Sunday, July 31, 2005

shakin' baby!

yesterday was simply an amazing day. i got up at 5 am (automatioc with
jetlag) and got ready to go over to justin's house. [he lives in a house in
tokyo. how cool is that! i can now say that i will have experienced japan
in a much better way than hotel only.] then, i dropped my bags and headed
back out to ueno, an erea close to where i was staying at the hotel famous
for it's parc.

the place is unbelievable. i forgot my maps and books so i had to wing it,
but by ding so i got to discover many neet places that i would have never
gone to had i had a map. i explored the kaneiji cemeteries and temple, which
was huge and overlooking the metro line and the city. then, i stumbled upon
yanaka cemetery, which is even bigger and has tombs dating as far back as
1874. cemeteries here are simply crazy. people go all out for their dead
relatives and make these elaborated setups that have stones, trees, statues
and the likes. and they even clean the space and everything. visiting there
was peaceful and beautiful, and i was often alone (funny how that's been
happening a lot to me here). i was also the only tourist, which made me feel
bad at points because i didn't know if i was intruding...

walking around i found the tennoji temple which had this incredible bronze
buddha. their temple was also really neet because they had the old section
and a very modern one that went really well together despite the
architectural and material differences. i also found many other temples,
including one with a great gold-leaf buddha and one with a blue roof.

i had a great pork curry at a cool little restaurant and found lots of great
stores: i found a cool tokyo.

the parc itself was really nice as well, although many areas were tents
cities. the toshogu shrine there was spectacular, and reading the wooden
wish batons there was pretty emotional. and then, the lake in the parc was
filled with lotus, it was simply beautiful.

i got back "home" and we headed right out again, this time for dinner in
shibuya. this is the area with all the neons, lights, tv screens and majorly
huge intersections. it was crowded, it was impressive, but it didn't give me
any shock. it was just what i expected! and it was very different than the
quiet tokyo i had been seeing. and i found a bank where i could take money
out, and got to make my first 20,000Y withdrawl! such a big amount is pretty

in all yesterday was just perfect. i was walking around with a smile stamped
on my face pretty much the whole day. it's hard to describe, but this is an
incredible city.

shake #1: a man masturbating in the street.
shake #2. an hearthquake at 3:30 am. i didn't feel the one during the
afternoon, even though it was a big one.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

i'm happy when i eat a potatoe

... was written on a young boy's t-shirt.

japan so far has been nice. i haven't seen the busy sights yet, just things around here. yesterday was spent 1. looking for a next hotel, 2. trying to find a breakfast place, 3. visiting the abselutely amazing senjo-ji temples and shrines in the asakusa area (20 minutes walk from here, and believe me or not, the streets were deserted), 4. running away from the heat, 5. checking out more local temples, 6. watching the fireworks from the hotel roof and 7. spending hours talking with other travelers on the hotel's 10th floor balcony.

i actually did mostly evreything in the morning, and by 1 i was dying from heat and so i didn't come back out until 3-ish. yesterday was pretty cloudy (or was that smog/polution?) thank god! it would be horrible with the sun shinning.

so about finding an hotel... i was looking for something cheaper, and evreything was booked. i had to take more days at this hotel, that is, until my friend living here (you might remember me talking about that before) contacted me. so, i'm very happy to say that i'll be staying with him. this will make japan a whole lot affordable! i have to go meet him this morning, and i have no idea how to get there with the subway... it looks like i might have to transfer 4 times just to go somewhere that should be a straight line.

the senjo-ji temple complex is unlike anything i've seen before (obviously). it is supposed to be the most venerated buddhist temple in the city and i can see why. everything is so beautiful, and it has a great atmosphere. taking pictures i felt a tad uncomfortable since so many locals where there praying but the whole thing was just wonderful. i visited all of the temples and shrines and there are a lot of them! it was great to watch people pray as well, because it's so different than what we're used to i guess. people spend alot of money there, throwing cions into boxes and buying candles, paper wishes, incent...

