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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Back to normal.

Good afternoon.
Things have gotten back to some normalcy and routine.  Craig has finally recovered from whatever he had, and we're back to our daily routine.
It's been raining here all day. The most rain I've seen at one time since we moved here.
So I kept myself busy inside, baking a blueberry pie, dusting and vacuuming.
And of course, puzzles. here's the latest ones......

And here's the apple/cranberry pie I made last week.....
You'll have to look close, but here's some pics of snow over on Mt Charleston that I can see on my morning walks......



And that's the only place I want to see snow.   :-)
I've also finalized plans for a summer trip back to Michigan, a spring trip over to Yosemite National Park, and a fall trip to New Orleans. And hopefully, if I don't completely  wear out Craig, a week back in Flagstaff, with a side trip to the Grand Canyon. So possibly a busy year.
I did manage to get all the bushes and plants trimmed back that needed to be before the warm weather gets them growing again.
I'm still in a big learning curve with plants and desert growing out here.
I forgot to cover and protect my Elephant Food plant during the real cold spell, and it looks like 90 % of it died. I trimmed it the best I could. We'll see if it makes a roaring comeback when the weather warms, or if it will need to be replaced.
I'm still learning!   :-)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Panama Canal Cruise recap...

Some thoughts on my Panama Canal Cruise.
Everything went like clockwork. Getting to the airport. Parking in the economy lot and taking the shuttle to the terminal. Plane on time. Made it to Miami. Shuttle to hotel. Nice room at the Ramada. Shuttle to the ship. Very nice balcony room. Good weather for the entire cruise.
Liked the ship. Not to big, and not to small. Big enough to have a lot to see and do, and small enough to easily get around. There were 9 decks for passengers to sleep or explore. The ship held 2300 guests, and 850 crew.
Didn't get killed or kidnapped in any of the countries we visited despite the level 4 travel advisory in Acapulco and level 2-3 elsewhere. We felt very safe on all our excursions. Got to LA. Shuttle to airport. Plane on time. Made it to Vegas. Shuttle to car. Got back home. House safe.
So it was a very good trip. It's nice when everything works.    :-)
Now on the ship......
Like I said, a very nice balcony cabin. Our friends and neighbors were all on the same deck. Deck 8. A good deck to be on. One deck down, and outside, deck 7 goes all the way around the ship. Good deck for my morning walks. Each lap....1.4 miles.
I'd go down while Craig slept and do a few laps until I met up with Gloria and Dave. I'd walk several more laps with them until they went to breakfast. Sometimes I'd walk more, sometimes I'd join them and have some fruit. I would save my main breakfast for when Craig and I went.
Didn't watch many shows. Although they had shows every night, we'd go and watch a while and usually leave. I guess we're not show people. Just didn't interest us much. But we don't do shows out here in Vegas either.
Now food.....it was everywhere. Whenever you wanted to eat and as much as you wanted to eat. And it was all included except for the specialty restaurants. There was always food available. Besides the two  main dining rooms that were open for breakfast , lunch, and dinner, there was a poolside grill open morning to dusk. And the buffet was open 5am to 2 am. A sports bar/restaurant was open 24/7. Then, there was also room service 24/7. And we did our share of eating.    :-)
So taking a cruise is a cost effective way to see a lot of places without packing and unpacking. And although you're not in one place very long, if you like it and want to see more, you can always go back on a separate trip!


Friday, February 08, 2019

14 day Panama Canal Cruise...part 7...Cabo

Good afternoon.
After a day at sea, the last stop for our cruise was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It's at the end of the Baja Peninsula.  We didn't do an excursion here, but opted to do a walking tour of the city, which is right on the bay.
Below, is the only pic of all 6 of us that I managed to get on the entire cruise.
The time went so quickly before we realized we didn't have a pic of all of us.
Cabo is a pretty little port.
The port is so small, our ship had to sit out in the bay and tender us in.
We had a nice day there and bought several t-shirts.
Back on the ship, as we left, we headed out around the tip of the peninsula.
Below , look closely, and you can see the small little bay where the docks were located.




And look to the left of Craig's shoulder, and you'll see an Arch. This is the main tourist sight. There were many, many boats taking people out to see this arch.
That evening, we attended a dinner with Dave and Gloria. It was Dave's birthday, and he wanted to celebrate it with all of us.
 He treated us to one of the specialty restaurants, Teppanyaki's. It's where they cook the food at your table. Yes, this was on the ship. They had 15 dining options altogether.
Very entertaining and very good food!
So, after another day at sea, we arrived in LA.
The ship had shuttle service to the airport, and we arrived back in Vegas Friday afternoon.
So 2 safe flights, great ship, good weather, and good friends. It was a good trip!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

14 day Panama Canal Cruise...part 6....Gautemala, and Acapulco.

Good afternoon.
Sorry for the delay of this post, but I got busy with booking air and hotels for my summer trip back to Michigan.
We decided we didn't want to do that long drive again this year, and I calculated and discovered it will be about the same price to fly and rent a car, as it would to buy gas and rent all those hotel rooms. So i did all that today.
Anyway, on with our cruise.......
After Nicaragua, the next day we stopped in Guatemala. Since there weren't any excursions that interested us and we had just been on long bus trips the last 2 days, we decided to get off the ship and go to the little shopping area they set up just for cruise ships. And to say we were on Guatemalan soil.   :-)
Bought a couple of t-shirts, and back to the ship.
Then it was a day at sea, and then Acapulco, Mexico. Here, we had an excursion to see the city and the famous cliff divers.
The cliffs in the middle right of the above pic shows where they were going to jump from.

We were seated at a cliff side restaurant so we would have a great view.

You have to look close or click on the pics, but there are guys climbing the cliff.
Above, you can see them near and on the top, with one guy diving from the middle.
Below, a guy diving from the top.
To me, it looks crazy dangerous. From what the tour guides told us, there are 54 divers that belong to a union. The union decides how many divers go for each performance. Could be anywhere from 3 to 10. We had 8 divers for our performance. It was quite a sight!
Below are some skyline pics of Acapulco......


Acapulco sits in a large circular bay with a narrow opening. A perfect area for beautiful beaches and swimming. That's why Acapulco became so popular as a tourist destination many years ago.
Above are Gloria and Dave. Our neighbors who went on the cruise with us.

We really enjoyed our stay here.
Tomorrow, another day at sea, and then our last stop....Cabo San Lucas.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

14 day Panama Canal Cruise...part 5...Nicauagua and the Colonial City of Leon.

Good morning.
We arrived the next morning in Corinto, Nicaragua. This is what greeted our ship....

There was music and dancing. Adults and children. The warmest welcome we've had on the entire cruise! Here's a pic of me on our balcony as we waited to disembark.
There were children handing out gift bags as we came off the ship. Below, Craig, Carmen, and Pat.

The tour we booked for this stop was the Colonial City of Leon. It was founded in 1524.
Became the capitol when the United Provinces of Central America broke up in 1839, and Nicaragua became a separate country.
The capitol was moved to Managua in 1852.
Anyway, the main building in town is the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary built between 1747 and 1814.


A massive structure for such a small town. It dominates a square in the middle of the city of 200,000.





Up on the roof, you can see more detail in the arches.
And of course, the sounding area.
Around the square are government buildings, shops and cafe's. This is a very popular tourist stop.
And believe this.... They had a McDonald's just sown the street! We wandered some shops and had a beer at one of the cafe's. Didn't buy anything here.
The town was about an hour and a half bus ride to and from the port.
So far, we've had great weather, although quite humid.
Next stop....Guatemala.