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28.04.2014
There, as we watched the surf crash on the shore, we dined on spinach salads, curried shrimp and Mary, the breast of chicken.
We passed by the Pacific Naval Command Center and then on into the small park and visitor center that houses the entrance to the Arizona Memorial.
As I looked to the North, at the mountains not far away, I could imagine the first wave of 187 dive-bombers and then the second wave of torpedo planes appearing like an evil apparition over the nearby crests. These thoughts careened through my head as I looked at the raised nameplates of the mighty battle ships nearby. From the Arizona memorial, we boarded our buses and rode up into the hills to another peaceful military cemetery called the a€?Punchbowl.a€? Here, amidst the bucolic rows of trees, shrubs and neatly trimmed grass, lie 39,000 military men and women who saw service in the pacific theaters, in various wars of our history.
As we drove through Honolulu, the bus passed by several old churches and then by the Queen Iolani Palace. We were tiring with the long and active day so we retreated to our cabin, We opened the balcony door and sat for a time in the fresh sea air admiring the moonshine of the ocean beneath us.
On the journey down the mountain, we could espy Nihau, the a€?forbidden islanda€? about 11 miles from Kauai. We walked down to deck five and boarded the motorized tender for the short ride to the Lahaina docks. The small basin between them is shallow and became an ideal breeding ground for the sperm whales from time immemorial.
It was misting lightly as we stood outside the center and looked across the Caldera, or Volcanoa€™s mouth.
It was only 12 years ago that an enormous lava flow had slid down the mountain and destroyed 189 homes and virtually the entire town of Kalapena. We traversed the volcano on a ring road watching the lunar landscape created by the sulphur and old lava flows. From the Volcano house, we rode a brief way to the a€?Akatsuka Orchid Gardensa€? to admire the many gorgeous varieties of colorful orchids that the island produces.
From the Mona Loa Nut factory, Derek drove us to the ocean shore, at the afore-mentioned site of the unfortunate town of Kalapena. After our late morning siestas, we stopped by the deck 14 trough to ingest the appropriate caloric overload.
The waiters served up the usual five star extravaganzas as we sipped a nice bottle of Mondavi Merlot and got acquainted with this charming couple. We were now some 800 miles South of Hilo and still had another 400 miles before we reached that small speck in the Pacific labeled Christmas Island. An art auction was taking place in the wheel house lounge, so we sat through that for a time enjoying the banter of the auctioneer and the lively patter about artists a€?not yet dead.a€? Then, we watched the delightful comedy a€?Analyze That,a€? with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Breakfast found us in the deck 14 Horizons court and then we sunned on the aft section of deck 12 for an hour or so before retreating to a€?Octogenarians row,a€? on covered deck 7, to read our books and enjoy the lazy motions of the ship.
Even turtles get sunburned , so we packed it in and walked three miles (12 laps around deck 7) enjoying the vigor and the sweat that the walk produced. It was another a€?formal nighta€? for dinner, so we repaired to our cabin to dress in our a€?Cinderella Clothesa€? and venture forth once again down the grand promenade on deck 7. In the dining room, Kevin and Laura shared a good Cabernet, sent by their travel agent, which we helped them enjoy. The Princess Lounge provided another interesting song and dance routine titled a€?Rhythms of the City.a€? We watched and appreciated the talent and energy these kids put forth. Just off the bow of the ship a jagged and erose peak, with a phallic shape, rose needle-nosed into the surrounding sky.
The driver pulled along the side of the road and bade us look at the ubiquitous holes all along the roadside.
Near the end of the tour, the guide stopped by the most famous eatery on the island, a€?Bloody Marya€™s.a€? It is a grass roofed, sand- floored and quietly elegant restaurant made famous by James Michener and others. We were up early to watch the Dawn Princess sail into Opunohu Bay on the North Coast of Moorea, some 130 miles Southeast of Bora Bora. We assembled in the deck 7 Vista Lounge and then walked school fashion, through the ship, to the gangway on deck 3 for boarding the shipa€™s tenders.
The pier area is a simple jetty with a stone rest room and a nearby municipal building for the gendarmes. Along the sides of the road, our guide pointed out thin Mahogany trees, acacia, tulip, a€?lipsticka€? trees, guava, banana, teak, lice and Chinese chestnut trees along the roadside. Along the coast road, we could see the island of Tahiti rising up from the ocean, some 11 miles away.
The Moorea Sheraton again has those delightful grass-hutted rondevals, with glass bottomed floors, sitting on piers looking into the bay. We descended to deck 7, saw and talked with Laura and Kevin Hanley for a bit, before returning to the cabin to read and relax before surrendering to the welcome arrival of the sand man. We had arrived in Tahiti, a€?The Gathering Place.a€? Just the sound of the name brings up worldwide images of soft breezes, exotic women and an escape from the harsh realities of the Old World. Most of us carry visions of Tahiti in our head from the various versions of a€?Mutiny on The Bounty.a€? The film, made from a James Norman Hall novel detailing a mutiny aboard Her Majestya€™s ship a€?Bounty,a€? captained by the now famous Captain Bligh and his first mate Fletcher Christian. Whalers, merchantmen and adventurers arrived in waves bringing new world gifts like STD and the moral standards of seamen who had been afloat for a year and away from leavening strictures of women and polite society. During the 1840a€™s, France consolidated its control of five of these small island chains into what we now call French Polynesia. Tahiti, one of the larger islands in the group, is actually comprised of two extinct volcano mounts and the slopes surrounding them. After breakfast on deck 14, a wooden a€?Le Truka€? shuttled us into the Centre De Ville, on the waterfront. Next, we came upon the two-story version of the central marketplace in Tahiti, a€?Le Marche,a€? or the market. It was nearing noon, so we decided to stop by one of the many portable a€?Les Roulettesa€? for a snack.
We continued walking the small streets, enjoying the feel of a culture and language not our own. We sunned for an hour, on deck 12, had a refreshing dip in the smaller spa pool and then retreated to our cabin to consider the logistics of packing for the trip home.
We packed our clothes, kept some necessary toiletries and clothes for a carry on bag, and then put the bags outside the cabin for pickup.
We rode to the port in a small shuttle that was crammed to the rafters with a wedding party from Indianapolis. Built in 2003 and registered in Hamilton Bermuda, this sixteen deck floating hotel is a beauty. After the life boat drill, we dropped our vests off at the cabin and headed for deck # 15 and one of the more pleasant rituals, a drink at departure.
We walked down to deck # 5 and the Bordeaux dining room, our assigned trough for the duration.
A glass of Cabernet was followed by Spring rolls, mushroom soup, caesar salad, a seafood in pastry medley and a delicious swiss torte for dessert. Late afternoon found us in the deck 14 gym again for a 45 minute workout on the weights and exercycle. The ship was motoring on a Southwest course through the Windward passage between Cuba and Cap Dame headland of Hispanola bound for Aruba. After breakfast, we read for a time in our cabin and then settled in for a delicious hour long nap. It was windy and humid out so we walked top the deck seven Princess Theater and settled in to watch a€?The Duchessa€? for two hours.
We cleaned up for dinner and enjoyed a Martini on the balcony, watching the sea around us and relaxing before dinner. At seven P.M we walked along the deck seven interior promenade and enjoyed the ebb and flow of guests coming to and from dinner. We walked along the main drag and admired the prosperous looking facades of the business section.
From the Park, we walked back through the busy streets of Orangestad until we found a small internet cafe. We were standing topside as the Island Princess cast off her lines and eased out of Orangestad, bound for Cartegena, Columbia.
After the lecture, we hit the deck 14 gym for an houra€™s workout with weights and exercycles. The school system in Columbia is graduated and tuition is charged according to certain professions. It now is a city of over one million souls, many of whom we were to discover to our dismay, were aggressive street vendors bent on draining every tourist of any money that they held on their person, willingly or not. The fortress itself is huge and solid, like El Moro in Havana or those in Puerto Rico and St.
