|Sat. Dec. 26,
||We were all ready to go pretty
early. Karen had a burst of energy and carried the lighter bags
down to the garage; Lou had to carry the two heavy bags.
We left Miss Samantha with two treats and a radio playing and a
dog cam streaming video to the web, so we could check on our
At about 11:00 Karen took Sam out the front door to romp a bit.
The limo guy appeared and Karen flagged him down and pointed him
to the driveway. Pat came over to return the cinnamon that John
borrowed. So we walked over so Sam could say hi to the two white
dogs. Pat said that Nicholas asked about us that morning.
So the limo guy loaded all the luggage, and Lou gave Sam an
extra treat, and we were on our way.
The traffic was very light, and we got to the airport quickly.
We got rid of 4 bags at the curbside check in, and we went
straight to security. There was no line at all, and just one
family group ahead of us. Of course, Lou's hips made the metal
detector go off and he was led away to be scanned. Karen was
left alone to gather up all the bags. She kept a close eye on
the laptop bag. Her new Christmas Acer laptop was making the
trip, because now you can use WI-FI on the ship from your cabin.
Karen warned the screener that her suitcase contained an ice
pack. He asked what was in it, and she answered "ice." He
repeated the question, and she answered "drugs,"
but then quickly amended her statement to, "prescription drugs."
When she had all the luggage and Lou's sneakers, Karen looked
around for Lou but could not find him. She said to a nearby TSA
agent, "I have lost my husband." The woman said something like,
"That is so sad," but then she pointed way over to a glassed in
screening area where Lou was.
We were so early, we had time for a leisurely lunch at AJ's
Tavern (AJ stands for Andrew Jackson). Karen had a salad and Lou had a soup
and a chicken sandwich. It was really good, but did not seem to
have anything to do with Andrew Jackson
except may that you can't get out of there for less than $20.
We went to the gate area. It was really crowded. At one point,
Karen counted 7 TSA agents in the crowd just watching people.
Then they announced that they were screening everyone getting on
one of the other flights. Not our flight.
Karen got a seat because she felt sort of tired. Then the seat
next to Karen opened up, and Lou got to sit down too. It seemed
to take a long time to get onto our plane. We were B7 and B8.
When we were in line, after the As had all boarded, the gate
agent called for families with small children to board. The
older lady in front of Karen said something like, "Good, now
we'll know where the children are sitting and we can avoid
them." It was funny.
We were almost all the way to the back. Lou had suggested that
we sit like Patsy and Omer on aisle seats across from each
other. that worked out fine. Karen went to the bathroom right
away before we even took off. She had jogged to the ladies room
while the As were lined up, but there was too long a line and
she just jogged back.
The flight was GREAT.
Cindy met us at the airport -- she was parked exactly right
outside the door that we walked out of, which was cool.
We drove to Mike's house, which is decorated all Southwestern
style with lots of Kokopellis everywhere. Mike and Lou talked a
lot about football. Karen put her feet up on the couch to try to
un swell her ankles. We gave Mike the yummy cool NC cans of nuts
to thank him for his hospitality (originally it was for Raulito
but they went out of town).
Will was there, but not Brian because he had to work at Best
Lou reimbursed Mike for the grey goose vodka that he picked
up so we could give it to Daisy.
Dinner was a great ham, potatoes, broccoli cheese, and
corn followed by home made pecan and pumpkin pies. Soon after
dinner we split. Cindy loaned us her Dodge Neon which is going
to be Will's car. We plugged in Miss Betty.
We got to the hotel and had to valet park because that is what
they require. The bellhop unloaded all our luggage for us then
once we had a room, all we had to do was tell him the number and
he brought the luggage up soon.
Room is good. Bed is very comfy. The room is really well
insulated and we heard NOTHING which is good because there are
multiple high school girls soccer teams here!
|Sun. Dec. 27, 2009
||We woke up around 7AM and drank coffee we made
in the room. Then we just hung out in bed watching a movie,
which we never do. We watched the end of Las
Vegas Vacation, but then we watched an entire movie but we
cannot remember what it was. It was awesome though. It was fun
and relaxing and just what we needed. Then we went down to the
hotel restaurant and had breakfast there at
the buffet but it was a little pricey so we won't go back.
Then we went for a walk. We were going to go for a longer walk
after stopping in the room for Karen to rest, but then Daisy
called and said we should come at 1:00 to catch the beginning of
the game. So we headed back to the hotel and then left for
Uncle Fuhensio looks really good but his hands shake. He goes to dialysis 3 times per week now.
