My View by Sandra

and other stuff . . .

Day 10 – Hawaii Cruise – at sea day

Uneventful, but relaxing and fun. Had a good breakfast buffet and sat on deck with my computer while eating and people watching. We have clouds and it’s windy, but on a cruise, who cares? I’d love to swim more but there is so much chlorine in the water, it’s hard to survive. I did get some goggles, but just the picture of me in a bathing suit wearing goggles is a picture that not many want to see. Trust me.

I went to the casino for a little while but was lucky enough to get one that paid and paid and paid some more. It was so nice to spend an afternoon where I used the casino’s money and not my own. Did not win a car or a fortune, but it was fun. Met some interesting people as I sat there.

Formal dining tonight. Donna and I dressed up and went to dinner. Lovely. Our dinner partners tonight were from Nebraska, Washington state and Canada. Food was delicious, as always.

After dinner I got my camera and walked all over the ship taking pictures. Everyone was watching shows and doing other things so it was nice and peaceful. It was also horribly windy out on the upper decks. I wanted to get a picture of the huge lighted Christmas tree up on the top of the ship. I just had a little section of deck to go but the wind was so bad, I was afraid I’d get blown overboard. I was in my good clothes so definitely didn’t want that.

I came back to the room and spent the rest of the evening sitting out on the balcony. It was gorgeous.

Donna had gone to a show and said that the two couples next to her got into a fight and spilled a drink all over her arm. Today’s youth? No, two old men dressed up in their suits and tuxedos fighting over who was going to sit where. Sorry I missed THAT show.

Rainbow from our balcony

Rainbow from our balcony


Goodnight and on to day 11.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 9 – Maui

Fish

Fish

I’d been to Hilo (and Kona) and Oahu before, but never to Kauai and Maui. By far Maui is my favorite. Today was incredible. I got up early, had breakfast – then boarded the tender to take me to one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I had booked a tour on the Island Princess tour – a snorkeling adventure. The boat went about an hour and a half from where our ship, the Golden Princess had anchored. We then donned snorkels, fins and masks and climbed down the ladders on the back of the boat into the waters off the Molokini Crater. The water was a little cold at first but then never felt cold to me again once I went underwater. The underwater beauty was something I hope I never let the memory of slip from my mind. I was expecting it to be nice but nothing like this. The water was so clear with coral on the ocean floor and fish of every color swimming by.

Then we started back, stopping for an hour in “Turtle Town” to snorkel some more to view the giant turtles. I guess I didn’t expect to actually see any and was total breathless when I saw the first one swim by. They’re huge and they’re not afraid of people because when they have to go up for air, they go right by without a second glance.

We saw huge whales on the trip. One had a tail span of about 24 feet. Incredible.

We shopped for awhile and then came back to the ship to get ready for dinner.

Another fantastic day.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 6 – Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo, HawaiiWe could see the lights off in the distance early in the morning. That’s a big deal when you have only seen ocean for days. We also saw dark clouds and a massive rain fall.

We had a tour to go to at 8am. We were herded onto a big, very cushy tour bus and off we went, headed for Akaka Falls. We did get to see a lot of Hilo on the way. I’ve been here before but thought Donna might enjoy the tour. The rain had stopped as we got off the bus and the clouds lifted. It was so beautiful walking through the ferns and huge bamboo trees.

As soon as we boarded the bus again, the rain started coming down and the clouds were back. We then headed to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory. As though planned, the rain stopped, the clouds lifted. We tasted all their samples – eagerly. I have decided that the fresh Macadamia nut is indeed much different than the nuts we buy locally – even the Mauna Loa brand. There wasn’t a lot to see so as the rain began again when we were boarding the bus, we headed to one of the botanical gardens on Hilo. It truly was beautiful, full of flowers I’d never seen before and a huge display of Orchids.

The bad thing about tours is that you don’t have a lot of time to do much. We were herded back to the bus and brought to the ship in the afternoon. Instead of opting for formal dining or the buffet, I put on my bathing suit and swam for a while before grabbing some Hawaiian pizza at the Pizzeria which is poolside. I love swimming but the pool must have been 90 degrees and so full of chlorine which irritated my eyes a lot. Doubt if I’ll be swimming much.

