Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Rest of The Cruise

October 29, 2008 Cruising

Whohooo I picked up my jewelry from the Parfum shop, the gold by the inch, and my Ring from Shannon. I also got my going ashore pics from the photo gallery. The ring fits perfectly, I wore it to dinner. I had to pass it around the dinner table, what woman can resist handling a big beautiful diamond. No pressure on the husbands we dine with though, cause Rita’s ring (she sits next to me) is 3 karats if it’s a carat. But they appreciated the beauty, you know. The rest of the day was spent doing more ship exploring and knitting in the Champagne Bar. Please note that the bar was closed at the time, I do not knit and drink at the same time. I cast on my Yukon socks, my last Knit Picks Yukon yarn. I grabbed my Sudoku puzzle. Had lunch in the Windjammer, with the lady from Germany we met at Breakfast a couple days ago. Her name is Margaret, but they call her Gretel. She is traveling with a group from Germany near Berlin, but she likes doing things alone. They are doing tours, but she just wants to hang out on the ship. She has promised to translate the ball band on my Austermann Step for me. I still want to know how they get the Aloe Vera and Jojoba on the yarn.

October 30, 2008 Acapulco, Mexico

Okay, 7,000 degrees is not my idea of a good time so I shopped at the marketplace at the pier where the ship docked instead of taking a cab to the town center. Mom stayed onboard again. I did purchase the two souvenirs I want to commemorate this cruise. A wood carving hand painted with a native theme and a hand woven shawl from Guerrero, just outside of Acapulco. I bought postcards, magnets, and such as well. Then I got back onboard and found Mom in the Windjammer with her new friends, a couple from Philadelphia - Yogiwanda and Gilbert (Yogi for short). I grabbed something cold to drink and went to the stateroom to put on a dry top. Speaking of cold drinks, they are serving the best lemonade, fruit punch and iced tea on this cruise.
Then I went to the Champagne bar and knit while watching TV shows on my iPod. Slow and easy day.

October 31, 2008 Huatulco, Mexico

I loved this place. This has been my very favorite port so far. The people were not aggressive. They were warm and welcoming and the stores were bright clean and friendly. I patronized every store along the center of the little town. A few postcards here, a magnet or key chain there. I bought my sister a crazy t-shirt. I have to remember to take a picture of it before I give it to her. Also the temperature was very nice, 80 degrees with a breeze.
Today was Johnny’s birthday so the dining room wait staff and everyone at our table sang happy birthday to him. We were served a really excellent chocolate birthday cake - Yumm!!

November 1, 2008 Cruising

I needed a nap today. I am almost finished with the gusset decreases of my second sock. We have our first tour tomorrow. Mom will finally be getting off the ship. I picked up my formal night photos from the photo gallery. I discarded most of them, but two of them came out very nicely. I was disappointed that we did not have a towel animal tonight. I don’t know what happened to our stateroom attendant. I had to call the desk to get a copy of the daily compass so we know when we are docking, etc. We also decided to order room service because our tour leaves at 8:15 am and we have been sleeping in late so far each day.

November 2, 2008 Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The TAM tour package vendor sucks. They had tours for our ship and the Serenade of the Seas all scheduled to leave the pier at the same time. The buses were not marked and the first tours to leave were the poor people they had lined up in the back the furthest from the transportation. Seriously - it was 195 degrees in Puntarenas, 98 in the morning and 97 in the afternoon. And there was no where to sit while you waited for your tour to leave in the midst of all the exhaust fumes from the ships and the buses leaving. Then at almost 9 am they tell us and the poor people from the Serenade that they have overbooked the Oxcart Factory Shopping Tour and they need volunteers to take another tour instead. They shed four people. Then instead of our transportation coming down the pier like all of the other ones, we had to walk about a mile to the town and wait in the dirt on the side of the road until our van shows up, and they still have 3 too many passengers. So they put these three people in fold down seats in the center of the van for this 1 hour 30 minute trip up into the mountains to Sarchi. All I can say is the factory and shopping were wonderful, but the disorganization and discomfort sucked. I was very happy to get back aboard. VERY HAPPY.

November 3, 2008 Cruising

You know I am getting very fond of these cruising days. I finished my socks. I somehow managed to make a pair out only one skein of yarn so I started crocheting a scarf with the other skein. I love the way the color blocks are developing. I have met another knitter named Gwen, she is from Boulder Colorado. She is knitting a beautiful white baby blanket. It used the same chevron/ripple stitch in the monkey socks. It has a simple garter stitch border. This lucky lady is retired from owning her own yarn store. She worked in it, then bought it from the owner and then she sold it and retired. She now works a few hours in the college bookstore she live near, ah what a perfect life. Tomorrow we reach the Panama Canal. I went to the lecture today. It was fascinating. The only bummer is that we will reach the first Locke at 5:45 am. I just cannot get up at the time. I will have to wait until we get to the second locke around 7 am. More on that tomorrow.

