I just returned from a wonderful trip to Puerto Vallarta with my writing group. While taking a walk one day, I was struck by how different the experience of Puerto Vallarta can be, even within a very walkable two miles.
In the Zona Romantica, where we were staying, there were quaint stores featuring lovely textiles and artwork that made me want to redecorate my whole home in a Frida style. There was one of the most amazing chocolate stores, called Xocodiva, featuring the most divine expresso, cinnamon, lime, champagne, and chili flavors. There were elegant nighclubs with names like Amor and Garbo, where we ordered drinks like watermelon martinis, and watched beautiful people pass by. The Zona Romantica caters to a primarily gay audience, and this is nowhere as obvious as theBlue Chairs beach area, where watching gorgeous, tanned male bodies in the scantiest of bathing wear is a typical afternoon event.
But just a mile or so north of this area is the more “mainstream” tourist area. Cute cafes give way to rows of vendors selling the same t-shirts (“I’m shy but I have a big d_ck”), hats with Puerto Vallarta logos and hammocks probably made in China. The primarily male crowd becomes a mix of cranky children who aren’t enjoying mommy and daddy’s attempt at a vacation and overweight tourists in matching Hawaiian shirts. The restaurants all feature 2/1 margaritas and waiters wearing sombreros. And there isn’t just one but two Senor Frogs, and even a Senor Frog’s outlet where tourists can pick up t-shirts for those left at home.
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