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Location: California

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Haunt

For about 20 years, BG's Cafe in old town Oxnard has been a favorite haunt. For fifteen of those years, they've haunted back! Alex has been serving me my favorite breakfast - BG's French Toast Combo - all this time. I used to say, "You sure can't get food like this on a Cruise Ship." I stopped saying that one day after Danny added, "Right. Not if they want to stay in the Cruise business."

It was homey and comfortable for me to visit BG's today for the usual fare. Each Christmas Eve, their diners are treated to a live Caroler. After my French Toast and before leaving the dump, I joined the lady and we shared in two Carols as a duet.

That oughta close the place if nothing else will.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 14: Cruise Aloha 'Oe

Wet? Tired? Ready to be home?

Yes. Yes. And, yes.

Now that our favorite cruise activity, Team Trivia, has played it's final match, we've said our 'Good Bye' to team mates Doris and Gil (New York), Ben, and Tina and Mark (Colorado). Our friend and crew member, Chad, called the last game.

The sole remaining activity is to shuffle luggage into the corridor for later pickup, sleep through the night's transit to Los Angeles, then manage the drive home. Word has it that Highway 1 is closed at Malibu due to a mudslide, so we'll be rerouting the trip, adding but a few miles to the ride.

With visions of furry kitties dancing in our heads ...

Danny and Donn have left the BLOG.


We have a final couple to share with you. Cheryl and Pat, from near Fort Collins, Colorado, have been steady visiting buddies throughout the cruise. On the second day out, they learnt their dog had died, but since they're traveling with a wider family, they kept their chins up throughout.

We are hoping their flight home is swift and safe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thurs., Day 9 - Lahaina, Early

Lahaina, Maui Island, is the last of our Hawaiian port visits. Temperature is in the mid-80s, and much less humid than what we experienced yesterday on Kaua'i.

We had one important thing to attend to in town, so we left the ship about 11 AM. It took shuffling and questioning to find our appointed spot; I'm convinced that everyone from here who knows how to give directions has left the island. Anyway, by Noon we were ready to laze in a quiet park, visiting with acquaintances from the ship.

On our stroll back to the dock, we found a shop selling beautiful antique posters. We spent quite a bit of time there, especially looking over the dozen posters that Salvador Dali made for the 1974 opening of his museum. They individually depicted the twelve tribes of Israel. One especially interested me, and I'm happy to report that we saved several hundreds of dollars by the time we left that shop.

The trip back to the ship finally accomplished by just past 2PM, we lunched, then made phone contacts with home. That means only one thing -- it's NAP TIME NOW!

Thurs., Day 9 - Lahaina, Late

We intend to close the BLOG at this point for this trip. Plans involve leaving Lahaina behind and going on vacation for the next few days. Maybe head for Ensenada. Who knows? We thought these pictures were worth sharing. The ship's food supplies must be nearly depleted, and before beginning the eastward crossing, our meat supplies are being refreshed. One was offloaded because it seemed to be lame in it hind quarters. Once on the pier, though, it was suddenly walking better. Smart guy.

That's it. Thanks to those who have tolerated us this time around. Some of you will be seeing us soon. Others of you are lucky.

Donn and Danny

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wed., Day 8 - Kaua'i

Kaua'i is called the Garden Isle for a very good reason. This little gem is practically the definition of 'green'. There's a bit of dispute, though, over the slogans one hears here and at the big island of Hawai'i. Hilo tends to boast the World's greatest number of days with rainfall annually while Kaua'i claims to be the "wettest place on Earth - with more than 450 inches of rain each year". This confuses some people who have misinterpreted the former claim as - the most rainy days means the most water. Not so. Even with fewer rainy days, Kaua'i's precipitation provides more water. Got it?

Despite what we know about this island, our experience has been quite different. We've never been here during a rainfall. We only know the place as a land of enchantment, exotic wildlife and the only drink we'd travel all this way to enjoy, the Mango Dream. It's made with mango juice, ice cream, vodka and whipped cream. As a matter of fact, that offering is the singular reason we left the ship this time. It's offered at JJ's Broiler, in Nawiliwili Town. You can bet we'll be returning for another during our next trip, as well. While enjoying the Dream, we watched the younger set catching waves, and other, more pedestrian denizens doing their thing.

