A Winters Express opinion column
By Charley Wallace
A few months ago, Woody, my golf partner, invited Sherri and me to join him in Mexico. He and his wife, Rebecca, were heading down for a two-week vacation and a nephew’s wedding. We said yes and used our canceled airline credits with United to book the trip. Our original trip to Canada was booked and paid for two years ago and if you squeeze your brain just right you can convince yourself that this trip is free, since you don’t have to pay for the flights.
I had never been to Puerto Vallarta and I was looking forward to getting away, if only for a few days. It turned out that Woody had booked a two bedroom apartment on the coast and one of his relatives was only staying for the wedding, leaving six days open for us.
When you have young children you hang around with other parents, but when your kids leave, you need to find other couples for social interaction. I’m lucky that I have friends that tolerate me for more than one evening out. Mostly they invite Sherri to share their vacation and I just tag along. I’ve found that golfing vacations work by keeping the guys out of the way for at least a couple of afternoons.
The golf courses around tourist areas are usually pretty nice, and Woody and I played on a Jack Nickolas designed course just outside of Puerto Vallarta. It was a long cab ride and we were looking forward to playing a course that has been used for televised international tournaments. We were a little surprised that were was a large landfill next to the course, but once we started playing you don’t notice the piles of rubble. They didn’t show the landfill on TV.
There weren’t a lot of people on the courses we played, but those that we met were older Americans that have retired in Mexico, or Canadians who spend their winters there. One Canadian couple joked about competing with their neighbors back home on who could shovel the snow off their property the fastest. I can see why they enjoy living in Baja, where it is always 70 degrees, and humid.
A strange thing happened when Rebecca wanted to mail some post cards home. The hotel said they no longer have mail service. I’m not sure if this is just Puerto Vallarta or all of Mexico, but they don’t have home deliver anymore. People use email or go to the post office to mail cards or letters. Not sure who you would mail them to in Mexico if there isn’t home deliver; general delivery or a mailbox?
To get back into the United States you have to be tested for COVID within 24 hours of your flight and show proof that you are vaccinated. Local medical clinics are more than happy to help you get tested, at $35 each. At the airport it was comforting to know that everyone around you has been tested, has their shots and were wearing masks. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that way when you walk down the street or while sitting in the café?
As much as I like to travel, it is always nice to be home.