07 December 2011 | Mazatlan countryside
In our constant quest to become submersed into the local culture we recently decided to take an organized tour of a Tequila factory. OK....I know what you're probably already thinking....maybe Steve-o and Shaybo are getting a little carried away with the drinking part of the Mexican culture, but this was to be a day of education. As our tour van left the city limits and wound it's way through the beautiful countryside of Sinaola, our guide Chilly was giving us a detailed lesson on the local culture in general and the Mexican Tequila industry in particular. Once arriving at the Tequila Factory we were surprised to find not what you would think of as a factory, but more like a winery, there were lush grounds and beautiful old buildings and spread across the rolling hillsides were the Blue Agave plants of which Tequila is made from. This pic is Chilly explaining how the plants are grown for 7 years before being harvested by hand. We were taken through the complete process and Chilly explained why you want to make sure that the Tequila is not only 100% Agave, but that the very best tequila is 100% Agave Azul. Once Chilly finished showing us the process of making Tequila he sat us all down and we began the tasting process, we learned that you shouldn't really gulp down a shot, but you should savior it by slowly sipping the fine Tequila. So after we savored a couple of shots we boarded the van and headed to our next destination, the small town of La Noria.
I always find it interesting that no matter how many small Mexican villages and towns we visit, they're all so different. Each little village has it's own unique characteristics and La Noria was no exception. La Noria's main industries are leather works and pottery and we were taken in several leather factories and a pottery makers home to see first hand how they still carry on these old styles of craftsmanship. One thing that was both funny and sad was that when we first arrived in La Noria we were greeted by three boys, Daniel, Daniel and Miguel. The boys dressed in their school uniforms began handing out small hand picked flowers to the tourists as they got off the van. Most of the paranoid tourists shunned the youngsters for whatever reason. Sharon and I gave them a few pasos. They made great efforts to speak to us in english, and they did a pretty decent job of it while following us around town to the different places we were taken. Before we got back on the Van, Sharon and I took them all over to a tienda and bought them each a soda. I would encourage other people who are visiting foreign lands to interact with the local people, don't become a paranoid American tourist, but try to leave a good impression on someone who may be somewhat less fortunate financially then you are. It may become the highlight of your trip.