Puerto Vallarta - The best things and the worst things
The Welcoming Guide
In Puerto Vallarta airport, the first thing you'll encounter after you pass through immigration and customs, is a Welcoming Guide.
We were told ( by our resort manager - The Grand Mayan) that a 'Welcome Tour Guide' in a tan shirt and a placard with VIDANTA sign in his hand will meet us and take us to our resort.
Indeed we were greeted by a tan color- shirt -wearing guy with a VIDANTA placard, who brought us in front of a booth. We saw VIDANTA signs and logos all over on the walls.
A young man with a name plate Marco greets us with a big smile.
"Buenos diez Señor, I'll call you taxi. He'll take you to the Grand Mayan, your resort. While you wait you want me to help you with any thing, any special tour you want to take?" he asks with high Spanish accent.
We saw some pictures of ethnic dances. My husband points to one of them.
"Of course, Señor. It is beautiful. It is $169 a ticket, but we can give you a discount for $100 for two. That will include taking you to the island in a nice boat, a nice ethnic dinner and then the show." He smiles, then adds, " And señor, if you come to our presentation, a time share presentation, we'll show you more savings. ..just a 90 minute presentation, that's all I'm asking."
"No thanks!" I interrupt. I am afraid of these time share presentations.
"We can add a city tour with board walk and show you where Richard Burton and Liz Tayor made the bridge, and then a jungle tour and sir, we'll also pay for your taxi fare back to the airport."
This is what got me doubting him more when he started showing how much we'd save. We all know that catch. " No sir, no 90 minute presentation." I protest.
"Senorina, nothing to lose for you. Don't buy anything. This just gives me a commission, that's all." he touches his heart, and looks humble.
Another guy ( his boss) comes in and they start talking in Spanish that we don't understand.
" Ok, I make it $50 for you senorina, Just come tomorrow to meet me at Walmart, and come to this presentation. I take you and give you all that I promise.. "
My husband took out a $50 bill from his pocket and hands him. " Now please give me a receipt and take me to my hotel. I'm tired."
" Why not at our hotel? Why at Walmart?" I ask with a blank stare.
" Because, your resort won't let any one else enter there, senorina. Not me. Every one wants to sell time share here, you see. Your Grand Mayan too. It is a very big place, senorina. Trust me you'll not lose. Just give a chance to me." He pleads.
A taxi appears and he opens the door for us, then exchanges phone number and we take off.
" You just gambled $50, Didn't you?" I look at my husband. " What if he does not show up tomorrow?"
" Yes, I gambled. But he'll show up. He'll get a commission. This is his livelihood. Let's see. A little adventure." He smiles.
I read somewhere that the biggest industry of this place, Puerto Vallarta, is tourism. This is how modern Puerto Vallarta survives.
There was a time when the people of this place yelled at the green suited (army suit) Americans 'gingo', meaning, green go!
Today, they welcome. Please come here, they say as soon as their eyes meet yours, with the right hand touching the heart, they nod and smile " Bien venido amigos, gracias".
I'll be able to tell you tomorrow if we really won the gamble. Stay tuned.