Off The Wall

I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” – Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

A comment this past fall regarding a funny moment I relayed to Mark of about our October trip to Vancouver Island led him to suggest I write a post about other “off the wall” moments, so here goes!

In the early 90’s we booked a spontaneous flight to Oahu and Maui (Hawaii) after 6 weeks of rain during a Vancouver summer that normally manifests in sunshine and warmth. It was lovely to land in Oahu and feel embraced by heat and light. On Maui in between checking out the sights (taking a tour of the famous highway to Hana and spending an afternoon of delight at a pineapple winery), sitting on the beach after breakfast and eating out (Moose McGillycuddy’s), we were looking forward to snorkeling in the magnificent blue water just off the beach at Lahaina Shores where we were staying.

A perfect day presented itself and we blissfully entered the water to check out the many colourful fish and towering yellow and linen coral structures, we were in about 6 feet of water and a few feet apart when I felt a hard nudge or bump against the back of my foot – my first thought was, shark! I didn’t panic and slowly raised my head to motion to Terry to head back to shore. We didn’t see any dark body or fin and laughingly breathed a sigh of relief. Imagine our shock when we returned home to hear an unsettling news item about the very waters we were snorkeling in, a rogue Tiger shark had been seen swimming off shore and had made contact with local surfers resulting in one fatality. To this day, I can still feel that curious, insistent nudge…

The beautiful Lahaina Shores condominium complex where we stayed on Maui.

It was blissful to walk on the soft sand or gaze out at the Pacific Ocean…

This quiet moment took our breath away!

After our one week stay on this incredible island, it was hard to leave and this capture says it all.

Many “off the wall” moments happened while we were living in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), a place we visited often before taking the plunge which began in a lovely villa high up on a hill and ended in what we thought and hoped would be a cool apartment to live in. A paper notice pinned to a bulletin board at the local grocery store by the river led us to Suzanne, a very nice German girl vacating a large airy apartment above a spice shop, its bedroom windows overlooking an art gallery with one or two sculptures on display in the miniscule garden. We came to see the apartment on a beautiful sunny day and were utterly charmed – the clean white walls, dark brown shutters and warm coloured tiles in the kitchen and bathroom casting their spell. Our time at the sprawling villa was winding down and soon we would have to say goodbye to the gorgeous swimming pool and view of the bay, wave goodbye to the pretty green parrots that flew overhead almost daily and sigh over the loss of breakfast outside on the terrace. So we said yes and then reality reared its laughing head!

One of the first things we noticed was, there was no glass in the bedroom windows, just black iron security bars resulting in a quick purchase of two Mexican blankets from a store just down the street to keep us warm during the cooler nights (one of those very blankets keeps us warm on cold Vancouver nights!). Closing the shutters only kept curious wild possums from poking their inquisitive noses through the bars above our heads while they roamed across the red tiled rooftops below during the dark tropical nights.

When night did fall, we soon discovered that our airy dwelling was surrounded by four to five loud nightclubs and bars – we also found out very early on that our bathroom and kitchen walls were shared by the local Lion’s Club which held raucous wedding parties until 4 am! And when sleep finally came in the wee hours each new day, the city’s local buses would start their journeys at 6 am chasing what little sleep we managed to enjoy, away.

Two things saved those days so to speak and made our time in the apartment more tolerable – we started heading to Burro Beach each morning after breakfast to lay on the warm sand in the gentle light and catch up on some much needed sleep while our midnight hours were spent walking the quiet streets of our neighbourhood counting the street dogs lying on the pavement often after enjoying a cup of Mexican hot chocolate or a bottle of Mexican beer at a funky coffee bar called Viva Cafe. The friendly owner named Sonny kept his coffee bar open later just for us, the warm glow beyond the glass and colourful walls providing a sense of peace allowing us to leave the cacophony behind.

This first apartment in Mexico provided many “off the wall” moments – other highlights included a variety of visiting insects; an army of large black ants in perfect formation managed to enter our home determined to make a new home while termites crunched and moved inside two wooden flower paintings on the wall. We had a nasty shock one morning when the bed collapsed onto the red tiled floor due to more termite activity, luckily the round rock that every home seems to have in Puerto Vallarta to keep the front door open to capture the ocean breeze came in handy to bang the post and frame together once again! We were so worried, concerned that we might have an unexpected purchase to make far from home.

Despite some bumps in the road, we were left with rich memories of our time spent in both paradises and continue to welcome the beauty before us as well as “off the wall” moments, knowing that they are just as meaningful…

Villa Lucero was a magical place to start our adventure…

These are two of our favourite views! The first one is the tropical setting for morning breakfasts and the next is of glorious Banderas Bay…

Here is our colourful makeshift bed underneath the glassless windows in our first apartment in Puerto Vallarta!

These pretty tiles captured our imagination in the bathroom and kitchen…

Our apartment building is just across the street from the funky coffee shop that added a heartwarming layer to our first three month stay in Puerto Vallarta!


About anotetohuguette

I'm currently blogging from the beautiful West Coast city of Vancouver, British Columbia - a vibrant city by the sea, surrounded by mountains and a very unique urban forest.
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24 Responses to Off The Wall

  1. calmkate says:

    great post, lovely to hear of your expat adventures!

    I used to keep a diary called “Only in India”, I lived there for years and ‘off the wall moments’ were plentiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markmkane says:

    Loved it! Loved it! Loved it Kimberlee! The pictures were awesome but your “Off The Wall” experiences is what makes it real and relatable. Often times when we travel to new and exotic places, we tell of stories to family, friends and co-workers of the beautiful and historic sites we got to see. But sometimes our trips are not always rainbows and sunshine; there are a few imperfections where we tend not to mention because of the embarrassing circumstance that happened. I commend you Kimberlee for a great post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! I’m so glad you liked it…it was fun to reach back in time and relive some wonderful memories…there is a lot more and like I mentioned to Kate, I’m sure our “off the wall” moments would make great reading in book form…thank you so much for the suggestion and your unfailing support, Mark!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Mark. Your stories were very relatable and made the post much more vivid and memorable. Kudos on your adventures and great attitude in facing off-the-wall situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ugetse says:

    Nothing better than a great travel adventure and it’s imperfections are what make them more interesting. You have the gift of keeping us with you everywhere you go.
    Have a great weekend. ♥️😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes things like termites make for better memories than the original experiences, Kim. Those off-the-wall experiences spice up life, don’t they? They give us character and test our resilience and sense of humor. Where (who) would we be without them? I’m glad the shark was just a nudge. That was a little scary. A fun post, my friend. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. murisopsis says:

    So much to remember and cherish! The experiences of a lifetime!! Thanks for sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Miriam says:

    Absolutely fabulous! Loved these off the wall moments, thanks for sharing these fun memories Kim. As for that shark “nudging you”, yikes! I’m not sure I’d be so calm.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m imagining how cool it would have been to see an army of ants in formation! Perhaps not inside my apartment, though! 😬 The experiences gained while travelling are unique and enriching in ways everyday life isn’t. To me, nothing compares. I love this idea of sharing ‘off the wall’ moments, and I hope you share more of them! Also, I’m going to pretend that it absolutely was not a shark that gave you a nudge that day and instead just a rogue turtle. It’s easier for me that way. Loved this, Kim!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I would’ve loved to have seen a turtle, let’s hope it was one! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and yes, there is most likely going to be another off-the-wall post soon. Take care, my friend and I hope there’s some sunshine to enjoy this weekend…


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