About Puerto Vallarta

Long a popular Mexican beach resort, and one of the nicest resort areas in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a sophisticated and beautiful city with a relaxed atmosphere.
Tourists have been coming to Puerto Vallarta since the 1930s, but it really became an “in” place after John Huston’s Night of the Iguana was filmed here in 1964. The film starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who later bought homes there. Now some two million visitors a year come to PV, as it’s often called.
Puerto Vallarta has historic areas with cobblestone streets. Some say the shopping is the best of any resort town in Mexico, whether at the Mercado (market) downtown, or at any of the many little shops. There are numerous art galleries. On a vacation day, you can have a swim, work on your tan, do a little shopping and gallery-hopping, devote some time to doing nothing, try a fine restaurant, dance the night away — and repeat the process the next day with a different set of beaches, stores, restaurants, and nightspots! Puerto Vallarta is an excellent destination for a beach vacation that also gives you the flavor of modern Mexico. It’s very popular with Mexican tourists for that reason.

With a population somewhere above 300,000, Puerto Valllarta is a relatively intimate city. It’s never very far from the ocean, as the city runs along along between the mountains and the sea. It’s actually in a bay, Banderas Bay, which results in gorgeous views. Watching the sunset can become a daily ritual, perhaps at one of the many cafes near the beach, or perhaps from a hotel patio in the hills.
You can explore outside of the city with a boat ride across the bay to Yelapa, take an outing to Mismaloya, even doing a little kayaking along the coast. If you are traveling with children, there are many enjoyable and educational things to do and places to go: whale watching in season, for one. With over 20 miles of beaches, it’s easy to find your own favorites.
The weather is delicious in winter — you might want a light jacket or sweater in the evenings — and can be very hot in summertime. It’s on the humid side year round. A tropical haven!

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About Tijuana

Tijuana is many things: a sprawling city approaching two million in population, a vibrant and prosperous business center with many foreign-owned factories, the main entry to the entire Baja California peninsula, and much more.
Only 18 miles from San Diego, Tijuana is a shopper’s paradise. It’s in a duty-free zone, so you can buy not only Mexican arts and crafts but also imported goods from around the world. Mostly, visitors go for the day, shopping, having a meal, perhaps playing golf as well. It’s not a place for historic buildings or much in the way of museums, but sporting events to watch include jai alai, bullfights, and horse racing. For children, Tijuana Wax Museum and Mundo Divertido (Fun World) are popular. Tijuana used to be known mainly for activities distinctly not for children, but while that aspect of life still exists, it is now just a part of the wide spectrum of what Tijuana is.

The shopping is centered on a street called Revolution Avenue. There are 10 or 12 blocks offering every product imaginable. Credit cards and dollars are widely accepted.
For a more total immersion, stay overnight — there are some nice Tijuana hotels. Just a few miles south is Rosarito Beach, with resorts, condos, and hotels.
Travel to Tijuana
One of the most enjoyable ways to travel to Tijuana is to catch the inexpensive Tijuana Trolley at the San Diego Train Station. It runs frequently and takes you right to the border. Or you can drive to the border and leave your car in one of several large parking lots, for a few dollars a day. From there you can walk or take a shuttle bus to Revolution Avenue, about a 20 minute walk. Once you cross the border, there are also taxis available too.
You can drive into Tijuana, and may want to if you are planning some large purchases like furniture. One downside to this is that there can be longer lines for leaving Mexico in vehicles than if you are walking. Also, check on your car insurance before entering Mexico.
Tijuana has an international airport, with several flights a day going to other parts of Mexico. The main airlines using the airport are Aerocalifornia, Mexicana, and AeroMexico.
All in all, it’s easy to get to Tijuana.

View From The Barber’s Chair

If you want to get your hair cut in Villefranche du Perigord, a village in the heart of France, you have two choices. On one side of the street is a hairdressers, all chrome and shiny mirrors, a little further down is a barbers of the cutthroat razor kind.

But it’s no Sweeny Todd style shop more a great place to enjoy a heavy dose of French life. I’d already prepared myself for the visit, learning the French word for short, for a little shorter please and leave the sideburns as they are.

Well maybe not the last one.

I was also hoping that there would be a couple of pictures on the wall, like all good barbers, that I could at least point to. But I then had a panic attack as I thought they all might be pictures from the 70’s and I’d have to point to something that the Hair Bear Bunch would be proud of.

As I walked into the shop there was an old chap sat in the chair with the barber tending to his hair and chatting away. They both turned towards me and said ‘bonjour’.

I returned the welcome and as there was no one waiting just sat on one of the chairs and waited my turn. Ten minutes later and I was sat under the quick scissors and smooth style of Daniel Galdrat, Villefranche du Perigord’s true barber.

“I’ve been a barber in the village for 43 years, I was born 50 meters away from the shop and I’ve lived here all my life,” Daniel said.

“After I left school I trained to be a barber at college and started working in the shop.”

Daniel is more of a sculptor than a hairdresser, he uses scissors and a comb like an artist uses a brush, with a delicate touch and dedication to detail. He turns to his cutthroat razor to take the hair off the back of your neck and only uses the electric trimmers to tame your sideburns.

“It’s a shame that hairdressers today only use the trimmers to cut people’s hair, but that is what they are taught at college,” said Daniel.

“They have no knowledge of how to use the scissors and comb to cut hair, they might as well be shearing sheep.” At the back of the shop is a collection of wooden mushrooms, walking sticks and canes – the other passion in Daniel’s life.

He enjoys going out into the Dordogne forests around the village with his dog and camera to take pictures of mushrooms that he uses as the basis for his woodturning. And it is clear to see the skills he has developed as a barber come out in his hobby again the touch of a sculptor is evident.

“I enjoy the mountains,” Daniel said as he pointed to a large poster of the Alps on the wall.

“But I can’t get to see them as often as I would like

“I am hoping to retire soon, but there is no one to take over the running of the shop as yet.”

As my cut was coming to a finish another man dropped in to the shop, said bonjour, and shook both Daniel’s hand and mine. He said the weather was about to turn and as I got up to pay, he took his place in the barber’s chair.