Busy day today…ten hours of driving and many adventures, beginning with the night before, when we ate at a wonderful restaurant/patisserie called Panama’s in Mazatlan. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve any alcohol and Blue, the friend I’m traveling with, was dying for a glass of white wine.
Remember The TV show “House Party,” where Art Linkletter inspected purses from the audience members and gave prizes for certain objects if they were found in their purses? I still pack a purse as though I expect to be picked in House Party! So, I just happened to have had in my purse a flask given to me recently by my friend Dianne which I had stocked with a fine Anejo rum! Blue and I both ordered a pineapple-coconut blended smoothie and I spiked them with rum from the flask. I had always wanted a flask, and I was feeling happy on both counts and then, as usual, overacted as Blue snapped a second picture with my camera.
So, we had a wonderful meal and afterwards, went in search of boxes of wine–easier to pack and Blue isn’t terribly picky about her wine, other than the fact that she actually has it–every night! So, we went to several stores that didn’t sell wine before finding one that did…a large store similar to Target, but remember, we are in Mexico. We stood in a very long line and finally got to the checkout stand…only to be told by the clerk that they couldn’t sell wine after 8 p.m.!! We couldn’t believe it. We asked if this was a Mazatlan law and she said no, just a rule of this particular chain store.
So, we went to a 7-11 store. Blue asked if they had white wine and the clerk just motioned at the wall behind her that was covered with shelves of liquor bottles. Blue asked again in Spanish if she had vino blanco and the girl, who was playing a video game on her phone, again just waved at the wall, where Blue could see they had only red wine. Off we went to search out another 7-11 store. Same story. Only red wine! So, we retreated back to our hotel.
The next morning, because we had a very long drive, we got on the road early, but when we passed another Ley’s store (the chain that wouldn’t sell us wine the night before.) I asked Blue if she wanted me to stop and she said yes, so I went in to get batteries and met her at the checkout. She preceded me in line, blissfully holding her two boxes of wine…unbelievably, to be told by the clerk that they couldn’t sell her wine before 8 in the morning!!!! By now it was getting surreal!! Or, like a sort of south of the border Candid Camera.
We left the store, shaking our heads, unbelieving. Blue has lived in Mexico for 19 years and I have lived here for 14 and neither of us has ever heard of this! Nonetheless, we proceeded to drive northwards and eventually, we came to another town. It was our good fortune to see another Ley’s store right off the Cuota road and since it was now an hour later, I exited, knowing Blue was anxious to buy her wine. This time I remained in the car, sure that I’d soon see her emerging triumphant from the store. She did in fact emerge–but not triumphant. She opened the car door empty-handed. ???? I couldn’t imagine what had happened this time. It turns out that once again, she had been told that they couldn’t sell her wine before 8 a.m. It seems as though unbeknownst to us, we had passed into another time zone and once again, it was earlier than 8 a.m.!!!
Certainly by now we should have gotten a hint that some force in the universe did not want Blue to have her wine, but we share a certain stubborn streak and so several hours later when we passed yet another Ley’s store in yet another town several hundred miles north of our last stop, we stopped again and this time she emerged triumphant with two boxes in her shopping bag. We drove on and when we arrived in San Carlos and got our room, she was looking forward to her first glass of wine of our trip.
As I set the luggage out for the attendant to carry up the stairs for us (no elevator), Blue called out that she had to go get the wine that she had forgotten to remove from the car! Two men who were just unloading their car called out, “Oh yeah, can’t forget the wine!” Of course, Blue had to tell them the story, at which point they said, “That’s a law all over Mexico. It’s a church thing–you can’t sell alcohol between 8 pm and 8 am. When we tried to tell them we’d lived in Mexico for many years and this wasn’t so in Jalisco, they were adamant. So, we let the matter be. Blue was anxious to have her long awaited first sip and there is no arguing with some people.
Unfortunately, the wine was warm, there was no ice machine in our hotel and the hotel restaurant was closed, so Blue trooped across the road and paid 20 pesos for a glass of ice, then returned to the room and ahhhhh poured her first glass of wine.
I can’t quite duplicate the sound that issued from her mouth when she poured the wine. She was at the sink out of sight from where I was lying on the bed, but it was not a pretty sound. Nor was the wine a pretty sight when it emerged from the box a bright orange color. Obviously, something had gone wrong in terms of the procedure for wine storage in that store. Perhaps the demand was not that great for boxed wine or white wine or perhaps no one else had been able to manage to buy it within the prescribed hours, but clearly, this wine so hard won was not to be the prize hoped for.
Something there is that does not want Blue wined. She poured the wine down the drain and we trooped across the road to a wonderful palapa restaurant perched on a rock high above the ocean and had an adventure not involving white wine but again involving pina coladas, a fall off a bar stool, brash gulls and a toothpick. But that is a story for another post.
Tomorrow, we cross the border. The next time you hear from me, we’ll be in Peoria, Arizona, and you’ll get another chapter of our drive northwards. Yes, we’ll be stopping for wine as soon as we cross the border. No, I won’t be drinking it, but I’ll still be packing my trusty flask. Thanks, Dianne!!!