Wine Tasting in Mexico?
20 January 2010 | Puerto Salina, Mexico
Here we are, heading back up to San Diego. We have spent a little over two weeks in wonderful Mexico. Puerto Salina and Ensenada have been our destinations. We have shared time with old friends and made new friends as well. The people in Mexico couldn't be nicer, even if we couldn't understand each other sometimes! (Why in the world did I not take Spanish in highschool?!) It's amazing how far hand signals can get you!
So, we survived our first immigration check in, and our first drink of water from our water maker. (Let me tell you, that first sip is scary, but more on that later!). Raoul, from the Puerto Salina marina, was kind enough to come with us. Ensenada is about a thirty minute drive, along gorgeous coastline, south of Puerto Salina. There was much paper work to fill out (and I might add, none of it is in English!), and many different windows to go to, waiting in line each time. You would often have to go to window 1, then to window 2, then back to window 1, then to 3, then back to 1 etc...you catch my drift. And each time, they would have to re-enter all your information. Sometimes you just stand there while their doing something else (didn't look important) then eventually they look up, to help you. Of course you keep a smile on your face the entire time (who needs lunch and a potty break really anyway?!). Then at the end of all of this, you stand in line to push the "red light, green light". Phew...we got a green light! Lunch here we come! Raoul took us to a fish restaurant where his brother is the chef. And here it starts...Lisa having to politely eat something that is offered to me, all the while keeping a smile on my face. I think it was called something like Fishermans' Stew, or something like that. All I know is I could see the big pieces of octopus (suction cups and all) sticking out of an orange broth, and they told me it would make me "strong like bull"! (My father would have loved this). Thank God for beer! And lot's of lime (helps on everything!). Actually, our lunch ended up being delicious! Grilled white fish with lots of garlic, lemon and butter, salad and rice. (No we haven't been afraid to eat anything yet and have not gotten sick.) We have had more of the most wonderful guacamole the last couple of week s! Two days later, Renae, Dave, our new friend Heidi (an Aussie), Larry, Ben and I, all piled into our rental car (Dodge Charger), and raced out to the wine country (Valle de Guadelupe). Yes, it was tight (I won't even tell you where I sat), but...hey, it's Mexico...you can do things like that here. (God how did we ever survive growing up with no seatbelts or helmets!) It was the most amazing day! We tasted at two fabulous wineries. We were the only ones there. The second being the most fascinating. It is owned by three women, and is right at their house. There were several houses around on the hillside, all eclectic and artsy (a la Beth and Laurie from Niles sort of cool). The grounds were beautiful and emmaculate, huge boulders sprinkled off in the distance that had to have been put there from another time (reminded us of The Baths in the BVI's). The lady of the house was not feeling well but there was a gentleman there (an artist who was firing his tiles in the kiln for a huge wall he has been commissioned to do for Ensenada). His name was Eduardo, but his artist name is Luna. We went into this cool little cave for our tasting, also tasting their homemade olive oil. They also made a sort of healing tea from olive leaves, oregano, and lemon (Tammy F., I thought of you!), but they were out of this. Not only did we purchase wine (of course), we also purchased two beautiful plates (Ben buying one of them with his own money, a fish plate to serve all of his "catch" on!). Then we got a tour of Eduardo's workshop, and he demonstrated making for us one of the tiles,( out of the 885 he has to make) for this wall in Ensenada. It was incredible, and the best part of all (for Ben), was he was given a nice ball of clay to shape and play with. Now there was an alterior motive on Ben's part, because he found out somewhere that you can build a bomb out of clay and batteries and something else. (He's become obsessed with guns and explosives!) Don't worry...we're watching him closely! After that, we went to lunch at a beautiful restaurant called Laja. It was like being at the best of the best restaurant in Napa, but we were the only ones there. The food was spectacular, (Brian you would have loved it!), Ben had two servings of foie gras ravioli, (I begged forgiveness from PETA). And then we went home, sober (at least Larry was) and stuffed. To top the day off, once arriving back at our boats, we jumped in our dinghy's for a mile or two ride out to watch the dolphins feed, and the beautiful Baja sunset. Yes, this was one of those days that you are reminded of why you are cruising. The highs are extremely high, the lows extremely low. I have come to figure out, that cruising is hugely bi-polar. Needless to say, we didn't see dolphins that day, but have every time since. They are the most adorable creatures. Once again I'll say, how could anyone in their right mind intentionally hurt them? It is so cool, racing in our dinghy, and them swimming along side, or crisscrossing in front, leaping out in the air every once in a while, splashing you! They turn on their sides looking at you, smiling. They are so close I am literally inches from touching them. Sometimes we just sit quietly watching them all work together swimming in circles, making the fish all ball up and head towards the surface, all the while the dolphins feasting and the birds getting a free meal as well. At times like these, I could not imagine a better way of raising our nine year old son. Speaking of which, I had the brilliant idea of hiring Heidi to be Ben's tutor whilst we were parked at Puerto Salina. She has a degree in marine biology and comes from a family of teachers, and she is excellent with Ben (I think she is his first true crush!). His time with her has been invaluable, and they did cool things like pick out a huge piece of kelp from the ocean to study. So needless to say, I'm sorry that we left, earlier than expected to get up to San Diego to beat the bad weather that is coming. (Yes our whole life is about weather now!)
So, back to the water thing. We quickly learned that we could not drink the water coming out of the hose at the dock in our marina, (I can't even quite describe the color!). Our very nice neighbor (Jackie) had a car, and offered to drive us to a Home Depot in Rosarito to get a filter to put on the hose. ( I'd like to add, everything is about double the price here, which makes me feel very sad for the people. ) Needless to say, the (expensive) filter did not do the job, so Larry fired up our water maker. We only ran it when the tide was coming in, and seeing as we were the first boat in the marina as you come in, the water should be clean(ish). Just knowing what is in our ocean waters, and knowing it's desalinated just makes you want to gag a little when you first drink it! So, this worked out great for about three days until our water maker stopped working. Uh-oh. (Now we're a little more prepared with some huge jugs of fresh water tied down on deck!) Poor Larry worked on it for two days with no luck. So, we walked four miles round trip to that little mini market to buy water. I tried to not panic on the outside, but I have to admit I was a little worried. Being so fat and happy in safe Fremont, water was just never anything I really worried about . On a brighter note, we made a last minute decision to take the boat to Ensenada, because about thirty of our very best friends from Crossroads Church were coming in on a cruise ship. (Yeah! Fresh water to fill our tanks!) It was so great to see all of them and have them bless the S/V Lisa Kay. Ever since, we have felt a sort of rejuvenation. The past six months have been harder than either one of us could have imagined, but already we are finding strength that we never knew we had. I'm excited as I look ahead now...to the possibilities.