Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sights to see in PV

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The construction started on this church in the early 1900s and was completed around 1940. It's just a few blocks from the plaza downtown and we toured the inside, along with others. It's free, but they appreciate donations, however small. We took a few pictures and moved on.

Kids running around in the church
There is a Starbucks in the Plaza. I take advantage of a Starbucks anywhere. I'm not a purist when it comes to coffee and will march right in to a Starbucks anywhere and order my usual Skinny Vanilla Latte. I really enjoyed drinking it in the "El Jardin Principal" and watching the people. There's some big trees in the square with a gazebo and lots of benches. We enjoyed watching the "pigeon chasers" as we like to call them.
Pigeon Chasers

Around The Town

Walk the steep steps up to the entrance

After arriving at our condo the previous night, the first thing we needed to do is eat. We always bring a little food along and that would get us to lunch.  We headed down to a little vegetarian restaurant called, Planeta Vegetariano. It's a few blocks from the Cathedral and was "OK." It's "buffet style" and husband went back a few times. Very colorfully designed and busy while we were there. Friendly service and clean. And, really affordable at about $5 each. I have read reviews elsewhere around the internet and I think we may have hit the place on an off day...a Thursday noon experience which seems to come in behind a weekend dinner experience. At any rate, the dessert was the best part. A yummy cake, brought to our table and the dessert changes daily.
Inside Planeta Vegetariano

Wake up!
After lunch, we headed to a local neighborhood grocery store. There is a Costco in town and a Sam's Club, if you need large quantities of food.  And there is a Walmart. Walmart pretty much monopolizes the grocery market in Mexico. Everything you would normally buy at a Supermarket, you'll find at Walmart, along with clothing, household goods, hardware, etc. Even souvineers. But, we just wanted a few things today like bread and milk so off we went to the little local  mercado. Here's a shot of some cereal boxes. Everything is brighter and louder in Mexico!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Puerto Vallarta

Day One in Puerto Vallarta or "PV" as it's called. We left LAX yesterday around 10am on U.S. Airways, stopping briefly in Phoenix, arriving in PV around  5pm. Airfare was $330 apiece, including taxes and fees. Please note that neither of us speaks Spanish and although this didn't pose any problems in town, it would be helpful to know the language in Mexico. We had no problems getting through Customs and Immigration, which took about an hour. We walked out front, grabbed a taxi and off we went to our rented Condo. We found the place through and paid about $43 a night. I won't recommend this particular condo. You can do better for about the same price, on VRBO. Go for "newly remodeled."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SAM & The Space Needle

Inopportune: Stage One by Cai Guo-Qiang

Thursday is our last day in Seattle and it rained. How fitting! That makes it a perfect day for the Seattle Art Museum or SAM, as it's called here. We hopped on Bus 15, paid our $2 fares and headed into Downtown. The entrance fee is $15. We brought our cameras, hoping to get a shot or two of something beautiful to take with us. About 15 minutes into the tour, a young man came over and asked us to not take photos of the painting we were viewing. We were confused since we both had read downstairs that photography was allowed, without flash and we were careful to turn off the flash. We decided to go back down and check and sure enough, we were right. Apparently, the rules had recently changed and the young man had not been told. We shrugged this off and continued our viewing. A short time laster, we were asked to put away the pen we were using to take notes. The gentleman said "We're terrified of pens here" and he handed us a pencil. We apparently missed that rule. There seemed to be a lot of rules in this museum...and guards. All in all, our trip to SAM was enjoyable. There's not much here but they do have some great pieces. Go on the first Thursday of the month and avoid the entryfee.
After spending about 5 hours at SAM, we hopped back on the bus and headed for the Space Needle. Although it had stopped raining earlier, it had started again. We had contemplated spending the $17 for a ticket to the top, all week. We finally went for it. The rain meant fewer people but also cut down the view. But it was still pretty breathtaking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bainbridge Island

I had read that Bainbridge Island was accessible by ferry and would make a good day trip. We decided to give it a go. We walked a few blocks down First Ave to catch the bus in the Free Zone and took it down to Marion to catch the ferry at Pier 52. We paid $6.90 for each ticket and found out on the return trip that we needn't pay to come back.
Pedestrian Crossing Flags
We walked down the main street toward the downtown area. This is a quaint, small town street that is lined with shops and restaurants. We walked down to the end and had lunch at Emmy's Vege House. This will be the only restaurant that I will recommend for this trip. Great food here. Vegetarian-no meat. But if you weren't told, you'd swear you had chicken in that bowl. We had the Ginger Chicken Bowl with brown rice. Sauteed vegetables in a delicious ginger sauce for around $7. Others recommend the #10.

After lunch, we walked back toward the harbor and stopped into the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. This is a small museum in an old schoolhouse and it's packed with the history of this island. They have done a fabulous job and this turned out to be one of our most memorable experiences of the trip. Find out what happened to the Japanese-American population at the time of WWII. Find out about the Filipino Americans and how they grew on the island. The Strawberry Festival history is interesting also. There is just a lot to take in here for $2.50.

After lunch, we walked across the main street and found the trail to the waterfront. The temperature reached 68 degrees today. Record breaking! It was very warm!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

This morning we woke up to some pretty fair weather, 56 degrees and no rain. We decided to take a trip up to Chittenden Locks, a FREE sight. We hopped on a bus going North for $2.75 each, got a couple of transfers and that got us back at no additional charge. We had just visited the Locks in Panama last August so were familiar with their workings and were very excited to see locks in the U.S.

The locks here do 3 things:
1. maintain the water level of the fresh water Lake Washington and Lake Union at 20–22 feet above sea level.
2. prevent the mixing of sea water from Puget Sound with the fresh water of the lakes.
3. move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice versa.
We saw the locks in operation so that several ships could move through one way or another.

We also viewed the Fish Ladder. Unfortunately, it was still a bit too early for the salmon - "peak" viewing time is during spawning season, from about the beginning of July through mid-August.

The grounds also features a visitors center, which is closed on Tuesdays, as well as the Carl S. English, Jr., Botanical Gardens.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pioneer Square & The Underground Tour

The Underground Tour takes place in Pioneer Square. The tour is $15 and this is really a bargain as you will learn the history of Seattle as you are led down under the city back into the late 1800s. Do this at the beginning of your trip so you get an understanding of this city.

On the Tour, looking up through the sidewalk

The city square, listed on the National Register of Historic Places,  is dominated by the Victorian pergola, a bust of Chief Seattle and a Tlingit totem pole. According to our tour guide, there once was a very large, public restroom built under the pergola in 1909. However, that restroom is no longer in existence. Too bad as there does seem to be a lack of public restrooms in Seattle.

A couple of blocks away from the Pioneer Building is the Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park. Here you will learn a little more of the Seattle area history, it's FREE and it's a rather small building so it won't take much time to get through it.