The year was 1992 and I was 21 years old. I was living near the beach in southern California with one of my best friends from Redlands, working part time and attending the University of California Irvine. There was a great deal on a seven day trip to Puerto Vallarta so I decided to head out on my first international solo trip!
Mexico is a beautiful country that I had safely travelled to a few times already (well, dozens if you count Tijuana on the SoCal border because in the U.S. the legal drinking age is 21 but … not in Mexico, so imagine how popular it is for U.S. teens!). The very first day I made friends with a really sweet and fun group of locals who took me under their wing and showed me the side of Puerto Vallarta that tourists never see. They took me to small clubs where a singer playing acoustic guitar belted out beautiful love songs, to a massive underground club far away from the touristy bars where I was the only foreigner, and to swim in beautiful lagoons … introduced me to real local food and taught me how to drink tequila like a Mexican (not the salt, shot, lime way we westerners do it). (more…)