Monday, February 11 2008
: We woke up to the Elation making her way into Pichilingue, La Paz's harbor located approximately 10 miles north of the city itself. La Paz is located on the "inside" side of the Baja Peninsula on the Sea of Cortes and the city is the state capital of Baja California and its name means Peace
The approach to Bahia De La Paz (La Paz Bay) is real scenic and beautiful as the ship makes its way past Isla Cerralvo and Isla Espiritu Santo, thru the Canal San Lorenzo and finally into the cruiseship terminal in Pichilingue.
La Paz was the main reason that we decided to go on this cruise, very few cruiseships go there, the only cruiseline that goes there on a regular basis that I am aware of is Holland America out of San Diego in the winter months, but I could stand corrected on this one. As I mentioned earlier,
Carnival ony goes to La Paz twice a year and so far I have not been given a clear answer of why so!
So we'll see what the city holds for us.......
Since the cruiseship terminal is isolated from anything closeby, Carnival
provided a free shuttle to downtown La Paz and to the Beach at Playa Balandra. Given the limited time we had, we decided to take the downtown
shuttle.........what a long line of passengers all heading in the same direction. The shuttles provided by Carnival carried around 86 passengers so the line did move at a reasonable speed but I think Carnival should have provided a few more shuttles to keep up with the demand/number of passengers attempting to make it to town. I would not call the process disorganized but it could have been a bit faster, considering we waited close to 40 minutes to board the bus. The line was even longer trying to make your way back from downtown to the ship and a bit more chaotic.
We boarded the bus around 11am and the last shuttle back to the ship from downtown La Paz was at 2.30pm, so that blew our plans of picking up a rental car that I had reserved thru Avis. Interesting enough, the Carnival Capers of Feb 11th made absolutely no mention of the fact that Carnival was providing this complimentary service so something tells me that the shuttles to town were a last-minute thing. I'll comment on the Capers later on in my observations as I feel that there is room for plenty of improvement on this daily publication, at least on the Elation's edition.
The ride from Pichilingue to La Paz is a very scenic 20 minute affair with the beautiful Bay of La Paz on one side and Saguaro
cactus as far as the eye can see on the other side. (Saguaro cactus are those huge towering plants so familiar in western movies) If I were to rate the ride I'd give it a 12 out of 10
When we arrived in town, La Paz did NOT disappoint us. What a quaint seaside town, no annoying beggars or vendors to worry about, no one trying to sell you Mexican "Cuban" cigars or "Mexican" Viagraa
and how clean the town seems to be! There is a mile-long oceanfront malecon (pedestrian walkway) dotted with beautiful statutes, the majority of them having an nautical/marine theme. We walked the entire malecon, then we walked a few blocks inland to the public market and stopped by the cathedral, a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. Sooner than you know it we realized it was 1.45pm and decided to head back to the bus terminus for the ride back to the ship.......Oh Boy! What a line snaking its way from outside the building....
just like waiting in line at Disneyland!
We were back on the ship just before 3pm, had a couple of slices of the wonderful Chevre pizza (goat meat and mushrooms, no tomato sauce...YUM YUM!!!
) We stayed up on deck for an hour or so as we sailed out of this beautiful part of Mexico promising ourselves that we will return to La Paz again. Then it was back to our cabin for a quickie late afternoon siesta
7pm finds us at the Mikado Lounge for the Merle Hobbs comedy show. We have seen this comedian a few times before and even though his repertoire is all deja vu to us, we both think that this guy is really hilarious! After an uneventful dinner, mind you, the wait staff did sing the Macarena tonight
the Mrs found her way once again to the great calling of those one-armed bandits inside the Casablanca casino, I complained like a baby
that my feet were killing me with all the day's walking and made my way to our cabin for a good night's sleep.
Day 5 to follow......