Yesterday we took a boat tour to a bird sanctuary that´s a National Heritage preserve. On the way out we saw multiple whales and dolphins, manta rays leaping from the water, and seabirds galore. Once at the island, we had the option to snorkel and to sea kayak. I did both. I´ve snorkeled three times before. I love how you just slide into the water, tilt your face in, and join the fish and other marine creatures in their native habitat. It feels like I´m all alone as I´m floating there. Then I lift my head and there are life jackets and flippers all around me. The best snorkeling we ever did was the first time, on the Big Island, when there were hundreds of fish and I felt like I was swimming in their aquarium. You never know, though, what will be there. Art has decided he´s not as fond of snorkeling as me because he´s not confident in the water. But he brought a book and read in the shake. The sea kayaking was easy, like canoeing. Fun!
Today we took the city bus to Old Town and walked a couple of miles along the boardwalk. Artists were building sand sculptures, which I´ve seen in photographs but never in person. Most interesting to me was watching the pelicans watching for fish in the surf. They fly parallel to the water, then seemingly fall, head over feathers, into the water to jab at fish. One of those things I could watch for hours.
A friendly taxi driver directed us to a restaurant up the hill from the Sheraton. Called the Friendly Lobster (la langosta feliz, or something like that). It was pricy, but possibly one of the three finest meals we´ve ever eaten. Appetizer was avocado stuffed with shrimp and octopus, main course was an enormous medley of lobster, shrimp, crawfish, and red snapper, all in the shell or with fins still attached. It wasn´t until we walked back down the hill, through the non-tourist part of the city, that I started to feel the heat for the first time on this trip. I was glad to get back to the resort to our cool room.
A few more words about timeshares. They´re one way to spend vacations in a place where you can cook if you want, and we´ve always had a clean place and a comfortable bed. I agree about the high pressure sales pitch. But they are a depreciating asset, and you can buy one quite inexpensively in the aftermarket from people who want to sell theirs. Three years ago we bought a week at a great place in Sedona called Arroyo Roble Resort - it´s right on Oak Creek, with two bedrooms, good size and great staff. We bought it on Redweek.com from the agent of the previous owner for less than half of the original price. I know the resale prices have fallen even further in the last couple of years. These days you can find timeshare weeks on Redweek.com for a dollar. There´s still the annual maintenance fee, but it´s a very good deal. Our timeshares are in Whistler, Arizona and this company which has nice resorts all over the country including Hawaii besides here in Mexido. You can also trade your timeshare through several clearinghouses. We´ve done that to go to Maine, Williamsburg and, last month, Idaho. I wouldn´t pay retail, but aftermarket can be an excellent bargain.
We also travel with home exchanges. When we were in Maine in September, we spent a week on Peaks Island, off Portland, while that family was at our house. And in March we`ve got another exchange, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a couple who has grandkids in our area. Since we have grandkids in Santa Fe, it will be a good trade. We´re also exchanging cars in the deal, so all we`ll need to pay for is our plane tickets and our groceries.
Someone just told me that this week there is snow in all of the Canadian provinces and 48 out of 50 states. Here in Puerto Vallarta it´s about 76 and sunny. I love snow, but I can live with sun in January!