After again running the gauntlet of the slum dog vendors, we reboarded the bus and drove off through the busy streets. At the hilltop, outside the monastery, we again waded through the slum dog vendors to get inside the ancient grounds.
Just inside the old citya€™s walls, we stopped at what had been both a jail house and a soldiers barracks. An imposing statue of Columbia's founding father, Simon Bolivar, sits astride a horse at the center of the shaded square. The ubiquitous slumdogs buzzed around us like angry mosquitoes on our line of march to the Church of Pedro Claver. From the church we walked over to a restored limestone building called the Naval Museum, though why we could not discern . We waded through the obnoxious slumdogs one more time to get back to the bus and its air conditioned comfort. We were tiring and mildly dehydrated, so we retreated to our room to read for a time( Double Cross- James Patterson), cool off and relax.
After a bit, we cleaned up in the cabin, dressed for dinner and walked down to the deck six Provence Dining room. A glass of Cabernet, smoked salmon appetizers, tomato soup, caesar salad, sole Florentine and chocolate cake made for another wonderful meal. The process was repeated twice more until the Princess sailed into the manmade lake Gatun and motored to its center.
The Canal had been built in the early 1900a€™s, completed in 1914 at a cost of $387 Million dollars by the United States, after a failed French effort. We walked topside for an hour enjoying the view of the locks and Lake Gatun and marveling at the engineering involved in creating this man mad river across Central America. The ship dispatched several tenders full of tour groups headed for rail and bus tours in Panama. We settled for a breakfast of kippers, omelets and fruit in the Horizons Cafe on deck 14, then returned to our cabin to read for a bit and catch a one hour nap. We changed into our gym clothes and hit the deck 14 gym for an hours workout with exercycles and weights. We sat for a time drinking an icy cold Heinekena€™s beer and watching native dancers do a rhythmic and enchanting Calypso and singers belt out the haunting a€?Day Oha€? a Caribbean favorite about banana pickers. Soon after, the Island Princess slipped her lines and edged gracefully from her berth to follow the Lyrica. We followed a crew member off the ship to the wharf area where we got on to a large Swiss Tours bus for the trip. First a€?discovereda€? and named by Christopher Columbus in 1502, Costa Rica (Rich Coast in Spanish) had declared her independence from Spain in 1821. As the bus emerged from the warm and humid drizzle of the rain forest, the air began to clear. As we traversed the mountains at the 8,000 foot level, we entered Trillaurillo National Park. The central court of the museum is flowered with cacti plants and bougainvillea and has a vista of the mountains and valley beyond. From the restaurant, we traversed the busy city streets, They were clogged with automobile traffic. The driver pulled along the roadside so we could all look up and watch a three toed sloth hanging from a roadside tree. As the bus descended back into the rain forest of the coastal areas, we could see large puddles where the rain had fallen. Escargot, corn chowder, salad, pasta with mussels and an apple torte, accompanied with a glass of Cabernet, made for another pleasant dining experience. After our swim, we changed into our workout gear and hit the gym for an hour of weights and the exercycle, still trying to win the caloric battle. After sitting topside sunning and swimming, we changed and sat down in the Bordeaux dining room for lunch. We had a glass of cabernet on our balcony and read for a time, enjoying the lazy day at sea in the late afternoon sun.
We walked topside for a time after dinner, enjoying the night air and the moonlight sparkling on the sea. From Spanish class, we hit the gym again for another hour workout on the weights and excercylce. It was our last night aboard and our small cabin looked like a clothes bomb as we packed for out departure.
It was late and we needed to finish packing our bags, so we returned to the cabin and completed out task. We found some coffee topside and walked the deck observing the hustle and bustle of a great ship entering port.
Are you sick and tired of eating the same old boring Meat and Vegetable meals time and time again? And together, we have once again teamed up with the Clean Eating Recipe Queen Heidi Laches. WOW that’s a lot of food, but more importantly a lot of people to keep happy, which of course she does on a regular basis.
Important WARNING, your family will most likely think a professional caterer has come to the house, especially when they look at the originality within these recipes, not only do they taste great, they look GREAT as well. This project has been months in the making, and we are FINALLY ready to share with you loads of amazing clean eating recipes that you can start producing yourself in literally less than 9 minutes time. Lets take a sneak peak at some of these awesome recipes in the main Clean Recipes Made Easy Manual – over 70+ recipes.
Plus if you get your copy of Clean recipes Made Easy we will also give you a copy of Clean Desserts and Chocolates with a further 25 MOUTH WATERING recipes. Yes, we have used the best possible ingredients to keep these recipes as healthy as possible.
A food pyramid is used as a guide for the suggested amount of each food group we should be consuming on a daily basis. Grains: Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product.
You can get by without a laptop if you're only traveling for a long weekend, but a notebook can be incredibly useful on extended trips, letting you research restaurants and local excursions, change your bookings, and back up photos and videos on the road. The camera itself may not look like much, but the footage you'll get out of this tiny rectangular shooter is professional-grade. If you're exploring a new city for hours a day, chances are you're walking many miles in the process, and probably eating a lot, too. We all hate baggage fees, and while you may not be able to avoid paying them altogether when you check a bag on a domestic flight, you can at least avoid overweight charges.
If you travel with your laptop, you've probably run into issues connecting to a hotel's WiFi. Did you know that despite the fact he’s eating over 800 calories with his meal, that ordering a diet coke does make some sort of an impact. Find Out the Queen's Lifelong Secret to Staying Slim – and Get Her Favorite Pie Recipe from the Palace Chef!
Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. Countless studies have shown that eating salmon can reduce inflammation, boost cognitive function, prevent cancer, keep your heart healthy, and even make your skin and hair healthier.
Whether you bake apples, blend them, or just grab a fresh one to go, they’re always a great choice!
Greek yogurt, found at any major grocery store, is significantly higher in protein and lower in sugar than traditional yogurt. I love mixing Greek yogurt into my smoothies, eating it mixed with berries, or using it as an ingredient in healthy cookies. I find that many people avoid almonds because of their high caloric content, but snacking on almonds may actually help you lose weight. In the past, some nutritionists have villainized eggs—especially the yolks—presumably because of their high cholesterol content. However, I still recommend the yolks in moderation, as the yolk also contains 100 percent of the fat and 71 percent of the calories of an egg. Check back tomorrow for a special part two of this post—six workout moves to do to get ready for New Year’s Eve (and to get fit in 2014)!
A Hawaiian woman gave us two flowered leis and then asked for $10 contributions for the local boy and Girl Scout troops. We walked along the world famous Waikiki beach, gazing down the beach to a€?Diamond Head.a€? The massive granite outcropping had been so named by Captain Cook, an early explorer who saw the crystallized volcanic material glinting in the noonday sun and thought the peak encrusted in diamonds. We stopped for some decent Kona coffee in the Outrigger and watched the moving tableau around us. We managed that well enough and then had coffee and croissants in the lobby area of the Tapa tower. We were headed for the holiest of military shrines in the state, the Arizona memorial, commemorating the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941.
He told us about the a€?Hawaiian Home Program.a€? Residents of Hawaiian descent are eligible to purchase homes and receive the land for $1. A large group of high school kids were passing the time like all kids, singing, joking and clowning around.
A graceful white arch of stone, with a series of open side vents and open roof area, house two smaller enclosed marble rooms at either end. They had launched from the Akagi, Kiryu and two other carriers sailing a short 220-mile to the Northeast. We had a nice Fiume Blanc for openers, then a shrimp appetizer, crA?me of mushroom soup, pastry filled with shrimp calamari and other seafood, in a lobster sauce. Instead of molten rock, I could see the flow of electric lava as it slid down the mountains in the dark.
