Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 7 of Cruise

I am awake early this morning and sitting here on the balcony, with much cooler weather, view of endless ocean, and trying not to wake mom up. She had a bit too much fun yesterday and wanted to sleep in this morning. We are on our 2 days ocean travel and you can instantly tell the temperature difference from yesterday. Yesterday was warm and muggy but not so bad that you were uncomfortable. Today is much cooler and no mugginess. Today we agreed to have a lazy day and there is formal dining tonight.

Every night our room steward leaves a towel animal and a flyer of the next days events. We usually will read it that night or the next morning to decide on what to do. My favorite towel animal was the monkey and a mouse in my bed.

After having a lazy morning and missing breakfast we then decided to part ways so mom could do her power walk and I could do some shopping before we found something to eat. I took off to check out a brand name sale where everything was $10 each. Wow!!!! Gotta check this out!

Atrium area and balcony of Blue Lagoon above.

The sale started early that morning and I figured since it was mid-morning it wouldn’t be as crowded. I was sooooo wrong. In the atrium area they had 3 tables set up and there were crowds around all 3 of them. So I waited to get to one table and got down to one gal. Just as she is moving away from the table a lady shoved her way in front of me. Ok, rude. Then just as she is moving away I got shoved aside again by another lady. I was upset and wanted to say something but didn’t. Geeeze people, this is supposed to be a cruise. What happened to courtesy? So, disgusted with people, I walked away and went to the duty free shop. Surprisingly they also had some tables set up there of the same stuff. There were a lot less people and they were courteous. I got a couple of items and did my liquor shopping also.

Mom and I met up in the Blue Lagoon Restaurant and had a light snack so we would be hungry for lunch in the dining room. It was nice and a perfect spot. It seems not many cruisers go there for some reason. We commented that we should have gone there when we miss breakfast in the dining room. Bit too late to figure that one out.

Lunch time we were asked if we wanted to dine with others and said sure. We have had great luck in meeting great people and didn't hesitate. We were seated near the rear of the dining room where they have these huge windows that give an awesome view of the ocean. The picture kinda gives you an idea. They sat us with a gal that was traveling alone. Her husband was sick and couldn't make it but he told her to go anyway. She was awesome and we had fun because mom and I had a lot in common with her. Food was too good, I am going to gain all the weight I lost from surgery back. Oh, well! It is sure worth it!

We were lazy and walked around and people watched. There was not any activities or shows that we wanted to see and do. We did go to the Casino so I could try my luck and mom got addicted to this quarter machine. I gave her $4.75 in change that I had and she played for over an hour. She came out ahead.

We spent time out on the top tier bar and watched the zillions of kids playing on the water slides and the pool. A passenger told me that there was 450 kids on this cruise. Spring Break I guess. Even though it is noisy from all the kids around the pool, here on top in the bar area it is pretty quiet.

Mom forgot to take a picture so this is the
cruise ships picture.
 We of course had to stop by the pub to see mom's favorite bartenders. There are 2 of them and they were great. One of them, on the last night of the cruise, made my drink extra strong as a treat. The ship is strict about the alcohol amount in drinks because they make most of their money from the bar tab so that was a real treat.

In the atrium area there are 3 sculptures of birds flying and it looks amazing from either below or above. Mom got a great picture of it.

Spinnaker Lounge, taken on first night.

That evening we met up with my brothers family for dinner in the dining room. It was a great meal as usual and we ate too much. After that we wandered around and went to the spinnaker to check out things. There was a show going on that we forgot about and watched the end of it. Oh well! The purpose of the cruise is to be lazy, not be on a schedule.

I called it a night and mom took off to the pub again for Karaoke fun.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 6 of the Cruise

As usual I was the first one to wake and had a start. Sitting outside our room was another cruise ship right next to us. I could see people on that ship sitting on their balconies and walking around. It was the Disney Wonder ship. First thing I thought of was "Great people are walking around and seeing us sleeping here!"

