My sister was staying with me in Rio for the past 3 weeks which meant that anyone else in the room with us was completely extraneous. Huh? Husband? Children? Who are you? Some of you will relate to this: non-stop talking, sometimes in code, and uncontrollable laughter. Yay for sisters! Others will be puzzled. I’m sorry. Being immersed in sisterdom reminded me of some of the trips my sister and I have taken together. So…
Where: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (I feel I have to defend this one because there are people who are critical of Mexico and of all-inclusive resorts. In fact, I was one of those people. Except this was exactly what my sister and I wanted: warm weather, food, and drinks so that we could stay focused on all that, well, talking.)
Plate of food: I love Mexican food. I do. LOVE. No, Taco Bell does not count (but in an emergency the 7 Layer Burrito will do, just ask for extra guacamole. I mean, c’mon, customize your fast food, people.)
No, I am talking about/salivating over mole sauce, tamales, chiles rellenos, cilantro, beans, tostadas, ceviche….Say it with me: Olé! (You know you want to.)
We enjoyed great food in great quantities during our stay. My favourite were small tostadas served daily as a mid-afternoon poolside snack. What’s that you say? It’s been 90 minutes since my last meal? And I’ve done nothing but read my book since then? Well, then, pass me a tostada! These were palm-sized corn tortillas topped with pork, avocado, cilantro and lime. They were warm, fragrant, and fresh. And just what we needed to keep our energy up if we were going to see out the afternoon in our sun loungers. Phew.
I dare say that if we had asked the gentleman who insisted on eating a cheeseburger every afternoon IN THE HOT TUB, he would not have mentioned the tostada as a highlight. All I have to say to him is that you and your dripping mustard are the reasons I never put a toe in that tub. That and the fact that I would’ve had to sit on your lap to actually fit in the hot tub. Let’s move on.
The Best: I can’t begin to comment on the sights around Puerto Vallarta. Although we did see many things (lively marketplaces, hidden churches, a tequila museum, Richard Burton and Liz Taylor’s Mexican love nest), it was all just an undercurrent of activity to what was really the highlight: being with my sister. We walked, we talked, we ate, we talked, we watched the Academy Awards in Spanish, we talked…. Trips like that are wonderful in their own right. Uncomplicated, indulgent, undemanding, and good for the soul.
But I will offer this: the best was visiting a glass factory, where men worked in teams to handle and shape the molten glass. It glowed in dazzling colours at the end of their long poles as they pulled and twisted it like taffy. Some glass blowers would press the malleable glass into wooden molds to create perfect rectangles. Even from where we stood the intense heat from the ovens made our foreheads tingle. It was noisy and hot, but these men worked silently and steadily creating these beautiful works of art.
Story that needs to be told: Or in this case Random Thoughts that need to be told:
- We spent the majority of our trip laughing hysterically at things that were
probablydefinitely only amusing to us. Although we opted for an all-inclusive and enjoyed the perks of it, we were still struck by some oddities about that type of a trip. Namely that they plied with us alcohol from morning to night. Somehow they convince you that it is completely reasonable to start your day with a mimosa and end it with an Irish coffee (complete with flaming tableside mixology!). To be fair, we did not put up much of a fight. A mimosa with huevos rancheros just feels right.
- There was a club across the street that was affiliated with the hotel. Manned completely by keen youth, they put on a nightly performance of choreographed singing and dancing. They weren’t shy about using strobe lights and the smoke machine. Walking back one day from an excursion, we were followed closely by a young guy in black denim and leather. We walked faster, so did he. Then he called out to us, “Hey, ladies” which is never going to lead to a deep, satisfying conversation, is it? He repeatedly asked us what we were doing that night. We tried our best to sound like the kind of sisters who would be joining a convent and then retiring to bed at 8:30 to do cross stitch by candlelight. Don’t want to give the wrong impression, you see. He finally flashed a smile and told us to come check out the show…oh. Turns out he was one of many talented performers who donned sparkly outfits in Puerto Vallarta’s answer to Broadway. My bad.
- There was a daily session of pool volleyball at the hotel. To make things “festive” it also involved a sports bottle filled with vodka. I have not the faintest idea how that worked into the rules, but the leisure crew who came up with this genius idea harvested the depths of their creativity yet again and christened it “Vodka Volleyball”. However, the guy who announced it every afternoon called it “Wodka Wolleyball”. It’s an improvement, I think. He also did his best to lure the aforementioned man from the hot tub by calling “Hello, Yakuzzi? Time for Wodka Wolleyball!” We never took part in the volleyball sessions, mostly because there is nothing worse to me in this world than playing volleyball. Sorry. We did, however, begrudgingly join a line dance one afternoon near the end of our stay. The leisure team were starting to get concerned by the girls who never took part in the activities (please refer to ‘sisters’ and ‘extraneous people’). All I can say is that it is a blessing for all involved that this was the time before video phones and YouTube.
“What’s the good of news if you haven’t a sister to share it?” Jenny DeVries