My Photo
Location: California

Monday, January 16, 2012

For what it's worth...

As diligently as he played, the winner of
the first Slots Tournament during this cruise...


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Once more ... ?

I promised Thursday that something fun, interesting or overpowering would be posted.

Having won the Slot Tournament on the 7th, Dan's once again in good position for a second win. Some passengers grumble.

Wish him well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Great Galli Gathering

This team of kids are enjoying their latest reunion. We miss them all, but we know they're having great, youthful fun together.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aloha Aweigh

This last day in the State of Hawai'i began with a bit of accidental whale watching. This is always more interesting than conventional watching wherein the animals are actually under contract with tour operators. During breakfast, several critters were spied not far from the anchor position of the ship.

We were among the first to board the tenders and head in to Lahaina. Perhaps that was a mistake; the city, already resembling touristy ports (Acapulco comes to mind), when barren of its hawkers, smells of lunch fish, lost tourists and screaming kids, appeared rather bleak. The bright moment was being met at the dock by the local assembly of elderly Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers. They're a delight. One may think of younger hula girls being better at their craft than these old ladies, but it's just not so. Their grace, supple movements and tender smiles were a welcome greeting.

After an hour long walk and a visit to a great art gallery, we were almost ready to return to the ship. First, though, was a lingering stroll through the city's central park, 4 square-blocks large and shaded by a single, massive banyan. The tree was planted in 1873 and today is the only plant on Maui which has it own 3-person crew devoted to the tree's maintenance, health and protected accessibility.

While boating back to the ship, I took one long, perhaps final, look back at Lahaina and snapped a reminder that some past events are past whilst their memory colours the future.

This is likely the last post of this trip. The quiet mood of the next few days may not provide material to share here. Be assured: should something truly fun, interesting or overpowering take place, we'll put it up.


PS: We just received word that our Uncle Tony Galli passed away this afternoon. He was 89 years old. We enjoyed seeing Uncle Tony one last time during the Galli Reunion, last August.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nawiliwili Aweigh

Today was especially great! That's because we visited one of our favs, JJ's Broiler, in Nawiliwili on Kaua'i. JJ's isn't a particularly great place, but we call it our 'hang out' when here due to one thing: they serve me the one drink I've come to crave - the Mango Dream. We found this joint about six years ago, and it's a given: visit Kaua'i, visit JJ's.

Beside the drink, the wild hens and roosters milling about and the warm, inviting beach strolls, we visited briefly with Kelly, a JJ's server for the past twelve years. She has been a regular server for us, but for the times we visited on a Saturday - her day off. As we were leaving the place today, Kelly grabbed us and gave us a hug for Auld Lang Syne.

Forgive the poor photoshopping that was necessary to get us into the same frames.

We have left Kaua'i behind and are now headed for Maui and the port of Lahaina.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aloha Honolulu

We say Aloha to all from Honolulu even as we bid Aloha to Honolulu during what's likely our last visit here.

We have visited Waikiki's International Market Place in the past. Two or three friends have asked where the market is located. Here it is (first picture.) Got it?

I admired a man with his parrots that was standing in front of the market - two macaws and a moluccan cockatoo. I could have held one of them for a picture, but the $10 asked was a little steep. This picture cost me an unfriendly gesture. Inside the market, Dan searched some particular t-shirts. One lady showed off her merchandise but, when Danny said he wanted a particular brand - Island Motion, she told us to go to the Island Motion Store on Kamanawanaleia Street. The instruction was understood but the tone of her voice was even more informative: "Get the hell out of here."

The state of Hawai'i could easily be called the Bouquet of the Pacific. Each of the islands greet visitors with such elegant floral offerings, they become one of the greatest of memories to take back home. Perhaps it's that memory I'll cherish the most as I say Good-Bye.

Tomorrow: Nawiliwili, Kawai'i - and a visit to K-Mart for some wine.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Hopes Dashed!

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

Actually spent only two hours away from the ship. Time enough for me to buy some new jeans and for Dan to look for a book he's been wanting to read. He didn't find it. After returning to the ship, he located a copy in the ship's library. (Saved $10 there.)

We did not eat the lunches we had packed. We also did not go to Cronies.
(Saved $20 there.)