at te temple i had a lady come up to me and ask if i could help her son practice english since he was learning it in school. the conversation was pretty limited, especially when i asked him his age and he couldn't remembre how to say it! it turned uot that he was 11. so cute! he saked if he could take my picture, so now there will be this picture of me (doing the mandatory peace sign) in a photo album in japan. he even wrote down my name!

after that i walked around, in streets filled with hundred and hundred of vendors trying to sell japanese souvenirs, from food to plastic sumo wigs.

i went to the washroom at mcdonalds and wsa surprised with a technologically advanced japanese toilet. now, for those who do not know what i'm talking about, these fancy thjings have a warm seat, play music to drown the sounds of your activity and will rince, deodorise and dry you as well. so i though, heck, i might nevre use one of those again and so i went for the "mist" without the deodoriser. well, it wasn't a mist but a full on jet of warm water somehow prefectly aimed at number 2. pretty surprising! and the thing doesn't stop on it's own, so i had to find the stop button while laughing my head off. i will be skipping any water from now on.

the fireworks could be seen from the roof of the hotel, so we all went up there to the "famous rooftop party" as they call it. the view from the 10th floor was amazing, but my fear of heights was really put to the test. the thing lasted about 2 hours and was really great. i saw colours i had never seen before in fireworks: they got evrey colour from the rainbow down to a t. really, this cuold have been a pride firework. they also did great shapes, like hearts, different smilly faces, mickey mouse and so forth. they were also the highest fireworks i had ever seen. i saw they, because it wasn't just one firework like i was expecting. it was 2 fireworks, going on at the same time. just incredible.

everyone was gathered on rooftops eating food and watching the fireworks. down in the streets, they had closed a side of the road to let people watch. from my walks today, i got to see just how trusting japanese people are. near the sumida river (right besside here, and where the fireworks where), people had marked down areas on the ground with tape and wrote their name (or something) in tape sa to reserve a spot for the night. some even left their tarps there. it's incredible to see that you could resreve a spot and it still be there hours later. that would nevre happen at home!

so, as a parting note, here are some basic observations so far from tokyo:
- people here dress exactly the same sa in vancouver, exactly. as many layers, regardless of the fact that it's much hotter here. i feel right at home watching everyone.
- people drive on the english side of the street.
- they have stores for everything, i even saw a brush store.
- they are pretty smart with space and have these weird parkings where cars and bikes are parked on top of one another.
- there are bikes everywhere. how do you tell which one is yours?
- there are a lot of homeless people around here, and tents cities. the streets can smell of urine at points...
- japanese people are very friendly. i had an old man explain to me with signs that there were going to be fireworks and that i should watch them from my hotel's roof. one tried to convince me to get a bike. one just seemed happy to see me and i thought he wsa comming in for a hug.
- the mcdonalds burger for the country is the teriaky mcburger. a patty with terriaki sauce and shredded letuce, nothing more.
- people walk around with little towels to dry their faces during the day.

that's about all that i can think of right now...

i am not certain if i will have internet access where i am going, so updates might be less frequent. i will try sending something out though before i had out to other cities.


lisa: i will now be able to give justin that hug you wanted me to give him.

victor: if you thought that the chapter's uniform was bad, then you should be lucky that you wouldn't be wearing the tokyo mcdonald's uniform: the ladies are pretty stilling in their purple skirt, fushia vest, puff-sleeve white pinstripe short-sleeve shirt and funky multicolour scarf. now, that's a great outfit.

