Up, Up and Away

Recap Good Morning, From Here

January 20 – 26, 2024


Puerto Vallarta’s music community is short a gifted pianist this week. Dennis Crow, who could play anything in any key to match any voice, played his last note in his beloved adopted city.

There will be (likely many) Celebrations of Dennis’s life, but first, there are substantial medical expenses to deal with. To that end, Open Mic tomorrow at Nacho Daddy will be a fundraiser to help cover those costs. Rest in Peace, sweet Dennis.

The second Preliminary Round of the ‘So, You Think You Can Rise?’ talent contest was held yesterday at the Palm Cabaret. Another sold-out show to benefit the RISE Children’s Shelter!

Seven contestants sang, played, and danced for judges Gabe Arciniega, Mama T, and Luis Villaneuva. This year’s contestants are assigned coaches, and Round Two had a win for each one! Danny Celis hosted this round and gave us a couple of songs from his fabulous ‘Rocketman’ tribute to Elton John.

In a gorgeous pink gown, Coach Stolie’s uber-poised 11-year-old pianist Melina Reyes dazzled the crowd by mashing up popular songs with Beethoven and Mozart by memory. Vocalist Amitahba Lopez, coached by Stephanie Wright Watts, won the Singer Category with a deft rendition of the difficult ‘Never Enough.’

Georgia Darehshori walked with me after the RISE competition. We stopped at Lix for a quick blast of Vallarta’s finest ice cream and resumed our stroll up a busy Basilio Badillo to Act2PV. After a two-week hiatus, I again immersed myself in my new Sunday afternoon ritual of seeing Vacare on the Main Stage.

There were some changes in this ever-evolving fantasy of enriching one’s life by following dreams, however outrageous they may seem to others. If you can dream it, you can do it. That is the plot line and the backstory to this fabulously beautiful production.

It’s passport renewal time, so I will go north to the Canadian Consulate and get all the details. Then, lunch with dear friend and Vallarta Mirror columnist Sheryl Novak. My day will be busy and fun; how will you make yours From Here?


I gave myself a good 45 minutes to spend at the Canadian Consulate yesterday. Figuring smack in the middle of the busiest season in Vallarta ever, there would be a line of lost, stolen passport-people at least, and Canadians in trouble. 

The only person there was a security guard safely locked inside. A sign on the door said, “By appointment only.” I had checked the website, Facebook pages, etc., but nothing said, do not show up without an appointment. 

I told the guard I only needed a passport form and was directed to take a photo of the email address pasted on the door below the BAO sign I must write to and start the process. Sigh. I will let you know how that goes!

I spent the following three hours yakking, laughing, and having a blast with Sheryl Novak at our favorite restaurant, Abbraccio, close to WalMart. They have amazing bread, lovely servers, and good pasta. Again, I just remembered that I need to take photos.

Tonight is the Vallarta Garden Club’s Gala Roja. I can’t wait to see the decorations at Oscar’s on the Isla Cuale. Vallarta Mirror has donated 10,000 pesos worth of advertising in the silent auction. I will have a full report in the morning, and yes, I will have a couple of photos to share From Here.


What a gorgeous event last night at Oscar’s on the Isla Cuale! Kudos and buckets of red roses to the Vallarta Garden Club for creating such magic. 

Cocktails were served on the lawn – we must have been a spectacle from the pedestrian bridge where people line up nightly to watch the sunset. We gave old ‘Sol’ a run for the money, with nearly all 200 of us dressed in various shades of red. Even the silent auction items were exciting, and I wonder who won the elaborate picnic!

So many friends I rarely see, like Bob Price from the Botanical Garden, looked tanned and happy. And a shout-out to Brian Bott – Happy Anniversary!

I have been a member of the Vallarta Garden Club since its inception over a dozen years ago, and I cannot say enough about the work they do. 

Where most major cities in the world have well-funded civic ‘parks and recreation’ departments, Puerto Vallarta has the Garden Club. Keep that in mind if you want to volunteer your time and money. 

