Tejano Cruise #3
When you see the full page of color photos that accompany this article, those that didn’t go on the most recent cruise organized by Jacob and Marta Dominguez, will see what they missed out on.
Thus this article could have easily been titled “Mira lo que te perdiste” because as some Tejano musicians say, “So many women and so little time.” In this case there were so many beaches (not bitches), shops, flea market bargains and so much diversity in food, there was not enough time to see, buy, eat or do it all. However, there will be a Tejano Cruise #4.
It was snowing when the Illinois group left Chicago and the weather was gloomy and depressing when the Carnival Triumph cruise ship departed Galveston on the afternoon of Monday, February 13, but once inside, in what seemed to be a floating city, there was plenty to do.
By 6 p.m. people had already started to line up outside Club Rio for first performance of the cruise. And a light drizzle didn’t damp spirits or stop people from enjoying and dancing to the music of that night’s open air performances on the Lido Deck.
Los TexManiacs, Los Desperadoz, plus Rubén Ramos and his Mexican Revolution performed inside and Albert Zamora y Talento, Los Hermanos Farias plus Jaimé y Los Chamacos performed outside and Tejano music promoters such as Alejandro Ochoa and others used the cruise wore their talent scout hats to check out the band’s showmanship and pulling power.
Once out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, the weather cleared up and the sun was shining brightly when all the bands woke up, went up to the 12th deck and competed against each other in a miniature golf tournament. Following the tournament, fans were delighted to take pictures with their favorite musician now clad in a tee, shorts and flip flops or sandals.
As for the food, don’t get me started, there was an abundance of gourmet meals served at the Paris and London dining rooms – everything from escargot (snails), to frog legs and alligator. And did I mention the scrumptious mouth-watering steak, seafood and desert choices? As Rocky Hernández would say, “noombre, shut up.”
Those that chose comfort food had the option of the 24-hour buffet which featured various ethnic food choices plus good ole American grilled hot dogs and burgers. So there was no way for anyone to go to bed or wake up on an empty stomach. And it was all free, well, actually included in the price of the cruise and that’s just as good.
The ship had already docked at Progresso, Yucatan and everyone seemed to have gotten up on time for the first port call on Wednesday morning. Progresso, as we found out, was a shopper’s delight and women were in heaven as they purchased sun dresses, blouses, bathing suits and sandals for as little as two to five dollars in the downtown stores. The flea market featured great looking high-quality cotton tees at the rate of eight shirts for $20. A tour on a two-deck bus went for $3. With prices like these, everyone stocked up on clothes, souvenirs and novelty gifts.
As for the food here, there was a choice of burritas, burritacos, salbutes or cachetadas plus fruits such as ataulfo, manila and manililla, which are all in the mango family.
Staying in this port city was one option since tours to Merida and Mayan ruins were also made available at half the rate offer by the cruise line. The down side was having-to return to the ship at 4 p.m.
That night the same groups performed, but in opposite venues. Then fans were treated to surprises galore as Albert Zamora got on stage to squeeze out and trade accordion licks with Jaimé De Anda and vice versa. Max Baca, for example, played bajo sexto with Los Hermanos Farías and drums with Rubén Ramos.
When the sun rose the next morning, the ship was secured to the pier in Cozumel between two other cruise ships; and many early risers were snapping pictures of a beautiful sunrise from the portside of the ship.
Again, there were more options as to what to do with your eight hours on this luscious and still raw island. The majority of those who went as a part of the Tejano Cruise group chose to attend the beach party at Sancho’s where all you could eat and drink was available for those that signed up for this private party.
If I seemed like a lush because I was downing one piña colada after another, as early as 9 a.m., it was because I told the bartenders to make me a piña descolada, without the liquor. Besides I was the designated photographer and I better be able to focus.
This is the place where fans from all over the United States got to see Rubén Ramos, the George Clooney of Tejano music, without a shirt, kicking back with Tina and frolicking in the water with Rick Fuentes kids.
Mike and Lee of Los Desperadoz flexed their muscles each time they lifted a tropical drink to their lips and of course there were plenty of sexy, now bronzed, ladies in bikinis that left little to the imagination, but as the single guys said, “too bad they’re married.” So they settled for daydreaming of them.
By 1 p.m. everyone’s face was red, those in the sun, from sunburn; and those in the shade, from all the booze they drank. Surprisingly, no one had to be dragged or carried back to the ship and everyone was in high spirits as they got some last minute shopping in the many stores in the portside terminal.
On the last night, after a long day of sipping tropical drinks at the ship’s casino bar, De Anda, Mike and Lee of Los Desperadoz plus other musicians – much to the delight of their fans –went into party mode and gave an unexpected impromptu concert.
By the time the ship sailed through a thick fog and into Galveston, where it was raining and streets were now flooded, we had taken over 2,000 pictures. And only thirty appear on this month’s centerspread.
Putting our normal humble personality aside, I can honestly say that my wife, Diana, and I took hundreds of awesome travel photographs in Progresso, Yucatan and Cozumel, but how can you take a bad picture when the sea and skies are blue and everything is so bright and vivid that the colors just seemed to burst out as fireworks.
However, the subject and purpose of this cruise was to capture the good time had by those on the Tejano music cruise. For this spread, I left out all the typical scenic tourist photos, pictures of people rubbing elbows with the stars and performances since those could have been taken at any venue and on any stage.
What we wanted to show our readers is what the Tejano cruises are really about and all the fun that was had by 934 people who came from 22 states plus some that came from Iran and Afghanistan. This validates why it is worth signing up for Tejano Cruise IV, which will be a seven-day cruise with stops in Cozumel, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
Onboard the ship, their photographers were selling ‘one’ 8X10 print for $19.95. With this in mind, we are offering a two-CD ROM set of the best 500 high-resolution digital photographs for a mere fifty dollars. To order, e-mail me at [email protected].