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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh, My Lydia!

Lest anyone need proof, our cruising friend, Lydia, has gotten back on her Rocker-Horse.
"If there is still a Ripley's Believe It or Not, the photos of me on the horse should be included.  It's been 50 years since I've been on a horse and it will be another 50 before I am again.  Actually, it was fun, but getting on and getting off and then attempting to walk was another story, so folks, look hard because it's a once (okay a second) in a lifetime occurrence."
Well, there is a Ripley's, Lydia. We'll see that they get this.

Verbal Virus

From a list of 2008 Memorable Quotes -
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, imploring graduates at Boston College to curtail the use of "like" "awesome" and "you know" in everyday speech: "Please, please do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation."
In my craw, the kernel of creativity is language. (How were we created? God spoke.) Those with the capacity, the education, the interest to create only numb their own creativity all too frivolously, I fear.

If McCullough had included "HAHA", the temptation to forward this quote would be irresistible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ensenada: Over and Out

At our last port call for this cruise. Dan and friends Marilyn and Pete hunt for bargains (according to hawkers, they're to be had at every turn). Along the way they enjoyed a margarita at Hoosong's Cantina, a well known Ensenada hole. (The four of us made quite a Trivia team for the past two weeks, not actually winning a game until today.)

For at least one of us, this has been a tiring trip. While we look forward to the next cruise (on this same ship in April), it's good to know that tomorrow we and our dirty laundry will be home with our kitties.

Here's to those who have followed along with us!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Uplifting Idea

The elevators on this ship were manufactured by the Swiss-based Schindler Group, World's second-largest manufacturer of elevators.

We think they should be named Schindler's Lift.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Steward's Ship

While we're out and about, our cabin steward spends his day making little visitors to surprise us when we return. These are two of his better offerings.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rest, Two-Three-Four

Three days of open ocean, a few friends to chat with, some shows to see -- that's what's left of this trip. And that's all we're going to tend to. Closing this leg of MindWalker with photos of several people we've come to know -- they are (top to bottom)
  • Darlene and Jerry
  • Doug and Sharlene and
  • Natalie with her father, Joe
    (Feted as the oldest passenger on this cruise, Joe watched for any opportunity to share a pun -- whether a good one or not.)

We'll notify when there's another trip underway.

Posted By MindWalker to MindWalker at 12/20/2008 09:16:00 PM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Signs of Wonder

With slightly foul weather, and everyone feeling kind of nutty, it's a good time to share some silly things. The first two signs are posted at the same pool on Deck 14, not more than 6 feet from one another. The third sign is a head scratcher worth sharing.

We made photos of our dining room table partners, but one of them did not turn out. We'll try for that again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lahaina Winter

Early today was the only good moment for photographing Lahaina during this visit. This top photo was made from Golden Princess just before breakfast. By the time we were prepared to leave the ship, winter had set in. The driving wind and snow made it impossible to make more pictures of our day.

Seriously - this was just an attempt to "get even" with everyone back home for the comments coming via email. Everyone onboard has a new story to tell:
"There's 6-inches of snow in Henderson, Nevada."
"Would you believe there's snow on the Hollywood sign?"
"Seattle is having lightning and thunder during a heavy snowfall!"
Our Lahaina day was picture perfect, actually. The best part, as usual, was finding a place to sit and people-watch in the shade of the World's largest banyan tree. We were in town for only a couple hours, deciding to return to the ship before the warmth and humidity took their toll on us.

In our minds, today completes Part Two of a 3-stage cruise. First is the leisurely trip to the islands from the West Coast. Next is the visit to several islands and, starting tomorrow, Part Three is the restful return.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rainy Kaua'i

For previous visits to Kaua'i, we settled for walks around the Nawiliwili shopping area of Lihue, or we just stayed onboard our ship. This time we wanted to do just a bit more. Since cruise tours aren't our fancy, we rented a car so we could do some independent exploration of this Garden Island.

Early today, the rain beat heavily as we left Lihue to work our way westward toward Waimea and Kehaka. As we turned north to follow a very windy road through Waimea Canyon, the rain stopped. Though the sky remained overcast, we enjoyed the filtered wetness of the entire Waimea and Kokee State Parks and their several waterfalls.

