cruising the mexican riviera part 2

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i may as well address the food on board the ship or cruise ships before i get going on puerto vallarta. there is always something to eat on the ship.  24/7.  if the restaurants, buffets, sushi joint, pizza place, coffee and danish places aren’t open, just dial up room service.  the best part being it’s all included in your fare.  though room service gets a tip tacked on it.  which by the by also happens every time you order a drink.  mr. otto matic tip added on.  fine.  i go knowing and planning accordingly.  you should too.

the food generally speaking is very good and like i said, there’s plenty of it.  way more than enough to satisfy most folks.  though from the looks of some of the plates people were hauling away from the buffet lines it seemed like a fork lift should have been involved.  the buffets.  we did the breakfast one daily.  yeah, well, the salt air and all makes for a hearty appetite.  there’s a sit down breakfast as well.  it’s more time consuming though and we gave up on it after our first cruise.

lunch usually consisted of pizza, soup, and or salad.  that is if we were on board at the time.  yes, i know.  though we did lots of walking up on one of the decks.  an hour a day.  plus more.  there’s plenty more than just pizza soup and salad at the buffets.  lots of various good tasty stuff.  it isn’t the buffet at the bellagio in vegas but then what is?  

dinner was the sit down deal in their dining room.  very good food though they can’t seem to cook a steak the way you want it.  i guess it’s just due to the shear volume of folks eating at one time.  1,300 for each sitting and there’s 2 of them.  no lolly gagging over your dinner.  at any rate, i gave up eating their steaks halfway through the first cruise we took.  i eat the fish and pasta now.  or maybe the vegetarian selection if it strikes me as worthwhile.  or maybe just fill up on a bunch of really good appetizers, soup, salad and a wonderful desert.  want more of something?  just ask.

the food is stellar.  though one evening the fish selection was god awful.  the worst food i’ve ever eaten on a ship.  it stank and was dreadful.  they were most apologetic but the simple fact they would serve anything so vile was like a slap in the face.  we left and went up to the buffet area and ate a couple of pieces of pizza.  which by the by is very good.

puerto vallarta, mexico.

puerto vallarta.  a large city with horrible air quality resembling los angeles air in the olden days.  the city itself is not that attractive as well.  though there are probably areas in the city that are quite nice.  we didn’t see any of them though. 

lots of things to do while on shore.  plenty of excursions to choose from.  a word here on the shore excursions.  book them through the cruise line.  yes, they are cheaper if done locally but if something happens while on the tour you might miss the ship when it leaves.  we heard several horror stories
along those lines.  someone taking a non cruise ship tour and getting into a minor fender bender or something and resulting in a major delay in getting back to the ship and missing the ship when it sailed.  if something happens to you on a ship scored tour they will help and work something out.  they will not help if you take a locally scored tour and things go sideways. 

we took a 7 hour 4×4 road trip.  it’s what the g/f wanted to do.  the said 4×4’s were mercedes benz german army trucks.  see the photo.  not unlike a us army deuce and a half.  major flashbacks for me on the tour.  four hours of which were on dusty unpaved roads up and down and over the sierra madre mountain range around puerto vallarta.  totally reminiscent of the dirt roads in vietnam and an army deuce and a half.  tossed and turned left and right.  not for the faint of heart but a really really good way to see some back country. 

the 4×4 tour bus.  not ours but that’s what it was.

a stop at a small village was also included.  very interesting.  plus a stop at a small family run farm up in the mountains where the lady of the house prepared handmade tortillas, salsa, guacamole, beans, and a killer cactus salsa as well.  very tasty.

there was also a nice 40 minute nature walk included along the way.  our guide was very knowledgeable about all things on the tour.  amazingly she was a very nice 26 year old american lady who fell in love with the place on a vacation and is now living there.

the tour ended with more dirt road driving into a private beach area on the bay.  lovely and secluded.  a very tasty bbq lunch was served as well. 

a secluded beach on the bay in puerta vallarta.

other than the trek being dirty and noisy that excursion was well worth it.  from city driving to wild mountain roads and stuff in between.  nicely done by a very good mexican driver who could do a second gear into third gear power shift with the best of them.  pedal to the metal the whole way.  rock and roll.  outstanding.

this has been a bit long in the tooth, but what can i say?  other than i hoped you stuck with it.  one last thing.  before getting back on the ship that afternoon you had to go through mexican customs.  a formality of sorts at every port except cabo sorta.  packages and stuff x-rayed.  plus a walk through a metal detector.

i set it off.  a young kid was all over me with his wand.  he demanded to know what was in my front pocket.  i pulled out my swiss army knife.  he grabs it and runs over to this old guy and shows him what he’s found.  i can tell the old guy is an ass hole.  he’s got the longer of the two blades out and he’s measuring it using the back if his fingers.  he asks if it’s mine.  i’m thinking, yeah ass hole, it’s mine that’s why it was in my fucking pocket you self important goon.  now give it back.  but i just say, yes.  he’s still looking at it and i KNOW he wants it for his own.  i say u s customs didn’t have a problem with it.  he wasn’t impressed.  he was still lusting for the knife.  then i say, you know, i traveled all over china with that knife and no one ever said a word about it.  that got his attention for some reason and he handed it back to me with a sad look in his eye.  i didn’t even say thanks.  just stuck it in my pocket and walked away.    

next stop mazatlan.

jmh

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