Butterflies, Gaga, Botanical Garden and Wedding Bells

How was everybody’s weekend? Mine was great! Thanks for asking! It began inside Puerto Mágico, the cruise ship terminal, at Maripoza’s Butterfly Experience . Kevin and I met with owners Zhander D. P’ng and Wes Haws, thanks to a kind introduction by Dean Regehr, to learn more about the future of Maripoza’s by day as a butterfly sanctuary and, most significantly, their plans for Maripoza’s at night. Whoo-boy. Pull up a chair, boys and girls, especially those who live north of 5 de Diciembre; there’s a new (spectacular) kid in town. Keep your eyes here for shows and information starting this week.

Meanwhile, back downtown, Maru Prado Conti was stunningly beautiful as Classic (and very classy) Lady Gaga at The Palm Cabaret. Accompanied on piano by the incomparable Edgar Bernache and on cello by Master Luis Rascon, Maru sang Julie Andrews, Sinatra and scaled way back a couple of Gaga hits that became almost ballads. Amazing! Her friend and soon-to-be collaborator in an upcoming show, Roy Cruz, aka Freddie Mercury, sang three duets. Oh, Maru’s rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine was exquisitely sung and left most of us a teary, hot mess. Maru’s show has been extended, as has Epic Freddie Mercury. Double-check with The Palm’s Box Office and/or VallartaCalendar.com.

A visit to the Vallarta Botanical Garden is as good as it gets for complete physical, spiritual, and mental decompression. The bougainvilleas are exploding in a riot of color, and make sure to check out the enormous construction of the 6,000-square-foot orchid propagation building near the chapel. Garden owner Bob Price told me it is going to elevate the Garden horticulturally like nothing else. It should be up and running by the end of May.

Rob Burton, Jan Dorland, and I spent a couple of hours lingering over lunch, with only a few hummingbirds overhead and Hector, with his lovely violin, serenading us and the rest of the busy restaurant. Our chatter in the car going home was extended by a good 40 minutes as we followed a tanker truck the entire way, sometimes reaching a whopping five or six miles per hour going up the hills! I was in marvelous company!

I finished the weekend by witnessing the marriage of my old and dear friend of thirty years, painter Javier Niño, to my (relatively) new and equally dear friend, Nathalie Herling. They were married in the Main Gallery of the Arte Vallarta Museo, founded by Nathalie a couple of years ago, and in front of some of Javier’s massive canvases. The words spoken (in both languages) during the ceremony were the most beautiful I have ever heard during a wedding, with the single word l-o-v-e being, by far, the most prevalent. Dinner was served in the museum courtyard, live music wove its way through a hundred conversations, and the Prosecco flowed all night long. Today, the newlyweds are off on their honeymoon to Paris. On the other hand, I am off to Central Gym to work off an abundance of wedding cake,