Mexico Is Not Like Philadelphia

Back in June, (yeah, I know, I’m really late with this post) Alisa and I shambled into our apartment after seven days in Paradise Village, an enourmous super-resort compound located in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, nearby Puerto Vallarta (warning: this website will make your eyes and brain confused) and I started to put together this post the following day. There was so much stuff packed into that week, I’ll have to summarize with some quick snippets, rather than a full-on description:

  • First off, thank you very, very much to the Krauts, who hooked us up with the accomodations on this one. If it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t have done something like this.
  • Paradise Village (herein referred to as “the Compound”) is enormous. I think half our cab ride from the airport took place within the Compound’s boundaries. I am not exaggerating as much as you might think.
  • I have had enough Negra Modello and Pacifico to last me at least until the winter (well, maybe). I preserved my love of tequila and margaritas by not relying on them too heavily. I’ve also discovered a slushy-esque drink called ’electric lemonade‘ but seems to be some sort of just-off variant that sometimes goes by other names.
  • I have now smoked Cuban cigars. I specifically enjoyed Montecristos. I’ve gotten much better at it, but it could never be a full-on habit. Ashtray mouth the next day.
  • The beach is way more convenient when the umbrellas are built into the beach, and you can have drinks and food carried to you and your room is about 200 feet away.
  • I like the pool. I’d forgotten how much.
  • I enjoy fun, relaxation, entertainment, history, culture, and hanging out with friends in beautiful surroundings.
  • I do not like Managed Fun. Managed Fun comes with over-cheery MCs, blaring music, and way, way too much “ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? SI? FUN? SI!!!” However…
  • …having a small ceramic shot glass dangling from your neck that can be filled with free tequila at will makes Managed Fun way more like real fun. Oh, does it ever.
  • Mexican food is made primarily of beans, meat, cheese, rice, and tortillas. Also, guacamole and salsa. It takes about a week to get through the more delicious variations.
  • Yelapa is a beautiful secluded fishing village. It was probably one of the best parts of our time in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta doesn’t really have much of a historic cultural center, so it’s a fairly modernized and commercialized Mexican town. Yelapa’s had electricity for three years. While we definitely had a removed tourist version, we were down in the hill paths amongst the dwellings of Mexican residents, and we saw natural mountain streams and waterfalls. There was no large-scale architectural and landscape sculpturing here. It was a reminder just how foreign our lives are to much of the world. It’s very poor town overall, but it never struck me as sad or worthy of pity. Life there just seemed much more directly connected to living, rather than keeping one’s self entertained.
    Panorama of Yelapa, taken from the beach.

    A composite panorama shot, taken on Yelapa’s main beach area. See the full size shot here

    Painted lettering in Yelapa.

    Painted lettering in Yelapa.

    Metal disc lettering in concrete in Yelapa.

    Painted lettering in Yelapa.

    Some examples of lettering in Yelapa. Most of the signs in Yelapa are handmade, this is also true of the town of Puerto Vallarta, but I don’t have photos, unfortunately.


    Notice the string on the ankle. This is a rooster in bondage. Though, I’d probably tie my alarm clock up too if it had the ability to fly away.

    A waterfall in Yelapa.

    One of the main tourist attractions in Yelapa, a beautiful natural waterfall. The angle makes the scale hard to judge. It’s probably over 50 feet up, if memory serves.
  • In-flight movies watched: Hitch and Robots. Both were good. Hitch is smart, funny, and much better than the ads indicated. The ending was lame, but it’s a romantic comedy, and 95% of them have the same silly ending, so this was no surprise. Robots was exactly what I expected: beautiful design, wonderful animation, and non-stop physical comedy and visual/verbal puns. All of this had to be there to make up for the ultimately thin plot you’ve seen a million times before. Fortunately, every scene is packed wall-to-wall with jokes and great, entertaining visuals. Still, Dreamworks is playing catch-up to Pixar, who understand and value storytelling over all else, which puts Pixar on the top of the list for U.S. digital animation studios.
  • Tip: if you take Continental Airlines, and you don’t want to pay $5 for their headphones, just use your regular ones, but don’t push the plug all the way into the jack. This will allow you to get a stereo signal, rather than a left-or-right-channel-only signal.
  • A cab from Paradise Village to the airport should cost about 170 pesos (give or take). Anything more is a rip-off.
  • Becca is waaay better at haggling than I am. (Example: “The tag says 200 pesos. If I buy this and also this 50 peso item, I’ll give you 180 pesos.” And somehow she gets it.)
  • Paradise Village truly exceeds all resort hotels I’ve ever experienced. Okay, I have never experienced a resort hotel before. But honestly, it was truly staggering. They had a little zoo.

    A waterfall in Yelapa.

    The view from our balcony at Paradise Village. See the full-size shot here.
  • There’s so much more, but I can’t remember all of it now, but the photos are 1000 words each. Or so I’m told.

    Kern's soda.

    The typographer’s favorite drink in Mexico.

    Us in Mexico.

    Hello from sunny Mexico.

    Want to see more? Check out Brian’s photo gallery from the trip, collecting photos taken by all four of us.