Heroes of Puerto Vallarta – Chapter Two

Back at the hotel from our down town phone adventure, I got off at the bus stop and walked across the street to the OXXO store to pick up a few things.  When I got to the check out and reached for my wallet I realized it was gone.  I had just used it downtown at the cell phone store.  I had a couple hundred Canadian and more in US funds plus a few pesos.  The part that really bothered me was my driver’s license, my credit cards, my bank card, and several other personal items such as my medical card.

I left the basket on the counter and told the clerk I would be right back.  Outside the store, I looked across at a small road side kiosk that we had bought some tours the day before.  The man who owned it, Louis, spoke perfect English and was most helpful.  I ran over to him and explained that I thought or at least hoped my wallet was on the last bus which had just left a few minutes before.  What should I do?

Louis left his kiosk and went down the road to another bus and he explained in Spanish what had happened and that bus driver got out his phone and made a call.  It took some time for the first bus driver to pull over and answer, then the bus drivers had a conversation while passengers quietly waited.

“What colour of wallet was it?”  I’m thinking he has more than one?

“Brown leather,” I said.

“Where were you sitting?”

“Half way down the pass anger side.” – more waiting.

“He has it.”  The driver was beaming, “But he cannot wait, he must continue on his route.” We thanked him and Louis directed me back to his kiosk.

“Come on.  Get in that taxi.  The new hero said pointing to one in front of his stand.

I jumped into the front passenger seat, he into the driver’s seat and we sped off.

“You own the taxi as well?”

“No but I know the route and drive faster than the driver will.”  Louis cut back and forth changing lanes and cutting off other drivers, much like in the movies.

“You do not mind if I drive like a Mexican?”  Who was I to complain, we had just stolen a taxi.

“There do you see it up there?” He said after a few miles. “When I pull up along-side wave out your window at him.”

A few minutes later the bus pulled over beside the road and I was standing on the steps.  The driver was smiling proudly as he held up the tri-fold wallet by one end and I could see it had all spilled out and he had jammed everything into one bill compartment.  I took it, thanked him and looked at the mess inside.

“Is it all there” He said and Louis repeated in English.

I could see Canadian hundred dollar bills, several American and Mexican bills but more importantly my cards and driver’s license were there. I figured if anyone had sole something they would have taken more and if the driver had he would have simply said he did not find it so I said yes and peeled off two US twenties for his trouble.

Back in the car the driver said he knew all the drivers as they stopped at his stand every day and I really should tip the first driver as well as we would never have found this had he not taken the time to call.  I took out the last of my US money and handed him thirty-five dollars, “Is this enough?”

“Yes, that will be enough, I will see he gets it tomorrow.  He will be happy.”

Back at his kiosk Louis suggested that I give the taxi driver $30 pesos for his car, which I did while he explained in Spanish why we took it.  Later I figured out the value of 30 pesos, $1.38 US, which is why he looked so dejected.  Sorry.

I told him I had to go to the ATM at the OXXO store, get my groceries and a tip for him.

I returned with three five-hundred pesos bills for him thinking it about $60 dollars but later calculating it was just over $100 Canadian.  He was most pleased and told me the next day the other driver was thrilled as well.  Over $200 in tips was a small price to pay as they could have made more just keeping the wallet.

It made me realize how kind and honest Mexican people, like most people, really are.  Too often we hear rhetoric casting doubt on all people of one community or another.  None of the four Mexican people I met this day had any reason to step up and help but they all did and I am very grateful.


On the beach

So life here is hard.  I just finished a lobster for lunch with all the trimmings plus 4 margaritas… ran the bill up to almost $35 with tip, Canadian so I thought why not go all the way and had another foot massage by Abraham again, He does an amazing job a half hour for $18.  Boy do my feet feel good.  Now I am chitlin with some more Margate’s then back to the Pages in the sun.

Pages in the Sun is my coffee shop. The best coffee house bar none, in all of Puerto Vallarta is just across the bridge into the romantic district.  Out front under a roof providing shade are several tables for the shop and the bar next door.  Most are occupied with wintering Canadians like Frosty and Teddy from Victoria.

I prefer the coffee shop for several reasons, first being the coffees and food which are great.  The severs are all friends and personable and often I have a couple of beers, a cookie and lunch while I work on my book, running my tab as high as $10 Canadian.

The real reason I love the place is they have a large table that will seat six, with six reclining silaving  office chairs making working for four to six hours quite easy.