Cruise lines are so afraid of passengers getting sick, they over chlorinate to keep it healthy. Arggh. Not fun. I did get some underwater pictures of a an adorable six year old, Benjamin. I told him I was testing my camera and would he be my model. He was having a ball swimming in front of me so I’d take his picture. Thankfully he had a lot of energy and was a great swimmer. His parents had been smart enough to put goggles on him.

We ran into a couple who we’d sat with in the morning. They’d gone on a helicopter ride over the island. Their pictures were amazing, even including several of our ship from the air.

Bedtime came early. The ship’s deck was being decorated for an “Island Party” that evening. I was much too tired to even think about going.

Tomorrow, Honolulu. A friend who lives there and who went to school with Donna and I is going to meet us at the ship and take us on a tour. Should be much more fun than the expensive, not so fun commercial tours offered by the cruise line.
akaka_falls

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day Two – Crusin’ to Hawaii

Day Two:

Donna got up bright and early and decided I should be up. Rather than wake me gently, she rearranged last night’s room service dishes. Groan. But, she’s still alive and well and isn’t swimming with sharks which is a good thing and a testament to my patience. We had to pray to get through this one.

The sunrise from our balcony was one of the most incredibly beautiful gifts God could have given us . I love to take sunrise pictures in the morning but this was a joy considering that usually the neighbors’ houses, trees, old, unused satellite dishes are always in the way. Not today. Awesome (and I think that word is overused but not this morning.)

How glorious to just take our time to get ready to go out and not be rushed. And, not to have to make beds or do dishes is a major plus. After a morning buffet , we walked out around the pools and all over the ship. We did nothing important. I watched a lei making class for a while. Interesting. There are all sorts of things to do.

One thing I have noticed is that NO ONE has a cell phone since we’re out to sea. It’s really enjoyable, and I didn’t realize it until this evening. I noticed it because the majority of people are so friendly and everyone stops to chat. Dinner tonight was so nice. We shared a table with Mike and Ida, a precious Italian couple who are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Their Italian accents were heavy and at times we did have a little trouble understanding them.
The other couple was Ron and Joanne. They now live in Arizona after Ron retired from LAPD. They’re celebrating their 52nd anniversary. Neither couple looked old enough to be married half a century. It’s amazing how you can meet new people, share a meal, get to know about them and laugh with them as though you’d known them forever.

I’ve been able to email my house/dog sitter to find out that LuLu is happy with her. She (the sitter, not LuLu) accidentally locked herself out of the house. Thankfully I’d given her my brother Bill’s phone number, and he came immediately (2 hour drive) to help get her in the house.

I’m going to put on my jacket now and go sit outside on the deck to watch nothing but dark ocean with lots of whitecaps and a beautiful big moon overhead.
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December 12, 2008 Posted by | Favorite Sites, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cruisin’ to Hawaii

Day one on my newest adventure – a two week cruise to Hawaii. My former high school friend Donna and I booked this Hawaiian cruise well over a year ago. We’ve3 been so excited as we counted down the days. I’ve spent the past week trying to pack for this. If you’re someone who doesn’t go away much, this can be a frustrating task. But I found a website that describes the best way to pack and it does work. More on that later.

My brother Bill picked us up early Wednesday morning. I kissed the dog (LuLu) about two thousand times and even shed many tears that I would be leaving her. Her doggie sitter promised she’d take good care of her for me.

Stopped to have a good breakfast. Since one of the highlights of a cruise is food and eating, we wanted to be sure we were in good eating condition.

Pulling into San Pedro (California) where the ships are berthed, I was amazed at the size and beauty of the Golden Princess – our home for the next two weeks. Boarding was so organized. No lines to wait in – we boarded stress and hassle free.

The cabins on this cruise are amazing – the layout was well thought out. Must have been designed by a woman. Lots of closet space, drawers – even a bathroom you can actually turn around in. And my favorite part – the balcony. We didn’t have to go up on deck (not an easy task if you don’t know your ship yet). We watched the deck disappear.

A beautiful buffet was available right away. Of course we checked it and participated. The rest of the evening we walked around checking everything out. I played the slot machines for an hour and did okay – didn’t lose.

By 8pm, I was ready for sleep, but not ready to give in to it so was very tired.

Because the cruise is out to sea during the Christmas holiday, the entire ship is decorated for Christmas. Cruise ships are beautiful anyway, but with garland wrapped on all the rails and big trees in the atrium.

It was hard to sleep with anticipation for the next morning. pool_area

December 12, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Vacation | , , , , , | Leave a comment