…and, we’re back!

Whew. We made it back last night finally around 10 p.m., GMT+1. That was a really long flight — it was “only” 10 hours and 41 minutes in reality, but it has completely messed with our internal clocks. We left Puerto Vallarta on time at 16:00 and arrived at Munich on time at 18:00 the following day. It really did feel like 26 hours in the air.

We had a great trip and are grateful to be able to visit our families and friends. Things we should have figured out, but didn’t:

  • United Airlines. They’re not very good.

    On our way to Kansas City, we had to transfer in Chicago. We had to claim our bags at O’Hare to clear Customs, but there was no easy re-check area for connecting flights (that we could find). We ended up shuffling our stuff all the way out front to the ticket windows for re-checking and the people working there were an utter embarrassment…even to United. They appeared to have no idea what was going on. And thank goodness we noticed that one of our bags lost its sticker enroute before we re-checked it on the way to K.C. — else I’m sure it would have gone missing. The United people at the ticket window surely wouldn’t have noticed.

    When we were leaving Puerto Vallarta bound for San Francisco on Friday afternoon, we got to the gate area nice and early awaiting the announcement that United 1264 to San Francisco was waiting to board. The monitors were showing a boarding time 20 minutes later than the time stamped on our boarding passes, so it looked to us like there’d been a delay since the time that our passes were printed. We noticed that there were 4 flights to San Francisco within about 35 minutes of each other. We heard them calling for flight “eleven sixty-four to San Francisco” a couple of times, but didn’t pay any attention to it until they made a final boarding call. We walked up and the gate agent was very surly with us: “weren’t you listening to the announcements?” I tried to explain to her that 11 ≠ 12, but she didn’t want to hear that from me. When we got on the bus to the plane, we heard other passengers griping about the same topic, so we knew it wasn’t just us.

  • Getting back to Regensburg is never as quick or easy as it sounds, especially after that many hours in transit.

    There was a small chance that we’d be able to snatch our bags and race for the bus to take us to the train station in time to catch a train. But it took a long time for our bags to come off the belt, and the bus was a couple minutes late, and a detour on the bus route meant that we missed our first available train and had to take the second. So of course it was after 20:00 when we finally arrived in Regensburg.

  • Holiday Weekends are great, unless you don’t have any food in the house.

    We forgot that we were coming back on a Saturday night. We forgot that we’d likely not make it back until all stores were already closed. We forgot that we’d have to wait until Tuesday to buy any groceries. We forgot to leave some non-perishable food here waiting for us.

We’ll chalk it up to “lessons learned.” I guess that means there’s some Exil and Ganesha in our future until Tuesday.

zona recreativa — el último dia en el paradiso

puerto_vallarta_2006_zona_recreativa_06It’s good to obey local customs and laws and especially road signs when you’re traveling, so that’s what we did. This was a great way to wind up our trip. Thanks to Rachel and Aaron for lots of laughs and shared new experiences (we’re still waiting on the diving photos) y muchísimas gracias a mis padres por permiten que hacemos vacaciones en un lugar tanto fantástico.

the pancake house: la casa de los hotcakes

The Joint

Basilio Badillo 289
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48380


We were here once before. I had the Swiss pancakes the first time around, which were fine, but not very exciting. I recommend you go for something more exotic. Second time around: un Waffle cajeta which was good, but also not very exciting. Rachel had the Black Forest Pancakes again, she liked them so much. The Malge opted for Cheese Blintzes this time. One of the best aspects of this place: the bottomless cup of coffee. You just don’t get that in Germany.


I loved this place both times, even more the second time. I had the chocolate-Kahlua pancakes the first visit – chocolate batter pancakes with a splash of Kahlua. They don’t look terribly impressive, but they tasted wonderful. So much so that I was a little reluctant to share. More importantly, the texture was very fluffy and very light. Because as yummy as it was, who wants to be walking around Puerto Vallarta at 88°/3000% humidity with a belly full of heavy pancakes? On the second visit, I had the Fruity Jane French Toast, which comes smothered with your choice of fresh strawberries or apple compote. I ordered the apple, but they came to the table with some of each topping (nice touch)! It was absolutely outstanding. The berries were nice, but a little tart, so I put some syrup over that half, but the cinnamon/apple compote was plenty sweet. Again, I had a difficult time sharing. The service is also wonderful – everyone is very friendly.

United Airlines


I think we’ll pay extra in the future just to avoid the hassle of United Airlines. True, nothing disastrous happened on our multi-leg trip from Munich to K.C. via Chicago and onto Puerto Vallarta via Denver and home to Munich via San Francisco, but there were many small points of stress that added up into unnecessary headaches, and our longest stretches of flight were on Lufthansa, anyway. The best (shortest) way I can express my disapproval of United is simply a word of thanks to Frontier airlines for picking up the slack when United left us hanging.

farewell breakfast

Here’s where we had breakfast yesterday; we’re doing the same thing tomorrow morning early. Look how much Aaron and Rachel enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere! The staff at la casa de los hotcakes was great: we walked in 30 minutes before they closed and they still took very good care of us even after we hung around long afterwards. So, that’s what we’ve got planned for the farewell breakfast.

dive! dive! dive!

After our expedition into the Sierra Madres two days ago, we decided to rest up and chill out yesterday — except for our scuba lesson in preparation for today’s diving trip. I assume we’ll be taking a path similar to what’s depicted in the image below. After the dive itself, we’ll have the rest of the day to do things like snorkel and kayak around las Islas Marietas.

The only bummer is getting up so early and having to take a taxi to the departure point in order to make sure of being there on time.



The Joint

2829 Southwest Blvd.
Kansas City, MO

phone: +1 816.931.4849


Can’t go wrong with the famous ‘rita dip. I wish I could make that here at home. Of course, then I might never leave the house. Watch out for the annoying song on their website (last I checked).


I always love me some Margarita’s. I am of the opinion that this is the best tex-mex (i.e., tons of cheese on everything) you’re going to find in Kansas City. The salsa here is the best in town, the portions are HUGE (seriously, order a take-out box with the meal) and the service is incredibly fast. And, they have Mr. Pibb in the fountain. Mmmmmmmmm!!

oh man, the Sierra Madres Occidentales rocked

Check ’em out:

Valle de Banderas — this is the oldest town in the area.
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We stopped in at Doña Maria’s masa y frutas pitstop. We had excecllent homemade tacos made of stuff grown by Doña Maria. Our awesome guide Manuel showed us how boiled corn is turned into masa using volcanic rocks and the weight of your body and a scrapey, twisting action.

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Scenes from our truck and truckstop barbecue:
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Trying out the new camera, getting ready for the jungle

Today’s the big day — our trip into the jungles of the Sierra Madres.

I also bought a new camera yesterday from Wal*Mart (ick) because my previous one crapped out on me (it had always been a little flaky — I think it was a Medion B-Ware that they tried to sell as new). sierra madre expedition day at dawn I appear to have paid about double what this camera is selling for on places like Amazon or even at Sears, but I needed it right now and I’m hoping it won’t disappoint me. Here’s a shot from daybreak this morning.