Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Drama Queen Travels Ensenada, Mexico

Something you may know about me already, but in case you didn't: I love to travel. I love it as much as I love to shop...seriously! So when the opportunity to travel to a location to which I'd never been for not that much money came my way, I jumped at it.

On March 12, I boarded the Carnival Paradise cruise ship in Long Beach with some friends from work. Other than my friends, there was a good mixture of bachelor-partygoers; bachelorette-partygoers; couples; older people who just wanted to be on a ship; families with kids; and working stiffs who just wanted to get away for the weekend (like me). It seemed several of us had the same thing in common, which was that we wanted to enjoy the ship atmosphere for a weekend without sinking our hard-earned dollars into the usual getaway destination for Angelenos: Las Vegas (where you can very easily lose a couple thousand and not remember how you did it).

We docked in Ensenada, Mexico (located in the Mexican state of Baja California) the following morning. Instead of drinking ourselves silly at the local bars with the frat boys or sleeping in (which some of my friends did), I went with a couple of my friends on a shore excursion called the "Blowhole and Winery Tour".

The 1st stop was the blowhole. In Ensenada, the blowhole's proper name is La Bufadora. During the bus ride on our way there, we saw some beautiful ocean and mountain scenery:

There are only 4 blowholes in the entire world (the other ones are in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia). According to, La Bufadora is the 2nd largest one in the world. A blowhole is a marine geyser
that spouts up when air and water get trapped in an underwater cave and explode, causing the water to shoot up toward the sky. My friends and I got to witness this firsthand, and we also saw that each time there was an explosion, it would leave behind a pretty rainbow!
After watching a bunch of explosions, I walked with my friend J. to the street marketplace, which consisted of 125 vendors! All I bought was a magnet (good girl, R.). There wasn't much I really wanted to take home from there because I wanted to spend time just staring at the gorgeous scenery. Below, here's a pic of me taken by J. in front of that scenery:

Then we left La Bufadora to drive for a half hour to our next stop:

inside the winery (I was amazed at all the barrels!)

There were several contraptions, but this one caught my eye the most. It's a labeling machine.

shelves inside the winery shop (the tour guide said that wine produced in Ensenada tends to be saltier, due to its location right on the Pacific Ocean)

Below is a pic of a building that we drove by twice, the 1st time on our way to La Bufadora, and the 2nd time on our way to the winery. It used to be a glamorous casino in the early 20th century (forgot what the tour guide says it is now):

After the winery tour, my friends and I decided to stay in downtown Ensenada for a couple of hours. We ended up eating lunch at a restaurant called Mango Mango. We were joined by lots of college-age kids (How old am I getting? That was me about 10 years ago!) , who were joined by a guy with a whistle who went around the tables, searching for victims. Each time the guy found a victim, he blew the whistle. Then, the victims were force-fed alcoholic drinks (with their permission, of course), then spun around and around. One guy was beet-red and looked completely out of it after he was victimized! Being that this was Mexico, we HAD to try some tequila. The host at Mango Mango directed us to a clerk at a liquor store down the street, who allowed us to sample some of his best. We tried some and fell in love with the pomegranate tequila, of which we all took home one bottle each.

To the special dinner on the ship that night, I wore my black Catherine Malandrino dress that I got at the sample sale...and my Christian Louboutin aqua Poseidons (how appropriate I wear the shoe named after the Greek god of the sea after all the gorgeous waters we saw earlier that day)!

In the pic on the right are my souvenirs (left to right): port wine from the Santo Tomas Winery, white wine (Colombar) from the Santo Tomas Winery, and the pomegranate tequila from the liquor store in downtown Ensenada.

Not bad...overall, all I spent on souvenirs was about $40! Luckily, I'm not a big drinker (I know, hard to believe me, since I took home 3 bottles of booze, but I plan to not drink the tequila for a while, and I gave the 2 wines to my parents), so my room charge tab was really low. Good girl, R!