Day 5: Travel is all about expectations

_The following is from my journal from our wedding trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for Tuesday, Sept. 27th_:

CIMG0143thumb.jpg “Travel is all about expectations,” Aunt F said. She should know – she was the travel agent that arranged the trip. She knows that a good vacation is not about the number of ice cubes in your Brown Cow, it’s about achieving a certain state of mind.

Today, we headed to Punta de Mita by taxi. We were basically going to emulate one of the catamaran tour packages at a fraction of the cost. Even the price of the taxi was haggled down to $10 US a person, roundtrip. (Aside: Never pay full price for anything in Mexico, except liquor). We hired a motorboat to the volcanic islands of Las Mieretas off Banderas Bay. We went snorkeling, but what was truly exceptional was how our captain expertly navigated the small boat around the cliffs and crags, and even through the caves of the rocky islands.

Back on dry land, in a small tavern down the potholed street and an open sewer, we further polished the fine art of haggling with the local merchants. They just walk over to you while you’re drinking, plying textiles and baubles at you. Expect them to at least drop 33% off their starting price.

Punta de Mita as very poor. The roads are badly maintained; the onramp onto the highway was half-submerged in a vacuous pot hole. Water is gathered from the frequent rainstorms and stored in thousand-litre black water tanks that seem to top every household.

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