Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009

A day at sea. Today was art6 lecture/auction day. This is my third cruise (the two others were with our respective mothers and in my case my mom and sister and brother in law) and I still don't understand the reason for art auctions on board. I've rarely, if ever, seen anythoing that I like yet people crowd the auction room and buy the most 'interesting' pieces.

There was a half hour 'review' of the history of art (he really meant western art) which wasn't that bad - good slides and some interesting information.

I spent the day reading, wandering and generally feeling a bit stir crazy. I started out ok but quickly realizede how eak and tired I was feeling - even wi9th the cough suppressangts that I am taking then cough is incessangt and driving me a bit nuts.

I did have a bit of a laugh about it though. The ship is very conce4rned with personal hygiene and there are hand waash stations everywhere. I was in an elevator znd it stopped on another floor. I weas coughing and the woman who was about to gegt on hesitated - I was able to say through the coughing "they don't think it is TB" The look on her face was hysterical.

The tenth floor deck has shade and nice lounges - and no kids or pool - other than 20 year old boys smoking cigars it was a good place to read and rest.

Dinner was 'smart casual' which is getting tough - I didn't packi that well for this trip. I really only have one ;pair of 'decent pants so they have been nsmart casual as well as formal. Even I am getting tired of the clothing I'm wearing.

The engtertainment last night was a comedian - he had been the donut eater on the T^om AQllen series Home Improvement and was not bad - not good but not bad. Old jokes, yelling at the audience, some Don Rickles stuff and some ship humour (the toilets are vacuum flushes and he did make it seem funny).

I was getting whiplashed pretty badly as my head snapped back and forth each time I fell asleep So it was off to bed as soon as it was done.

Mark and Pat are terrific to travel with - things are very relaxed and no0 matter what we do separately during the day we keep an eye o0ut for each other and we always have a drink just before dinner together. It is very pleasant being with them

Tuesday, feb 17, 2009

I am still alive, although still suffering from this stupid cough and fatigue. I get too many colds!

Today was the Turks and Caicos. We landed at Grand Turk one of the 30 islands that make up the two chains of islands.

Carnival, the parent company of Holland America, has built a large dock area for their cruise ships here complete with a Margarittaville and assorted tourist shops - clothing, jewellery, art and food.

I actually felt a bit human today so after breakfast we left the ship and wandered around this little area. But then we ventured further afield walking down the beach for 30 or 40 minutes. For those of yo0u that know my dislike of sand, sun and water you will be amazed to know that I actually walked in the surf!!! Threre is a picture to prove it.

Back to the ship for lunch and then onto a bus/van for a to0ur aro0und the island. Not much to see - Hurricane Ike blew by here on Sept 6, 2008 and rtore the place up. They still don't have electricity on the whole island. Manyof the buildings survived b8ut few of the roofs.

There was an active salt industry here a few hundred years ago but that has disappeared. Then the ame4ricans established naval bases there during the wars and then used them for sattelite tracking stations. Evidently John Glenn's capsule landed about 10 miles offshore here.

So now the industry is tourism and government. Grand Turk is the capital and 90 per cent of the jobs are government.

The young fellow that was our driver and to0ur guide went to sxchool in Canada and c]hurried back to the warmth (and the hurricanes) He kis a trained computer programmer but cqn make more money in the tourist induistry.

As a friend says this island is entrprenurial heaven. We were taken to the old light house - no admission charge, nothing to buy - not even water. There is a lot of opportunity here.

We were back in time to have a glass of wine on our verandah and then get ready fror dinner.

I not only managed to stay all through dinner (key lime pie for dessert) I also made it through the entertainment.

They had an elton john tribute guy - he wasn't bad - his back up band sucked big time - except for the female keyboard player. In particular the drummer was really bad.

It was quite windy i9n the loate afternoon and as we pushed off from Grand Turk - Gravol seems to be the ordwer of the night

Sunday Feb 15, 2009

The day began with another one of Tammy's great brunches and packing. We said our goodbyes to Tammy and Jack took us to Port Lauderdale.

Our cruise ship is the westerdam, a Holland America ship. It is huge. After security checks and ticket checks we got onboard. The cabins aren't ready right away so we went to the Lido deck for a bite to eat.

The Lido has an inside restaurant and an outside taco bar around a pool and hottubs. This pool has a retractable roof over it.

We got into our rooms around 3:00 ansd I finally got a chance to lie down - this cold is getting the better of me.

The room is comfortable - a kingsize bed, flatscreen television, a little sitting area with a love seat and a deck - the deck has a regular door.

On our last cruise the deck door was a sliding door - which allowed us to easily leave it open during the night. We have to prop our door open with the deck table.

Before dinner we sat on the Mulatz' deck and enjoyed a bottle of champagne to celebrate our new adventure together.

Dinner was in the dining room at 8:00 = we were at table 22. I had steak but had to leave to go back to the room to lie down - its starting off well but I am worrying about how this cold will affect my time onboard