The Captain has gone to Montana for a family visit, leaving the Mate in the very capable hands of friends Chris and Paul. Armed with rental car and guidebook, we have been exploring some of the attractions beyond the shores of Bandaras Bay. We traveled north along the coast of the state of Nayarit, past the surfing town of Sayulita, to the community of La Peñita. Every Thursday morning the streets there are converted into the kind of sprawling open air market known as a tianguis
. There are local artisans, as well as some from distant Mexican states, with pottery, textiles, and jewelry. Then there are the stalls that sell hardware, electronics, clothing - almost anything you can imagine, in every color and shape and size. It's like a Walmart on steroids, but infused with the entrepreneur's eye for display and promotion.
Another day, we headed instead to the south, and visited the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, in the mountains about fifteen miles beyond old Puerta Vallarta. The setting is spectacular, laid out among steep slopes; the restaurant was excellent. The gardens, although not yet ten years old, are promising; orchids are a specialty.