Thursday, 5 April 2012

Cruise to Ensenada

Ric's grandparents - Cecil and Neta Bradshaw - liked to go on cruises. They would drive from their home near Pine Bluff, Arkansas to either New Orleans, Louisiana or to Galveston, Texas and board a Carnival line ship bound for somewhere in the Western Caribbean. Upon meeting me, Ric learned that I had traveled on an ocean liner from Vancouver to Sydney and had enjoyed the experience. Therefore, he thought that he would try a cruise and, to 'test the water', so to speak, a short weekend one to Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The ship, the SS Ecstasy, left San Pedro/Long Beach on Friday evening and returned early Monday morning.

We flew from Oakland to LAX and met with an agent from Carnival at the luggage carousal where we identified our bags which were taken by a van driver for the trip to the pier. As we had all of our documentation in hand, boarding the ship was a breeze.

After loading our luggage into our cabin (the larger pieces had been taken on by porters) we set out to explore and ended up on the Promenade Deck from where we watched our departure.

Again, this was not that long after '9/11' so we saw evidence of increased security everywhere - and especially at installations along the estuary.

                                     Evidence of security around the port's fire boats.

With the 'welcome aboard' cocktails in our hands we strolled the deck and watched the passing sites.

It was not long before we heard the first call to dinner in the dining room so we returned to the cabin to get 'dressed' and joined two very charming women from Phoenix who were seated at our mutual table.

After dinner came the entertainment in the main lounge/theater which was enjoyable.

I am much the earlier riser of the two of us so, when I awoke in the morning, showered and dressed and found a cup of coffee, I headed up to the top deck.  The ship was then entering Ensenada Harbor so I watched as we approached the shore and our berth then I went to fetch Ric.

A view seen as the ship approached the port.

Another tourist - and early riser - offered to take my photo so I obliged. My cap is off because of the fairly strong breeze.

 Ensenada is a small city - just over 100,000 people live there - our stay was brief and there were but 2 guided shore tours offered. We chose the bus ride south of the city to La Buffadora ("The Blowhole"). The ride there was through pretty agricultural land and then up over a headland to the village. The bus parking area was at the top of the hill above the village so we walked down - and I was in awe! At last I was in a Mexican market! We walked directly down to the blow hole and then shopped while on our way back up.

                                              The market which we walked through

                                                               The Baja coastline

                                                               A nearby rocky islet

                                                                  'Thar she blows!'

                                                   The return walk through the market

As we returned to the market area a woman had her wares placed right where I could see them and, on top, was a beautiful blue serape. My delight in finding that was obvious so Ric believed that I paid double for it than I should have. Probably he is correct!

We began our stroll up the above shown lane way admiring the wares displayed. Suddenly Ric increased the pace and began moving back and forth and in and out of a number of booths. I wondered what he was doing so he explained that he spotted a couple of men who looked as if they wanted to pickpocket me (I had my wallet tucked into a rear pocket of the shorts that I was wearing). I have NEVER carried my smaller wallet in my rear pocket since that day!  

                                            Waiting to board the bus to return to Ensenada.

Back in the city we were taken to a building which had been erected in order to capitalize on Prohibition in the US. This place - a dance hall and bordello - has an unusual ceiling.

Back on board the ship we enjoyed another meal with our table companions.


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