Friday April 27, 2018

 

I just booked 2 more cruises! HA! It was Kings Day in Holland, so HAL was having a $1 booking sale. One trip was not eligible, since it’s over 16days, but Jan needed a roomate for a 15day Panama Canal trip and I said, ‘Sure’… But, I have yet to talk to Jan, cuz Kim told me about it while booking my transatlantic. It’s all sorta crazy, but I can easily travel with Jan and have not done the Panama Canal from west to east.

Kyle was looking for someone to go to Patagonia. I think she and Mary will discuss that…at a later date. We are ALL meeting for dinner/drinks next week and will discuss all of this. But, I thinlk Jan and I were the only ones to take advantage of the $1 sale.

So, Along with my California Coastal from SD to Vanouver, with Kyle, in exactly 1year, and then my connecting 7dayAlaska RT from Vancouver, with Jan, I now have a 24day Med/Transatlantic [going back into Croatia!] and then the 15day Panama, a week after that! 2019 will be a busy travel year! WooHoo!!

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Sunday April 22, 2018 Return to San Diego

Sunday   April 22, 2018

HOME!! 

The Finale 

I’m tired; it’s been a long day. I woke up when it was still dark, and looked out my window. Blackness. I couldn’t check the ship’s TV map, cuz last night, while I was watching TV, it went ‘plink’ and turned off. It would NOT turn back on. I saw that it was just a few minutes after 5am, so I figured we were just crossing into the US. I had my phone set to wake me at 6:15am. I woke up again, just after 6am, and we were already in the channel off Point Loma! The Capt. was ahead of schedule! The sky was getting pinker. However, from the angle of the ship, I’d have had to dress, run down the hall, go up 2 flights and find my way to the bow, in order to get the shot I wanted of the sun rising over the skyline. That didn’t happen! I remembered that I’d packed my camera! ARGH! I did dress and head to the porch as we passed around the west end of North Island Naval Air Station. There were a few others also enjoying the view. It is a great view of the city…especially for the people onboard who have never been here.

I headed to the Lido, which was already teeming with people making sure they got their FINAL meal! I fought my way to the coffee machine and headed back to the porch. I grabbed a sweet roll on the way out. NOT what I wanted for breakfast, but something to temporarily fill the void. [I took 2 bites…blek! It was too sweeeet!]  I’ll let the hungry hordes get their fill. I didn’t plan to leave the ship until after 9am. I’d try for oatmeal, later.

The Capt. brought us to the dock and I could see the sun light reflecting off the various buildings. Within 5 minutes, they were calling for the Non-US folks to get ready to present themselves to Customs/Immigration. They had taken over the Explorations area and blocked that all off. All of the new HAL employees must also go AND those going on for the Panama trip…14 couples, I think someone said. So, the Canadians and the Aussie guy, from the $$$$ jewelry store, headed off to get that done.

On our port side was the Disney Wonder. They pass through periodically on their 2, 3, 5 and 7 days trips to Mexico. [2-3 day Mexico…You sail to Ensenada and back…for $615-975+ PER PERSON! The 5 day, adding Cabo is $1385 PP!! WOW!!! That is DOUBLED if you’re a single traveler!]

I sat on the porch with the other dwellers and we had our ‘Goodbye, nice to meet you’, chats. One [Trisha R.] showed off her new ring of blue and white diamonds she’d bought in the ship’s $$$$ jewelry shop, the night before. She was also complaining of a hangover…shopping while drunk CAN be expensive. I have the idea that her husband, Bob, has the $$$$ to cover it!

Suddenly, over the PA…’Emergency, Emergency…medical staff to deck 4 room 821.’ That got everyone’s attention. [They usually announce it as ‘bright star, bright star’, so this was odd.] Then, you could hear the sirens…Engine 1 and medic 1…same as the day we left, arrived a minute later. I finished my goodbyes and went to my room.

I’d mentioned the TV thing to Make, when I saw him at the crack o’dawn. [THEY have a fast and furious turnaround to do, redoing all of the rooms.] The TV was on when I went in, so I tried to find something to watch. I never did go back to the Lido…I wasn’t really even hungry! The movie Sully was playing, so I sat and watched. My door was propped open as I watched people come and go. An engineer dropped by, asked permission to enter, and started checking for thing that might need fixing. The bathroom floor, that they re-caulked, only lasted a day before it all chipped out again. The floor ‘tiles’ aren’t level so they need to fix that. I showed him the loose part and he took notes. He opened and closed closet doors, cabinets and dresser drawers, check, check, check…thanked me and moved on.

Then I heard them announce the Purple 1 group [me] were free to leave the ship. A TAD early, so the other groups must have been ready to go and were already out the door! I reached for the TV remote and ‘plink’! TV went out again. I found Make, a few doors down stripping a room and told him. He followed me back, climbed on the counter and fiddled with wires and cords. Didn’t work! Oh, well…I’m outta here!

I grabbed by backpack and carryon bag and I was headed to the exit! That was just down the hall and to the left. As I was in line, a group presented themselves to security. They were in the rooms by 821 and were asked to leave the area, ASAP. Security had a list of those asked to leave early and scanned their cards. I could hear one of them talking. It, apparently, was an older man who had coded, but they were doing CPR. They’d asked everyone in that section to please leave. I have a feeeeeling that he did not make it, because…the ‘emergency’ call had gone out a gooood 30-45min prior and Medic 1 was still sitting [empty] off the gangway. IF there was a chance, he’d have been transported. Medics had a private gangway right at the back of their rig, and [from its positioning] right below the man’s room. How sad!

I texted the Aunties that I’d be ready shortly and started looking for my luggage. With that in hand, I moved on to Customs…which was 2 guys standing under a tent outside the luggage door! No swiping the passport just, ‘How was your trip?’, as he checked that the pic was me! That was it! I was done! Now I had to find my way, mixed in with alllll of the Disney traveler’s, to get to the pickup area. It was a mad house! I made it, barely, and now just had to wait. Some man from the Disney trip started talking to me. They’d come through the Canal to get here. [I see on the Wonder’s schedule, that they have a few Mexico runs and then head to Vancouver and in to Alaska on May 16th.]

