– note: this post was written while aboard the cruise ship on the 17th of July and posted on the 19th of July after arriving back –
Well, Diane and I are now waiting for debarkation from the ship. It's awfully early -- 7:30 in the morning, and we've been up since 6 so that we could have breakfast. I don't have much else to do, so I figured I'd get caught up with the blog posting.
I left off before the second musical show called "Spin". This time around, the show was themed around a wheel with different destinations on it. After each song, they spun the wheel to get a new destination and they'd do a song around that theme. There was quite a few places they did, most of which were in the United States. We arrived a bit late, but caught songs themed around Texas, New York, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and a few others that I can't remember. It was pretty fun actually.
After the show, we headed off to dinner. By this point we'd started to get to know our dinner partners John and Dawnyelle. Our dinner conversation was pretty fun, and we had a pretty good time. There was escargo on the menu, which is something I've never tried. John mentioned that they were there, and then it became something we had to try. So the four of us split an order of escargo. It was sure buttery and garlicy ... and you really couldn't taste what the snail tasted like. It kind of had a texture similar to calimari, which I suppose makes sense. So, one thing off the list of things to try! For a main course, both Diane and I had some battered fish and shrimp. It was fairly tasty, although some of our other dinners were better.
After dinner, rather than going to see the "R-rated" hypnosis show, we decided to just head to bed. The next day would be our Ensenada excursion, so we didn't want to stay up too late for a show that maybe wasn't that exciting. I imagine if he standup guy was back, we might've stayed up for him.
We slept in a little more than we had when we hit Cabo, but that's partly because our excursion didn't leave until 10:45. This time, we went to have breakfast at Tiffany's (that's what the buffet restaurant is called) and then got off the ship well in advance of our tour. It was a nice day though, so we wandered around the little market, and sat in the shade for a little while before heading off on our tour.
The tour we had signed up for was a kayaking trip -- the first leg of which was a one hour bus ride to the site. The main tourist attraction in Ensenada is a natural blowhole called El Bufadora. This formation is a place where air pressure builds up in a natural pocket and every few seconds the blowhole sprays water up high into the air. Our kayaking would bring us within a few metres away fromwhere the water exits.
The bus ride was fairly nice. Our tour guide was very excited and talked almost all the way there. She told us about the city of Ensenada, about the state we were in, and about Mexico. She gave us shopping and bargaining advice. She did a pretty good job, and her English was really quite good so it was pretty informative.
After getting off the bus, we got a quick lesson in kayaking from a friendly guy named Carlos. From there, we walked a little ways down to the beach where a bunch of two-man kayaks were sitting. One by one, the kayak tour guides pushed each boat into the water where we paddled out a little ways. The water was beautifully clear, so we could see quite a ways down. The biggest feature in the water was by far the large kelp forests -- our kayaking took us through several patches of the stuff. It's pretty crazy how large these plants must be. We couldn't see the bottom of the ocean anywhere, but the kelp grows on the bottom and extends their branches to the top of the water and they extend across the water for quite a ways. A pretty incredible sight.
On the way out to the blowhole we spotted several dolphins. It's pretty cool to see them swimming along not really all that far away. The trip to the blowhole was pretty short, but we sat in the water for awhile to watch it. I risked bringing my little camera along so I took it out and took several photos and videos of the blowhole in action. It was pretty neat to see it from our vantage point, and I'm pretty sure that's the best way to see it. The vantage point from land really wasn't nearly as good since you don't get to see the bottom of the spray.
After the tour guides took anyone who wanted to closer to the blowhole, we started paddling back to the beach. On the way back, Diane and I spotted a seal! It was awfully cute. On our way back, we'd see it several times coming up for air, but we never managed to get a photo of it. We got surprisingly close to it, actually -- and every time he came up we paddled a little closer. I wonder if it thought we were stalking it.
The tour guides helped us get up on the beach from our kayaks and we walked back to the bus to wash off the sand and dry off a bit. The bus tour guide was very excited to take us to the market leading towards the blowhole -- so even though it wasn't officially part of our tour, we got an extra hour to wander through the market. It was quite interesting ... the people there were quite eager to sell us stuff. At times they were quite pushy. In preparation for our kayaking, Diane and I forgot to pack some money with us, so we actually couldn't buy anything. It was kind of amusing being hassled into someone's store to look at their stained glass, but not having money to purchase anything. Of course, the guy there didn't know that ... but we did. Some of the stuff on sale was pretty odd. There were several drug stores down the stretch selling all kinds of spam-subject drugs like viagra and cialis. One guy went so far as to touch my arm and say something along the lines of "you could go all-night baby". I was a little creeped out to say the least. Makes a good story though.
We wandered through the market for a little ways, taking some free samples of churros, and homemade bread. It helped us last until we got back to the ship. We got back to the bus well before our 3:00 meetup time, and waited around for the rest of our tour people to come back from the market. There was a group of four that were late, and we came very close to leaving them behind but thankfully they got back just in time. The bus ride back was kind of relaxing and I had a very quick nap.
Arriving back at the ship, we cleaned up and then wandered around the ship for a bit. There was supposed to be ball room dance music playing in one of the lounges, but when we showed up there was nobody there. I guess nobody showed up, so they stopped (or never started?). So we hung around for a little bit. Diane had a nap, before we went off to dinner. Our last dinner with John and Dawnyelle was fun. We exchanged pictures and email addresses. Maybe they'll come visit us in Ireland some day. I had veal parmigiani for dinner, and Diane had the salmon. Both were pretty tasty. We chatted for awhile after dinner and then wandered back to our room where we stayed for a little while before the 10:30 show that evening. The neat thing about the last show was they had been doing auditions at karaoke for some well known artists like Garth Brooks, Brittany Spears, Madonna, Elton John, Elvis, Ricky Martin, etc. The best ones were picked and they put on a show where these people got to get up on stage dressed up like the artists they were impersonating. It was actually pretty fun. The guy who did Garth Brooks sounded almost exactly like him which was pretty awesome. The rest of them ranged in quality a bit, and some definately looked a bit nervous which is totally understandable. It was a neat idea that worked pretty well I think.
After the show was over, Diane and I went off to collapse. In order to get up in time for breakfast, we had to get up pretty early so we set an early wakeup call at 6am. It came too fast, but both of us woke up pretty quickly. We showered, packed ourselves up, and moved out of our room in pretty short order and made it to breakfast a little before 7:00. Breakfast was rather nice -- we went for the dining room where we got full service. It didn't take too long for us to get our croissants, eggs benedict, fruit juice, and coffee. It was pretty tasty, but by the time we were finished and sat around for a bit, it was only 7:45.
So now we're sitting in one of the lounges waiting for our debarkation number to be called. They've gone through numbers 1-9 so far, and we're number 16. Once we get called we can head off the ship and head to the airport where we'll wait until 3:20 to leave San Diego. It's gonna be a bit of a long day methinks. Still, it's a bit hard to believe our honeymoon is almost over. In some ways it'd be nice to stick around a bit longer, but it'll be nice to be back home too.