Friday, July 29, 2005

sticky tokyo

so i'm finally here... i arrived at around 1am vancouver time and i am now finally at my hotel, 4:36am vancouver time. really, it's only 8:36pm tokyo time and i'm trying hard not to go to bed that early... it's easier than i thought though.

the flight was easy, surprisingly. 9 hours went by very quickly, especially with watching 3 movies and playing some games. i had a great seat too at the very back of the plane: there was only 2 seats in that section instead of 3 and there was room between the seat and the wall, so i had extra room to stetch my legs. i didn't really manage to sleep though. i seem to never be able to sleep on planes when i ought to.

i had never been on such a huge airplane. it hard stairs and everything. the first class section was about the size of a regular plane (about 30 rows) ... and i was the before last row at 65. japan airline means personal entertainment systems as well, so that was great. and they had the ingenious idea of placing a camera at the front of the plane and at the bottom, so you can watch takeoff like the pilot and watch the land/water bellow you as you fly. food was alright, but they only serve japanese jellyfish on the return flight from tokyo. damn!

once at the airport it took for ever to get my bag. and then taking the train was a tad confusing even though i had this detailed information sheet on how to get to my hotel. i guess i was afraid to get on a wrong train and not be able to go back. overall, it took over 2.5 hours to get here.

and here isn't that great. the area seems pretty boring, looks like nothing really. seems to lack life. but the hotel was cheap, so that's good. the hotel was also a long walk from the station, and i was getting afraid that i might have missed it or gotten lost. i had a sweet japanese men help me find the place, and he kept hitting his cheek saying he was drunk. he was really nice! i guess that i really was looking confused.

now i'm here and my room is small and boiling hot. this isn't really a ryokan but whatever, it does the job. i'll probably look for something else though for the rest of the week, if i can find anything cheaper. side note: why is it that all cheap hotels around here are for men only?

i saw an amazing red sunset from the train. the sun was red like on the flag. but it sets pretty early, and by 7 it's pretty dark out there. so different than vancouver, or garibaldi, where we still saw blue ski at 10pm.

so there was many more things that i wanted to say but i'm too tired to remember them now... i'll update more later, especially since the hotel has free internet access.

i need to sleep!!!! but i need to shower first. tokyo is freaking hot!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

beautiful vancouver says goodbye

to me, really! all that just for me!

ok, not really.

here's a picture of the canadian entry into the competition. it was nice, but not close to last year's sweeden show.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

leaving tomorrow!

i've spent all day, it seems, running in circles and getting nothing done!

my kitchen table is covered in what i plan on taking with me on my trip. i'm amazed at how much stuff there actually is (ie, there's more than on the picture) and i'm pretty worried that it won't fit in my pack and will be way too heavy. yes, that's right. it's 11:30pm and i'm not packed yet. and yes, i am leaving tomorrow. i am the *queen* of procastination.

i did last minute shopping. photocopies. emails. etc. i had my last poutine and burger. i went to watch the fireworks. but i can't seem to get around to actually packing. i hate packing. everything is there. but putting it in the bag, smartly, although i'm good at it, i really hate right now. it's probably because once i'm packed that's it. it's for real. no going back. leaving.


people tell me that i'm strong, courageous, brave, whatever. right now i feel like this is everyday stuff. i won't be so strong once i land in narita and see the people, feel the heat, hear a language i can't understand and realize, i'm all alone, far away, for a long time.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

3 days left... only, and not enough

it's getting late and i've just spent what seems to be for ever responding to emails and trying to catch up on things. i've been uploading pictures that i took during the photoshoot for my work's spring 2006 catalog but only now realized that it's been taking hours to upload 6 pictures because each files is about 5mb... i feel like i'm stuck in the early 90's of computing all over again. i swear, i had 14.4 connection until my second year of university. yes, i stretched the lame connection well past y2k. somehow, it passed.

i'm not going to write in caps, since i'm way too tired...

it's been really weird lately. i had my last complete thursday, my last friday. my last saturday, my last sunday, my last monday, my last day at work. i've been running around buying what must be way too many things, burning a hole in my wallet. i've been trying to catch up with everything, be it this blog, work or my shopping list and only now did i fully, completely and utterly realized that it's all in vain because i will never catch up. there will always be something forgotten, left behind, incomplete. i have to give up and accept it. let go of it and move on.

today was my last day at work. it was weird and one of my co-workers cried, which made it harder, but also, sweeter. because it means that i was liked.

