Zippety Doo Dah

WP_20150623_14_31_29_ProWe got our clocks wrong and woke up a fucking hour early in Mazatlan.

We went up for breakfast and found a bunch of other people there as well. Looks like others made the same mistake, and the buffet lines weren’t fully open yet. We grabbed what we could, and  watched the ship enter the Mazatlan harbor. The harbor was really amazing, mostly industrial, but grouped areas for fishing boats, local tour boats, and a general marina. I’ve read a couple of books from people who retired to buy a sailboat, and then cruise the pacific. Looking at a harbor like this, I can really see the appeal. But then I think of the damage we just saw to the Cabo Marina, and you have the flip side, Tropical beauty is balanced with tropical storms. The ocean is a dangerous place.

We finally docked, and looked for our tour guide. We had tickets for a zip line tour, and tequila tasting. (not necessarily in that order)

The Mazatlan Terminal is an industrial Dock. The ship was surrounded with shipping containers and flatbed railcars. It wasn’t real pretty, but it made it easy to find the tour guides, as there were the only ones on the dock. We got loaded on a bus, and found out our driver was names Jesus. This meant we got to look forward to a full day of “Thank you Jesus” and “Jesus is your pilot” jokes all day at no extra charge. Nifty.

The guide gave us a tour of Mazatlan along the waterfront on our way out to the place. Mazatlan itself isn’t a bad place, but it is seriously industrial. We were actually handed out a pickpocket warning before leaving the boat. That really meant you had no choice but to buy a tour here. there just wasn’t a nearby walking town. After a drive, we went through the “Golden Zone”, so named because this had all the casinos and bars where tourists were shaken down for all their gold. In all honesty, the small sidewalk taco and shrimp joints in Cabo were far more appealing than the snazzy discos and tourist bars here in Mazatlan. I was glad we were heading out of town.

Our guide explained that we were headed to what was originally, over 100 years ago, a farm that was supposed to be a winery. Naturally, the wine didn’t work, so they changed over to a tequila distillery. That closed in ‘48, and repoened 19 years ago. Apparently they had three distilleries on site originally, but now only one is running. the rest of the land is being converted over to Zip Lines, ATV’s, and other outdoor activities. Now the combination of Zip lines and Tequila made more sense.

At the base of the zip line course, we were given a briefing of how to hold your hands, what parts of your equipment not to touch, how to slow down, and how to pull yourself up the line if you don’t get enough momentum to make it all the way. The quality of the equipment and cables was top notch, so I wasn’t all that nervous. Yulia had done a great zip line course in Guatemala, and was excited to do this with us this time. Once all buckled in our harnesses, we boarded some surplus German Troop carrier and were hauled up the mountain on the most beat up trail I have seen. Sasha commented that this is like the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland, and she was right, these things bounced everywhere, and we all had a great gas smell after leaving the truck. We got to hike up the rest of the way, swatting away insects the size of sparrows.

At the start of the course, our carabineers were buckled into a safety line to guide us to the start point, we got a final review, and we were sent on our way. It was a blast! At the next station, someone would unclip you, put you on a new safety line, and repeat the process. The only real downside was that the course was pretty crowded, they brought two buses in at once, so we had to wait in the heat at each platform until the next one cleared. Fortunately, there were water stations every few platforms, we were sweating like crazy. The final platform was up in a treehouse, and to get down they would clip your carabineer in and do an assisted rappel straight down. The light girls would get dropped really fast, but I was too big to do that. I had the same issues with the zip lines, my weight made it tough to get just the right speed. I’d be just making it over, or way too fast. Twice I had to pull myself the last few feet hand over hand.

Once out of the tree we hiked back and got out of our gear. They gave us a quick snack of some cheese Quesadillas, and an apple. Sure enough, I checked the apple and it was from Washington. Go figure.

We then rode over to the Distillery.

I’ve been on enough Tequila distillery tours that I cold probably start giving the tours. But almost anything you do in Mexico includes a free Tequila tasting or tour now, and I‘m not one to break with tradition! The distillery itself was a neat little family place. We ended up paying more attention to the Burro and the lizards running around, at least until the tasting started. We got the first shot for free. We brought one over for Sasha to try as well. The Blanco was actually very smooth and clean, and she didn’t argue with drinking with her parents.

I’m a pretty firm believer that teens will do what they want, and I’d rather they do it where I can see and control. That and we figured the alcohol would kill anything in the water or food that might disagree with her stomach. I also wated to make sure my stomach was alright, so bought three more shots.

After this the bus drove us back, and dropped us in the terminal plaza, which we didn’t see on the way out. There was a shuttle from the street to the end of the pier, through the containers and Railway, and these shuttles drove from a little shopping and dining plaza. The shops were pretty standard, but we found a great taco stand, and we were hungry. That went well with a few light Coronas (Mexican Gatorade as I call it). The place even had a live DJ playing music for everyone waiting for the last possible minute before getting back on the ship.

We were tired and smelly at this point. The rest of the evening was cleaning up, getting some food, and setting our clocks correctly so we could actually sleep before our tour in Puerto Vallarta.