Sunday, November 28, 2010

Costa Rica...

While Jeannie and Jo have gone on an excursion to a coffee plantation, I have elected to stay on the ship so that I can watch the Bears game.

Here are some random photos from this past week.

In my search for medication for my eye, Jeannie and I took a can to the Wal-Mart in Cabo.

It was large, but oddly arranged. They did sell cactus there though.

In Acapulco, Jeannie had a crazy breakfast.

We're still not sure what it was, but Jeannie loved it.

In Guatemala Jeannie, Jo and I went to a hotel for breakfast and a dip in the pool. I forgot my swim trunks so the day was spent relaxing and cruising the Internet on some shaky wi-fi.

One of the great things about the port in Guatemala is that there are tortilla stands by the road everywhere you go.

Usually it's manned by a 14 year old girl. She builds a volcano if corn and flour and forms a flat pancake on the large, wood burning, stone skillet.

We're always in a hurry to get back to the ship so we never stop to buy them. Next time we're there, we're definitely stopping.

We have 2 sea days coming up before we get to Cartagena. We've observed some very odd behavior from some of the passengers so I imagine I'll probably be sharing those stories in the next couple of days.

Go Bears!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Mexico...

We're in lovely Hualtuco for Thanksgiving.

We're only here for a few hours in the morning, which is fine with me. While I love Hualtuco, I really want to have turkey on the ship and then spend the afternoon watching football.

We did get some Christmas shopping done while we're here. Now, we're at a little cafe doing some Internet and having a coffee and juice.

While most everyone else is at the gazebo in the center of the park clogging up each others bandwith, Jeannie and are all alone in an upstairs cafe zipping across the world wide web.

Normally I wouldn't reveal such a great hidden spot, but this is a sweet little place that deserves more business.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Disaster...

Another movie disaster.  This time in Acapulco.

After we had such a nice time at the theater last week we decided to go again so that we could see the new Harry Potter movie.  Big mistake.

Apparently, school gets out at noon today here and the theater had about 30 high schoolers inside who talked and laughed and called each other on their phones throughout the whole movie.

Also, the projectionist threaded the film incorrectly and there were two gigantic green scratch lines through the center of the screen through most of the film.

Bad news.  Very frustrating.

It was a slumber party in there.

On the bright side, the popcorn and Diet Coke were extremely good.  Also, I was able to get my prescription for my eye medicine at a shady looking pharmacy next  to the mall.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


We had an "up" and "down" weekend.

We were given the opportunity to have an overnight so Jeannie and I took advantage so we could see some friends.  

Unfortunately, the trip started off "down" because the LA port  officers took forever to disembark the passengers.  We couldn't get off until they did.  We were supposed to leave around 10am, but didn't get off until around 3pm.  
Oh, so frustrating.

We finally got off the ship and went to get our rental car.  For some reason, they gave us a free upgrade to this:
The Camero from Transformers.  Big "up".

We hadn't eaten all day so we stopped off and got an In And Out Burger.
Huge "up".
We drove through two hours of LA traffic ("down") and went to visit my best friend, Mike Loeffelholz, his wife Melissa and their two kids, Gracie and Lucy.  "Up"!
Gracie won student of the month at her school so celebrated by going to Menchie's.  We haven't had Menchie's Frozen Yogurt since we left Hawaii so we were really excited.  "Up."
We spent the night laughing and telling stories and relaxing.  It was an awesome time.  I wish we could hang out with them every week when we get into port.

Around 8pm my right eye started to give me a little trouble.  I have had some problems with it for two weeks so I stopped wearing my contacts for awhile.  Friday was the first time I'd worn my contacts in a long time.  

By 10pm I felt like my eye was going to pop out of my head.  "Down", "down", "down".
I put some drops in my head and went to sleep, hoping it would be better in the morning.  Jeannie and I woke up early so I could drive her around to see some of the Hollywood sights, since it was the first time she'd been there.
I took her to see the handprints and stars on Hollywood Blvd.  "up".
After that, I had a meeting in Beverly Hills so we drove over there early with the hopes that I might be able to find an optometrist to look at my eye.  Miraculously, we found one and they took me in immediately in front of her other appointments so that I could get to my meeting on time.  

