I arrived at the Richmond airport with plenty of time before my flight. I was somewhat concerned about my carry-on’s fitting in the commuter jet to Dallas, TX. I was even more concerned about fitting my 6’7″ body into the small jet for the 3 1/2 hour first leg to Houston.
I was mentally prepared for many “new” things on this trip. And, it started right away! An airport PA announcement requested all passengers for my flight to get to the departure gate immediately as the plane was going to leave 25 minutes early due to severe headwinds en-route. That’s right… 25 minutes EARLY! If you ever needed a reason to be early to the airport perhaps a commuter jet heading west will be enough motivation. I overheard quite a bit of walkie-talkie chatter about passenger’s bags being expedited to the plane and people being escorted through security. We did leave early, about 20 minutes before scheduled departure time. I have no idea whether anyone was left behind. This was my first time on Continental in about 10 years. Things have changed for the better.
I started reading a great book! THE ADVENTURE CAPITALIST by Jim Rogers. A retired Wall Street fund manager, Rogers takes a three-year drive around the world in a custom Mercedes SUV. It’s a great read for anyone with a sense of adventure. It’s a great read for anyone interested in an investment manager’s view of world events and politics.
Upon arrival in PV I had to wait at least two hours for the other US technicians and engineers to get through customs. It seemed that the Mexico officials had different ideas about what equipment had already arrived and who was going to be responsible. Three hours later and maybe 55 pieces of baggage we were on the road. Three vans full of gear – so full some of the tires looked flat.
We leave PV without a Jimmy Jib or operator from Houston. It seems he wasn’t on our plane. We find after dark when the producer arrived at the resort that the Jib & operator was at the ticket counter in Houston ready to check in and Continental Airlines refused to transport his excess baggage. So, here he is without employment for the week on a confirmed shoot due to Continental’s whims. I take back the good things I said about Continental yesterday.
Leaving PV the other crew didn’t realize we were headed for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the location. It seem I’m the only one that has done any research about what we’re about to do. Suddenly I’m the only guy with any answers. OH BOY!
Besides stopping twice to ask me if I really know where we are headed, following the lead van the trip was uneventful. Unless of course you count the man skinning a freshly killed pig off the side of the road. We stopped to take pictures. Realized we were downwind. Got right back in the vans. No pictures.
The highlight of the drive might be the Rasta dude with feathers in his head with his pants down by his ankles finishing his business by swatting his butt with a paper bag. We didn’t stop for that.
After leaving the main road about 80 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and traveling about 6 miles on a dirt road, the entrance to Las Alamandas is through a small gate with a guard. A guard with a machine gun, I might add. After passing through this gate it is still several miles to the Pacific Ocean and the 14 room resort.
Las Alamandas is not a hotel in one building but a series of small house like structures. Some of the suites are individual buildings. Some of the buildings have several rooms in it. All have porches or patios that look toward the Pacific Ocean. Meals are served under a huge palapa or in a more formal outdoor patio. The pool is great with large beds for lounging beside it. (I hope we get done early enough on Sunday so I can try one out!)
There aren’t a lot of people around. It is almost like we have the whole place to ourselves.
Some of the crew will be staying about 30 minutes away at another hotel. I was fortunate enough to draw a room at Las Alamandas.
The rest of the crew and talent arrive after dark. We all meet and greet and enjoy some great food.
As I go to bed I decide to try out my new miniature AM/FM/SW radio. Nothing. Not a single AM, FM, or shortwave signal to be found. We are in the middle of nowhere!
Famous quote from the job today: “the whole town is buzzing”.