Back onboard, we stopped for individual photos while on the way for dinner. (Our minds, though, are still back at JJ's Broiler.)

Tomorrow: Lahaina, Maui Island.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tues., Day 7 - Chinatown

Hawai'i, rather - the Hawai'i experience, is somewhat different for every visitor. The lore, the histories, the panoramas, the music ... so many aspects from which one may lay personal claim to remembering these beautiful islands.

One year we enjoyed close-up views of the active volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii. Another was spent chilling with friends and visiting the Honolulu Symphony. Then, of course, the real American Legacy of this place is the treasure that rests at Pearl Harbor.

Although we've garnered so many vivid memories of Hawaii, it's easy to select the singularly most beautiful of all, her flowers. Hawaiian people must love them, too. Flowers are seen everywhere. They're tastefully planted in parkways and residence yards. They're found in attractive arrangements in every restaurant, boutique or bank. So, for this visit, we define Hawaii as floral beauty.

So, what did we do today? It occurred early that, although we've driven past Honolulu's Chinatown several times in the past, we never had really checked it out. So that's what we did. Chinatown is located about a dozen blocks away from the ship's dock. In spite of the muggy weather, we set out.

This tenderloin is a bustling place, and it's not necessarily a tourist area. At one point, we noted that we were the only Caucasians within sight. The several square block neighborhood appears more the supply center for the local Asian citizens. More than anything, the area's fruit, vegetable, meat and fish markets provide their table needs. And, that population does flock to the area; every street was crowded with homemakers pushing bulging grocery carts.

We found restaurants, too, but not the kind that we're accustomed to. These are tiny, seating only a dozen or so customers. Most seemed to specialise in only two or three menu items.

We did spot several specialty stores, or curio shops, that offer items one could take home as souvineers. In one, we commented how appropriate that every item was marked, "Made in China".

After our couple hours visit, we worked our way back to our ship. We were anxious to lunch and nap before heading off for 9 holes of golf.

Wasa Madda U?

Was hoping to find something in light color, cool fabric. Something to wear on formal nights onboard.

Didn't find it here.

Now We're Talkin'

None of that 'Food-4-Less' or 'Valu Plus' stuff. These guys are open for business!

Since and Sensibility

Nearly across the street from Honolulu's Trinity Broadcasting studios stand a reasonable icon.

SPAM Breakfast

So far, this is the only SPAM we've found. It was in the window of a tiny shop in Chinatown. The shop owner was concerned when he saw the camera and wouldn't allow me to take this picture.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mon., Day 6

After 5 days of crossing, we arose early this morning to help bring Golden into the Hilo Cruise Port. It had been overcast throughout the night and as we passed our landmark, Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay Resort (second photo). The moment we tied up at the pier, however, the sun broke through to begin a warm and muggy day.

The third picture (above) is to prove that one of us did step onto dry land. We actually left the ship twice. First was for a trip to a pharmacy to find some relief for Danny's head cold. Then, after a lunch on board, we returned to visit the Old Town area and tested a bit of shopping. A friend back home has assigned us to locate the impossible, a long-sleeved Hawaiian shirt. If anyone's wondering, it's still impossible but we'll keep looking.

Hopes Dashed!

I spent 20 minutes in high anticipation at this Hilo crosswalk sign today. Then, Danny came along and explained what "Flashing" meant.

Tomorrow: Honolulu!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sun., Day 5

We are only a couple hundred miles from the big island. Closing the last sea day before reaching Hilo tomorrow, passengers find plenty to keep them busy, but not so busy as to dull their enthusiasm for going ashore in the morning. We have already rehearsed our paces for town, decided upon the shops to visit and a favorite spot to stop for lunch, so finishing out this evening is all we need to hurtle. What to do?

There is, of course, the football game that many are enjoying on the outdoor, giant screen. Nah -- not for us. Too much testosterone.

We could stop and enjoy pianist/vocalist Kathy Phippard, on deck 7 midships. Not really our style, although she does well.

