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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | November 2008 

Irreverent Chef: Differences, Continued
email this pageprint this pageemail usLiana Turner - PVNN


Even the lowest bus fare in Seattle is double the fare here and the bus stops and stations are far apart, unlike here in Vallarta where you can catch a bus without really trying.
 
Now that I am back in Vallarta, where the air is warm, and my blood is no longer concentrated in the core of my body, having returned to the extremities and brain, its time to reflect. Last week I wrote about some differences between the land of my birth (Seattle) and my chosen home (Puerto Vallarta).

The differences are many, and still on my mind as I wind down from the family-intensive wedding week/vacation. I was hoping to have some new and exciting food news to report from the great Northwest, but I only ate in one restaurant, and that was the last night, and while it was good, it was not much to write about.

While in Seattle for my niece's wedding, I stayed at Mom's house, and she had gone grocery shopping and bought just about everything we could possibly want or need as far as food, and the wedding festivities included a rehearsal dinner, the reception dinner, and a brunch/gift opening with leftovers the next day.

We had hardly touched any of Mom's groceries, and we couldn't get out of any of those events without having someone toss some kind of food item into our arms, pleading... "You have to take this. It is way too much for us." There wasn't much variety, either. I would say that about 86 percent of the food from all those meals was pasta, another 13 percent was cake, and one percent salad. It was all good food, and I am not complaining, but I paid dearly for all that free food, both in extra pounds and gastric distress.

I had the use of Mom's car the whole time I was there, which was fantastic. The only drawback was the slight embarrassment of having a bumper sticker that declared: "Life is Short... Play Bingo!"

It could have been worse, though... at least it didn't say "Follow Me to Burien Elks Club Bingo!"

Anyway, I never had to take the bus, but I was curious about how much the bus fare was there. I found out one day as I was in the drug store parking lot, and a man approached me, arms waving around and a slight wobble in his step. He was different from most people, but I could tell he was harmless. He said to me, "I need money for the bus. The bus costs two dollars."

I rummaged in my pocket and found only a quarter, and with a warm smile I pressed it into his open palm. He looked down at his hand. Then he looked up at me and said, with a bit of disappointment in his voice, "I need TWO dollars for the BUS."

Then I felt bad, because I only had the quarter for him, and I also had the feeling that he wasn't able to figure out that he now only need a dollar seventy-five. Anyway, I'm sure he got his bus fare, and now I had an idea of what the bus fare was there. Two dollars at today's rate would be $26 pesos.

Later on I looked on the King County website and found that the fares vary from 75 cents to $2.25, the lowest for children and seniors, and varying rates depending on transfers and areas. So even the lowest fare is double the fare here.

The other problem there is that you pretty much need to have a car to get to where you need to catch the bus, because the stops and stations are so far apart, especially in the suburbs. It's not like here in Vallarta, where you could be run over by a bus without really trying. In Seattle, you would have to go out of your way.

One big difference that has always been obvious to me since I first came to Mexico is the amount of personal space that people need, and how small it is here and how large it is in the North. Here in Vallarta, people stand in line with only inches between each other, and sometimes even less. I can remember in my early days here feeling irritated when a stranger in the grocery line would bump up or even practically lean up against me. I just wasn't used to that closeness. Now, I found in the US this time, that I couldn't even tell when people were in line because they stood so far from each other. I did have to ask several times, "Are you in line?" And I felt irritated that they were not getting in there and making a cozy and obvious line.

Speaking of lines, that's another thing... When driving, Americans seem to always stay in the lines. Mexicans, well, I guess I would say they are more creative drivers - and especially creative at parking. I have come to appreciate more the beauty and functionality of our chaos here, but it is also nice to know that there are still places where people generally do follow the rules and stay in the lines. I just don't want to live there!

Its really great to be back, and I'll be back in food mode for next week's column. Buen provecho!

The Irreverent Chef, a.k.a. Liana Turner, is the chef and owner of Paradise Bakery and Catering. Serving the "Best Cinnamon Rolls in Vallarta," along with delicious sandwiches, salads, main dishes and yummy sweet treats every day but Sunday, and providing all styles of catering services, from pre-prepared meals to-go for informal gatherings to full service elegance for dinners, cocktail parties, wedding receptions and special events, Paradise Bakery & Catering is located at Sierra Aconcagua 299, Prolongacion Brasil, Colonia Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-5133 or visit VallartaCatering.com.

Click HERE for more articles by The Irreverent Chef



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