today i met with the catalog's designers and had a great time going over the design and talking about my trip. like many others, they offered to help me find work when i'll get back, which was quite nice of them. it's amazing how friendly people have been lately.

today i purchased my japan rail pass and my hosteling card (only useful in japan & australia really...). last minute much? but greg at STA remembered my name, even after not being in there for over 2 months. how nice is that?

today i went shopping at granville island for the last time. took the ferry for the last time. cooked a steak for the last time. bought bunch of fruits and stuff that i'll probably be eating for the last time, such as white nectarines, which are the most amazing thing out there.

i say last time... i guess it has this fatalistic sound to it. i mean, last time for a while, last time before my return, last time for another 8 months.


blogger ate my post. it was longer, better. it rocked. i clicked "publish post" and it crashed. damn blogger! you better not do that to me while i'm on vacation.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Visa! Again!

vietnam visa

So a while back I received my Vietnamese Visa. I had to send my passport to Ottawa along with $79 and pray that nothing got lost. I shipped everything overnight with Fedex, and $19 later it arrived there, and 2 business days later and another $19 later, my passport arrived with a brand new stamp in it. It was supposed to take 5 business days but perhaps it was the low season. Regardless, I was really impressed.

Although... what's with the hand-made scratches? Will the visa look real to crooked border guards? Or will I have to pay various "bureaucratic" fees to get in and out of the country? I guess only time will tell!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tidbits, Random Stuff.

1. There's someone living on our lawn at work. They're crashing behind the cedar hedging, and they've parked their car with all remaining belongings right in front of there as well... it's filled to the max (aka, you can't see an inch of the inside). It must be scabies-central in there. There was talks of getting the car towed but the consensus was that it would be really mean to deprive the guy from the last things he own. But he has been warned:no more collections of chairs on our grass and in the rose bushes.

2. Check out the current monthly special from work. I am on special. Or am the special? Anyhow, I just love that picture, which was taken by David in Stanley Park. If that's not a great ballcap picture, then I don't know what is.

3. I now officially have 9 days left.

4. Our apartment looks much better when it's not cluttered.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Oh My!

So in 30 minutes exactly I will have 9 days left before departure. 9 days... that's a single didgit number. That means that time is running out, that it's right around the corner, that it's actually going to happen.

I catch myself hoping that nothing bad happens to me to prevent me from going on this trip. I pray that I don't get hit by a car biking to work. Or break my leg hiking. Or anything else that would screw me over... I guess that I'm being paranoid, but knowing my luck...

We had a party Saturday, which was great. Lots of people came over and it was nice to take my mind off things. We had jello shooters and a punch with punch. A big hit. Unfortunately, there's only one picture from the party, which is of me adding lemon to the said punch. Here it is regardless! [Note the great expression!] But what we do have are great videos from our friend Dominic giving his all to a Bon Jovi song... priceless!


On Sunday we took it easy and met up with friends at Kitts beach... it was wonderful! I have a nice little red glow, but the time spent relaxing and taking pictures of the boys throwing around a Frisbee was just great. Here are some of the best shots:


I'm really happy that I took the time away from my insane trip planning to just spend time with friends and take it easy. It really made things better...

until today! I spend the whole day running around at work trying to organise our photoshoot on Wednesday. Who will wear what. What's this person's size. What shirt matches with camel fabric. What we will eat. Where we will go. etc... so tomorrow I'll be doing more back and forth, along with some meetings with our design team and finishing everything up for my last full day alone at my desk.

After that, it's all training.

And then packing.

And then plane.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Apple Store (Canada)

The Apple Store (Canada)

So a girl can dream, no? I've already talked about the kickass camera that I've been dreaming about since I saw it on Saturday. But I've been dreaming about this for a while now. And this is a iPod Photo, which is technically an improved dream. With the new Apple discounts, the regular iPod now costs the same as the fancy photo one, so why not just go for the better one? I mean, I'd get hours and hours of music and still have room to store pictures on it. Technically though, I could only afford the 20G one ($380), meaning that using the entire thing for pictures only, I could only store an equivalent of 30 pictures a day for 8 months. I say only, because anyone who knows me and me + camera knows that I can easily take a few hundred pics a day. Why, just in Mexico, I took 600 pictures in 9 days. Yesterday, we took 120 pictures, and we were being conservative. Last weekend, we took over 400 pictures in 3 days.