There are no roads connecting from the Kokee northward to the coast; the only possible return is to double back the way we had gone. We did stop near the entrance to the Navy's Barking Sands Missile Test Facility to eat a light lunch that we had taken along. (Doubtful there were any colleagues around.) Lunch was somewhat difficult, as the wild chickens swarmed around us, begging for sandwich tossings.

Tomorrow is our last port call - at Lahaina, Maui Island. No particular plans but a little drug store stop. Looking forward to the leisurely cruise back to the mainland that follows.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Honolulu Outing

My long-closeted secret is now out in the open. My focus for this trip has been to spend a few surprise "Christmas Minutes" with friends Cliff Barraclough and Jim Thomas here in Honolulu.

Cliff is my teacher of long-standing. Anyone who knows him will understand why this can never be said in past tense. It was only for two years that Cliff was my German professor at University of California. His polemic and his friendship, however, combined to marry that experience into the present of my everyday.

Dan and Jim didn't make it into photos of this visit. That's an omen; we'll all get together once again, in God's Good Time.

A Promise Fulfilled

Champagne Sunday made it with us to Honolulu, as promised earlier. Here we are pictured with them at Aloha Tower.

The final two shots were made along Waikiki Beach as we meandered back to our ship.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Around Hilo

If any gentlemen friends back home would be interested, I can pick up one of these beautiful Hawaiian shirts for you. It's only $142.50 plus shipping anywhere. Unfortunately, the hangar is not included. Let me know by Wednesday evening as my last opportunity to pick one up would be at Lahaina during Thursday's port call.

Danny and I got quite wet during a cloudburst just after leaving the ship. We had finally dried out by the time we reached Old Town Hilo for some shopping.

It was only about a three-miles walk back to the ship, passing along the way the famous statue of King Kamehameha in his Hilo Bay park.

About Hilo

Hilo is the gateway to Kilauea Volcano and Volcanoes National Park. Pele, the explosive fire goddess, is said to live in the very heart of Kilauea Volcano. Pele came to the islands long ago to flee from her cruel older sister, Namak O'Kahai, goddess of the sea.

Pele is credited with having created volcanoes first in Kauai, then on Oahu, then on Maui and the other islands while continuously searching for the perfect home, as well as the perfect lover.

Many Hawaiians believe Pele still dwells alone in the vast fire pit crater of Halemaumau and it is said she still appears to humans either as a beautiful young Hawaiian woman or as an ugly old crone.

From personal observation, I think the Hawaiians are right and I believe Pele traveled with us from Los Angeles and disembarked here at Hilo.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Luna Dove

Before retiring this evening, a stroll about the ship led to a most magnificent celestial display. Whilst watching from an aft deck coffee perch, the spectacle of a full moon rising in the east drew attention. Yet mostly hidden by clouds, at first the light seemed quite small. That was because a rounded cloud opening allowed only a partial view. The wonder began when, of a sudden, the cloud cover cleared and exposed perhaps the largest, loveliest moon in memory.

Luna Dove

Try as you like,
To hide your light behind that cloud.
The winds and powers of Earth
Betray your space,
Expose your face
To those in need of your love.

Hidden by Day,
Your face gives way as Night moves in.
We lonely souls neath your light,
Remember well
The moment you fell
And became our eternal dove.

Hilo Bound

Again today the list of previous cruise partners grew, meeting up with another couple with whom we have Team Trivia experience. None of us could pinpoint the cruise, nor the ship, but we settled on the likelihood it was Regal Princess during the May 2007 Hawaii Cruise.

During the night our thoughts are on the stroll we'll make tomorrow, meandering along Hilo's shoreline to visit Uncle Billy's Hilo Resort (photo above). It's restaurant is a lunching paradise to be enjoyed before wending our way downtown.

Tacky Situations

Signs such as this (above) are found daily in differing locations on cruise ships. This one provides the most fun for watching new cruisers' reactions.

Reports of tremendous storms ahead have reached us. The flooding rains on Oahu, probably a common occurrence, should be passed by Tuesday, the day we reach Honolulu. An email from friends living there seem encouraging, and that's good news since we didn't pack umbrellas.

