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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Terra Firma

Arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale this morning, Saturday and walked about 6 miles immediately after checking into the Atlantic Hotel. It felt so good to be able to walk without reaching the edge of something. Got caught in a rainstorm. And with the rain came a cold front. I'm not complaining. So much happening everywhere.

The final stop of the cruise was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, the cruise line's private island. It was the most beautiful combination of sand, water, trees I've ever seen. The colors were absolutely crystalline and so surreal and intense, we wondered if we had fallen into a computer generated reality. This stop almost made the Holland America ship worthwhile. Almost! Overall, the cruises were a great experience for me. One I loved, the other not so much. Basically, I still prefer exploring the land and dipping my feet into the sea.

Robert and I had fun together and we're still good friends although tonight we aren't talking to each other at all. We each have our face glued to our respective computer screen. Happy as clams to have free internet access again. Alas, but no more free food, or more accurately said... no more prepaid food at our fingertips.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

St. Thomas Pick Me Up

St. Thomas to the rescue. I had forgotten how beautiful Megan’s Bay in St. Thomas is. Slightly cloudy skies (a blessing), turquoise water, great pounding surf beating up through the sand while lying on a blanket under a tree. Just what I needed to get me back on track. With 20 years though, much of the charm of St. Thomas has been lost to progress and condominiums.

Both Robert and I have noticed a marked difference in our energy after crossing through the Panama Canal into the Caribbean Sea. It was first noticeable in Aruba on the Coral Princess but we just thought we were a little tired at the end of the first cruise. However, it hasn’t let up and actually has gotten way more pronounced. Something is a real drain on both of our energy bodies here. We have to work consciously more than usual to maintain a sense of balance. Perhaps it’s Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle. Doo doo doo doo! Two more days till terra firma. It will be interesting to see how we feel then.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Help! Somebody get me off the dam Eurodam. It seems that either my cruise enjoyment limit is 15 days or I am seriously affected by my outer surroundings. I think it’s a bit of both. The days on the Coral Princess were mystical, magical, marvelous even though the people weren’t so friendly and the ports were less than stellar. Now at day 19 on the Eurodam the people are friendly but I just want them to leave me alone, the ports are more interesting but you can experience so little of them, it no longer seems worthwhile to go through the hassle of getting off the ship and yet the ship itself feels claustrophobic.

Yes, I’ve reached my cruising limit here in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is actually delightful. It’s a walled city with narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings similar to Cartagena in Colombia. Robert said it reminds him of Italy. Robert is still in San Juan because he couldn’t bear to come back onboard. I couldn’t bear the humidity of San Juan any longer, so I’m sitting by myself at 10:15 pm on the highest outdoor observation deck so I can be outside but away from the party revelers who are on the second leg of the pub crawl which happens to be on the pool deck. IWhere are those quiet people with the walkers and the canes? LOL

So now I know my cruising limit and I know that if I ever go on another cruise I’ll seriously check out the cruise ship layout beforehand. I also know that I miss being able to get online whenever I want to be connected. Even the continual food flow doesn’t make up for the internet limitations. I am seriously spoiled.

Tomorrow morning we arrive in St. Thomas. With the stopover there, I will have visited by myself every place that Fred and I vacationed together. Feels like a completion of something. What I don’t really know.

Bon Voyage again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Turks and Caicos

Theresa, you are right. Turks and Caicos is the best. Clearest water with color that has no description. White sand beaches. What a beautiful way to spend the day. Tomorrow, San Juan for the afternoon and evening.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

OK. I tried typing in Notepad instead of word and got the every two line spacing. Aaargh!

Goodbye Coral Princess, Hello "dam" Eurodam

Not having ever experienced a cruise before, I didn't recognize how much I liked the Coral Prncess until

experiencing the "Eurodam".

At first I thought perhaps I'm not giving the new ship a chance. Even though Robert and I have done amazingly well

together, we both reached sniper status by the time we made our way off the Princess and onto the Eurodam. We

schlepped our luggage from Pier 19 to Pier 26 through hoards of people just standing with theirluggage, staring off

at signs, realizing they have to take care of themselves again. Eight cruise ships carrying 2000 to 5000

passengers each dumped us out at the same time in Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale. The headache from my first

exertion in 15 days exacerbated by the jacket I'm wearing because it "seemed cool in the morning but now the

humidity is 95%" didn't bolster my flagging ability to embrace the new. Robert and I both scowled through strings

of matted hair, beads of sweat, and plastic Walgreen's bags into the camera as the spritely photographer positioned

us in front of the blue screen for our onboarding photo momento.

