The trip to Puerto Vallarta went well. The flight there went very smoothly, and Little Man charmed the flight attendants. One of them was on our return flight and she asked to hold him :)
For years, I've followed the rule of packing less clothes than I think I'll need, because I inevitably come home with unused/unworn items, and I hate humping around heavy cases. But this time, I was traveling with a baby, and had to keep in mind that he would spit-up on my clothes and his. I actually did a great job of packing for all three of us. Just enough left-over clothes to last us a couple more days, if needed.
Bringing breast-milk through security was a little bit of a hassle. TSA opened the bottles and held little sticks over them. They also double-inspected the carry-on bags. I was half-expecting a strip-search, but didn't get one, thankfully :) Bringing the stroller and the car seat through was a bit of work, but we weren't charged extra for stowing them when we got to the plane.
In Puerto Vallarta, we had a long wait to clear immigration. In customs, I pushed the button and apparently drew the log straw because we didn't have to have our luggage inspected. It was warm and tropical and quite lovely. It cost 180 pesos to get from the airport to our hotel in the Marina District -- that's about USD 15.00
It soon became apparent that PV has been Americanized. Walmarts and Costcos and Gallerias. And Starbucks and Chilis. But there is still Mexican culture once you're off the tourista circuit. And great Mexican food. The days there developed a rhythm. Little Man would wake up between 7 and 8am (CST) and I would hustle him out of the room so Daddy could sleep. I'd have a leisurely breakfast outdoors (usually tea and poached eggs) and then I'd wander the hotel grounds with Little Man, trying to keep to the shaded spots as much as possible. Then, sometime around noon, I'd head back to the room and roust M out of bed. Noon in PV is still only 10am at home, and that's not much of a vacation-sleeping-in for him. It was easier to get him up once I could offer him ice cold Mexican Coke as his wake-up beverage :)
Once M was ambulatory, we'd head out for lunch, then go back to the hotel room for a siesta. Around 4 or 5 we'd head for the pool and the beach with the baby and play for an hour or so. Then back to the hotel room to cool off. Dinner was a local place. Seafood or Italian, usually, since M isn't a big fan of burritos and enchiladas and the like. Stroll around and watch the fireworks displays around 8pm, then back to the hotel room. Baby and I would crash and M would play on his computer until... whenever he went to sleep.
I managed to avoid buying souveniers from peddlars on the beach. I'm just not a wanter. And whenever I look at that stuff I just picture it stuffed away in a box somewhere, wasting space.
Leaving Puerto Vallarta was pretty simple. The airport is beautiful and modern, and the staff are very courteous. We had no hassles with customs or immigration. The flight home went very well. We actually got to San Francisco 40 minutes early. The problem was the descent. We got an early slot and the pilot was in a hurry to make it so the descent was very rapid and Little Man's ears (and mine, and M's and probably everyone else's) didn't handle the changes in air pressure very well. He cried that last 20 minutes or so, poor little guy. The bottle and pacifier didn't help. I did learn an important lesson ... don't bounce or rock a crying baby on a plane -- he might get airsick. Oops! Ah well. It's part of being a mom.
Coming back into the States was pretty easy. Showed passports and declaration. Waved through customs.
10 minute taxi ride home.
There really is no place like home.