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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SHOPPING TRIP: PUERTO VALLARTA







TEXT, VIVIAN G. KELLY
Contributions by Annabel Kelly

SHOPPING BAG INDEX SCORE: 4 bags = the ultimate
THIS TRIP'S SCORE: 3 out of 4



Unlike NUEVO VALLARTA, where we stayed at the Disney-eque “Paradise Village & Spa, P.V. is still raw; it hasn’t been manicured to death – yet. There are Mexican people here on vacation, music coming out from the stores, and Chihuahuas and Mini Yorkies running into the surf chasing pelicans, & fishermen slapping huge fish out of the waves and down onto the dock. Bugs also thrive in this heat so bring the bug spray.

HOW TO GET THERE: by Water Taxi.
Cost: $20 Round Trip, everyone over age 5.
Discovery Water Taxi & Canal Tour, available at the Yacht Club, Marina A, Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta

VALUE & EXPERIENCE: Fabulous!
Instead of the slow chugging ferry we thought we’d be riding, we got a ride in a speedboat. The DISCOVERY II’s Captain loves speeding & revved the powerful outboard motor to the max, getting us to the shopping zone in @ 20 minutes.
ADDED BONUS: A whale and dolphin sighting.

IN TOWN – THE VIBE: friendly & laid back.

THE EATS: We stumbled onto LA PIZZA NOSTRA, just 1 block up from the dock. Their claim to fame is “Best Pizza in Puerto Vallarta since 1989” but it’s not the pizza, that enchanted us, it was the theme and the kitschy d├ęcor that made our day. Where ELSE would you see collector-worthy memorabilia like “Pebbles” and “Bam-Bam” statues and signed photos by Marilyn [Monroe] as well as Beatles and “Twilight Zone” vintage ads?

Thanks to the friendly folks next door repping the CASA VELAS Suite Resorts, we got comped some free margaritas, a phone call to the USA and a paperback novel of our choice.
CASA VELAS is also owned by H.S.I, and an affiliate of RCI Gold Crown Resorts. After the way we were treated [w/ absolutely no pressure] we’re thinking of staying at their boutique hotel property next year.
La Pizza Nostra Ristorante
Francisca rodriguez no. 150
Tel: 223-0703


GROCERIES: We were sent on a mission to find “fresh fish” – harder than you’d think, considering we’re on the ocean. After inquiring at several bodegas, we were directed to Puerto Vallarta’s #1 fish store – no name – like the best nightclubs – on the door.
We left with 2.2 lbs [1 kilo] of swordfish one hour out of the ocean for an unbelievable 60 pesos = $5 US.

SHOPPING: Even the usual gauntlet of street vendors wasn’t unpleasant. We passed on a TEAM ITALIA soccer jersey but bought the latest “it toy” – a Barbie in an evening dress with a parachute attached to her. If Barbie’s not your thing, you can get the Sumo Wrestler doll.
COST: $5 US.
VALUE: Totally fun – we flew her on the speedboat on the way home.

THE BUY: After inspecting rings at over ½ a dozen jewelry stores, we hit pay dirt at MARINO & MARINO JEWELRY.
We left with a 4-½ carat loose sapphire. Cost - $97US.

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