Friday, 29 April 2016

The heart of country music

Nashville

Nashville City Skyline


We met Don and Carolyn while visiting Bill & Michele in Arizona a couple of times, so when they heard that we would be coming to Nashville this year, the offer to stay was extended. They are a lovely couple and very easy to talk to. We had told Don some of our plans, so he incorporated those into some ideas that he had when they took us sightseeing. We had great time with both of them. They moved to Nashville to be closer to their son and his family and you can tell they have a great relationship.

Carolyn, Lindsay, Don & Jane

We went to downtown where the action is happening. The area used to be a no go zone but about 15 years ago, the area was transformed by country music. You wouldn’t believe how many bars are here, often there are 2-3 stories with a different band on each level. They play for tips. Each band would play for a few hours.

Tootsie's was the place that started it all. While we were there a professional singer from the audience got up and sang

Nashville is the No1 spot for Bachelorette parties in America, so there were lots of women out partying – but where are all the men?

The above band was playing during our dinner, they had a fiddler and played Lindsay's favourite song - The Devil went down to Georgia

The Gaylord Opryland must be the largest hotel/convention centre in Nashville with 2800 rooms. We spent some time walking around the gardens. It has a large temperature controlled enclosed area for the plants with a river, waterfalls and bridges; it’s cold if you are in summer clothes.

Every now and then we come across some new words for the same things:


American

Australian

Bachelorette parties

Hen’s nights

Ice Cube

Ice Block

Manufactured home

Prefab or kit home




Monday, 25 April 2016

Campground Review - T.O. Fuller State Park TN

T.O. Fuller State Park

1500 W Mitchell Rd, Memphis, TN 38109, USA

Site 15 is in the middle section near the playground
Why we chose here? The closest State Park to Memphis

Location: 10 miles south of Memphis

Sites: 45, some back in and some pull through, set in a woodland setting. Quite a number of sites fit large RV’s. All sites have 30 or 50amp and water and there is a dump on the way in/out.

Facilities: Restrooms with showers, laundry $1/wash, $1/dry, playground. In another area of the park is an Olympic sized swimming pool. You also get free tickets to the Chucalissa Indian (prehistoric) Village that was found when they were digging a swimming pool in the 1940’s

Groceries: Shops are about 5 miles away

Reservations: Yes

Cell Coverage / WiFi: Verizon 3G 1 bar, 4G with aerial

Price Paid: $21.85

Date of visit: April 2016

Would we come here again? Yes, it’s a lovely park. Even if you don't want to visit Memphis, it's very peaceful to rest for a few days.

picnic shelter and playground
showing site 13 on the right, a smaller site on the left


Related Posts:



The Birthplace of Jazz

Memphis TN

Hernando De Soto Bridge

The I-40 took us across the Hernando De Soto Bridge and into Memphis. We prefer to have space and vegetation around us when we camp and we found a gem just south of the city. You enter the park through a tunnel of green trees which are gorgeous and makes you think of coolness, but when we got out we are hit with a blanket of humidity. Totally understandable since it’s supposed to rain the whole time we are here. Looking online there were lots of sites available so we didn’t book. The birds chatter constantly all day long and the setting is very peaceful.

Lots of greenery - the road to the campground

The park’s name comes from Thomas O Fuller who dedicated his life to empowering and educating African Americans. This was the first park that opened to African Americans east of the Mississippi river and was originally called the Shelby County Negro State Park. It reminds you that we are in the South now and memories of the bigotry portrayed in Hollywood movies come flooding back. Thoughts of segregation aside, everyone is allowed into the park now and it’s a really nice place. One of the camp hosts told us a story of how he pulled into a campground late one night. In the morning when they saw him, the other campers put out their Confederate flags. He got their message and decided to leave, why would you want to be around people like that anyway? I don’t think they will ever live in harmony in this part of the world. The area where we are staying is a poor neighbourhood and the houses are small and run down but tidy. All the locals around here are African American, and we were the only Caucasians in the supermarket, even though they were extremely polite and helpful Lindsay felt uneasy. It turns out that there are murders in Memphis every day.

