From Here: Botanical Delights

If there’s anything more beautiful than a day at the Vallarta Botanical Garden, it’s a full day there with someone who has never, ever been. There were so many new things that weren’t finished last time I visited, so I was oohing and aahing right along with Anna as we wandered around. It was quiet and a little overcast so the weather was lovely for meandering without a lot of direction just letting our feet and eyes guide us. Last week, owner and founder of the VBG, Bob Price, posted a photo from 2007 on Facebook of the Hacienda de Oro. My, how far the Garden has come. The VBG will celebrate its 13th birthday next month; she is a baby garden.

Last season, USA Today ran a contest to find the best botanical garden in all of North America, and our very own VBG was nominated! The voting process was ‘interesting’ as in you could vote every eight hours…and we did! All the chit-chat on Facebook was about winning this high distinction. We were so pissed when we only came in 4th but that people, is a miracle, right there! The Garden was up against some seriously old, stately, gigantic competition and coming in fourth place was (almost) good enough.

The bridge and the Peace Garden are both finished, and the overwhelming sense of tranquility had everyone quietly whispering their conversations. It is profoundly beautiful in its simplicity.

Lunch, of course, looking out over the river and jungle and watching the territorial jousting of the hummingbirds was all the entertainment we needed. Bob Price joined us for a short visit and had some incredible news about the Garden.

First, General Director Neil Gerlowski has opened an office right in the center of the Romantic Zone and second – the Garden start their own all-inclusive tours this week! The day this paper is placed in your hands, I will be joining a few concierges and promoters from town on the very first all-inclusive “Botanical Delights Tour & Culinary Adventure.” I will go a bit early to see Neil and the new office. From what I understand, each group will have a guide who is well-informed on Mexico’s abundant flora and fauna. There will be tours of the new vanilla plantation, which is the largest on the western coast of Mexico!!! The information learned during the tours will be appreciated more fully over true Mexican cuisine having seen a great deal of the food growing moments earlier. This will be a godsend for tourists who don’t have the time or inclination to learn our bus system and the price back and forth by taxi could buy a lot of tequila with lunch at the Garden, so I am excited to experience it first-hand. And further great news for our exploding expatriate community – no driving involved, just put together a group and everyone can enjoy the entire journey. I think it’s the best idea yet. A full report next week.

Quite by accident, I stumbled upon an extraordinary happening: the owner of Seasons P.V., John Ribson, gave a million dollars to an Ontario hospital in August to help them build a Urological Oncology Research Centre. I was so impressed I nearly forgot to wish him a happy birthday! Vallarta has some fantastic altruistic people in it.

The last performance of “El Grito” was held last Saturday at Incanto. I saw the play at playwright/director/actor Ramiro Daniel’s tiny theatre a couple of years ago…why I sat well back. Ana Karenina Munoz was again – brilliant – in her monologue that won her best actress accolades at Lagos de Moreno. She has the most impressive, expressive eyes of any actress in Vallarta. I hope Ramiro will bring this play back again and often. It was so good to see Alain PerreaultCesar Bravo, Edgar Sanchez and later Juan Carlos Ramirez. The talent in town is explosive, and I love how different production companies work with each other for the pure shared joy of the theatre.

Be kind to one another and get ready. They are coming… From Here.

Marcia Blondin