If you look in the parking lot there is the
Walmart and Sam's Club.
I went outside on the balcony to do my daily writing on the computer while mom gets ready for the day. The second shocking thing I see when I stepped out and looked around is a Walmart Superstore and Sam's Club on shore. HUH!!!!! I am sitting here, in Mexico, docked in a port with that in my view. Too weird!

Christina and Cassandra
We got a delicious breakfast at the dining room and ran into my brother’s girlfriend and her daughter. We agreed to meet after breakfast and share a taxi ride into town to go shopping. Since we are docked in a port we just had to walk off the ship to go into town. The first thing I saw when we walked off was a sign advertising an excursion to go Zip-lining in the jungle canopy. I was sooooo dying to do that and bummed that I couldn't. Going to have to come back some day to do the stuff I couldn't on this trip.

The shopping district is 3 miles away and you have to take a taxi there. When we got into the taxi van with a bunch of people to go downtown for shopping a passenger suddenly said “Hey, I know you. You were the one that got us all to have seconds of the lobster dinner!” Amazing how fast you make friends on a cruise.

We rode downtown and I was admiring the view. Unlike Cabo which is sandy and dry, Puerto was warm, humid, and jungles in the hills. We walked with my brothers family for a while and then they took off and first thing on our agenda was finding a bar to rest. While walking I looked to my left and laughed because there was a flying cow in the entrance.

View from Bar.

We ended up in a bar just after that and spent quite a while people watching. We saw that there was several sand sculptures on the beach in front of us and they were amazing. I don't know how long it took them to build but it was definitely a work of art.

We took off and went shopping and haggled but the vendors here are much more stubborn about their prices. I was able to finish my souvenir shopping for the kids. Mostly we walked around, took breaks (for gimpy me) and had a drink, snacked, walked some more, break again, and shopped till we dropped.

It was fun and before we were ready it was time to go back. When we got back to the ship we dropped our items off and went up to deck 7 to watch the view go by when we left port. While waiting we noticed that there was a Mexican navy base in front of us. All of a sudden we started hearing cadence. Coming around the corner was a recruit group running and singing cadence. It was weird hearing it in Spanish and I wish I knew what they were singing. It instantly reminded me of Max and made me miss him. They ran by and later came around again. They stopped in front of us and started doing push ups, uno, dos, tres, and so on. I am sure they were doing it on purpose as a show for the ship's passenger and it worked. Everyone loved it.

We left port and I was sad because it was the end of the stops and we were heading home. Time has flown by quickly and knowing the end was coming sooner than I was ready.

After we left the port it was time for dinner so we quickly changed and headed down. They biggest surprise was that when the elevator opened, standing there at the end of the line was the cute married couple from the previous night. We laughed and instantly agreed that we had to dine together. Then my brother’s family showed up right after that and we became a party of 7 for dinner. We all had a wonderful dinner and too much fun talking again.

After dinner mom and I decided to stop by her favorite bar for a night cap and ended up staying for quite a while enjoying the music and company of her favorite bartender. Mom stayed while I bailed to go to bed. The day went by so quickly and I was tired but it was fun.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 5 of Cruise

View from our Balcony
We woke up to a gorgeous view of the rock formations in Cabo. It is quite a sight and is a must have to visit and see.

Mom and I decided to skip the shore visit because we would only be in port until noon. We missed breakfast time in the dining room and had to go the the buffet. That place is noisy, crazy, and what I call “Herding Cattle in a little place”. The food offered was good but it is a chore going thru the long lines. After that we went up to deck 13 to enjoy the view, have some drinks, and watch it go by when the ship left.

Tierd Lounge Area
Later on mom left to wander on her own and I took off to get my bathing suit on and lay in the sun for a little while. They have a nice tier system with the lounge chairs going from deck 12 up to the top. I was able to enjoy great music from my younger days from the band playing on a stage in the pool. It was the band that I met earlier.

View from bar where I found Mom.
 I didn’t stay out too long because I didn’t want to look like some of the other cruisers who were burned red like a lobster already! I saw a lady who was burned to a crisp after one day on the cruise. I can't imagine having to endure the rest of the trip like that.

