Ferdinand Magellan stopped there for supplies on what turned out to be the first circumnavigation of the earth. Although Magellan was killed in a battle with Philippine natives, his Spanish crew finished the voyage. In 1565, the Spanish King decided to send Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to conquer the Philippines. The Spanish viewed the Philippines as a strategic point for collecting the riches of the orient, which could then be shipped to New Spain (modern Mexico). Mule trains hauled the treasure overland to Mexico City and then to Vera Cruz on the Gulf Coast, where the final journey to Spain and the European market began. Manila, with its excellent harbor, was the collection point. From this, the famous treasure ships called the Manila Galleons gained their name. It was an immensely profitable venture and helped maintain Spanish power for centuries. The San Pedro, seen above, was one of Legazpi's ships, sailed by a captain named Andrés de Urdaneta. This intrepid captain found a better route back to New Spain, although at the cost of the lives of most of his crew who died of hunger and disease along the way. The tiny San Pedro did not carry nearly the supplies required for this exploratory venture, nor did it have the capacity to bring back the quantity of treasure that quickly began accumulating in Manila.
Policía Turistica (Tourist Police). Although they cooperate with the municipal police, they are a separate force created specifically to keep an eye on the safety and security of the tourists who provide the backbone (and ribcage and mostly every other bone) of Puerto Vallarta's economy. The existence of several different police forces can be confusing to foreigners. There are Federal, State, Municipal, Transit, and Tourist police forces, among others. All wear different uniforms and answer to different police bureaucracies.
coconut palm, or cocos nucifera, is an amazing plant. Nearly every part of the plant provides something useful. The oil is used in cosmetics and soaps. The meat is a popular treat in various forms. The milk from the coconut is used in curries and other dishes. The sap can be distilled into an alcoholic drink. The fibre is made into rope, mats, and brushes. Builders use the trunk of the tree, and the coconut shells are utilized by craftsmen. Finally, the fronds are made into roofs like that of the knick-knack palapa seen earlier.
Los Arcos (the arches) is a seating area where concerts and other planned or impromptu performances occur on a regular basis. Here I am alone, except for the man in the background washing down the paving stones. This photo was taken during an early morning stroll along the Malecon. Later, the beachside walkway comes alive with strollers, joggers, vendors, musicians, jugglers and any number of other folks out to enjoy the view and the ocean air. The Naval History Museum faces this amphitheatre.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my series on Puerto Vallarta. In my next posting, I will show some of the wonderful art that is displayed along the Malecon, some of it created the very day we came by. If you would like to comment on my blog, you can either use the Comments section below or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim