Friday, April 5, 2013

No time for bedtime story tonight....

So lately I have been pondering our mortality.  Why, who knows.... or could it be that ~ the world is rocking, well kind of trembling beneath my feet these days.

We went out to dinner tonight with Tracy and Kosti and Kosti's Russian friend ~ Ksenia.  She is beautiful and oh so sweet!   Love her!!  I like Russians.  And sorry Kosti~mosti, she is taller than you ~ and you do look like brother and sister.

Well we are going to have to skip a bedtime story tonight.  Late night and if I start editing now, it's going to be 3am before I go to sleep and I can not do that! 

Sadie is already snuggled up next to me, waiting for Popi to join us.  So let's do a short and sweet ~ what has been on my mind post.  As I mentioned already lately I have been conscience of mine, Popi's and Sadie's mortality.  I have even started counting the days (Sadie has bad gas tonight and I'm not sure how long she is going to last in the room here ~ it is BAD!  sorry I digress can not help it, it's smelling like the Drive through volcano / sulfa mine of St. Lucia!   BAD).

Counting the days, counting the days.  What days? you ask....

I counted, I have been alive exactly 19,400 days. Wow and exactly what have I accomplished?  I am living to a little beyond my 100th birthday (somethings I know).
So this means that I only have  20,819 days left.... with so little time, makes me not want to waste a minute!   Have to start planning a few things... like working on my "bucket list". 

One ~ okay I know 2 things on it, first hanging out with 2 Russian's reminded me I want to visit Russia in the summer.  I like Russians! 

I also want to visit Alaska.  That has always been on my list.   Return to Florence,Italy that goes without saying.

I also want to learn and be fluent in Spanish.

I want to have a home with a pool that I can swim in everyday.

I would like to meet and spend some time talking to Colin Powell.  (he's my if you could have lunch with anyone dead or alive ~ who would it be?)

hmmm, I know there is more.... but I'm tired and that's all I can handle tonight. 

                                      Okay I will make a better organized list tomorrow.  Now, Sadie is snoring, time for me to go to sleep as well.

Saturday ~ Must be Barbados......

It's kind of fun re-living these little memories. I actually did write these journal entries  while on the boat, but I didn't do very good at editing them, so now what is taking me time is the edit process. I'm trying to pay attention to detail here, so this process is long and laborious.... yuck.

It's so fun to see who all is reading these posts. I'd love feedback! I'd really love it if you became a follower! And I'd really really love it if you spread the love and come find me on Facebook, and “Like” my page (Janet Cruz Photography).... just sayin'. I'll love ya back!

The point of this blog started out to be about my photography, but I have expanded it to how I see everyday life.... So ~ go “Like” my page! Please and come back here to visit!

Back on the Boat....

Saturday March 2, 2013 Barbados
We got to Barbados around 7am. We headed to the buffet for breakfast. Kosti can eat ~ let me tell you! He loaded up his plate with food. We all watched in amazement. This morning we noticed one of the young girls waiting on us was from Russia. “Elana” After talking to her we found out she was from Kosti's home town.... What are the chances? She was a very sweet young thing and a very hard worker. We have a friend. I'm not sure what it is about our Russian, he isn't always the friendliest. We gotta work on that.

One of the things I noticed, at every port our boat is one of four. 15,000 tourists converging on these little islands!!!! Caaa rrrr aaaayyy zzzzeeee! Simply crayze.

Mark and Maurya went on an excursion to some local Rum~maries (you know where they make Rum) ~ I'm not really sure what they call them. Distilleries? I like Rum~maries! We didn't sign up for that excursion....

We spoke with a few of the waiters/waitresses and they all recommended the “BoatYard”. They said that's where they all go if they have the day off and can leave the ship. Sounds like a plan.

Well right away I like Barbados....  First of all when we disembarked (how do you like that? Big word!) you could walk the length of the boat along this narrow cement walkway or you could take a shuttle bus to the port entrance. We chose the shuttle bus.
Once we got to the port, it was lovely. NO VULTURES! Barbados has figured how to keep them under control and keep the tourists happy. Once we got to the buildings all the taxis are behind a barrier in one location.  They have a security guard who kind of manages all of the chaos, directing people to taxis.  

One of the things we noticed is that all the ports we have all the same little stores... on each island~  Stores like Diamonds International, Emeralds International, & Del Sol.....

Del Sol has the greatest deal on Sunglasses. You purchase a pair,  & they are pretty nice glasses. Like everything with Del Sol, they change color in the sun. Not only that, but they have a lifetime guarantee. If you scratch them, break them, lose them or they are stolen you just contact Del Sol with your registration number and they send you a new pair. For free for life. You could break them regularly.... not on purpose of course!) and have them replaced each time FOR LIFE! Of course the Russian bought himself a pair only to lose them at the next Island.   Low and behold, they replaced them at the next store …. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Amazing! Check out Del Sol. (of course we had to get our boys some.... Josh, Mike and Marky).