After an hour of reading my kindle I figured it was time and headed up to the bar on top and get a fresh drink. Sitting there at the bar was mom. We laughed about finding each other and hung out for a while and enjoyed the view. After a while I took off and we agreed to meet later that afternoon after I changed for the evening dinner.

After changing I wandered around and ended up at the casino. I decided to try my luck. Starting with $20 I went to a couple of different slot machines and when I was up to $68 walked away. I was dying to play Blackjack but the dealer was winning to much. I love playing but watch for good dealers before I will go for it. Some dealers are good, some are quiet and not talk with anybody, and some are fun. I like the fun ones. At least you have a good time while you are either loosing or winning money.

Mom and I at the top tier bar on Day 2

Off to Puerto Vallarta

Again for dinner we were paired with other cruisers and had a blast with 2 other couples. Dinner was great but the dessert I picked was a huge disappointment. One of the other gals had ordered a butterscotch sundae and it looked too good to pass up so I sent my dessert back and got one. I had forgotten how yummy it is. Been ages since I had one.

One couple was cute as a button and you could see that they were still totally in love after 33 years. We talked for ages and before we knew it the dining room was practically empty and it was bedtime. We grudgingly bid each other goodnight and hoped to see each other again somewhere around the ship. Time flies when you are having a great time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 4 of Cruise

I am sitting out on the balcony of our room writing this while the sun rises and enjoying a warmer morning. It is noticeably warmer than the day before. Each morning I sit out here and write about the previous days events. It is so relaxing and I can see why some people take a year long cruise around the world. It doesn't get much better having a wonderful view, seeing new places, meeting different people, experiencing new cultures, someone to cook awesome meals, and housecleaning done for you.

I woke up early and watched a sunrise and the sight of land drifting near. I realized that it was at least 7 am and mom wanted to get up at 6 to go to an early breakfast. When I woke her she admitted that she couldn’t figure out the wake up call the night before and didn't want to wake me up. The one benefit of being deaf is mom could come in late and not worry about being noisy and waking me up. They don't have clocks in the room. Wonder why? At least my crazy sleeping schedule woke her up with enough time for her breakfast in the main dining hall.

After breakfast we went up to the top deck 13 in front of the ship to watch Cabo San Lucas come into view. It was a spectacular view and worth waiting in the cold wind for. I had packed only shorts, t-shirts, and dresses and didn’t plan for cooler weather. Well I am quickly learning what a mistake that was. Thankfully I have a pair of sweats for bedtime.

We went to wait in a long line for the tenders to take us to shore since the ship docked in the middle of the bay. Mom took a look at the skimpy boat we were to take and looked a bit worried. When they had the boat filled up with people it was listing really far to the right side. The driver of the boat must have been new or drunk because he ran into the ship loading dock and the ship itself several times before getting underway. Everyone looked a bit worried during that but cheered after we finally got going.

After we finally made it to shore we spent time window shopping, drinking at bars, and haggling with vendors . I had forgotten how much haggling you have to do with them. I do it with a bit of guilt. I know that they work hard and don’t make much money so I do feel guilty when I barter them down in prices. Yep, that darned guilt complex rears it’s ugly head. We didn’t walk far as I could only tolerate so much distance but I am getting better. Just trying too be patient. But each day I have upped the distance I can handle without stopping for a break.

My Brother and I
We returned to the ship around five and decided to have an early dinner.  Since it was just the two of us and there are only a few dining spots for two people the host asked if we would mind dining at a big table with others. Mom said sure and we had a great time talking with 4 other gals and their travels.  Mom was drooling over the menu because it was lobster night. While we were eating our main lobster dish we talked about the food on other cruises everyone had taken and I regaled them with the tale of when Mom and I were on a carnival cruise. That night there was escargot for an appetizer and mom’s eyes bugged out when she saw them. She loves the stuff and told the waiter "Forget the rest of the meal, all I want is a salad and just keep the escargot coming". She had several plates of the stuff and was in heaven. The others laughed and mom said “That is a great idea, I am going to order another plate of the lobster”. Everyone laughed and thought that was a great idea and they did the same.