I had seen Campedium.com in the wireless networks when I had logged on. Having posted a few campground reviews on their site, I knew what it was. I sent an email to see if it was them but didn’t get a reply. Up for a challenge, Lindsay asked me what rig they drove. I had no idea, but if I had to guess I said – it would be that airstream over there. So he knocks on their door and doesn’t come back for an hour; a catch up is organised for the next night.


Sun Studios where Elvis recorded his first song

I wanted to photograph the Hernando De Soto Bridge; it turns out he was a Spanish explorer who was the first European to cross the Mississippi river around 1539. At the Chucalissa Indian museum we learned that he wasn’t a very nice person and left a lot of bloodshed in his wake. The best view of the bridge was from the roof of the Madison hotel. There is a bar on the roof that has a perfect view of the Mississippi River and they didn’t mind me setting up my tripod. There were too many clouds the night we went so the sunset was less than perfect and with thunderstorms forecast the following night there wasn’t any point in going back, other than to have a drink but we had drinks already planned with our neighbours.



Beale Street is the place to go for bright lights, restaurants and jazz clubs, so we checked out some of the local entertainment and tried their pork ribs which they are supposedly famous for. 

The McDaniel band at Juke Joint
Bright lights of Memphis

While I like Elvis movies because they’re fun, I wasn’t a huge fan, so I didn’t need to pay to go and see an old 70’s decorated house.

Elvis

Catching up with Leigh and Brian was a lot of fun. Brian makes a mean Margarita with Tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Unbelievable good but lethal, so lucky we didn’t need to drive anywhere as Lindsay had two. They have a grand plan for their business and it will be interesting to follow their journey. If you RV in the USA, Canada or Mexico and need to see find a place to camp, check out their site at Campendium

Brian & Leigh

Related Posts:

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Our 2016 North America adventure begins

We arrived back in the USA in mid April and I’ve spent the last couple of months working on our itinerary for our next trip - we are going to the East Coast. I never usually do so much preparation for a camping trip but we need to book ahead in a number of places such as New Jersey for New York. I’ve been reading other people’s blogs to get ideas of where to go, not many people have blogged about the East Coast so it's difficult finding out information.



We spent a couple of days with our friends Dale and Shelly in Yucca Valley CA. We aren't usually here in spring to see Shelly’s cacti when they are in bloom, so it's really nice to see some of them this year. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and amazingly fragile looking for such an ominous plant.

Lindsay always has a couple of jobs to perform on our camper before we ever go anywhere, this time it was installing a new electronic grey water tank valve. He did the black water tank valve before we left for Mexico and liked it so much he wanted to do the grey valve too. It makes doing a horrible job a lot easier. They are called Drainmaster and it takes about two hours to install, which includes the electrics. So now all he has to do is hook up the sewer hose and press a button. We also got new license (registration) plates for our truck as they have changed the way they charge us, it is now based on the tonnage of the vehicle, so they had to be replace the old ones.



We are now back on the road and it feels good. We got on the road by 8am on the first day and drove 335 miles, which took us to Williams in Arizona. We’ve taken out a Passport America subscription this year as I think we might actually use it. For $45 year, you get 50% off the normal rate of some RV parks ($40 if you buy through Campingworld + 3 extra months). Often there are restrictions during peak periods, holidays or Friday and Saturdays – so we won’t be able to use it at all participating parks. For transit stops we often camp in Walmart but there aren’t any in Williams so we found a PA membership park and saved $24, so we are halfway to recouping our membership already. As we pulled into the campground another camper alerted us to a noise he could hear coming from one of our wheels on the trailer. After we parked, Lindsay found it was red hot. He thought a wheel bearing had gone even though we had had them serviced last year. We rang around a number of people until one said he could come. It turned out that a brake adjuster had come undone, so a brake was dragging. $225 later all was fixed. Lindsay gave a couple of beers to the guy who alerted us and he was going to give the mechanic one too - until he got the bill!

