Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (part 2)

Finally have enough time to finish this, and I don't want to forget it all! So here we go!

We'll pick up where I left off: trying to get to sleep before the start of the cruise. It was pretty tricky, really, because being away for a week on a ship is fairly exciting!

Sunday morning we woke up and finished packing, charging phones, cameras and laptops, and checked our email one last time. Then, it was off to the port in San Pedro, to get checked into the ship. There are a ton of people trying to board, so it can be a hectic experience! Plus, we were a party of seven (myself, Hunter, his father, his mother, his brother, his sister-in-law, and his neice).

Anyway, we finally got through all the signatures and authorizations, and made it on the ship! First thing we did was to go look for our room, but it wasn't quite open yet. So, we hung out on the deck and went up for a little snack at the buffet above. We also opted into the "soda package", which was a lump sum for unlimited soft drinks on the cruise (normally around $4 each, I heard). We didn't do a whole lot of exploring yet, since I was still carrying my satchel, and Hunter his laptop, and we didn't want to bump them around into anything. The room finally opened, and we got our first look! Here's a little video of the room, that I took a bit later as we left port.

After dropping off the gear, we took a nice tour of the ship. You can find out some of the ship details here, and here as well! At 4:30PM, we had our muster drill. While we were out there waiting, we got a nice view of the Disney Magic, a ship on the Disney cruiseline. It left port earlier than we did, and we got to hear the ship's horn, which played "When You Wish Upon A Star". How cool! As you can see below, the back of the ship even had a tiny suspended Goofy painting on the name. For the whole cruise, we either followed the Magic or they followed us.

Dinner on the cruise was at the same table every night, for us, but since it was a table for nine we then met our other two dinner companions, a couple of nice older ladies from the California wine country. The meals were exceptional. The general routine went like this. You'd sit down, and be handed an appetizer menu and an entree menu. You could pick any number of things from either menu. After a bit, a server would come around with a bread tray, and you would pick any sort of bread you wanted from it. Then, whatever drink you ordered the first night would typically be brought to you automatically the rest of the nights (I had a Sprite). Then, you'd get your various appetizers and eat them, followed by the entrees you picked. After the table was cleared, out would come the dessert menu, and you'd get your pick of whatever you wanted from that. All in all, a wonderful dining experience. I took some pictures of the menus, from the last night of the cruise. Here's the appetizer, entree, and dessert menus for the last evening on the ship.

Monday and Tuesday were days "at sea", so we couldn't go ashore, and spent the time wandering around the ship, eating lunch, playing cards, and watching Deep Space 9 on the little DVD player we brought along and hooked up to the TV in the room. We ended up watching a lot of DS9, before bed, and any time we just needed to relax! Brock (a small snow tiger we bought a while ago on a trip to Washington state, and our new found Cabo (see previous entry) leopard, really enjoyed the view, as seen below!

We were quite ready to get off the ship come Wednesday morning, and since our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, couldn't accomodate large ships at its port, we took tenders to the dock. The weather was pretty warm, so I was slathering on sunscreen like crazy. After arriving at the dock, I think we got asked for a taxi, windsurfing, para sailing, or jewelry every 15 seconds. I quickly learned to say "No, thank you". We did eventually take a taxi to the Cabo coastline, which looks pretty much just like this. First thing we did after jumping off the water taxi (which beached right on the sand in front of a cafe) was to order a couple of margaritas. After a bit more sunscreen application, we continued walking down the beach, eventually stopping at a place for lunch, right on the sand. Here's a short video I took while we were waiting for the food. We each had two beers there, because Hunter asked for "dos Dos Equis" meaning two, and joked "Hmm, quattro equis!" I didn't mind a bit, as it went really went well with the nachos I had. After lunch, we walked back a bit, and stopped at a nice spot to go swimming.

