Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Travel Journal - very long

Here is the link to the pictures taken on the trip:

Friday - departure

Up at 5 am to get the last minute details ironed out and the final bits packed. The super shuttle was right on time and we arrived at the airport plenty early. We are flying Southwest even though I really don’t care for their open seating policy. D has to be first in line so that we can get aisle seats close to the front of the airplane.

In Los Angeles, we boarded the shuttle to the port fairly quickly, then circled the airport a couple of times picking up other passengers. We met a couple at the Phoenix airport that were taking the same cruise and they told us about the Princess shuttle. Our shuttle drove us all over town dropping off a couple of other passengers, but we beat the Princess shuttle to the embarkation site. First sight of the boat – man it’s big. (insert pictures of boat here) The tent was huge and quite a few passengers were already there. (Insert pictures of tent here)

I was hoping for a snack and a ladies room in the tent, but no such luck. Processing time wasn’t too bad and we were aboard ship in our room within an hour or so. Dropped our carryon luggage in the room and off to the buffet for a lunch snack.

We came back to the room, watched the forklifts loading the ship for a while and then off to explore the ship.

Saturday – at sea

What a great day. I didn’t sleep very well last night – getting used to the motion of the ship. Our room is very far forward and only a couple of levels above the ocean. As a result, we can hear the waves as they break on the bow even with our balcony door shut. The room is smaller than I expected, but still very comfortable. The shower was designed for a skinny person and the shower curtain kept trying to get me.

I finished D’s socks this morning sitting at the library. I brought along my shawl to work on – thankfully I have memorized the pattern and can knit it and talk at the same time.

It’s been very cold and I have been grateful for my brown shawl. I’ve gotten some compliments on it.

I took a digital camera class that was not what I expected at all. I spoke to the instructor and he said that the next class was probably more what I really wanted. I’d like to learn how to use this great new camera that I bought for the trip.

I also saw an announcement for a meeting of the friends of Bill W. I was amazed to see that. There were 5 of us in the meeting and I was going to keep it light, but the “safe place” feeling that I get at a meeting overcame me and I spilled my guts about my fears, hopes, and helplessness that fill me when I think about my son and his struggle with addiction.

We opted for free style dining. Dinner the first night was a seafood turnover – very good. Last night was a nicely prepared Red Snapper with an amazing appetizer of bay scallops on an avocado half, topped with caviar. We left before dessert so we could get to the comedy show. Split our sides at the comedy show – Oh my gosh – what a funny guy.

Sunday – at sea

It’s our second morning at sea. This morning is much warmer.

We went to the gym this morning and worked out for about 25 minutes, then took a few minutes to plan our day. We are off to breakfast.

Attended a pottery throwing demo – I am seriously considering taking the class this afternoon.

At 11:30 there was a meeting for all veterans – no matter the country. I was not surprised to see that there was only one other female veteran besides D and I. The other woman was a WWII British Air Corps Women’s auxiliary. Amazing.

Time for a nap and then off to the afternoon activities.

I looked into the shipyard build off, but was not interested it in after all. I wandered about and found the art auction. Everything was way out of my price range, but I enjoyed the artist information offered for each group.

Attended the afternoon friends of Bill W meeting and then up to the room to get ready for formal night. I hate getting all dressed up, but D wants to do it, so at least once I will.

We changed out of our formal clothes to go watch the comedy show tonight – this guy was not nearly as funny as the comedian the first night.

Monday – at sea

The cruise daily schedule didn’t really have much interesting to do today. The lecture on “Current Immigration Wave” was dull – just a bunch of numbers – no analysis or cause and effect.

I stopped by a flower arranging seminar – that was fun. The “friends of Bill W” meeting was early today and we had 10 attendees. We talked about long times spent away from meeting rooms. I watched the movie “Breaking Up” with Jennifer Anniston. The best part of the movie was seeing Vincent D’Onofrio in a different role.

A listing for “Rainbow friends of Dorothy” was posted – we thought it might be for glbt, so we stopped by. We saw a number of guys who we were pretty sure were gay. We met a couple of women from Toronto and exchanged a lot of information back and forth – differences in culture… etc.

Dinner was good – the mahi mahi was tender and not dry – but I have been eating so much that I was not very hungry and left half of it.

No show that we want to see tonight and the captain has said that we are in for some weather. It’s rocking and rolling pretty well right now. I think we are just going to hang out in our room and go to bed early.

Tuesday – at sea

The waves were high last night – we had a thunder and lightening storm with a lot of rain. The motion of the ship woke me up often during the night. My stomach was a little queasy today and I ate lightly. The schedule didn’t have anything that thrilled either of us, so we both went back to bed after breakfast and slept the morning away. After a light lunch I went to the “Bill W” meeting and then sat in the art auction just to listen to the guy talk about the artists. I saw quite a few pieces that I would love to own, but I would rather travel than buy art.

I think we are going to one of the shows tonight after dinner.

Wednesday – Kaua’i

High seas continue to the point that Nawiliwili harbor is closed to us. The captain announced this morning that we would be diverted to Honolulu harbor to offload passengers with a medical emergency. I went to the AA meeting this morning and we all were very grateful for a program that helps us accept the things we cannot change. Many passengers were upset at the change in schedule – but we have been very “easy does it” about it. Saw a lecture by the comedian Kevin Hughes called “The truth about lies”; very informative and entertaining at the same time. Watched the movie in our room and were asleep pretty early.