The next leg was 368 miles Williams AZ to Edgewood in New Mexico. The brake guy had suggested that we stay at the Casino just out of town but Lindsay remembered that he needed an oil change so we found a Walmart. We got an oil change, did some shopping and got somewhere to stay for the night. We spent nearly $250, so it works out well for them too.

We were hoping that it wasn’t going to rain as our wiper blades had disintegrated due to the desert sun and dry air. Looking at our GPS there wasn’t an Autozone within 400 miles in the direction we were heading. Luckily there was a Napa along our route, so we picked some up and by the time the rain should have arrived we were in a different state. We had to replace our Tom Tom GPS last year as the old one kept turning itself off, annoyingly just as needed it to turn a corner. We replaced it with the Garmin RV model which is fantastic. We’ve put in the height of our 5th Wheel and so far it hasn’t taken us anywhere we can’t fit under. The screen is super big and the extra information is really handy, now we just need to work out where to find everything in the menus!

We’ve had four or five time zone changes in less than a week, so we’re getting up at some stupid hour as we’re awake. It’s working out well though as we get away early and get most of the driving out of the way by just after lunch. I’ve been making sandwiches every day for the first time so we that don’t need to stop. I hope we can keep it up.

Palo Duro Canyon state park

It's a green canyon, not quite as Grand as the one in Arizona

In Texas we had planned to stay in Palo Duro Canyon state park that our friend Steve suggested. It’s the Texas equivalent of the Grand Canyon, so I was really looking forward to seeing it. There were no reservations available online but it said there were some first come first served sites available. We got there before 12pm hoping luck would be on our side, but there was nothing left. It’s the weekend after all, so this is a warning to make future reservations for Friday and Saturday nights. We went back the following day and chose a six-mile moderate walk to the Lighthouse. Lindsay knew very quickly that he wasn’t going to be able to keep walking as driving 300+ miles a day had taken it’s toll. So we parted ways at 1.2 miles and I went on alone with my heavy camera. America has amazing parks, trails and wonderful scenery. I love being back here.

the main trail
A reptile scuttled across the track and into the scrub. He blended into his new surroundings and it took a few minutes for me to find him again. About three groups passed me before one stopped, it’s a horny toad, one of the girls said; a Texan emblem apparently. He’s in the shape of a toad which is where he gets his name from, but in fact he’s a lizard.

A Thorny Toad lizard

I was about half-way now to the Lighthouse, which is a large rock formation the lady in the visitor centre had shown me through the powerful scope. A large thermometer on the track told me it was 80°F, it was getting warm. There were about three tracks in the general direction of the Lighthouse and I was told the left one was the quickest. Yes, the quickest but the steepest! I didn’t have any trouble getting up, but I knew getting down was going to be a problem and I didn’t have Lindsay with me to coax me down. You can actually climb right to the top but I settled for the first level.

the quick route, this section had places to put my feet, further up it was like a slide
Nearly there, I went to the flat bit between the two towers
View of the canyon
Coming down looked steeper from above so I crouched down and moved slowly using my hands as anchors. It was tempting to slide down on my bum, but the rubble would have ruined my shorts and I may not have been able to stop. It made me feel a bit better when a number of others behind me followed suit. Apparently I just missed a rattlesnake - quite happy to miss one of those.

On the way back the temperature had risen another 5° and my camera was feeling heavier. It’s been a while since I wore hiking boots and blisters were forming on my heels. Most of the benches were in full sun but I did find a couple in the shade to sit as I needed to get the weight off my shoulders. Lindsay was going to give me another 20 minutes before he came looking for me as there were a number of fast moving mountain bikers on the trails and he was worried one had ridden into me. We’d been told it was a four-hour walk and it had only been two hours since I’d left him, so I thought I was doing pretty well. People only started passing me towards the very end; that last mile was a real killer.