Lauren and Marie made it through the traffic mess and found me [look for the blue porta potties!]. We loaded my stuff and got the hell outta there!

It was nice to get home. A neighbor helped and got my big suitcase up the stairs. Thank you! And then there was Sassy. She was yelling the entire time…from the minute we got out of Lauren’s car we could hear here. She does this all the time. ‘HEEEEERE, I’m up HEEEEERE…ALLL ALONE!’

I spent some time with her, fed her some breakfast…and then snuck out for breakfast.

I got downstairs and realized my garage door would not open. I had to use the emergency key to pop it open. It’s DEAD! Which really sucks, cuz I have no way to secure the door, until I find out what’s wrong! When I roll it down, it appears locked, so…hopefully…that will work, for now. ^%$#@!

So, off to Denny’s!! It’s so handy to have them on the corner. I had my usual Sunday breakfast and moved on to the veggie market. After that, to Von’s…where I realized I didn’t have my phone, where I keep my shopping list. I bought a few things and I’ll go back tomorrow.

After shopping and putting that away, I was really TIRED! I decided to take a nap. Sassy joined me. I didn’t sleep, but felt rested a few hours later. I got up, fed Sassy and made a PBJ for myself. I wasn’t really hungry, just weary.

I was in bed by 9pm. My own bed felt good. Sassy was happy to have someone to share HER bed. Lots of purrrrring.

So, those are the tales of my South Seas trip. Next trip is still in the planning for Christmas Market in Germany, right after Thanksgiving…unless I find something before then! Maybe a trip to Vegas?! Hmmmmm….

Travel Queen!!!

Saturday April 21, 2018 Last day at sea

Saturday   April 21, 2018

Last day at sea

Noon

19hrs to reality!

The sun is out! I poked through the curtains, quite early, but I just put a pillow over my head and slept until 9:45am. I heard the beverage guy in the hall, knocking on doors, making his final inspections. I got up, put my robe on and stuck my head out. I have a Do Not Disturb card in my door lock but might as well get this over with.  It took 5 seconds. He said, ‘I already know what you have because I just restocked it’. He ticks my room number off, smiles and is gone.

By the time I got up to the Lido, breakfast was over. I grabbed some coffee, a small savory roll and a few cold cuts and I was off to the porch. It was kinda nice! There was a bit of a cool breeze, but not windy! The pool water was still splashing from side to side as some guy sat down and reached into test the water temp just as a wave smashed into him! OOOPSY!  WET!

When I finished, I joined some porch dwellers who were sitting where the sun was warming them. Like lizards on a rock! A couple of them were laying on lounges, wrapped in blankets, trying to catch the last bit of sun! You still needed a little lap blanket for your legs and feet, cuz we were sitting in a corner where the breeze whipped around.

Of course, the topic was about who was packed and who still had to pack! One couple still hadn’t even started. Some of the Non-US folks were bemoaning the early US Customs call. According to the Capt., we’ll cross the US border at 5:15am, the Pilot will board about 5:30am, off Coronado, and he plans to be docked by 6:45am, where Customs will board us. And then the fun begins! After that’s all done, the Capt. and the Hotel Manager will welcome their replacements and go home for a few months of R&R. He was a nice Capt.

I was checking my bill [I’ll print one from the kiosk later this afternoon and do my final bookkeeping] and was surprised to see that my 2 lobster tails only ran me $5 extra! I like!! I’ll hafta remember that for my next Pinnacle dinner.

Time to peruse the lunch choices.

4pm

15hrs to reality!

Lunch was simple…2 crab & shrimp cakes. One had a chunk of avocado it it…it must have fallen into the mix and just got incorporated. Interesting taste! I also got a bowl of Miso soup, but it was pretty flavorless and the tofu was tough!! I passed on that. I refilled my coffee and tried to sit out back. The sun was still out but the wind has picked up. Susan P. still hasn’t started packing. She finally decided she NEEDED to get that done and wandered off. People are exchanging email addresses, etc. I escaped before they got to me…not that I expected to be asked. I just didn’t wanna give it to anyone. I RARELY meet people I actually want to stay in contact with!

I came back to the room and watched ‘The Post’, again. It’s a good movie. When it was over, I went to see what was up on the porch. Nothing much. And the wind has picked up. So, I headed to Explorations to get some good coffee and, lo and behold, the machine was on the fritz. They were repairing a water line. Well, ^%$#@!! So, I got 2 scones, yum, and came back. I’ll just hang out for awhile and try again for my coffee, later.

9pm

10hrs to reality!

I did get my coffee and it had gotten cold and gloomy by the time I got out back, about 5:30pm. I grabbed a couple of lap blankets and tried to stay warm. It wasn’t happening! Last chance for a sunset [at 7:24pm] and the clouds are going to block that. Plus, I was at dinner.

The Last Supper! Susan P. joined me and we finished off my bottle of Nobilo. I had some s’getti with [too salty] pancetta, onions, mushrooms, black olives, diced zucchini with a mix of marinara and little meat sauce…and a garlic bun to sop up the leftovers. I found a smallll slice of chocolate cake, only to taste that it had been flavored with orange…yuck! Either that or my taste buds were way off.

Susan and I went out back. There is suppose to be a meteor shower, late tonight. I WON’T wait up for it. But, we could actually see the moon and a star or two. The wind was too biting, so I said goodnight and headed back in. I’ll probably see her in the morning when I go to the porch to watch people leave the ship.

I packed the last bits and bobs of stuff and my suitcases are out in the hall for pickup. I think I may need to get new luggage. The top handle on the smaller of the two, feels a little loose. I see tomorrow, after the teamsters throw it around, how it held up.

So, here I am, in my jammies, tomorrow’s clothes all laid out and I just need to pack this up when I am done. I have double, triple and quadruple checked closets and drawers, just to make sure! I have 43 internet minutes left and I plan to use EVERY ONE of them.

Reality awaits!

Friday April 20, 2018 At sea

 

Friday April 20, 2018

Day #5 at Sea

48hrs from reality!

Happy 420 day to those celebrating!

2pm

The sun was out when I woke up, about 9am. It was peeking through the curtains…and then it was gone. No rush to go anywhere, so I watched a bit of TV. Nothing much of interest there, just a rehash of stuff from last night. So, I got up, got dressed and was off to breakfast.

