PUERTO VALLARTA
Jan 1 - Happy 2011 in Puerto Vallarta

So last year I spent New Year's Eve on the crowded streets of Hong Kong. And this year I was sitting in an infinity pool on a hilltop watching fireworks around the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. It's really cool that I bounced around the world like that when I think about it.

I've been to Puerto Vallarta once before in 2002. It's changed. A lot. From boat cruises. To massive dance parties. To half naked people everywhere you look. To amazing houses on the hill. To new friends. It has been really fun. I wonder where I'll be next new years?

Thanks to Mike and Jeff for hosting me a few days!

jeff mike and me
sand sculptures
beach at sunset
getting drunker and drunker by the minute
new friends on the boat
walking a quiet beach
me at the beach
glowing puerto vallarta
diana's cruise was awesome
enjoying the scenery
random hot guy
in the hills
me in puerto vallarta
roll out the red carpet
random hot guy #2
fantastic views at hacienda herchito
me in puerto vallarta
roll out the red carpet
getting my chihuahua tickled
roll out the red carpet

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REVIEW: DIANA'S TOURS
This was definitely a highlight of the trip. We were all best friends and drunk by the end of the tour. We were taken to a nice water cover for snorkling and a beautiful empty beach with 2 litres cups of margaritas in our hands. In fact I never seemed without a drink the whole time. For about 1000 pesos, it was nonstop fun from 9am to 5pm. And I met a lot of cool nice guys. Make sure to get there early so you can be the first on the transport boat, so you can claim a spot under the sun tarp.

PUERTO VALLARTA
Jan 4 - It Gets Better

So in 2010 there was a wave of videos for the It Gets Better project after a rash of gay suicides in the US. People realized that kids need to know that things will get better. When I was younger, I was pretty good at keeping my feelings pent up inside and somehow I knew things would get better so being stuck in the closet wasn't a big deal. But luckily, I didn't have assholes bullying me or posting nasty videos of me online. So I don't know how horrible that must feel.

But ultimately, we grow out of that part of our lives. We'll even forget the bad times and remember the good old days. We end up controlling our own lives and the friends around us. Bullies disappear. And things get so much better. Unbelievably better. Better than being dead anyways.

On the boat cruise I met a guy who did one of the videos. Seriously moving stuff--I could never put myself out there so much. I thought he would be a bit eccentric, like hyper gay activist. But he was a normal guy. Drinking and partying with the rest of us. It's really cool when you see a normal guy making such a huge difference. 2.5 million views on Youtube. Wow!

Funny thing is that his video actually made me remember the angst of being in the closet! It definitely got better.

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ANOTHER GOAL DONE
Jan 15 - Rebalancing

For some reason, if you're 30 something and you're still renting people think there's something wrong with you. And they relentlessly ask when you're going to buy, like they're offering you sage investment advice or something. Well thanks everyone but I have an investment portfolio already. And it's a whole heck lot more fun than feeling the "pride of ownership". Plus I get to say that I own Coca Cola or that my company is building railcars for China.

And I think the shit is going to hit the fan this year for Canadian real estate. The government can't do any more to keep the prices pumping. I think my timing of getting a place in about 2 - 3 years will work out just fine.

During the last week, I finally invested the cash that was laying around. I've been putting it off for a looong time. I guess I didn't have to be on sabbatical to get the dartboard out, but it made it a lot easier. Hedged myself just in case the real estate market keeps booming. Unbundled an ETF to invest a bit more cheaply. Put some high flying stocks into my TFSA. Rebalanced my portfolio a bit. Calculated that a RRSP mortgage is a fools gambit. Fun fun stuff. You should see my spreadsheet!

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MÉXICO CITY
Jan 23 - Lucha Libre and Rollercoasters

When I was a kid, we used to sit with my grandma in the living room yelling at the tv every Sunday afternoon as the Hart Brothers, the British Bulldogs, Makka Sing and the Honky Tonk Man would battle it out on Stampede Wrestling. It was fun to watch the personalities clash it out and listen to my grandma scream and swear in some foreign language.

In México, wrestling is crazy fun with Lucha Libre. It's a more theatrical take on american wrestling, with fighters flipping and twirling in their signature moves as they jump from the top ropes onto their enemies on the deck, backflipping across the ring, twisting their opponents into fancy preztels for a climactic submission. I went to a lucha libre event at Arena México on Friday night. It was so amazingly fun to watch the choreographed fights between the técnicos ("good guys") and rudos ("bad guys"). Busty girls blowing kisses to the tv cameras. A midget dressed like a parrot getting thrown unceremonously out of the ring. And the crowd was full of families and crazies swearing in some foreign language, just like grandma used to do.

Unfortunately no cameras allowed so no pics. But I did buy a tshirt with El Matemático on it. Now I want to fight and use my signature move "The Equation of Death" on my foes.

