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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Striped Goats

In my previous post about Bimbo I provided a bit of erroneous information. The Mexican football team that wears these shirts is Chivas de Guadalajara. This is a very venerable team that was founded in 1906. The team plays their home games in Jalisco Stadium which is located in Guadalajara. The team colors are red and white stripes, as you may have gathered. The team nickname is Chivas Rayadas or Striped Goats.

When I wear my Chivas shirt around Puerto Vallarta I get a few snickers from the tourists but a number of thumbs up and pats on the back from the locals, many of whom also wear these shirts.

Striped Goats Supporters

As an added bit of information, Chivas de Guadalajara is the only soccer team in Mexico's history that has only fielded Mexican-born players. Maybe that partially explains their popularity. Supposedly it is not only the most popular team in Mexico but the second most popular team in the world. Its popularity lead to the forming of a Major League Soccer expansion club in the United States, Chivas USA.

Now don't you want one of these shirts?

St. Patrick's Day In Paradise

Ah, nothing like celebrating St. Patricks day in sunny Puerto Vallarta. I am truly disturbed that in the United States many cities celebrated St. Patrick's day on Saturday, March 15th. That is sinful. It would be like celebrating Christmas on December 23rd so it wouldn't interfere with the work-week. It is embarrassing. Almost as bad as us calling our annual baseball play-off the World Series when everyone else has a once every four year World Cup for football that actually is world-wide in it's scope. But, I digress.

As in previous years the day started off early with Alison showing up at my door looking for her first green margarita of the day. And, as in previous years, I was prepared.

Top Of The Morning To You

An innocent enough beginning to what would be a long day. After finishing our morning libations we hooked up with the rest of the crew and headed to Sweeny's for lunch.

Heading To Sweeny's

It didn't take us long to settle in with more green margaritas.

The Crew Settles In

Our hostess with the mostest was Trish, who we certainly kept busy. Not that she seemed to mind.

Sharon And Trish

It didn't take long for us to cause a shortage of glasses so we were forced, forced I tell you, to begin ordering our margaritas by the pitcher.

Steve And Alison, Pretty As A Pitcher

Soon we moved on to Tequila shooters. So much fun.

Bending Over Backwards For A Shooter

Alison made a fine recovery while the rest of us were making bets as to whether she would bounce off the awning below or fall straight through it.

No Winners

Bar Man seldom smokes, but Alison is an evil influence so the two of us snuck off to the bar for a quick one.

Smoking At The Bar

Of course we were caught in the act by our roving photographer, Sharon.

Sharon Snapping Away

Sharon And Paul behaved much better than the rest of us.

Sharon And Paul Acting Mature

Some of you may notice that Sharon is wearing my shirt. I already had my green Sweeney's shirt so I loaned her mine for the day so get rid of any dirty thoughts you may have had about how she acquired it.

Stephen had to go back to his place to await a guest who was arriving from Seattle on an afternoon flight. The rest of us headed to Joe Jack's Fish Shack for green Mojitos.

Next Stop, Joe Jack's

The Fun Just Never Stops

I thoroughly embarassed myself by having a Mai Tai, complete with fruit and an umbrella.

The Shame Of It All

We had a great bartender but, sadly, I forgot his name. I will update this entry once I remember it.

Our Able-Bodied Bartender

After several drinks at Joe Jack's we all headed back to meet the new arrival. Evil Alison though had to stop in at the little store on the way home to get a few beers for the road.

Hey, It Is A Long Two Blocks

We hooked up with Steve and Alison's friend Nancy who was having a drink with Steve on their balcony.

Steve And Nancy

We then proceeded to show Nancy around. Somehow or another the first stop was back at my place where I made green peach coladas for everyone.

Just Peachy Margaritas

Next stop on our tour was El Pirata Bar

Hey Sailor, Looking For Some Action?

Of course we headed in and had our favorite bartender whip us up some of those Sinful Cindys.

Not Green, But Not Bad

And the Mysterious Chinese Woman showed up in her sombrero and entertained us with ribald songs and a somewhat raunchy dance.

La Kookie Rauncho

The last stop on our little tour was the pool deck where friend Tom had anticipated our arrival and had green jello shots waiting for us.

Paul, Steve, Tom And Alison Shooting The Shots

They Just Slide Right Down

As the day wound down Alison ended up back at my place in almost the same position as when she started the day.

Almost, But Not Quite

Well, as you can tell by the date of this post, St. Patrick's Day was actually yesterday. But I woke up this morning and what did I see, a green Margarita in the freezer, just waiting for me.

My Morning Eye-Opener

I shall continue my posts about our trip to the zoo and Boca de Tomtalan, but I would have been remiss if I had not shared my St. Patrick's Day with you.