Cruise Culture

A cruise, some blues and Mexico by sea

Our estuary tour guide, Polo, summoning The Birds in Mazatlan.
Our estuary tour guide, Polo, summoning The Birds in Mazatlan.
Byron Carr

The week before last I went on a cruise with my Dad and sister. See the psychedelic photo essay about the ship's decor here. My father funded the sea excursion, and had attended the same cruise--Delbert McClinton and Friends Sandy Beaches Cruise--the year before. My sister and I were merely tagging along, and before embarkation had held serious reservations about the logistics of being trapped on a boat with music for which we didn't exactly care. Nevertheless, this was a chance to go on a weird vacation, see some of Mexico and spend time with pops. So we went.

A friendly pelican named "Juanito" from Mazatlan.
A friendly pelican named "Juanito" from Mazatlan.
Byron Carr

As it turns out, we were wrong about much of the live music: To name a few notable artists, Raul Malo was amazing, Mike Clark's jazz drumming was impressive, Jeffery Steele wasn't our bag but covered Led Zepplin and we were surprised to find that we really liked Delbert McClinton. At one point during a performance, my Dad leaned over and asked if I'd heard McClinton's "Two More Bottles of Wine," where the verse following a sad tale of a woman leaving (all of McClinton's songs have to do with women--leaving, mostly) goes "but it's alright because it's midnight and I've got two more bottles of wine." I said, "No, but I can identify with the sentiment," which was true. On the last night I heard that song and it made me happy. That's the funny thing about live music versus recorded music, and it's something I tend to forget: Live music has the ability to move a person in a much more powerful way. And in this case it can even make a person like music they've loathed most of their lives.

Pictured here is the most delicious chile relleno I've ever had, at Las Palomas in Puerto Vallarta. If you look closely, you will notice my dad blowing his nose in the background.
Pictured here is the most delicious chile relleno I've ever had, at Las Palomas in Puerto Vallarta. If you look closely, you will notice my dad blowing his nose in the background.
JCC

In any case, left to my own devices I still wouldn't go on a cruise. Firstly, I never got sea sick, but the residual effects of the rocking back and forth caught up with me once on land. I was fully sick when I got home and, much like an acid flashback, every so often I start to feel like I'm rocking. Secondly, there were some weirdos on that boat who, from time to time, were hard to hide from. And thirdly, a cruise is like a vacation on a floating hotel. Most of your time is spent on the ship, and not at the ports. I'd have much rather just stayed in Mexico for a week. It was nice there.

I requested that the man at the liquor store show me a weird tequila. I sort of wish I'd bought this instead of the Don Julio Blanco.
I requested that the man at the liquor store show me a weird tequila. I sort of wish I'd bought this instead of the Don Julio Blanco.
JCC
Yeah, there's actually a scorpion inside.
Yeah, there's actually a scorpion inside.
JCC
Puerto Vallarta was absolutly lovely. This blurry mural photo doesn't do it justice.
Puerto Vallarta was absolutly lovely. This blurry mural photo doesn't do it justice.
JCC