Tequila, Mexico

Well, turns out there is a place called Tequila and tequila comes from there … Who would have guessed …So, naturally we went to visit. Tequila, Mexico is a small town about 100km from Guadalajara.  The town is a bit of a tourist trap.  Everything in this town is about making, selling and drinking tequila.  We did a tour of the Jose Cuervo factory.  It was quite interesting to see the process and see how they use blue agave to make the drink.  Tequila tasting was good tambien :).

Oh, yeah … and since we were crunched on time we took a Spanish tour around the factory since we had to wait longer for English.  The Spanish classes came a little late …

Another interesting experience on the way to Tequila was the annual Guadalajara motorcycle drive.  We passed a good 10,000 motorcyclists … Needless to say I was scared out of my mind not to hit anybody since these guys were riding everywhere.  I was going < 20 mph.


Puerto Vallarta

The next morning we woke up by the broken squeaking sounds of an army trumpet. It turned out we slept right next to a army/navy base in San Blas. The sound of the trumpet was the call for all the `armigos` to go exercising in the morning. Teresa and I were still really anxious to get going so the early awakening was welcome. We quickly grabbed a coffee and parted ways with our new friends from Japan, France and Utah and headed to Puerto Vallarta.

I did not have any expectations about Puerto Vallarta. I had heard a lot from friends about the resort but still the only thing I remembered was that there wasn’t enough wind for kiting. After a few wrong turns (thanks to quite a few incorrect traffic signs …) and a few hours of driving we made it to the resort. It took us some time to find a campsite.

Hot showers with good water pressure … Yes! Time to wash the ferry ride off …

We spent the next morning exploring downtown. It is a beautiful, moderate sized, yet not crowded resort. Judging by the number of clubs in the downtown area it is probably not the same during spring break. The resort has a long pedestrian only street by the water.  It reminded me a bit of Varna.  There was lots of interesting art around town.  Also there were a few abandoned large hotels in the middle of the resort. We later found out that those buildings were damaged in a large earthquake in 1995. The same earthquake took down the top of the Roman Catholic Church (wikipedia).  You can see the new artistic top of the church in the pictures below.



Back on a boat

First off…sorry for the little hiatus.  We had a tight timeline in Mexico, so that we could surprise L.Batt. (more on that later) and then had friends and family coming for a visit.

On the 15th of January, we planned to take a ferry from La Paz, Baja to Mazatlan to avoid driving the long way round.  I was anxious about heading to the mainland.  We had read that Mazatlan wasn’t the safest, and I wasn’t sure what to expect with the ferry.  A few days earlier, we decided to skip the cabin and just sleep on deck.  I had European ferries in mind when we made this decision.  Driving up to the ferry terminal was a little disorienting, and then we learned that George had to drive the car on himself while I needed to walk on.  No cool ferry terminal officials.  I tossed our sleeping bags and mats into my backpack so we could sleep on deck.  There was a lot of waiting to board, but finally I started making my way through security and customs.

They shuttled us over to the ferry in small vans, so I had to check my bag.  I later learned that I could not pick this up until we arrived in Mazatlan in the morning.  I was so flipping frazzled by the time I met up with George.  Silly thinking about it now, but they messed with my plan, dammit.

Needless to say, the ferry was not like European ferries I’d been on.  There was a room for passengers without cabins (assigned seats), a cafeteria (blah food), and  the deck area of course.  That was it for public space.  I definitely felt a little claustrophobic, but as a consolation prize they did play a series of second rate new to dvd movies, yeah 😉  George also said that down below was utter chaos with transport trucks pushing their way in.

The ride was 17 hours in all, and thankfully went by pretty quickly.  George met a few folks to caravan with out of Mazatlan down the coast.  This was  a relief, because honestly, all we wanted to do was hightail it south before dark.  Our new friends had a chance to meet the ferry captain, and he passed on a few tidbits of info including how the banditos compel cars to stop on the road in the areas we were driving through (rope across the road).

We made it to San Blas that night and set up camp for the night in a little dead end street by the beach.