While the condo purchase was working its way through the legal maze, we used some of the spare time to take a few side trips out of Puerto Vallarta. We returned to the hot springs at La Disembocada three more times this season, taking the crews of Lotus, Bold Spirit and Dos Amantes/Ten Ten respectively. We also took day trips out to the beach towns of Punta Mita and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

We had heard from several sources that the small village of San Sebastian de Oeste up in the mountains behind Puerto Vallarta was well worth the effort. Together with Joe and Lori of Dos Amantes we rented a jeep and made the two-hour drive.

Here's the view from our table outside the Hotel Posada del Sol where we had brunch. The town sits at the head of a box canyon. Now a quiet village of 600 coffee growers, farmers and artists, it once was a silver and gold mining town of 30,000.





Here we are waiting for our brunch outside the Posada del Sol with Lori, the "better half" of the crew of Dos Amantes, an Island Packet 40 cutter. Joe, the other half, is of course the photographer and took some of the other photos on this page as well--thanks, Joe.

We met a Mexican gentleman named Chuuy here who offered to take us on a walking tour of the town. We asked how much? He said to pay him whatever we thought it was worth after the tour.

It took about two hours. We gave him 400 pesos ($40) and a cold beer at the end. It was well worth it.







Here's Chuuy showing Kay and the rest of us through the old hacienda in the center of town that was practically a fort, with fortified walls and gun ports for defending the gold bullion from the many banditos intent on getting some gold the "easy" way.

It now serves as a hotel, one of about four in town.









After Chuuy's tour we sat outside the town tavern for cold drink. Tethered to a tree at the corner of the plaza central were these two horses.

All of the streets are paved with cobblestones, most of which were probably laid down over 150 years ago.

A first-annual cultural arts festival was underway that weekend but it wasn't as big as we were expecting. Hopefully, it will grow into something larger in future years.

For now, it is pleasantly tranquil, uncrowded and serene.








On our way back to Puerto Vallarta we made a couple of stops. The first was just outside of San Sebastian at the Hacienda Jalisco. Some of you may recall that Puerto Vallarta was put on the map when John Huston decided to film Night of the Iguana there. The leading male star, Richard Burton, brought his girlfriend, Liz Taylor, along for company and the rest is history. Well it turns out that John Huston and a few of his Hollywood buddies discovered this place, which was virtually inaccessible except by small airplane at the time. Just the kind of privacy celebrities occasionally need.

You can stay there today, however, it's a little on the primitive side with no electrical service--the lights are gas powered. But if you are a movie buff you'll find the memorablilia interesting and it doesn't get any quieter than this place.








We had to pull the jeep over to the side of the road to get a photo of this cow with the blue agave field in the background.

If you are a fan of good Tequila, or have been paying attention to earlier pages, you know that blue agave is the 100% source of spirits in the better Tequilas.










We stopped for lunch at Rancho Capomo near the village of Las Palmas. We hiked up this river to the waterfall last season.

After lunch at the restaurant on the cliff above the river, we drove the jeep down to the river. Lori and Kay enjoy a wade in the stream to clean the dust off their feet.

Picnicing in the distance is a large Mexican family.











These two young Mexicanos are enjoying a "cool" game of dominos.








Here's something you'll never see in the environmentally correct US (Kyoto Protocol not withstanding). As you could see in the two previous photos, the stream is quite shallow--no good for swimming.

No problema! Uncle Jose has a backhoe!

Where do you want the swimming hole? That looks like a good spot.









This picture has nothing to do with our trip to San Sebastian, we just wanted to get it in somewhere. We're having dinner with our friends Mark and Gail Learned who also have a condo in Puerto Vallarta and also live aboard their boat at Murphy's Landing in Gig Harbor. So we are kinda like double-neighbors.

The place is Barcelona Tapas in Puerto Vallarta and you can see the sunset over Banderas Bay in the background.

The occasion was Mark's birthday, his 39th (he paid us to say that). The present is not for him, it's from him and Gail to us-a Valentine's Day gift.

In the distance we saw a whale leap completely out of the water. Great food, great view, great company.