This time I went to the omelet station and got the fixings for today’s scramble. There are 15-20 little containers of things that they’ll incorporate into your eggs. I picked out what I wanted and told him I was taking them to the fresh egg guy, cuz I really don’t like the prepared egg ‘mix’ that they use…even though I’ve been eating it. He was so cute, he wrinkled his nose and said, ‘I don’t like that stuff either!’ HA!! So, I got them all scrambled together with an English muffin and some fruit. I kinda wanted another waffle, but he was making crepes today. They’re good, but they make fruity breakfast crepes…nope, thanks!

I took my coffee out back where it was grey, cool and windy. The crew brought out the lap blankets, yesterday, and they were on the chairs. I grabbed one because I’d forgotten my light sweater. It kept some of the wind at bay. I’m sitting there, chatting with Susan P. when I hear…Ed Sheeran singing ‘Perfect’. AND it’s the version with Andre Botticelli which is…AMAZING!!!!  My head snaps up…The guy in the Sea View Bar was playing his own library of songs and turned it up so I could hear it. If you have NOT heard it, Google it or YouTube it, watch and listen, over and over and over! AMAZING! There are different versions of the song, but this is THE BEST of them! He played it 5 or 6 times while I was there. SIGH! I keep the YouTube version on my phone just to listen whenever I want.

Since tonight it Pinnacle, I just had a small bit of Thai fish, a spoonful of Au Gratin tater and some zucchini for lunch. As I was leaving I nodded Aloha to Kainoa, at his table, and he motioned for me to sit down. So, we sat and talked for a bit. When he lands in San Diego, he is going to visit family in Menifee and spend a few days. Then go to see family on the coast. He is a free agent until May 10th when he sails from Hawaii again on a cruise line I hadn’t heard of or remember. It was a nice chat. I am a tad smitten!

5pm

We’re due west of Cabo…getting closer to home. The sun was out for awhile and it felt good. How fickle we travelers are…last week complaining of how HOT it was and now, all bundled up against the cold. C’est la vie!

My dinner is in 90min. I’ve already read and reread the menu to make sure of my choices. OF COURSE, tonight is lobster night in the Lido as it’s the final Gala [dressy] night. Maybe I’ll add a lobster tail in Pinnacle, for $10. Since my Pinnacle dinners are free now…2 per cruise!…why not! Yum!

My disembarkation docs arrived in the morning mail. I am Purple 1, which means, I’ve chosen to leave as late as possible, which in this case is 9:45-10am. They have to be ready for the 11am boarding of new passengers. I need to correct something I said earlier…the ship does NOT overnight…not sure why the photog ladies think it does…but, nope! They head out for Boston, via Panama and Ft. Lauderdale.

I saw Karen, from breakfast, out back. She LOVED the jelly! HA! I told her I’d email her the recipe. She was so excited. That silly jelly gets a lot of compliments. I will admit, it IS pretty darn tasty!!

9pm

Sooo full, again! My usual starter…Crab Cakes…always! Soooo damn good! Then I ordered the Grilled Colorado Lamb Chops [4! of them…I’d forgotten there were so many!] with apple chutney. 2 Lobster tails, with butter, Grilled Asparagus and a baked potato…with all the fixin’s. I asked for 1 small scoop of Vanilla ice cream for dessert, with my coffee. My cute little waiter asked if she could call an Uber for me, to get me home, when I told her I was too full to walk!

I’d seen Rene, on of the bar guys looking at the cruise books at the Future Cruise desk. So, I asked him if he was looking for a nice place to go. He is so sweet. He WAS looking where some of the other ships plan to go, in 2019 and 2020. He might like to work on the Rotterdam, he said. He likes the smaller ships.

I ran into Susan P., out back. She and Phil, a nice, older gentleman from Oregon, were sitting at a table enjoying the evening. I sat with them for a bit. It wasn’t too cold, but I needed to get out of my dressy clothes and into my jammies!

The Immigration notice arrived in the evening mail. You no longer have to fill out that [pretty] useless form of where you’ve been and what you’ve bought. This is mainly for the Non-US Citizens who must clear Customs onboard…starting at 6:45AM! Yikes! When that is done, the ship can be cleared for passenger departures.

So, the usual lament…nothing on TV. Tonight’s podcasts are more unsolved murders and/or mayhem. The Post, is tomorrows big TV movie. Even though I have seen it, I may watch it again.

Our final time change is at 2am. 1 more hour forward and we’re back on Pacific time. A CLEAR sign that reality is just 30hrs away!

Happy dreams!

Thursday April 19, 2018 At sea

Thursday April 19, 2018

Day 4 at sea 

5pm

I was able to seal out the rising sun and slept until 9:45am! Not that I mattered, as there WAS no sun! Time to get up and get breakfast as Kainoa was speaking at 11am.  I got my coffee and decided on a little waffle [not the usual squares, but freshly made little round fluted ones] and the bits of broken crispy bacon at the side of the pan. When I asked for the broken bits, I got a questioning look. I said, ‘Really, I like the bits.’ So, I got those to go on top of the waffle. Yum! As an afterthought, I got a small oatmeal also. It was chilly in the Lido. It reflected the weather outside. Grey and gloomy.

After breakfast I took another cup of coffee out back and it confirmed what I saw from the windows…grey, gloomy AND windy. The Capt. says this is how it will be until we reach San Diego. The pool area was vacant with a few porch people sitting around the tables. Some had sweaters/jackets on and others sat with pool towels around their shoulders.

I got a good seat for today’s talk, The Forbidden, the Friendly and the Red Child. Talks about Ni’ihau, Moloka’i and Kaho’olawe, the three islands of Hawaii that are rarely visited. Ni’ihau is privately owned and you must have permission from the Robinson family trust to set foot on it. It’s rarely given to strangers…with a few exceptions. I think he mentioned during certain hunting seasons, Hawaiians get permission for a few days. It’s VERY rustic, with no electricity or running water, for the most part. They are very low on the economic scale and are basically farmers and don’t want ‘civilization’ to ruin the island. He spoke of the sad history of Moloka’i and how beautiful the island is. It’s one of his favorites to visit. There are still 7, or so, adults that still live there that are afflicted with the disease that made the island a life sentence prison for so many people. They are not contagious, but were born there and have no desire to leave. Kaho’olawe is listed as having ‘no inhabitants’. It was a bombing range at the beginning of WWII [and continued until the 60’s, I believe], much to the dismay and horror of the Hawaiian people. The Red Child is considered one of their gods and that was its land. To have it continually bombed [for practice] was abhorrent to them. They could see and hear it from mainland. Kainoa said, as a child, it was terrifying. It also killed pretty much EVERYTHING on the island. There is now a research center where people [both paid and volunteer workers] go to help rehab the land. They are planting and trying to reforest the hills, valleys and beaches.

