Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Our first port of call on our Panama Canal cruise was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, always a favorite of mine!
We had a shore excursion (or should I say another boat excursion) planned and it was the same one we were on last December (Deluxe Coastal Cruise) but we were unable to get off the ship (it was tendering which means that other smaller boats come to the large cruise ship to pick up people and bring them to shore instead of pulling the cruise ship up to a pier) because there was so much activity happening in the bay (jet skis, site seeing boats, and other tenders from the other 2 cruise ships that were also there for the day and also tendering) that the waters were too rough at the time we were scheduled to disembark the cruise ship for our tender so instead we stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship along with the sites and sounds of Cabo.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As most everyone knows, I quit smoking more than 13 months ago, today is day 400 and I've avoided more than 10,000 cigarettes in this amount of time. I'm blown away by the number of cigarettes I was inhaling and I think if I'd taken just an hour to meditate on those numbers I surely would have quit a long time ago. I smoked for 36 years and I estimate that I smoked more than 300,000 cigarettes (that's an average of 25 a day).
WHAT WAS I THINKING????
Anyway, I'm seeing a Cardiologist about my clogged arteries to both my head and my heart - I'm experiencing bad things due in part by genetics (my mother suffered her first heart attack in her 40's and later went on to have open heart surgery along with eventually dying from heart disease) but probably most prominently from my smoking - yes I was killing myself.
Today I had a stress test with scans and dye and next month I'll have an echo cardiogram. I'm already on blood thinners and cholesterol lowering drugs. I'm trying to find out why it's so difficult for me to breath (yeah maybe it's also my lungs but my doctor wanted to start with my heart.)
If you smoke, consider quitting, don't let this happen to you.
Monday, October 27, 2008
We arrived at the Canal on the Pacific side about 5:00am and it took until almost 7:00am to be hooked up to the "mules" to pull us into the first lock. We departed the last lock at sunset, close to 7:00pm - yes, the transit took 12 hours.
There are 3 locks and Gatun Lake.
The locks were very busy in both directions while we were making our transit and the waters were churned up and were muddy.
The actual Panama Canal is an engineering feat that still amazes engineers the world over!
These were locals dressed in Panamanian attire that boarded the ship before we entered the first lock and stayed onboard during the transit answering questions.
This the the bridge of the Americas, it is the only way other than with a boat to move from North America to South America. Also in the photo is the Continental Divide.
The lock doors (all of them) are the original doors (from 1914) and are still in excellent condition.
The Panama Canal is being enlarged to allow for the larger ships being built.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In life, are we little girls dressed up like women, or are we women dressed up like little girls? I feel like I’ve been a woman most of my life (I’m not talking number of years) and I only dressed up like a little girl for a few years. I’ve always wanted to be someone’s wife and to be a Mommy, I liked responsibility.
I thought about this because I know that my husband (along with most men I’ve met) have been little boys dressed up like men. I see the expressions of a little boy, he gets excited at the prospect of warm cookies and chocolate milk, he still likes to kill bugs. And yet his response to his family is so manly........
It took me way too many years to ask my husband how difficult it was to be responsible for me and the kids (I was a SAHM) financially, was there ever a time when he wanted to run away. He tells me no, he tells me that he just kept moving forward that not working was never an option for him.
I don’t know if I could have been as strong.
He did a fine job of taking care of us, we always had what we needed and as time passed we had more than we “needed.”
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I remember Guatamala from Geography class growing up, some of what I saw was what I remembered from Geography all those years ago, the colors and people.
Our cruise ship ported in Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala and we took a shore excursion into Antigua (about 90 minutes by bus) in the mountains. Antigua sits in a valley of sorts with 6 volcanic mountains that surround it. We went during the rainy season and so it rained for us probably 90% of the day but we still managed to marval at the beauty of the land, the architecture and it's craftsman, the people and their simple kindness. There is a very definite class system in Guatamala like there is all over central America, your children were either educated in private schools or they were not educated at all.
This (Antigua) was one of my favorite places to visit on this particular cruise.
This is a local bus, they were brightly colored and very clean.
The streets in Antigua are very narrow and cobblestone.
They bury their dead above ground because of the amount of precipitation.
These were some of the buildings that surrounded the central square in Antigua.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Rudy is coming to Nana & Grandpa's for Christmas!!!!
When my son told me this news it was all I could do to contain my excitement and joy! The first thing I told my husband was "we need to get someone to dress like Santa." We occasionally will decorate the outside of the house with lights and such but as you know it's a big deal, takes lots of time and so we rarely make the effort but this year of course the effort will have to be gigantic cause Rudy can't come for Christmas to a house that isn't decorated to let Santa know that the best little boy in Texas (albeit the world) is in this house waiting for him!!!!!
My Son tried to dampen my enthusiasm by informing me that Rudy doesn't need many toys, that he is just as happy playing with the paper as the gift...............your talk is falling on deaf ears Son, Rudy's first Christmas cannot come without toys that make lots of noise (I understand he enjoys bongo drums).
There will be lots of this talk as the Holidays draw nearer.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Huatulco, Mexico is a new port of call, it's a newer resort destination also. Not that Huatulco is modern as it isn't but it's clean and without much poverty yet, it's growing and it's inhabitants obviously care for the area and the feeling visitors have while they are there and after they leave. This port is lazy and colorful, it's people are kind and welcoming. Definitely a place to visit.
What would Mexico be without the armed military making a visit.
This is the private Villas that we spied on the nude couple and the place that Mariah Carey and her new husband stay at.
The clarity of the waters that surround Huatulco.
This is the city of Huatulco, it's colorful and alive and we didn't see much poverty.
This is a beautiful church/mission/cathedral and the photos that follow shows some of the artwork that is on ceilings and walls throughout the entire structure. This church like many other aspects of Huatulco shows it's color and ethnicity.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
When we pulled into port in the early morning hours when the sun had still not risen, we were taken back by the number of military troops both in the water and on the land. I'd like to think they are there to protect our ship (and I think it's partly that) but it's still very upsetting to see automatic weapons strapped on all of them (you will see this in photos near the bottom of this post).
I didn't like Acapulco, the city was old and worn out, poverty was rampid, it was dirty. The people we had an opportunity to talk with were very mild mannered and kind.
There was a troop of dancers at the area near where the cliff divers performed that also entertained us.......I love the cultural aspect of not only Acapulco but Mexico in general.
The fishermen were selling that morning's catch on the beach.
The cliff divers performing. There is an alter at the top where the main diver (the one that dives from the highest point) prays before his dive. Really pretty spectacular!
The main beach of Acapulco
This is a view of the city from the cruise ship, what you are seeing is mostly the slums.
The military, locked and loaded.
The bottom line, I have no want to return to Acapulco and it was a disappointment.