People climb to the top but I thought I'd save my energy

So our first impression of Texas? flat wide open spaces and lots of wind turbines.

flowers along the trail, a pity I didn't have the right lens with me
For our leg through Oklahoma this morning we set off at 7am, our earliest yet. We were treated to a magnificent sunrise as well as green grass and shrubs all along the highway, we are officially out of the desert. Tomorrow we head to Memphis.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Mexico Photo Album



Click on the picture above if you want captions with the photos. When you are in the album, you will need to click on the slideshow button which is on the top left hand side of the menu.

Or, you can view them here, but the feed can't read the captions



Other Mexico Posts:

1. A very different place for us
2. Life's a beach
3. Living in Old Town
4. A seaside village only accessible by boat
5. Wrapping up Puerto Vallarta
6. Puerto Vallarta Essentials


Puerto Vallarta Essentials

Puerto Vallarta has just been rated number 10 in the list of the most desirable places in the world to retire.

So what do you need to know if you are coming here for the first time?

There are many of these boards around in case you get a bit lost

What to bring

The weather is around 28°C (82F) during the day, sometimes a few degrees hotter but no more than 30°, so you will need light clothes. Nights are 10°C (15F) cooler but you will be fine in whatever you have been wearing during the day when you go out for dinner. Shorts, skirts, t-shirts, maybe one pair of light long pants and one long sleeve shirt and a light jumper (sweater).

The streets are cobbled, so depending where you are staying you might need runners, rubber sandals like Teva's for walking on the beach as sand will ruin leather ones. You don't need to dress up here.

Hat, sunscreen, water bottle, backpack. If you are only taking carry-on, you won't be able to bring any bottles larger than 100ml or aerosol cans, but shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream etc can all be bought at supermarkets here. In nearly four months during winter, it has only rained a couple of times and it was mostly during the night - very civilised.

On arrival

You do not have to pay an entry fee into Mexico as this is included in your air ticket.

Mexican currency

Mexico's currency is the peso which is expressed as $. The note denominations are $500, $200, $100, $50, $20. Coins are $20, $10, $5, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c. Not many people use the 20c and 10c, they just round it up. I have noticed two types of 20c & 50c. The old ones are bronze and hexagonal, and the new ones are silver and tiny. Some people just hold out some money and let the locals take what is due.

On the street and in some shops, when people say dollar it could mean US dollar or pesos, so you might need to check. Some places take both US dollars or pesos and there is an ATM that dispenses US currency down on the Malecon.

There are currency exchange booths on the Malecon which show the conversion rates for USD and CAD. The better one opens around 11am. HSBC won't change currency, I'm not sure about any of the other banks will, it might be worth checking. The rate given at hotels is highly in their favour, so don't use them.

There are ATM's at the airport, but there are also many in town. The ones at the airport are to the left of the exit when you come out. There are a number of ATM's by various banks and they charge a conversion fee and an ATM fee around 46 pesos regardless of the amount you are withdrawing. You cannot go into a bank and do a cash advance on your credit card, but you can withdraw large amounts from the ATM. I was able to withdraw 12,000 pesos, just under $1,000 Australian which is the daily amount my bank allows.
Map of Banks in PV.

Transfer from the airport to your condo

We organised a one way transfer from Puerto Vallarta Tours. We booked and paid for our transfer online before we came. It cost $US13 each to zone 2, which is south of the town, so places closer to the airport are cheaper. A lady was waiting with our name on a card as we came out and took us to our driver, and everything went smoothly. A yellow taxi from town to the airport is around 150 pesos but you can't get one inside the airport as that is reserved for the more expensive government white taxis, so you need to walk outside across a bridge.

Getting Around Puerto Vallarta

Map of PV bus routes
The standard price seems to be 7.50 pesos. The driver's have change. They prefer you to give them coins, not notes.