We gave Fuhensio two cans of pecans from NC, and we gave Daisy a
bottle of grey goose vodka.
Daisy kept dragging Karen to the kitchen to leave the men alone.
We ate too much and went for a walk for about 50 minutes
When we left, we were still so full from dinner. Miss Betty got
us back to the hotel. We got beverages and sat on the hotel
terrace overlooking Bubba Gump. There were a lot of people
waiting to get in, and a lot of people just walking around. Lou
talked to George who was in San Francisco on a trolley.
|Mon. Dec. 28, 2009
||Karen woke up with Lou playing with her laptop
-- but then the mouse stopped working! It is not easy in Windows
7 to use keyboard shortcuts. We tried everything we could think
of, then we called Tech Support. It cost $3 per minute which
really stinks. Lou told the guy everything he had tried.
had us try a couple of things, but nothing worked. So he agreed
with Lou that it seemed like a hardware failure. Still cost us
Lou called Costco. The funny thing was they would have let us
return the laptop in Florida without the receipt but we needed
the box, which of course we did not bring with us on vacation.
The Costco guy said we would have no trouble returning it when we
Karen suggested that we run out and buy a mouse to plug into the
USB port. That would be good enough for our vacation. But Lou
suggested we just go buy Karen a new laptop. It would be better
for us to spend the time during vacation because we would not
have time once we got home to deal with it. Plus we could see
Brian if we went to his Best Buy.
As we walked into
the Best Buy in Coral Springs, we saw Brian standing just inside the glass doors. He is in Security. Lou said, "Is that guy over there shoplifting?" We could
not talk to him for long because he was working, but it was
great to see Brian.
We looked at a lot of laptops and tried the mouses and
keyboards, but they were all just okay. Lou said we should keep
looking till we found one that Karen really loved. So we looked
at these Sony machines and Karen really liked them a lot. It
ended up we chose a machine about $100 more than the original
but it is totally cool. Just when Lou picked up the box and we
were going to head to the cash registers, the lights went out.
It was shocking. Everything went dark except all the laptops
which switched to battery power. We stayed where we were till
the employees made us go to the front. We brought the box. We
hung out for a while then the lights came back. We went to look
at camera batteries but could not find Lou's and the guy said
that a 2001 camera battery was pretty ancient. Then we went to
chat with someone about the Best Buy return policy. Then Karen
went to the ladies room, and the lights went out again. Oooh it
was totally pitch dark in that bathroom.
Again the employees were pushing people to the front of the
store, but Lou resisted till Karen joined him.
The lights went on and off a bunch of times. We got in line. We
stood in line for a long time. We thought that people were
checking out because we kept moving up, but people were just
giving up. Eventually they announced that the power would be off
for hours and that we all needed to leave.
Karen got the model number and we headed to another Best Buy. We
found the exact same laptop but it was next to a PINK one of the
same model so Karen was thrilled to get that one instead.
We went to Applebees for a late lunch. We brought the laptop in
so we could make sure it booted okay, but there was no power
outlet and the documentation warned that you had to have it
plugged in till the battery was fully charged. So we contented
ourselves with looking at the documentation. Then we packed the
dead Acer laptop into the Sony box and walked over to the UPS
Store. We used their power to make sure that the new laptop was
working fine, and then we shipped the dead laptop home.
Then we went to Mike's house. We were overdue for returning the
Neon to Cindy. Will was supposed to be practicing his driving in
preparation for his test the next day, but instead he stayed up
all night long playing games.
Mike and Cindy drove us back to the hotel and then split.
We plugged in the laptop and ran updates and then sat outside in
the pool bar. Karen had to go change into warmer clothes
because it was freezing. She
read Murder at the Pentagon while Lou smoked a cigar. It was
cold. The Wizard of Oz came on the TV in the bar, and Karen
performed all the parts (by reading the subtitles).
We ate at Bubba Gump
|Tue. Dec. 29, 2009
||Karen was so tired when we woke up around 7
today! She managed to give Lou his birthday present (shirt with
WWII planes) before falling back to sleep for awhile. Then we
watched Cliff Hanger with Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow.
We had room service breakfast and got free orange juice (freshly
squeezed and completely yummy) because the bowl of oatmeal
arrived like 25 minutes after everything else.
Because it was kind of cold (54) we decided not to go to the
beach. Instead, we walked into town to the cute shopping area.
