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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | June 2009 

The Second Time I Saw Alejandro Fernandez
email this pageprint this pageemail usLiana Turner - PVNN

From our perch above the Malecón, we watched the stage being built for The Jalisco en Vivo 2009 concert, which despite torrential downpours, was well-organized and well-orchestrated. (Video by SF Productions)
The last few months have been difficult for us here in Puerto Vallarta. First came the recession, then the media went crazy on the drug cartel violence and got everyone in a tizzy about Mexico, and then the swine flu showed up and scared the hell out of most of the people who weren't affected by the first two issues.

Weddings were canceled and trips were postponed or called off altogether. Large hotels closed off towers or areas, and many people were laid off. Cruise ships stopped calling at our beautiful port. Charities had to go begging in order to find enough food to satisfy the growing need.

Due to the lack of catering jobs for future months, I was considering selling off my furniture and selling my business, but selling to whom? No one seemed to have any money. Desperation was my middle name, but only for a few weeks, and then some friends and clients were kind enough to put together a dinner party that was somehow the cosmic catalyst that got things going again.

As I was working on the planning for their dinner, I received an email asking about catering for a concert that was coming up In Vallarta. I couldn't believe my luck, and I worked very hard and fast to get all the necessary information to them... and I got the job.

All the time I was thinking that it might not really happen. When they discovered that I wasn't Mexican they might pull the rug out, but that did not happen. They are city people and understand that this is an international world. And since I have been living here 15 years, I am practically Mexican anyway. My business is Mexican, my employees are Mexican, and so are all of my suppliers, so the detail of my nationality was minor.

Our job was to feed the crews, office people, security and musicians for the Jalisco en Vivo 2009 concert, which was intended to boost tourism for Jalisco. It probably will do just that, but it also gave a boost to businesses here for the week of preparation and tearing down.

We fed between 75 and 230 people depending on the day, for seven days, three meals a day. The trickle down of money just for the supplies for all that food has helped many businesses. The tortilla store, the vegetable store, the water people, etc... It also helped my employees, who I was happy to put back to work after some dismal times.

We took over a restaurant on the Malecón that had been closed. It was located right next to the stage, and we were there from the beginning, and saw the whole thing materialize over the days. The men who do that work are amazing. It seems that they have all worked together for a long time. Everything was so organized and well-orchestrated.

I have worked on tugboats and fishing boats and with a construction crew in Antarctica, and all of these situations are the same in one aspect. The people that we feed are working very hard, and away from home, so when they come in to eat it is the highlight of their day.

Forget about the stereotype of the rude and crude construction worker. That did not apply here. I am proud to say that I had the best crew working for me, and the "customers" were always greeted with smiles and friendly conversation, and we were rewarded with warmth and gratitude.

Everyone said 'thank you' and it was a 100% pleasant experience. I even found that getting in the habit of greeting people and smiling and being cheerful carried into my life outside of the restaurant. I was smiling and greeting everyone in stores and on the street, and noticing how much nicer everyone was. Cheerfulness is contagious!

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