Many of the buses will have some of the names of the places they are going to such as Walmart, Hotels etc. That doesn't mean they go straight there. On a trip to play golf down near the hotel zone, the bus went up into the outskirts taking an extra hour than normal. He missed his game!


Map of PV water taxi's
The closest water taxi's from Old Town leaves from the pier at Los Mertos beach. The map above shows other destinations.
Link to schedule and pricing from PV to Yalapa
Link to schedule and pricing from Yalapa to PV

Water taxi

Puerto Vallarta Supermarkets

If you are here on holiday, you will probably eat out every meal, but long term, you will want to buy food and alcohol. There are two Walmart's here, one Costco, some large local supermarkets, local family run grocery stores and OXXO which is like 7-Eleven. You could bring a couple of bags back on the bus, but if you have a lot, you might want to take a taxi. A taxi from Walmart back to our condo in just south of town cost 120 pesos. You will find that wine is more expensive than a mixed drink such as a Margarita, if you buy a bottle it may well be more than your meal.

If you ask a taxi to take you to Walmart, he will take you to the one near Sam's as this is the one most of the tourists go to. Don't expect it to be like Walmart in the USA or Canada because it's not. There just isn't the variety of items. We prefer the Walmart near Costco.

Ley's supermarket is at the end of the Malecon. You can get pretty much everything here that you will need. It's about a 40 minute walk from Old Town.
The Pharmacie Guadalajara in old town is good for getting things you've forgotten.

There are lots of items you are used to that you won't be able to buy here, so you might have to alter your menus.

You won't find taco mix, we did find the single sachets in a speciality store, but they were a ridiculous price, you can't buy the spices to make it either.

Learn to make your own guacamole, it's easy and avocados are cheap.

Supermarket Map


Ley's

Mega supermarket is down near the hotel zone and has a lot of items that you can't find at the other supermarkets. Probably the best supermarket.

Mega bread department

We buy all our vegetables at the Mexican market. The first market you come to has better quality and higher prices and they tend to round things off. The second one has some good stuff if you pick carefully. You can choose your avocados here (28 pesos a kilo about $A2.14, $US1.54) where you can't at the first place, she chooses them for you (35 pesos). The second place gives you a printed receipt, so you know you are being charged correctly. Buy fruit at the first place.

the local mercado in old town

More info on markets


More about food

Butter is called Mantiquilla and comes in 90g sticks. We bought margarine by mistake and it was so horrible we threw it out. Most of it is unsalted "sin sal", if you want salted, you want "con sal". The local butter tastes different to what we are used to, so try and get a Danish or New Zealand brand.

We bought the wrong oil, it seem to have a scent and made the food taste awful. After using olive oil for a while, we looked up the different oil names and got a vegetable one.

You will have to hunt for normal (black) tea, as the supermarkets only stock one or two brands and they do sell out, so buy up when you find them.

Water

They advise you to drink bottled water but for washing vegetables or making ice, you can use microdyn which you can get at supermarkets. Add the required drops and wait 10-15 minutes. Now that we have been here longer though, we wash our vegetables using sink water and we haven't got sick.

He calls out agua, agua 20 pesos for 20 litres of water

Finding Properties to Rent


Booking Websites

Flipkey, Airbnb, VRBO, Craigslist, HomeAway, and of course if you only want a hotel, look at Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Kayak.
Be aware that Flipkey can charge between 5 & 15% booking fee. We got charged 7% and 13% on the two places we rented. I believe Airbnb is similar but I've never worked it out.

Real Estate Agencies

The Property Girl, Vistalegre, Vallarta Sunset, MyPVRentals

Most places will come with weekly cleaning included where they will also wash your towels and sheets etc, but not your clothes. Some places include water and gas but charge extra for electricity as many tourists leave the air conditioners on when they go out or leave the windows open when they are turned on.