The Eurodam is a new ship, only two years old, while the Coral Princess is about thirteen. Eurodam is glitzy,

sleek, modern, and cold. Not talking temperature here. Coral Princess was newly renovated, warm and inviting.

The stateroom on the Eurodam is bigger but the flow of the space sucks. We're dancing and bumping into each other

constantly. There's just no way to easily get around the beds that are about 9 inches apart from each other with a

one foot pass through between the foot of the beds and the wall. The sitting area is too much trouble to sit in

since it's on the other side of the beds.... and who really sits around in the cabin anyway. Our room in the Coral

Princess was smaller but because the flow of the room was good, Robert and I flowed through it more naturally. I'm

glad we had that experience together first. We're used to being together now and it makes this tight squeeze a bit

less awkward for us.

The pool deck on the Eurodam is taken up with cabanas that cost extra to sit inside. They cut off the view of the

sea for everyone else. The "special" area for the Coral Princess was tucked away at one end of the ship. We

commoners didn't even know it was there and he pool deck was open to the sea and the sky for everyone. "Pay extra

seems to be the common theme on the Eurodam." And they have stands with items for sale all around the pool.

AND the buffet is open only certain hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner instead of 24/7. Gone is the free

spirited "eat when hungry" to "we better go eat now before it closes." Not a big deal at all really but there is a

sense of "gotta do it now or lose out" that didn't exist on the Princess.

There is good news about the Eurodam though. The age range of the cruisers on this week-long adventure is more

diverse. We had a lot of fun with Jeff and Wendy (40ish) from Ottawa, Canada and Julia and I can't remember his

name (50ish) from Springfield, Illinois. The first thing they said when we arrived for dinner was, "there are so

many old people on this cruise." After I told them I'm 65, :) We assured them this isn't an "old" crowd at all.

Last night on the Princess, we sang Happy Birthday to Dee who was celebrating her 90th birthday with four of her

friends all about the same age. Actually, it was very cool! BTW, Dee and her friends weren't the "old" ones.

And we've had more people talk with us in the few hours we've been aboard this ship than the whole 15 days aboard

Coral Princess. Our sad goodbyes on the Princess were with Milos (23 from Serbia) and Oxana (25 from Russia), the

wait staff in the buffet dining room, and Rex (Philippines) our room steward.

It's interesting.... the ambience of the Coral Princess was perfect for both of us. I felt very comfortable and at

home on the ship but the overall energy of the passengers for the most part was not inviting or friendly at all.

The physical appearance and feeling of the Eurodam is not conducive to either of us and we feel a bit off kilter

because of that but we're having more fun with the people in the few hours we've been onboard than we did for two

weeks with the other group. Ah! The life of a cruiser. More to come.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Heading for Florida

Day 13. All ports seen. The old city of Cartagena, Colombia was by far the most delightful excursion of the trip. Narrow cobblestone streets, colorful Spanish style houses, balconies with bouganvillia, intricately carved wooden doors. A really sweet energy about the people. Also hoping to sell their wares but not with so much aggression as in Mexico.

Yesterday, the banana bus picked us up for a beach day in Aruba. A walk along the white sand beach, water lapping gently, windsurfers, wave riders, motor boats pulling inner tubes, 40,000 people. Aahhh!

Happy to spend today and tomorrow at sea heading for Ft. Lauderdale and the next cruise ship. The change of scenery will be welcomed. It will also be interesting to see if the cruisers on a week-long Caribbean cruise are of a different age. As delightful as this cruise has been, it has had the feel of a stay in a geriatric center.

Robert and I have been glad to have each other on this particular voyage. Day 13 and we're doing well together still.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where am I? Who am I?

Something wonderful happened at about day 8 at sea. My brain shut down totally, completely. It started with the square trees in Huatulco. I don't care if people talk to me or not. It’s just as well they don’t because I can't put together a coherent sentence and things that aren’t really funny are hysterical. It's the most peaceful, carefree feeling ever. I know I have some kind of life somewhere but it's really insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Here, we eat when we’re hungry. Doesn’t matter the time of day or night. And best of all the food is there just waiting for us to show up and eat it. I think this is how life is meant to be. Where did we go so wrong with this work thing? Oh and remember the gym I went to the first day on board. I haven’t seen it since.

We gave up on the tours for the last two stops opting instead to just walk around the town. Costa Rica is still as hot and humid as when I left it in July. I've discovered that cruising is really not about the ports. The sense of adventure I typically feel for exploring new surroundings doesn’t exist here. I't's way too much work. I'm happy to float day and night with nothing in my brain.