Me, caught napping.

The evening was quiet and I called it quits early because I was a bit sore from all of the walking. Mom stayed out and hung out at her favorite bar for some karaoke and drinks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 3 of the Cruise

I woke up early and saw that there was a sunrise just beginning on the horizon. Don’t know what time it was but I was too lazy to get up and take a picture of it. After relaxing a while I fell asleep again. Later on I woke up for the day and first thing I did was cross my fingers that it was warm and went outside on the patio. Yipppeee!!! It was gorgeous outside. Warmer than the previous day, clean ocean air and a wonderful view. I sat in the chair relaxing and was hypnotized with the water rushing by with little whitecaps everywhere. Now this is what I came here for.
Mom finally woke up and she took her turn to get ready so she could do her daily speed walk. We met up in the dining room and found out we missed the morning breakfast run. We ended up in the buffet section, big mistake again, it was set up poorly and was like herding cattle. After a bit of joggling around and finding a table open we finally were able to eat. We couldn't talk because it was so noisy so we ate quickly and bailed out of there.

View of pool from the lounge chair area.

We hung out for a while and wandered around then split up. I went and changed into my bathing suit and looked for a decent place to lay out for a while. Well all the lounge chairs in the good spots were taken and the only ones left were in the windy cold section. I did find a chair in the bar area above the pool and sat there and read my kindle for a while. It wasn’t what I wanted but was a start. An hour later I left to change and wander around.
Around lunchtime I got a snack at the pool area and was starting to get bored sitting there by myself. A guy stitting at the table next to me said hi and we started talking. Next thing I know I am getting hit on by a member of the Calypso band on the ship. They were on a break and he had started chatting with me. He introduced me to his other band members when they stopped by and we talked about where we were from, places we had traveled to, our families, and his very obvious question "are you single?" 

He asked what I was doing in Cabo when we dock and I said I didn't know. He asked me if I wanted to go quad riding around the area. Boy was I tempted to do that but my doc would wring my neck. I was bummed and said no thanks but knew I would hurt like crazy doing it not to mention undo all of the hard earned work. After a while he had to go back to play and I stayed a while to enjoy the music. They were a really good band and the music was awesome.
That afternoon was spent being lazy and people watching. Mom and I met up by accident walking in the hallways and ended up hanging out at a bar that she found. She loved it there because the bartender was friendly and there was karaoke. There was only 1 bad singer so it was an enjoyable afternoon. That evening we went to dinner in the dining room and it was nice because there was less people. Dinner was amazing and the dessert was yummy. After that we went to the spinnaker and watched the band and people dancing. It was a mix of music but not to many people there. We discovered during the trip that the major amount of people go there late at night. That is when the real party begins. Too late for me to be up.
I am still amazed at how friendly people are. Tonight I met a couple on the elevator that are from Canada and they know a couple that are staying in Yuma in an RV. What a small world. Another time I had a person on another elevator do a double take at me and said “If you ever want to meet your twin go to Spokane, Washington. My niece lives there and you could be identical twins” Well, they say we all have a twin somewhere in the world. Too Funny!

So this day was a sea day and the view was ocean everywhere and not a speck of land in sight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 1 & 2 of Cruise Trip