I would need bigger, but then again I always want more than I can afford. Technically, I shouldn't even bother with it altogether. But it would be so great for my long plane rides, bus rides, lonely nights...

I think I'll induldge if I skip on the good zoom camera... I hate having to compromise! I want it all!

PS: will anyone actually attending university (Victor, wanna help?) let me use their Apple discount? I'd save $40 on the iPod...

[posted via "blog this"]

Another Update

My shopping & packing list has been updated: ouch! I've spent a lot of money already, and as you can see, I still have a lot more to buy.

Not on that list is the Japan rail pass, flight from Singapore to Darwin, etc....

Did I say ouch?

Birthday And Etc... Life Update!

Friday was quite a nice day. Had cake at work with co-workers and went for a wonderful dinner at Raincity Grill with David. We started with a glass of sparkling wine (surprisingly, they didn't have champagne) because heck! I'm 25 and I'm leaving on a big life-changing vacation, and this deserves a toast. For an appetizer I had the crispy salmon with pea shoots (and other things that I can't remember) and David had the grilled shrimps in gazpacho with pea shoots and crème fraîche. Then we switched to the recommended wines and I had the tenderloin with kale and pea shoots (and something else, again...) and David had the duck with blue cheese tart and green beans. For desert, I had the raspberry tart with red wine sauce and crispy granola while David had the Blueberry baklava with mascarpone. Yummy! It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time, and for sure one of the best I've had in Vancouver.

Saturday we went shopping for hiking boots for David, which he'll be needing to do the West Coast Trail. We did most of the outdoors shops on West Broadway and he finally decided on a pair of boots at the very last minute - that is, 2 minutes before the store closed! But at least we got boots.

I also took the opportunity to buy a good pair of sandals that will hold my feet and not fall off. They should also be really good with my backpack on. They're Chaco's and they're great! The only downside was that I couldn't get the sole that I wanted, but hey! They're much nicer and way more comfortable than those damn Teva.

Before buying boots though we went shopping for a camera for my trip, and to buy a wide-angle lens for our current digital camera. I checked out the CanonS2 and a new Sony (!!!) DHCH1 that was really good. At $700, they better be! Both are 5 mp with 12x optical zoom and an amazing macro: Canon is ever 0mm! That means that the lens can *touch* the item and it will still come out sharp. But they are expensive... I really want the Canon, but can I really afford it? Not really. Especially not since my mom has offered to give/lend (not specified) me her own camera, a Pentax Optio 750z that's quite good and compact for its power (7 mp, 5x digital zoom, 2cm macro). The thing is, I really like the Canon. It's easier to use, it's more powerful. It's ideal. But it's bigger, and its not free. Dilemma!!! I have to ponder this over the next few days...

On Sunday we went to Whistler for a nice hike, and nice it was. There was a lot of clouds but they were all well over the mountains, so our view was never affected. The trail was actually closed due to "poor trail conditions"(but that didn't stop us!), but aside from snow, the trail was quite good. We tested our new panoramic lens and I think we have some pretty good shots, if I can say so myself. [These pictures will be uploaded soon, hopefully!] We ended the day on a patio beside the gondola, eating nachos and drinking beer with friends. It was a perfect day!

Today was back to work, and somehow, it really felt like a Friday. I wish! Tonight I have to go for a physical (yuk) and an AIDS test for entry into China (fun! I'm not sure if I really do need it but I've heard that I do, so why take the chance? They don't let people in who are HIV positive - talk about discrimination!). Tomorrow I meet with photographers for work and after I have an appoitment at the travel clinic for a final go-over and to get my malaria medication. Wednesday I am training my replacement and we might go for a hike, weather-permitting, with David's work. Thursday I have a dentist appointment for fillings and Friday, well, that's the only day where I have nothing planned. Then Saturday we're having a party to celebrate my BD and my going away - we've invited about 30 people, hopefully most of them will show up! - and so I have to organize that. What a week!!!

