Okay fans, I had planned to write again in a couple of days, but I just HAD to get online and tell you about my fabulous, fabulous day today! You know, when I was planning this holiday, I was really just thinking about the friends I wanted to catch up with. The friends part has been (and will be, B & J) SO SO wonderful, but by accident, I have also planned myself a fantastic and exotic holiday - go me! I really didn't think that much about the cruise before we left, but guess what, I'm actually in Mexico! MEXICO PEOPLE! How cool is THAT?! AND I really like it here :) Cabo San Lucas is beautiful - in a really stark kind of a way. It's all white desert, hills and cliffs, but surrounding the most GORGEOUS blue blue blue sea. The hills have really picturesque resorts and homes up and down them - it actually looks a little the way I imagine the Mediterranean to look. So THAT was exciting to see when I woke up this morning ;) (Not that I could see it from my cabin, since the window is FAKE... I had to walk up to the deck, but never mind, it was still exciting...)
So the day started at 6:15am when the alarm went off. By 7:45am, Peta, Jenny and I were waiting in the Cole Porter Lounge with a bunch of other people who had early excursions. We listened to some really bad jokes (but funny - since you all know how much I LOVE bad jokes!) from one of the cruise directors, and then we were ushered downstairs and onto the first tender boat for the day - which ferried us all in to shore. The harbour is hopping! Such a fun fun resort town. Clean and friendly and warm. Pelicans EVERYWHERE, and lots of Sea Lions and friendly locals. Great Mexican music playing everywhere. Obviously it's all set up for the tourists - but us tourists sure do love it! The whole place seemed to ooze that laid back holiday atmosphere, with exotic spices on the breeze. Wonderful :)
We went through the customs first, which does not include passport - or even photo ID - checks, but which DOES consist of them throwing any fruit you have in your bags into the bin :) Then we went to a tour operation centre just down the street, where we were put on a bus (with the people doing the horse riding tours), and we were off on a 45 minute drive through the countryside out to a seaside ranch. Our bus driver's name was Hosea (which I thought was wonderful), and he was very friendly. He started off by telling us that he'd be driving very slowly, because there were a lot of roadworks, and the road was very narrow and followed cliffs for some of the way. But not to worry, because he knew the road really well and would be driving slowly... Right then :) Peta and I weren't too bothered by Hosea's announcement (he said he'd drive slow, right?), but Jenny, in a rare stroke of oldest sister/friend syndrome, insisted that we all put our seat belts on.
The drive through the countryside was really interesting. It's funny trying to sum a place up with so little information, but I think the thing that struck me the most was just the contradictions. On the one hand, there are expensive, fancy and upmarket homes, businesses and estates - super nice. And then right across the street you see slums and homes built out of building scraps (aka, PNG style). So depending which side of the bus you happen to be looking out of, the country will other seem either first or third world.
Then we got out of the city and into the outback - that was really interesting too. I'm used to thinking of 'desert' as the kind of desert you see in Southern Utah - since that's really the only kind of real desert I've ever seen. That desert stretches forever, and is empty of everything but stunning rock and cliff formations in red rock.
This desert was all white and sandy, and was really densely and thickly populated by Cactus and shrubby scrub (lots of Joshua trees that look dead but are probably just still hibernating...) Really not the kind of wilderness you could cross without spending several hours clearing every metre! The landscape was really hilly too. And then of course, you could see the ocean, and it was beautiful! Blue blue blue with lovely sandy beaches.
When we got to the ranch, they had us all climb out, have a quick toilet break (which was good, because P & J have tiny bladders and they can't go more then 5 minutes without a bathroom - I swear!), and then they took us over to the four wheelers. One of the reasons we picked this tour was because everybody drives their own four wheeler - so no one has to be a passenger. Fun right? Wrong. The cruise ship sinking was SO the wrong thing for us all to be worrying about! It's the four-wheelers that were REALLY endangering my life! I knew I was in trouble with Jonathan the guide started explaining to us how to change gears with our feet... When he saw my panicked look he very kindly rolled his eyes, lowered his voice, leaned in to me and hurriedly whispered "start in 1, use 2 for up and down hills, and use 3 and four the rest of the time depending how fast we go.... you might even need 5 if you go really fast" (but he looked a little uncertain of my abilities to get to 5 - and I was right there with him!).
