Hola from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!
Having spent the past three weeks in Puerto Vallarta (with one week left to go) I’ve noticed lots of things that are different from home in Toronto, Canada. I’m not talking about the obvious differences, like climate and culture, but the subtler ones you don’t notice if you pop in to an all-inclusive for one week.
One big one I’ve noticed is how things work at an intersection – the “order of operations” shared between drivers and pedestrians. Whereas in Canada the pedestrian always has the right of way, in Puerto Vallarta it’s first come, first served. There are no “Walk” signs flashing, so when the light turns green it’s typically the cars who turn right first before the pedestrians cross – that is, unless the driver waves you across, which they often do. Where in Canada we sometimes bro-jog through an intersection out of politeness for the car trying to turn right, in Puerto Vallarta you run when you see a car turning because you don’t know if they’re going to stop or run you down. The system is different, but in some ways it works because you are less guided by the rules of the road, and more guided by sheer common sense: I don’t want to get hit, so I’ll act accordingly to ensure that doesn’t happen.
The same goes for sidewalks, foot bridges, and other pedestrian crossings: there are very few guard rails and safety systems put in place – but while this might seem dangerous in Canadian terms, in fact it forces you to use your own judgment and be mindful about where you’re stepping. Try walking around Puerto Vallarta with your face in your phone and a pair of earbuds in and see how long it takes before you roll your ankle, fall off a high curb, smoke your head on some long-hanging obstruction, or get run down by a taxi.
Another thing I’ve especially enjoyed is all the brightly coloured windows and doorways lining the narrow streets. Whereas in Canada we colour our homes with “polite,” subtle colours, and design windows and doors to keep out the cold, in Puerto Vallarta they are painted to catch your attention while simultaneously keeping people out (they’re all barred over). The firefighter’s son in me sees these barred over doors and windows as a fire hazard (you can’t get out, even from the inside, unless you have a key) – but I guess the possibility of a break-in trumps the possibility of a fire.
Below are a few collages I pulled together from pictures I took around Old Town, Puerto Vallarta (mostly east of Insurgentes). Hope you enjoy!