So here we were…Day 6 of our 8-day adventure in Puerto Vallarta, and what better way to spend it than heading off to go zip lining and horseback riding. It was time for the eight of us city-slickers to try and be adventurous. To the wilderness we went!
As described on (and copied and pasted from) the Los Veranos Canopy Tours website:
“With more than two miles of cable in a series of 14 zip lines, many over 1100 feet long and over 100 meters high- this tour will be the highlight of your vacation!”
Boy were they right. I mean, I don’t know if I’d go far enough to say that it would be the “highlight” of our vacation, although it was definitely up there for most of us. Lupita, I’m sure, probably classifies it as “unforgettable” – but then again a fear of heights will do that to you. I mean, if my math is correct (which most of the time it isn’t – my mom will vouch for this since I just got off the phone with her seeking assistance filing my Nebraska income taxes since math has never been my strong point), then 100 meters high is the same as turning a football field on end…right? That’s pretty high above the ground. So needless to say…it would proove to be unforgettable.
Suiting up in our harnesses, hard hats, and safety hooks, we were ready to go zipping through the jungle. After climbing a rickety metal spiral staircase up the side of a tree, we were faced with a zip line about 20 feet long. No big deal. This would be easy. Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. I’d expected something slightly more…thrilling perhaps?
Little did we know this was only a teaser of what was to come. The next 13 zip lines would only get progressively longer, higher, and WAY more fun. Except for Lupita.
Lupita does not like heights. At all. At one point, I looked over and couldn’t tell if the look on her face was sheer terror or enjoyment. I’m going to go with terror. I’m sure she would have tapped out at this point, although the only way back down to the tequila bar (yes, you read that right…tequila bar) at the base camp was down the remaining zip lines. We kept reminding her that there was a tequila tasting at the end of the tour which enticed her enough to keep going. Such a good sport!
By the time we got back to the bottom, we were all in agreement – yes, even Lupita – that zip lining had been an awesome adventure that we’d all recommend in a heartbeat – thanks in part to the amazing (and crazy) tour guides who made the day even more fun than it already was.
After throwing back a tequila shot and downing either a margarita or a beer, it was off to our next adventure: horseback riding. Or muleback riding as it would end up for one of the guys.
Since there had only been six of us in the group when we’d bought our tickets the week before, they’d only put six horses on reserve. Needing to round up two at the last minute wasn’t the easiest of tasks, so when push came to shove we were presented with seven horses and one mule…..and of course, the mule was lined up for the tallest of the group. Nothing looks more awkward than a 6’3″ male on a mule. It’s an interesting dynamic to say the least. Nevertheless, we saddled up (no barebacking for these homos) and headed off with our tour guides for the afternoon – a ridiculously attractive guy and his son who couldn’t have been older than 5 or 6. And trust me….the thoughts that were going through all of our heads? Let’s just say we would have rather been riding something other than our horses that afternoon/night/forever.
So here we are…trotting around on our horses when mine decides to be stubborn. Forget stopping to smell the roses. No. My horse decided to stop and eat every plant, sip from every stream, and generally not listen to me ever. Now I know what you’re thinking…that whole “birds of a feather flock together” thing. Well, you’re probably right. Leave it to me to get paired off with the horse who gives zero fucks and does his own thing. Of course.
Well what would you know…my horse was a wannabe serial killer. After trying to walk me into both barbed wire and then a tree branch that would have decapitated me had I not looked up at the last minute and snapped it off with my secret ninja skills, my not-so-noble steed thought it would be fun to gallop – yes, gallop – back to the hitching post at the end of the tour. After nearly being tossed from my saddle, I was happy to make it back in one piece and have my feet on solid ground. I’ll stick to saving horses and riding cowbows from now on.
By the time we were done, we were officially whooped. We headed back to the house for a quiet evening of drinking in the pool. We’d had enough excitement for one day and wanted to take it easy that night so we could enjoy our last full day in Mexico. I was ready to go out with a bang and bring back a good souvenir that I wouldn’t have to claim at the border. I was determined to get a new tattoo.
The next morning, the three of us who’d wound up at the brewpub a few days prior set out for downtown. We wanted to hit a couple boutiques, pick up a few last-minute souvenirs, and (perhaps) have a couple beers and tacos. I’d made plans to potentially meet up for a beer or three with one of the guys that I’d been introduced to by Mr. Temporary Penis Tattoo who I’d brunched with on Sunday so I said adios to my amigos and headed back to Blue Chairs. After two drinks with him, he had to take off (I’m seeing a trend here), but I was determined to soak up a few more rays before heading back to Chiberia in T-minus 22 hours.
While camped out in my beach chair sipping my Corona, I began to ponder the cost of living, moving expenses, the job market, etc. that would be associated with relocating on a whim to Mexico. I could seriously get used to this. Right about then, I took the last sip of my beer and went to place my empty bottle back on the table when the server walked up to my beach chair with a fresh Corona.
Now THIS is my kind of service…especially since I hadn’t ordered another yet.
Apparently it had been sent over from the guy the next row of beach chairs over. Jackpot!
After a few sips, I headed over to thank him. One thing led to another, and the next thing you know we were chatting like old friends and sharing bucket’o’Corona numero tres. I mentioned to him that I wanted to get a tattoo before I flew back to the states and had been referred to “this place with a black sign out front on one of the side streets” by our Blue Chairs concierge friend. Being the good newly-made friend he was, he volunteered to come with me and photograph the experience. I love a good enabler.
Well….after an hour and a half later, I’d successfully found said tattoo parlor, chosen a font, and been inked up. YOLO, right?
Literally. YOLO….or “solo se vive una vez” – when in Mexico, right? Yes…I came home with a tattoo that translates to “you only live once” (or “Juance” as we’d elected to pronounce it all week). Sure, my mom’s first words upon finding out that I’d gotten inked up (again) in Mexico were “Well I sure hope the place was clean. Watch it get infected.” Has it though? No. But did I have a bag of peas ready just in case? You bet. It’s not like a random guy opened the side door of his van and offered to give me a free tattoo of a Mexican drinking worm that means wasted. Trust me, I paid attention during Bridesmaids.
After dodging messages all afternoon from the group asking when I’d be back, where I was, and “Will you stop and pick up a bottle of vodka on your way home?” I headed back with my fresh ink (and said bottle of vodka, of course) and proudly showed off my newly-colored flesh. Having been one of several in the group who’d talked about getting a tattoo while on vacation, no one had expected me to follow through with it – let alone without having anyone else there. Ah, the perks of making new friends on the beach. You say the power of Pinesol, I say the power of Corona. You never know where you’ll end up or what you’ll come home with after a few buckets.
Anyways, that tattoo would round out a trip that would prove to be one for the record books. As I sat on the patio the next morning with my feet kicked up on the railing watching the sunrise with my cup of coffee (hey there grandpa-status…since when am I an 80-year-old retiree?), I thought back on the previous week. All bruises, scabbed knees, sore thighs (from riding horses), and missing wallets aside, it had truly been an adventure none of us will soon forget. While scabs and bruises will eventually heal and wallets can be replaced, memories cannot be remade – and I couldn’t have been happier making them with a better group of friends.