I went back and packed some more. My laundry had been delivered, so that was easy. Out of the basket and into a packing cube! I now have just enough stuff out to get me to Saturday night when the luggage gets picked up.

I went to get some lunch, about 1:30pm. Today was Indian food. I had a little rice, Dahl, a lamb ‘kabob’ thingy, veg in a curry sauce and some Tandoori fish. YUM!!!! The soup was mostly chicken broth with a few veg and very good and HOT. It warmed my innards! The lovely flat bread let me scoop up anything left over…there wasn’t!

I ran into Daryl, the wine guy from Canaletto, and made him an offer of my bottle of Conundrum 25. He was totally speechless. [It’s also an easy ‘tip’ for his services.] I just need to write a note that it’s a gift from me to him, so he can accept it. A bottle of Conundrum will run you $52 [!!!] onboard. I can get it for $15 on sale! We talked wine for a few minutes [he is so cute and young] and I’d mentioned that I was sad to see that the ship did NOT stock one of the wines in my package. The main reason I bought the package was for the Equilibrium brand and there was not 1 bottle on board. He did confirm that was true and said the ship should not advertise it if they can’t stock it. He just didn’t think it was right! Then he smiled and said, ‘Let me see what I can do about that for you’, and wandered off. So, I may have a surprise coming…or, maybe not.

I sat out on the porch with my light sweater on and listened to a few podcast’s. With a light covering, it was quite pleasant. And with the ear buds in, I could drown out people around me. Nice! We started to rock and roll, a bit, so I headed in.

8:30pm

I sat out back, again, for a bit. The breeze is a tad warmer, making it nice to just sit. Pretty soon it was almost 7pm, and time to think about dinner. I wrote the note for Daryl, so he could accept my wine gift, redressed and headed up to the 11th floor…the Lido. There was a lovely Burrata salad [kind of cross btwn a soft mozzarella and cottage cheese] with a small wedge of the Indian bread. They were carving a roast lamb, so I got a thin slice. I was pleased to see squares of fried polenta, for a change of pace. There was also a crispy fish and a few bits o’broccoli to round out my plate. Michael arrived with my wine…my final bottle. He sent it to the Pinnacle, cuz that’s dinner tomorrow night. I will admit to eating, again, all of my dessert…chocolate blackout cake, with my coffee.

I went to look for Daryl, who was rushing around Canaletto taking care of all of their drink needs. I caught him, catching his breath, at the Lido Bar. It was cute to see his eyes light up when he saw me…and the wine! He thanked me profusely for the gift. I hope he enjoys it. He said he’d see me tomorrow on my ‘porch’.

I headed out to the porch and it was quite nice. The wind had died, some, and it was just right! There was a discussion going on at the next table. The ‘Reds’ were discussing all of the people Bill and Hillary have had killed for crossing them. They decided it was about 50, or so, people. OY!!! AND, of course, George Soros was helping to fund that! Double OY!!! I just sit and look out into the darkness and try not to guffaw out loud!

So, two more days before we hit the pilot station off Coronado, about 6-6:30am. I may, or may not, get up at the crack o’dawn to see if I can get a sunrise over downtown. I’ll see what the weather looks like.

Nothing on TV, which is fine. I have a lot of podcasts, now. I listened to 3 or 4 out back, this afternoon. So, tonight’s are Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me with Gov. Kasich and Was Benjamin Franklin a Serial Killer…which sounds interesting! And, if I am still awake after that, maybe part 1 of Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegal.  

M

 

Wednesday April 18, 2018 At sea

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Day #3 at sea

Holland America’s 145th Birthday

12:30pm

^%$# sun! It STILL found a way into my room at 6:45am! OK, I’m AWAKE!! My hair was standing on end, so I must have slept deep in my soft pillows. That all taken care of, I made my iced coffee and I was off to breakfast. A poached egg on a fried potato square with some Hollandaise sauce and an English muffin. I keep picking up the little single serve packets of Nutella and now have a big bag of them. I’ve never bought the stuff, cuz I know  it’s tasty and now I have a stash of them for later.

The sun was out on the porch and there were white puffy clouds. No dark ominous clouds in sight! The breeze was pleasant, but I had to finally move due to a few red folks in a tizzy about James Comey. One was ‘upset’ that there was no Editorial [in the NY Times] about how crooked, corrupt and dishonest he is and how he needs to go to jail NOW for maligning the innocent president. OK, time to go!

I came back to my room and started sorting things for packing. I’d retrieved my luggage from under the bed to get it ready. I sent off a load of laundry this morning. That should be back tomorrow afternoon, ready to drop in a suitcase. I haven’t picked up tooo much stuff, on this trip. I got it all in my backpack.

At 10:30am, I went to get my seat for Kainoa’s talk at 11am. Today was about Kukakuka, talk story [story talk?] and Ho’oponopono, the art of forgiveness. He said that sitting around the table, with your family and talking of your day is telling the story of how your life is going…Kukakuka. That is how living history is passed down. Hawaiian’s also believe you should not go to bed mad, angry or with unresolved issues because they can eat your soul…Ho’oponopono. So, they have talks at dinner about their day and their issues. He said as a kid, he hated that because he had to tell the truth or, he believed, get eaten up in his sleep! He says he has a Ho’oponopono session waiting for him when he returns because he and his sister had an argument on the phone just before we sailed away. He said, they’ll go to lunch, insult each other, talk, cry and be best friends again.