Where to stay

PV is divided up into areas. The main ones in order from the airport are: Marina, Hotel, Centro, Romantica, Amapas. The Romantic zone is Old Town.
  • If you want to do the country club thing, stay in the hotel zone.
  • If you want to experience Mexico and don't mind a bit of noise, stay in the Romantica or Centro zones
  • Amapas, depending on how far out of town, you will need to either walk or take a bus

Doctor/Hospital

MedAsist is where the locals send the tourists as they speak english. It's on the corner of the main highway and Manuel M. Dieguez in old town, one block up from Basilio Badillo.

There is a doctor right next door to the Guadalajara Pharmacy on the main road in Old Town who would be a lot cheaper.

Activities in town

Friday night: South Side Shuffle: Last Friday in November to the first Friday in April, every second Friday 6-10pm along Calle Basilio Badillo, Old Town. Art, Jewellery, Fashion, Live Music, Drinks, Food.

Every Friday night: Only during peak season - Dec-mid Feb. Down at the Farmer's Market - Dinner and drinks from different stalls and a show - usually traditional dancing and music. When that finishes another band starts up in the rotunda. 

Saturday morning: Farmer's Market and there is usually a band who start playing at 12pm for an hour or so. Lots of stalls covering a wide range of items, including food for home. Eat lunch there and watch the band.

Farmer's Market

Sunday morning: Market up at La Cruz - you need to get a bus to Walmart, then another to La Cruz, about 50 minutes from town. Similar to the Farmer's Market with a few different vendors right on the harbour.

La Cruz market


Other Mexico Posts:

1. A very different place for us
2. Life's a beach
3. Living in Old Town
4. A seaside village only accessible by boat
5. Wrapping up Puerto Vallarta
7. Puerto Vallarta Essentials

*Prices quoted are from early 2016

Monday, 11 April 2016

Wrapping up Puerto Vallarta

Our 15 weeks here in Puerto Vallarta is coming to a close, so what has it been like to live with the Mexicans?

As I sit here writing this, there is Mexican music blaring from somewhere in the street, I can hear the lady talking in the condo across the road because they have their windows open and we have our bi-fold doors open. I learn some local costs, how much she pays her cleaner, the quote to paint her room. A dog occasionally barks. The pastry man calls out trying to sell his goods. Some builders are using a grinder. A few roosters crow as if they're communicating.

Car alarms go off in our neighbourhood most nights. It's the local boys playing soccer below just below our window. If the cars are new, it's not long before they have a few dents in their shiny exterior, and they don't look new anymore :( Most nights they play until 11pm, or someone is playing music or has their TV on, so we never plan on getting an early night's sleep.

a typical house in our street

Notice the gas meter at the front door. There is no mains gas, it's delivered in bottles or the gas truck just connects a hose onto the meter at the front; there must be a big tank somewhere inside. Our condo ran out of gas last Sunday, the only day the gas man doesn't work! No gas meant no hot water, no stove or barbeque. No problem, no walks today as we needed to have a shower before the hot water went cold or the condo below us used it up and then we went out for dinner.

Most Mexicans sit outside at night. The adults stand talking in doorways or people watch from a chair. The children sit on the pavement playing with their toys or colouring-in books. There's always constant chatter. It's probably more pleasant for them than being inside. Most houses are condos (flats/apartments) in a three to four story block. This leaves only the front and back walls for windows making it very dark inside, I can see inside as we walk past as the doors are often open. Some condos on the ground floor are lucky to have courtyards out the back. Most of the streets are one way and with the cobble stones and the occasional and unnecessary speed hump, the traffic doesn't travel very fast, so it's safe. We are very lucky that our condo has large windows in all the main rooms.

Many places are not finished... it's probably like Egypt, because then they will have to pay taxes





















In the morning the cafe's lining the streets have their lights on, setting up before the sun is up to make breakfast for potential clients. Fresh juice, coffee, cake, pastries and yes tacos, which they seem to eat for all three meals of the day. Like Italian food in Italy and Chinese food in China, the tacos are not like what we are used to or make at home. At the street stalls they are a soft corn tortilla with a bit of pork/chicken/fish and some salsa, without the taco spices we love. At the Farmer's market you get a few more options, such as guacamole. A few men on our street wait for their morning ride, sitting on the pavement watching videos on their smartphones to fill in the time.