We sailed through the Panama Canal today and are now in the Caribbean heading for Cartagena. We are doing an excursion there. My first time in South America. Passing through the canal was the highlight of the trip. Pretty amazing. The cruise ship must have been built specifically with the locks in mind. Just a foot shy of the length of the locks and less than two feet narrower. The toll for the ship to pass through was $330,000 which includes reserving the space in line. Who knew? Who ever gave it a thought? Not me. The actual cruise through Lake Gutan felt like cruising along the Ohio River. Brown water and lush green hills except for the crocodiles along the banks. Another most beautiful day.

Sorry about the question marks in inappropriate places. I'm typing in word and pasting into the blog because it’s 40 cents a minute online. Then yesterday I tried to post this message but the letters kept changing into Chinese characters so I gave up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


We?ve met another couple. Saul and Jake. So now it?s Robert, Saul, Jake and Me. I wish you could have seen us at the deck party last night. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode with Elaine dancing? Well, that?s how Jake moves. I?m sure I heard Fred laughing. This is quite another world for me but OMG what fun I?m having. Never a dull moment.

Today we did a bus tour of Huatulco in Oaxaca (Wa-haca), the last and best of the Mexican stops. Still undeveloped. Our tour director, Lalo, was so impassioned about every little thing and I wish you could have seen the crestfallen look that came over his face when I asked him when we would see the square trees. (I swear the brochure said that Huatulco means "people who worship square trees.") Lalo took a deep breath, squinched his brow and said, "I don?t know this square tree." So I went on to say it has to do with the meaning of the word Hualtuco. He said, "Sorry Senora I must ask my English teacher. I don?t know this word." When I looked at the brochure again, what it really said was, ?the word Hualtulco means people who respect the wood of the trees.? (Don?t ask me where I got square trees but I know I saw it somewhere????) Well, it was one of those moments that caused Robert and me to convulse with laughter which didn?t stop the rest of the trip. We stopped for lunch at La Donna for some real Hualtulcan food (which was great) but when we arrived, the first thing we saw was a rooster chained by one leg to the fence. Then to end the tour Lalo came to each person on the bus with a questionnaire. Instead of giving the questionnaire to the person to complete. He stood next to each seat holding his green clipboard and said, "You hoppy wit me? Jes! (yes) We first class tour? Hokey dokey." When he came to me, he said, "You hoppy wit me, Senora? I find out about square tree so I know next time. Hokey dokey." Of course, I said, "Jes!" with tears rolling down my face. You just had to love him.

Right now we?re rocking and rolling our way through some gale force winds. Deck chairs flying everywhere until they could get them tied down. And I?m not seasick. Hooray.! The Captain said we?re changing course and he expects it to be better within a couple hours. Actually, I loved sitting out by the pool with everything blowing around. Water slopping out both sides of the pool. My hair stinging my face. What is it about wind that makes me feel so great? You could tell there are those of us who love it and those?. well not so much.

Catching Up

We ate dinner last night with Gertie and George from New Orleans. They were still celebrating the Super Bowl. Well maybe celebrating is too strong. George cracked his lips when I mentioned the game. Gertie worked overtime to cover up George?s lack of conversational skills. Herb and Thelma, our other two tablemates are transplants from Brooklyn now living in Atlanta. Herb tells the story, then Thelma corrects it. "That didn?t happen on the trip to Greece. It was when we were in Mesopotamia." "No, it was Greece." They wanted to talk with me about skiing at Beaver Creek but alas I haven?t been there AND I don?t ski. A huge disappointment. The 24-hour eat anytime buffet suits us better. Lovely glass tables surrounded by windows overlooking the front of the ship.

I'm enjoying the cruise much more than I thought I would. The ship is a floating 5-star hotel. One's every need is provided. It's pure delight to sit in a deck chair and stare oneself into a coma while looking into the horizon for who knows how long. I also enjoy walking the promenade and smiling at the other people in a staring stupor. Good for the soul.

It's great not to constantly have to pay and tip for meals. I thought possibly it could be boring but there is always something going on. You can even paint pottery or learn Spanish if you want to.

Oh but the excursions are dreadful for me. Just to get off the ship, you need to meet up as a group and then be herded like cows to the gangway, then the tender, then the tour bus or boat. And I really don?t like being one of a thousand tourists descending like locusts upon the town. I remember being on the other side of the experience while living in Hawaii.

