Out and About with Marcia Blondin – Weather, Lidia and More

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

You can also read Marcia’s column “From Here” each week in the Puerto Vallarta publication The Mirror. You can view their online PDF of this weeks issue here. (First published online in the PV Mirror, by Marcia Blondin, October 20, 2023).

From Here with Marcia Blondin
From Here with Marcia Blondin

We had some weather

I have witnessed four hurricanes since moving to Vallarta in 1991. Each left a personal memory or two that immediately springs to mind if someone says, “Kenna, Dean, Nora,” and now, “Lidia.”

Everybody has said about Lidia – across the board – how vulnerable, frightened, scared, nervous, unnerved, helpless, and terrified they were for some or all of her visit last week.

I was alone with my cat Miri in our two-story house in Centro, carefully watching a corner of my roof I knew was unstable. The repair I made years ago, shortly after the vinyl panels were installed, held up in the wind. Barely.

I watched as the pieces repeatedly lifted and came smashing back down. One noise I heard sounded like a woman screaming for her life in the street. I dared not open a window to check; what if I couldn’t close it against the wind?

The Domino Effect ran through my monkey brain – If the wind tore the panels away, I would have a flood on my hands with the pouring rain, so furniture had to be moved just in case. I was concerned about things inside my house getting sucked outside. I have heard about that happening but have never lived through a scenario close to being a real possibility. Soundtracks from every reluctantly watched horror movie replayed in my head, with “The Banshees” making my spine tingle with eerily similar sounds emanating outside my fragile house.

I spent hours physically tensed, then realized I had to calm TF down and stay calm to be effective if any of the disastrous thoughts in my head became a reality.

At one point, I shouted at my roof, “Stop it!” and for a heartbeat, it went still. Lidia laughed at me, then continued to harass my roof. All I wanted in the world that minute was for someone bigger and stronger than me to hug me hard, hold me tight, and tell me lies that everything would soon be alright.

And, of course, in the end, it was. We survived despite the city’s power and water shortages and complete cutoffs. Hundreds of uprooted trees, landslides and fallen boulders blocked traffic, and the rivers rose dangerously. The seven inches of rain the following day created the only fatality when a man was swept to the sea.

The river banks held up, as did we. Community help was instant and will be ongoing as long as necessary. It’s what Vallartenses do.

We will be all cleaned up before your next vacation; don’t worry! The rainy season is unofficially over on October 15. I give it another ten days to the 25th in honor of Kenna, my first and clearly not my last hurricane.

Pamala Sheppard and Eduardo Lucker had a birthday celebration at La Catrina Cantina.
Pamala Sheppard and Eduardo Lucker had a birthday celebration at La Catrina Cantina.

Before all the above-mentioned weather drama, La Catrina Cantina hosted an enormous birthday party for Canadian ex-pat Pamala Sheppard and Eduardo Lucker, one of La CC’s excellent wait staff. Invitees nibbled on gooey brownies (no, not those!) and carrot cake cupcakes and were entertained royally by Chris Lopez and Tonny Kenneth, The Three Tenors, a belly dancer and a stripper. It was a fantastic night enjoyed by all, and when Pamala said it was her best bday yet, it got even better. Pamala showed off her acting skills in a small vignette from her upcoming play, “Lend me a Tenor,” directed by Gary Wayne Cash. The play opens at the American School in the Marina on November 9 (my birthday, if you keep track). Stay tuned here for more information on this production by Teatro Sin Borders.

La Voz de Catrina was won by Gloria Fiona, who is happily richer by the 5,000 pesos first prize. In typically kind fashion, La CC’s owner, Juan Alvarado, announced that the three other finalists would also get opportunities to entertain patrons of this community-oriented bar. Details and showtimes will follow.

So many shows and businesses were closed last week in anticipation of and in the aftermath of the hurricane. I missed a day at the gym, a Greatest Show at Act2PV, a concert by Mark Hartman at Incanto, a music appreciation lecture by Paco Ojeda, and Scrabble, but I did make it to my doctor for blood work results.

He downloaded and printed them, propped the pages in front of his computer and typed away, shaking his head every now and again, turning the pages and continuing to make notes. He turned to me, handing me the three pages, then, with a huge smile, said, “You are like wine. GOOD wine, the older you are, the better you get!” Phew, another bullet dodged!

remake la catrina

With my power out for more than 24 hours, I took myself and my charger to La Catrina Cantina Friday night for Remake and Victor Do Espirito. The three Argentines who met here in Vallarta, Chris Lopez, Max Prado and Nacho Granados, have three-part harmony down to a science. Their deep affection and respect for one another is evident in their onstage fun. Each a star in their own right, together they are formidable. Catch them every Friday night at Catrina Cantina at 7:30. Victor follows them, a great singer whose range runs from Jesus in Superstar to Dr Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror and everything in between. I was so grateful not to be sitting in the dark. I was charging my phone, listening to fabulous music, eating the best popcorn in the world and being spoiled by Eduardo, who kept me in ice and limes all night. Thank you, La Catrina Cantina!

I spent a couple of hours with Sharon Gerber Scherer and Janet Simmonds Doyle at Awaysis on Saturday afternoon. It was my first time at the old Que?Pasa location that had been among my favorites for a couple of decades. Repainted and refurbished, the bar was filling up as The Availables tuned up and kicked off the live-music 2023-24 winter season. Halfway through the first set, the bass guitarist asked for requests, and after hearing the youthful saxophonist, I requested some Pink Floyd. (The premise is: if a band can cover the Floyd well, they can play anything.) They responded with “Money” beautifully. “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers followed, and I immediately became an Availables groupie! Their tribute to The Beatles opens at Act2PV in early November. Check them out!

CORRECTION: From last week, I made a mistake. The event at Casa Frida Retreat Center in Gaviotas with author Bernie Doran is on Saturday, October 21, from 5 to 8 pm, NOT Friday. I apologize for that AND the fact I cannot attend as I will be at Casa Karma for the Toys for Tots all Saturday afternoon.

Coming up:

October 20, Friday, 8 pm, The Palm Cabaret.

The brilliant Roy Cruz debuts his Season Premiere, Epic Freddie Mercury.

October 21, Saturday, 4 – 8 pm, Casa Karma. The Jay Sadler Project presents the Toys for Tots Fundraiser. See their ad in this issue for information and tickets.

October 22, Sunday, 8 pm, The Palm Cabaret. The Ricky Martin Tribute!

October 25, Wednesday, 1 pm, Qulture. Brain training with Scrabble!

5 pm, Act2PV’s Casa Karma’s Red Room. Season Premiere of our favorite circus duo, Ale and Dabit – Circoncierto.

October 26, Thursday, 5 pm, Joint Coworking Hotel Event Space. Paco Ojeda on Music presents “Disco – Evolution & Cultural Impact.”

All of us here in Paradise lived through a brutally creepy week of unusual, scary weather. And, we are still shaken; every conversation starts with, “So how did you do during the…uh, the..um.” We can’t even finish the sentence without a moment of reliving the lethal possibilities.

So, be gentle with us as we regain our lives and continue the clean-up. By Halloween, we’ll be ready to party with love, From Here.

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