Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lions And Tigers And Bear, Oh My!!

While, I don't think there were any lions, but I think there were tigers and at least one bear.

After we finished our breakfast at Mismaloya we walked across highway and then down a cobblestone road to go to the zoo. I had never been down this road before and there were a few stores, a couple of restaurants, and a pretty nice looking hotel. I liked this fountain and couldn't help wondering what the sculpture had in mind for the fate of the bird.

Freedom Or Food

The fountain reminded me of a visit to the zoo in Hong Kong. A duck had gotten out of its enclosure and landed in a pond with a bunch of turtles. It was a lengthy struggle but eventually the turtles won.

We had just eaten, but the smell of this chicken cooking on the grill kind of made us wish that we were still hungry.

Looked Good, Smelled Better

On the way to the zoo we passed this Tequila "factory" and decided to stop in for a tour.

Tequila "Factory"

These really aren't factories or distilleries at all. They are just showrooms and sales outlets and they cater primarily to tourists. In fact, almost without exception, most of the customers come by tour bus. As a result the prices are inflated and the information they give you about Tequila not always the most accurate.

Blue Agave

The first inaccuracy of the tour was when we were told that Mescal and Tequila both come from the same plant but that a second distillation of Mescal produces Tequila. Wrong. The process for making Mescal is quite different than the process for making Tequila. Also, most Mescal is made in Oaxaca, Mexic whereas most Tequila is made in the state of Jalisco. Or at least it used to be. A lot of Teaqila is now made elsewhere to meet world demand.

Getting The Facts, Kind Of

Another erroneous fact was the length that Tequila can be aged. Although historically Tequila was not aged longer than five years, there are now some Tequilas that are being aged longer. We were told that seven years was the longest that Tequila was ever aged, but Asombroso tequilas, made in Tala, Mexico are aged seven to 10 years from 100 percent blue agave plants.

One fact that was true is that not all Tequila is made from 100% Blue Agave. Some Tequilas, called mixto, are made from as little as 51% blue agave and is decidedly inferior. Most of this is exported. Next time you buy a bottle of Jose Cuervo you might want to check the label.

We were not above availing ourselves of the free samples, albeit very small free samples.

Sampling The Wares

Needless to say we didn't buy anything and headed off to the zoo, which was a bit of a hike.

Rico And Sandy At The Zoo

This zoo was certainly not state of the art. The Como Park Zoo that I visited when I was a wee Bar Boy was several steps up from this one. On the other hand, for a small price you could buy a bag of carrots and seeds and who knows what else to feed the animals. Not too many zoos in the United States where you can feed the animals anymore.

Feeding The Animals

I liked this sign:

He Like To Bite

He looked like he like to bite too.

The Biter

Okay, without further commentary I will simply post pictures of some of the animals we saw.

Well, there you have it. I wouldn't travel to Mexico just to see this zoo, but if you are at Mismaloya you might as well stop in. It is actually quite large and fun, in a retro kind of way.