They gave us bandanna's, goggles and helmets (the cute helmets you see on Italians riding mopeds) - so our faces were pretty much completely covered and protected from the dust we'd be swirling up around us. And then, just like that, everyone got on and started driving off in single file. Ahhhhhh! Surely that wasn't it?! Surely they need to test us, or tell us how to drive properly?! Nope! Not here in Mexico. They just let you go. *gulp*
We were all in a single file behind Jonathan, and I was about in the middle - with Peta in front of me and Jenny behind. About 15 minutes into the ride, when we slowed down at one point, Peta yelled back to me "Jenny's really struggling! She's not even keeping up with us! She's way back behind you!" I yelled back that I was pretty sure that Jenny was absolutely fine, and just keeping her distance for her own good since she could see my driving and Peta couldn't :) Let's just say I spent that first 15 minutes bunny-hopping through the Mexican desert and narrowly missing cactus as I swerved uncontrollably from left to right on the sandy track.
But by about the 25 minute mark, I suddenly got it down. And then, boy was it FUN! Mum, remember the time you first went to the USA and went sledding? And just how much 'fun' it was? Well this was exactly like that! I was screaming to both Peta and Jenny about how great this was, but I realized that no body could hear anything over the roar of the motors, so I just started screaming to myself for my own fun: Ahhhh! I'm in MEXICO! ahhhhh! woo-hoo! I'm four-wheeling in Mexico! *delighted laughter*. It was a real rush :)
The ride was about 1.5 hours all up. And they certainly don't seem to worry too much about safety (once they've put helmets on us) because we were going up and down MASSIVE and STEEP hills on these quad bikes. We drove along cliff tops, along the beach - right by the ocean - and along dry river washes. It was amazing. If I hadn't had my 'adventure girl in Mexico' hat on, I probably would have been terrified. But I just kept going, and by the end of the ride I was waiting for Peta to go up each steep hill before I'd even start - because I wanted to go much much faster than she was going :)
I think there's a little evil-keneval in me after all... :)
Anyway, once we got back to the ranch they put us all back on the bus and drove us back into town. We had about half an hour before our next tour started, so we went to a fabulous restaurant ("the Tequila Bar") for a quick bite. The guy who seated us promised us quick food (since we said we only had 20 minutes), and a cute waiter. And the waiter was free :) Most of you know how much I LOVE Mexican food, right? Well, get this: Mexican food IN Mexico? WAY WAY better! ahhhh. This food was to die for. Even though we had to wolf it down!
From there we ran to the second tour, which started down at the docks. There were about 14 of us in the group, and the lady who took our tickets introduced us to our tour guide: Hosea! hhahahah! Different guy - same name :) This Hosea was completely wonderful. He was really funny and a great guide. He loaded us into a 24foot Zodiac, which is an inflatable motor boat. He stood at his post in the middle, and we sat on the inflated edges of the boat, and held on for dear life :) We had life vests on, but he went REALLY fast, and we were rising up the waves and crashing back down again. Once we got over the whole "wait, you want us to sit on the edge of the boat? but we'll fall out!" thing, it was really really fun.
First he took us out to the arch at Lands End (google it), and we drove past Lovers Beach (again, google it), which is famous for being the only beach in the world to touch 2 oceans at the same time. Then we headed off for the snorkeling. It took about half an hour to get out to the first bay, where Hosea gave us all snorkels, fins and goggles, and threw us overboard :) Well, the others all hopped in and started swimming around on their own. But when I sat on the edge and hesitated for a bit, he threw me in :) Oh well, I had to get in somehow :) We had a great time at this secluded beach and spent about 45 minutes snorkeling up a storm. Then we got back in the boat and headed off for the second bay. This bay had some pretty coral reefs, and Hosea got in the water this time and swam around with us all.
