Puerto Vallarta

the-prow

Los Muertos Pier

Our Hacienda was located in the Zona Romantica and this beautiful pier was just a short walk down the hill to the beach.  The sands are almost white despite how they look in this shot.  I liked this area because you could see locals along with tourists enjoying the beaches which are all public.  Shouldn’t all beaches be public???  As you approach Puerto Vallarta by air you can see dense jungle and hillsides and suddenly the most beautiful coastline much of which is taken up by resorts.

The view right outside the Hacienda

The view right outside the Hacienda

I love this shot – it takes me straight back to Cairo.  Cobbled streets, flags across the street.  It was a curious mixture of a wool shop here, a gay nightclub there, beautiful small hotels, street food and exquisite small restaurants.  The mixture was tantalizing.  When I chose the Hacienda, I noticed it was aimed at the gay community but welcomed straight folks.  Even more intriguing… When I researched the area, the guides said it was particularly safe, with a strong police presence.  Teddy and I went out to a lovely little restaurant called Casa Naranjo.  I think we were the only straight couple there but we were all the same age.  My appetite had disappeared and the host went out of his way to cook some mashed potatoes and also some buttered home-made pasta just for me.

yellow-dog

Isn’t there always a little yellow dog wherever you visit?  There were many in Cairo and Istanbul.  This one resided at a restaurant and was well cared for.

Teddy and the cat

Teddy and the cat

…and then there are the cats.  This one was not a stray as you can see from her lovely red collar.  She looked just like Katniss.

Teddy and Bunny with funny hats

Teddy and Bunny with funny hats

 

Postcard from Nacogdoches

city hall sam houston
Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas and it is unique both because of its antiquity and the 9 flags that have flown over it. They included Spain, France, Mexico and Louisiana amongst others and this is a link to a comprehensive list http://www.pictures-of-historic-nacogdoches.com/023nineflags.html We decided that this would be a great location to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. I know, I know, surely I was a child bride.. The town was utterly fascinating and this beautiful pink building was Sam Houston’s house – now the city hall sitting on the beautiful town square. Everywhere you walked there was yet another historical wall marking – it is remarkable that so many of the old buildings have been maintained and restored. It is situated in the North East of Texas, close to the Louisiana border and in the heart of the Piney Woods. The weather was astonishingly hot but not as humid as the south. I learned something amazing in the Tourist Center. Tejas is not the Spanish name for Texas but the Caddo (local native Americans) word for friend. They were one of the many peaceful tribes that were settled in Texas who greeted the invading Spanish conquistadores with friendship. It makes me so sad to think that their territory was stolen, many were killed by the spread of European diseases and moved around like cattle. I am so lucky, like many Americans, to have a little native blood to carry through the generations, bonding us all together. Nacogdoches is a college town – Stephen F Austin University. We visited the university’s Piney Woods Native Plant Center which was a small arboretum with native plants. We walked along the little stream enchanted by the Ebony Jewel Wing Damselflies who fluttered around us like little fairies with black velvet cloaks. The Ladies had bronze waistcoats and the Lords had emerald green waistcoats. Magical. Click on the link to see photos of these fairies and find out all about the oldest town in Texas.  POSTCARD FROM NACOGDOCHES