Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
In the morning, we spent time doing a backstage tour of the Walt Disney Theatre called “Stageworks”. The presentation was done by the theatre and costume technicians. The presentation consisted of some prepared video clips, talks by the production personnel and a demonstration of how scene changes are done. At the end, guests were invited up on stage to talk one on one with the technicians and staff. This activity was limited to guests 18 and older.
This was followed by a “Behind the Scenes” look at the ABC Television network operations, including its affiliate ESPN, provided by Executive Vice President Jeff Bader. Jeff had a nice presentation and answered a lot of the questions average viewers have about why TV programming is the way it is.
Susan and I then went to the Sessions Lounge we were participated in our second wine tasting of the cruise. These tastings are offered on each Sea Day and different wines are used each time. Our favorite surprisingly was a Merlot – neither Susan or I are Merlot fans but the Smoking Loon (a relatively cheap wine) was good; so good we ordered a bottle later in the evening with our dinner.
Susan and Katy then participated in the Origami Animals class in the Promenade Lounge. Katy now makes a wicked Origami Crane. I stayed in the stateroom and took the time to update the blog on our
We then went to the family cabaret show of musician/comedian John Charles. John is a long time favorite on the Disney Magic and he was again thoroughly entertaining.
Dinner was in Lumiere’s, my favorite restaurant. The other guests at our table didn’t make it to dinner so it was just the three of us and that made dinner more leisurely. Jonathan, our assistant server entertained us with a number of tricks and brain teasers involving crayons on the table. Katy also showed Jonathan her new-found Origami skills and taught him how to make the Crane.
We finished out the night with the Dessert Buffet. Unfortunately, given we’d just finished dinner less than an hour earlier, we really couldn’t do it justice. We did have fun just looking at the artistry of the cakes, pastries, chocolate fountains and other goodies the chefs created.
This will be my last post onboard – I’ve used up my 250 internet minutes. I’ll post the activities of our final day at sea, debarkation, and (hopefully) time at
Friday, June 13, 2008
I’d arranged a 4 hour tour of the city and tequila tasting (through Mazatlan Frank) with his friend Fernando Alfredo as our guide. The cost of the tour was $35/person. We were to meet Alfredo at 10 am at the Hospitality Tent just as we departed the ship. As it turned out, Alfredo was doing a tour with passengers on the Vision of the Sea and had asked Bernardo to handle our tour. Bernardo asked if we’d mind waiting a few minutes while he tried to get another couple to join us. We didn’t mind – in fact Frank had mentioned this to us yesterday during his tour of
After only a few minutes Bernardo came walking up with Gene and Carmen, an older couple and fellow cruisers on the Magic. Soon we were off in Bernardo’s sparkling clean, comfortable 12 passenger van heading south on the main road through
Things changed though the farther south we went. Soon we transitioned from smooth roads to cobblestone roads that were rough. The streets became much narrower and the buildings much older and modest. After passing the Boardwalk area we entered the older part of the city. Here Bernardo took us into the areas where the locals go to shop, get their hair cut, buy clothes and shoes. It was really interesting. We finally ended up at the southern end of the city in an area where there is an off shore underwater sanctuary that is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Just a bit further down was the area where they shot the movie “Night of the Iguana” in the 1960s.Next, we made our way to Mama Lucia's Tequila Distillery. Actually, Mama Lucia was the great, great grandmother of the current operator. Once there, one of the family members explained to us each step of the tequila harvesting, preparation and distillation process and answered our questions. Then came the good stuff - yes, that's right the tequila tasting. Mama Lucia's offered the traditional white, reposado (golden color - aged in oak barrels for a few months) and anejo (aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year) as well as flavored tequilas (orange, almond and chocolate). We sampled the white, reposado and all three flavored tequilas. All were very good.
It was now about lunchtime, so Bernardo backtracked a bit and we went off-road to a restaurant called El Nogalito. Nogalito apparently is a type of walnut tree. The restaurant turned out to be fantastic. The area was very lush with all types of flowers and vegetation. The dining area was covered but still out in the open air. Their were macaws around as well as birds and even an iguana. Dinner was excellent and we enjoyed getting to know Gene and Carmen better as we dined. On the way back to the ship, we stopped at the PV church, which was well adorned. Our four hour tour turned into more like 5 hours but it seemed much shorter since we had such a good time. Bernardo was an excellent tour guide. His knowledge of PV, his personable nature and his love for his home town made him one of the very best guides we’ve ever had. I would not hesitate to use him again or to recommend him to anyone.
Once back on the ship, I took the opportunity to catch up on the blog while Susan and Katy did what? Want to guess? No, they didn’t nap but you’re close. They both went and got a massage. After taking our showers, Susan and I went and relaxed in the Sessions piano bar with some drinks and a cheese plate. Katy doesn’t like Sessions – she says they only play “old people” music so she stayed in the stateroom and watched TV. We met up at 8:15 and made our way to dinner in Parrot Cay – which tonight was Pirate themed as tonight was “Pirate Night”. Waiting for us on the table were pirate bandanas to put on our heads. Actually, I was the only one to put it on my head, the girls didn’t want to mess up their hair. I captured this photo of our two servers (Pema and Jonathan) and the head server (Ciao Romano – no I’m not kidding) with Susan and Katy. We finished off the evening by attending the “Pirates in the
Thursday, June 12, 2008
After incorporation in 1792,
Our tour of
Our first stop was a brick “factory” which was basically a one-man operation. The man would shovel the clay soil into a wheel barrow, mix it with grass, straw and manure. He’d then shovel the mixture into a wood rack laying on the ground and smooth off the top. The ground was sanded so the wet bricks didn’t stick. After drying on the ground, the bricks would then be assembled into a kiln structure. A hardwood fire would be started inside and it burn for about two days before the bricks were fired properly. The man could make about 2000 bricks a day, which equated to about $20. This was better than minimum wage, which in
Our next stop was Malpica, a quaint little town of about 1,400 people. Here we visited an old fashioned bakery that used a wood burning oven to make some of the best bread and pastries I’ve ever had. Just the smell was worth paying for. We bought two pastries for $1. Next we watched a man make colored tiles using a 100+ year old hand press. Very interesting and they were beautiful tiles.