Off to the beach....We were loaded into a bus with a bunch of other folks going to various spots on the Island.   Eventful bus ride, almost had a woman brawl! Apparently they don't like taking ripped bills on the Island. One passenger tried to pay her fare with a bill that was ripped. The bus driver would adamantly not accept it. She and the woman trying to pay the fare really got into an argument, wow! Eventually, the bus driver drove off, not giving the woman her change because she gave her a ripped bill. Later on in the day the boys tried to pay the guy who took them snorkeling with a bill that had tear in it, they wouldn't take it. They said the banks don't accept American money with rips.  Who knew?  Now we do.
We got to the Boat yard! Nice beach. It had a very spring break feel to it. People were very friendly.  Lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach. When we got there and looked around there were no available chairs. Low and behold a nice gentleman was getting out of his lounge chair, he and his party were leaving, must have seen us looking for a spot and waved us over! How nice. Front row to the water chairs. One for each of us, with umbrellas!!!!  Life is good.  Fun people watching beach.

Looking around it did seem like many of the people there were staff from the boats in port. It was a fun active beach with lots of “water sports” and toys. There was a big dock that they had a rope people could swing on over the water and jump off. Yup ~ you can figure out already what happened! Kosti made a b-line right to the dock to swing on the rope and jump in the water. Tracy followed shortly after.



There was an entry fee to get on the beach, good news is ~ it included a free drink. Drinks were good and they were cheap. Periodically the bar offered “free shots”. Of course the boys all made their way to the bar every time “free shots” were announced. And they weren't your usual shots in a glass. They were the kind of shots that the bartender stands on the bar and pours the shots right into your mouth. Kosti and Jay had their first “spring break” experience here!   I think they had fun.

Tracy and Kosti went snorkeling they saw a great sunken ship lots of fish and beautiful healthy turtles.  Popi and I relaxed on the beach....finally!
We did enjoy ourselves. Opps, time to go...rush rush rush to get back to the ship. We needed to leave the beach at 3:30. Tracy and Kosti got back from snorkeling at 2:50. \

We made it back to port in time, but then had to catch the shuttle to the ship! This
proved challenging. Jay and I stood on 3 lines and never made it on a bus until the 4th pulled up with a different boat name it.  We were able to go on that one, and it got us back to the Emerald Princess.

Dinner was dinner. Kosti scared the waitress with his honey and DEATH story. He is allergic to honey and in his strongest Russianglish he sternly says he can't have any honey on anything he eats or he will die, no “I am serious, it will kill me, like dead”. After he told the waitress this, she turned white and went right for the Head Waiter. He came over and helped picked out dinner for Kosti and suggested he pick out dinner for the next night as well so the cooks can specially prepare it ahead of time. Good news! No honey, Kosti lives!!

After dinner, I gambled away the rest of the $7 we had on the card. Big spender I am. Hey Jay works hard for our money! I don't want to squander it away on slot machines. Lenses maybe, but not slot machines... After losing my last $7 on our gambling card, Jay and I went to Movies under the Stars.  I'm not good at keeping tack of Mark and Maurya and Kosti and Tracy at night....  We'll hear their stories in the morning, I am sure.
"Movies Under the Stars"  is by far my favorite! I have to figure out how to have “Movies Under the Stars” at the Casa Cruz' Tiki Bar this year.   I'm sure there is a way. AND, I'm sure Jay will bring me a warm blanket, popcorn and milk and cookies! He's so good to me! The movie was very entertaining! “Perfect Pitch”. The Breakfast club of this generation. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.  

Another day, another Island. Tomorrow, St Kitts. Good night!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bedtime stories....and the world shaking under my feet!

Sorry folks, it seems lately that the world has been shaking beneath my feet and it's has left me lost...

I'm working on a comeback...I'm working on my attitude.  After all it's all about attitude right?    Change is good, all this change going on around me is shaking the ground under my feet.  A new world is coming...     Change is good.... Change is good....

Anyway, Kosti has been missing his bedtime stories, so I thought I'd get back to the habit of writing ~ continuing to post entries from our vacation... 

I left off on Thursday.  Next entry ~ 5 days into our great big boat adventure!

Friday March 1, 2013
Woke up this morning docked at St Lucia.  Lolly gagged around.  Ate breakfast at the buffet.  Got off the boat and was immediately descended upon by a bunch of “vultures” trying to take us somewhere.... anywhere... they all promised the best beach!   We ended up with Winston. Why? Small car, four of us.  I'm not sure how he was chosen.   We wanted to go to the hot springs and then to a beautiful beach. Winston and Tracy did some negotiating back and forth, settled on $140 for the trip and off we went.   Off we go.  We were in the car for an hour and half driving through twisty turney roads on the left hand side. Yikes!     
Stuffed into the back of Winston's car...