Unrelated, birds came into the conversation and their spiritual meaning/significance. A number of years back, he got paged to the office because they couldn’t find the Enviro officer and a lady had found a bird huddled under a bench on the walking deck. Could he please go talk to her? He did, and yes it was a young sea bird probably drawn to the ship’s lights the night before. They were 2 days out of San Diego, headed for Hawaii and he told her he’d take care of the bird. She made him promise not to hurt it or throw it overboard, which he said he’d NEVER do that to any creature! Usually, they just need to rest and get their bearing and they fly off. He asked her her name, ’Barbara’, and that’s what he called the bird. He took it to his cabin, where he was working on his lectures. He is so funny…he said ‘It walked all around my room, leaving poop all over the floor.’  And, then the bird just sat on his desk and watched him work. That night, he put it in a drawer, where it was dark and could sleep. He got up, at the crack o’dawn and took it out side on a top deck. He had it cupped in his [big] hands and it wouldn’t leave. It just lay there and stared at him. When the sun rose, it flew off, circled above him several times and headed east. ‘Bye, Barbara.’ [I can already hear the catch in his voice as he continues.] A little later he got a call, again from the front desk, that he had a call. ‘OK, I’ll be there in a little bit.’…’NO, NOW!’ was the answer. He said, his first thought was ‘Well, ^%$#@ What did I do!?’ It was a call from family that his mother had died…at dawn! [By now, tears are streaming down his face and his voice is catching]. His mother’s name was Barbara and in his beliefs she had come to see him one last time and spend one more night with him, to see that he was OK. [He has to stop talking for 10-20secinds, as sniffles were heard allll around the Showroom!] Then he laughs. ‘My mother hated cruise ships! For her to come see me must have taken all of her final energy! And, I will ALWAYS be a Momma’s boy!’  I LOVE his lectures! He is so genuine and sweet and kind.

Funny story…at least to me…Susan #2 lost her black bra, one night last week, after a litttttle toooo much wine. It was one of those warm and muggy nights. She had NO IDEA where she’d left/lost it, but it was not in her room. Her husband, Jim, just shrugged his shoulders. This went on for days. She would NOT go to the front desk to check. She was too embarrassed. Well, I guess Jim finally asked and, why yes, they did have her bra. She is still sooo embarrassed. All she remembers is that she was hot and had to shed some clothes. Now, Jim can’t find his room keys. Someone said, go ask the bra, maybe it knows where you key is hiding. We all laughed and Susan #2 just buried her head in her hands. ‘I’m never going to live this down!’, she cried! She’s a good sport!

7:30pm

It was really nice on the porch in the late afternoon. I just sat back with my eyes closed and enjoyed it. There was quite a wind coming over the port side whipping the pool water into a frenzy ad the ship rocked. The waves would crash and the wind carry the spray across the pool area. It looked like a promising sunset…nope. Clouds.

I ate early tonight. I’d only had a bit of apple salad for lunch. The main dining room had lobster and lamb chops. The Lido, in the past, usually served what the dining room had. Not no m’ore! I can understand it. But, I was still hoping for some lamb chops! Nope…they were carving an enormous leg of pig. Complete with skin all fancily crispied. I am not a big dinner ham eater, so I got a seafood ‘salad’ appetizer, with little scallops, shrimps, a touch of crab meat with a sweet/spicy sauce. There was a nice opened mussel perched on the top. I got a little chicken thigh…which turned out to be a piece of chicken breast, in disguise [not my favorite], some Mahi-Mahi, smashed taters, broccoli and a couple of mushroom-cheese fritters. The last was more fritter than mushroom and cheese, but still very good. My downfall was the Sacher Torte for dessert. I ATE THE ^%$#@ WHOLE THING! Including the big daub of whipped cream sharing the plate!! Decadent! I finished my 5th bottle of wine and had coffee with dessert. Now, I STILL think it was my 6th bottle, but…Michael, the wine guy, says that their chart only shows 5…OK! Works for me!

Last night, when I went to bed, I started watching a movie which turned out to be ‘A Dog’s Purpose’. I CRIED, several times!!! It was cute and sad, at the same time. I remember there was a big outcry, during filming, about the ‘mistreatment’ of the dog’s…which turned out to be WAAAAY overblown, if memory serves. But, it was good movie. Tonight…BLECH! Nothing. So, tonight’s podcasts from Stuff, are…Project Azorian, the CIA’s search for a sunken Soviet sub and When words take on new meanings.

We set our clocks and watches ahead one hour tonight. Getting back to Pacific time zone in a day or so.

Chat at ya tomorrow.

 

M

Tuesday April 17, 2018 Crossing the Equator

Tuesday April 17, 2018

Day #2 at sea

Now north of the Equator

Noon

I set my alarm to wake up today so that I didn’t miss the Cruise Director’s chat with Kainoa, at 10am. Like I’ve said, he is interesting. However, I woke up at 6am with the sun glaring through the tiny crack in my curtains. I am now on the sunrise side of the ship as we return to San Diego. My hair wasn’t standing on end, so a quick brushing saved me having to stick my head under the faucet. I DID shower last night before dinner!

My scrambled eggs didn’t interest me, so I only ate about half, and my English muffin. However, it is nice to see we are back to self-serve for most food, coffee, water, etc. Nice! I had about 45min to kill, so out back I went.

Much sunnier out there today, but the ^%$#@ humidity is still hanging on. I chatted a bit with some porch folks. Susan #2 ran to her room to get the chocolates that we were trading. I have mostly dark and she wanted those. I took her milk chocolate and some chocolate Easter eggs in return. She is now a happy camper. Someone else made a comment about not wanting her darks and I just pointed at Susan…’There’s you’re woman to take those!’ And she smiled and nodded her head. Another trade in the making.

I got to the Showroom and took my seat early. You have to in order to get a good seat. Ryan and Kainoa did the Q&A and there were interesting question and we all learned more stuff about Hawaii, being Hawaiian and the culture. 2-3 more Kainoa lectures coming up, in the remaining days. One on Molokai and Father [Saint?] Damien, which someone requested.

After that was over, I headed back to my room to drop my chocolates. I was going to go get more coffee. The doors opened on the 7th floor [where the kitchen is] and there was a worker with a big room service trolley fillllled with food. We motioned him in and he apologized for taking up space, but their interior elevator was on the blink. I asked him, ‘Did you at least bring knives and forks for us?’ ‘Sorry, Madam, I did not’, he smiled. It smelled good. He said it was for the Asian section.