We read for a time and then surrendered the hypnotic sway of the ship as we drifted off into the land of the great beyond. Our immediate impression of the islands is that it is lush and tropical, with a much smaller population (56,000) than the other isles in the chain. The driver told us humorously that in the early 1960a€™s whole families would bring picnic food and camp out nearby to watch the light change colors. The growers, ironically, found that a€?burning the fieldsa€? lowered the molasses content in the plants and increased the sugar yield from the cane. There is a moral here someplace about pretending who you are not and the consequences of that action. In many ways, the Hawaiians resemble Native Americans with their preoccupation with superstition, mythology and colorful sagas transmitted orally throughout the generations. We ascended, in a series of gradual switchbacks, 2,800 feet to the top of the islanda€™s extinct Wai ali ali volcano.
The Sinclairs, a family of Slave traders from Massachusetts, had purchased the island from King Kamehameha in the 1830a€™s. We boarded the vessel and had a nice lunch of fish, fruit and vegetables in the deck 14 buffet. After dinner, I was still reeling from a bad head cold, so we retreated to the room to read and retire. These a€?tendersa€? are wholly enclosed lifeboats that are capable of ocean sailing in an emergency.
They spawn here from December through April and then in May, begin their swim up to the Aleutian Island chain. We walked the paved ocean path, along the beach, enjoying the swaying palms, the flowering hibiscus, the neatly manicured lawns of the huge hotels and the general aura of opulence.
We met and talked with Marty and Tom Bleckstein, who live on Maui and were aboard for the cruise to Tahiti.
Jon was our waiter again this evening and we exchanged a a€?Magandang Gabia€? (good evening) and a€?Mabuti, salamata€? (I am fine, Thanks) in Tagalog. It was cloudy and warm, with the promise of rain, something that happens often on this side of the island. Great white swaths of dried calcium and super heated sulphur remained from the flows of heated magma.(magma below ground, lava above) As the mist and rain seeped into the ground, steam rose as the water hit heated rock below. The fiery lava seeped into the ocean and created super heated mists that explodes the rocks and created the black sand beaches that we were to see in a few hours.
We were stopping at the a€?Thurston Lava Tube.a€? The 360 yard, ten foot high tunnel had been carved out by heated lava. In a few hundred years, this newest portion of Hawaii will be a tropical beach and palm grove. We had a glass of the Merlot in the cabin as I wrote up my notes and we settled in to relax for a bit.
As we watched the big island settle into the Horizon, we met and talked again with Tom Bleckstein.
The sky was studded with gray clouds, the air was warm and a brisk trade wind was quartering us from the northeast.
Proper dress was required, so we cleaned up some and venture in to this now familiar place of gustatory titillation.
It is every bit as funny as a€?Analyze this.a€? The really is a wealth of things to do shipboard if you seek them out. This was the a€?island tour.a€? We never did find Captain Cooka€™s Hotel or any other commercial establishment for that matter. We enjoyed Lobster appetizers, pea and onion crA?me soup, filet of Halibut in peppercorn sauce and Macadamia nut ice cream, all accompanied by a Mondavi Merlot and good coffee. These kids might not be on Broadway, but they gave 150% in energy and we enjoyed their performances. We enjoyed the film and then made our way to deck 12 for Hagendaaz ice cream floats topside.
It was a€?Italian Nighta€? in the Florentine room and we were looking forward to the gustatory experience. This introduced crab and melon ball appetizers, a Greek Salad, Norwegian trout for me, all followed by an Austrian Sacher Torte and good coffee. The Palm trees and the vegetation here are lush and green, a result of the 74 inches of annual rainfall. It is a collection of those lovely, small grass-roofed huts that sit out on piers right over the ocean. The crabs are apparently nocturnal creatures and come forth at night o feed on the fallen fruit of the many trees I had noticed.
These were provided by the government, at a cost of $2,000, to any of the islanders whose homes are destroyed by the various hurricanes that sweep over the island. A large wooden gargoyle sits in front of the restaurant, near a wooden sign carved with the names of all of the a€?famousa€? people who had dined here. Shrimp cocktails, lentil soup, Alaskan crab legs and a wonderful black forest cake made for an elegant and relaxing repast. Several tents had been put up by local vendors hawking jewelry and Moorean arts and crafts.
The deep blue of the far ocean, azure sky, studded with white puffy clouds, all accented the deep emerald of the lush vegetation on the island.
These are limestone temple sites where yearly the islanders had sacrificed humans in a ritual to please the great god Oro.
The 4-masted Windjammer and the Paul Gauguin were sitting at anchor in turquoise Opunohu bay, the palm trees were swaying in the breeze, against the brilliant backdrop of multi hued sapphire sea, azure sky and emerald hills. A large car ferry and a smaller and swifter catamaran ferry made regular, daily trips to nearby Tahiti.
The heat and humidity were intense, so we decided to hop the tender for the air-conditioned comfort of the Dawn Princess, sitting placidly at anchor in the bay. Even a dip in the small pool couldna€™t revive us, so we headed to the cabin for a 2-hour nap. English Captain James Cook and French explorer Captain Louis Bouganville had first discovered these a€?Society Islandsa€? in the 1760a€™s.
The backdrop images in the film are mostly taken from the lovely islands of Moorea and Bora Bora.
The Protestant missionaries had come in the early 1800a€™s and banished most native cultural practices, including ritual sacrifice of humans.
Mount Orohena, at 6,700 feet, dominates the larger chunk of the island (Tahiti Nui) Mount Aurai, at 6,200 feet sits on most of the smaller portion of Tahiti (Tahiti a€“Iti). A small tourist pavilion, adjacent to a newly constructed town square, dominates the waterfront here. The offer of $120 for a cab ride, with a driver who knew little English, didna€™t seem too enticing to us. The traffic is heavy and runs in twin ribbons of moving steel separating the town and the ocean. The first floor of this open-air barn is filled with food vendors selling everything from fruits to fish and any number of sundries. We dodged the speedy traffic and visited another elegant Joualerie where we found a beautiful set of black pearl earrings to match the necklace pearl we had just purchased. A small bronze bust of Louis Bouganville commemorates this eminent French explorer after whom had been named the colorful tropical flower a€?Bouganvillea.a€? We sat for a time in the shade and enjoyed the lush tropical foliage, the colorful flowers and the heat of a tropical isle and each othera€™s company. The next chore was to find a€?le box postal.a€? It isna€™t like our cities, where you can find a blue, US mailbox on every corner.
We walked back to the waterfront and caught a shuttle for the 15-minute ride to the commercial end of the port and the welcome air-conditioned bubble of the Dawn Princess.
As the vessel cleared the narrow causeway and turned on a Southerly heading, we retreated to our cabin. We parted company with the Browna€™s and returned to our cabin to read for a time and surrender to the sand man. LIfe at sea can be very agreeable if you allow yourself to enjoy the slower pace of ship board life. They are of bright pastel in color and feature that charming crenelated facade of Dutch Colonial Architecture. We walked through it admiring the green expanse and the colorful flags ruffling in the wind. The many Jewelers, like Bulgari and Colombian Emeralds, were doing a brisk business with the tourists. A muscial group and the Cruise Director were whipping the passengers into a dancing frenzy pool side.
You could imagine the enemy fleets coming under her banks of guns when attempting a hostile sea landing.


It was to become a treasure port where ship loads of gold and emeralds were shipped back to Spain over the next few hundred years. Along side the road we could see the shacks back in the hillsides, some mere collections of sticks. The Augustinian order of monks who founded the Monastery in the 1500 are still here in residence on the third floor of the complex. The clay tiled roofs and stone walls warded off the heat that gets well over 100 degrees here in Summer. We fended off the slum dogs as we walked back to the bus and then enjoyed the slalom ride down the winding roads to the city below.
Now it is a series of commercial shops where every conceivable souvenir and product of Columbia is for sale. They followed people onto buses and into taxi cabs trying to coerce them into buying things.
He had been a Jesuit and the patron saint of the one million slaves who had been imported through the port of Cartegena. The monks still live on the top floors of the church., Various nuns stood mutely seeking donations to the churches charities. A few plaques of some naval vintage, some old sailing trophies and an anchor or two were her only signs of naval provenance. We waded through one last wave of slum dogs to get to the bus for a very welcome ride back to the Island Princess.