Day 1
Well we had a crazy time going to California the day before the ship left port. We drove there from Arizona and the weather was insane. The sky was weird looking with strange cloud formations all around us. Also we had rain coming at us sideways with winds like crazy. Mom was taking pictures of all the different cloud formations and she has the photos so I can't post it on here yet. Mom's friend back in Payson, Az where she lives called and reported that they had 5 inches of snow. Good thing we left when we did.
We had a wonderful dinner at a micro-brewery by the university in Los Angeles with my grandmother. Was nice to catch up with her and have a nice meal. We called it an early night because we were exhausted from the long crazy drive.
My brother, his girlfriend, and her daughter were driving down from San Francisco area that evening and were planning to stay the night with us at grandma's house. Instead they had to stop on the northern side of the grapevine, I-5, because of snow and ice on the road. They got lucky and found a really nice hotel to stay at and early the next morning left to go directly to the ships port.
Day 2
We ran around trying to repack the stuff, hide the alcohol, and get everything cleaned up at grandmas place. We both ate a lite breakfast because we didn’t have much time before the driver arrived to pick us up. We took a shuttle service, a very nice Lincoln town car, to the ship dock the next morning so we would not have to worry about parking. We both agreed that is the way to go from now on if we ever do a cruise again. Comfy and relaxing. We froze our butts off waiting for my brother to meet up with us. It was cold and windy and we didn’t exactly pack warm clothes. I was expecting to wear shorts and dresses and instead needed pants and sweatshirts.
Getting on the boat was a crazy. It was a huge mass of people and my mom and brother kept yelling at me not to touch any luggage because of my weight lifting restrictions. Hard to feel ok and be treated like an invalid. I hated just standing there while they lugged around the carryon suitcases. After we got on we decided to get something to eat. Big mistake as everyone on the ship had the same idea. The buffet area was packed and noisy. We both looked at each other and said no way are we eating here. Mom and I decided to wander and found a restaurant called Blue Lagoon that was open and only had a couple of people there. Guess nobody had found it yet.

I was wonderful as we sat eating good food and sitting by the window looking out at the view as the ship left the docks. Leaving the dock was rocky because of the winds from the storms around us but I didn’t have a problem because I don't get seasick. I was still pinching myself that I was actually on a cruise ship. Crazy what life throws at you.
We wandered around the ship while checking out stuff and later on met my brother’s family for dinner. We didn’t realize that everybody would dine at the same time and the dining room was pretty busy. On this cruise line they have freestyle dining so you can go at anytime. Instead of a set dining hour and table you can go whenever they are open and eat. That was a good and bad thing that we discovered during the cruise. The food was pretty good and the dessert delicious. I am a sugaraholic so dessert is my favorite part of the meal.
Later that evening the last of our suitcases arrived and I dove for mine because it had the alcohol hidden in it. Much to our happiness it was not confiscated. Rum Runner packs lived up to their promise. Mom and I danced a victory dance and it was a crazy dance when you mix a rocking boat, alcohol consumption, and happiness that we were on a cruise together.
The day ended with a relaxing time in the spinnaker club with music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Before we knew it we were both yawning and willing to call it a night.
Heading for new places to be discovered.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recuperating from surgery on a cruise!

Well, good news comes from bad news. My mom, brother, his girlfriend, and a friend of mom's were planning on going on a Mexican cruise next week. Sadly, mom's friend died unexpectedly two days ago. Mom called me and asked how I was doing and if I was doing anything next week. Well, duh! Nothing! So she asked me if I wanted to take her friend's place on the cruise, all expenses already paid for.

Huh!!!! Go on a cruise. Ummmm, OK!!!!! Soooo, I am sitting here stunned and happy. What a way to recuperate. Now my Doc can't yell at me about taking an easy. How much easier can you get sitting around relaxing, eating awesome food, people watching, and seeing the sights.

Now I am shocked at what I am doing. Am I crazy to be doing this? I am known in the family for doing crazy stuff at the last minute but I think this takes the cake as one of the craziest in a long while. What the heck. Life is short and you should never pass up an opportunity when it presents itself.

So here I am frantically going around my place trying to figure out what clothes to take and to see if my old formal dress still fits. I haven't worn it for a couple of years. Plus I need to get out the scratch pad and make a list of things so I don't forget anything even though I will anyway. You know how there is always at least one item that you forget about. For me, I usually remember it about halfway towards my destination. One must have on the list will be my new Kindle. I am addicted to that thing already. I texed Megan and asked her if she could babysit Sweetpea so she won't be lonely. Megan was jealous and couldn't believe this opportunity came up but was happy for me and said to go for it.

The crazy things that life throws at ya.