February 21-23, 2008

Since the third book of the Bradford Fairfax series is set in Puerto Vallarta (Vanished in Vallarta), it behooves me to visit a few of the scenes of action while I’m here. One of those is the much-lauded Blue Chairs Hotel (renamed in the book—don’t worry, you’ll recognize it.) Shane and I were fortunate enough to meet two couples from Washington (which they call ‘DC’) who were staying at the hotel, and we saw two rooms, one grand and beautiful, the other not. I’m sorry to say the hotel’s current state isn’t impressive (a mouldy smell, rusty overhead fan blades, cheap bathroom mirrors), and that despite its pricey rates and reputation as a much-sought after gay resort. Be that as it may, I was able to get a better view of the rooms, and the balcony where Bradford confronts his fear of heights to avoid being caught breaking into the room of two suspects.

A second potential scene, since discarded for a more appropriate mountaintop escape, was set in the canopy tours, as Brad and a bad guy zigzagged through the jungle, battling while suspended over treacherous-looking but spectacular canyon vistas. Shane got us invited to participate in the making of a promotional video for the gay market, saving us the fee ($79) and making us some fun friends at the same time. (An amusing note: the stars of the video were PV’s famous drag troupe, the Dirty Bitches. We were just background.) Like Brad, I share a fear of heights, but the views were so breathtakingly beautiful, and the guides so amusing (and good-looking) that I didn’t have time to be afraid. And afterwards I wanted to do it all over again! That is how we sometimes escape the small boxes of our minds—if we’re lucky.

Another important scene (which I’ve already experienced, but would like to repeat) is the snorkeling scene at Los Arcos, a triptych of domed rocks jutting up from the sea near the small town of Mismaloya, one of which has an arc that can be sailed through. If we can do it inexpensively, we will. It’s also interesting to note that the walkway to the radio towers at the top of the mountain in downtown PV is literally a minute above the casa where we’re staying. A walk up here on the last trip inspired a major scene that takes place in a fictional monastery at the top of the hill. I didn’t go all the way to the top this time, but I did go up quite a ways. The name of that street is Aldama. We had no idea we were so close when we rented this place on the Internet.

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