Hordes of other tour groups had descended upon the Horizons court for a late lunch, so we settled for a slice of pizza topside. We then walked topside to stretch our legs and enjoy the early evening air as the ship motored westward towards Panama. Off the bow of the ship, we could see a whole fleet of tanker ships who were waiting their turn to transit the canal eastwards towards the Caribbean. Thousands of lives had been lost to yellow fever and tropical diseases during its construction. The Panamanian Government had set up a huge warehouse of craft vendors, performing cultural groups and even a few taverns for visiting tourists. Wisps of clouds drifted amidst the steep mountain valleys giving the countryside a a€?Jurassic Parka€? appearance.
The coffee plantations needed 45 pounds of beans to yield 5 pounds of the countrya€™s highly prized coffee.
All had the stone river beds similar to those you see in Alaska, from heavy mountain runoffs. Colorful graffiti on some of the areas rocks and bridges was an expression of student opinions on the issues of the day. The cabin beckoned with a conversation with Ozzie Nelson.(nap) It was a nice routine we had going. We watched from our lofty perch as the ship slipped her lines and edged away from the James Bond Pier. Then we cleaned up for dinner and made our way to the wheel house lounge for a drink before dinner. Then we returned to our cabin to read ( Midnight Ramblera€?- James Swain )and surrender to the arms of Morpheus. I found Evelyn our maid and tipped her liberally, thanking her for taking cares of us these last 10 days.
They had a desert special today, tables laden with every imaginable sugar and chocolate coated confection. WE continued our task and got ready for our last dinner aboard in the Bordeaux Dining room. We then set the bags outside our cabin with the proper tags for pickup during the evening hours.
Porters were off loading the huge volumes of luggage, ships [personnel were pre[paring to unload one passenger complement and take on another. She is 964 feet long and 105 feet wide, She can carry 2368 passengers and a crew of 810 souls. Personally my favourite recipe is the Cranberry and Almond Balls – you know how you feel when you shouldn’t be eating something? With the years of experience and the thousands of hours of hands on creating we are in very safe hands.
So you can sit back and relax, isn't that what you really should be doing during this time anyhow? Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products. Small enough to fit in your pocket, with a battery that will last all day, the Sony will allow you to snap hundreds of shots and plenty of HD video without weighing you down.
This miniature media can hold just as much as the big guys, but it's small enough to fit into compact devices, such as the GoPro HERO3, some recent point-and-shoot cameras, and most Android smartphones.
The front compartment features something called a Joeya€”an integrated battery pack with a USB port, providing enough power to charge smartphones or other USB-powered gadgets up to three times. I'm not related to the guys in any way, and anything posted here is not mine, nor do I claim it to be mine in any way, unless stated otherwise.
There is aproximately 200 calories (minimum) in the drink, whereas diet coke has aproximately zero.Did you know you can gain ten pounds a year just by drinking one soda a day?
A plethora of research suggests that apples may help prevent several types of cancer, including colon, prostate and lung.
Americans who eat avocados have a healthier overall diet and get more essential nutrients than those who don’t eat the creamy green fruit, found a 2013 report. The combination of the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and the protein in almonds helps satisfy your appetite and curb overeating.
However, recent research suggests that it’s our intake of saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that contributes to heart disease. The Northwest and later, the Pacific Ocean were clouded from view as a massive front roared beneath us. Tiring, we headed back to the room to read, make some notes and surrender to the Hawaiian night.
The a€?Don Hoa€? style preacher had everyone singing God Bless America and other group songs. A list of the sailors and marines lost that day, in raise metal etchings, adorns one wall, with a plaque and several American and military flags. The sight of an entire fleet of attacking planes, on a warm Sunday morning, must have been surreal as the angry wasps spit fire and lead into the row of battleships at anchor.
In the words of a prescient Japanese Admiral, with their surprise attack, they a€?had awoken a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.a€? The conflict wasna€™t to end for four long years. The bus took us to a virtual a€?sea of luggagea€? and calmly suggested we a€?identify oursa€? for processing. Diamond Head, Waikiki beach and the other recognizable features of Oahu blended into the Ocean dark.
The informative bus driver gave us a running narration of the fauna and flora of the island as well as a cultural overlay that we found interesting.
I dona€™t know how true the story is, but it gave insight into the islanders endearing trait of not taking themselves too seriously.
The stone foundations of a a€?Russian Forta€? gave rise to another tale of Colonial treachery and Hawaiian retribution, swift and sudden. It was a beautiful day and we decided to walk from the port area to the nearby Sheraton hotel and beach area.
We sipped some passable Cabernet as the erose skyline of Nawiliwili harbor and Kauai faded into the setting sun. They can seat almost 90 people and are a bit removed from the old a€?lifeboatsa€? that ships used to carry. One can only speculate at all of the events, legal and foul, that must have transpired under its shelter.
Whale blubber and whale oil fueled the lamps of Europe and America during the 1800a€™s, until the advent of mass production of electricity. We had enjoyed this low-key, unhurried look at Maui, without the hustle and commotion of a guided tour. His grasp of plate tectonics, the mechanics of volcanic eruption and a score of other disciplines, involving agriculture, local flora and fauna and marine biology were not just superficially acquired. The actual volcano mouth was surrounded by succeedingly larger depressions that extended out further. The lava had the consistency of brittle tar that had frozen in wildly flowing waves of super heated rock. When the surface of a lava flow starts to cool, the molten lava often is still flowing beneath the surface. We had a leisurely breakfast on the balcony, watching the white caps of the blue sea swell and flow around the big shipa€™s wake.
We had brought our books with us and sat outside, on lounge chairs on the covered promenade deck. Four photographers were busy taking pictures of passengers in their tuxedos and evening wear. We breakfasted in the deck 14 Horizons Court and then sunned on the aft fantail of deck 12, enjoying the leisurely time to read, try a cooling dip in the small pool and generally laze about the deck. After the movie, I sent some e-mails into cyber space enjoying the novelty of transmitting from the middle of the ocean via satellite, something that would have been near impossible only a few years before. The performance was blocked some by clouds, but we watched it eagerly enjoying the light play of sun on water and sky as the day turned into night at sea in its daily magical performance. We smiled at the co-incidence and enjoyed another meal with these charming young people from London.
Even better, across the bay at a now abandoned similar anchorage, the area had been named Paris. After the show, Mary and I wandered topside to look at the full array of celestial beacons that adorned the heavens. Even the name conjured up visions of Polynesians in outrigger war canoes with the sound of drums resonating in the humid air. I dona€™t usually like lounge singers, but this engaging performer gave convincing renditions of Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Elvis Presley and a bevy of others, in a toe-tapping medley that left you smiling. W returned to our cabin to read (a€?Backspina€? Harlan Coben ), write up my notes and retire.
The bay in which we were anchored, and most of the visible island, once were ensconced firmly in the center on an ancient caldera of a volcano that had risen some 13,000 feet into the Polynesian sky. The sturdy vehicles were clean and comfortable with seat pads, not anywhere near as Spartan as the guides had warned us.
We drove by and admired Papaya, Banana, coconut and the famous breadfruit trees for which the HMS Bounty had come to the Society Island looking in the 1800a€™s. The tab was a respectable $500-$800 a night for those fortunate enough to be able to stay there.
Tongue in cheek, the guide explained that, like most social programs the program has those who used it unfairly. French is spoken on the island exclusively and French Polynesian Francs the currency of choice.. Rotui was already peaking out from the gray wisps of cloudy garlands capping its erose peak. The 53 square mile island, shaped like a butterfly, is a popular destination for upscale tourism. It had rained heavily a few hours before and the small rain puddles made the walk through the open field interesting. The a€?lipsticka€? tree had small fuzzy buds that when rubbed on lips or fingers had the same effect as rouge. Small bushes, with thin and wiry leaves, are carefully tended by laborers and then harvested for their sweet fruit. All high school students have to commute daily to Tahiti as well as many workers who commute daily. Then, Lobsters tails and a light parfait, all washed down with a Mondavi Merlot and decent coffee completed this wonderful dinner.
