The extremely decadent weekend. Day Six. The final evening

We were fairly exhausted after a fabulous day spent eating, diving, swimming and generally loving Mexico but all decadent weekends must come to an end (why?) and far too soon, it was the final night.

We joined the rest of the group at Casa Azul where the wonderful Roger plied us once again with food and margaritas and the conversation turned to the soon to be embarked upon £10 challenge (now out of necessity as we’ve gained ten pounds!)

After dinner we moved outside to set off Chinese lanterns over the bay. Despite the proximity of the palapa roof, nothing went up in flames that wasn’t supposed to and the glowing lanterns drifted slowly across the bay rising higher into the darkness before disappearing from view.

We were exhausted and despite the temptation to stay and drink more tequila, it was time to call it a night.

The extremely decadent long weekend – Day Six. Another day of decadence!

Sunday, and after a great night out which seemed as though it would be hard to beat, off we went to Boca de Tomatlan on the bus. At Boca, the mouth of the Tomatlan river meets the bay, local fisherman and tourists fill the pangas (small fishing boats) and tables with umbrellas face the stunning view

From Boca, we took a boat to the Ocean Grill. It turned out to be a gorgeous outdoor restaurant with a palapa roof where fresh fish were grilled by a stunning bay with crystalline water. The owner, Alphonso and his Great Dane, Wilson seemed to have found their slice of paradise.

Another meal (another few pounds) and it was time to swim. Diving off the wooden gangplank, the relief was instant as the day was hot and the sun was intense.

The floating lido complete with palm tree offered a respite from treading water (what a hardship) and so the afternoon whiled away as we swam, dove and laughed at attempts to climb the ladder back to the jetty.

As the afternoon went on, we took a panga back to Mismaloya taking a detour through Los Arcos, the three large rocks just off the coast from Rob and Stella’s house.

And then there just just enough time to walk back from Mismaloya and have a rest before dinner…

The extremely decadent long weekend – Day Five. Birthday Celebrations!

Saturday was Catherine’s official 40th birthday and so after a breakfast of Huevos Rancheros, we ambled our way over to the enormous white mansion, Casa Azul where the rest of the birthday party were staying.

We walked in and spontaneously broke into a spirited rendition of Happy Birthday as we walked down the steps. After the initial celebration we divided up as half the party went into town and the other intrepid explorers went snorkeling.

After a blissful hour of watching fish, we regrouped for an incredible lunch in the enormous mansion. A table overlooking the bay seated fifteen of us as we started with guacamole, chile rellenos (large poblano chillies stuffed with cheese), shrimp tacos and spicy chipotle sauce. With wine, beer and marguaritas, it was a lunch filled with great food and lots of laughter.

After lunch we divided again. Some people had massages (because it wasn’t relaxing enough) and those of us concerned with how much food was being consumed, went snorkeling again.

It was a hard day!
But wait, there’s more!

We regrouped for dinner in town at the incredibly picturesque Hacienda San Angel, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the hillside of Puerto Vallarta. Another spectacular meal was had as we ate, drank, laughed and celebrated in general.

We’re all getting progressively fatter but we’re soldiering bravely on.

After dinner we walked down the malecon pausing to dance (as only a middle aged woman can, with abandonment). I did my best Flashdance impersonation (probably not a good thing) before we ended up in a Cuban bar where we attempted a version of salsa dancing.

It was very hot and it was late but we all managed to dance in the street while we waited for taxis.

And so to bed.

Waking during the night, there was the most incredible view of the full moon over the bay, the moonlight created a silver path across the benign water. It was a magical sight and so the weekend continued.

The extremely decadent long weekend – Day Four. Mismaloya, Mexico

After a refreshingly healthy breakfast of fruit, granola and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice on the terrace overlooking the bay (yep, roughing it again) we slowly made our way to Mismaloya beach for a little snorkeling and, surprisingly, more eating!

