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Dec 10-17: Wedding preparations in Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias

We moved off the boat and spent a few days at Sean's place in PV before our families arrived on the 13th. It was perfect timing, because we had a home base in the city - a solid 20-minute ride from the boat.

Sara's a real pirate


Sean's apartment

It wasn't all work! We still had time for drinks on the beach.

We were also right downtown at the main church during the Lady of Guadalupe celebrations. That day a popular soccer team, Chivas, had won a pivotal game, so we were also treated to hours and hours of craziness. The two wild parties rolled into one, and we were dancing and chanting "Chivas! Chivas!" waaaay past midnight.

Drinks at a palapa bar


Wild street party

Pretty cool!


Magicians and other performers

Huge beach surf


Another day of celebrations

The Lady of Guadalupe day is a huge deal here, much more so than Christmas or New Year's. Local businesses sponsor floats, not very similar to ones in the US. These are usually huge diesel trucks running generators, powering lights illuminating the nativity scene on the back of the truck. Wild.

Main church


Making a pilgrimage

We talked to the property manager for the beach-front houses our families had rented for the weddings. He gave us the keys a day early so we could move the alcohol and other items into the house before everyone arrived. Perfect.

It turns out we could only just barely fit all the beer, wine, champagne, and liquor into the car. It was a tight squeeze! The ride from the booze store was loud, hundreds of bottles clinking together over every bump. Did I mention PV is all cobblestones?

Arriving in Bucerias was great. Everything felt like it was coming together. We knew the houses would be nice, but we had no idea. We were wonderstruck at how beautiful it is!

Twenty feet to the water


Beautiful walled compound

Watch out for falling coconuts


That's a lot of booze

The next day we did a quick shopping trip and picked up the first group arriving at the airport: my parents and brother! It is fantastic to see them again. Sara and I told them the villas weren't totally as described, that there was some work going on nearby, that we would need to be patient - lying out of our teeth, of course.

Prepping the houses with groceries


That's my little brother Ben!

They were just as awestruck with Casa Playita as we were. It was funny to watch everyone's jaws drop when we walked into the compound - they knew we were lying right away! Our family has never been to a tropical destination before, so it was pretty special to come together on a white sandy beach under swaying palm trees.

Sara and I did four more airport runs that day, picking up her family and delivering them to a similar paradise right next door. Our prep work paid off; while they were unpacking and changing into shorts, we made guacamole and popped open a cold beer. Sweet!

Fuller family around the dinner table


Sitch family and friends

The next few days blended together into a non-stop blur of relaxed contentment. Friends kept arriving; we just chilled out. Our days consisted of bodysurfing, cooking, eating, swimming in the pool, walking up and down the beach, playing cards, and that's about it!

Second shopping trip


Poker night!

Sitch family lineup


Fuller family swim team

Our spot couldn't have been better. The two houses are side-by-side, my family in four separate houses in Casa Playita, Sara's family in two different houses in Casa Linda. Both houses are right on the beach, but both are walled compounds and are very private.

Casa Playita


Enjoying the view

Both houses have freshwater swimming pools, both have two or three BBQ grills; each would comfortably support one or two couples, together they kept both families happy and relaxed. It was the perfect setup, we couldn't have had it better.

Chilling by the pool


Making my famous ribs

Bodysurfing and boogie boarding


Examining Sam's stingray wound

We bodysurfed several hours each day, and with so many people catching waves, we all knew it was just a matter of time before someone broke an arm, drowned, or was horribly disfigured in some way. Sam stepped up and took one for the team: he was coming in from a punishing set and was stung by a stingray! We all watched as he dropped in the shallows and crawled up the beach.

Five or ten minutes later we became convinced he wasn't faking and went to check him out. Wow, he really got stung! His foot swelled up and he was grimacing in pain. Mike wanted to pee on his foot, but that conflicted with one of my brothers wanting to suck out the poison. I went on the internet and discovered that neither pee or sucking would cure him: he needed just plain old hot water.

Everyone looks so honest


Sara knows Sam is lying through his teeth

With Sam dismembered, uh, disabled, we needed to find something other than drinking and dancing to do that night. Oh I have an idea: liar's dice! It got a little crazy.

He's the best liar of all


Duane is in the house!

On one of our hikes around town, we came across a dead dog in the street. Everyone was sad for exactly one day, until we saw the same dead dog in a different location. We determined that his idea of fun was to lie in the middle of an intersection, at night, breathing as shallowly as possible. Stupid dog.

I am a yogic master... not!


Beauty sunset reflection

We couldn't have enjoyed the time before the wedding more - it was fantastic to hang out with our families. All the stressing, all the prep work, it all paid off.

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