So that's about that..Wish me luck!

Hopefully I'll also get around to do lots of updating to this blog, so keep checking!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mexico Vacation: City of Puerto Vallarta

To get a closer look at an image, simply click on it for an enlarged view. This post is about Puerto Vallarta's downtown, not really about the general region.

Looking at my pictures again the place looks so pretty, I don't know why everything came out so bitter in my description! I have so many pictures and I can't fit everything on here, so if you'd like to see more, check out the Mexico set on my flickr account.


Puerto Vallarta is one of the big resort towns of Mexico, and most probably the most popular one nowadays of Mexico's West coast. This was not my first visit to Mexico, in fact, it was my third, but it was my first in one in an actual resort town. I had been to the Riviera Maya, but not to Cancun. So obviously, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I think that I was expecting a little too much out of the town.

Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco, the official state of tequila. The city is surrounded by tall mountains and is normally supposed to be covered in luxurious green vegetation. But Mexico has been suffering from a serious drought lately, and so aside from palm trees and a couple other lucky shrubs, everything was mostly dried and gray (but it was more noticeable outside of the city). Disappointment number one.

Disappointment number two was that it's a pretty big city, with a Wallmart and tons of restaurants and bars such as Senior Frogs aimed at young American tourists. The place is a party town, aimed at pleasing disrespectful drunks from out of the country. Well, I guess that's just normal but I had never really been faced with the ugly truth, having only stayed in resorts before.

But really, the place is mostly tacky and in many places lacks charm. And pollution can surprisingly suffocate you if your cab happens to take the expressway instead of the road that follows the ocean. Along the ocean there are more hotels going up, such as the new Venitian being built (yes, same as the one in Vegas). The monsters of constructions will make the beach-front even more crowded. Other hotels are really starting to look old, and they are all packed like sardines. The hotel lobby is right off the sidewalk: there's no seclusion or feeling of tropical paradise here. No greenery, no space... Only tourists everywhere. Seeing this really made me happy that I wasn't staying on that stretch of beach. And I thanked God this was the low season.

Maybe I sound really mean towards Puerto Vallarta, but what you see when you get off the plane isn't pretty. What I expressed was my first impression of the place, mostly from the cab ride. But the outskirts of the town are really pretty though, and there are spots around town where you can find gems. Overall it is a really nice town, with a great lively feel especially around the locals.

playa del muertos

mexican cat

We found wonderful little shops selling great pieces of clothing that looked like antiques made by local aboriginal tribes. We saw wonderful art and great art galleries. We drank the best orange juice from a street vendor, freshly made for 40 cents each. We walked on historical Playa Los Muertos and around the banks of Riberia Del Rio, the river that separates PV in half. We enjoyed walks in small streets above the town. We watched locals dance in the park and listen to political speeches along the Malecon (boardwalk), checking out sculptures along the way. I guess it's all about where you go and what you see!

shaved ice piñata boardwalk

But really the highlight of my visits to Downtown PV was the Guadalupe Church. People who know me well will understand why, but for those who don't, I'll explain quickly. I've long been deeply interested in the Lady of Guadalupe and her history and significance in Mexico, and was considering writing an ethnography on the subject. The church in PV is not the one in Mexico City, but it's still significant and I had really been looking forward to checking it out.