At one point, he dove down and came back up with a sea urchin. I was near he when he surfaced, and he gestured for me to hold out my hand so he could put it in my hand. Again, most of you know that I avoid contact with living, non-human creatures. But since I was being 'Adventure Tammy in Mexico' today, I put out my hand. It was prickly, and I didn't like it. But then, it started sucking and attaching itself onto my hand, and then I REALLY didn't like it! hahahaha! That's an understatement actually. I totally freaked out and threw the thing back at him with a scream! lol :) He died laughing. The horrible man had known that would happen, and thought it was hilarious! But don't worry, he made me up to me by letting me watch him do it to half the other people on the tour :) totally classic :) Jenny really freaked out "get it off, get it off, get it off!" - so I felt vindicated.
Hosea also swam down and came back up with a puffer fish in his hand which he kept under the water and let us all touch. It was kind of cool - like a big squeegee toy or something :) after another half an hour there or so, we took the boat ride back again. I sat on the bench at the back of the boat this time (since other people were in my spot on the edge of the boat), and so I closed my eye and threw my head back, crossed my legs and just let the wind and the sun do what they do best. And all the while we were riding at crazy speeds (Hosea had let us swim too long so he was in a hurry to get us back) up and over the waves with crazy crashes and bumps in the boat. I loved it - what a happy afternoon. I tried to store up a memory so I wouldn't ever forget it. (And now I've written it in my blog - which should help - lol).
Once back on the ship, we each showered (because we were filthy and all oceany - eww!), and then were went and had dinner in the dinning room. Yummy as usual, and fun to chat with people. This evening has been good too. After dinner, Jenny and I went and checked out the Kareokee Lounge, where I swallowed some fear and sang a song to the 12 people in there - hahaha! It's funny how nervous I was, but it felt good to be doing things that are scary, so I was glad to do it. Then we went and met up with some people for the hypnotist show in the main theatre. I'm still a skeptic about the whole hypnosis thing, but some of the people we know on the boat got up, and I laughed out loud several times. Though, like I said, I'm still not sure what to make of the whole 'thing'. After that, Peta, Jenny, Brandon (from yesterday's post) and I went and hang out in the Kareokee lounge for another half an hour, before heading up to the big deck party that was happening tonight. Nothing starts until late here, and I keep missing everything because I keep going to bed - lol! But since it was 11pm, and the deck party/dance was starting, Jenny and I headed up there. Everyone was waiting for the first people to actually go onto the dance floor and dance, and since I'd already done scary things all day, we went and danced with the first few people, and before long it was hopping party. So much fun! I haven't danced like that for a long time, and it felt GOOD :)
Well, it's 12:30am now, and I thought I'd better come and just finish off this post (I started it before dinner tonight) so you'd all have something to read. Make sure you comment - I LOVE to read them them, and don't worry, I read fast, so it doesn't cost tooooo much! haha!
We have the alarm set for 6am tomorrow morning, because we've got the parasailing booked in for first thing in the morning. Jenny and I have come to the realization that we may not have thought the whole thing through very well, and that parasailing might actually be TERRIFYING! But hey, if I managed to four-wheel this morning, parasailing should be a breeze! (get it, a breeze? parasailing?... never mind).
We'll be done with the parasailing by 9:30am, but then we're thinking we'll shop and explore the main streets of town for a few hours before meeting up with some friends and renting jetskiis for the afternoon. I've never jetskied before... I'm just kind of hoping that there are no gear shifts to be made by me.... haha!
Okay, off to bed (or actually, I can hear the music coming from the piano bar sing-a-long... that could be fun)...
Love to you all - and apologies if the above doesn't make sense. I'm typing like crazy and proof-reading not at all!
PS. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JONATHON! I love you Jonny, and hope you're having a really really great day. xo