Monday, 14 March 2011

Jan 18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

One of the joys of having a balcony room is being greeted by the view of the ocean or a new port when you wake up. When we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we got a view of...Walmart.
We were about to embark on our second ever DCL excursion, called “Historic towns and tequila making”. I was disappointed to see 6 big buses lined up by the ship, all marked to do the same excursion. Perhaps I have been spoilt by a more independent style of travelling or perhaps I was used to exploring in small groups, but I could not see how anyone could enjoy or learn anything in big swarms. To make things worse, the places we visited were small with narrow streets which necessitated travelling in a long line. It was impossible to hear anything from the back. We visited three small towns which was nice but to be honest one town would have been enough to capture the essence as they were very similar. We decided then and there never to do another DCL excursion.
We tried to not to let the poor organisation and people management take away from our Mexican experience for it was so full of interesting things to see and the people were incredibly warm. It was so nice to be able to drive through the countryside for the scenery was beautiful. We drove to Valle de Las Banderas or Valley of Flags, named after the flags and banners held by the native Indians when the Spanish first arrived. It is a typical town which is based around the church and a main square. When we were able to hear Jesus, our guide, he was actually full of interesting information! He walked us around the small town and we also stopped to see a tortilla factory which was fascinating. Jesus bought some for us to try along with some cheese. It was unlike any tortilla I have ever tried.
After visiting two more similar towns, we stopped by a very small craft shop before being taken to a Tequila factory. This was probably the most interesting part of the tour! We were taken through the whole process of tequila making from the beginning to the end. This included tasting a variety of tequilas which I refrained from participating. The number of tequilas brought out seemed never ending!
We bought a souvenir sample pack for our family and boarded the bus to our lunch destination. As usual, because of the number of children we had, we were the last to get off and hence the last to be served. The food was alright but the margarita was magnificent! As a person who doesn’t usually drink alcohol, I should have known to take it slow...I was drunk after one drink! It didn’t take me long to feel ill after. I couldn’t breathe and felt nauseated. I felt so ill that I couldn't face the prospect of shopping when we arrived back at the port!
I crawled into my bed and slept. When I woke up, the ship was leaving and we got to sail past and wave to the Sapphire Princess. I survived dinner at Parrot Cay but decided to give the show a miss. I felt much better after the gang returned from the show and joined in their room service late night snack. I will not be touching another margarita for a while...
Are we in Mexico?

Amazing scenes driving through the countryside

The gorgeous Mexican country towns

Tortilla factory!

Lara showing off her new dress
An artisan at work
Colourful weavings
Jonah relaxing whilst waiting
The beautiful roof line of the Tequila factory
10 year old blue agave plant is needed
The leaves are cut off
What's left is cooked in a special stone pit
Then chopped and pounded
Fermented and distilled
Some were so busy laughing and taking photos that they forgot to drink...
Lunch where mummy got drunk on a single margarita
Sailing past the Sapphire Princess
Saying goodbye to Puerto Vallarta
Late night snack courtesy of room service (free)
Lara, being spoilt by Luan, who bought her a Tangled wig...

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