The instruction we had said that the park was 600 yards from the port so we decided to walk. After walking a bit we saw a sign that Discover Mexico was a kilometer further. Oh, dear, my toe was not going to like this at all, I thought. We continued our walk and by the time we arrived at the park we were overheated and tired but looking forward to our tour.
We were introduced to our guide, Diego, given a small margarita and then off on a wonderful learning experience about Mexico and its culture. We started in a large room where a wall of videos showed all things Mexican. We enjoyed the colorful and lively exhibition of the country’s customs, landscape, people and food.
Next, we were taken on a tour of a small but colorful museum with many exhibits showing the artistic flavor of the country. “The three primary mediums used in Mexican art are clay, papier-mâché and wood,” Diego explained. I especially liked the several ‘Tree of Life’ exhibits in and around the room.
Our next stop was the experience I was especially looking forward to; the chocolate experience. Diego gave us the history of chocolate in Mexico and how the country incorporated this wonderful food into their culture.
Diego and a helper named Eric explained how we would be making our own chocolate bar today. We had so much fun. We put the chocolate into a grinder (this grinder looked very much like the meat grinder my mom had in the kitchen when I was a child) and Randy grinded away. While he ground the chocolate I had a small scraper to make sure all this chocolaty goodness made it into the bowl.
Eric then poured an equal amount of sugar and cinnamon into the bowl and with gloves on, I blended the chocolate until all ingredients were combined. Then Diego pour a little vanilla on the chocolate. I blended a little more, divided the chocolate into two equal parts and put it into molds. Eric whisked the molds away for a while and then returned with the bars that were now hardened. We wrapped each bar and voila, a homemade ‘taste of Mexico’ chocolate bar to take back to the ship.
While Randy and I took part in this fun activity we were also served a tequila and chocolate drink, hot chocolate and marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. All these goodies were made with Mexican chocolate. I do believe I was in chocolate heaven.
We then moved on to a wonderful trail lined with recreations that covered societies from Mayan times to modern times. The detail on these models is amazing and well worth seeing.
Now we were on our way to our tequila experience. Diego did a wonderful job explaining the agave plant, how tequila is made, how it is aged, the different kinds of tequila and more. We actually had the Tequila Experience in February as part of a tour group. But were very happy for a second chance of tasting all these wonderful tequilas with our own private guide.
Our next stop was to taste a favorite margarita of Diego’s. We sat for a little while talking with Diego as we enjoyed our tasty guava margaritas. Randy and I enjoyed the chili pepper dusting on the rim of the glass. The mixture of sweet and spicy was a wonderful combination.
The last stop on this amazing tour was a beyond delicious lunch of tacos, pulled pork, pulled beef, rice, black beans, corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes and a few other sides that were mouth-watering. We washed our lunch down with a cold beer. It was time to say goodbye to Diego and tell him what a wonderful time we had and head back to the ship only this time no walking. Diego called a taxi for us and we were on our way.
During dinner members of the dining staff put on a show for everyone including some very funny antics by the head waiter. I loved the glowing, blinking red eyes, grass skirt and funny multi-colored braids. Very funny! Everyone at the table had a good time keep time with the music, waving napkins and applauding the crew’s efforts.
We had such a big lunch that I absolutely could not eat a large meal for dinner. I chose instead to enjoy my idea of surf and turf. I started with a shrimp cocktail and for my main dish I chose the appetizer, Seared Beef Carpaccio with shaved asparagus, aged Manchego cheese, buttermilk and a Dijon mustard drizzle. This small but delicious meal was just right.
One of the benefits we receive as diamond members of the Crown and Anchor Society is receiving three coins each cruise to put into the slot machine in the casino. After dinner we decided it was time to use our coins. I did my three pulls and won a ticket worth .36 cents, Randy won a ticket worth .06 cents. These little tickets translated into a tee shirt for me and a key chair for Randy. We laughed and happily walked away with our prizes.
Tonight’s entertainment was the FREEDOM-ICE.Com show. I have seen this show several times and am still awed by the skill and artistry these skaters display on the ice.
We made our way back to the cabin to settle down for a good night’s sleep. It had been a wonderful day, one I am sure will fill my dreams with wonderful pictures.
Tomorrow we are at sea.