A furniture “factory” was our next stop. Here about a half dozen men made custom furniture by hand with basic woodworking tools. The “factory” was actually an open air shed that provided protection from rain but still allowed the workers to have fresh air and a breeze in which to work. Adjacent to the factory was a ceramic “factory” where they made all types of figurines, plates, bowls, cups, wind chimes, tiles – you name it, and they made it. They also had some leather goods and jewelry. We browsed here before moving on to Concordia.
Concordia was a much bigger town than Malpica. There was a town square, a nice old church and plenty of open air arts and crafts shops. After spending about 20 minutes here we were on the road again back to
We waddled out to the van and continued our tour by visiting an exclusive area called El Cid. Homes start at $250,000 and go up into the millions. It reminded me a lot of driving around on the Gulf Coast of Florida or down in the
We finished the tour off by visiting the old part of
Once back on the ship, the girls napped while I worked on the blog. After showering, we then caught the 6:15 showing of “Twice Charmed” an interesting twist on the Cinderella story. We then went to the 7:30 cabaret show of John Charles. John plays guitar and does comedy and he does both extremely well. Any guy that can play the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana one minute and Queen and Lynard Skynard the next has some talent. We also enjoyed some margaritas. After dinner, Susan and I went to the adult comedy show of Heath Hyche. From what I remember, he was pretty good. Unfortunately, I think I slept through most of it as I didn’t get a nap earlier like the girls.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Let’s begin with a little history lesson. Cabo San Lucas lies in the
We began our tour at the Cabo Adventures Dolphin park, which was a short walk from the pier where we tendered in. Cabo is a tender port, meaning the ship actually anchors out in the bay and small tender boats transport passengers to and from the port. We were split up into groups and loaded into our Mercedes Unimog trucks to begin our adventure. Our truck made it about two blocks before the engine quit right in the middle of the road. The driver was able to coast backwards down the hill out of traffic. Our tour guide called and we had another truck there to pick us up in minutes. Better to break down 2 blocks from headquarters than in the middle of the desert!
The entire tour is 72 kilometers or about 43 miles. Given we made a loop (roughly speaking) we drove about 21 miles into the wilderness. The first few miles were on paved road but we were soon on sand and dirt and I was glad we were in a 4 x 4. After a couple of more miles civilization disappeared – I mean there was nothing but the occasional “ranch”. These ranches were modest at best and their cattle were allowed to freely roam to search for whatever food they could find. By the looks of some of the cows, they weren’t finding much. Jose Luis gave us a running commentary on the flora and fauna as we rode. He also told us about the history of Cabo and the surrounding region. At one point, we stopped and got out of the trucks so we could see up close some of the species of cactus, trees. He even showed us the amazing echo one could achieve in the valley by yelling really loud – though the echo did sound more like our driver Ivan than Jose.
After awhile we arrived at the ranch where we had our lunch. There were nice, clean restroom facilities there as well. First though we had the opportunity to feed some of the baby goats there corn tortillas. We “Frisbee” tossed the tortillas over the fence, much to the delight of the goats. Next up was the tequila tasting. We were all given small little ceramic tasting cups on a ribbon that fit around our neck (our souvenirs). We taste white and gold tequila, both made from 100% blue agave and mescale tequila, which is made from green agave. I liked them all and was ready for more. We also got to try blue agave syrup, which was excellent…lighter than honey. Jose compared it to maple syrup.
We then moved over to another area where Jose Luis showed us how the natives used to grind corn hominy and made tortillas. He worked up a pretty good sweat raking and crushing the hominy until he had a nice ball of corn “dough”, which he patted out into a tortilla. Our final activity at the ranch was lunch and it was yummy. We had chicken mole, seasoned beef, refried beans, cactus salad, soft drinks, beer and some other stuff that I’m forgetting. Excellent! We finished off the tour by taking the quick route back…first through the backcountry and then on to the highway. Once we hit the pavement, Jose Luis opened up the “bar” in the back and we had one final toast to our fellow tourists and to our tour guide and driver. A fitting end to a wonderful tour.
Once back onboard, we took advantage of the nice, warm weather and sunned up on Deck 10 and then snuck in a nap afterwards. The highlight of the evening was a marriage proposal during the Ron Pearson (comedian) show. The groom had arranged to be picked out of the audience by Ron and put on the spot to ask his girlfriend of 2.5 years to marry him. After offering him $21.29 out of his pocket, a Disney cap and bottle of champagne from backstage and various and sundry items donated by the audience, the guy finally said he didn’t have a ring. Ron then pulled the ring out of his pocket and handed it to the guy. He proposed and I’m pretty sure she accepted. This was Virgil’s (WVMD from the DIS Board) son, I believe.
Next was dinner at Palo, the exclusive adult-only restaurant on the Magic. Katy has really been looking forward to dining here since she's turned 18. Our server was Toni (he was a guy) and he did a good job of tending to our every request. Susan and I stuck with our usual filet mignon and Katy had the lobster ravioli. For dessert, we all had the chocolate souffle and then thought about the dessert we promised to eat for Brian so we got these. We're thinking of you son! Tomorrow, is