Turns out, I've had an eye infection for the past three weeks.  I got it when we went swimming in the ocean in Tortola.  The optometrist told me that people should not ever wear contacts when they go into the ocean because it's easy to get infections trapped behind your lenses.  I'd never heard that before.  

She said my infection was very bad and gave me some high powered drops to put in my eye.  Infection=down.  Medicine and the doctor=up.

After that, had a great meeting and headed back to the ship.  We were running short of time so we weren't able to run any errands or supplies, but it was really a great couple of days.  We had a great time talking to old and new friends.  Overall, it was a big "up" for the weekend.

Immediately upon arriving back to the ship I discovered my X-Box is broken.  Big, big, big "down".

On the "up" side though, we're headed to Mexico!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We're in lovely Cabo, San Lucas.

It's our second time coming here, but the last time we were in Cabo was so long ago.

In 2 days we'll be in Los Angeles. We'll actually have an overnight there, which will be soooo nice. It'll give us a chance to visit with some friends we haven't seen in awhile.

For those of you wondering if we so a movie last week, we did indeed.

The ticket price for the movie was $3 USD!

My XL Diet Coke and Medium popcorn were $5 USD!

That's right, $8 total for a movie and snacks. I felt like I had time warped back to 1982. $8 barely gets you through the doors in Chicago.

They had a few movies that were in English with Spanish subtitles.

Here were our choices:

We went with Atracion Peligrosa, which somehow means The Town, starring Ben Affleck.

It was nice and relaxing to sit back in a cool theater and watch a movie. I couldn't help but read the subtitles as I watched. Vamos means a lot in English. It seemed like Ben Affleck was always telling people to Vamos.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, November 15, 2010


We've been in Mexico for the past couple of days. Yesterday we were in Hualtuco, today we're in Acapulco.

We really love Mexico. It's so casual and comfortable and the people are really nice. Not to mention that the food is really outstanding.

Last time we were in Hualtuco we made friends with a nice lady who worked at a resort. She invited us back to visit her whenever we are in town.

We walked a long way in the blistering heat, but it was worth it.

The pool was cold, but it's gorgeous. The tiles on the bottom are designed in the form of flowers.

It was a nice relaxing day in Hualtuco. The Internet was fast enough that I could watch the Bears game on my laptop. A great day was made even better by the fact that they trounced the Vikings. Phew!

This morning we headed out early in Acapulco. Jeannie and I got breakfast at a little place called Palacio.

For $5 I got this delicious meal.

Breakfast Tacos cheese, chicken and eggs, covered with bean sauce and topped with chorizo and cheese. $5!

Jeannie was excited to get Pozole.

It's not really a breakfast food, but Jeannie saw it in the window and couldn't resist. She used to have it all the time with her family and it made her feel like she was at home.

This afternoon we're going to the movies. There's a theater here that shows the movie in English with Spanish subtitles.

Right now, the only movie we see that we recognize is Jackass 3D.


Hopefully we'll find something in English that is a little more substantial.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Costa Rica...

On Thursday Jeannie, Jo and I took an excursion in Costa Rica.

We got up bright and early at 6am and got on a bus that took us to a train. The train drove us up into the hills of Western Costa Rica.

It was a delightful trip.

We really got a unique chance to see the countryside and all kinds of tiny villages.

Each time we passed through a village all the children would run outside to wave to the train. It was very cute.

At one point the train stopped next to a mountain and we heard all kinds of noise above us. We looked out our windows and there were a dozen Howler Monkey's jumping around in the trees above us.

They were really close, but for some reason, it was difficult to get any pictures of them. None of the pictures came out where you can see them very well.

When the train ride was finished a bus then took us further inland to the Tacares River.
There, we got in a small boat that took us upstream through a pretty strong current. All along the way we saw crocodiles resting on the banks of the river.

We pulled up to a sandbar and the captain of our boat hopped out. He walked to the edge and stood for a couple of seconds. Upon seeing him, a seven foot crocodile slinked out of the water and slivered up next to him.

