It’s been a bit of an interesting few days for me and I’ve not always had the time, or feeling up to, updating this blog. Last Thursday, when I really should have stayed at home in bed, I was invited to an intriguing meeting at a hotel by Piccadilly Station. It seems my blog is getting noticed a lot these days and I’m in demand. Just this morning I’ve been asked to do a guest post on another site. I like this interaction with other people on the internet and if it leads to something in the real world so much the better.
Manchester Airport is getting a new destination. Soon there will be direct flights from Manchester to Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It’s a long flight, about 12 hours but that’s the same as to Los Angeles so is doable.
Mexico is on my list of places to visit. I have kind of been before. On a trip across the States years ago we were in a Texas town called Del Rio on the Rio Grande which forms part of the border with Mexico. We crossed the border into Cuidad Acuna, on the Mexican side of the river, for dinner. We liked the idea of visiting another country for dinner. I remember eating Mexican food and drinking Tequila in the courtyard of the restaurant while being serenaded by a guitarist while bats dived for insects above our heads. It all seemed very romantic. We crossed again the next day and did the tourist part of the town but I can’t say we got to see the real Mexico. And while visiting friends in Orange County in California, they took us down to Tijuana for a Sunday trip. It was full of Americans doing the same thing. And, with its more lenient drinking laws (I believe 18 is the age like in the UK as opposed to 21 in the USA) it can attract a lot of young Americans wanting to party. Again we didn’t feel we saw a lot of the real Mexico.
But I do want to go. I love history and the Aztec and Mayan cities are definitely on my bucket list. And I love cities so I would like to see Mexico City. While many people in the UK have been to Mexico, few get beyond Cancun, the purpose built resort of the Caribbean coast. Now I like sitting on a beach for about 20 minutes and then I’m up and about looking for diversions. And it’s quite a hike to the Mayan cities from there so I could find Cancun not really to my liking. Then there is Acapulco on the Pacific coast that still has a romance about.
I’d heard about Puerto Vallata. Our California friends have been down there in what they like to call ‘winter.’ It happens in January apparently but they really haven’t got the hang of it in southern California. We have been to Orange in January and it was in the low seventies people! I was splashing about in the Pacific while they looked on in incredulity, wrapped in warm sweaters, while the stupid Brit played in the ocean. They escape to PV to escape the ‘cold’ of California in the winter. We have been trying to lure them over here to Manchester in November, early December to enjoy the Christmas Markets but, having experienced part of a Manchester summer, they are very concerned about what it will be like in November.
Up to now, the problem with Puerto Vallarta has been access. Its just been too difficult to get to and hasn’t had the profile it deserves in the minds of the UK traveller. PV has been a destination for a while but, unlike Cancun that was created out of nothing, the tourism of PV has been grafted onto an existing, thriving town. I liked that the hotels didn’t seem to be the, undoubtedly luxurious, glass palaces of the likes of Cancun, but buildings that fitted into the existing town’s style. North of the town is an unspoilt coast that is gong to be sensitively developed, the Riviera Nayarit. There is a lot of the real Mexico here to be discovered and enjoyed, it’s not a tourist version of Mexico packaged up and shipped in to entertain the tourists. The history goes back to before the Spanish arrived and, inland there are beautiful Spanish colonial towns to visit. It’s great for outdoor pursuits and sports but also a great place to go, apparently to watch whales and birds. It does seem to have something for everyone and it’s good that it’s a place that is now within reach of Manchester. You fly out of Manchester on a wet, cold Thursday and 12 hours later you are sipping and Margarita on a terrace overlooking the Pacific. Sounds like bliss to me…
I’d like to thank Elena and Senors Miravete and Zarkin for inviting me to the presentation. At the moment I don’t have any pictures I can use to show off this place and am hoping Elena can furnish me with some so I can. There as a cool goodie bag, I liked the turtle memory stick and the cool glass bead bracelet. They are made in the area and the colours represent different things for their culture.
In the absence of any pictures of PV I can use, I thought I’d post some of the venue we were in. It’s called The Place and is an aparthotel, a hotel where you rent an apartment rather than a room. Its built in a huge, brick built railway warehouse next to Piccadilly Station on Ducie Street on the cutting edge of the N4. In Victorian times it was a working building. It’s quite forbidding from the outside with it’s tall walls of simple red brick, it has none of the decoration of the cotton warehouses of Whitworth Street and the like designed to look like palaces in Vienna, Venice or Florence, Scottish baronial castles or French chateaux on the Loire. Inside great wrought iron columns support the brick ceilings. It has a simple, austere beauty. This was a working building.
I always assumed that it was a solid block and was pleased to discover that it had an internal courtyard that has been glazed at roof level to produce a well lit atrium in the centre of the building that has been filled with tropical and semi tropical plants. A little bit of PV perhaps? I wondered how real the palm tree was? For years I’d assumed that the ones that line the Trafford Centre were real, Then it occurred to me that they never grew or dropped anything. They are just glorious fakes. I wonder if this one comes from the same nursery?