That Friday night he private messaged me and we began to talk. Soon he had showed me the call function on Facebook Messenger. It took a few calls back and forth before we connected but once we did it was like I had known him forever. We spent over five hours texting and talking that night!
After nine months of talking and texting….over 25,000 texts, I boarded a plane in Tampa, Florida and headed to meet Dan in person for the first time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I had many friends who thought I had totally lost my mind. “You’re going to spend two weeks on a boat with a guy you’ve never met before?” they queried. “What if he smells funny?” I heard from my close friend, Michelle. Well, the way I looked at it after nine months of talking with Dan I knew more about him than I did when I married my ex after two years of dating. There’s just something about dating long distance that makes you really pour your heart out and put everything on the table. And when you do that you learn so much about each other. I think I told him more in those nine months than I may have ever told anyone else in my life. He is just so easy to talk to that I can’t help myself. So, after nine months I came walking out of the Liceniado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport to find Dan standing there in a pair of green shorts with a mustard yellow golf shirt and that smile….oh that smile!
I spotted him first so I walked up and asked, “Hey handsome, looking for someone?” to which he replied, without missing a beat, “Nope, I just found her.” We walked across the road to pick up a taxi and head back to the marina. He had the boat docked at the Paradise Village Marina & Yacht Club in Neuvo Vallarta. It is an absolutely beautiful place. They even have a Bengal tiger breeding program there where you can see beautiful tigers on display. And they have parrots, monkeys and other exotic animals on display as well. I kept trying to get the parrots to say, “Wipe your feet.” My brother always talked about getting a parrot and teaching him to say that then put his cage by the front door. I was really close by the time I left but I never got them to say it fluently. Maybe next trip.
I think I knew Dan and I were really compatible when we got back to the boat and he suggested that we play a joke on my cousin and tell him I didn’t get off the plane. After about a half hour of texts and calls between the two of them I realized that it was getting serious. My cousin, Dan, was calling my other cousins to try to reach my mom. Of course I already told her that I was safe on the boat. But, you can take a joke too far so we decided it was time to give it up. We took a picture of us and sent it to him. I can’t remember exactly but I think he called us buttheads! That was the last we heard from Cousin Dan for several days! Of course that was a true bonding moment for my Dan and me. We laughed and laughed over it. It was the ice breaker we needed to get the trip moving in a positive direction.
From that point on I felt like I had been with him my entire life. We spent an amazing two weeks together. We did a pub crawl on the Malecón with Tammy & Dan from SV Anjouli. We sailed to Punta de Mita, Chacala, Yelappa, La Cruz and back to Puerto Vallarta. We hiked to the Calderon in Chacala, sipped cocktails at sunset on the boat in Punta de Mita, hiked to the waterfall in Yelappa and I even drank Yelappan moonshine from a guy who sold me a rosewood dolphin that he carved. I’m not sure how many people drank from that shot glass before me or the last time it was cleaned but I can tell you this, there was enough alcohol in that moonshine to pickle my innards for quite sometime. Note to self: Next time drink it on the way DOWN from the waterfall, not on the way UP! I saw so many beautiful and colorful people and places in those two weeks and I LOVED each and every second of the trip.
Dan and I got along so well. We played Yahtzee and Dominoes along the way. It turns out we are both very competitive but we have a good sense of humor so game time is a blast. At night we would settle in around the table and watch a movie after dinner. If it was nice out, which it usually was, we would sit in the cockpit and enjoy the warm sea breezes with a cocktail or beer.
One of my favorite places was Chacala. Chacala is a tiny beachfront village about 100 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. There are only around 300 full-time residents there but it is a popular vacation destination for Mexicans and can get quite crowded around the holidays. Each day we watched buses delivering tourists to the salmon colored beachfront. We were there in May so it was pretty quiet but the buses still came each morning and then by the time the sun was setting, the little beach town would close up for the evening. We stayed in the anchorage which is lovely. Sitting in the cockpit of Dazzler we could look back at the beach and see the colorful palapas with their thatched-roofs. The bright colors were a nice contrast to the deep blue water between us and the beach.
We stayed there for five days. One evening we made a couple of cocktails, turned down the lights, turned up the music and sat on the aft seat together looking at the quaint village along the beach. We could see so many stars that night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in my life. Dan took me to the bow and we laid upon the dink and watched the stars and talked for a couple of hours. I felt more at peace there than I ever have anywhere.
Needless to say we spent a wonderful two weeks together and I didn’t want to leave but work and home were calling so I headed back to the states and left paradise and the most amazing man I had ever met behind.