Such a fantastic bunch of people with one goal – to make Puerto Vallarta, our adopted tropical home, as beautiful as she can be.

Lucy, the Owner of Oscar’s Restaurant, outdid herself with food and service. The buffet was a great idea, and, as a vegetarian, I was delighted with all the tasty and visually lovely options. Dessert was churros and gelato. Our table went completely quiet when we tasted the salted caramel gelato. A few bites later, we all scrambled back for more; Lucy told me it was available at Puerto Magico.

Today is busy with Scrabble at Qulture at 1 pm, Bingo for Colina Spay and Neuter at Nacho Daddy at 4 pm, then the 60th Anniversary celebration of the film ‘Night of the Iguana’ at 6 pm at Arte Vallarta Museo. Live music, the movie, and the uber-artsy crowd of Puerto Vallarta; see you there and everywhere, From Here.


I had a wonderful early lunch with my old friend, impresario Merv Buchanan, at Langostinos on the beach.

Merv has been bringing the finest tribute talent to Mexico from Canada for over a dozen years. He is currently scouting new locations, so drop me a line if you have suggestions!

The Arte Vallarta Museo blew the doors off (literally!) on how to have a cast party to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Night of the Iguana.

The movie, starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, was filmed here on location and set Puerto Vallarta firmly on the map as one of the world’s finest beach destinations.

The party last night was sold out with live music before vignettes of the movie began to filter through the audience with a Sue Lyon lookalike who did not break character for a second. She was hilariously, coquettishly funny! 

Various characters talked and bitterly complained about their drunken tour guide and the food to anyone who would listen. We sat, drinking pineapple margaritas, and watched maracas fly as beach boys vied for attention.

And then, the bus arrived and drove into the museum’s central courtyard.

The bus, a moving museum of Vallarta’s history, is often parked in Parque Hidalgo. I’m just happy Museo director Nathalie Herling didn’t choose the actual bus that was used for filming the movie!

It was the most inspired party that Nathalie had ever thrown; formidable! Kudos, Chica!

Prior to Iguana, Scrabble at Qulture was well-attended, as was Bingo for Colina Spay & Neuter Clinic at Nacho Daddy.

Tomorrow from 6 to 9 pm is the Paseo del Arte in Zona Romantica, which has more than 22 galleries and studios. It’s great fun and a leisurely way to shop. Don’t miss Contempo Galeria and Cassandra Shaw Jewelry on Basilio Badillo and Kathleen Carrillo’s Gallery on Constitucion.

It’s a gorgeous day out there. Enjoy! See you back here for coffee tomorrow morning, From Here.


It’s Friday. Again.

I roll out of bed, go to the gym three times, and another week is done. I cannot remember the last time I was bored or had ‘nothing to do.’ However, that last bit makes me feel wistful.

I am up to here learning new techie things, and they are just beginning not to overwhelm me. Then I think about babies – imagine everybody on the earth had to learn everyday things like talking, walking, not eating like a pig, and language(s), and they all began with a need or a want, and the only way we learned was by failing.

And miserably.

You get the walking part figured out – that takes six or eight months, and running is next. Then competing in small races at school, then bigger contests, State Championships, the Olympics! Man, can I run!

So, we learn to balance winning and losing, falling down and getting up. Sometimes, we want to stay down, but when that isn’t an option, we struggle and we get up.

A couple of appropriate adages:

‘I have been down so long it’s starting to look like up,’ and

‘I have fallen down, and don’t freaking touch me!’ (or words to that effect!)

Neither one of those applies to me. 

I am learning. When I forget a piece here and there, I am guided back on track. If the teacher can hang in there – it must be tough – we both will win From Here.


  • Marcia Blondin

    I am a Canadian expat who has lived in Vallarta for over 30 years. Becoming the editor of Vallarta Mirror is a dream come true, spending my days extolling the virtues of the city I love. An environmentalist in my lifestyle, artistic endeavors, the clothes I wear and the love I share.

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