We try to leave the country at Christmas as much as we can. Neither of us have family holiday expectations so it’s a pleasure to escape some of the American Christmas Race, with Thanksgiving as the starter pistol, and ending in a bloated heap at New Year’s.
There’s almost none of that in Vallarta, so we had the pleasure of staying at Casa Faro while Paco and Franck were home in Paris. This was first time we’d been during full-on high season and it’s a very different place than when we normally go. If you thought it was gay in June, well, in December it’s Palm Springs and Mykonos and Ibiza all rolled into one squirming, six-packed, oiled-up white party.
La Noche Bar
Our friends Kent and Bob joined us for a week and we proceeded to drag them to every seedy bar we could get into. Our local beach club, Mantamar, was reservation-only, but we snuck in with the help our regular waiters.
The weather was perfect, we snorkeled and beached and stayed out late but honestly, I prefer the off-season, when we can get into our restaurants and the cab drivers treat us like the VIPs we think we are…
Snorkeling at los Arcos
Since we never shut the hell up about Málaga, some of our friends have expressed interest in this place very few Americans have ever heard of. So we had to put up or shut up. We met John and Tom in Madrid, then trained down to Málaga, where we all stayed at the AC Palacio (90k Marriott points for 3 nights). We took them to all our hotspots- Glass Museum, the Alcazaba, Muelle Uno and they really had a good time.
Hector, Tom, John, me at the Glass Museum
After they left we went up to Carligto for a couple of nights, then had dinner with local friends Anna and Juan, then Mitch and Jerry, then AnnaCarin and Tomas Timgren. Jesus, I’m exhausted just remembering how popular we were.
After THAT, if you can believe it, Tere and Martin joined us for a week. We got a GREAT 2 bedroom apartment and ate and drank our way across the Costa del Sol. Back up to Carligto for a night, but also a lot of Málaga wine-drinking cafe-sitting tourist-watching. The usual.
me, Hector, Tere, Martin, our standard pose.
The four of us then left for Madrid for a night to meet the family Tere stayed with when she was a young exchange student. They were fun, stuffed us full of cheese and ham.
Hector and I flew home, hungover and exhausted. Tere and Martin stopped in New York to party for Halloween. What the fuck?
We’re baaaack! After a series of extremely fortunate events, we have bought the house we fantasized about in Santa Fe and are happily nesting.
The most valuable lesson I learned from this move is that I am too old to be moving entire houses full of junk across the country. So no more. I expect to be buried somewhere here in this picture.
So we put the Caminito Borde condo on the market May 1, and got a cash offer that night, full price. What an effing relief, after the chaos and disappointment of two years ago when the sale fell through. We are eager to get back to Santa Fe and restart our plans there, but there is a slight twinge of melancholy at saying goodbye to our home of 18 years. Not so sad to leave San Diego itself, we were ready for that a long time ago.
Mantamar Beach Club
We spent a whirlwind weekend in Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Franck’s 50th birthday. As usual, he and Paco tore it up with the entertaining. Saturday night there was a White Party at Casa Faro, on Sunday a party boat to Quimixto beach with lobster and alcohol. We met some very fun French friends of theirs, along with the local crowd of Frenchies who live year round in PV. Just like their wedding in Paris three years ago, they spared no expense or detail to make everything fantastic. I wish I gave enough of a shit to entertain that way.
Madre mia! It’s Presidents Day Weekend and also Valentines Day Weekend so all the LA cholos will be heading down to Ensenada and Rosarito, and we’ll be right there with them.
Hector and I used to come to Ensenada all the time when his Mom was still alive and living here. Now we aren’t even going to tell his father we’re here. Tere and Martin have picked out an Airbnb for us all. We are actually more the hotel types than the Airbnb types but hey we’re easy. The place is new and cleanish, and cheap.
Saturday we drove out to the Bufadora, the local blow hole, which always had little shops and bodegas clustered around it for the tourists. It was fun and local. Well, that was fifteen years ago and now it’s grown to huge proportions, with a mile of shops and bars before you get near the blow hole, so there was a lot of humanity to get through. Even though it was jammed with tourists hardly any of them were vomiting.
Next day we ate breakfast at Hotel Coral, where naturally we ran into Hector’s Dad. Hi, what a surprise. After that we drove out to the Guadalupe Valley to see the wineries.
The wineries were just great. We hit about 4 or 5 of them and had a great lunch at Laja. The region has really developed since we visited the only winery there 15 years ago. It’s worth getting a map and devoting a whole weekend to it.
Back home, ho hum. But it’s the start of a new year and.. oh fuck it. Wish I was still in Spain.
Things have slowed down at my school so they have no classes for me, the low man on the seniority pole. Apparently the Saudis are no longer getting a free ride from the King, they have to actually achieve something to continue their scholarships; ergo, most of them are on the way back to Riyadh or Jeddah. I loved my students but they couldn’t really be thought of as over-achievers.