Breakfast

Further on people are sweeping leaves from in front of their stores or hosing down the pavement. Our condo has a tap just inside the front door for this purpose. While there is rubbish in some places, on the whole, they look after their space. Balconies are also hosed down and the water is swept off the side, bad luck if you're walking below!

Stork on the Cuale river

I often walk down the Isla Cuale around 7am, an island created by the splitting of the Cuale river. Suspension bridges of dubious construction offer a dryer alternative to walking across, and if anyone is walking heavily behind you, it's easy to lose your balance. We watched in amusement as one guy rode his scooter across. I often count the number of cats I can see both on the way down to the sea and again on the return leg, just to see if I get the same number. In the beginning I only saw 20-30, but you get better at spotting them and one day I counted 100, though most days there are around 70. One day there was a group of women with cat carriers and bags of dry food. So I asked one of them if they brought the strays to the island. She said no, that they run a free clinic that de sexes them. Just after this conversation further down the island, a lady got out of a taxi carrying two very heavy cat carriers...mmm.  She also told me that the Mexicans were threatening to kill them. 

Stray cat

The city put a sign up a few weeks ago which says that animal dumping is prohibited and the person responsible will be punished by working 300 days at minimum wage, which at present is 72 pesos a day, a pretty big disincentive. I know it's easier to have them all in one place, but there are just too many, so I'm with the city on this one. Every morning I see little piles of dry food delivered by a number of good samaritans and it makes me wonder if they live here or will they go home in a few weeks; for the sack of the cats, I'm hoping they're expats, so they live here. Puerto Vallarta has just been named the 10th most desirable place to retire.

Iguana
The Iguanas sit high in the trees to warm up with the sun rays. This must be his home as we've seen this one in the same place a number of times. The only way we were able to photograph him is because there is a bridge that lets us be a few stories up.

And once we saw one walking across the footpath





The Malecon is a seaside walk. There are many statues, restaurants and shops. It is nearly empty now, the tourists have gone home. It will probably be bitter sweet; great that they have their town back, but the money has gone too.

Pelicans
Sand Sculptures
one of my favourites
There are two seahorse statues, one on the beach and one on the Malecon

The Pier
I'm sorry that our Australian friends are in an avocado drought at the moment and having to pay around $6 for one, they are only 28 pesos a kilo here which is about $A2.18/kg. Actually quite a few things here are sold by weight that are sold by the unit in other countries - eggs, all vegetables and washing if you get them to do it.

I just love the colour here

I left it too late to take some skyline shots of the hotels further up the coast. The number of tourists have dwindled and therefore not many rooms have their lights on. The first night we went down was abysmal, the pictures were dark and the buildings were specks. I really had no idea what I was doing, I had the wrong lens and we were too late. So the next night we went down at sunset with a bigger lens and I also did some research during the day on sort of what to do. I don't think there's a magic recipe, you just have to try different settings. I manually set my focus, aperture, speed and ISO. I don't shoot in manual very often, so it's a learning curve.

PV hotel zone





We are the only ones left in our condo, everyone else has left. We would have been gone too if I had been able to book this current place from the 1st of Feb, but it was already booked, so I just moved our two months to the 15th without even thinking about taking two weeks off.

In a short while we will embark on our next adventure - the North American North East coast. I've done quite a bit of research as we can't just wing it, which is my preferred mode of travel. Lindsay has been helping me find photo opportunities on 500px. It's busy over there and we will be homeless unless I book a few places, which I can't do until we know what date we have to leave. Definately feel out of my comfort zone. You can't stealth camp in a 35' 5th wheel, not that we really do anyway, challenges are definitely on the horizon. Here we come, ready or not.