Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Here is a picture of our lovely ship taken from Bar Harbor (Baa Haa Baa). Bar Harbor was our last stop. This is where the cruise balled up. We had to go through immigration before taking a tender to shore. Everyone on board lined up to go through and it took forever. So half our excursion was cancelled, but we still took a bus to the top of Cadillac Mountain where you can see the entire island. At least you could if it wasn't engulfed in fog. Even so this was a fun stop. Bar Harbor is picturesque and the harbor was beautiful when the fog burned off. Julie even got sunburned a couple hours after this picture was taken. There were lots of shops and a village green, just too many people. But that was the case wherever we went . With the exception of Hailfax, these are smaller towns that just got inundated with 1700 people.
Since I've done this completely out of order, maybe I'll go back and do a day-by-day run down.
August 30 - Left Salt Lake at 3:00 after spending the morning with Lincoln. We flew to Phoenix and spent the next five hours in that airport. Next stop - Charlotte, NC. We reached Boston Sunday morning and boarded the ship. (Cassie looks like a movie star, doesn't she?) We were late for a barbecue on the top deck that evening and almost had to beg for food. They were pulling dishes right out from under our grasp. Not a good omen, but the food and service improved vastly as the cruise continued.
September 1 - Landed in St. John, New Brunswick. The best greeting ever. There must have been twenty people handing women from the ship roses and the men got pins. We took a bus ride around the town, stopped at an old market where we bought souvenirs, saw the reverse waterfall (where the Bay of Fundy at high tide meets the river). We rode the bus to St Martin while the guide talked and pointed things out. At St. Martin, Julie and I had really good sea food chowder. Cassie had chicken strips. We walked along the shore and headed back to the ship. I slept a lot during the thirty minute bus ride to St. Martin and back. A lone bag piper in a kilt serenaded the ship as it pulled away from the pier. That was pretty surreal.
September 2 - Our first sea day. I really noticed the motion of the waves here and eventually took medication. Julie did as well but she was also coming down with a nasty cold. Cassie did fine and but bemoaned the fact that the ice cream shack on the top deck was closed because of the rain. We played dice and read. Learned about buying jewelry. Very relaxing.
September 3 - Halifax. This was my favorite stop. We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city which worked perfectly for me as we could stay longer at some stops but still have a guide pointing out sites as we rode the bus. We spent time in the Halifax Gardens (beautiful) and ate at a great Italian restaurant. Julie walked back to the ship as she was really unwell while Cassie and I continued on to the Citadel. This fort was built to guard the city from the French but wasn't finished until that threat was gone. Our guide, Corporal Steve, was a cute college kid, again in a kilt. I really enjoyed our time at the Citadel. The views were fantastic and we learned some great history about the city. Our next stop was at the Halifax Maritime Museum where we learned more about the Halifax Explosion. I was really interested in this piece of history after reading Barometer Rising, a novel which includes the tragedy.
September 4 - Coming into Sydney was beautiful, but it was a pretty ordinary town. We took a taxi ride to see the sites and saw a lot of churches and subdivisions. Odd. We did eat lunch at a great restaurant overlooking the bay and met a local walking his Westies. Cute dogs and he was fun to visit with.
September 5 - Another sea day with rain and fog. Julie was really sick this day and spent most of the day in our miniscule state room. I can't remember what Cassie and I did.
September 6 - I've already told you about Bar Harbor. I would love to see this place on a really sunny day.
September 7 - Debarked in Boston and found our way to the airport. This time we flew to DC, Phoenix, and finally Salt Lake. We were exhausted.
Dislikes: Constant motion on the ship. About two days back on land, I started feeling that motion again. Tiny room that was totally dark at night and hot. Not having enough time in the ports to really get a feel for the places, except for Halifax. The comedy show where guests told their supposedly g-rated jokes.
Likes: The food was fantastic. The Chocolate Buffet: tables loaded with different chocolate delicacies and chocolate sculptures. I loved the towel animals and the friendly crew (except those barbecue guys). Friendly townspeople. Great entertainment: The Jean Ryan Troupe of dancers and singers, a fantastic juggler, very funny comedian and so-so jazz singer. Denny, the cruise director, was an odd man but the act he and his team (The Fountains) performed at the crew talent show made us laugh so hard. Spending time with Cassie and Julie was the best.
