On the subject of car rental, we know you don’t really need a car anywhere in Nuevo or PV and, in many cases, are far better off without one and so is the environment. The bus system in the whole area is really the bomb and dirt cheap and we often use it.
But because of my increasingly unpredictable cardiac misbehavior in the rising heat and humidity of May, as well as our usual wish to be free to go poke around smaller places outside Nuevo or PV on the spur of the moment without having to plan bus schedules, we splurged on a car again this time. As usual, after shopping around we rented from Alamo through Costco and picked it up not at the airport location (which costs an extra 12%, I think it is, and always seems too frenzied), but instead took a cab to the Westin at the PV Marina and picked it up there.
Shaidy León Santana, who manned (or rather womanned) the Westin Alamo counter this time, was great to deal with on the 3 different days we had occasion to and we were very happy with her and the whole arrangement, which took some tweaking.
The first car we got was the commonest Alamo compact, which we have had several times before – an older white Nissan Tsuru (commonest PV taxicab) which, like most Mexican rental compacts, was much more modestly equipped than its category counterpart in the US. You know, no looker, but cheap (as Mexican rentals go, that is, where you have to take the liability insurance even if your credit card covers CDW) and it had all the necessities.
However, over the next several days various things about the car began to go wrong: semi-alarming whiny sound at every corner, shotgun window hard to roll up and down, dead battery one night, piece of door trim that fell off every time we opened the door, just fairly minor niggling stuff but an increasing annoyance. Finally we went back to Shaidy and told her we didn’t need a fancy car and didn't care to upgrade to a higher category, but we just couldn’t stand this particular Tsuru anymore and had begun to refer to it as the White Maggot. Did she not, we asked, have the “Chevy Monza or equivalent” that the Alamo website specified? At the Westin location she did not, but bless her heart she got on the phone and made a few calls and within minutes got us switched to an almost-new Nissan something-or-other (we don’t have a similar model in the US and I am not a car-oriented person who remembers model names) that felt like a limo by comparison. Same price, and it even had what is to me the gold standard of extra rental car accessories, an iPod jack. What a difference that car made in our various little excursions -- we actually enjoyed them! In fact, we liked it so much that, though we had planned to dispense with a car the 2nd week of our trip while we were in PV, we decided to keep it the whole time. (I had medical reasons I won’t go into...) With the Costco 1 free day per every 5 coupon, the “estimated total” figure on our rental contract was $127/wk including tax, not counting the mandatory Mexican liability insurance add-on which was something like $11 a day. Sorry, don’t have the rental contract here at hand so I can’t be exact.
More to come....