We could watch half a dozen freighters lading cargo, the men and forklifts scurrying here and there, noisy and busy at work.
The accounts they brought back electrified Europe enticing artists like Gauguin and adventurers of every type.
The missionarya€™s razed the several Marae (sacrificial altars) and brought the European version of a straight-laced version of an unforgiving deity.
A few hundred yards over sits the huge Ferry dock for the daily shuttles to Moorea, visible on the horizon, just 11 miles Northeast of Tahiti.
The Tahitians are religious about stopping for pedestrians crossing the street, but it is still proved to be an adventure.
We then walked down the main gallery of deck 7 and had some coffee in the small lounge outside of the restaurants.
Neon signs from the honk tonk clubs a€?Broadway,a€? a€?Manhattana€? and others vied for the club trade. She had just disgorged her previous passengers a few hours earlier and was making ready to house her new compliment. We watched in the bright sunshine as a virtual parade of these floating hotels glided out slowly into the Atlantic.
It was formal dress night for dinner and crowds of tuxedo clad passengers were already making their way to the Captaina€™s Cocktail party. We didna€™t know that the ships captain would be speaking in the three story atria outside the bar.
We had to change our watches an hour forward to meet the shift into a more eastern time zone.
We found the Art Auction on deck seven and watched for a time as the auctioneer explained the various paintings.
We could see the twinkling of running lights from the many oil tankers waiting in line offshore. The solitary statue to the long dead Queen sits atop a solitary pedestal at the center of the Park. On deck fourteen, we sat down to lunch with two Canadians from Niagara on the Lake,Ontario, a village just twenty miles from us in Amherst.
We watched the frenetic activity around the main pool for a time and then retreated to our cabin for a conversation with Ozzie Nelson. We walked topside to stretch our legs, enjoying our first look at the South American Coastline off Venezuela.
We could see the the recent forest of high rise condos that were springing up over Boca Grande a rounded point extending out from the harbor. The Don Lucho, one of those colorful and powerful harbor tugs was guiding us into a massive container port area of the harbor.
Each year, on the February Feast of the a€?Candelaria Virgin,a€? a procession of towns people carried an enormous statue of the Virgin, in a candle light procession on a gilded pallet, up these steep roads to the monastery above. The hall was filled with tourists watching authentic native dancers in colorful costumes entertain them with a lively Samba. We rode in comfort to the newer section of the city, Boca Grande and an upscale collection of shops. The city is interesting, alive with history and stories of struggle and intrigue from many nations fighting for wealth, nationhood and religious freedom. We said an enthusiastic good bye to the hordes of slum dog vendors and hoped never to return. We got off the ship and strolled through the booths that offered an eclectic array of trinkets and souvenirs for sale. Then, while topside we enjoyed a glass of cabernet as we watched the MSC Lyrica, berthed next to us, prepare to slip her lines and leave port.
A Crab and shrimp appetizer was followed by a wonderful mushroom soup, a garden salad, a delicious fresh water trout (sans le tete) and a sinful sacher torte, accompanied by a glass of cabernet.
It was the beginning of a day long narration of the countrya€™s history, geographical and social progress. Orchids, pineapples and a variety of other agricultural products make Costa Rica comparatively prosperous among her neighbors. The pineapples took 24 months to mature and had three distinct grades of quality depending on the amount of sugar in them at the time they were harvested. The area hosts over 800 species of bird life, free roaming jaguars, three toed sloths and a whole host of jungle fauna. Just North of the city, there is a substantial settlement of ex-patriate Americans attracted to the country's mild weather, political stability and relative affluence. Enormous in size and perfect round, they have a series of stories attached to them, some believable some not.
Costa Ricans have a long history of freedom of speech and use it often to express their displeasure on any issue they dona€™t agree with. We had a pleasant and wide ranging discussion of travel and touring with all of our dinner companions.
Later in the morning, we sat topside enjoying the hot sun and swimming in the cool waters of the main pool.
The constant chatter and restfulness of the aging viewers sitting around us gave us an early taste of watching television in a nursing home. She motored away from the beautiful beach and turquoise waters of Jamaica into the deeper blue of the Caribbean. We listened to a musical group and enjoyed the comings and goings of passengers headed to and from dinner.
Shrimp cocktail, lentil soup, King Crab legs and a black forest gateau (cake) made for an excellent repast. We found our luggage in the color coded section of the warehouse and then proceeded to the line for customs.
We walked topside to stretch our legs,A  enjoying our first look at the South American Coastline off Venezuela. And by feeding it only good quality ingredients, it is just a matter of time before your body resets. Using the United States Department of Agriculture site, let’s take a closer look at the different groups of the food pyramid. Wea€™ve selected the top 15A trip-improving gadgetsa€”from a video camera that documents underwater experiences to a battery-powered backpack that recharges phones. With a large sensor and a very capable lens, it can keep up with larger, more advanced models. At $275, it's a no-brainer accessory for your next ski trip or surfing adventure, and with dozens of available mounts, you can secure it to just about any surface.
Most microSD cards also ship with a full-size adapter, so you can use the card with cameras and other gadgets that accept the regular SD format, too.
It also keeps an eye on you overnight, tracking the number of hours you sleep and how many times you woke up.
If you're over the limit, you can move clothes and other items from one bag to another before you arrive at the airport, helping reduce wait times or stress on your wallet. There's also room for a 17-inch laptop, tablets, e-readers, and anything else you might bring. At a lowly 75 calories for one small apple, this tasty fruit packs a powerful nutritional punch with nearly 4 grams of fiber, plus vitamin C and high amounts of ursolic acid in the peel, which may help keep you slim.
Avocados are also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and—when compared in equal serving sizes—have 35% more potassium than bananas. In one study, researchers found that people eating a diet rich in almonds lost more weight than those on a high-carb diet with the same number of calories. One yolk mixed in with a few whites makes for a perfect breakfast omelet: An omelet made with 3 whole eggs is 234 calories, while one made with 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites is just 129 calories. Nieman Marcus, Nordstroma€™s, Macya€™s and many other toney shopping meccas lined the streets of the main boulevard. We also found out later that the sand had been imported from Australia due to a lack of white sand locally. You always think it will evaporate like some ephemeral bubble that will just go a€?popa€? and disappear. A small park area looked out across the channel to Ford Island, where the graceful white arch of the monument sat atop the sunken remains of the Battleship USS Arizona.
The rugged green mountains that split the island were just to the North of us, with gray garlands of fluffy clouds drifting across them.
The channel from Ford Island to Oahu is narrow and an entire fleet of ships was berthed here.
It was like an Arabian bazaar trying to search for our two black bags amidst a sea of hundreds of others.
Ozzie Nelson was paging me and we returned to the stateroom for a long afternoon nap, my favorite activity in the tropics. It was to be the first of twelve such meals that would impress us greatly and expand us measurably. The bus passed through Poi Pu, with its alley of mahogany and Eucalyptus trees that met overhead.
Some small shops and restaurants are clustered nearby, but the real attraction if the golden beach and the bright blue ocean. We had enjoyed our visit to the island, though we thought that a goodly supply of books would be needed for an extended stay here. Radiating outward are collections of small commercial shops, hawking the usual tourist wares, and several streets of small, neat homes.
It is a modern, tri-level shopping court of high priced shops like Versace, Ferragamo, Tiffany and Gucci. The Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt and Maui Ocean Shores are beautiful in their landscaped elegance. It gave us a softer look at a place that deserves to be further explored on another occasion.
It is these incidental meetings shipboard, either at dinner or casually, that much enhance the entire experience.
When you think of lava exploding all the way up through 31,000 feet of mountain, that makes for a degree of physical force that is hard for me to grasp. It was fascinating for me to look at this cone and realize that enough volcanic material had erupted from this aperture to create 4,000 sq. Off to the Southeast, visitors were warned from walking because the sulphur fumes could be toxic. The top layer of the flow had that crystalline diamond effect as the molten surface rock cooled and crystallized.