I dropped my chocolates and continued to the porch, where it was still hot and muggy, so I didn’t stay too long. I stopped by the front desk and used the kiosk for a copy of my bill. It was bookkeeping time. I keep all of my receipts JUST in case and check them against my bill. [It’s too late to worry about it on disembarkation day! There’s little time to argue an iffy or errant charge.] While I did that I was trying to update my phone… but the update time changed so many times, when it went from 6min. to 35min., I said nope and cancelled. I’ll catch it up when I get home. So, I just added 2 more podcasts. From Stuff…The Unabomber and from NPR…Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me! [I love that show!] I still have 300+minutes to use.

My reminder for Canaletto arrived in the mail. I picked tonight for their Tuesday ‘special’…Beef Short Ribs Brasato Barolo. Not a clue what that translates to, but it sounded delish! Of course, more on that tonight.

8pm

It was a dark and stormy night… HA!! The rain started just after 5pm and continues off and on. At least the air has gotten cooler. No sunset, of course, just dark clouds. I sat out back until the wind spit the rain my direction. The tables had been pulled back, into a bit of shelter, but it was really windy. I moved on. I had to get ready for dinner, anyway.

Dinner…delicious! My waiter greeted me by name [I see him in the Lido every day] and seated me at a nice big table. My water was poured and Daryl, the wine guy says, ’I wondered where you were. Your wine bottle arrived 2 days ago’ AHA! The ‘missing’ bottle from the night I ate in Pinnacle. I asked for a SMALL order of polpettine, veal and sage meatballs…2 golf ball sized meatballs in a rich red sauce and grated parmesan on top. So good. A small Canaletto salad, to which I added some of THE BEST in-house balsamic. Thick and rich and sweet. I could drink it from the bottle. Rudi Sodamin, HAL’s head chef/food creator, has it under his label. THE BEST! I’d try and smuggle a bottle out, but I think they keep a sharp eye on them. The main course was the Beef short ribs [3 large chunks] off the bone, sitting on a bed of delish creamy cheesy polenta, with some wedges of roasted carrots and parsnips. Again, too much food…but I got most of the polenta down before I gave up!

While I was eating, I could hear Daryl dealing with a persnickety lady asking about the wine list. She said she likes Conundrum, but he had to tell her it was only available in the main dining room. She found a red she liked and had that. When he stopped to see if I needed my glass refilled, I told him, “Daryl…I have a bottle of Conundrum 25 [to celebrate their 25th year] in my room’. His eyes got big…’Really?’ I’d heard him say it was one of his favorites. So, I told him, ‘We’ll chat later and maybe work out a trade…’ His eyebrows shot up. ‘Later’, he whispered. A ship’s officer was sitting at the next table and he didn’t need to hear our little conspiracy. HA!!! We’ll see if it works out. I never even cracked it open and I still [supposedly] have 1 more bottle in my package.

2 cups of STRONG coffee and a SMALL tiramisu followed. I am not fond of their other choices, so Tiramisu is fine with me. I slowly waddled out back…raining…and then to Explorations for my coffee for the morning.

I think tomorrow or Thursday is my last changer for a laundry run. I need to do that in the morning. I don’t want it to get caught up in the very last-minute crush. It’s nice to return with most of your clothes already clean!

Nada on TV….and I did watch Jumanji…I could have missed it and spared myself. It was mostly, ummm, dumb for my tastes.

So, it’s reading and podcasts when I go to bed.

Nighty-night!

Monday April 16, 2018 At sea #1

Monday April 16, 2018

Day at sea #1

1pm

I slept in until 9:30am! It felt good! I lazed about for a while and then it was time to get up. Things to do!

I had been to the Explorations last night and got a big cup of coffee to make iced coffee to take to breakfast. I have a BIG cup with elephants on it that I brought with me. In fact, Maggie B, it was the cup John bought for me when you two and the children were in San Diego and we went to the Zoo, YEARS ago! I still have it and use it every day at home. It holds a lot! I got my usual fresh scramble and an English muffin. No sesame seed bagels today in toast land.

I stopped to get my passport and head out back. The weather outside looked iffy and by the time I got to the porch, people were starting to scatter from the pool area. It was getting dark with ominous clouds…and then the drizzle came, followed by the drops. The breeze got a lot colder, too.

The Capt. made his noontime announcement to say that the illness, which started 10days ago, was almost all gone. He HOPES that by breakfast tomorrow, the sanitary precautions can be lifted. There was a cheer from the porch dwellers! I’m sure the crew gave a silent cheer as well. This is hard on them with all of the extra cleaning they must do.

After a while, the breeze became a wind and it got colder. I retreated to my room, which is even colder, but no wind. So, I’m ‘quickly’ downloading some podcasts, cuz I still have a lot of minutes and I finally figured out how to do use the internet on my phone.

I went to see Kainoa’s presentation on the History of the Hula. It was quite interesting when he explained the difference in the two styles. The old ancient style, when only the men did it, [It was a dance for battle, kinda like a tamer Haka] before the ‘explorers’ came to the islands and after, where it became popular/acceptable [?] again and everyone does it. He had video of the various competitions and it’s all really impressive.

So, as the weather is iffy, it’s just gonna be a lazy day around the ship.

Woohoo! 6 new podcasts downloaded! I’ll do more, later. Each one takes about 5 min, on the ship’s Wi-Fi. They are much faster at home. Hmmm, it didn’t update the time. My phone is still in the last time zone…or, 30min behind.

4pm

I went out back and it was now warm and reallly muggy. Still grey clouds all around us. I lasted 5 minutes and went back inside. So, I decided to take a few pictures. I was HOPING I hadn’t missed the 2nd Sel de Mer dinner, so I could get pics of the table settings. Well, the big sign is gone so I had to make due with the stuff in the window. The plates are cute! Fruits and veg are used to make faces.

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This picture is just outside the Pinnacle. June Allison is the godmother of this ship. Brook Shields is a godmother of another ship. I remember seeing per pic in a hallway.

