after all three of us were ready, we trotted up the stairs one deck above us to the dining room and perused the breakfast menu. again, i love being able to order whatever the hell i want, as much as i want, without having to pony up the cash to pay for it. and when i was torn between bacon and corned beef hash, i went big and got 'em both.
the bean examined the croissant on her bread plate for a moment before turning her attention to the fun glass of chocolate milk that was set before her.
i'm not quite sure what she's doing here, but it's funny.
when we were all done, we stopped in the cabin to scoop up our passports and get the bean settled in the carrier, and then we walked down the gangway to find the shuttle that would take us to downtown ensenada.
of course, we had to walk through a small marketplace to get there. kind of reminded me of how you always have to get through a souvenir shop after you get off of a ride at disneyland.
we bought our $3 round-trip tickets and then hopped on the bus.
as we passed this gigantic mexican flag, our tour guide gave us some tips and tricks on how to haggle at the shops, and then sold us on a $15 shuttle that would take us to la bufadora, ensenada's main attraction and one of three blowholes in the whole wide world. where are the other two? hawaii and australia. i know you were curious. you can admit it.
we were dropped off here to buy our tour tickets (the same shuttle cost $30 if we'd have booked it as a "shore excursion" onboard the ship. suckas!) and to transfer onto the next shuttle.
our new tour guide, genoveva (pronounced "heh-no-veh-vah," as she taught us) was quite the chatterbox. she explained just about every single thing along the way during the 30-minute ride.
two of the three heads at plaza civica - benito juarez and venustiano carranza, a couple of mexico's biggest national heroes. we drove right past the third (miguel hidalgo) before i could snap a shot of it. oops. sorry, miguel.
along with a new wal-mart and applebee's, this giant costco was quite the happy place for the locals.
the bean and i both managed to fall asleep in the air conditioned bus for the last 15 minutes of the drive, and then we were there. of course, the walkway to la bufadora is lined with shops full of all sorts of stuff, complete with salesmen along the way, trying to get every penny out of you for their handmade crafts, leather goods, snacks, offensive t-shirts, you name it.
genoveva heaped praises upon this place, the nicest-looking restaurant on the entire mile-long strip. "they'll give you free tasting margaritas, and the restrooms are clean - and free!" methinks our friend genoveva was probably getting a nice little kickback from this joint, considering the servers asked everyone wearing one of the tour stickers who their guide was. hey, no biggie. everybody's gotta make a buck.
we walked down the stairs to check out the blowhole, and with the sun beaming onto the tops of our heads, i hoped it was going strong so it would cool us off a bit.
a nice man from our group offered to take a picture of us, and although the bean was playing shy, the teen and i smiled purty for the camera.
mmm, mexican coke! gotta love the taste of "the real thing" when made with pure cane sugar vs. corn syrup. hey, if you're gonna have soda, might as well go whole hog.
when genoveva walked over and reminded us to ask for our free "tasting margaritas," the teen gave me the eye and a big ol' kool aid smile. oy. teens and their curiosity about alcohol! but i get it, i've been there. and so i did what any cool mom would do - i flagged the server down and had him bring over a couple of special beverages. she picked one up, took a sip, and made a face. "it doesn't really taste like anything, just kind of like lemonade." i tasted mine and agreed - the freebies were super light on the alcohol. oh, well.
my shrimp chimichangas were tasty, although nothing spectacular. the bean took one bite and spit it right out. ha! she was more interested in the slide that went from the corner of the room and ended up downstairs - where else? - in the gift shop.
i thought she was too little for it, but when i saw the teen checking it out, i totally tried to egg her on. "i'm in a skirt, mom!" she said. wuss. i'da done it.
after we paid the bill, we headed back out into the marketplace. we giggled at this dude, at one of the many pharmacies that offered all sorts of fun meds with no pesky prescription required to stand in the way of gettin' yer groove on.
as the teen and i checked out the vast array of designer knockoff sunglasses, the bean pointed to a pair. "mom! peeeeease?" she said. and of course, i can never resist that sweet little voice. i plucked a pair of kid-sized shades off of the rack and stuck 'em on her nose. and surprisingly, she didn't take them off like she normally does. so i tried a couple of others on her before picking a pair to take home - the "chanel." the girl working that booth called out "$7!" and when the teen and i exchanged a look and went to leave, she called out "okay, how about $5?" sold.
on the way back, genoveva kept her promise of putting a muzzle on herself to let us all enjoy the ride and didn't say a word until she absolutely had to. after the endless running commentary on the trip out, i appreciated the relative quiet.
this was one in a long row of shops that she had pointed out before. apparently, a whole bunch of entrepreneurial folks in the area go up into various areas of southern california every weekend to go yard saling. they scoop up all the crap that nobody else wants, pack it up, and truck it down here to ensenada. they display the loot for the locals, who apparently eat this shit up like there's no tomorrow. "does any of that stuff look familiar, like maybe something you used to own?" genoveva asked. "because you probably did."
we strolled down a block and a half before stopping to check out a store that had some super cute dresses in the window. as we pored through the racks, it didn't take long to realize that all of the stuff in the shop was from forever 21 - marked up a few bucks. ha! so we got out of there, walked down another half-block, and decided we were done. it was kinda squicky walking around, just the three of us without the hub or any other protective-type companions along, and so we scurried back to the plaza and boarded a bus back to the ship.
this time, when we arrived at the little marketplace by the gangway, we actually stopped to look around a little. the teen had seen a cute bag she liked, and i thought i'd pick up another bottle of vanilla extract. that stuff is super cheap there, and i still had half a bottle at home, but it doesn't expire.
unforch, the bag was ridiculously pricey ($90! no way), but the vanilla was not - $9! yay for me! a pair of maracas for the bean and a couple of bottles of that yummy coca-cola, and that was the end of our mexican adventure.
we were grateful for the arctic temperatures back in the cabin, and as we collapsed onto the bed, it occurred to us that we were hungry again. a perfect time to try out room service!
as we waited for the food to arrive, the girls watched other cruisegoers coming and going down below.
when our sandwiches arrived, the bean was apparently hungrier than the rest of us.pb&j for the teen, shrimp salad for me. we capped it off with chocolate cake and our smuggled soda (on board, a can costs $1.95. the big ass bottles i bought in the marketplace were only $1.50), and then we all hopped into the bed and took a lovely siesta.
the bean had been such a good girl all day long. i was mucho impressed - not having used the baby carrier with her in a long while, i wasn't sure how she'd react to being strapped in for hours at a time. she's so active and loves to run around, so i was pleasantly surprised at how patient and easy she was. but she was tuckered out, poor thing - she slept and slept as the teen and i got ready for that night's formal dinner.
we goofed around and took our time getting all dolled up.
eventually, we had no choice but to wake the poor thing from her restful slumber to get her dressed and head down to meet my parents for dinner. and she was not pleased. yikes. but as always, she was a trooper. as we sat down and checked out the menu, she sat quietly on my lap and snuggled in.
luckily, despite the wacky nap and crazy schedule, it wasn't too difficult to get her down for the night. it was wonderful to snuggle with her in the cool sheets and drift into blissful sleep.
oh, and yeah, i totally went ghetto-style again in the photo gallery the next morning. the shots are desperately blurry due to the ship employees watching over us, but not so bad that i felt the need to actually buy the damn things. haha!