From Here: El Salvador

It has become a tradition when my sister visits from Alberta, to go to Guadalajara shopping. By trial and error, we have decided that flying there and bussing it back loaded with stuff is the easiest way to go. We stay in an old hotel in Centro Historico and are minutes away from everything we need/want to see. Because Patrice is so adept on her snazzy iPhone, she made our airline reservations online. We arrived at the airport in perfect time to find the gate didn’t open until 2:30 so we went for a leisurely lunch and got in line about 2:40 behind a couple with a new child and many bags. We handed over our passports, and the gentleman behind the counter looked up and said, “You are not booked on our airline.” Well then, we said, who the hell is flying to Guadalajara in 15 minutes from now if it isn’t you? He didn’t know but made some calls, and off we went to the opposite end of the departure terminal on the main level. Yes, we found the right airline, and yes, we were too late to board, exceeding the minimum check-in time by the minimum check-in time. Our faces must have said volumes as the darling gal at AEROBUS picked up her phone and told them she had two more passengers on their way. She very quickly handed us boarding passes and said one word in English: HURRY. Off we ran down the concourse dragging our carryon luggage, up the stairs (faster than the escalator and closer to departures). Cleared customs like hurdles and boarded our flight with minutes to spare.
A taxi took us to our favourite hotel as my sister had found they had lots of vacancies and great deals…online. The first room was a disaster so we ‘upgraded’ for an extra 70 pesos/night and got our old room from last year overlooking the lime tree.
We walked everywhere and averaged 16,000 steps/day apiece. Lots of calorie-burning which we undoubtedly defeated with bags of Alfredo’s cajeta-stuffed croissants! We shopped and explored for three sun-filled days and fell into bed at night happily exhausted.
Took a double-decker ETN bus from Zapopan that did not give us a Tercer Edad discount but took only four hours, was very comfortable and we watched a Queen concert onboard: To go with the cajeta-filled croissants!
Back in Vallarta we had great food at Seasons P.V., Babel Bar and Co-Exist Café. We stayed up late and waited for hours on the Malecon for the finale of the Fireworks displays that ran all week while we were away in Guad. They were great but from all accounts on Facebook, not the best showing of the week.
The greatest thing Patrice and I did this past week was to see and hear AMLO, the President of Mexico announce his plans for our beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta. My handy dandy press pass got us into the middle of things but still not close enough to say a word to him. Of course, we were on the wrong side of the tent when he came in so watched him approach the podium on one of the Big Screens on the stage. He was cossetted, tugged at, handed obviously legal papers, and unencumbered by any visible security forces. He was just a man walking through a mostly adoring, cheering crowd. One woman said something apparently urgent to him. He stopped and leaned closer so he could hear her better. A second later, his left hand went up to stroke her hair and face and drew her gently to him in a hug. I don’t need anything more than that to know this President who now runs my adopted country, showing such compassion up close and personal, will be Mexico’s El Salvador.
The power of giving a hug is all yours; do it often, From Here.

Marcia Blondin