Saturday, December 8, 2012

One perfect day in Puerto Vallarta

Hector addressed the oldest three of our children in Spanish. They made that face, that thinking face. Seven years of Spanish between them and they made that face. Then they gave him a puzzled look, the look of non-comprehension combined with sleep deprivation and the necessity of functioning before 9a. He repeated his question and waited one more moment before switching into perfect English. After all, he grew up in West Hollywood.

Reassured that we were the right family, Hector ushered us into his van and drove north, away from the puerto, the port of Vallarta. Along the drive to Punta de Mita Hector told us about his upbringing in Los Angeles and his decision to raise his own family in Mexico. His dual citizenship allows him to visit the states often and his mother still lives in LA. He filled us in on Mexican politics and the holiday that its citizens were observing and the parades we passed during our 45-minute drive.

And then we arrived at the Four Seasons Punta Mita to meet up with Tom and Esty. It is one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever seen. The infinity-edged pool overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The service is five-star and the staff set us up with bottled water, covered lounge chairs and towels poolside. The younger kids hopped in for a quick swim while the older ones wandered down to the beach. There is just something about a Four Seasons resort; they are the masters of elegantly simple decor coupled with anticipate-your-every-need service.

Tom and Esty are there for the week staying with their friend Barbie, who has a house there. Tom is Dave's cousin, also Eldest Daughter's g/dfather, and Esty sells real estate at the Four Seasons Residences in San Francisco. Barbie's house faces the ocean and has two pools, one outside the master bedroom. There is a full-time cook / housekeeper. Each bedroom is its own suite and the children's wing is separate from the main house. The whole place is so peaceful that I wanted to curl up on one of those outdoor sofas and take a long nap. You can rent similar houses for $5K/night if you're interested in an expensive nap and a view. The picture of me, at right, was taken in the courtyard at Barbie's house.

Lunch was a five-minute, golf-cart-ride-away in the tiny, one-street town of Punta de Mita. The beachside restaurant, which we shared with just one other couple, presented our tuna first hanging from its tail on a pole and then turned into two styles of ceviche and finally, tacos. The waiter taught the kids to make guacamole, which we devoured with hand-made blue and yellow corn chips, and tortillas. Margaritas and tequila shots were consumed. The kids bought jewelry. We laughed and enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch. Then it was back to the resort for a quick trip down the lazy river pool and a return to the ship. Where we reluctantly boarded and wished we'd had more time at Punta Mita.

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