Our fellow park bears were munching at the sample a€?buffet linea€? like people who hadna€™t just consumed 1200 calories at the Volcano House. It was geriatrics row, god bless them for the gumption to be still traveling at an advanced age.
Tonight was the first a€?formal dinnera€? in the Florentine room and we wanted to be alert and enjoy the affair. It is a life speed gear that I am not much familiar with, but would like to experience more of it. It was a€?French Night.a€? I had escargot, French Onion Soup, Orange roughie and an apple tart with ice cream for desert. We returned to our cabin to shower and prep for dinner, much appreciating the splendor of our surroundings in juxtaposition to those available on Christmas Island. The Mondavi Merlot led us into squid and shrimp appetizers, Zuppa minestrone, swordfish griglia and then finally a delicate Tiremisu with good coffee. It had been a long day in which we had witnessed the span of events from first light to twinkling evening. We met Kevin and Laura Hanley in the deck 5 lounge, had coffee and got better acquainted, before entering the Florentine Room for another wonderful experience. The erose, emerald remains of an ancient volcano rose up in front of us, cloud shrouded, mysterious and tolkienesque in the early morning sun.
I had recognized the craggy skyline from a modern painting by an Italian artist named Freshcetti, I think.
When Brigitte Bardot, the French actress, had visited the islands, she took up their cause.
Almost instantly, a small army of these crabs crawled forth from their burrows and began dragging the fruit and peels back into their holes. The Bora Borans called these homes, the French equivalent of a€?re-election homesa€? for the propensity of mayors to award these homes to certain favored islanders during re-election years.
We cooled off from the sun and then decided to walk the roads for a bit to see what local culture we could absorb. For reasons, unknown to me, the sun sets earlier here, by some 45 minutes, than in the Northern climes. We walked topside to once again admire the stars emblazoned across the inky night of these former Society Island in French Polynesia, glad that we were here and together. A dozen or so of the huge, air-conditioned land cruisers were waiting their aging cargos for the daya€™s tours. Many of the island women wore it in place of costlier lipstick, hence the name of the tree. These sacrifices are laced through the Hawaiian legends as part of the reason the ancient Hawaiians had fled the harsher culture of Bora Bora and Moorea. This island is the most beautiful in the chain and the one we would most like to return to. That was something we will long remember during the cold and snowy Winters of our home in the frosty northern climes. Then, we stood nearby eating our sandwiches under the protective shade of a large Monkey pod tree. Colorful cotton sarongs, flowered garlands and other bright pastels adorned these handsome people.
We had agreed to have dinner with Jazz and Janice, from London, this evening and met them in the lounge. The river of cars left a trail of red taillights flashing in the dark, as they rounded the bend towards the air port. We checked into the busy hotel and signed up for a shuttle to the Port Everglades Terminal several miles away.($16 rt) A crowd of cruisers, bound for many ships, was already milling about the lobby. I bet that that was going to be one week-long party.We were dropped off at the Princess Terminal where we checked in for our ten day cruise aboard the Island Princess. Holland, Celebrity, Costa and another Princess ship slid out before us amidst cheers and waves from boating traffic and other passengers. Usually the entire shipa€™s crew is introduced at these affairs and awful champagne is served. We settled in with three Indian Couples and chatted with them enjoying the mix of cultural diversity. We noticed a few empty store fronts along the main drag and wondered if the recession was hitting so affluent an island like Aruba. We then retreated to our room and enjoyed a glass of Cabernet and some cheese on our balcony.


Then, we sat back and enjoyed an eight ounce Lobster tail, scallops and a to die for chocolate cake. Maersk, from Germany, is the container company presiding over the rows of stacked metal containers. We were in Columbiaa€™s Summer Season(Nov.- April) The other wet season ran six months and drowned everything in hot steamy rain. Germon pointed out the Monument of the a€?Two Shoes.a€? It is a bronze memorial to Colombian Poet Carlos Lopez, whose most famous work is of that name. The procession stops at each of the twelve stations of the cross erected along the winding road. She has a Pocahontas type of history in Columbia and the casting looked suspiciously like one of Pocahontas in the Virginia area. We wandered through a few shops eyeing the statues of Catalina, native carvings, tee shirts and other things on sale.
We sat and enjoyed a Colombian beer called Aguilla and appreciated them for their artistry as well. It is of interest, but until the local authorities reign in these slum dog vendors, give it a wide berth. The ship was swaying like a hog in a wallow on the run through the narrow harbor entrance and then we were free in deep water. We had an interesting and enjoyable dinner with them talking about their professions and ours. The Princess picked up her Panama Canal Pilot and gingerly made her way into the entrance to the Canal near Cristobal, Panama. Each of the twin sets of parallel locks is essential a concrete box 100a€™ long by 106 feet wide and 40 feet deep. On the other side of Lake Gatun are a series of three more locks that gradually lower ships the 85 feet back down to the level of the Pacific at Panamaa€™s capital, Panama City.
You could look down the three locks from the lofty height of the ships top deck and get a sense of the distance in elevation that the ship needed to descend. Several of the booths were manned by indigenous peasants wearing grass skirts and nothing else. Native Indians had mixed with the Spanish, a sizable number of Chinese, who had been imported in the late 1800a€™s to build a rail road and a large population of Jamaicans, who themselves are a varied mix of peoples.
The central portion of the country is mountainous with peaks rising to three 8,000 foot range. The highway we were on runs from coast to coast, from Limon to Punta Reinas, and is sometimes called the a€?dry canal,a€? comparing it to the Panama Canal.
Though attractive to look at, one would not want to have to walk through these lush green jungles without being armed with a knowledge of them and sufficient armaments to fend off whatever came at you in the wild. Salaries are good here and workers pay a 9% social security tax so that they can retire at age 68 with good old age pensions. We thanked our guide an driver and tipped them liberally for their wonderful days experience. We returned to the cabin to read ( Brass Verdict- Michael Connelly ) and surrender to the sandman.
We made our way to the Princess Cocktail lounge and sat with almost 900 other Captaina€™s Circle members for a free drink and a short speech by the cruise director.
The ship set a course for the Northwest headed for the narrow straits between Haiti and Cuba. We sat with a younger couple from North Carolina and shared stories with them of their coastal area, where we had spent many vacations. The great thing about this is that I can eat them, and I don’t need to feel guilty anymore. Whether youa€™re headed out on a beach vacation or a city escape, these accessories will help you get the most out of your next adventure.
In fact, due to Greek yogurt’s extremely low lactose levels, many people who normally have trouble digesting dairy can easily stomach Greek yogurt.
They’re loaded with calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12, and contain vitamins A, D and E, all in one egg. We checked in at Continental Airlines and then went through the security screens to gate #22 to await our flight eastward, to Newark airport in New Jersey.
Over 1,200 men were still entombed in the sunken wreck and the site was treated respectfully as a burial ground.
Missouri, a€?Mighty Mo.a€? She and the submarine a€?Blowfina€? are anchored just around a bend in the lagoon and are available for boarding and viewing to the public. The driver noted several times the 1893 takeover of the Hawaiian republic by British and American military. Nihau still lies in the hands of Mrs.a€™ Sinclaira€™s grandsons, the Gay and Robinson Company, who also own about one third of Kauai. We sat for a time under a shade tree and watched the ocean crash against the shore on a golden day in Kauai.
When the waves are choppy, the boat can rise and sink several feel, in an instant, making getting on and off interesting, especially for the older folks on board. We browsed some shops for a bit and then hopped a cab to nearby a€?Whalera€™s Villagea€? on Ka'anapali beach. We stopped at the Marriott for coffee on the ocean and watched the comings and goings of the many vacationers.
It looked like Dantea€™s version of the nether regions and it held us spell bound at the raw power and energy contained in the process.
