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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | March 2007 

Things and Everybody
email this pageprint this pageemail usPolly G. Vicars - PVNN

Los Bambinos

Dr. Raul Meza visiting patients at CMQ

Nurse Navidad comforting her patient

Alberto Perez at the inauguration of his new CD "Noches en La Palapa"
An old friend from Kentucky ended most of her sentences with, "things and everybody!" Husband and I joked about it at first, then somehow formed the habit of using it ourselves.

Now that the successful 2007 Becas Ball celebrating 45 years of The America-Mexico Foundation, Inc. (Becas Vallarta, A.C.) giving scholarships to bright, but needy Vallarta girls and boys is history and Los Bambinos, the sensational musical group of four brothers and a cousin who were voted in 2006 PV's best musical group, have finished their concert season at the Santa Barbara Theater with a rousing, foot stomping performance last week, I thought what is there for me to write about?

"Things and everybody" popped into my mind and suddenly many things and many people seemed news worthy to me as I began to remember the many questions Husband and I get about our 19 years of living in Puerto Vallarta.

A frequent question concerns the fears or concerns of locals and visitors about medical care in Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is very lucky to have five or six great hospitals and a host of well trained and caring medical professionals. I want to laud the hospital we know best, Centro Médico Quirúrgico Hospital, locally known as CMQ, for their exceptional medical care and reasonable costs.

A few months after retiring here in 1988, as we walked along a narrow sidewalk to our early morning Spanish class, we spied a large dog sprawled on the sidewalk outside of a street-side casa. I could see he had an ugly open sore on his hind leg, and my mind told me, "Careful! Don't step on his leg!" My foot did not get the message: it brushed him. The dog jumped up, and in spite of the fact that I was wearing fairly heavy slacks, sank a fang right through the material into my leg, and calmly lay back down. I yelled, "That dog bit me!"

Husband, with a trace of false indulgence, said, "No dear, he just scared you," but I pulled up the leg of my slacks exposing a puncture and streaming blood. Being within three short blocks of a small, well recommended, twenty-four-hour hospital-clinic, known as CMQ, Husband helped me to the emergency room where a very young doctor who spoke no English, but understood what had happened from our gestures and from seeing the wound, flushed it out, medicated and bandaged it. For the doctor's appropriate ministrations the charge was less than $25 USD. This experience impressed us with both the caliber and the cost of medical treatment in Vallarta.

Not too long after that, during my morning absolutions, I mistook the results of a red beet eating binge the previous night for a serious medical problem. Having no car we walked to that same clinic where a diminutive, seemingly even younger English speaking doctor saw us. Having eaten beets never entered my mind so the doctor and I both thought the problem serious enough to have tests made.

The laboratory was located clear across town, and then, surprisingly, he asked if we had a car. After learning that we didn't, he asked us to wait. We thought maybe we needed to prove our solvency or fill out some of the many forms they would have had in the States. Soon he returned with a young man to drive us in his (the doctor's) car to the laboratory, wait for us, and bring us back. Remind you of your doctor back home?

After negative test results, the beets came to light, and the young doctor, Dr. Ernesto Aldape (we still visit him in his new clinic on Francisco Villa) and this old lady shared a good laugh. Though this was only a false alarm, the professionalism displayed by the doctor, coupled with his compassion and helpfulness, reinforced our feelings of confidence in the medical care available in our new hometown.

In the past couple of years, both Husband and I have had occasions to experience the same expert care given by the doctors, nurses and support staff at both Dr. Aldape's Clinic and CMQ Hospital where Dr. Jaime Castañenda, internist, and Dr. Raul Meza, urologist, take care of us. We have also had the opportunity to compare the care and the cost here to our experience at one of the finest hospitals in the United States.

I say with a great deal of pride in my adopted home, that the care given to us here far exceeds that we have received in the U.S. and the cost is probably less than one tenth. Whether tourist or ex-pat, you do not have to worry about good medical care here in Puerto Vallarta, where in cases of dire need, these good doctors will even make house calls!

Alberto, Memo and Bob playing songs from the CD in the bar of La Palapa
On another subject, last night when Alberto Perez, owner and musician extraordinary, was inaugurating his new CD, "Noches en La Palapa," it was only fitting that we joined the well wishers at Restaurant La Palapa, downstairs from our apartment in Condominios La Palapa in the old part of Vallarta.

Another connection for us was that Blaine Selkirk's Ancient Sun Studios recorded and mixed this great new CD. Blaine is the musical genius who produced all Los Bambinos concerts (knew I could work Los Bambinos into this tale!) and is producing their soon to be released CD of their own music.

During the recording of "Noches en La Palapa," Blaine had told me that Alberto and his group, Memo Suárez on percussions, Alexis Guevara Muñoz on guitar, Bob Tansen and Carlos Hudson on flute were the most prepared and the easiest group he had ever recorded. He said they came in ready to play and sing and got it down with very few re-takes. The result is a fabulous CD in both Spanish and English featuring Alberto's beautiful voice and many songs that will bring out the romantic in the hardest of us! You can buy this brand new CD with its incredible music by some of Vallarta's very best at La Palapa Restaurant on Los Muertos Beach.

Speaking of inaugurations, gallery owner and director of Malecón Art, Beatriz Narvaez, is hosting an exposition of Chinese artist Miso in her Calle 241 Leona Vicario gallery on Wednesday, March 28 at 8 pm.

This exposition, "Caras de Vallarta" (Faces of Vallarta) will feature Miso's portraits of ten of Vallarta's most active residents, local and ex-pats, such as Peter Gray, Ramiz and Nelly Barquet, Nacho Cardenas, and unbelievably me!

When Beatriz called to ask if I would sit for Miso, I was flattered but felt I didn't belong in that august group. However, Miso infected me with his incredible enthusiasm and talent, so I sat for him and am anxiously looking forward to the exposition. Come on by the gallery as I believe it will be quite an unforgettable collection of some recognizable faces of this paradise by the sea!

More about things and everybody another time.
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 55 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.

Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.

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