Letad and I donned snorkeling gear and immersed ourselves into the underwater world of fish for a while.

The feeling of weightlessness, the rhythmical sound of breathing through the snorkel and the strange crackle of the water lulled me as we spotted a variety of fish.

One of my favourite films is The Big Blue, a film about free diving near Greece. Guess where I’d like to go next summer?!

After a while it was time to return to the deckchair, order fish tacos and drink a baby Pacifico beer (only in Mexico!) And then it was time for a nap as it really was a busy day and we had dinner reservations in Puerto Vallarta.

It had started to rain, the rainy season had ended last week, Puerto Vallarta apparently hadn’t been paying attention and so tropical rain poured down as we made our way into town to Trio, a local restaurant serving an interesting style of contemporary cooking.

I had the most sublime red snapper with a cilantro and lime sauce. Absolute bliss and something I would definitely order again or even try and emulate.

With the rain pouring down we headed back from the malecon, dropped the blokes off to continue drinking and headed back to to the casa.

As the rain poured softly down outside, it was time for bed.

The extremely decadent long weekend – Day Three. Fiesta in Mexico!

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta, we made our way to the glorious cliffside home of dear friends, Rob and Stella. We were greeted with balmy temperatures, guacamole and kickarse marguaritas. Not a bad way to start the long weekend!

As the sun set, we sat on the open terrace and absorbed the view. With the mountains of the Bahia de Banderas as a backdrop, and the benign Pacific ocean below us, the most spectacular gold-tinted, pink and orange clouds filled the sky and created one of the most beautiful sunsets ever seen but perhaps it was the tequila talking!

As the rest of the group joined (there are fifteen of us here for Catherine’s 40th birthday weekend), the conversation flowed and the drinks followed. A band set up and the outdoor terrace was filled with the sounds of Mexico.

Before long, a delicious buffet was served and plates were filled. My favourite flavours of lime, cilantro, avocado, prawns and tortillas appeared and created a feast and we ate and drank with abandonment!

As jetlag set in for a few, the party started to wind down, and knowing there were several days to come, a reasonably early night was had by all.

With doors open to the terrace and the sound of the waves crashing on to the rocks below, we slept.

The extremely decadent long weekend – Day Two. Arriving in LA

It’s been just over a year since I was last in LA and flying into California, we were greeted with clear blue skies, warm temperatures and palm trees bathed in gold.

I used to feel a sense of depression and malaise arriving back into LA but this time I enjoyed landing in my former home and immediately everything was familiar.

We picked up my car and within an hour had an appraisal as one of my things to do, albeit reluctantly is sell my lovely Mini.

With that done, we set off to Santa Monica to Third Street Promenade to do a little surreal shopping. We were getting tired but felt we needed to soldier on in case we fell asleep.

With a faux fur vest purchased (so chic, on sale and nothing died!) we arrived at Wabi Sabi, one of my old favourite haunts on Abbot Kinney.

It was a reunion with old friends and good sushi. Hurray, Yellowtail, I’ve missed you!

During the conversation at dinner, I had a realization that I had booked our return flights very badly.

I’m now staying till Wednesday so on Monday Letad faces the challenge of landing in LA, getting through US immigration, crossing the airport, checking in and getting through security in an hour and twenty minutes. It’s not physically possible and so a sleepless night ensued as I pondered the options.

By 6:30am I gave up and decided it was time to get up. After all, we were heading to Mexico and hopefully everything could be sorted out.

And so with a weekend in Puerto Vallarta ahead of us, we flew down the coast with the great blue Pacific below.

The extremely decadent long weekend – day one

Wednesday morning and we were up bright and early. Packed and ready, Letad donned his red holiday trousers and we were off.

We decided to get the slow tube to Heathrow which added an hour but saved us £40 and so that’s the margarita fund sorted.

London rush hour is a good spirit dampener but with red trousers to brighten up the otherwise somber sea of black, we knew we were off to warmer climes.

Mexico, via LA… here we come!