Carnival Cruise: Day 2 (pt. I)
This is going to be a super-long entry. It's more for my benefit than yours, so go ahead and skip the text and just look at the pictures :)
Cruise: May 20, 2006 (Saturday)
Morning in the Dark
You will not believe how loud it is when the boat docks...or how dark it is in the staterooms. I was awakened sometime early in the morning by these horrendously loud noises that I believe were the sound of our ship coming into port. In my half-asleep stupor I thought that the boat was going down. Naturally, I stayed in bed.
Later that morning the Mom came to wake us up. I think I stayed in bed and got up later...? I don't really remember (April, you must clarify). Anyhow, I got up at some point and took a shower. I think April and I went upstairs to get some food at the same place we went the previous day. April stole a banana from the buffet to take with her but she ended up leaving it in a tray on the ship when we learned we couldn't take food off the boat.
We disembarked at around noon I think. We took a shuttle from the boat to downtown Ensenada where we caught another shuttle that was to take us to the open-air market and la Bufadora. Our guide was named Kenya and she was wearing Aeropostale pants and a polo shirt. Just in case you were interested. What I noticed about downtown Ensenada was that about a third of the signs were in English. Felt like Whittier Blvd. But that's just me.
L: April and I on the shuttle R: that kid to the far right was crying his eyes out and his family was totally ignoring him...ha!
The drive took a while. On the way she pointed out American businesses and told us about Mexican tequila and vanilla. Oh, and she pointed out landmarks too. As we got closer to the open-air market she taught us the ins and outs of verifying the authenticity of vendor silver and leather and finding the best food (and safest drinks) during our short time there. On the list she gave us? Cheap churros, margaritas, fish tacos!
Mexico: La Bufadora and the Open-Air Market (doesn't that sound like a children's book title?)
The ocean view from the shuttle was absolutely lovely. Anyhow, we got to the open-air market in due time. We were dropped off amidst a sea of shuttles in front of a restaurant that sold fish tacos (!) and some jewelry vendors. Darlene and the Mom went off in search of a restroom while April and I milled around. Our group (led by Kenya) had already started off to the market before Darlene and the Mom returned so we had to run off in search of our tour group. She showed us some legit jewelry and bag vendors (legit meaning the leather and silver was genuine) and had them demonstrate their methods of guaranteeing the authenticity of their materials.
After we extricated ourselves from the very crowded marketplace we continued on our way to la Bufadora (blowhole). The water is very pretty out there.
After checking out the blowhole, we made our way back to the market for some shopping and eating. We browsed a bit and then headed over to Habana Banana which was one of the places that Kenya advised us to go to for an authentic Ensenada margarita made with safe ice. The restaurant like a Rainforest Cafe tourist-y feel to it, but I wasn't willing to risk imbibing Mexican tap water. The Mom and I got strawberry margaritas and April got mango. For some reason, April was the only one who got her margarita garnished ;P
L: Habana Banana glasses R: April's garnished margarita
Darlene got food but April and I were holding out for other eats (read: tacos and churros), plus we were running out of time. Since it is permissible to wander the market with alcoholic drinks in hand, April and I did just that. The vendors are all very in-your-face, offering up everything from knockoff Guccis to authentic Mexican boyfriends (latter being a joke, naturally). There were even vendors selling prescription drugs asking us if we wanted to take home some Viagra for our boyfriends.
April was in the market for an authentic leather bag but everything that was decent looking had some knockoff logo embossed on it. When she asked the vendor if he had anything that didn't say Gucci he started to pick through his shelves of purses and pulled out some pretty hideous bags. April declined.
We ran into a friend of the Mom who happened to be vacationing in Ensenada. At this point we were getting really close to shuttle departure time and rushed back to meet up with Darlene and the Mom. April and I managed to buy a fistful of churros ($2!) and run back to the shuttle just in time to see that we were not leaving yet ;P We took advantage of the extra time and bought two fish soft tacos at the restaurant the shuttle was parked in front of. They were small, but they were just a dollar each. Plus we got to load on as much pico de gallo and guacamole as our little hearts desired :)
L: April's partially eaten fish taco R: Darlene holding our greasy churros. I think by the time I took this picture we'd already eaten three or four of them.
I had to pee like you would not belieeeeveeeee. About halfway into the drive I was going mad. When we got downtown, Kenya stopped the shuttle so she could go do something. Another woman got off of the bus to use the restroom. Unfortunately, I had no idea where she went. Darlene pointed me in the general direction of where the restroom was supposed to be so I jumped off the shuttle and practically ran in that direction. I seriously had no idea where I was going so I just ducked into the place that I supposed was the location of the restroom. It turns out that it was some tiny historical gallery and with no sign of a restroom. There was a man sitting off to the side so I asked him in my broken and shamefully accented spanish where el bano was and hightailed it over there. Well, I found the restroom but just my luck...no toilet paper. And when I say no toilet paper I mean no toilet paper. There wasn't even a toilet paper dispenser or any empty rolls...not even a sign of toilet paper. Just then I realized that I was still clutching a handful of extra napkins from the churro vendor. Saved! I finished up and ran back out (thanking my restroom savior in my disgusting Spanish as I ran) and somehow quickly located April, the Mom, and Darlene.
We took some time to just shop around downtown after my bathroom adventure. We visited some drugstores and souvenir shops. The Mom bought a bracelet from one of the children running around selling things. April and I still hadn't found anything suitable to bring back for Brian and Aaron so we were still on the lookout. We found some little bottles of tequila with sombreros. Very cliche, but we thought they'd appreciate the alcohol ;)
We headed back to the boat at around 5PM and had to wait FOREVER before we were able to get on the boat. Naturally, everyone in line was rambunctious and drunk. There were so many old mid-life crisis looking folk who were acting like teenagers. We were in the shadow of the ship and I was freezing my butt off. We made it back on in one piece, though. Plus they let us take our tequila with us :) All good in the hood.
Coach! Fendi! Louis Vuitton!
Will post remainder of Day 2 later...