Thursday - Lahaina

Calm seas as we approach Lahaina, but the captain informs us that a front moving across Maui will bring 55 knot winds by just a little after 1 pm. This will prevent the tenders from being able to bring us back from the harbor – so another day on board ship and another missed port. No meeting on the regular schedule today, I am hoping that the revised schedule will have a meeting posted. There is a knitting and needlework group announced - I am going to go hang out there and see how that goes. I have talked to a number of knitters, but none of them were carrying their knitting around with them. I have gotten quite a bit of knitting done on the most recent incarnation of the Forest Canopy Shawl with the cobweb weight polwarth that I dyed at SOAR 2007.

DeVia has a headache tonight – she’s been lying down since right after lunch. I ate dinner alone and then went to see the second comedy show by Kevin Hughes. He talks about relationships and communication. Very funny guy. I think I will end up getting his CD’s before we leave the ship.

Tonight we are passing by the lava flow. We can see it from our balcony. I am going to try to get a picture of it, but considering the results I got photographing the full moon this morning, I will probably just get a picture of some red lights on the horizon.

Friday - Hilo

Finally we have arrived at a port where we will be allowed to get off the ship! I was getting ready to start the rumor that we were not being allowed to leave the ship because we are under quarantine. LOL – that’s not funny.

Our excursion today is up to Mauna Kea – 13,000+ feet high - second highest mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Loa is the highest. We could see it in the distance as we drove up to Mauna Kea. When our tour bus got to the ranger station, we were informed that the road was closed due to ice and high winds. Crap! We turned around and came down to the Imiloa Astronomy center and then to the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut groves and processing plant. I got a few pictures of Mauna Kea in the distance with the observatories and then some great shots of the storm that rolled in.

We ate lunch at a nice little park overlooking a waterfall and then back to the ship by 4 or so. Dinner tonight looks good and Tom Briscoe is doing another comedy show – we will go again – but we were not thrilled by his first performance.

Saturday – Honolulu

We were up early today – watched as Oahu came into sight. Docked at the pier and we walked to Aloha tower shopping center. Our bus was late for the excursion to Sea Life Park, but once we finally got there - swimming with the dolphins was amazing.

Sunday – Kona

Another calm day and the tender boats to the island are swift. We get on a Robert’s bus and are off up the mountain past Parker Ranch to another ranch with the horseback riding and ATV riding. It’s a perfect 65 degrees out. We grab slickers and I pick up some cowboy boots to wear in place of my Sketchers. Man, I forgot the feel of boots on my feet. I tied the slicker on the back of my saddle cause the coolness feels good to me. After two hours and 5 miles, some gorgeous scenery on the way, I had forgotten how much I like riding. The horses were great – willing to trot or run, responsive to the reins.

Monday – at sea

It’s good to be at sea – very relaxing. The seas are calm and I finished my purple shawl. I wish I could block it so that I could see what it will look like. The Bill W meeting is set for 10:30 today, good to be back, I missed going while we were in port. I really like the connection to people that a regular meeting gives.

Tuesday – at sea

The meeting was at 10:30 again today, I like it when it’s the same time, and same place every day. A knitters and other needlework gathering was on the schedule today. I brought my spinning wheel and we had a great time. I started a pair of socks in handspun. Dinner tonight with Penny and Chip – we really like those guys. We are making plans to see them this July. The Comedy show was lukewarm.

Wednesday – at sea

The meeting today’s topic was our life today. Great stories from everyone. I’m sitting here with the horizon a million miles away wondering how early peoples got up the courage to cross this wide water with primitive boats. I started a stole from the Victorian Lace Book. The border is knit first, the center next and then the border for the other side. I’m knitting it up in the same yarn that I used for the purple shawl. I started it twice. The first time, I realized that I would need a row counter as it’s a 20 row repeat. I was reading and one of the women from the knitting get together sat down next to me. I told her what I was going to do and she offered me one of her row counters. What a nice gal. I have 1.5 repeats done so far and it’s a challenging knit.

The comedian is Kevin Hughes again tonight – I can’t wait – he’s the best entertainment on the boat.

We met Jody and Dennis at the comedy show and had dessert with them. They are so nice and I am looking forward to staying in touch with them. Kevin outdid himself tonight. He has a way of taking everyday issues and making them funny.

Thursday – at sea

I was up early and went up to breakfast while DeVia was still asleep. She joined me later and we hung out for a while, then I went off to return my book and work on my knitting. D found me later and let me know that she had met Kevin’s wife Kathy. We sat with them at lunch and had a great time laughing. Kathy and I talked about knitting and I gave her my copy of the Forest Canopy shawl.

The meeting was at 12:30 today and one of the regulars was missing. Jody brought a daily meditation guide - today’s meditation used a yarn analogy and I got a copy of it for future use.

Friday – at sea

Not much to write about today – got all the bags packed up pretty early in the afternoon and went to the last Kevin Hughes show in the evening. Touched base with the couples we met that we really liked – got email addresses so that we can keep in touch.

The last meeting for the friends of Bill W was this morning and it made me cry to say goodbye to them. Tomorrow will be hectic – with customs and immigration inspections and then the airport security stuff. I will be glad to be home.

1 comment:

Diane In Chico, CA said...

Welcome home! It sounds like a perfect trip, and your pictures are great. I've been avoiding big cruise ships, but maybe they aren't so bad after all.