I think I will write something very inspiring there if I can stay awake.  Happy Monday to those that aren’t offended that I didn’t say the 11th day of Christmas.




Heroes of Puerto Vallarta – Chapter One

The day started uneventful enough.  We took a bus to downtown Puerto Vallarta to get a new screen and sim card for my old iPhone 6 plus.  The first place we found had a nice young woman working there, who spoke no English.  I struggled to get my message across and she tried equally hard to understand me.  Finally, a dishevelled looking man, 36 he told me later, stood up from where he was squatted on the sidewalk and asked in almost perfect English, if he could be my interpreter.

“Please.” I responded. After some back and forth Spanish he told me that she had sim cards but could not fix the screen but he knew a place less than a block away, so off we went.

Neither of the two men in the store could understand English so again after some more Spanish dialog my new friend said, “They can fix it in an hour for $100 US dollars.”

“What?  This is Mexico I can get it fixed for less than that in Canada.”

He spoke with them some more then said he knew another place so far away so off we went again.  The fellow in the new shop seemed even less interested in our business and apparently said he could fix it for $200 but it would not be ready until 7 pm.

“What do you want to do?  I don’t know of any more places.”

“Okay, let’s go back to the first place and start again.”

After taking the order the man suggested we should go near-by to wait and have a beer.

“Can you buy us each a beer?”

“Sure,” I said looking around for a sidewalk café or pub.

“Over there, you can buy two at the OXXO store, the Mexican equivalent of a Mac’s store.  We went in and bought two cans, then came out, found a shady spot and then sat on the edge of the sidewalk, opening the beers.  I don’t know the last time you sat on a sidewalk and drank beer, but it has been some time for me and I was surprised at the looks cast our way.

My new friend told me how he had worked for years in New York City but had been caught with a joint and shipped back to Mexico with no charges and now lives on the street.   He saved his money and boarded a plane for Vancouver as he thought Canada would be a good place to live.  The customs agent asked him how long he was coming into Canada for and he said he wasn’t sure, two or three months maybe.  She asked if he had a place to stay to which he said no.  Then she asked how much money he had.

“That’s personal I said. Then she said I must know.  I said what difference is it to you, if I have a dollar or ten thousand dollars? Then we got into an argument and she put me back on the airplane to return here.

I’m going to try again when I save up enough money, maybe you could give me your address and I could use it as the place I will be staying.”

“Sure” I said, why not so I gave him Eddie Wrights address.

“Say do you have ten dollars?”

I thought well he had been helping me for over an hour now and it had been a big help so I said sure and gave it to him.  He finished his beer and said, “Just wait here, I will be right back.”

He returned a few minutes later and asked if I smoked pot.  I assured him I did not so he took the two joints he had in hand and re-rolled them into one.

“They make these so skinny now.”  He admired his handy work and lit up.

“This can’t be legal?” I said.

“We have an expression here that rules are made to be broken.”  He smiled showing his healthy gums where I am sure teeth used reside.

“Look when the police come I am not going to jail with you.”

‘No problem.”

As stated the job was done in the hour and we were back at the first place.  “She needs 300 pesos for a sim card and a plan that will work for a month, with unlimited international calls.”

“Does she take a credit card?”

Some more Spanish then, “No. but I know where there is a bank not too far from here.”

Three or ten blocks later we arrived at the bank.  He waited outside while I went in to the ATM machines as the branch was closed.  I put the card in and remembered the Spanish for pin number but the next screen had several choices that I could not understand.  I didn’t think it a good idea to solicit his help so I went back outside and told him my card was rejected.

“What will we do now?”

“My son Liam is in the area I will text him to come and lend me the money.”

“Well this is taking longer than I thought, do you have another ten dollars?”  Feeling a little bid extorted I gave him the money thinking I was doing so to help a fellow human in hard times.

Back at the store Liam finally showed up and gave me the money I needed.  My friend brought a wireless speaker over and asked if I would buy it for him.

“I’m sorry, you have twenty dollars of mine, buy it yourself.”  Too harsh?

We tried to test the new phone but it died and I had to take it back to the room and charge it before for calling Myrna.  I called her three times then texted her as it was not like her not to answer.

Her reply was simple. “Try again your calls all registered as coming from Belgium.”  The phone works fine if you all answer your Belgium calls.

I was to run into Hector again the following day and he helped me with some more shopping and we shared a great fish at a very out of the way Mexican place.

This was the quiet part of the day; the rest was to end in a missing wallet and a high-speed chase.