January 22, 2012

 Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is only 45 km long and is the largest of the Cayman Islands. Because of it's warm climate and beautiful beaches, it is an ideal destination for sun-seekers and divers.

Like all the ports we docked in (and those we were tendered into) there was shopping nearby.

And beautiful beaches in walking distance. We walked in search of 7 Mile Beach.

 We walked the shoreline until we arrived at this beautiful beach.
 Here we swam in the surf and enjoyed the sunshine, then carried on until we reached the white sand public beach. The water was wonderful, warm and clear and clean! Had some beers on the beach, then caught a taxi back to the pier.

This is a picture of one of the tender-boats used to get us from our ship to the shore and back again.

Let's Get Together!
Later, back on the ship , there was a get together for the English speaking passengers. They served us snacks and the beer and wine was two for the price of one!!
 As you can see, there were not very many in attendance. In reality, there were only about 120-130 English speaking passengers on board.
There was entertainment for us as well. This gentleman (Ron) sang for us, and we convinced Doreen to sing with him. She did a beautiful job of "Don't It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue", a favorite Crystal Gale song. Steve sang and played guitar for us alongside Ron, but the picture I took didn't turn out. We all had a good time - one of many!!!

Tried to convince the both of them to enter the 'talent' show onboard, but neither would do it -

January 21, 2012

Ochos Rios, Jamaica

When Christopher Columbus first laid eyes on Jamaica he wrote that it was the most beautiful island he had ever seen. His words were not without good reason. The land of rum and reggae is a stunningly beautiful island of soaring mountains, lush hilltops, evocative swamplands and glorious tropical flora.

We hired a taxi driver to show us the island, but not until we experienced the shopping area.   

Rich and Tina buying purses made from palm leaves, handmade by this lady.
 The outdoor shopping mall

On our tour we came by this young fellow on stilts.  We took a few pictures, but of course they don't come for free......  
This is a picture of the house that Rolling Stones singer, Mick Jagger owns, and lives in when he's relaxing in Jamaica.  It's the house at the top of the picture.
And this is the 'bar' Mick frequents when he's in town. A 'must stop' for all tour buses and taxies...... 

No unexpected visit from the rock star while we were there! 
Dunn River Falls. Another 'must see' for tourists. We never actually went to the falls. This picture was taken by a nice young jamaica man from the top of a fence that surrounds the falls.  
Here he is - our camera man!! He took pictures for all of us - 10 - 12 shots in total, so we all had to dig into our pockets for that privilege.  He's a cute little guy though isn't he? 

And here is Leroy, our taxi driver/tour guide. No beach today, but we had a great time!

January 20, 2012

Grand Turk & Caicos

After being at sea all day yesterday, we were happy to touch ground again, our first port being Grand Turk and Caicos. There were many excursions to take part in, but we were content to walk around the shopping area, then find a white sand beach to relax on and beautiful blue ocean to swim in.   

There is a monument in honor of John H. Glen Jr. He made history on Feb. 20th 1962 when he became the first American to orbit Earth 3 times. 
He later became a US Senator but in 1998, at the age of 77, he returned to space on the space shuttle "Discovery", becoming the oldest person to  ever go into space.
Here we are at the Margaritaville bar. It was quite the place with a pool and swim up bar. We never did the swim up bar thing, but Michel did swim in the pool. The drinks were mighty expensive, but very refreshing!!

We found a beautiful beach just steps away from the shopping area. We met a Canadian couple from Toronto, who were cruising on Carnival, the ship that docked next to ours at the pier. So in this picture from l to r back row: Rich, Tina, Michel, Myself, Doreen, Steve. In the front Renee and Gary.

Here we have our ship on the left and the Carnival ship on the right.

What a beautiful beach - and this is just the beginning!!   We had a great day.

January 18, 2012

Today was the first day of our Caribbean holiday.

We arrived in Miami last night via America n Airline from Las Vegas and met up with our good friends and cruising buddies Rich and Tina (who were already in Florida) and Steve and Doreen (who flew in from Seattle, WA). We all stayed in this hotel for the night.

 Because we had the day to spend in Miami (our ship didn't sail until 9 p.m.) we rented a van and toured the area. We visited the downtown area, where we had lunch at the Lucky Clover Restaurant. We also drove out to South Beach and viewed the Art Deco District.
We were all over the place - Michel was the chauffeur - and WOW the drivers in Miami are CRAZY!!

This picture of me and the girls is taken on the bench outside the restaurant. (Doreen, myself, Tina)

This is the inside of the restaurant

We went aboard our ship, the Costa Atlantica around 5:00.

We had all seen the news the week prior, about the Costa Concordia, and we chatted that up a bit. But, you can't let something like that dampen the spirit. But it was definitely an Italian ship - there were only 120-130 English speaking passengers aboard!