It took 50 minutes. We walked up the steep hill that culminated
in a drawbridge while the bridge was open!
We wanted to get Lou's watch battery replaced, get quarters for
laundry, and have lunch. Karen thought the watch battery might
take awhile so we took care of that first. We think that the
jeweler took his time replacing the battery to give the salesman
time to sell us something. But we did not buy anything else.
When Karen said we were headed to the Caribbean and would buy
something there, he went on and on about how we would not find
good prices there.
We then went to Starbucks. Lou sat on a nice leather couch
outside while Karen went in and got the coffees and waters.
After resting awhile and drinking the coffee, Karen ran across
the street to BOA and got quarters for doing
laundry on the ship.
Then we started walking again and ended up at Mangoes for lunch.
We glanced at the menu and it looked great. It was yummy and
wonderful and very busy. Lou had the daily special swordfish and
Karen has a tuna tartare salad. Both were excellent. We chose
that restaurant because when we drove by it Mike mentioned that
it was very good.
Then we headed back. There was a chance that Cindy and the boys
would come to the hotel for a drink at about 4pm.
We walked back on the other side of the street which was
pleasantly sunny. Some people asked us if there was a shopping
center ahead, and we reassured them that it was so.
We continued on to the CVS because we really needed some stuff,
and then we
went back to the hotel and across the street so Lou could take
pictures of the hotel and Bubba Gump restaurant.
We went to the room and hung out. Before dinner, Karen figured
out how to create the recovery disk, but could not label it as
suggested (repair disk windows 7 64 bit) because Lou's pen would
not write on the DVD.
We eventually got hungry and went out for pizza. At the
restaurant, we were sitting there for a really long time with no
waiter. So when the girl brought us silverware, Karen asked for
a waiter and the poor girl was shocked that no one had come over
to take our order yet. A waiter came over quickly and took our
order and apologized. It was good pizza. Lou brought a couple of
pieces of pizza back tot he room to eat during half time but he
never touched it and the next morning we tossed it in the trash.
We stopped at the bar and got club soda and a margarita and
tipped our pal Paula
Now we are back in the room and Lou is watching football while
Karen writes this record.
|Wed. Dec. 30, 2009
||We head to the cruise ship today!
Karen did laundry the first day.
We explored the ship, going up and down many flights of stairs,
which is what we always try to do on board. But when Karen was
rushing back to the laundry room one time, her left knee
suddenly started to kill. That was the end of being able to go
down stairs normally.
This ship has an extra deck: Riviera, Deck 14. That means the
Lido (food) is on 15!
Sabatini's Italian restaurant is in the aft on 15.
The Sanctuary is beautiful and peaceful with the best chairs. We
scoped it out on Wednesday and planned to go there on Thursday.
16 people paid $150 each to reserve a seat in the sanctuary for
the entire cruise. That leaves 30 seats available for daily
We ate lunch late in the buffet.
We got letters from the spa saying that they cancelled our
massage appointments. The letter said please call to reschedule,
but we were completely bummed and decided not to bother to
reschedule. (That was not a good decision, we found out later.)
We ate dinner in the International cafe, which serves tempting
small portions of an ever changing menu. Like a fabulous little
mozzarella tomato sandwich. But Karen wanted vegetables, so we
finished dinner in the buffet with a salad.
Lou got a coffee card, and Karen got a soda card.
We went to the welcome aboard show, and our cruise director is a
chick named Lisa. This is out first chick cruise director.
The comedian Dave Evans sort of bombed until he started doing
|Thu. Dec. 31, 2009
||New Year's Eve.
Lou woke Karen up early 7:05AM so she could
rush to the Sanctuary and reserve seats for the day.
We went to DaVinci for the sit-down breakfast, asked to share a
table, but then no one joined us! We love meeting new people in
the restaurant for breakfast and lunch, especially since we
usually have dinner on our own.
We got to the Sanctuary around 10:00AM. Karen had seen a leg
therapy sign in the spa and went to make an appointment to see if
it would help the swollen ankles. Plus it turned out that our
massages were not actually cancelled, but Lou did not want to go
any more, so Karen cancelled them with a lot of effort not to
get charged for a late cancellation.
The leg treatment was very relaxing and Karen's ankles were
We went back to DaVinci for the sit-down lunch and asked again to
share a table. This time, we were seated in the last two open
seats at a table, but the funny thing is, the woman next to Lou
was COMPLAINING about everything. There were three couples. One
couple was from London who sell spa visits, tours, and excursion
type things over the web so that you get a certificate
immediately via email which is great for last minute panic
Christmas shopping. Another couple (next to Lou) hated
everything. The husband actually said that he never has a good
time on a cruise. The wife said she much prefers traveling on
land because you see so much more, but now that she is getting
older, she can't handle land tours. And the last couple had
recently been on The Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).