The super heated gases, just above the molten rock, further molded and carved the area until a fairly smooth rock tunnel is created through which the lava can flow like tooth paste through a tube. We enjoyed the sea, sky and harsh lava for a time and then set off back across the fractured flow for our bus. We wished them a good evening and returned to our cabin to read and finish yet another lazy and enjoyable day at sea. I wondered at the ancient mariners who had sailed these lonely seas for thousands of years using these same beacons as their maps. Dawn Princess had crossed the equator several hours before, so we were watching our first sunrise on the Pacific Ocean and in the Southern Hemisphere. We were even treated to the fabled a€?green flasha€? as the sun sank beneath the waves and hissed as it hit the cool waters. I can die happily now, I have had everything wonderful that I ever wanted to eat on this cruise. We had enjoyed the day and each other to the fullest, in the South Pacific, enroute to Bora Bora and Tahiti. We had breakfast on the balcony and enjoyed the sea air, the azure blue sky and the rolling, royal blue waves around us, We were steaming south at 19 knots and fast approaching Polynesia. In the old days I think they used to throw first time crossers over board for the novelty of the rite. We would pay for these extravaganzas with a few zillion hours in the health club for the next few months. From the high deck of the Dawn Princess, it looked like we were entering one of those mysterious isles that you see in King Kong or Jurassic Park. This particular erose formation had probably fed the imagination of a thousand painters and artists over the centuries.
Bora Bora has several large and very posh hotels that cater to the carriage trade form all over.
The women vendors gave demonstrations of how they dyed the colorful garments in a process similar to a€?Batika€? in the Caribbean..
The homes looked prosperous enough, with their stucco walls and tin roofs, used to catch the rainwater.
Then we retired to our cabin to read for a time and fall into the arms of Morpheus at sea off Bora Bora. The temple area had fallen into disrepair, but a small grass-roofed hut and some printed information boards filled in the blanks. We had just last year seen a Gauguin collection at New Yorka€™s Metropolitan Museum and yet another small collection at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
The second floor is filled with scores of small vendors peddling what we lovingly called a€?Le Jonk.a€? Sarongs, bead necklaces, carved figures of marine life, Tahitian gods and all manner of jewelry, tee shirts and other sundries, that gladden a shoppera€™s heart, are on display.
They share that warm and gracious charm that we had experienced and enjoyed from their Hawaiian cousins.
It is a custom we had much enjoyed in Paris and Firenze, walking about a crowded square with a sandwich and bottle of water, enjoying your busy surroundings. We watched for a time, admiring the pomp of the ceremony, whatever it was.a€? a€?Department de Francea€? shined out from a brass plaque on the lanai wall.
We watched the huge car ferry and the smaller catamaran from Moorea glide by our ship for their mooring across the bay. A glass of cabernet, shrimp and scallops appetizer, crab soup, Mahi Mahi entree and a chocolate cake al a orange made for another exquisite repast. How you could eat a fourth meal, after consuming about 4,000 calories earlier in the day was a mystery to us. Our Guide, a€? Germona€? introduced himself to us and gave us labels with his name on them for wearing on the tour. If you made eye contact or responded to them in any way they were on you like flies on doo doo, Ignore them and walk eyes straight ahead no matter how much they pester you. Narrow tunnels traversed the fortress walls where powder and shot monkeys carried the cannon fodder. It was hot and humid out and we enjoyed the shade and cool of the stone buildings for a brief respite.
Colorfully dressed women in local garb, with bunches of bananas on their heads,demanded payment to have pictures taken with them. No one should have to put up with this kind of intimidating and obnoxious harassment just for visiting. On either side of the canal, a 15 mile wide Canal Zone had been left natural and undeveloped. They did horse trade, with bargaining offers for their goods, but never once were insistent or unpleasant. It made for a melange of cultures and a gentler nature where all races and creeds are more readily accepted.
Her Capital, San Jose lies in a mountain Valley in the center of the country at the 5,000 ft. The low slung stone building now houses a collection of gold, jewelry and many artifacts from the the areas past. We sat with Richard and Ann Brown, from Brighton England, whom we had formerly met on the cruise. Hundreds of her passengers and ours waved back and forth to the European chant of a€?Ole, Ole Ole,a€? It was a nice tradition of tour ships at departure. A Glass of cabernet was joined with oysters in a cheese sauce, crab bisque, seafood gumbo and a chocolate fudge cake.
The great ship pointed her nose at the anchorage, at at perpendicular angle, and then let her port side thrusters gently ease her sideways into her anchorage.
We returned to our cabin to read fort a time and surrender to a late morning conversation with Ozzie Nelson.
I guess the old goat Fidel still was paranoid that a bunch of tourists might invade his space. We stood for 30 minutes while an agent talked with them The unlucky passengers in the line behind us grumbled loudly.
We walked the stairs to the Baja Deck and found our stateroom ( B-415).A  It was clean and ready for us with a nice balcony facing out to sea. It was too windy to keep our balance so we walked down to the deck seven covered walkway and completed our laps for an hour. The surreal experience ended gradually as the tender ferried us back to the reception center. The natives, in relating the destruction of the monarchy have that mildly pissed off attitude that you hear when native Americans talk about how their lands were stolen from them. Then we walked them through a line to run them through a huge x-ray scanner for transport to the ship. The hunger monster was calling so we ventured forth to the buffet lunch on deck 14, The Horizon court. It freed you from the fear of being stuck with morons and cretins for dinner during the entire cruise, an experience we had already suffered thorough on an earlier cruise.
It was to be a medley of nationalities that had me speaking Polish, Tagalog, Spanish, French, Italian and mumbling bits of Rumanian and Hungarian.
Here, the wave erosion had formed several a€?blow holesa€? where the seawater exploded from fissures in the rocks as each wave crashed upon them. Hard drinking, hard living and men who had been at sea for a year had their effect on the local populace both in terms of quality of life and gene pool additions. We browsed the shops for a time and then discovered a small whaling museum on the second level. Inside are displays explaining measurement of earthquakes, pre volcanic expansion and scores of other details relating to volcanoes. Grasses and scrub trees had already started to cover the rock, attesting to its rich mineral content.
We walked the damp tunnel and were mindful of the heat and energy that had created this natural wonder.
The lunch was middling to poor, a€?slop the hogsa€? variety, and the place was crowded to the gunnels with tourists from everywhere. We didna€™t want to waste the lethargy so we repaired to our cabin for a delicious one-hour conversation with Mr. A humorous Hungarian waiter gave a knowledgeable and entertaining lesson on appreciating and purchasing Pinot Grigio, Fiume Blanc, Shiraz, a Mondavi coastal Merlot and Korbel champagne. We put aside our glass slippers and magical robes and surrendered to the sandman, happy to be here and with each other, someplace at sea in the vast pacific.
The Dawn Princess proceeded South at a brisk 19 knot pace and we could espy nothing around us except for sky, wind and wave. The dining experience was delicious and consistent with the other elegant repasts we had enjoyed aboard the Dawn Princess.
They must have gazed in wonder, even as we now did, at the full array of twinkling beauty that we now admired. We saw and talked to Kevin and Laura Hanley, a couple from Maywood New Jersey, whom we had met on the ship.
I would never have thought of myself on a cruise like this, growing up in a working class section of Buffalo, New York. But, it is worth it three-fold for the pleasure that we experienced in this 5 star dining emporium.
The scent, on the ocean breeze, was pregnant with the healthy rot of tropical jungle just tweaking our nostrils. The Southern Hemisphere star show rose on the horizon and we looked up at these strange constellations for a time before heading back to our cabin to shower and prepare for dinner.
English seems to be spoken by workers in the tourist industry, but is neither known nor spoken by most of the populace. We were confirmed admirera€™s of this artista€™s brilliantly colored renditions of Tahiti and her people. We browsed the shops, bought some bead necklaces for a few of the kids at home and enjoyed the color and commerce of a real market place.
On the grounds of L'hotel de ville sits a large open-aired hut with a brown grass roof upon the large structure. It was the ships signal to a€?man the life boats.a€? The Crew explained emergency procedures to us and where we would board our lifeboats should the need arise. As we chatted for a bit with a couple from Chicago and enjoyed the chance encounter, the great ship let go her lines and began to mortor away from the dock. Scores of tuxedo clad passengers, their wives in evening gowns drifted by the broad walkway outside the bar. We listened to the music for a time, enjoying the evening at sea off the South American Coast.
