Aboard the Norwegian Star
I’m not a light sleeper, so the captain speaks up when he comes on the P.A. early each morning we’re in port. This morning he addressed us at 7:30 AM.
In spite of being in Mazatlan, the spa will be open. He will be there. Too much information.
I assume the captain is Norwegian. Should I meet him, he will be the first Norwegian I’ve run into! Same thing goes for the United States and Mexico.
The crew is very much like the United Nations with a few critical expulsions.
We are in Mazatlan. I knew there was a city named Mazatlan, but nothing else. Shame on me. It’s too large not to know. This is a city of 700,000 (source – cabdriver).
Looking off the balcony this morning, I saw a small city… until I pierced the haze. There in the distance, tall buildings that usually accompany larger populations (I have enhanced the photo which reduces the haze and lets you better see the distant skyline).
I’m not sure if the haze is a product of pollution or the local geography. Some cities can be naturally hazy (Los Angeles), though pollutants can make it much worse.
Steffie was still tired, so Helaine and I headed up to Deck 12 for breakfast. It is cafeteria style up there, but still tasty. And there was no problem bringing a full plate back to our cabin on Deck 11.
Have I mentioned the stairs? I wish I had a pedometer. We have been walking stairs like crazy. Each of us climbs and descends dozens of floors worth of steps. Sure, I huff and puff when I reach our room, but isn’t that OK after climbing six or seven flights?
Today was going to be a beach day. We stopped at the reception desk to ask where to go. Hotels and shopping were in the Golden Zone, we were told.
Since we’re in an industrial port, with lots of activity, including auto imports, we got on the mandatory, but free, shuttle, which brought us to the main gate. From there we hopped a cab.
The sign said the fare to the Golden Zone was $10, so I never verified it. When we got to our destination, $12! My fault for not asking. Of course I was taken. Was it worth kvetching in a foreign land with limited time?
We got out, walked to the sidewalk, and about three feet later Helaine and Stef walked into a store selling silver and other things you buy in foreign ports. Stef got a few little rings.
We walked down the main drag toward the Casa de Oro, stopping again in an area of small mom and pop shops. Stef bought something else, while Helaine and I bought a ceramic Sun. We have a small collection. This one was 100 pesos – $10.
We had been told on the ship we’d be welcome to use the facilities and beach at the Casa de Oro. We never announced our arrival and they never asked.
Considering this was a mystery resort, what we saw was a pleasant surprise. We walked through the lobby and between hotel buildings, following signs to the “playa/beach.”
The pool was built adjacent to a retaining wall at the beach. It was really beautiful and the people there looked to be relaxed and having a good time. Next to the pool were a bar and restaurant.
We made our way to the beach, to a man sitting in his ‘office’ under an umbrella. Did he have wave runners to rent? You bet!
I rented two, one for me and one for Stef, and we set out to explore the bay. There was just enough wave action and chop to make it an exciting ride.
The bay itself was large and bounded by hilly islands. Criss crossing the water were other wave runners, sail boats and power boats, some towing tourists harnessed into parachutes.
As we began Stef was a little apprehensive and followed me. Before we were done she was leading the way, forcing me to ‘gun it’ to keep up.
I don’t know that much about wave runners, but I do know we went fast and neither of us had the guts to really let them run! I can’t imagine.
As we cut across the bay, our little jets would jump out of the water, throwing spray in our faces. Behind us, a tail of water shot high into the air.
This was very cool.
I know it wasn’t Steffie’s first thought for a good time. That changed by the time we were done.
Helaine, not wanting to ride in the bay, stayed on the shore, looking for shade and clicking away. I had put the longer lens on ‘Clicky’ and Helaine took advantage.
I’m sure there will be more than a few shots worth framing from a day Steffie and I will long remember.
We headed back through the hotel, looking to find a cab. Here in Mazatlan there is a strange looking, open air vehicle, used as a taxi. If you recognize what this was when it started life, let me know. There are no identifying marks – as if the manufacturer wanted to disavow all knowledge of its Mazatlan usage.
I told the girls I wanted to go back in one of those cabs. No sooner did I say that than Jorge pulled up to the curb.
I checked. Jorge wanted $10 to go to the ship, so we jumped in – Helaine and Stef in the back, me in the front passenger seat.
As we drove, I stuck my body to the right, out of the vehicle, and took photos. It didn’t take Jorge long to notice. Before long we were slowing down for anything vaguely resembling a photo op.
We passed the university and headed into the hills. Ships don’t dock above sea level, but we didn’t question Jorge. Up we drove, until we rounded a curve and Jorge slowed to a stop.
We were at the edge of a hill with an unbelievable view of the buildings below and our beautiful ship.
I’m glad I have this shot, because it is really the first time I’ve been able to show the ship in perspective. It is a behemoth – and I think you sense that looking at the size of things in the foreground.
The Norwegian Star is longer than three football fields, has fourteen decks I know of, and is carrying 3,000 souls.
Every time it docks, it is as if a small town had floated into town!
Jorge (note the Red Sox hat) asked for $10, but got $15. He is the kind of good will ambassador any tourist town needs. I speak no Spanish and I think Jorge matches me in English.
Stef was my reluctant translator, feeding me the words to ask Jorge for his name. That was the sum of our communication, except for my ‘muchos gracias’ at the dock.
We’re back on board now. The captain says we’ll be leaving in a few minutes. No word on his spa treatment. I’ll let you know should there be late breaking spa news.
Tonight it’s a slow sail northwest to the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas.
Meanwhile, we still have dinner to eat, and another chance to see Dave Heenan, the comedian. Steffie says we should take in both his shows.
Hey, isn’t that what vacations are for?
Blogger’s note: As I put the finishing touches on this entry, at the computer area, a couple sat down at a nearby terminal. While I typed, he showed her an email – and she went a little nuts.
As far as I can tell their son has accepted an athletic scholarship to Cal Poly. He must have been heavily recruited by more expensive and prestigious schools.
Mom was very upset – very. I will spare you quoting her opinion of her son and Cal Poly. She will not get a humanitarian award based on this evening, and this cruise will not end on a pleasant note for them.
I suppose having access to the outside world is both good and bad.