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Winning at Bingo – Some Thoughts!

Recap: Good Morning, From Here: March 04 – 08, 2024

Last week, I stopped in at SOLutions Mexico to meet Guatemalan painter Pedro Cruz Sunu. He flew here at Vallarta Mirror columnist Sheryl Novak, also the owner of SOLutions Mexico’s, request. Her showroom was transformed into a color-splashed fiesta. Pedro’s paintings will remain for sale for another week; head to Constitucion and treat your eyes!

From Pedro’s show, I walked to Arte Vallarta Museo for a private preview of Dove Bradshaw’s extraordinary exhibition. Workers, volunteers, curators, and featured artist Dove were touching up paint, moving bags of construction material, and everyone railing at whoever would listen about missing pieces. In other words, it was a classic dress rehearsal setting.

Hundreds came the next night to eat barbeque, drink wine, and witness the unveiling of the permanent installation – a gigantic boulder sitting under a copper cube that will, over time, take on a verdigris hue that will bleed down the fissure in the stone. I suggest a whole day to appreciate the depth and importance of this exhibit. There is much to see while learning the back stories of each piece.

Sunday brought Deborah Darr’s N.I.A. dance class at the IFC Clubhouse. An energizing yet easy on the body – and fun! – workout. I found it wonderful to relieve some stiffness from last week’s deadlifts at the gym. There are three and possibly four more classes with Deb at the IFC on Sundays at noon; it just might be the best hour you spend on yourself all week.

Georgia Darehshori and I ubered over to Teatro Vallarta for one of the year’s biggest events – What a Drag! This brilliant fundraiser benefits Casa Esperanza, the only shelter for battered women and their children. In the past decade, this shelter has changed the lives of more than 200 women and 700 kids.

Last night, seven straight men donned high heels, wonderous costumes, and a few cubic meters of fabulous makeup and wigs to strut their stuff in solidarity for these families torn apart by domestic violence. The Chairwoman of WAD, Freda Thompson, was hoping to raise 3 million pesos by the end of the often side-splitting antics onstage. Amy Armstrong was the funniest I have ever heard her, and she kept the show moving briskly. The winner was Brandon Johnson, sponsored by Tropicasa Realty, with First Runner up local singer/guitar player Mau Jiba who you can find entertaining at his sponsors’ Mex-Tex restaurant bar Nacho Daddy.

I heard this morning of the recent passing of Burgers Smuts. He was so lovely and kind to me always. My heart goes out to his partner and fellow South African, Andre Lategan. Rest in peace, my friend, From Here.

Three of us headed to Il Pesce last night to indulge in heavenly pasta and the warm, comforting atmosphere that is always extended to guests. The tiny restaurant on Constitucion was full all night long; I am so happy for them. 

Kevin was craving ice cream, so we walked a block to Dolphy’s and obliged. From there, we dropped in at Reina’s Bar for a quick drink, then went to Gouda Gabor’s birthday party at Nacho Daddy.

A packed house greeted us, so we went to the mezzanine and looked out over the array of celebrities and Vallarta A-list residents that had come to wish the old gal (whooooops) best wishes.

A delightful trio of videos were sent honoring Gouda’s years of entertaining us around town. One, a poignant – and pointed – message from Aunt Pearl (aka Tracy Parks), was exceptionally well received. With everyone else in the audience, I sent the love right back; we all miss Tracy immeasurably and Aunt Pearl, too.

Mark Hartman on piano and Sheila Tranquila, standup bass, accompanied everyone who sang Gouda’s favorite songs. If I start listing singers, sure as hell, I will inadvertently miss someone.

The birthday cake was yummy, and as we walked home, the only thoughts were of a loving evening, full, happy tummies, and the promise of a long, rejuvenating night’s sleep From Here.

I love shopping at La Comer; it’s the only store I know that sells fabulous (yellow/orange) sweet potatoes. If you ever see these beautifully colored beauties anywhere else, please let me know. After stocking up on spud, I walked over to Costco to buy three or four unattainable things elsewhere, then stood in line for an hour to pay. I don’t mind the wait; it is a feast for my eyes as I watch what people buy. And try to guess why, like an entire cart full of those nasty small paper napkins that don’t absorb jack and fly off a table with a mention of a breeze. 

How much money gets pumped into our Costco daily, do you suppose? Millions of pesos. It doesn’t matter what day or what time one goes; the store is packed, the lines are long, and the cashiers are never rushed; they are monumentally calm. And no matter the time of year, when whipped cream and cat litter routinely vanish from the shelves in a heartbeat, Costco never, ever runs out of cheesecake. That’s a lot of love, From Here.

I love being up before everybody else, and believe it or not, you can drop a pin at 4:30 in the morning in Vallarta and hear it hit the ground, at least in front of my house in Centro, anyway. There is no traffic, no birds, and it’s too early even for catfights. It is dead quiet. Lovely, peaceful, and fresh.

Bingo at Nacho Daddy yesterday for Colina Spay and Neuter Clinic was full, with lots of folks there for the first time. My winning streak, which ended about three weeks ago and shows no signs of returning any time soon, continues. I get within one last number, and somebody yells, “BINGO!” I mean, seriously? On the other hand, people that finish first in any event – running, tennis, car racing, spelling bees, are all good, some excellent at whatever it is they do and win. 

What can be said for the skill set for bingo? You MUST be able to identify five (5) of the 26 letters in the alphabet and count and recognize numerals one (1) to 75. And THEN, be able to spot the corresponding matches between the alphabet and numbers and mark it or cover it with implements usually supplied with your cards/sheets. And get that all done before the next number is called! 

And these are the things I have time to think about long before sunrise. Have a brilliant day From Here!

The Vallarta Garden Club held its scintillating annual meeting yesterday at Di Vino Dante so we could diligently vote on board members. Welcome our new president Sunny Rossi! I have been a member of the Garden Club since it was founded by Bob Price, Curator of the Vallarta Botanical Garden, 12 or so, years ago.

I cannot express enough gratitude to this group for their unfailing commitment to making and keeping Vallarta at her prettiest. While most major cities have ‘Parks and Rec’ departments, Vallarta does not.

Whenever you see planter boxes – over 500 of them in town and counting! – remember the Garden Club built them, planted them and maintains them. And let’s remember the most critical part – and PAYS for them. All of which trickles down to you.

You can become a member; it’s very affordable. You can volunteer in a fun way—there are Wine and Weed(ing) days on the Island and Maintenance Mornings with Mimosas. There is no need to suffer just because you are whacking weeds!

They are a fun group passionately devoted to beautifying Vallarta.

Deborah Darrs’ N.I.A. dance class is at noon at the IFC on Sunday, followed by the Academy Awards. I have to figure out a frock. See you Monday morning, 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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