News and Views from the Oshika Gang

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¡Viva Mexico! February 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 9:56 pm

After a year of full-time stay-at-home-motherhood, I started to realize that Mommies don’t get holidays. Or vacation time. Or sick leave. Or even coffee breaks. You know, it starts to wear on you after a while!
So with another baby getting closer with every day, we decided to take one last easy three-person holiday, before chaos really takes over the family. We decided on an easy all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta because it was the path of least resistance: short, direct flight; minimal time change to worry about; no cooking, cleaning, or meal planning; virtual guarantee of good weather; and relatively inexpensive.

The departure was delayed by 4 hours, which was frustrating because we were scheduled to fly at 6am so we got Aili up at 3am! By 7 we were all exhausted, and looking at another 3 hours of killing time in the airport. Ultimately, we checked into the Fairmont for an 80-minute nap, which worked out to over a dollar a minute, but in my opinion was worth every penny!
Aili was great on the flight; she refused to nap, but chirped and played and flirted with the people in the rows around us. The only time she cried was when she bonked her head on the armrest, and well, it must have hurt.

We rented this clever little device which uses the airplane seatbelt and straps to the chair so you can tie your kid down. Because Aili spends a lot of time being strapped down (car seats, booster seat, stroller) she didn’t complain about it once. Fantastic!

This is probably not a part of recommended airline etiquette.

Our resort was the Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya, an all-suite all-inclusive resort about 30 minutes south of the city. We weren’t going to shop or party, so an out-of-the-way location worked perfectly for us. We specifically wanted a suite with a closed-door bedroom, so Aili could nap during the day and go to bed at her usual time but we could still talk, sunbathe, check Facebook, etc.

This is the front sitting room of our suite. There was a second one near the door, where Aili’s crib and playarea was.

Looking out at the pools from the balcony.

Resort grounds and pools. It was absolutely gorgeous. There were 4 pools, including one for kids, one for adults, and one for activities.

I am in love with this cute orange dress.

*Someone* was afraid of the beach, the waves, and wouldn’t even touch the sand.

And then……. on Tuesday I woke up sick. It wasn’t life-threatening or anything, just unpleasant. All the usual symptoms of food-based illenss. And then on Tuesday night Johnny had a fever and chills. And the on Wednesday morning, Aili got the runs…….
And on Wednesday afternoon, we checked out.

I don’t know what’s going on at that resort, but it seems that they’re having an epidemic of some sort of food-borne illness. They are aware of the problem, and have had labs in to do testing, all of which has come back negative. Because I’m pregnant and Aili is so young, however, we were concerned that our fairly mild symptoms would become more severe and not only would our vacation be ruined, but we could become very ill. Let me say that the Barcelo is lovely and spectacular, and we enjoyed it immensely. I would absolutely go back, and recommend it to friends, but I would make sure to keep an eye on the reviews on Tripadvisor and other sites before making a commitment. I’m sure this will pass in time, and the Barcelo will once again be as idyllic as it appears to be.

The second resort was a big step up in service, quality, size, and price. It was clearly like stepping from a 4* to a 5* property, and we loved it the moment we set foot there. Poor Johnny, he’ll never be able to take me to anything less ever again. The resort itself is called Velas Vallarta, and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Johnny and I have never ever said that we’d go back to vacation at a place that we’ve been to already, because there is so much world out there to experience. But for Velas Vallarta, we’ve agreed we’ll make an exception.
Our 1-bedroom suite was nearly 900 square feet, a third again as large as the first apartment we shared together! It had a full kitchen, and because it was all-inclusive the kitchen was stocked with fruit, yogurt, milk, juice, beer, snacks, and water. The property had peacocks, iguanas, cats and dogs free around the grounds, and the gardens were absolutely spectacular.
We hadn’t really thought about not doing the all-inclusive option, but in retrospect we probably should have. After being ill, neither of us felt like eating or drinking very much. After a day or two we were back to feeling normal, but we certainly didn’t eat our money’s worth!

