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Week in Puerto Vallarta

We spent last week in Puerto Vallarta at the Crown Paradise all inclusive resort. It’s nice, I recommend it. We got a good deal. It wasn’t super upscale, but it was pretty good. It was mostly relaxing, we didn’t have any planned activities.

The hotel itself was pretty nice, it was a bit odd that we had a full kitchen and refrigerator in a 1 bedroom unit at an all inclusive hotel. But we later found out that our part of the hotel had been re-converted from a condo to a hotel so it made sense. A few other things struck me. Compared to our trip to Cabo San Lucas last year, the hotel guests were much more Mexican. At Cabo, I think like 70% of the guests were American/Canadian. At Puerto Vallarta, it felt like less than 40%. Part of it was that our hotel in Cabo was nicer, but it still was good to see that at least some Mexicans still seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. The kids water park was interesting as a contrast to what an American water park would be. The water slides were short, maybe 10 feet tall, but the bottom of the slide dropped into about 12 inches of water on slick painted concrete. An American hotel would never have that kind of thing due to liability and injury concerns. This didn’t stop me from letting Lucas play there, but I did wonder if that made me a bad parent. The water park was pretty busy with dozens of other kids so apparently I wasn’t the only bad parent. Many kids ran around with even less supervision than I was giving Lucas. The food was good, better than expected I’d say. In particular the meats were always very good, or excellent. The food tended to cater to the mostly Mexican guests, but I enjoyed it even though Mexican food isn’t usually my favorite. Unfortunately as with any all inclusive, even if it’s very good, by day 4 or 5, you’re kind of sick of it anyways. And of course, we ate too much.

I did play a round of golf at the Vista Vallarta golf course with my brother-in-law. It’s a nice course, well maintained, it only cost us I think $60/round but that was a discounted rate. I don’t play much golf and I’m bad, so I’m not sure how I’d describe it, but it was a bit tricky and had a lot of ditches. I saw a lot of sand play and lost many many balls. The good news was that I shot 10 strokes better on the back 9. The bad news was that I shot a 78 on the front nine, and that might’ve been a bit generous.

We bought a nice cake for Lauren’s birthday, unfortunately it didn’t taste quite as good as it looked. It was very nutty and heavily sauced inside.

We also got to swim with some dolphins while we were there. I figured it was kind of a once in a lifetime thing, so I might as well try. It was more fun than I imagined, though my expectations were probably a bit low. Dolphins are cool.

Pictures at http://tierneychen.shutterfly.com/1972.

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Gaming the golf action

We were down in Big Sur for the weekend for a bachelor party. The highlight of the weekend was a round of golf at the Pacific Grove Municipal course. I’ve only played a full round maybe 6 times in my life and this is the only course I’ve played twice. It’s a beautiful course with holes near the ocean with spectacular views. Because we’re all pretty bad, when we’d played before it took forever and was exhausting. To make things suck less, the 5 of us decided to play best ball, with the me and Kojo playing against the trio. We learned later that what we called Best Ball is actually Scramble, and Best Ball really means Best Hole. We all knew what we wanted, so it wasn’t a problem. The main bet was a simple stroke count which we agreed was fair because Kojo was the best player. I also ran side bets with two of the players in the trio about the percentage of balls that they would play. I would have to make 40% of the shots in my round and the two best players in the trio needed to make 40% and 35% of the shots respectively.

My round was the best I’ve ever played, we shot an 87 with me taking 40 and Kojo 47. On the first hole I hit a tee shot within 8 feet of the hole and then sank the putt. That was the only birdie I’ve ever made in my life. I only had a complete whiff once, and I only shanked 1 or 2 other tee shots. All my other drives were clean and my putting was very good as well. My short game is pretty bad though, I can’t hit a sand wedge at all. There was one hole where I hit it onto a different fairway and Kojo hit it onto the correct fairway, but my shot was actually closer to the pin, but Kojo insisted on using his ball. The tee off #12 will forever be known as “the shot that Kojo stole”.

We lost the main bet due to a minor meltdown double bogie on 18th where the other team parred. We pushed on the side bets because every person made their required stroker percentage I needed 40% and made 45%, the other two made their requirements by less than 2%. This is either a clear sign of cheating or brilliant odds making by me. You choose.

All in all, Scramble is a super fun format. It’s much better for us beginners because it prevents the meltdown +4 holes that are so frustrating. I hope to someday play as well as I did.

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