My Life In Vallarta

By Lois Ellison

Family Adventures

Visitors always inspire us to get outside of our routines; in a good way. Now, thanks to our recent car purchase we can easily step outside the box and explore the area with friends and family.
It starts with a trip to the airport. Wow, has that changed. What was once a small terminal with 4 gates, no jet ways, no computers and a bullhorn instead of a PA system, is now a huge modern facility. We arrive on time and join the throngs awaiting friends and family. Incredibly, 7 planes have landed in the past 15 minutes. We settle in for a long wait. Pacing restlessly back and forth, I check outside frequently to see if we’ve missed them. Finally, about an hour later, here they come; our son, his wife and their whirlwind of a 17 month old daughter.
The airport isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Today’s parents travel with a myriad of equipment. After securing the car seat, we juggle the rest of it into the cargo space and miraculously it all fits. Even Bob. If you’re wondering who Bob is, well, it’s not a “who” it’s an “it”: a huge stroller that weighs almost nothing and collapses nearly as flat as a pancake with the flick of your wrist. How did we manage to raise our kids without portable high chairs, car seats, and Bobs? I quickly learn that the huge stroller with a man’s name is one of the greatest inventions of recent times. Like nothing short of a miracle, it can navigate the cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks of our neighborhood.
After settling in for a day, we are ready to head to the Zoo. My husband and I have waited to do this until we had a visiting grandchild to serve as an excuse. Not knowing what to expect, we load up the family and the stroller in the car and head south. At the entrance we purchase 2 bags of food, neatly labeled to tell you which animal gets what, and then we go inside. Good thing we brought Bob along! The zoo is beautifully designed around a meandering path, up a fairly steep hill and down on the other side but that miracle stroller allows us to maneuver with ease. The cages and habitats line both sides of the path, with good signage in both English and Spanish. The jungle surrounds and enhances everything. Our granddaughter is mesmerized. Suddenly, as the creatures she knows from her books spring to life all around her, she squeals with delight. Her attention span waxes and wanes, then hits a high note when she sees her mother feeding some carrots to a giraffe. Who knows what goes on in the mind of a 17 month old?
We’ve made many trips to Sayulita by bus but now here we are piled into the car with all that baby gear. Our kids have rented a place way up on a hill for a four day getaway. Of course the town is packed so we circle the square a few times while they retrieve the keys. As we’re driving up the hill our car skids and slips, seeming to complain about the barely navigable terrain. Sorry kids, you’ll have to find another way to get your gear up to the stratosphere. Not even the miracle stroller can make this ride.
Four days later, we’re back in Sayulita to pick up the adventurers. It was much easier getting the gear down the mountain. On the return to Puerto Vallarta, somewhere between Sayulita and La Cruz, a loud popping sound reverberates through the car and we all jump with a combination of surprise and panic. No one is hurt but we realize that a nut has fallen from a tree, breaking the windshield of our car, a mere 4 weeks after we bought it. Now that’s one adventure we could have skipped.
We had other big adventures planned but our granddaughter is content to splash in the pool, read books and play with the pinwheel we bought on the Malecon. Those adventures will still be here when they return in December. I sure hope they bring my new best friend Bob.


  1. Lois’s series of articles almost fill the void we feel when we have to leave P.V. to come back home. We are grateful to the Vallarta Tribune for bringing them to us.
    Don and Lynn Carter

  2. When our children were young we couldn’t afford to go anywhere. Trips to the grocery store and friends’ houses entailed a huge amount of stuff too. I remember the stroller I had. It weighed a ton and took up half of the trunk. Things are much easier now.

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