Jeannie was terrified of the crocodiles. She almost didn't come on the excursion because she knew we were going to see crocodiles. When that big crocodile walked up onto the sandbar I thought Jeannie was going to jump out of her skin. She jumped out of her seat and immediately backed up to the rear of the boat.

After a few moments I was able to coax her to the seat closest to the the crocodile.
We pulled away from the sandbar and the crocodile eased himself back into the water.

We turned the boat around and floated down the river. We passed by a couple dozen crocodiles and numerous jungle birds.
The more crocodiles we saw, the calmer Jeannie got. She became less and less afraid and more and more intrigued.

When the boat ride was over we headed to the hospitality tent where they had a great collection of pineapple, watermelon and Costa Rican bananas.

Awesome Jungle Day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Panama Canal...

We took another spin through the Panama Canal yesterday.

Since we went through the Canal a few weeks ago I didn't think I would be too excited about going through it again, but I was.

I enjoyed it this time around almost as much as I did the first time. That may be due to the fact that I finished up reading David McCullough's book The Path Between The Seas as we were going through the Canal. It gave me chill to realize that we were sailing through the Calebra Cut as we were sailing through the Calebra Cut.

As we slide across the glassy fresh water canal, a new preoccupation has taken over the passengers. No longer are they looking for whales. They're straining their eyes, scanning the waters in search of crocodiles!

Any ripple in the water has everyone running to the rails looking for crocs.

I haven't seen any yet, so I don't believe anyone's really seen them.

One final thing about the Panama Canal is that we do a scene in our Stardust Mainstage show called Pictionary. I have done this scene off and on for 2 years. Each time I do it I do a little joke about the Panama Canal. It's a throw away line and it always gets a nice little chuckle from the audience. Well, we did our Stardust show on Monday evening and I did the Panama Canal and it almost brought the house down.

2 years of crafting and nurturing this little joke and it finally paid off!

I probably should shoot it and put it out of it's misery now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cartagena, 2nd visit...

We're once again in Cartagena, Columbia, South America.

I always write the South America designation because it's still startling to me that we're down here.

I have to say, Cartagena is absolutely my favorite place that we have visited on these ships.  It's even higher on my list than Curacao.

This city is so beautiful and historic.

Last time we were here it was a holiday so it was pretty deserted.  This time, it was busy and lively and everything was open.

There's lots of street vendors in the old city.  We stopped off at a stand that had odd looking object inside of large jars.  For a$1 we were able to pick out 3 different items.
Turns out they were fudge and caramel and coconut treats.
Jeannie and Jo then stopped off and bought some Columbian coffee and one of the stands.
The guy carried around all the coffee in large mugs.  It was scalding hot.

We wandered around through the streets of the old city for awhile and visited several shops.  One of the things we really love is the gigantic doors at the entrance to every building.  Most open into courtyards that take you to other buildings and shops and dwellings.  There is always a second door inside the larger door and often it's the only thing open.  When the small doors are open we often see little kids sitting inside of them.
So cute.

We stopped at a bookstore and a man, seeing my Bears t-shirt, asked me if I was from Chicago.  He pointed to his computer where he was watching the highlights from yesterdays Bears game vs. Buffalo.

I talked to him for awhile.  He was an older white haired gentleman who had moved down to Cartagena from Chicago 20 years ago.  He has satellite TV so he still watches all the Chicago sports teams.  I looked at him and thought, if I moved to Colombia right now, in 20 years, I would be him.

After the bookstore we found a fruit stand where the woman had the reddest watermelons I've ever seen.  Jo bypassed the watermelon and bought the fresh mango.
Before the woman handed it to her, she sprinkled salt and lime on the mango.

We found a restaurant just outside the walled city and enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal of breaded sea bass, plantain pancakes and coconut rice.
The breaded sea bass was not breaded in flour, it was a thin crust of parmesan cheese.  It was outstanding.  The real coup is the coconut rice.
I've done a little bit of research and discovered that almost all the rice served here is cooked in coconut milk.  Again, it's outstanding.
We come to Cartagena 3 more times on this contract.  I can't wait until we come back.