(Sorry for the delayed posting – no internet connections in the Pacific!)

September 2nd – Land ho! For two days now, there’s been land off our port bow. For you non-seafaring folks that’s the left side as you look toward the bow (front) of the ship. The Baja Peninsula. And then Mexico. This morning we woke to a considerably slower speed and land close in. Lush. Green. Very tropical.

Puerta Vallarta - Blue Agave PinaWe took a tour sponsored by Carnival, one that took in the sights of the city of 350,000 and included a visit to two tequila factories and two shopping districts. I learned about the Blue Agave plant, the ashy soil it prefers, the pina (pineapple) shape at the core of the plant, and distilling! If the process is done with patience and quality control, the taste of tequila is quite nice. Not at all like the horror stories you hear of blinding headaches and rebellious stomachs for days after imbibing. Nice as it might be, though, I doubt I’ll become a connoisseur.

As our guia (guide) pointed out, Mexico is a land of extremes, particularly in the very, very rich and very, very poor. Pepe (“don’t call me PeePee!”) made a point of stressing that the terrible drug-related violence filling the news lately is on the wane, and confined to specific regions. He was quick to let us know that Puerto Vallarta (PV as the cruisers call it; Vallarta as the locals call it), a city of just over a quarter-million people, has the lowest crime rate of the country. We Puerta Vallarta - Shoppingpassed a massive prison, complete with guard towers and concertina wire topping 25-foot brick walls which he proudly proclaimed only 946 inmates resided. Impressive.

I enjoyed our time in Puerto Vallarta. The tour was interesting, the bus very comfortable (air conditioned!), the driver very capable, and Pepe, our guide, one of the most enjoyable ones we’ve had. I would give it 5-stars for sure.

Fire OpalsOh yeah, my honey bought me Mexican Fire Opals. Stunning!

He got a tee shirt.

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