Welcome to November

Today seems like a good day for cider mill doughnuts, grilled cheese sandwiches, and tomato soup. U2’s “One,” covered by Johnny Cash, fits in here well, too.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



Scenes from the Malecón

The Malecón is a seawall in downtown Puerto Vallarta where you can stroll along the coast and log some excellent people-watching. On this year’s trip (versus December or January in years past) there seemed to be fewer tourists from the USA or Canada visiting the region (including the smaller towns we visited to the North of Puerto Vallarta). Consequently, this trip had a much more authentic Mexican vibe to it than previous ones.


¡Hasta la próxima vez, Vallarta!

We now resume the regularly scheduled winter

It got wintry again right after everything got all warm and moist. The transition period looked a little weird.

The river is behaving normally again; all the emergency barricades are hidden away. The water is still higher than normal and moving fast, but not alarmingly so. Cresting last week on the left, receding this week on the right:





Puerto Vallarta 2010 wrap-up

The Newlyweds...well, two years ago
The Newlyweds...well, two years ago
Our favorite aspect of this trip was visiting my sister and brother-in-law for the first time since, well, he became my brother-in-law.


Was it just a fluke?
Or was it just a fluke?
We relied on their expertise for the whale-watching expedition, which I’m sure was the second highlight of the trip. They knew all the stuff necessary to guarantee an excellent whale-watching day: where to take the bus, how to pick a boat captain, and especially how to get those whales to jump out of the water as we approached them.

But after they headed home to crappy weather, we stuck around down here for another week,

  • soaking up the sun at the pool,
  • strolling up and down the beach,
  • observing the pelicans,
  • scouting around downtown and the local supermarket for good eats,
  • playing with camera gadgets (thanks Susie!),
  • and as is tradtional for a visit down here, OOHing and AHHing at the sunsets.

Here are some of our favorite shots of those activities:

       

Here are the rest of our favorite shots from this trip:

Stuff we (still) want(ed) to do (again) but which will have to wait until next time:

  • head over to Bucerias for Wednesday Night Tacos or just in general
  • check out the Botanical Gardens
  • watch baby turtles run down the beach after hatching
  • try various recommended resturants
  • Rent Segways® for zooming around the marina area
  • charter a sailboat and crew for a day sail around the bay

Some of these things are more fun or cost effective when you can split the cost more ways, or when someone who’s done it before can show you the ropes.

This has been an excellent trip, but we are dreading the return to reality. Planning our return always keeps us hopeful.


Two Vallartan slideshows

Two slideshows up in this post. I hope you enjoy them.

My sister and brother-in-law departed today, headed back home to cold parts of the world (though apparently not quite cold enough for winter sports, he lamented). It was great seeing them; we attended their wedding in December 2007 (after a previous visit to Puerto Valllarta) and hadn’t seen them since. We only overlapped with them for two full days (odd that we didn’t notice that at the time of ticket purchase), but we’re thankful for the time we had and their recommendations in the whale watching adventure.

Here are just a few shots of them, with me trying to get my candid artsiness on:

And here are the shots from our whale watching adventure. There are about 30 of them…Sarah and I tried to cut it down, but although these shots are not technically perfect, we’re already reliving the thrill by viewing them. We were lucky to get not only a glimpse of a whale, but a mother-calf combo at play.

Fall’s about to fall



We walked around a bit today taking in probably one of the last “nice weather” days of the season. There were some nice leaf scenes over the past few weeks, but I always managed to miss the sunlight, being trapped in the office, or not happen to have my camera with me when the sun was actually out. You can click any of these to embiggen ’em if you like.

In geeky news, I finally got fed up with the crummy Xandros Linux OS and ongoing lack of updates to the software repository on our Asus Eee PC 701 (the 4GB SSD model), so I downloaded the Jaunty Jackalope version of Ubuntu, remixed for netbooks. I was impressed that it was so easy to install using a USB flash drive (or USB-attached HDD, or an SD card, which is what I did). Perhaps the days of burning ISO images to CD (or DVD) are over for anyone with a 1GB or more flash memory device (or external HDD). Stuff seems to work pretty well, right after the install (including improved WLAN connectivity to hotspots and stuff — so far, so good), but here’s one thing that (surprisingly) didn’t: Skype.

The video didn’t work because the onboard webcam was disabled in the BIOS (bwah? But then how did it work under Xandros?). I read about that online somewhere. The secret is to press Esc during the boot sequence to go into the BIOS and turn on the onboard camera. The onboard microphone is not working at all — neither with the included Sound Recorder-esque app in Ubuntu, nor with Skype. So that may be a project to make it work. I have yet to try it with a headset or external mic, so maybe there’s still hope. Sort of annoying though, since it worked just fine under crappy the Xandros distribution. One suggestion I saw on a Skype discussion forum post was to buy an external (USB) sound card for a few Euros and make it work that way, which bodes ill for my theory of simply using an external mic instead of the onboard one. But I’m surprised there not some army of cheap geeks out there who reverse-engineered the drivers for that hardware from the Xandros distribution for use with Ubuntu.

If this proves a viable alternative to the Xandros stuff that came with it, then we might have prolonged the life of this netbook by quite a bit. It was getting kind of frustrating not being able to (easily) run Firefox ≥v.3.