Kinda funny we've been rolling around on a boat for 5 days and here in this little car, driving through winding narrow roads, on this warm day, Kosti gets sea sick!  We had to stop to let him out before he shared the contents of his stomach with us.... At this point, we let him sit in the front seat with Winston.  In the front seat, he could hang his head out the window if he needed to.

It was a long long ride in a tiny car.  Thank goodness for the beautiful vista's,  they helped to make the  squished ride a bit more enjoyable! (maybe not for Kosti, but for Tracy, Popi and me anyway)  We passed the Pitons, (teetons, whatever..)  They are quite beautiful.  The beach we wanted to go to is at the base of the Pitons.

Our first stop, an active volcano, hot spring, mud bath.. Fun fun fun.    
Soufriere Volcano, St Lucia
St Lucia has a "drive through volcano" who knew?  Tracy of course!  Once we were there, the smell took a LONG time to get used to.  It was pretty bad. Spoiled eggs to the nth degree.  After checking out the volcano, we made our way over to the hot springs and mud baths.  That was kinda fun.  Really I think I'll be finding mud on my body for days to come!  Mud man group?  No!  Two thirds of The Church of the Blue Durango!

Our afternoon bath..... Tracy & Kosti  ~ Me & My Honey!
After we finished our mud bath and cleaned up, we decided we wanted to head to the beach...  beach?  Which beach?  We wanted to go to a beautiful beach with no tourists. Tracy had a specific one in mind,  his research showed this beach would live up to our standards.  Winston never heard of the beach Tracy was talking about.  He didn’t know how to get there. He asked  some of his friends, they said there was no beach where we wanted to go.   They said there was no way to get to where we said the beach is.   Winston has never gone head to head with evil Dr. Phil!  Guess who won.... 

Winston 1 ~ Evil Dr Phil 0
It was getting late, we wanted to get to a beach and back to the boat before it leaves. Good idea huh!   We acquiesced and let Winston take us to what he described as a “beautiful” beach.  Margot Bay. Pretty at first glance.   A bay, no beach where we parked ~ had to take a $2 ferry to the “beach”.  It turned out to be a small piece of land (asphalt really) with a couple of inches deep of sand.  Rocky water.  It was an all inclusive, older resort area.    We were there for about an hour and a half.    Kosti found Internet access and called Mom.  Yay after all this time, he was finally able to talk to Mom in Russia.   Of course Kosti, (our little fish) was the only one who went in the water here.   It really wasn't a swimming beach, but that has never stopped him!

While sitting on the asphalt beach, (there was more sand on the Dance Floor at our Wedding than was at this beach!) I spent time listening (being nosey) to the group of people sitting next to us.  They were staying at the resort.  My ears really perked up when the talk turned to a beautiful beach at the base of the Pitons, exactly where we wanted Winston to take us.  Our time was brief on this little beach.  Good thing as it wasn't a very comfortable place to sit and relax.  While we never got to the beach we wanted to go to on St Lucia ~ we do know that it does exist.... Jalousie Beach....

As I sat on the beach and dug in the sand.... after a couple of inches, I
hit blacktop.... No Kidding!

After a little while it was time to head back to the dock to catch the little ferry for part two of our crazy car ride back to the boat.   Well of course the ferry broke down.  How do we get across the bay?  We could swim.... really wasn't that far.  The ferry while it may conjure images of a big boat, really wasn't, it only held maybe 10 people.  ~ Not to worry though ~ Winston's friends not only owned the ferry and the shops at this beach... he had other friends here with a boat.  We all piled into his friends boat and off we went.  Seems like Winston has quite the racket here.

Popi Cruz on tar beach....
We clearly understand why Winston insisted that this was such a "beautiful beach" that we would want to go to.   Beware of Winston if you go to St. Lucia.

We made it back to the Dock with time to spare... what did we do?  I did have to use my special shopping coupons to shop, being such an "excited shopper" and all!  We hit a few stores, made sure we got all our "free" things as we made our way to the boat.

We all had dinner at Michelangelo's. A very good meal, great service. To top the night off, we celebrated our winter birthdays!  After dinner, I was kind of tired.... I'm not sure what everyone else did,  I headed off to bed.  To our tiny little box of a room.... to be rocked to sleep...and off to the next Island.


Well Kosti Good night!   Sadie Girl just curled up next to me.  Time to go to sleep.

Check back soon, I will continue the posts to tell you all about the rest of the trip ~ Then perhaps, the world beneath my feet my settle down and who knows what it will look like tomorrow.....