The Miami skyline at night from aboard our ship.

 This picture was taken on Steve and Doreen's balcony prior to our first dinner aboard.
We got a new camera - so we tried the panorama setting....

And the first sunset!

January 15, 2012

We've had a busy week!
Here are our good friends Chris and Mike from Valley Center, CA. They came all the way up to Bullhead City to spent the weekend with us. You will remember them from previous posts, we spent a month with them in January last year. We met them our first year travelling - 2005/06 - and became instant friends. Our winter just wouldn't be the same if we didn't get a chance to spend some time with them!

Yesterday we drove out to Silver Creek to visit an old gold mine. "The Homestake Gold Mining Co." We were welcomed by two enthusiastiac miners who explained the process and gave us a tour of the mine - inside and out!! This picture on the right is one of their three rock crushers.

Here are pictures of the two miners. The man on the left explained to us their mining process and how the machines all worked. The man on the right gave us a tour of the mine. He's holding a gold pan and if you look closely at the picture below you will see gold.

Here is the entrance to the mine. It's set up pretty good with lights all the way and fresh air being pumped in. Much better mining conditions that there was 100 years ago!!
Here we go into the mine - into the big hole!!

January 11, 2012

It's always nice to visit with old friends, and Jack, Sharon and Michel are "OLD" friends. They've known each other since the 70's!
The past week they've been staying in Lake Havasu and yesterday rode up to Bullhead City with friends of theirs for a little visit.
So we had a great day catching up with old friends and getting to know new friends.

new friends, John and Brenda on the left
old friends, Jack and Sharon on the bike on the right

Yesterday was very windy and when they arrived they were frozen!! So with hot coffee warming the inside and the sun warming up the outside, they were soon thawed out.

(pictured clockwise l to r: Sharon, Brenda, Jack, Michel and John)
They stayed the night in Laughlin, so after they got checked in, the guys went to the Riverside to see the car show and the gals went to the outlet mall to do a little shopping. We had a great day; even did a little gambling (very little on my part). But John had a little luck on a dollar slot machine, and came away with almost two hundred dollars. And Sharon - well what can I say about Sharon? - she played on FREE money all night! (When you sign up at a Casino for a 'players' card they give you $5.00 on that card to play in a slot machine) And she kept on winning, only playing the penny machines, and was up more than a hundred dollars.

Here is a nice picture of old friends, Jack, Sharon and Michel.

January 3, 2012

Today we visited with my cousin Lou (Richard) and his wife Grace, from Camrose, AB. They were staying in the RV parking behind the Avi Casino, for the night on their way to the Mesa area, then possibly on to San Antonio, TX! Tried to hook up last year, but that never did happen.  It's been about 6 years since I've seen them last, so it was really nice to spend some time with them. 
We wish them happy trails, and hope to see them again soon!!

January 2, 2012

Oatman, AZ
Olive Oatman

Pictured right:  Olive Oatman. Chin tattoo was given her by the Mojave Indians, who reportedly treated her well.

Oatman came to life over 100 years ago as a mining tent camp, and quickly became a flourishing gold-mining center. In 1915, two miners struck a $10 million gold find, and within a year, the town's population grew to more than 3,500.

Oatman was named in honor of Olive Oatman, who as a young girl, was kidnapped by an Apache tribe, sold to Mojave Indians and later rescued in a trade in 1857 near the current site of the town. Oatman was served by a narrow gauge rail line between 1903 and 1905 that ran 17 miles to the Colorado River near Needles, California.

But both the population and mining booms were short-lived. In 1921, a fire burned down many of the smaller shacks in town, and three years later, the main mining company, United Eastern Mines, shut down operations for good. Oatman survived by catering to travelers on old U.S. Route 66. But in the 1960s, when the route became what is now Interstate 40, Oatman almost died.
Oatman is a fun place to visit -- an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed.
We went with Ray and Merle,  friends from Airdrie, AB. Had lunch at the old hotel there.
 Then we watched the staged gun fight on the street.

We had a good time and it sure was nice to see Ray and Merle again!

January 1, 2012

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone.

Wishing you a New Year filled with new happy, new joy and new beginnings.

Last night we celebrated with friends in the park. We had a few to drink, had enough to eat and danced the night away, something we haven't done in quite a while.

One of the residence, (John Benson, who used to sing on cruise ships) set up his equipment and entertained us for the evening. Several others joined him on stage from time to time to serenade as well. There are some very good singers in the group here.

 Here is a group of line dancers.

Pictured here is myself with Eddy Konieczka

And here is a picture of Michel with Eddy's husband Jim. They hail from Illinois.

And of course, just around the midnight mark we donned our new years hats and made some noise!

Happy New Year everyone!!!