"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Cruise Report Part Deux

There are a couple things I'd like to mention regarding the first part of our cruise.

1) We were not charged for my visit to the ship doctor. The cruise line takes Noravirus very seriously because it is so contagious. So, in order to encourage folks to visit the doctor for gastrointestinal problems, the visit is free. If medication is required, you have to pay for that. But the meds for this virus are darn cheap, and I'd have paid 1000 times more for them.

2) Regarding the kayak excursion disaster. Everyone in our tour group filed a complaint upon returning to the ship. So we were refunded half the cost of the excursion. I would have liked it all back, but half was better than nothing.

Now, on to better things. On New Years Eve Day morning (try saying that 3 times fast) we docked in Puerto Vallarta. Upon stepping out onto the balcony to see what PV looked like, I saw this. Yup! That's a Walmart behind that Pirate Ship.

We got off the ship and waited around on the dock for our shore excursion call. We were scheduled to go on the Las Calitas Hideaway Trip, but it was gonna be an hour before we were needed. There was a nice little park with a large cage full of parrots. We walked along a path behind the cage and found Jack. Ruth is talking to Jack.

Jack was extremely friendly. He even let us scratch his back and got on my hand for a minute. His owner told us he was 14 years old.

Eventually, they were asking for our tour group. The Las Calitas Hideaway was a trip on a party boat, with an open bar, to a little jungle hideaway south of PV where we were promised food, an open bar, snorkeling, a gorgeous beach, and fun fun fun in the sun. They delivered! In fact, we had a blast!

As soon as the boat got under way they were handing out Margueritas and Mexican Beer like it was free! Well, in a way it was, cos it was drink all you want. Not only that, but cute Mexican fellows were delivering it. I drank!

I don't usually drink regular Marguerita's because they are thick with lime juice. As a rule, I've been allergic to citrus fruit all my life. Severely allergic. Especially oranges and lemons. I just have assumed limes were included. So I usually opt for Strawberry Marguerita's. However, Strawberry was not available, so I took a chance. Lo and behold, I am NOT allergic to limes! No one is more surprised than me!

Sue and I did our part to lighten the Tequila load on the boat. We also talked daughter Ruth into trying one. Technically, she's underage in the US, but not in Mexico. She soon discovered she likes Marguerita's too, so she joined our efforts.

On the way to Las Calitas, our boat captain took a side trip. It wasn't on the program, he just decided to do it because he'd been told Hump Back Whales had been spotted in the area. He drove us out to the rumored spot, and there they were. Two parents and a baby! They were the most awesome animals I've ever seen. So huge, and yet so graceful! I was so engrossed in watching them I forgot my camera-until Sweet Hubby said something to me. I took several pics. These two are my favorite.

Mom on the left. Baby is the small dark grey spot just on the right of Mom.

Daddy waving his fluke. (Sorry this pic is a little bit blurry.)

Las Calitas was gorgeous. Golden sands and lush jungle. We started with a buffet lunch that was fantastic! Barbecued Chicken, Mexican style, and all kinds of delicious salads and side dishes. Our table was right on the beach, as you can see. It was probably one of the most beautiful spots I've ever eaten lunch at a table.

After lunch, I went snorkeling. I had my prescription snorkel mask with me and I was dying to try it out. It was great! The water was just thick with beautiful fish of every shape, size, and color. I enjoyed it so much that's all I did while we were there. By the time the horn sounded for us to return to the boat I was exhausted. So I didn't drink any Martguerita's on the way back cos I was afraid I'd fall asleep.

Soon we returned to the ship and got underway for Cabo San Lucas. We had a beautiful view of the sunset from the balcony of our stateroom. Sweet Hubby took this pic.

New Years Eve ended up being kind of a bummer. We got all dressed up for dinner, went to dinner, caught a show after dinner (the comedians on the ship were wonderful), and then everyone crashed and burned. Sweet Hubby collapsed on the bed and fell asleep almost immediately. He had no energy left for a party. Dan and Sue went to bed. They were a pathetic bunch.

A few minutes later I noticed Ruth was out on the balcony. She was crying. She had been looking forward to cheering in the New Year on the ship and we were copping out on her. I felt really bad about it, so I grabbed her hand and asked her where she wanted to celebrate.

There were two main parties. One on the top deck by the pool. One down on deck 4 in the main atrium. This one was the official Captains party. My question was "Do you wanna go up to the one on deck so when the wave comes we can jump off? Or do you wanna go down in the Atrium with the captain and plan on climbing our way out?" (Reference to the movie Poseidon) This made her laugh.

We decided to go to our favorite bar on the ship. It's called the Spinnaker Lounge and it's on deck 12. When we arrived, they were handing out party hats, and noise makers. Up on stage were 5 guys in their underwear wearing bras on their heads. The cruise director was MC-ing some kind of what looked like a weird contest.

