You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Puerto Vallarta

(By Jim)

Puerto Vallarta
Our port day in Puerto Vallarta was the longest time we would spend in one port, from 8 AM to 10 PM. We figured that we'd take a tour, then head back into downtown where we could explore on our own.

The ship docked on time, and from our balcony we could see the friendly glow of the Wal-Mart across the street. If I were spending multiple weeks onboard in a back-to-back-to-back itinerary, then reprovisioning at Del Wally Mundo would be more important. As it is, though, it was just a reminder that sometimes you can't get away from home for long, even if you are 1,100 miles southeast of San Diego.

But, there was another scene I didn't expect. What's this little critter? (A three week old baby burro).

Barbara got to hold the burrito, but we didn't get a pic as they were only letting the ship's photographer take pictures (and $5 US wouldn't talk). The picture they took was awful.

At 10 AM, we boarded buses for our tour into the city, then out to the Tequila hacienda for lunch and a demonstration. Our first stop was a strip mall in the hotel zone where we could shop for silver and jewelry, I'm sure with a good bonus for our guide and driver. There was, however, a liquor store at the end of the strip. The owner, a Canadian, was passionate about tequila and willing to talk your ear off about it. A nice guy, he gave me a couple of samples, and I bought a couple of miniatures to bring home. Barbara wandered off to shop while I talked tequila.

After this, we went into town. Our guide José led us around the Centro/Downtown area.

We toured the Malecon, the sculptures along the seafront, the Cathedral,

and then a walk down some narrow streets to meet our bus.

He also pointed out big fat iguanas lounging in the trees near the bridge over the river.
We were driven over to the "Tile Factory", which struck me as more of a tile store with a little activity going on upstairs painting the tiles. Barbara bought us a picture frame there.

Following this was the main attraction, the part that made me put up with a bus tour. Tequila! We were driven out to the countryside, where there was a small estate producing tequila, and only selling it at their estate. (Except now I've found that they have an importer to the US online.) They first served us lunch, chicken and beef tacos and taquitos.
After lunch, we went through a demonstration of the distillery, where they pressure cook and roast the agave, mash, ferment, and distill the spirits. I didn't see much aging going on, but they probably had a warehouse somewhere else and who wants to see a warehouse. We then sampled their tequilas, from blanco to reposado to añejo. My pronouncement was that they were decent, but pretty ordinary examples of the types.

After we got back around 3 in the afternoon, we knew the lay of the land and snagged a cab to head back downtown. Take us to the Malecon, the sculpture of Los Delfins (The Dolphins). We knocked around town, did some shopping for silver.
Then we stopped at a couple of places to have extremely expensive beers ($3 US?!?! An outrage!) We walked the Malecon, and took pictures of the statues. Barbara's favorite is "Neptune and Neriad".
I was fond of "In Search Of Reason." I could imagine the little figures going "Have you found it yet?"
We had planned to have dinner in town, and so as the sun was setting we decided to wander off the main drag, see if we could find anything that piqued our interest. A couple of blocks uphill, my nose said "This place smells good!" We walked around a little longer, and couldn't find anywere else that smelled better, so we headed back to Melissa's, on Calle Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. If you visit PV, I assure you that this is excellent food and a bargain. Beers were cold and cheap, a margarita suitable for floating several rubber duckies was 40 pesos, and the food was fresh and excellent. How cheap? Here's the tab. Garlic mahi-mahi, garlic shrimp, a smoked marlin taco, two beers and a margarita for 245 pesos, or about $22 US.

This was the best meal we had out on the town in any of our ports. And we were the only people in there. I hope they stay in business.

Traffic was heavy as we cabbed it back to the ship. The driver pulled some tricks trying to dodge the crowds, and we talked about how I would do that when trying to get around traffic getting onto 395 in the city. We walked back from the gate to the ship, for the last time on Mexican soil before the end of the trip, and got some good pictures of the other ship in port and our ship.

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