On my flight down to Puerto Vallarta yesterday, the plane was crammed full of happy vacationing Americans. No "Great Depression" in evidence here. There were families, surfers, rich dowagers, middle-class couples in Spandex, hotties and druggies on my plane -- but I didn't see any obvious homosexuals. This is surprising because Puerto Vallarta is known for its highly-visible gay community.
"Do you want to go to the coronation of 'Miss Gay Puerto Vallarta' tonight," asked a friend of mine who used to live in Berkeley but who now lives down here year-round. Do I? I can't make up my mind. There is just so much to do down here, I can't seem to fit it all in. Today I have an invitation to go to a talk on Mexico's hallucinogenic plants up at the local botanical garden, an invitation to attend a gathering of local artists and writers, and another invitation to go to a Quinceañera -- a coming out party for someone's 15-year-old daughter -- held in one of PV's many working-class neighborhoods. That would be nice except you are supposed to dress up and I have nothing to wear except blue jeans. And then there is always the town of Puerto Vallarta itself to explore.
"I'd like to know more about what the Mexican gay community is like," wrote my friend Richard. Hmmm. I always thought that the gay community in Puerto Vallarta was mostly composed of gay Americans on vacation. But apparently I was wrong.
According to one local resident here, "Many of the homosexuals in Puerto Vallarta are actually Mexican. There are a lot of gays in Mexico and they are fairly well tolerated here too." But are they allowed to marry? Apparently they are. Gay unions are perfectly legal in both Mexico City and in Coahuila. And there is supposed to be a town somewhere in Guerrero that is populated entirely by gays.
So. I spent my first warm and balmy evening in Puerto Vallarta walking along its cobblestone streets, taking funky buses, eating tacos, gawking at tourists, soaking in the ambiance -- and buying lemon meringue pie from the PV branch of the Yelapa pie shop. But will I spend my second night in Puerto Vallarta at the "Miss Gay Puerto Vallarta" coronation? Quién sabe? Who knows?
Check out "Puerto Vallarta Scene" to know what's going on there this week: http://www.pvscene.com/?p=3363
To see photos of yummy seafood soup, me going through immigration, PV drag queens and Ashley in the back of a local pickup truck , click here.