Tomorrow: Honolulu! (We'll see what we can save there.)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

200 miles from Hilo

If anyone is wondering what Rosalie and I have been murmuring together about, I'll explain: We told her about a stunt I pulled during TWO cruises onboard Celebrity Summit during 2006. During May of that year, an Alaska cruise, I planted a marker on the ship with our initials. During December, on that same ship for a Hawaii cruise, I went to see if the marker was still in place. I found it, then placed a second one beside it. Danny photographed the second episode. You can see it at THIS SLIDESHOW. (Check out the caption beneath each of the photos.) Anyway, Rosalie was on this ship a few weeks ago. She remembered my stunt and decided to prepare a test for us. She planted a marker of her own, then told us the room to search. We didn't find it.

Last evening and this evening we chalked up TWO fabulous meals. Just figure: from Wednesday until now, we have had 14 meals during this trip. 2 out of 14 ain't too bad, is it?

We have our lunches packed for tomorrow in Hilo. They comprise wrapped sandwiches, some fruit and bottled water from the buffet. Mr. BIG SHOT SLOT TOURNAMENT WINNER figures we'll save money by not having to stop in some eatery while in port, nor will we have to return to the ship when we're hungry. And I had sooo been looking forward to Cronies since our last visit, last May.

Gonna go win my own tournament next time.

Winner Aweigh


Gad! There'll be no living with him for the next several days.

Sunday Aweigh

We are certainly enjoying a beautiful Sunday. Rays from the sun, rising somewhere over the western coast of South America, broke from behind to last cloud of the morning. We were completing our morning Mile-a-thon walk when I saw it, and tried to catch at least a minuscule portion of its beauty.

A few moments later, a young lady pointed out toward something. "Look. A bird. We must be near land." I looked and saw the frigate, then explained to her that these birds spend most of their lives on the wing, rarely seeking land. They are not at all a sign of being near land. The moment reminded me of a poem I jotted years back whilst enjoying
our first Hawaii cruise onboard Celebrity SUMMIT.  It's worth sharing once again:
The Frigate
It comes from all directions,
Left and right,
High and low.
The press of laughter, hopes and dreams
To cancel those we know.

That frigate, there, that follows us,
Loops and soars,
Tests the wind.
One morsel at a time enough
To guide the agile wing.

 ~ D. Coon, Dec. 2006

Within the next hour Dan will be back at the Slots Tournament that he joined yesterday. My toes are crossed that he'll win the $500. Meanwhile, he's relaxing here in the stateroom. I went out on deck to get the picture of him at the stateroom window (third picture, above). When I got it, I radioed him, "Why don't you moon the camera?" I was stunned when HE DID IT! I got the picture, too, but it's probably not appropriate to share here.

Now for my nap. First of the day.

OH, ALL RIGHT: for those leeches among you that are aching to see Dan's MOON SHOT - 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday Aweigh

Warmer weather was the welcoming mark for today. It remained partly cloudy, but that didn't seem to hamper spirits on board. I spent much of the day in the stateroom but Dan was in the casino quite a bit. Early, because he likes it when it's quiet in there. Then he challenged in a Slot Tournament. He gained positioning that will allow him into the final -- when ever that takes place.

A great treat among Princess ships is the Pub Lunch. It's a simple British menu offered in one of the dining rooms. This doesn't happen each day, but when it does, we know where we'll have our midday meal. That's what was we did today. We started out with the Prawns & Chips. It was a bit lite, so each of us ordered a second dish; Dan ordered Chicken Curry and I had another plate of prawns.

There are times when entertainment seems to take an afternoon break. That's probably when most oldsters are taking their naps. Today, however, with a bit of negotiation, I made an appearance on the stage of the beautiful Princess Theater. Dan was able to locate a good, central seat for the event. You may be able to spot him in the second picture.

A fabulous string quartet plays daily at one place or another. It's a group of very talented young musicians. Following dinner this evening, we found them playing in the atrium and we were struck by the skill with which they rendered Ravel's Bolero - something not frequently heard by a quartet.

MUTS Aweigh

One feature of cruising that seems missing is availability of comfortable, quiet places to sit and visit. Being smokers, the choices for us are even more bleak. There had always been a spot we enjoyed where seats were plentiful and comfy, coffee nearby and ashtrays at each table. And, the location was away from greatest noise of ship and passengers.

Princess has taken care of that. Initially, a few years back, all the comfy seats were replaced with rough, squared, heavy steel chairs. Next, the number of coffee stations were diminished. Worst of all - the line's introduction to their largest ships, one by one -- MUTS. Movies Under The Stars. See pictures.

The gigantic construction initially provided sports games and 'C' grade movies to late-nighters. After a bit of technological advancement, MUTS is now available day and night. The image is not the problem. For those of us who once enjoyed hours of quiet chit-chat with newfound friends, it's the ear-blasting behemoth speakers that feed the MUTS audio to the entire Pacific Ocean.

