Carrie's Adventures

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wedding plans ~ we do have some options!

I know it may not seem that we have progressed very far with this, and perhaps compared other people we are significantly slower than others... however, I take solice in the fact that we have at least taken care of some of the bigger list items. For 2 non-planners, this is HUGE. As noted below, we are now encroaching the less than 100 days, and all I can say is that I cling to the notion that we do have a wedding planner!

So we do have the date, we do have the location for both the ceremony and the reception. Next big hurdle ~ the dress. I'm holding off until I get back to Ontario for my vacation and will go on a the hunt. I have managed to find a few warehouses in Toronto so I am hoping that this won't be an overly painful experience ~ but then again who knows. After trying on the dress with Liz in January and sweating like crazy, I know that I am going to need to go with something less 'fru-fru' ~ not that I'm heartbroken about that... Either way, I think that is going to be a blog entry all onto itself.

Other major item includes the photographer. Akis and I have been trying to do this over email and MSN messaging. Not sure this is the most efficient way of dealing with it, but hey this is what you got, so you go with it.

I have also become rather proficient with my internet searches. Needless to say I greatly appreciate the 'online' purchase factor, but I am a bit miffed at the 'customs brokerage fee' that was attached to the most recent purchase. Jeez.

I do have to thank Krista for offering her services receiving things, stuffing and posting things, not to mention the financing until I get back home... Definitely more involved trying to do this from a distance!

Anyway, needless to say, the day will come, the day will go ~ we hope that those who are able to join us have a great time. Here is a bit of a sneak peak at the reception hall...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to the new Moms

It has been quite the year ~ with many new moms. Krista, Liz, Sandra, Janet and Brandye. I hope you ladies all have a fantastic Mom's day.

Just to keep on top of things, and be the proud aunt, here are new photos of Chloe.

With Aunt Sharon, Grampa and Uncle Don

A lady of leisure....

Swimming with Dad:

Viva la Mexico

I realized once I started to put things together from Mexico ~ I didn't carry my camera much! I think I only had 6 photos from Cabo, even though we did stop at 3 Mexican ports! Anyway...

This is always a favourite spot with the crew. We are close enough to the beach ~ it is right off the front of the ship ~ that we can do our work and yet still get out to enjoy the sun and water. Despite having a number of phone calls that day, we managed to head to the beach for a couple hours. The events included sitting under the sun, floating on the very warm water and partaking in a couple of Coronas.
Unfortunately I needed to leave Dad and Jane at the beach as I had more work commitments, but it was good to get out.

We met for dinner that night and discussed what we would do in Acapulco. Honestly, this is not my favourite port ~ so we left it that they would explore in the morning and we would meet up in the afternoon.

Far from my favourite port, I find Acapulco very dirty and hot. Apparently Dad and Jane found the heat to be a bit much too. They headed out for a walk that morning, along the beach and up around the fort. By the time they arrived back to the ship, they had decided that they really didn't need to spend more time outside. The humidity factor was very high, causing it to be quite stiffling.

We had lunch upstairs and looked out over the city from the nice comforts of the air-conditioned lounge. We then went to the terminal where there were some shopping opportunities and a small place to have a few beers. Both Jane and I managed to spend some money, and then we had a sampling of the local beverages.

Next Mexican port: Cabo San Lucas

This is by far my favourite Mexican port of the 3. I'm not sure if it is because it is very 'americanized' being on the Baja penninsula and close to California. The only unfortunate part is that here we need to Tender. This makes the process of going to shore that much more involved.

We headed out and decided to walk through the marina to the beach. The water here was much more refreshing here than it was in Huatulco. The current was a bit stronger so the act of getting into and out of the sea proved to be a bit entertaining. Poor Jane fell victim to the current and took a bit of a ride while trying to get out of the ocean. After determining she was OK, we discovered that she ended up with about half the beach in her bathing suit! The beach was very nice.

We headed back through the marina and stopped for lunch. We had a bite to eat and 2 for 1 drinks. I asked for a second beer, and we ended up with a second round ~ not sure how that happened but Jane did enjoy her first and second Margarita!

We went back towards the pier and managed to stop for some souvenir shopping. We learned the art of the barter when Jane and Dad found their 'mexican reminders'. So much so that we ended up having the vendor chase Dad down the street to make the final sale.

