the only place you can get signal is out on “the rock” or in front reception – and its an amusing sight to see people holding up their blackberrys/nokias/sonys to get a few SMSs in and out. But strangely for me, the lack of communication has been refreshing. Not hearing about Michael Jackson and learning spanish was a good call.

Hour bus ride back to PVR, into Alaska (why are we flying Alaska from Mexico to California?) airlines. All checked baggage is hand-checked by a cheeky security guy. The only surprise in ours is a magic pillow of Avril’s that expands and contracts into amazing dimensions.

We board the MD-70, and fly back in time/forward in time to LAX. Tom Bradley Intl at LAX can be daunting, and not something we were looking forward to. Well, we’re through immigration (friendly agent who quoted the Immigration Act of 1976 re: I94A forms) and customs, having collected our bags, in less than half an hour.

Look out LAX, the Hodge’s are here and we’ve only spend AU$150 in the last week!

Sunday, 12th June, 2005

It’s difficult to describe the roller coaster of the last few days.

On Friday, Avril was able to fulfil a life long wish and swim with Dolphins (Not my scene, so I left the tuna-eaters to her), and we’ve walked around the resort.

On Saturday, we took a 6 hours Unimog ride through the local country-side and Sierra Madres mountains to the Pacific ocean. Visiting a beach on the Pacific ocean side of the peninsula was great. Reminded me of 14000kms away in NZ: volcanic sand beach. Our tour guide, Manuel, introduced us (or in my case, re-introduced) to Tequila. Drinking spirits in the open back of what is essentially a truck on a main road has not been one of my dreams. But a thrill, never-the-less. One could get addicted to this cactus juice. Salute! Antonio delivered us safely (but dusty) to the resort.

Sunday has been relatively easier: capped off by a visit to PV, and specifically the “old town”. The shopping could have been better; but it was difficult on a Sunday night. Buses had numbers like the WWII German Atlantic submarine fleet: U-35. They looked equally as comfy (refer: movie “Das Boot”). We found one of two Italian restaurants and had a comparative meal (we like to test the Italian food around the world) Did some damage to the cash balance, but not so much as to solve Mexico’s trade balance.

Thursday, 09th June, 2005

Up and away on Thursday 6.50am. On schedule.

Our meagre bags weigh in at 24.3kgms. I will be comparing this to what we leave with. I suggest that Customs should just impose an import duty on the nett weight of in vs. out. On second thoughts, lets scrub that one. I don’t earn that much

You know you travel too much when the guy on the Immigration desk leaving you saw last night in Customs entry.

12.5 hour flight to LAX in the 747-400 was pleasant. 4 seats spread over 2 people is a good thing. Little sleep however.

Arrive in LAX on Thursday at 5.50am. Therefore, we’ve arrived an hour before we left home. Arriving at the new Qantas arrival at T4, its a short wait for Immigration, bags waiting, waved through Customs – and we are in the US of A. My 21st visit here. We quickly walk to T3, to jump on an Alaska flight to “PV” (alias Puerto Vallarta, Mexico). You know you are in America when:

  1. you have breakfast at Starbucks and the coffee is bitter
  2. The guy to your right is reading ‘the art of spiritual healing’
  3. the amount of carry-on luggage the person to your left has defies logic

Carry-on baggage has grown since my last visit to the US (June 2003). Its an evolutionary survival of the fittest going on: the larger predators survive.

Crowded House’s Pineapple Head plays as we wait for 50m in the LAX heat before leaving to PV.

PV, Mexico, Hola! Its a balmy 28degC, 80% humidity. Quiet dinner, and we are asleep at 11pm local time. +36 hour day with less than 3 hours of light sleep means we sleep the sleep of the peaceful.