More later. Oh -- any suggestions that we quit smoking will be ignored / deleted.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Formal Night Aweigh

I need to append the previous post's comments: we received a note from a very irate friend, Lydia. She pointed out that she and hubby, Marty, were in the picture with our other friends, but they were not mentioned. "We were right next to Rena and Tony", she pointed out.

I looked again and, sure enough, they're there. As she said, Marty is standing right next to Tony. I can only assume the person standing next to Marty is Lydia. If you look, you'll see her. She's the one wiping her nose with a hankie. I certainly erred when I wrote that, Lydia. I know you'll forgive.

This evening is first of several Formal Nights on the cruise. Not exactly my favorite times, but they can be tolerated with the right people sharing them. This is an opportunity to share pictures of our evening table-mates.

Stu and Carol (top) are from Riverside, California. Stu has a very sharp wit - instantly first with a pun for the evening. Carol is very quiet. I'm never able to hear her when she speaks. Mary and Larry (second photo) live in Kansas. Both are fun-loving, although Larry likes to tease beyond tolerance. Didn't get the name of the two gents (last picture). Best thing about them, though - they have been the life of the party each evening.

Tonight, too, is the first evening of turning our clocks back an hour. This is always a confusing moment for me. Not too sure whether to go to bed, or go for dessert.

Away Aweigh

We are impressed that so many have responded to these prattlings, through Facebook comments or with an email. During breakfast, I became a little homesick for all of you. It seemed a good time for me to aim the camera back your way an snap a picture of all of you (top photo). It came out well, don't you think. There are one or two friends missing; they may have been out shopping at that moment.

A special HELLO: to Candy (seated front, left -- where's Randy?); to our boys, Wes and Joey, standing a little behind Candy and looking fit, as ever; to Tony and Rena (with one of their grandchildren), in the very center; and to Alex, with Douglas, at the right side. I see a few faces I don't know, but I'm glad you joined the others. Now I can look at this picture when ever I get homesick again.

The day is quite overcast. Seas are mild. Lots of folks are complaining that it was more than they could take yesterday. We haven't noticed anything at all extraordinary. On the contrary, it's comfortable when one can feel that the ship is underway. In the second photo, you can tell that things are rather steady, no?

This was just to share your picture with you.
More later.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Waist Aweigh

Lest anyone wonder, YES -- we're eating, before and after meals. Whether alone or together or gathered with a group, food begs our attention.

Before boarding yesterday, we noticed a lady sitting across the room. After a moment I whispered, "She looks familiar." Dan said he had been thinking the same thing. He got up and crossed the room to greet the little woman. After telling her our thoughts, she told him she was thinking the same about me. "He looks familiar," she told him, "but I can't say I remember you."
Imagine that. It must have been devastating. Poor Danny.

While settling ourselves onboard, getting luggage unpacked, drawers and shelves filled, I was a little disgusted with myself for having forgotten to pack one of my battery changers. It's to support the music player. Oh well, I thought, I can pick up a set of batteries when we reach port. That was yesterday. Today, as I sat and thought of where to have dinner, I looked over the items on one of my shelves and spied the charger.

Dan, too, is disappointed that he forgot to pack his Kindle. He had it loaded with several books that he'd hoped to read during the trip. Now, he's wondering if it would be wise to pick up some reading material in the ship's library. "I'm not sure I can remember how they work," he mused.

We have met with Dave and Iola, regulars among Princess musical entertainment staff. We've cruised with them four or five times. They actually live on one of the islands, but they spend seven or eight months under contract. It's fun when crew members recognize passengers, and they even remembered our names.

Team Trivia is still fun; two games today. Also, we met with the gang of Cruise Critic.COM people that had preacquainted at the web site. It's fun when there's finally a face one can tie to comments they've shared.

Dan's abed, and I'm thinking about it. There is that trip to the dessert line to consider, though ...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Almost Aweigh

With 2012 rapidly advancing and our growing concerns that it's becoming too late, we're leaving today for a vacation. We haven't been away since September except for occasional trips to the cabin. This time, though, will be traveling without Sara Tuttle and Solo; they're already antsy as they see the luggage being dragged about and are becoming aware they'll be alone again.

This will be the space to watch. As time allows, we'll post a photo or two, along with links on Facebook, or copies emailed thither and yon. Anyone who finds this "Old Hat", or boring, just ignore the notices. If you stick it out, we'll try to make things interesting for everyone.