Monday, March 09, 2009

Drunks on horseback in Puerto Vallarta: One last fling before economic reality sets in?

"Wanna go on a drunken horseback ride up the Cuale River canyon?" asked my friend JR. Not really. I'm a Muslim. We're not supposed to drink alcohol. But the offer was so tempting that I went along anyway. Muslims are being given the short end of the stick these days. We are being called terrorists all the time -- but actually most of us are really quite nice. Anyone who has ever been on Hajj should know that. Muslims are just ordinary people like everyone else.

But the drunken horseback ride was awesome, even if one was sober. My daughter Ashley hopped onto her horse like she was Dale Evans or something -- but I just tagged along in a taxi. However, we all met up at the end of the trail and there was plenty of food. Shrimp, crab, BBQ -- all that your heart could desire. And then my friend Isabel came over and joined us. Isabel is a Canadian who runs a pub up in Toronto for most of the year but comes to PV in the winter to run a boutique hotel for snowbirds down here. Isabel is the most friendly person I've ever met.

"Jane, I am so-o-o glad to see you again," Isabel cooed. "You are so-o-o wonderful." No one has ever called me wonderful before. "Come stay in my hotel for the night." I'm there! And Casa Isabel turned out to be wonderful too. We were soon installed up in the Buena Vista suite -- me and Ashley have landed in paradise. We gots a view of the Puerto Vallarta bay spread out before us that is to die for, a Jacuzzi in our bathroom that would relax even me, a table covered with chocolate cake and more BBQ in the hotel's restaurant overlooking the ocean, white lace pillows on our beds.

"We gotta pay you for this!" I told Isabel.

"No, don't be silly. It hasn't been rented for tonight, so you can have it for free."

"Then the Bush recession hasn't effected you yet?"

"Not so far."

"And what do you think of Obama's new stimulus program? As a Canadian, do you think it will work?"

Isabel was optimistic. "I think that stuff will eventually all sort itself out." But will it? Maybe. Maybe not. But in the meantime I'm going to store up some memories -- so that if the economic spit hits the fan even worse than it already has and times get really bad even for those of us lucky enough to be on Social Security, I can always reach into my memory bank and remember my night at Casa Isabel. And not ony that, but we've got a big-screen TV in our room so I won't have to miss "Survivor" after all. That's a memory I can definitely put in the bank.

America has been screwed royally by GWB, the man who managed to totally ruin the world's most powerful economy in just eight short years -- doing what even Stalin and Hitler tried to do but failed. Bush has bankrupted our country and given all our money to rich guys. And, according to my friend Alan, BHO is probably planning to hand what is left of our money over to rich guys too, his election having been financed by the same Wall Street creeps who forced Bush and Cheney down our throats. "Newsweek says that we are all Socialists now," said Alan, "but show me just ONE socialist in Obama's cabinet or even one socialist appearing on 'Meet the Press' or even on PBS. And how many advocates of single-payer healthcare are advising Obama? There are none."

But right now I have a view of Puerto Vallarta to die for and a suite at Casa Isabel. I'll get back to worrying about how to deal with reality after I get home.

PS: "But you forgot to mention the drug cartels in Mexico," said my friend Carlos.

"They gots drug cartels here? I thought they were all up along the border -- Juarez, Tijuana."

"Actually, there ARE cartel people in Puerto Vallarta -- but they only come here because it's a neutral zone. The cartels don't actually do their business here. Plus the Zetas have been trained and armed by the CIA and they're trying to move into the drug trade themselves, even though nominally their task is to destroy the old Mexican cartels -- not replace them. The Zetas are challenging the old cartels all over Mexico and are trying to move in here as well but there's not much here to cut down. The cartels basically only come here to have a good time and invest in hotels. From what I have heard, there is a lot of money laundering going on here too, with so many hotels and condos being built because this is a very attractive place for American baby-boomers to retire. But then this is just my own 'Drunken Horseback Ride' opinion," he added.

Hey, if Mexican cartels are looking for stuff to launder here in Puerto Vallarta, they can always do MY laundry!

PPS: Apparently the Andale Bar is a great place to go in PV to meet seven-day girls. "What is a seven-day girl?" I asked.

"Women who come down here on seven-day package tours." Of course I gotta go off to the Andale and do research on seven-day girls too, but what I really want to do research on is peyote. But I'm still not having any luck on that one.

"Sorry. You have to go to Texas if you want to take peyote. The Huichol don't do peyote ceremonies for tourists." Oh. But I'm not a tourist. I'm a journalist!

PPPS: Speaking of not drinking, did you know that alcoholic beverages are not allowed into Iraq because it is a Muslim country? My friend Caleb calls Iraq "our military's own private Betty Ford Clinic". At least that's one good thing that came out of that three-trillion-dollar disaster. And now John McCain is all mouthing off about stopping pork-barrel spending. But why didn't he say anything about this back in 2003?