Would I go on a cruise again? Sure, it is an inexpensive way to travel and the good outweighs the bad. I still prefer road trips because you have more options, but would love an Alaskan cruise, maybe the Mediterranean or even Scandinavia.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
1st - I attended the bank's Recognition Event in Provo. It was held at the Elk's Lodge and I stayed at the Marriott. I love sleeping in hotels; nice firm bed, lots of channels on the TV, alone time. The event itself was fun. I was late and didn't get to scope out the prizes which really didn't matter in the end. My name was called about halfway through and all the prizes I had been hoping for were gone. But I did select a very nice set of luggage: brown flowery brocade design. Just the thing for cruise. (Stay tuned to learn how it fared on the trip. Details in a future post)
2nd - I got up early which is hard when you're sleeping in a comfy hotel bed and it's Saturday morning, but I needed to get back to Vernal for the Petersen Family Reunion. I made it just in time to say goodby to Uncle Donald and Aunt Eleanor and Cousin Eldon. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent mostly playing dice and visiting. It was a nice day with a light breeze cooling things off occasionally. I have a great family and it was fun to spend time with them.
12th - Went visiting teaching. I know this shouldn't be that noteworthy, but it is the first time in eight months that my partner went with me. She is the same age as my daughter but really fun; and we had a good time. She's a busy girl so I'm glad we were able to finally go out together.
13th - Saw the movie "Mama Mia" with my high school friends. If you went to high school in the 70's, I recommend going to this movie with similar age friends. Some of the references were hilarious and the music was great. Except when Pierce Brosnan sang and then it was just hilarious. I was telling someone about it today (a month later) and starting cracking up again. Very entertaining.
30th-31st - Drove to Salt Lake Friday night and stayed at Jordan's. That meant I got to play with Lincoln Saturday morning. We went to a store and Jordan parked in the back seat with the baby. I made mooing noises for him which he loved. He's so cute. I left the car with Jordan and Stacey so they had two cars while I was gone. That afternoon at 3 pm MST, Julie, Cassie and I boarded our plane en route to Boston via Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC. We arrived in Boston at 9 am EST. What a long day and night. Our layover in Phoenix was five hours long!! We took a very expensive taxi ride to the boat and boarded. You'll have to wait for my post about the trip to learn more.
Books - I read or listened to eight books this month:
Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (audio) - Very funny
The Changeling by Zilpha Keating Snyder - A great young adult book
Niagra: A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton - Non-fiction, read for Canadian challenge. Very informative and interesting.
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer - The last of the Twilight series. The kind of book you can't put down but not my favorite in the series.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - Dare I criticize the great one? I'll just say this was one of my least favorite Austen books.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E L Konigburg - Another great young adult book.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - probably my least favorite read this month.
Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan - Read for the Canadian Challenge and in preparation for my trip to Halifax. It was slow going at first, but the description of the Halifax Explosion was spellbinding.
I joined one challenge, R.I.P Challenge 2008, which is always a good one for the fall. I also finished the Decades, TBR, Heard It Through the Grapevine and the Chunkster Challenges. So I have six challenges to finish before December 31 and one to finish by October 31. That's about sixteen books because I do a lot of cross-challenging, so I think I'm good. Especially since I'm almost finished with one that works for two challenges. I feel like I'm pulling a fast one.
Movies - Mama Mia (see above)
TV - It was all about the Olympics. Why is it that you couldn't pay me to watch rowing but put it on the Olympics and I'm standing and cheering on the Americans? If they're not in the race, I'll find someone else to cheer for. Swimming is still my favorite to watch and what nail biters a couple of those races were. Michael Phelps was so impressive. Less impressive was the joint interview they did with Phelps and Mark Spitz. Wasn't there some obsure sport like badminton that we could have been watching? I like watching gymnastics but got a little frustrated with some of the scoring. I did have a hard time with table tennis because the ball moved so fast I couldn't keep up with it. I admit I didn't watch any wrestling, but was glued to the volleyball matches. Whatever, it was fun.
Overall Impression - It seems like the entire month was a count down to The Trip. And the Olympics, of course.