November 4, 2008 Panama Canal Cruising and Cristobal Pier, Panama

Amazing, the Canal was truly amazing. The mules are actually electric trains that keep the ship from scrapping the sides of the canal walls. Watching the water rush in to raise us to the next level was cool. it’s too hard to describe.

November 5, 2008 Cruising

Nice quiet day. I cast on my Austermann Step socks and Margaret/Gretel translated the ball band for me. Very interesting process that they treated the wool nylon blend yarn to hold the Aloe and Jojoba for at least 40 washings. Margaret had never heard of this type of yarn and said she will be trying to find a store that sells it when she gets home. I told her about the Wollmeise and the Handgefaerbt yarns too. But I don’t think she is into computers. Yogi is somewhat into computers so I have promised to send her links to the free patterns for the shawls I brought with me. She thought they were lovely. Although I got them through Ravelry the designers still offer the free patterns on their web sites or blogs. I will have to send her an invitation to join Ravelry.
I got an e-mail from some of my yarn dealers, I mean suppliers. I missed a Loopy Ewe sneak up and WoolGirl had a sale too. I have some comments from you all to moderate too. But at .55 per minute I fear I will have to wait until I get home. I sent a quick reply to an e-mail from my Sister and just scanned the name of senders and it cost $11.65. But that is still a gazillion dollars cheaper than phone calls from the ship. Linda and Chris called his Mum to check on the kids and the call was $169.00. We have another tour tomorrow in Cartegena, Colombia. I have already romanced my stone so I will just be looking for a hat for Leon and the usual keepsakes - keychain, magnets, postcards. We are taking the City Drive Tour to the Palace, Dungeons and Marketplace. More on that tomorrow.
Congratulations and Condolences to President Elect Obama.
Condolences to the family of Michael Crichton. I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton and own and have read all of his books. I will miss his creativity and brilliance.

November 6, 2008 Cartegena Colombia

We took the City Drive, Shopping and Palace of the Inquisition Tour. It was extremely well organized. Each passenger was given a blue tooth receiver and fan. The driver and tour guide could find passengers via GPS if they got lost. We saw a lot of Cartegena and did a lot of shopping. The street people were too aggressive and it was hard to fight them off. I was glad to get back to the ship. We met a previous Ms. Colombia at one of the jewelry stores. I bought some Aztec style earrings of 18K gold, beautiful. Our friends Chris and Linda won the Love and Marriage game show in the Aurora Theater, it was a hoot. They showed it on the stateroom televisions all day. We did not see Margaret today, I hope she is okay.
We had some pretty disappointing meals again today. Even the Windjammer did not have much to offer. The so called Key Lime Pie was a Jello Pudding Custard type pie. They had nothing on the dessert menu and the spinach dip was just some cooked spinach with cheddar cheese melted on it. Horrible.
Being on a cruise is like being in a small town like Mayberry RFD or Petticoat Junction. You know the people you see every day at the coffee shop or local cafĂ©. Then there are the folks you see every now and then around town and you say hello and ask how their day has been. When you are out in the ports you look for and are comforted by familiar faces from your hometown/cruise ship. After all it is a foreign country in which many of us don’t speak the language. There is an instant artificial bond with these people because you are all in the same boat.

November 7, Cruising

First day at sea after all the ports of call. Our tour yesterday was very well organized and we really enjoyed it. Cartegena was not scary at all. Some of the vendors were a little aggressive but it wasn’t too too bad. The sellers liked making deals which made it a fun shopping day. I got 3 pairs of silver earrings for $5, 3 key chains for $5, nuff said!! We did not see Margaret today. We went to the Windjammer a little late. Tonight is Lobster, finally.

November 8, 2008 Cruising

Last night aboard. We finished our packing before we went to dinner so all we have to do is pack our clothes we wore tonight and put our bags out. I am going to go to the Windjammer for coffee and donuts so I can take my medications before we get off the ship. I am glad I will be back in my own bed soon

November 9, 2008 Traveling
We leave in group 4 at 9:15 Hopefully it will flow smoothly. They were out of donuts, glad I am getting off the ship today - otherwise I would have to start a mutiny.

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