Viva la Mexico!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cartegena, Colombia

In all the times I have been to Colombia on both the Constellation and the Infinity, I had never been out in port. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't think there could be much to see here, or the reputation the country has for being a big drug trafficing nation ~ either way, it seemed that no matter when we came to town, that always ended up being laundry day.

That said, I was plesantly surprised by what I did see when I finally got off the ship. The port area was very well developed given that we are docking in a working pier. They managed to create a welcome centre and have entertainment there which made it quite pleasant to spend a bit of time there just hanging out.

This was our musical entertainment...

And the dancers....

We decided to take a taxi into town. The advantage of being with Crew is that you can get an idea of what to expect by asking your fellow folks onboard. So that said, I was armed with the knowledge that a trip downtown should cost us $15. So I am really bad at the haggle ~ so as we walked out I missed the fundamental rule of hailing a taxi and we got into the cab before negotiating the price. After we got in, the guy wanted us to pay $30. After my distain and very rude objection, the price was lowered to $20. Still unhappy with this we continued to argue in the cab on the way to the Old Town. Dad, I think was ready to just give him the $20, and the arguement that the price was higher was because there were more ships in town. As Beth would say 'whadeva'... So we got out of the cab, I did give him the $20 and we made arrangements for him to come and pick us back up. Out of curiosity Dad did ask what the folks in the cab behind us paid ~ they got away with $15. What turned out to be even more unbelievable, was that there was a sign posted in the terminal stating that the price to Old Town was $15 ~ guess it pays to read.

We then met up with the Dr. from the ship who is from Colombia and gave us some pointers for touring around Old Town. He also let us know that it pays to be a local ~ his cab cost him less than $4.00

Here is the Entrance to the Old Town and some of the many colourful buildings that we found inside the walled city.

The view outside....

The view inside....

Once we had walked around town, found a man selling fresh mangos in the street, been offered 'cheap Chanel sunglasses', we decided to head back towards the ship to the fort. I had a bargain with this one ~ cost us $5 to get here.
I'm not sure if Dad and Jane ever found out what the fort protected. It isn't right on the water, and was situated further inland than the Old City ~ either way, it was an impressive fortress.

And it even had jobs that I would be good at!

Here is the view of the old city and coast line from the top of the fort.

Overall I must say that I was surprised by what I saw here. Had I known what was here, I likely would have turned laundry day into laundry night ~ it was really quite charming.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

t's really bad when you have been somewhere but don't remember. As we headed down to Jamaica, I repeatedly told Dad and Jane that I didn't know what there was in Montego Bay ~ turns out, I've been here. Wasn't until we were in the cab heading to town that I recognized where we were. That is pretty bad.

Upon the advise of the Shore Ex folks we figured we would pass on the excursions as a number of them involved lengthy bus rides. A beach close to town had been suggested and we decided we would head in this direction, even if we didn't go to the beach specifically. Of course, like all of the islands, the driver offered his services for a tour. With the bright red shades Jane and Dad had, we figured it would be a better alternative to tour part of the island. So off we went.

Here is the view from one of the many Golf courses which are just across the road from the oceanside resorts.

An old mill ~ obviously it hasn't been used in some time!

We toured through some residential areas and were also taken to the 'pharmacist' part of the island ~ and despite pot being illegal here, there is apparently still a lot of it and a number of 'pharmacists' who make a lot of money on it. We didn't get a firm number on what a house would cost from our guide Mr. T, but I did find out from a friend of mine who is dating a Jamacian onboard, that they are planning to go and buy a house for 15,000 US. Yes, that is a WHOLE house for 15K ~ somehow I doubt it would look like this one though.

In town we saw all of the kids as they were heading home from school. Each child must wear a uniform, and while the uniform is associated with the school, the school is not determined by income, but rather but the level of aptitude of the child. So the uniform no longer says your rich, it does say whether or not you can add!

Some pictures of the buildings downtown.

Our final stop was at a hotel on the top of the hill ~ known as Richmond Hill. The owners of the Dewars distillary used to live here and it has weathered the storms well. Unlike some of the other buildings in town, it seems that this house has been able to withstand the Hurricane winds. The view was spectacular ~ perhaps Akis and I should get married here!