Peacocks. Aili was scared of them. (NOT the world’s most adventurous child.)

You can see the peacock further down the path, where she’s looking. While she did NOT want to go anywhere near them, she couldn’t take her eyes off of them!

An iguana sunning himself by the pool. Aili walked right up to him, and I thought she was being tremendously brave, until he moved and she SAW him! She was terrified, and practically climbed up my legs in her efforts to escape from him.

Birds! (She just loves the birds. I wonder if she’ll be an ornithologist.)

She started running while we were in Mexico. Lord save me.

This is the prime restaurant at the resort, which is built right on the beach and looks out to the sea. Unlike most all-inclusives, you can do a buffet or order from an a-la-carte menu, which is nice. The service was fantastic, and the resort was probably only about 1/3 full, so there was always a lot of space.

The lazy river running between two of the pools. Aili loved the bridges that went over the river, perhaps for the challenge of running up and down angled paths.

Up and down, up and down. It was enough to drive a Daddy bonkers. (Mommy would just sit on a lounge chair and wait till it was time to move on…)

The day after the ultrasound when I found out I was having a girl, I went out and bought this cute pink bathing suit. It was the very first thing I bought for her, and I love it to this day. (I also feel weird about small children wearing 2-piece suits; it somehow seems inappropriate for a toddler to be wearing something ‘sexy’.)

Still looking for the birds.

Pool time with Daddy!
(Although you can’t see it, at this moment something important is happening. You see, my tiny lovely little camera is in Johnny’s left swimming trunks pocket. By the time we figured that out, it had given up the ghost.)

Many of our friends in Mommy Group have observed that their toddlers have an obsession with playing with a ball. For us, this just kicked in last week. In fact, two of her new words are ‘bird’ and ‘ball’.

A view from pool #3. It’s hard to see here, but right beyond it is the beach and the sea. You can literally lie in the pool and watch the waves.

The ultimate! Room service lunch on the patio. The patio was bigger than our deck at home, and had room for two sets of tables and chairs plus two lounge chairs! There were slider doors out onto it from both the bedroom and the living room.

Pick your beach chair!

Little Ms. Chicken was still afraid of the beach and the waves, so after a second unsuccessful attempt to introduce her to sand and sea, we ended up back at the pool.

I must recommend these clever little shoes. They are Bical Grippers, and are perfect for those tiny feet, for a number of reasons. (1) They have great grips, so there’s no slipping on pool bottoms. (2) They protect little feet from hot pool decks. (3) They don’t let sand in from the beach – assuming you’re brave enough to stand on the beach, of course – so there’s no painful rubbing or blistering as you walk. (4) They have some sort of antibacterial something in the padding of the soles, and actually smell good. (5) They can go right into the washing machine.
I picked them up at Spree Fashions for $10, and they come in all sorts of sizes and styles.
Thanks Natalie for the great recommendation!

Aili liked the streams because they were filled with fish. She could stand there and watch forever.

In jammies and ready for bed. She loved playing with the phone, but this time we got wise and unplugged it so she couldn’t make any unwanted calls.

Kisses from my girl.

We took one morning and went into the town of Puerto Vallarta, just to check it out. Although we didn’t really explore very much and stayed primarily in the tourist areas, we didn’t see much we were interested in. We did go to WalMart, hoping that cameras would be twice as cheap in Mexico – – but were surprised to see that they were in fact twice as expensive. Who’d have thought?

Mexican car seat.

Baby sign: ‘water’.

Here’s a view from the Malecon, a 16-block walkway along the beachfront. You can see the hotels in the distance.

A seahorse statue on the Malecon…

… um, wait, is that a naked cowboy riding that seahorse?

Little Ms. Shades. In actual fact, she refuses to tolerate anything on her head, including hats, shades, hair clips, or toques. Note also that she’s undone her sandals. Now that she’s figured out how to operate velcro, any shoes that are adhered to her feet using it are at risk of being tossed off the side of the stroller while I’m not looking.

Little Ms. Eyelashes. What a beauty.

Sunset on another perfect day in paradise.


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