After lunch we went back to the Sanctuary and crashed and read
our books and totally relaxed. At 4:45 Karen got cold so we got
drip coffees and went to the cabin. Karen worked on the vacation
report and we watched Star Wars until it was time to get ready
for dinner and our fabulous formal night of fun.
Lou wore his black suit and looked very handsome! Karen wore her
black gown and looked very pretty!
We had dinner at the steakhouse on board, the Crown Grill. Our
waiter was Ramil. Everything was yummy.
They brought Lou a fancy dessert and two waiters sang a happy
birthday song (it was beautiful). Then we chatted with the people
at the next table from LA.
We did a half a loop around the ship only because it was so
windy. Then we went back the cabin for an hour so Karen could
put her feet up. That helped a lot. Then we headed to the comedy
show, Adam Ace. He was wacky. We laughed a lot.
Afterward, we headed to the Piazza for the New Year's Eve Party
where they would drop the balloons. Out on deck there was
another party, no balloons, but streamers instead. There were a
lot of people crowded around. We decided to get out onto the
small dance floor so that we could dance and have fun instead of
standing around watching people dance and have fun. Plus, our
major goal was to be under the balloons when they dropped. We
got onto the dance floor at 11:15 and had a blast. It was hard
to squeeze onto the floor, but we found a spot right next to the
band. There was a lot of bumping into people, but that was fun
too. It got really hot.
There was a small boy at Lou's elbow who would not stop blowing
At midnight, Lou gave Karen an amazing kiss, and the balloons
dropped on us. It was so fun to bat the balloons around and
stomp on them.
Afterward, we got drinks and headed back to the room. We also
had the opportunity to say hello to one of the guys who went on
stage with the comedian and danced.
When we got back to the room, Star Trek XI was on and we watched
for awhile. Then we crashed. Karen was awake for awhile with an
We also decided not to go to the Sanctuary on Friday. It seemed
like a better idea to just hang out and do other things. We'll
get back tot he Sanctuary on the sea days later on. So we did
not need to set an alarm -- we knew that the Champagne Breakfast
delivery would wake us up at 7:30AM.
|Fri. Jan. 01, 2010
||New Year's Day.
Champagne Breakfast! It was HUGE. We sat in
the sitting room (not in bed).
Karen rushed off at 9:00AM for another leg appointment. Lou
stayed in the cabin and went to sleep. Karen brought back a
latte for Lou.
We missed the Bermuda Triangle lecture, so now we are planning
to go to the St Thomas Port and Shopping talk at noon.
We did go to Lauren's port and shopping talk, and Lou yelled so
enthusiastically that he was given a prize. We were interested
in a watch for Karn and maybe a camera for Lou.
We got VIP tickets from Lauren to get the best price on a watch and a camera.
We went to lunch and got soup and salad only, although it was a
BIG salad. We sat in the buffet at a table for six in the window,
and an English couple joined us and talked about how safe Egypt
is. Karen would love to see the pyramids, and Lou would love to
see what is left of the great library at Alexandria.
We walked, came back to the cabin to hang out, got coffees...
We got a letter stating that we have been chosen for the ultimate
ship tour! Yahoo! Behind the scenes, 3 hours long, totally
We ate dinner at the Cafe Caribe because we had seen that they
were serving madras curry. It was yummy. Jose from Portugal was
our super waiter.
We thought we would go to the Broadway show and we got seats but
after about 15 minutes Karen could feel her ankles swelling so
Lou suggested we bail and come back to the room.
|Sat. Jan. 02, 2010
halfway through the vacation.
We woke up at 6:30AM because we had an early tour. We ate
breakfast by ourselves in a table for two in the DaVinci in 30
minutes. We sat in The Piazza waiting to hear that we were
allowed to disembark. The announcement came pretty quickly, and
we went out onto solid ground again.
Our tour was the Ultimate St Thomas. We boarded a pretty nice
open air bus, four people per bench. We had a scenic and hair
raising drive that included stops at two lookouts. At the first
lookout, an English couple took our picture for us, and Karen
tried three times to use their point-and-shoot digital camera to
reciprocate -- but the camera did not take the picture! Three
times! At the second lookout, they got someone else to take
their picture for them.