It was at this point we both got nasty sunburns, but didn't realize it yet... ;) We both kept our shirts on for swimming, but the sunscreen vanished from our legs and feet due to the water. Uh oh! However, since we didn't know it yet, we walked back to where we got our first water taxi, and each had a pina colada at the bar we had the margaritas at. Very tasty, and just what I wanted to cool down. We got another water taxi, and made it back to the ship on another tender. Here's a video of us passing a tender headed to Cabo, and here's another video of us rounding the ship in our own tender before docking.

We got back on the ship, and headed to the adults only pool to cool off a bit more and shower off the salt. The ship had two pools... One outdoor pool that was all ages, and an indoor one, in a solarium, for adults. Anyway, we went to take a nap after the busy morning, and woke up to find ourselves very sunburnt. I took a picture of my leg, but I won't show it here, as it's basically just a red lobster leg :D The sunburn itself wasn't bad, as long as you weren't wearing shoes or socks, and were lying down. But, stand up, and the blood would pool into your foot, causing sharp pains that made the two of us walk around like old men :) We limped to dinner that night, but ended up not doing much else.

The next morning, we found ourselves in Mazatlan. We could barely move, so we skipped getting off the ship. I did take a few pictures off the railing though:

A mariachi band was playing right below our window, taunting us for not being able to walk:

That's okay though, we had a great day actually. Mainly we sat around the room watching DS9 and ordered room service for lunch (bacon cheeseburgers, hehe). Ended up being a great day overall. That night we did make it to dinner, but that was about it!

The next day we ended up at our last port, Puerto Vallarta. By then we were feeling good enough to walk around, despite the terrible humidity and high temperatures you get at 20 degrees above the equator (Eugene being at 44 degrees). We didn't get too far, because of the weather, but made it to the small flea market next to the port. There, I got all my souveniers in one fell swoop, and we hurried back to the relative coolness of the ship, although I did take some video of a parrot I saw. Which I would link to, but unfortunately YouTube thinks it takes more than a half hour to put up a 30 second video. Oh well, take a look at my YouTube videos here, if you want to try and spot it.

After that, it was one more full day at sea, just enough time to lose more money at the casino :D The ships typically enjoy days at sea, as the casino is not allowed to be open when the ship is in a port. I had a good time playing video poker and keno, and Hunter had fun at the craps and blackjack tables. I had fun *watching* Hunter at the tables, as I'm a little nervous about playing real time with people who would rather I play than think about my next choice. We headed back to LA at a pretty good clip, as you can see from this video that I took of the water.

Finally, the cruise was over, and we ended up back in LA. We made it through customs (held on stage in the auditorium) and off the ship with pretty much no trouble. We had lunch with a good old friend of Hunter's in LA, and got to the airport just fine.

Well, that's when the trouble started. We had about an hour to wait for the flight to San Francisco, then another flight from there to Eugene, arriving approximately 7:30PM, but things didn't go that way. First, the flight from Burbank was delayed about 30 minutes, then just outright canceled. That meant we would miss our connecting flight in San Francisco, and would instead have to wait for 5 hours in SFO for a flight that would get us home at roughly midnight. At least United gave us meal vouchers of $15 each (which covered half the meal we ended up getting). Still, waiting there until 10:45PM was quite a trial, and reminded me once again how miserable sitting around SFO is (this had happened to me once before, due to a missed flight).

That's it from me! Hope you enjoyed reading about my vacation :) The next trip I have planned is with Hunter and Rosa, over to the Oregon coast for a night's stay in a rented house, with stops up and down the coast. Should be fun, and no airline delays! :D


At 6/12/2008 2:28 PM, Blogger Rosa Rambles said...

WHOO HOOO KITTY! Sounds like you had a fantastic trip, despite the airline delays! and the sunburn hehe! The food you ate sounds delicious reminded me of when I got to go to Nasau! Thanks for sharing the pics and videos it was almost like being there myself:) Bless your heart! I am sooo looking forward to our adventure to the coast too! Its going to be terriffic fun! Thanks so much for sharing this great adventure of your summer :)


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