We both enjoy dancing before our Late Seating dinner, and the band, Nexus, is working right now in the Wheelhouse. Tonight, though, we are skipping the dining room, opting to eat earlier. The music of Nexus tried to lure us into the Explorer's Lounge. It didn't work, because we had other ideas.

Husband and wife team Ilua and Dave Soreff, a favorite from previous cruises, caught our ears. Especially glad of that because Dave performed a great cover of Iz's Over The Rainbow-Wonderful World. I was nearly in tears and rushed to buy his CD.

Finally, DINNER: one of us enjoys the buffet offered at Horizon Court more than the multi-course meals served in the formal Dining Room. Now fed and fat, we're ready to set our clocks back one hour and turn in early.

The meds I've been taking are nearly run out and it appears they've done the trick. Feeling normal now. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Being With


It's what everybody wants ...

Being WITH, not being alone,

So, this is what I'm stuck WITH?

Good Sunday, everyone. Blessings on all talented musicians providing music for worship today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fri., Day 3

Friday, as we promised ourselves, finds warmer air and a beautifully placid ocean. Our schedules today nearly matched yesterday's, with Danny up and at 'em early and me up in dreamland until nearly 11. Once outdoors, though, the first hints of the tropics grabbed our enthusiasm. That made it comfortable for reading in the area we call the 'back porch' (second photo). I brought one of those wonderful books that allows me to read only four or five pages, then requires several days to think over what I've read. Anyone who's interested should consider A History of God: The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong.

My time with my book lasted until Danny called. He had entered a Slots Tournament - a 'must see' event. Note the determined look as he battles against the clock and against the others. Unfortunately, his only prize was free entry to a bingo game and a t-shirt. Well, that's something.

Today is the first of three Formal Evenings for the dining room. It's all part of the fun, but I'm sure glad it's not every evening.

On the health issue from yesterday: the meds are doing their work, it appears. I didn't attend usual group activities during the day, but felt safe to attend Dinner with our table mates. THANKS! to those who sent warm wishes, and to my Sis, Lydia, for her remedial suggestions. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thurs., Day 2

After leaving Oxnard, the Wednesday trip to the port was quick and clean. We made the drive, unloaded luggage, parked, boarded Golden Princess and reached the stateroom - all within two hours. At first it felt like home. Familiar ship surroundings, it was easy to settle back and think forward about the two weeks this will be home.

We stepped aftward for coffee and people watching. Immediately we bumped into two musicians we've sailed with twice before. Ilua and husband Dave are the closest we've ever experienced to authentic Hawaiian music. They live on the islands but have found a comfortable living providing Princess passengers with their touch of paradise. During the afternoon, though, my dream of paradise was losing its panache, with a growing sense that something was happening. I was feeling ill-ish.

We enjoyed meeting two other couples in the Dining Room, late seating. One older gent and his wife from Chatsworth and a younger two from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The 'getting acquainted' begins.

Thursday: Not at all a typical second day out. I was ill throughout the night and not at all comfortable. I determined it must be a cold. Danny, typically, arose early and went for breakfast. I just wanted to get some sleep so I stayed in bed. At 11am, I dragged myself up and into a shower, figuring the steam may make me feel better. Danny arrived back and judged we should visit the ship's medical facility. He said, "Look, all that insurance we've always paid for, we may as well take some advantage of it.

After a pretty detailed scouring, I was diagnosed with bronchitis, given a slew of medicines and sent away. We decided that, for a few days at least, it will be best if I avoid mingling with others. Dan's now gone off to a meeting with CRUISECRITIC.COM playmates and I'm thinking of going for a lonely, first of the day cup of coffee.

One bit of interesting trivia: We learnt that, during the night, the ship had to turn about and return to Catalina Island to offload an ill passenger. The Captain has said there should be no trouble for Golden to make up the time and deliver us to Hilo Monday morning, as scheduled.

So - as you can see, there are yet no pictures to share. I cannot even say, for sure, where either camera may be. Sorry, for those who like seeing pictures. I can only promise there will be some photos in the coming days.