We headed to the beach at Magan's Bay. We have seen this beach
on travel shows where they rated it one of the ten best in the
world! It was really nice. The water was clear and calm, but
there was an undertow pulling you away
(not out to sea ) just
down the beach along the shoreline. There is no development
there, so there are a lot of trees. There is a pretty good
bathroom and salt water showers. (When we
first arrived, we settled all our stuff on a
picnic table, smelled something bad, saw that we were next to
the septic system, and then moved waaaay down the beach to
escape the smell.)
It was only 9:15 but it was hot enough to swim. We stayed in the
water for about an hour, then got cleaned up and dressed, and
went to get a beverage at the bar. Oooh, we also had French
After that, the bus dropped us off at Bluebeard's castle and
then left! The rest of the tour was pretty much self guided. We
heard a little about rum production, visited the gift shop where
Lou got a good T shirt, and then we basically started walking
down a bunch of stairs to get to town. There were historic homes
along the way, and we stopped in to see them. There were docents
in each to answer questions.
When we got to town, we hit Del Sol and then realized we had
better eat lunch and get a drink. The girl at Del Sol suggested
Jen's Gourmet Cafe, and it was awesome. We immediately ordered
conch fritters and iced tea, and then followed them with a
grilled mahi mahi sandwich with friend plantains (Lou) and roti
with chicken which is a dish from Trinidad of curry potato
carrots and chick peas (Karen).
Then we went to the bamboo fabric store. We got serious after that.
The first Diamonds International we went into was not the right
one -- it had designer collections. The second DI we went into
was too busy and no one helped us. So we went to Little
Switzerland because Karen had seen that they had the Citizen Eco
Drive for ladies in a pink. Well, not that Little Switzerland.
But Colbert showed Karen some Swiss Army watches. There was a
pink faced one, but it was not great, so we started walking out.
Then Lou said that he thought Karen was buying too much pink
stuff, so we went back to look at non-pink Swiss Army watches.
Karen found one that she loved.
But we felt that we should try DI again. So we left and said
that we might be back.
We tried Royal Caribbean, but no luck with watches or cameras.
Both RC and Boolchand were out of stock on the Nikon P90.
We ran and got the watch, too! then we jumped in a taxi at 4;30
to go back to the ship.
We finally had pizza on the ship, which was
delicious. Karen tried the ice cream but it was gross
soft serve. But free.
We bought Lou another bathing suit, exactly the same.
After dark, we went in
the hot tub, and this handsome foreign guy looked so upset that
we were joining him. He actually turned away and ignored Lou
when Lou tried to speak to him. He eventually left.
We cleaned up and went to dinner and then came back to the
cabin, too tired to stay up for the game show tonight.
Tomorrow our tour leaves later at 9:50, so we can sleep later.
|Sun. Jan. 03, 2010
First of all, the name of this island is
We had coffee delivered and we drank it on the balcony. Very
wonderful! We had breakfast in the DaVinci by ourselves, which
was nice and fast. Karen is in love with the smoked salmon
We were almost the last two to get to the bus, even though we
were 20 minutes early! We sat apart, which was okay. Karen ended
up chatting with the people behind her from Pennsylvania.
Prosper was our guide, and he was a Carib Indian. He had a lot of
personal dignity. If he was talking, and you were talking or not seeming to pay attention, he sort of glared at you to get your
attention. He got a little snippy with a young German couple who
were ignoring him while he was telling us what to do if we saw a
wild board (just before we entered the national park).
There was a pretty arduous muddy and rocky stairway down to the
Emerald Pool. It was also really pretty, but in retrospect we
probably should have just stayed up at the top. When we got down
to the pool, we could not actually get to the pool because it
was just too rocky.
We went to a nice black sand beach. The sand was black and
white mixed together, so it looked more like a dark gray beach.
The sand was really fine and sticky and HOT in the sun.
We did not run off to eat lunch when we got back. Instead we
took showers first. Lou watched some football after lunch; Miami
lost darn it.
That evening, Karen was tired but Lou talked her into staying
up by mocking her with like "How old are you?!" So we saw the
7PM magician comedy show, followed by Jeopardy at 9:30. Jeopardy
was fun but we didn't win. The Flags category killed us. We did
much better in the Movies category and the Food & Drink category.
|Mon. Jan. 04, 2010
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|Tue. Jan. 05, 2010
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|Wed. Jan. 06, 2010
Whoops! Forgot to log.