Now, most mothers accompanying their 20 year old daughter to a bar and seeing 5 guys with nothing on but underwear and bra-ish head wear up on a stage prancing around would have turned and run screaming from the place. But this was a very special New Years Eve for said daughter, so I decided to brave the elements and found a table up near the stage. I ordered a couple Apple martini's for us, and we began our celebration. The guys had to put their clothes back on (whew!), and then dancing started. Ruth and I just sat watching everyone and drinking Apple Martinis. We both love to sit and watch people. In a bar it can be entertaining. It was very entertaining, and we laughed a lot. We toasted 2008 in with Apple martinis, and then we called it a night and went to bed. It wasn't the celebration we had hoped for, but it sufficed.

The morning of January 1, 2008 we found ourselves coming into Cabo San Lucas. This is a pic of the famous 'arch' as you come into port. Cabo was a beautiful place.

We had no shore excursion planned for this one. We decided to hit the shore on our feet and shop til' we drop. It was a lot of fun, but I didn't take my camera with me. I wanted to SHOP, and shop we did!

We found a place that was sort of an artists market with dozens and dozens of booths filled with items made by the locals. I found a beautiful hand made silver bracelet with swarovski crystals on it that I just had to have. Sweet Hubby glommed onto a hand carved domino's set made of wood that he suddenly couldn't live without (even though we already own 2 domino sets which he has never played with). We found gifts to take home to friends and family. I would say we spent at least 3 hours in that place looking at everything. It was fascinating.

At lunch time we found a nice cafe with tables along the water where we ate a very tasty lunch of fajitas and chicken enchiladas (except for Ruth, who insisted on tacos-there's gotta be one in every crowd). Oh yes, and Marguerita's and beer. Then we headed back to the ship.

The next two days we were at sea headed back to L.A. I finally got to enjoy some of the good stuff on the ship, like the swimming pool, and the jacuzzi. I laid out on a lounger in the sun on the Promenade deck and read a good mystery novel. I knitted a little bit (4 whole rows!) on my I Love Gansey sock. I attended the shows. I saw dancers and singers and professional comedians, and I ate.

There is no shortage of good food on a cruise ship. It's everywhere. It's available 24 hours a day. If you can't go get it, there's a phone in your room so you can get someone to bring it to you. I made up for lost time on those two days I was so sick! And I found something better than cheesecake. A little concoction called Mocha Creme Brulee. There are no words to describe the ecstasy this concoction produces in the human mouth.

Eventually we docked and found ourselves back on United States soil. It's a funny thing about that. When you get on a cruise ship, you spend the first two days reeling and swaying along the hallways and decks like a drunkard, even though you may not be drunk. That's cos the ship rocks on the water and throws you off your balance. But after awhile, you adjust to the rocking and you don't even notice it. Everyone stops listing (except the drunkards, of course) and life is grand. But, when you step on land, suddenly everything is rocking.

In the brain you know the ground could not possibly be rocking cos it's ground! But it sure feels like it's moving. So for the next day or two you reel back and forth like a drunkard until you adjust to not moving anymore.

We reeled and swayed our way through customs. The customs agent took our passports, asked us if we were all related, and then stared at us intently. Finally, he said to me "When's his birthday?" pointing at my husband. I totally didn't expect that. Usually what you hear is 'What's your mothers maiden name?" I couldn't quite believe I'd heard him right so I asked him to repeat the question. He repeated it, and I gave him the answer. Then I thought "Oh no! What if he asks Sweet Hubby when my birthday is?" Yikes! We'll end up in prison and eventually deported for sure cos he never can remember when my birthday is!" Instead, he turned to Ruth and asked her what hospital/city she was born in and if I was her mother. Whew! What a relief! We were then told we could enter the country.

We headed straight for the car rental agency, picked up our van, packed 17 pieces of luggage and 6 people into said van and headed for Disneyland.

We spent 3 glorious days there. They were glorious because it rained just enough. Californians are afraid of rain. I should know. I lived there for 10 years. I was born and raised in the Seattle, WA area though. If we were afraid of rain there, we'd never have left our homes.

It wasn't even really rain. More like a constant drizzle. You know, the rain that gets everything wet, except you if you keep moving about. It was just enough to keep the crowds away and the temperatures perfect. We didn't have to wait in lines for much of anything. We rode just about every ride in the two parks-Disneyland and California Experience. It was a great deal of fun.

This is a pic of the train station just inside the Disneyland entrance. Mickey mouse is made of purple and white Sweet Allysum. The red flourishes on each side are Red Poinsettias. Real ones, actually planted in the ground. You wouldn't dare do that here in north Idaho!

This is me, Ruth, and my favorite employee of Monsters, Inc, Sully.

All in all, even though I got horribly sick and Acapulco was such a sucky place, I had a good time on my vacation. Las Calitas was my favorite shore excursion. Seeing real live Humpbacks was the thrill of a lifetime. And I've found a dessert better than cheesecake.

Now, I have been beading and knitting since I got home, despite being sick. We'll get caught up on that in the next day or two.

In the meantime, have a great day!

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