We would also see several thousand smaller replicas of her for sale in the small shops we were to visit.
Then, we walked along the shoreline to a stone plaza facing the ocean., The cool ocean breeze felt wonderful and there were no slumdogs here. Then, three small gauge rail engines, on either side of the vessels, affix metal hausers to guide the ship through each lock. The entire ship broke into cheers as one last young passenger sprinted to the gangway and made her way aboard, seconds before they shipped the gangway and sealed the doors. Hanging from their limbs, the banana bunches are encased in blue plastic bags to promote moisture retention and growth. I think the U.S, Customs could do a better job than this when 2300 passengers were all disembarking in a short period. They would ferry her guests out to a private beach along the shore.A  This place is tres elegant. You can still see the large circular bases of the massive gun turrets rising just above the surface. The Arizona, the West Virginia, the Oklahoma and the California all were caught in the initial barrage and either exploded or sunk.
But the memories have followed me home from that haunting place in the beautiful Hawaiian sun.
Maybe they too will discover the notion of gambling casinos and how they can fleece their lands back from us someday. We had a nice medley of shrimp, salmon and fruit for lunch as we took stock of our surroundings. First though, we headed for the Vista Lounge on deck 7 with our large orange life jackets for the mandatory lifeboat drill. If you were topside, you were at the furthest end of the pendulum and felt the full range of the sway. This particular formation was called the a€?spouting horna€? for the noise and spray that exploded from it. Harpoons, scrimshaw (carved whale bone) abounded in small exhibits that told you everything you would ever want to know about whale blubber, whaling and the industry that surrounded it. Golf courses, shopping, trendy restaurants and the finest white sand, that California could supply, make Ka€™anapali beach a comfortable and elegant escape from the everyday grind. Kilauea about 11 miles from and below us, but it was too difficult to get us safely near enough to view the phenomenon. At the other end of the tunnel, we ascended a few sets of stairs and the hiked through the dense tropical rain forest to our bus, admiring the many varieties of plants and flowers everywhere around us. We finished quickly, browsed the cheap souvenir shops and then did a a€?Chevy Chasea€? outside looking at the scenery, before boarding the land cruiser to continue the tour. We chatted with Marty Bleckstein, the photographer from Maui, as we watched this spectacle and enjoyed her company. We read for a bit before drifting off to the roll of the ship-plowing forward, ever forward, to our exotic destination. It apparently has great medicinal effects but had a malodorous side effect that wrinkles the nose.
The traffic was both swift and steady as we walked the roads with their too narrow shoulders. Reportedly, the islander who owns the land you walk across to get there, charges a $2 levy on anyone crossing his land, capitalism in the tropics.
Moorea is a gorgeous arboretum and botanical gardens that is a pleasure just to ride through and enjoy.
We had also hoped to see the spectacular black sand beach and lighthouse at Point Venus, the Vaima Pearl Center and a few of the waterfalls cascading from Mt. We relaxed and enjoyed a memorable evening, drinking to the health of Terry and Suzie Landry who had sent us this thoughtful gift. We dressed for the day and walked topside, watching the dark mass of Columbia off to our port side. We viewed religious relics, a statues of the Virgin and even and ancient depiction of devil worship. Some of the pre Colombian stone furniture and carvings were over 2,000 years old, bespeaking a sophisticated culture that had flourished here long before the Europeans arrived. We had been on theA  Dawn and Coral Princess ships before,A  so the layout was familiar to us.
Another massive assault, by the English General Vernon in 1711, with 100 ships and 20,000 soldiers failed miserably due to inclement weather and tropical diseases. Most of the rest of the ship is an indefinite mass that lies below, a sepulcher to those who went down with her. Lastly, we walked through yet another line to pick up our cruise credentials and be scanned and have our carry ons searched yet again before walking up the gangway to the ship. This ship was to be at sea for twelve days in stretches of the Pacific where even the birds didna€™t fly.
We watched for a time as the frothy turquoise sea crashed upon the eroded black lava formation. I sent some e-mails into cyber space from the 12th floor business center and Mary did some laundry in a small area near our room. The surfers, divers and swimmers enjoyed their recreation while the sunbathers reveled in the warm hot Hawaiian sun. The fissure here were more brittle, like shattered pottery in a huge black piles of hardened tar. We all posed for various pictures and decided to join each other for dinner in the Florentine room. We then sunned on the aft section of deck 11, enjoying the steaming morning sun on our bodies.
The natives say that as a reminder, the soldiers had left behind 100 children of mixed parentage. The guide pointed out that all islanders who pass on are buried under small, roofed tombs in their front yards. Small clumps of people would stand and talk animatedly under the shade of a tree or that of a buildinga€™s awning. A filet of salmon and baked Alaska for desert was all washed down with some decent cabernet.
When the ship is completely within the lock, two large gate way doors swing shut from recessed niches in the canal walls. A taxi cab ferried us the short few miles to the Spring Hill Suites where we had left our car. An armor-piercing bomb, from a Japanese dive-bomber, had pierced her forward magazine.The ship virtually exploded and sank in minutes on that fiery Sunday morning 62 years ago. We all paid attention to the crews explanation in the proper use of the jackets and tenders should an emergency arise. We were tongue in cheek cautioned about removing lava samples, because Pele would bring us bad luck. Luckily for us, the rains had stopped for a few minutes to allow us this walk through the lava. It is these chance encounters with people from everywhere that make the cruise experience so enjoyable.
I can now empathize with turtles and crocodiles for the languid pleasure of basking in the warm sun. They were an improbable pair that had been married for 26 years and they got along famously. It was nearing the end of the steamy summer season here (Dec.-April) The Spring season is reportedly much cooler.
They waved shyly back at us and returned our greeting with a soft a€?bonjoura€? before scurrying away.
Water is then pumped into the cement lock raising the ship 26 feet at a time to the level of the next lock. To the haunting strains of an Andrea Boccelli aria, the ship slid from her ways and began to exit the harbor.
The woman is well educated and a veritable font of cultural, geographic and social information on Costa Rica and her peoples. In each pod, were rows of tiny lady finger bananas that would mature in different stages for a year round harvest. It had a walker, with a red line though it, apparently warning people from walking across lava that had not yet cooled and risk being burned alive. A refreshing dip in the small pool, in the health spa, felt wonderfully cooling after the 88-degree heat. We enjoyed chatting with the London kids this last time and were pleased that we had met them.
We sat there with our bright orange cork vests complete with light and whistle and thought about what we would do should the need ever arise. Container ships and all manner of commercial cargo vessels were stacked up along the horizon awaiting their turn to transit the canal. Burning oil, smoke, noise and confusion reigned for several hours that day until the attack ended.
I was enduring a bad head cold or I would have tried to mitigate the caloric onslaught as well.
This light wine immediately took on a much fruitier and fuller taste to some chemical transfer or other. We didna€™t think it odd to see the well-tended graves in the front yards of the prosperous looking homes.
The local school had let out for lunch and the kids were walking the roads like kids everywhere.
They had an early flight out tomorrow morning and a lay over in Los Angeles, before the long flight back to Heathrow in London. We had shared the experience with Lynn and her father Peter from London and two Torontonians, Judy and Paul.
We also neither saw nor encountered beggars or pan handlers of any kind during our stay on the island.
Inside, several bars and galleries led to the central three story, open well that extends from deck 5 to deck 8. A huge waterfall, far in the distance, gave testimony to the force of the winds this high up.
The shipa€™s two formal restaurants, several boutiques, the casino and other small cafes all opened off of this central court. It is resplendent in gleaming glass and shining brass with marble staircases and open glass elevators.
We did our a€?Chevy Chasea€? and appreciated the beauty of the a€?Grand Canyon of the Pacifica€? as Mark Twain had once called it.



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