Yesterday, I took the drama down a notch and headed to Six Flags Mexico. It was a riot riding all the roller coasters and the drop of doom one. I got the most nauseous in the one attraction that didn't even move, Crooked Uncle's Cabin. Super fun weekend.

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NUMBERS 10.12.23 MEXICO CITY
lucha libre, 5th row: 300P
lucha libre, general seating: 80P
lucha libre mask: 80P - 150P
lucha libre tshirt: 100P
Six Flags, VIP pass: 700P
- wait for popular ride: 10 minutes
Six Flags, general entry: 350P
- wait for popular ride: 1 hour +
# times riding Superman: 3
- highest drop: 200ft

MÉXICO CITY
Jan 31 - Let's Go Get Some Tacos!

The first time I ever went for Mexican food, my brother took me to the new Chi Chi's that had opened by Sunridge Mall. The reason I remember this meal is because it was my first time seeing a black olive and my brother had convinced me that it was a black cherry. For about 20 years after that day, I didn't come within 10 feet of an olive. I've only learned in the past few years to love the taste of olives.

But Mexican food has always been a highlight for me. I've said how much I've missed it a few times when I was traveling in Asia. Well, over the last couple of months, I've been gorging on it. At first, I was a bit surprised because it's not like the Mexican food back home. Everything revolves around soft circular tortillas and is generally covered in cheese, smothered in sauce, and fried. So it's probably not the healthiest diet.

Going home I will miss the street food--tacos al pastor (almost like a shwarma) and tortas (a fried sandwich with beans and guacamole). Oh and a whole plate of fresh fruit for a couple of bucks. But on the other hand I'm looking forward to a nice Canadianized burrito that isn't so hard on my health.

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NUMBERS 11.01.31 MEXICO CITY
5 tacos al pastor: 20P
torta, chicken milanese with cheese: 26P
huge fresh fruit salad: 25P
Mikasa japanese bbq:
- salmon: 40P
- edamame: 15P
- curry filled bun: 10P
- chorizo: 20P
all-you-can eat Brazilian bbq: 185P
medium Hawaiian pizza: 160P
Subway foot long turkey: 70P
juevos rancheros breakfast: 40P
mall Chinese fast food: 50P

MÉXICO CITY
Feb 5 - The Only Chinese in the Village

It's amazing that with 21 million people living in Mexico City, there are only about 10,000 Chinese people. I'm not really a fan of standing out, but unavoidably I found myself attracting some subtle stares from the locals. Some strangers would start to chit-chat by asking where I was from which was kinda cool. It's nice to have an immediate conversation-starter without even trying.

Anyways, this week was Chinese New Year and so I headed down to Barrio Chino on Calle Dolores--a hidden street just steps from the palacial Bellas Artes. I was hoping to take Jason out for his first dim sum, but all they served there was greasy buffets of mexicanized chinese food (think stir fries with cactus and noodles that taste like mole). Walking around the streets, I noticed I was one of the few asian looking people. It's kinda funny watching non-asians sell chinese calendars and hell money. It just didn't seem real. You can't have a Chinatown without Chinese can you?

I was tempted to climb onto the empty stage and start mimicking some kung fu, just so the locals would get excited and feel like they were actually somewhere in Asia. But I didn't.

After that disappointment, we did some truly local stuff with local ambience, like visiting a homey pulqueria for a cup of warm slimy pulque and shopping for colourful knick knacks in the Ciudadela. It was the real Mexico that I wouldn't be able to find outside this country. So I guess I shouldn't be looking for Chinatown here and in the same sense I wouldn't expect much from a Mexicotown in Asia.

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NUMBERS 11.02.05 MEXICO CITY
entry fee, Monument of Republic: 40P
spanish jenga set: 120P
beaded necklace, Ciudadela: 100P
pozole at Garibaldi: 60P

MÉXICO CITY
Feb 6 - Hasta La Vista Baby!

I'm sitting in the plane back to Canada. Leaving Mexico is bittersweet. I felt sad to leave not knowing whether or not I would see it again. But then I feel a bit happy that I'm going back to "real life". But wait...

It's funny that my entire trip I've been comforting the bad times and diluting the good times by telling myself that this wasn't "real life". In my mind, real life is working 9 to 5 and then coming home to the daily routines and doing it all over again the next day. But I think I need to change my thinking. Maybe a bit too late? But maybe these things that happened to me over the last few years and the things that are happening to me now are truly "real life" even though it wasn't routine.

I guess in my head "real life" means a life with tangible outcomes which is sometimes hard to find when you're just wandering. But you know what? The friends I have made will be there for me to care about. Years from now I'll still laugh that those funny moments during my time away. The pains I've gone through have made me a stronger person. So I guess this has all been real.

Until another time and another reality my friend. Hasta la vista!

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NUMBERS 11.02.06 MEXICO CITY
Roma to airport:
- public transit: 8P
- regular taxi: 130P
- Intercontinental Hotel taxi: 2000P

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