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A few shots of the ‘art’ around the ship. There is some interesting stuff on the walls and in cabinets. This is very old Chinese crockery dating from 1623 to 1749. The other is ancient mariner navigational equipment.

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I stopped for coffee and 2 scones, with whipped cream and strawberry jam, on my way back to the room. As I got into the elevator a guy from the tea, which was at 3pm, was there with a huge rolling baker’s rack of goodies! He asked, ‘See anything you’d like?’ as I looked at my plate of scones and pondered. It was all desserts…until he turned to exit and I saw all the lovely sammiches. Too late! He was gone. I didn’t NEED anymore food! I’d skipped lunch and the scones are just fine…and very tasty!! I’ll go to tea on Wednesday. Tomorrow, I’m dining in Canaletto and don’t want to spoil my appetite!

8pm

I went out back, my multi-daily trek, and it was steamy, but cooler. There was an attempt sunset, but the clouds got in the way, again. You could see rain on the horizon. I lasted a bit longer this time. Possibly rain tomorrow. The Lido guys came down and went into the store room where the table orchids have been living, during the illness, and they were hauled up and placed back on the tables. A good sign that all will back to normal at breakfast.

I had pasta for dinner. Even with my, ’Just a little bit of noodle, please.’ I got enough to feed 2 people! All the leftovers are trash, so they are usually over generous. I got through about half…and a garlic bun. I also grabbed 2 large shrimp plates. Yummy, as usual. I took one bit of my dessert, a coconut [or pineapple?] pannacota [?] and it was sorta gritty, not silky smoooooth, as it should be. Blech!

I took my wine to the porch and it was pleasant, but still a bit blustery. Al, the bartender, was cleaning/disinfecting the tables, one last time, and his shift was over! He said good night to us was gone. Nice man. Susan P. dropped by for a bit and we chatted, then I was gone. I yawned 3 or 4 times while talking to her! We were all talking about how tired we were this morning! The back to back to back to back island stops get a little weary. But, ya gotta get up and get going to get out and see the sights. Time for decompression, now.

I am so happy, 12 new podcasts to listen to! Yippee! One is from the ‘Stuff’ series…What was the Chappaquiddick Incident? The other, for tonight, is Poetic Justice of Death by Molten Gold, by Ridiculous History. I’m going to try and watch the new Jumanji movie, too. That starts at 9pm.

So, off to get ready for bed and tuck in with a movie.

M

 

Sunday April 15, 2018 Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands

 

 

Sunday April 15, 2018

Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Our FINAL island port!  WAAAA!

Nuku Hiva, Fr. Polynesia

Taiohae is the main town on Nuku Hiva island. The town is located on a former volcanic crater, which has partly collapsed into the ocean, creating a bay. Nuku Hiva is called “Mystic Island.”

2pm

We arrived and anchored about 7am. The sun was blazing through my partially opened curtains. I fixed that! When I did look out, I could see this island is not a lush as the others. I found out later that this is the ‘dry’ season. It was early, so no rush to get to town. I took my shower and got ready to forage, after stopping for coffee. A couple of scrambled eggs and my bagel, was all I was hungry for. I took my coffee out back as the skies opened and we had realllly heavy rain, for about 10minutes. The poor crew had to dash out to get all of the now wet towels off of all of the lounge chairs. The guys got soaked. All of those towels were sent off to the laundry. And then, it just stopped! There was a nice breeze, but NO WAY it was 70*, like the ship’s paper predicted. HAD to be a typo! I noticed that the ship did NOT fly the Dutch flag today. Instead, a Marquesas flag was flown from the railing of the porch.

About 10:30am, I headed for a tender. The ride over isn’t very long, but we had to wait a while, for some unknown reason, before we could tie up. People were getting antsy, I sat and enjoyed the breeze coming in the door! Once we tied up there were 2 young school girls singing and welcoming us. Some young men and boys played drums and other islanders stood behind them and sang along…and this guy: [I had to take a pic of my cell photo, since I didn’t have my camera with me.] He was really nice! I think this is his ‘Haka face…’ like the Maori do in NZ. They’re all sorta distant cousin’s anyway, I believe.

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This is pretty much what I remember. Some buildings for vendors, the fruit/veg market…the other market is about ½ mile down along the beach. [And, it turns out, closed on Sundays!] The little Snack shack has Wi-Fi and people were sitting there listening to local musicians and getting cold drinks.

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The view from the driveway into town. We are n a bay and it winds around to the left, for a few miles. The fruit and veg market. Some stuff is expensive. A head of cabbage is $3.50. LOTS of banana and mangoes.

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When I looked at these, all the woman said was HOT!!! And fanned her mouth! She didn’t speak English, so I’m really sure if they are Habaneros or something hotter. They were weaving those green hats and baskets you see. The warrior sits on a hill, overlooking the harbor.

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The vendors and some Tiki god in the courtyard.

I wandered over to the Snack shack and got on the internet, but it was sooooooo slow, after 20minutes, 1 podcast had only downloaded about 25%. I gave up.

The line for the tenders was getting kinda long so I joined Philip, a porch person, on a log he found in the shade. A guy moved his truck we had a great breeze! We let the crowd thin and we got in line for the next tender. It was a quick ride home. The last tender is at 3:30pm and we’ll sail about 4pm.

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The mountains to the north that go to land’s end. I’ve NEVER seen our ‘taillight’ on before. And a Warrior Tiki watching us.

4pm

We sailed away a few ago. It was lovely on the porch until the ship changed position and the HOT sun beat down on my back. Several of the porch people, 2 couples whose names escape me, were telling the story of today’s swim. They use ‘swim noodles’ to float around. The found a young man at the dock, asked him if he had a car and if he wanted to make some money by driving them, to a nice beach. HE did. One tore a $20 in half and said, ‘When you pick us up in 2hrs, you’ll get the other half.’ And he was waiting for them on the dot!! When they got back to the dock, there was a family of women, 5 generations, that make the flowered ‘crowns’ that they sell/wear. One asked if she could buy one of the noodles for her great-granddaughter to learn how to swim. Since we are done with ports, she gave it as a gift to the child. The family was thrilled and presented her with a beautiful crown of flowers. Another 2 were approached with an offer to buy and the same thing. It’s a gift! And they were presented with crowns. They were wearing them proudly on the porch. The 4th noodle was a gift to a new young Indian crew member they have met, several times, who is still learning to swim. They saw him [and other crew] at the beach. She said it was so sweet…the crew was teaching the Indian boy how to swim. He told them, ‘Don’t let me drown. It takes 15days to get my body back to my mother! I cannot make her cry!’