One of the more remote rooms hosted a 50s and 60s Music dance event at 10:15 pm. We attended, briefly, but moodiness quickly took hold. Sure, it was fun to watch a number of duffer hobble to the dance floor, then spring to life with impeccable timing to the music. Yet, thoughts of opportunities lost and memories hazed through time became more than difficult to entertain on this night. We turned in.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two Days Out

Although overcast through the day, it's obvious that Golden Princess is approaching the tropics. Yesterday's chilly became today's cool. Tomorrow promises to offer the balmy weather that's associated with a Hawaiian cruise.

We have finished dinner, and will be enjoying dessert shortly, after doffing our formal wear. Decided to forgo the stage show at the Princess Theater and to go for the juggling comedian at the Vista Lounge.
We opted for the smaller crowd. As always, it's decisions, decisions and more decisions. Somewhat like what to do when encountering a sign such as today's photo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Early Risers

The alarm happened at 5 AM. It was a drip, drip, dripping sound. From smack dab in the center of our cabin's ceiling. We called for assistance, then rushed to dress before help arrived. The repair would involve a carpenter to open the ceiling and a plumber to find the leak and make his repairs.

Once out of the room, we shuffled through a very early breakfast, muffled through ship wanderings, fluffed our way to second-place in the cruise's first Team Trivia game. We checked at noon and found the repairs still underway. Dan hied himself to the casino to gamble with his credits while I tied myself to a deck chair to gambol with my MP3 player. Finally, shortly past two, the cabin was ready for its tired, sticky and smelly denizens.

Not a routine first day by any means, unless this is a Carnival ship. (Oh, wait! Princess is owned by Carnival. Better watch myself here.)

There's a small correction due one of our new dining companions. Natalie's father is Joe, not Ed, as mentioned yesterday.

While barging about the ship earlier today, I became aware of a place marked on all ship's plans, elevator signs and deck directories. I wondered what activity could take place at a location labeled 'Off Limits', so I determined to find the place. It turned out not to be easily found. By the chart I was carrying, I knew it had to be close, so I began asking ship personnel, "Where's this place called 'Off Limits'?" Each of the several young employees that I approached insisted, "No, Sir. You're mistaken. It's not a place for passengers. 'Off Limits' means that only crew are allowed in the area; it's probably for your safety."

It just didn't gel for me. Signs all over telling me - in this place you will find a lounge, a beauty spa, a sports bar and a place listed as 'Off Limits'.

Then I found it, just as you see in the picture above. One crew member was inside who explained that it's a Teen Activities Center. I asked her where all the teens were and she admitted, "We're not sure of the reason, but it's rare that anyone ever comes around."

Gee. Ya think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Sailaway

It seems Princess Cruises outdid themselves with decorating for this Holiday Cruise. After locating and marking our spot for coffee and chats, we took a while  to see a bit of Golden Princess. So far, we've counted no fewer than eleven-teen beautifully outfitted Christmas Trees. Such a large vessel, much will have to wait for tomorrow's discovery.

Finding people with whom we have cruised before is always fun. Already we have a new twist on that. The first couple we met at dinner this evening, Darlene and Jerry (Oakhurst, Calif.), were on the last cruise with us (Island Princess - Panama Canal). We didn't meet them then, but it's terrific that we have mutually shared memories.

Aside from Darlene and Jerry, we met Sharlene and Doug (Chandler, Ariz.) and Natalie, traveling with her father Ed (age 95, from Los Angeles). Ed doesn't bother getting into discussions about menus, politics or other passengers. He's quite the punster, and he had us falling from our chairs a number of times during dinner.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Traveling with Champagne Sunday

TOP: Jessi Reems-Terrell, left, and Jared Fredeen of Champagne Sunday are psyched about releasing the band's second CD. "We worked really hard on this one and knew exactly what we wanted," Reems-Terrell said.
BOTTOM: On their new CD "North," Champagne Sunday blends "rock whimsy" with "pop fusion." (Photos courtesy Jessi Reems-Terrell.)
We've told our friends, Jessi and Jared, that we gladly would take them along when ever we travel, even though if only by way of our Champagne Sunday t-shirts.

We're leaving tomorrow, so watch for their appearance in, say, Honolulu -- within the next week or so.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Season's Thought

Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves. To even ask the question, "Am I humble?" is to not be so.
Tim Keller

C.S. Lewis puts it this way - Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.