Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 4 - Santo Tomas, Guatamala

It is beautiful! It is just like looking at a jungle. I know it is, but I didn't expect to wake up and SEE this. Little boats are circling us. It is so rustic and so neat. Almost Hollywood if you didn't know the truth about it. I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting this.

Today we will head into the Guatamalan rainforest to see and swim in the waterfalls...


There were some good things and not so good things here in Guatamala... It is so poor and the people are just so excited to see us. I know that all the ports are thrilled when cruise boats come into their areas because we bring income. But these people genuinely seemed excited to be able to share their little country with us. On the way to the waterfalls (by bus) we went through the little town of Santo Tomas. The children stood on either side of the street and waved. It was the cutest thing.

Chuck stopped at the base of the hike at a little taco stand run by these Mayan people. This was, hands down, the best guacamole I have ever had, and Chuck makes a mean guac! Homemade tortillas, rice/beans, and that guac... sure made that hike better!

The waterfall was beautiful, the water... FREEZING... )I think we were expecting it to be much larger of a water fall and I KNOW I was expecting the water to be at least COMFORTABLE! Man that water was cold! I don't think I ever made it completely IN the water! I can just blame it on not wanting to get the camera wet!) and the hike... let's just say we obviously need to get in shape, and we just didn't swim as much as I had hoped. It was absolutely beautiful though. Everything was just crisp and colorful... even the little inhabitants of the forest! The time went by way too fast. But look how cute we all are and how excited we are that we are NOT at home and work and school!

Back at the port was a little open air market. You know all the goods that say, "Made in Guatamala"? They are... and it is beautiful! I got some rosewood bracelets from a man we watched making an alligator carving. T got one of the local drums that makes the neatest sounds, but gets old quick! E got some woven bracelets, and both guys got a tshirt. We found a beautiful sterling rosary for Chuck's mom, and hand woven placemats for my mom!

and then Chuck saw it... a young kid carrying around a Dr Pepper. You see... I don't drink coffee... I drink DP! And I had not had one since Sunday as the boat doesn't stock them! I KNOW! Anyway, not long after he spotted it, I saw the little booth that was selling canned DP! Chuck calmed me down, and let me know he planned on getting me a six pack for the remainder of the cruise! No more trying to perfect ice coffee in the morning! I was elated! It caught me a giggle to know that 1000's of miles away in another country I was buying a staple of mine that is made not that far away from my house in little Texas! That was the BEST DP I had had in DAYS!

Then it was time to head back to the boat... We were told by our tour guide to watch the dance at the port before we left. Knowing our rooms were on that side of the ship, we headed up to our rooms to watch from our balconies. This was the coolest thing, and most likely the neatest port from the whole trip. Practically the entire town of Santo Tomas came out to see us off. All the taxis parked in a straight line and honked and flashed their lights, two dancing groups came out and preformed their custom dances, "the punto", all the tour guides sang along, and they had a huge signt that said, "Have a nice trip, consider Guatamala your home!" It was so touching. Like I said at the beginning... this was one port that truly made us feel welcome.
Once we had pulled away, and we couldn't hear the music anymore, we cleaned up and headed to Cagney's Steak House for dinner. Should have gone with the filets (the kids' steak looked amazing), but that was the BEST dessert of the whole week ~ bananas foster! I am going to not fit into any of my work clothes!

Ended the evening with a magic show with Richard Burr and his wife Josette. T is hooked on magic, magic tricks, and anything to do with it... so this was a definite necessary for him. One of the tricks had flying cards, and one of the cards landed practically in Chuck's lap... he gave it to T and he got it autographed on the way out. A real hit of the evening!

Did I really miss the sunset again? There is always tomorrow!

Wonder what Belize will have to offer tomorrow! Am I really going to throw this 40 year old body down a zip line 85 feet up in the air? Hmmm...

Lights Out!

Monday, March 30, 2009

We interrupt this program for a brief message!

However it is most likely NOT brief...
This past weekend, E and I drove to Dallas to celebrate the life of my grandfather. He would have been 98 in April. Granddaddy passed away on March 22. On some aspects the occasion was sad, but mostly it was truly a joyous occasion! I knew he was an amazing man, but didn't know the true range of his being. I would certainly NEVER ask any of you to read his obituary... but if you are family and you missed it, here is a his obituary from the Dallas Morning News this past Saturday.

This was taken when he was 96 with his 93 year old "baby brother," Dick! Gruncle Dick is an Aggie from Texas A&M and Grandy is a Longhorn from The University of Texas! Anyone that knows these guys know that they are closer than brothers, but they both joke that there is one day a year that they do not necessarily get along! It was a hoot to watch!