The church is really simple yet beautiful, and it has this neat glass ball at the base of the cross. The whole top actually is made of metal and looks like a crown: pretty cool! We were surprised that there were hardly any tourists around the church, and that was a big plus. We actually were there during mass, and the church was pretty full. I tried to catch a glance without disturbing the service, but stepped out pretty quickly and focused on the outside of the building. There was actually a lot of people outside too, and many people had set up stands for food. There was even this long table set up outside for people to eat. It was great! It really felt unlike the rest of PV.

guadalupe church inside the church guadalupe church
detail of the church church detail

So overall I have good memories of Puerto Vallarta's downtown but I was really happy that it was a place we visited as opposed to staying there. There's a lot of great places once you step away from the tourist traps and the touts, and it's easy to spend a nice day there.

sunset on the boardwalk

Mexican Vacation: Dreams Resort

Please click on a picture for a larger view: some are quite worth it! And I apologize if this reads like a hotel review, but that's because it is! This post is only about the hotel.


Our first hotel during our Mexican vacation was the luxurious, all-inclusive Dreams Resort. Located on the opposite side from all of the other big hotels, this resort sits on it's own bay and beach and is thus isolated from all other tourists.

Arriving at the hotel means being greeted by a lovely fountain, a glass of champagne and an amazing looking modern reception lounge overlooking the ocean. The hotel has this Polynesian feel throughout, with dark woods, banana plants and tiki torches glowing at night.

The hotel consists of two tall towers, curved against the road and hill to it's back. All of the rooms have ocean views and all have great big floor-to-ceiling windows that completely open up (ie, patio doors!). The sound of the waves from our room at the 6th floor was incredibly loud and blocked all other sounds even at night with the doors closed. The room has great big beds, a super-modern washroom with an oversized sink and a bathtub completely constructed out of slabs of stone. The mini-bar is well stocked and zen music plays in your room upon arrival, and every time the maids comes in to clean or for the nightly turn-down.

coronita! hotel grounds welcome

What really makes this hotel special is the food. Really, I have never eaten nor drank so well in an all-inclusive resort ever. At every dinner we had endless glasses of champagne. We had lobster, smoked salmon, red snapper, rack of lamb, cheviche and filet mignon. Everything was good except for the lobster, which was too salty and over cooked. But everything else was restaurant quality, the type of plate you'd pay $30 for in a restaurant here and not complain. Breakfast were alright, the eggs were surprisingly ordinary but the French toast were great. We did not often ate lunch at the hotel, but it was also quite nice. They even had miniature burgers for children, which would have made super cute appetizer. Their salsa was great, and so was their pork-pineapple-coriander tacos. Really, the Dreams was really dreamy food-wise.

The dreams has 5 restaurants, 4 of which are set outside or are at least open-air concepts. All have views of the ocean and all are very beautiful. Service was great as the staff was quite friendly.

The beach at the resort was nice but short, compared to what we are normally used to on our vacations. Puerto Vallarta is located in one of the largest bays in the world, and that state is filled with mountains. Where the hotel is located, mountains come closer to the bay and so little bays have formed along the coast, creating secluded beaches. Our beach was on such a bay, set between two sides of mountains/cliffs. The waves though were pretty strong and the red flag was on everyday. This was mostly caused by being there so close to the start of the raining seasons. This also brought in jelly fish: there were some everywhere we went during our stay in Puerto Vallarta. We swam in the ocean only once during our 4 days there and the water was warm and wonderful, but I had to keep an eye out for the jelly fish and still ended up touching one twice. Miraculously it didn't sting me, and we decided to get out of the water before my luck turned.

The little amount of time we did spend at the resort during the day was spent lying in luxurious padded wooden long chairs by the adult-only infinity pool. I say adult-only because that's what it's supposed to be, but of course there's always someone to disregard rules!


This hotel was very nice and had great perks, such as nightly movies on the beach and room service. On our regular vacations we normally spend all of our time at the hotel, but this time around we spent most of our time outside of the resort in Puerto Vallarta and Yelapa. I really enjoyed these trips that I will describe in another post, but in a way it was sad to not have spent more time at this hotel. This is a great spot, with great services and quite the romantic feel. Surely this was enhanced by visiting during the low season and the place being nearly empty, but still! I strongly recommend that you stay at the Dreams Resort if you ever go to Puerto Vallarta, and if it fits into your budget.

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