25 Jan Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens are beautiful…and Scary
Periodically, I have to take a break from my adventure travel job quest, aka make money rain hustle, as such, I thought what better way to unwind and relax than wandering Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens. Or so I thought.
As you enter the gardens a majestic hacienda sits perched on a small hill. It is inviting and adorned with flowers and a decadence that is reminiscent of Old Mexico. I however, did not want to go straight for the climax of the tour, and opted to take the “scenic route”, so as not to miss any of the subtle nuances of Mexican plant life. I veered off the inviting yellow brick road onto the Vanilla Trail.
As I walked the trail, bugs began to materialize. My McDonalds riddled American blood must have been like Christmas morning for the bichos. However, I was not about to let these pests ruin my Vanilla Trail experience. With a name like Vanilla Trail, I was expecting sweet aromas and unique exotic plants. Instead, I got piss-onas and shit-onas. The light disappeared and drab darkness left me feeling like I was alone in a dark alley. Pedophile Path would have been more a suiting name for the eerie trail. I will inform management. At first I thought I had merely missed a sign and gone off the trail, but soon I saw dual signs: One back to the sanctuary of the yellow brick road, the other to the Jungle Trail. Being a gambling man, I decided to double down.
The Jungle Trail, like its accidentally mislabeled brother- Vanilla Trail, quickly became overran with an abundance of bush (and I hate excess bush), making it hard to discern where to turn. Soon the trail dove down and out of site of the hacienda. Deciding to cut my losses and avoid going down into the Rapers Ravine, I headed back to the sweet bliss of the yellow brick road. Soon I was rewarded with exotic flora, a marked trail filled with mariposas (butterflies), and a direct route to the advertised highlight of the botanical gardens: the clear swimming pools.
As I approached the first pool I noticed a person exiting. A naked 70-year-old woman to be exact. Not wanting to disturb her swim or my appetite, I climbed to the next secluded spot. Here a middle-aged man laid sprawled across a giant river boulder, basking in the sun. Within seconds of my arrival, he began with the customary small talk white people give to each other, about the beauty of the gardens and where such an exotic American such as myself was from.
I did not need to ask where he was from. His “Eh”s and overly friendly demeanor clearly revealed his Canadian origin. About to enter the water, my new chatty friend piped, “Care for a smoke? Eh?”
Although I gave up smoking plants long ago because it makes me paranoid, I did not wish to be rude. As we smoked, he yapped away about something-something healthcare. I don’t really know. But it did strike me as odd as he began to ask my where I got such nice shorts and how good they looked on me.
Thanks. I thought. They do look rather dashing on me don’t they? I could not resist the water and soon dove in donning my “stylish” shorts. However, before I could make it to the next side, I heard my new friend shout.
“Well that water looks so good, I think I will have another dip”.
In a flash, before I could even utter a reply, I veer over my shoulder to see a pasty and old Canadian man, ass naked wading toward me in the water.
Sigh…another gay ambush
Paranoia set in. Where is he swimming to and why is he smiling so much? And more importantly, how can I aim this raw magnetism toward Latinas?
Eventually I cleared the other side, and pretended to be interested in sparse plant life on the opposite bank. Luckily, my friend soon lost swimming enthusiasm due to the strong current and vacated the swimming pool. He said his fare-thee-wells, subtly indicating where he was staying in Puerto Vallarta, and left the seen. Leaving me even more paranoid, and suspicious of my environment- wondering if he was gay or just Canadian?
As my paranoia increased, I decided it would be best to head back to the sanctuary of the hacienda. Fortunately, this path was labeled and maintained. I quickly ascended the hill, no longer interested in admiring the Mexican plant life. However, the sounds of the forest crept into my psyche. Twigs breaking, birds chirping, but most importantly, the distant hum of Spanish. As I trekked, the hacienda finally entered my vantage point. Success. Safety. But then, with a sudden abruptness that left my feet planted I saw them. My worst nightmare. Any stoned white person’s worse nightmare. Two Mexicans wielding machetes walking toward me. Do I run for the hacienda? Or pretend to be invisible? Didn’t matter. They briskly walked by as they complained about their wives in Spanish.
I b-line to my oasis. The beautiful hacienda. Nerves shot. Reeking in paranoia. What could save me? A boy approaches.
“Pardon Senior, quieres una tequila?”