Acapulco Bay is beautiful from the ship. Semi-circle of mountains with white buildings, trees, blue water. In town, the unpleasant smells, intense heat and constant saying "no" to vendors zapped my energy. So far, Mexican ports are not my cup of tea. But they have reduced Robert and me to the stage of bursting into laughter at nothing at all. I think we must have been siblings in another lifetime.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cougar Town on the High Seas

Did you ever notice how walking a mile to a destination seems like nothing but walking around an oval track three times, seems to take forever? 2.8 times around the promenade deck is a mile. Maybe it?s the double chocolate torte I?m carrying inside me.

Robert and I have noticed something interesting on this cruise. When we are together, people are not very friendly, especially the women. Many of them stare at us with squinty-eyes and scrunched up faces like my mom did when I did something wrong. And they don?t even bother to look away when we notice and look back at them. Yet, when we meet people while alone, they reply when we talk to them and chat for a minute. Neither of us mentioned this to the other until breakfast this morning. The only explanation we can come up with is they think I'm a 'cougar' and he?s a 'jigolo.' Maybe it's the speedo. He?s European, you know. Watch out Courtney Cox! We could manufacture our own situation comedy. Tonight is the first night we?re having dinner at our assigned table. It could be interesting.

Cabo San Lucas was a disappointment. Tomorrow Acapulco.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two Days at Sea

Rough seas out of L.A. but I didn?t get seasick. Hooray! I?m so happy not to be seasick. Note to self, though. Bring warm clothes. It?s really cold outside.

The cabin is nicer than expected and we?ve got an arrangement going that works for us during the time we?re in it. I?m surprised at how quiet it is in the cabin and with the gentle rocking motion, I slept this morning (Saturday) until noon. Robert, even later. The ship, itself, is beautiful and has the feel of Disney World or Las Vegas with different themed restaurants, lounges, rooms, theaters, casino, library, puzzle room, spa, exercise gym. I may be in better shape by the time I return home. Well, then there is the 24-hour a day food that?s as good as they claim.

There are 1950 people on board. Robert is definitely the youngest on the cruise. I could be a close second. It?s really hard to fight the urge to check for a pulse when you pass people sleeping.
Today is beautiful and warm. We?ve just docked in Cabo San Lucas so we?re off for a boat excursion. Hopefully we?ll see some whales and dolphin but ?wildlife is not guaranteed.?

Friday, February 5, 2010


Just had breakfast in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott, An interesting mix of black-suited, starched-shirted, high-powered (looking) businessmen, middle range businessmen in dark slacks and plaid shirts (interestingly, no businesswomen), a few senior couples with fanny packs, the woman staring into the newspaper that her husband holds in front of his face - all probably headed for the same cruise as I am, and ME. I'm the one wearing the same clothes as yesterday.

Did my luggage get lost? you may ask. NO! It's POURING rain and 49 degrees. My travel clothes are the only long-sleeved, long-panted outfit that I have with me.

And I'm remembering a long-ago trip from Bar Harbor, Maine to Nova Scotia on the 'Blue Nose' Ferry in the rain. Not fondly, I might add. Certainly, a cruise ship will be better, won't it???? Dum, de dum dum.

Maybe the sun will come out by the time we sail at 4PM. Or at the very least by TOMORROW! Only a day away! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In L.A.

The flight to L.A. was uneventful. That's good news in my book. It's really cold though. Hopefully, we head south quickly tomorrow.

The only near event happened in the Denver Airport in Hudson News. I stepped back from looking at the wall of books into a wheel chair. The wheel ran over my heel. Ouch! Then after selecting a book, I turned toward the counter to pay for it and collided head on with.... you got it.... the wheel chair. I managed to regain my balance just before landing in the guy's lap. I always said if I'm going to meet someone special I'll just bump into him. Well, hey! He wasn't too excited about meeting me though.

Robert arrived from Hong Kong safely too. He's spending tonight with a friend here in L.A. so I'm holed up in my room in my jammies with a latte`, cheese, fruit, crackers, and banana bread. Okay a glass of wine would have been better but I could only find a coffee shop. I'm a happy camper.

Time to Go!

Passport. Check.
Cruise Boarding Passes. Check.
Shuttle to DIA. Check.
Robert in the air from Hong Kong to LA. Check.
Excitement. Not in check!

I'm off to meet the cruisers of the world.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Edge of Morning

I stand upon the edge of morning
preparing to leave muscular mountains behind.
Eager to lean upon the railing of new perspective
Reflect upon the mirror image of my vulnerability
in the watery jewel of the sea.
Sail beyond that which I know
into the experience of rising waves and insightful sky
drawing down the portal of translucent inspiration.

I stand upon the edge of morning
and blossom.