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Published: February 29th 2020
Hello from Cozumel. Today is our last port-of call for this cruise, until we return to Florida on Sunday. We had some bumpy patches during the night because there was a cold front that went through and that made some strong winds. This has really been our only stretch of less than perfect sailing weather. The high today was only supposed to get into the low 70s, but the locals felt we had great weather that wasn’t as hot as usual.
We did not actually arrive in Cozumel until 10:00 so it was a perfect opportunity to do a small load of laundry in they morning, just to restock our unmentionables for the rest of the vacation. Janet had a good idea because the laundromat was empty when we got there but would probably be pretty busy tomorrow on the Sea Day.
We went up to the Horizon Court a little before 10:00 and had custom made omelets – without any meat since it is Friday. The Sieberts joined us after a short while and we had a good breakfast to start our day. After last night’s enormous dinner, we had not expected to be hungry today, but somehow we managed to eat a pretty good meal anyway. While we were eating, they finished tying the ship to the pier and announced that passengers could start going ashore.
Our excursion was supposed to meet at the end of the pier at 11:50. That meant we had lots of time but the pier is quite long and did not have any benches until the very end. We went early to be able to take our time and Jim & Kathy came along soon afterwards. So we rested on a bench at the end of the pier and watched lots of people walk past going to their destinations. There were 3 ships using our pier so their must have literally been a couple of thousand people going past. There is a second pier with another 2 ships, plus 2 more cruise ships tendering further down the island. So it was pretty busy in town today.
We found our gathering place and the guide. He let Janet and Kathy sit on the side of a fountain while everyone else signed in for the tour. Then he sent them ahead with another guide so they could use the walker to get to the bus in plenty of time before the rest of us. The bus actually was an 8-person taxi and we were driven to the Discover Mexico Park a couple of miles outside of town. There were 24 in our tour (3 taxis), so it was a nice manageable-sized group. When we got there they offered Janet a wheelchair to use for the afternoon, which was very much appreciated because the long walk along the pier had been tiring.
The first activity was a Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting. Our guide (Bryan) explained a lot about how the tequila is made from blue agave plants. It takes 10 years for a plant to become large enough to produce a good fruit pod that can be pressed and fermented into the tequila. After 10 years the plant is harvested and they start another one. At the 5 year point it produces a flower which would contain agave seeds, but that is chopped off because the fruit is not good if the plant blooms. Instead they raise new agave plants from little sprouts which spring up near the main plant from the root system. Those are transplanted and another 10-year cycle begins.
We then had a tasting of 3 different tequilas. The first was clear and had only been aged 15 days, but it still tasted surprisingly good. The second was aged for 2 months and was a yellow color - it was noticeably smoother than the first and had a little different taste. The third is aged from 1-3 years and was a gold color. All three had the same amount of alcohol but the flavor changes and the colors came from the aging in the wooden casks. They did not offer any samples of tequilas that had been aged more than 3 years – they are pretty special but very expensive. However, the samples they provided were NOT thimble-sized mini-shots, but were instead about half wine glasses. They also had us breathe in various other scents before the tastes (like cinnamon, coffee beans, chocolate, and lime). Each had an interesting effect on the flavor of the next sip of the tequila. Anyway, we were quite happy by the time we had finished the tastings.
Then we had a chance to shop in the gift store where we would purchase all sorts of things, including bottles of tequila. After about 15 minutes of shopping, they took us through a small museum of Mexican art. David had to negotiate pushing the wheelchair through the semi-dark museum, after the tequila. Anyway, we did see a number of very interesting things.
After that we had a Margarita Sampling. This was a passion fruit flavor but the rim was not covered in salt (or sugar) but instead with chili pepper. That sounds really weird but it was astonishingly good. Now we have got a lot of fresh ideas for the next time our card group meets at our house.
Following the Margaritas we toured through a fascinating pathway of 1/25 scale dioramas of Mexican historical building. It began with reproductions of famous Inca temples and buildings. We had seen some of the originals when we visited Chichen Itza more than 20 years ago. The “tour of Mexico” moved through time until they got to current buildings (all scale models). They were pretty fascinating.
Next we had a complimentary lunch with chicken or beef tacos, rice, beans, and drinks. This was a true Mexican meal which was quite tasty, although they cautioned us not to try too much of the really hot sauce. Since they didn’t have anything which wasn’t meat, we just had to make do with what was served – sorry about that Monsignor, but it really was good too. Finally there was a demonstration by the Papantla Flyers performing an incredible ancient voladores ritual. David took a movie because any description would be totally inadequate. It was basically 4 fellows spinning around a 60-foot pole, hanging by their heels. That wrapped up our excursion and they took us back to the pier area.
We still had to walk a long way back through the shops and along the pier before we could get to the ship. All of this was tiring, especially for Janet with her walker, but she made it. It was a really fun excursion and if anyone is planning to visit Cozumel we can recommend this as a place to visit.
Back on the ship we cleaned up in our cabins for a little while and then went to dinner at 5:15. The ship did not sail until 9:30 tonight so a lot of people had late excursions or stayed in town for a full Mexican Dinner. That meant it wasn’t crowded in the dining room and we had a delicious dinner with very good service from the underworked staff.
After dinner we went to the Vista Lounge for an hour of Magic and Comedy. This was actually the first evening show we have gone to on the cruise – on other cruises we have gone to a large number of shows. Tonight’s show was funny and the performer did some interesting magic tricks. Then we went back to our cabin and watched the new Judy Garland movie. Afterwards we wrapped up our Mexican visit and prepared for the voyage back to Florida.
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