Thursday, February 12, 2015

*Tent on Wheels ON WATER* Towel Animal Parade and a Day in Progresso

Our day in Progresso was going to start early - we had scheduled the Mayan Ruins tour on this port and it would take the whole of our day.  So, everyone was up early, getting coffee and traveling up to Lido to grab breakfast.

If you happen to be up early this morning going to Lido, you just might get to partake in the Towel Animal Parade!  RDB and I missed this on our last cruise (in 2010, out of Norfolk, VA to the Bahamas on the Carnival Glory) and I certainly didn't want to miss it this time.

I guess you can say they were hard at work!

We had quiet a zoo of animals in our staterooms through out the week.  Just a few of our favorites:

Since everyone had gotten up early to eat, we found ourselves, once again, on the verandah watching the Magic dock.  Unlike the pier in Cozumel, Progresso didn't really provide the option for hanging out right off the boat - the end of the pier where the ships dock is nearly 5 miles to the shoreline!

And once again, our tickets directed us to where we needed to wait - this time in the Showtime Theatre. When we were called, our group immediately met a guide holding our excursion sign right on the pier.  We stood there for a bit of time - as they had to do inspections before we were allowed to leave.

Inspections, you say?  Yes.  With a well trained dog:

A well trained fruit-sniffing dog.

Come to find out, it's illegal to carry fruit from one country into another - it could devastate the local agriculture if bugs from our food get into their crops.  So, while we waited on the dock, Sniffer walked back and forth with his handler on a loose lead, and would turn a complete 180* to follow someone, poking at their bag or backpack, his tail waving madly back and forth. The handler would simply tap the person on the shoulder and ask: are you carrying fruit?  No big confrontation, but he would confiscate any that Sniffer sniffed out.  It was hilarious to watch!

In no time, we were loaded onto the bus, and starting our hour-and-a-half journey to the Uxmal ruins.  We had chosen this excursion, once again, because of the reviews on - it had a 4.8 star rating, and several people who had experienced both it and other ruins excursions said that they preferred this one because it was less crowded, not as commercialized, and it was one of the few ruins left that you were allowed to climb on.  I've written a separate post just for the ruins - as I have well over 250 photos from all of us to go thru and there are a lot of great shots!

This excursion also included a second location: the Hacienda Ochill.  It was a perfectly refreshing place to have a quick bite to eat (included) and wander around in the lush and beautifully appointed gardens.  I was glad that we had booked this dual excursion - as it felt like we had just the right amount of time at both places (the other option would have left us at the ruins for another 2 hours.  That would have been too long.)  I've written another post about the Hacienda as well.

A 45 minute seista bus ride back to the port, and we were back just in time to walk right on the ship and watch her throw off the bowlines.  The end of the port there in Progresso is set up to load and unload container ships, so as always, we had a pilot who helped to navigate us out of the port and on our way home towards Galveston.  The pier was acting as a breaker from the choppy waters we were about to sail into, and as we had dinner that evening, for the first time all week, we could really feel the ship sway a bit.

Thinking of dinner - there's a section of the menu labeled "Didja" - as in,  "Did you ever...?" - and it included some interesting appetizers.  The offerings changed each night, from Alligator fritters to Oysters Rockefeller, frog legs to Ox tongue.  That evening, Aunt J and I were the only ones brave enough to try the Ox tongue.  Mom tried the sushi one night, and managed somehow to eat a giant glob of wasabi!  Even though there were a few odd things on the menu - the food overall was still absolutely wonderful!

After dinner, a few of us wondered over to the Showtime Theatre to watch a comedian interact with a few of the passengers with his excellent slight of hand. 

No, that Brit isn't the comedian - he's our Cruise Director, James Dunn.  A young fellow, entertaining, but I can't say we had much interaction with him (I was pretty much the Unofficial Cruise Director of our group).  But he did 'warm-up' the crowd with a few cruise-question jokes, heard from first time cruisers:

"What time is the midnight buffet?"

"What happens to the ice sculptures when they melt?"

"Does this elevator go to the front of the ship?"

"Does the crew sleep onboard?"

"How will I know which pictures are mine?"

"What's our current elevation?"

"How do we get power all the way out here?"

"If the Captain is at the Captain's Dinner, who's driving the ship?!"

(Thankfully, the headliner's jokes were a bit more entertaining!)

After the show, RDB and I wandered around on the Promenade for a bit, looked at some of our photos (bet you can't figure out how I knew they were ours?), ran into Mom at the Fun Hub again, and paused in the Magic Atrium to listen to the live band.  One of the guests, who had an awesome set of pipes, joined them for a few songs - it was so awesome to get to listen to such talent!

Hard to believe we were heading back home at this point.  But even with that in mind - we still had a full day of adventures on the sea ahead of us! Stay tuned!

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