I feel like taking a nap, but there’s time for that on these next 6 sea days. Looking out my window I can see it’s too hazy for a sunset shot. Again, 6 more tries ahead!

Susie R: I talked to Trisha and she was shocked that we were acquainted! Small world! She was thrilled to know you were asking about her and Bob, and says HELLLOO! She asked if you and Suzanne were going to be sailing anywhere soon.

We gain another 30minutes, overnight and then another 3 hours until Pacific Standard/Daylight Savings Time. An hour every other day won’t hurt too much.

9pm

Just when I thought my feet and ankles were returning to ‘normal’, they puffed up again! &^%$#!!

Dinner was simple…no appetizers caught my eye. A little slice of dark meat turkey, a small chunk of pot roast and a piece of fish [which I never did eat!], some mashed taters with gravy and a little cranberry sauce. Oh, and a garlic bun. No dessert looked good, either. I took my wine out back and enjoyed the quiet and the breeze. Susan P. and I talked books and cults. She is sooo animated when she speaks.  The ship is rocking a bit and the pool water sounds like pounding surf!

I get to pick up my passport tomorrow. They were collected a while back for the French authorities. My time slot is 10:15-11am.

I am actually watching a Woody Allen movie! Shock of shocks! The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Never heard of it, and he is NOT my favorite actor/director/person, but there is nothing else to watch!! It’s even sorta amusing!

So, off to watch that and maybe read, a little. I wanna sleep in in the morning.

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday April 14, 2018 At sea

 

Saturday April 14, 2018

Day at Sea

I actually DID sleep in, this morning. It was 9:30am, when I woke up. It felt good! I was tired. That extra 30minute time change threw me off, though. My phone and the clock don’t match. I think we pick the other 30minutes up tomorrow after Nuku Hiva. It’s just weird!

As I was leaving to get my coffee, I saw a beverage guy in the hall. They took inventory the other day and I noticed 2 cans of soda missing from the drawer where I’d stowed them on day 1. I asked him about it and he looked at his schedule. Then he asked if he could see, so I showed him. He removed the 4 cans that were left, [old inventory, he said] and made a mark on his paperwork and said, ‘We all good!’ I just didn’t want to be charged for the missing Diet Cokes.

I had a light breakfast; in fact I hardly ate it, just picked at my scrambled eggs and toast. [I FINALLY found out my ‘toast man’s’ name is Muhammed. I was wrong about the ‘S’ for his first name! NICE kid!] I must still be full from dinner! Hopefully, I’ll be hungry for lunch…Filet Mignon sammich! I checked out back and it was hot, with a warm breeze. I tried to read, but there was no getting cool, so I am back in my hibernation den where it IS cool! I’ll try outside, again, later.

4pm

I went out back for another try. The breeze had cooled and it was pleasant sitting in the shade. Susan P. went to check out lunch and came back with fried wontons. Yum! So, not having my little slabs o’filet with me, I went to get some of those and a little fresh fruit. They were fresh from the fryer and very tasty. After a while, the sun shifted and my feet were going to get burned. We’d run out of shade. Time to retreat to my den. The sun sets at 5:45pm. I’ll try outside again later.

I watched some of Greatest Showman. I like Hugh Jackman and think he is immensely talented. Zac Efron isn’t difficult to look at, either. I don’t know how accurate the plot is, but I’ve read that P.T. Barnum was a real ^%$#@! Some of that comes through in the movie. Overall, it was OK. There were some catchy songs.

After a while, I needed a break and watched a story of ‘fainting goats’. Who knew? The breed started with 3 goats in Tennessee! It’s a genetic mutation. Cute little buggers!

8:30pm

The sunset was hidden by clouds and it was much cooler out back. I got tomorrow’s program and it says it’ll be 70* with a chance of rain. We are only in Nuku Hiva until 4pm. There isn’t much to do, if memory serves. It’s still a nice little village.

I went to dinner, just after 6:30pm. Tonight is another Gala Night, so…I put on a nicer shirt and fresh pair of pants for the Lido. They were carving a HUGE beast off the bone. No clue what it was. I spotted the BIG shrimp salads…3 LARGE shrimp with a cream and diced pineapple topping. I got two! Then I had some brisket, a few roasted taters and some sautéed veggies. I found a table by the window cuz the Lido was pretty empty. I sat on the side where the crew usually sits. Part of that side becomes Canaletto at night and the serving area is smaller for dinner. I spotted the Capt., the Hotel Manager and someone else from the bridge, sitting at a corner table having dessert. It looks like the Canaletto staff brought them Tiramisu! When I went to get some coffee, up by where they were sitting, I saw Kainoa all alone in one of the big booths. On my way out, I commented that all of his partners in crime were gone! The other ‘Ambassadors’ had left in Pape’ete. He laughed and said, ‘Yes…now I can eat in peace!’ And he laughed again! Besides their boisterous group, there were ALWAYS people approaching their table while they were trying to eat to ask them stuff. They were always polite, but I’m sure it gets old. Then I told him, I’m guilty of the same thing right now…and he laughed. This is fine, he said. His lectures start again in a few days…yipeee!

I went to the porch to finish my coffee. It was very pleasant out. Hardly anyone was there. [Susie R…I didn’t see Trisha or Bob today. I’ll probably see them tomorrow and see if they remember you and Suzanne.] I was getting too comfy out there. Susan P. and I both mentioned…wouldn’t it be nice to have a blanket and pillow and sleep under the stars!! Yes, it would. As we said that, the deck crew came out with masks on and started spraying the lounged with disinfectant…Well…now we KNOW we won’t be sleeping there! HA!!

I am tired. As I’ve said before, doing NOTHING all day can be exhausting!! Saturday night TV sucks, as do the TV movies…so, reading it is. I HOPE to find internet tomorrow. I’m out of podcasts and am beginning to recycle some!

Chat at ya tomorrow!