Grandy you will be missed more than you will ever know, but everyone was in agreement that you are where you want to be... right by the side of your life-long bride! From the bottom of my heart and from the hearts of your four surviving children, twelve grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren, we love you!

While E and I were in Dallas, Chuck and T were home tearing up the diamond! T's very first baseball game ever was this past Saturday. and being the dutiful dad/husband, he took photos for me, knowing how much I wanted them! Love you, Honey! And isn't he the cutest boy in baseball... even if it is a Yankees one?

It looks like I might be missing game #2 as well... Chuck will get that game and I get the track meet! Whatever works best for everyone! I am just thrilled that both kids have found something that they enjoy and that both Chuck and I can be a part of it!
Stay tuned for Cruise Day 4 - Guatamala!
Lights Out!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Lainey tagged me, and this tag was actually pretty cool... not sure who I will tag... but let's give it a shot!


go to the place on your computer where you store all your pictures and open the 4th folder. open the 4th picture. post the picture and give an explanation of what it is. tag 4 people. do not cheat!! you cannot edit or crop the picture!!

This is Chuck. We were at a state park where there was tons of wildlife, greenery, photo opportunities galore. Chuck came across this nasty cheese stick that apparently someone dropped. Chuck wanted me to document it as part of the scenery that we came across. I think it photographed well don't you... the next photo in the folder was the 11 foot alligator we had to walk around!

I tag...

Lights Out!

Day 3 - Costa Maya

I see land... you can see just miles of a little green and a LOT of white sandy shores! And it is just so far away. The white just grabs that little touch of sun and almost glows. The little port area was just beautiful. So much color, and just the perfect touch of quaint! But pretty much all that there is to the island!

We head into Costa Maya today for a little "Beach Break!" Not much for sandy/salty feeling, but the kids should enjoy the time ashore! Haven't taken many photos... today's goal: photos of Penny and James and Chuck and me! I really want some good ones of us!

Costa Maya at the port is about all that there is left of this little area. Obviously it has been absolutely devestated by the hurricane last year. The mangroves were just gone, houses gone, waterfronts gone!

The beach break turned to be quite pleasant. It was hot but not stifling, as there was always a breeze. Got settled into a great group of chairs after "beating" the college girls to it! I wanted those chairs, and by goodness, we were getting them! They took all the good chairs at the main pool all day yesterday! so HA!

Back to normal broadcasting!

They also had hammocks everywhere, so the kids had to give those a shot! Decided that they would rather swim...
Settled into our chairs and hit the water. It was cold, but amazingly clear. And just the views available... it was just peaceful and relaxing!The kids found sea stars. BIG ONES! Sea urchins, anemones, and all kinds of fish. It was so neat to see their faces when they realized that they could just reach down and pluck out the sea stars and urchins from their perches on the rocks.
A couple of urchin shells ready to go home... **yes, they made it all the way home**
They had great kayaks available to us, so T and I went out for a short run. Chuck and I went out later for a longer run. Almost tipped the kayak over chasing down a sea star, but Chuck was determined he was getting it. Just to put it right back where it belonged!
James picked up some snorkeling gear and T took right to it. I couldn't believe how easily he found it! He would give us a thumbs up when he saw something.

After a few drinks, a few rays of sun, pictures galore **even of the adults**, and a lot of laughs we were headed back to the ship. We didn't want to be stuck on the last few bus rides back with all those drunk college kids! They were hot, sticky, and drunk!

On the way back to the ship, the blue water reflected off the side of the boat! It just doesn't look real does it?
Back at the ship it was more of a day like yesterday. Stopped back into Raffles for lunch. The Indian food was amazing! More pool, more ping pong, and more relaxing!

Headed to the room for showers and changing... the sunset was to be RIGHT at the time we were heading to dinner! Determination set in! I got part of it, but right before it hit the water, the boat TURNED to leave port! Am I not meant to GET the photo! This one will work for today... there is always tomorrow...
We ate at the French restaurant Le Bistro for dinner! Oh My Gosh! My favorite meal of the entire trip! Mussels AND escargot... all you can eat! It was just too hard to believe! I ate the vegetarian Napolean **trust me I like meat** but this was divine! French creme brulee beat out the crepes! They almost had to roll me out of there!

Second City **where a ton of former comedians got their fame** was performing a family friendly show! It was hysterical! But to add to the entertainment was the large older gentleman that fell asleep behind T and me! He was snoring and NOT quietly! It was so funny!

Can't wait to see what Guatamala has to bring!

Lights Out!