Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Caribbean Cruise - Day 8 - Heading Home

Today is our last day aboard the Norwegian Jewel. We are already docked, in fact we were docking during dinner the night before but the cruise was to last until Saturday. I spent one more day practicing before breakfast. There was only one person beside me in the fitness center, a woman who was using the exercise machines. I was surprised that there were a lot of people in the Garden Cafe when I went in to get our lemon water. I guess some people wanted to get a head start, like us they had a full day of traveling head of them. Our flight to Atlanta was not until noon so we were not in a big hurry to leave. As i was walking down the stairs with our two cups of lemon water, trying not to spill them, I saw groups of people queuing up at the elevators. my wife was already dressed when I got back to our room.

We went up to the Garden Cafe for breakfast. There were more people there than I had seen during the entire cruise, but then again, it was everyone's last breakfast on board. We had a hearty breakfast of eggs Benedict with salmon that we added to make it eggs Charlotte, home fries, Chelsea buns, fresh fruit and coffee with a lot of hot milk which essentially made it cafe au lait.

After breakfast we went back to our room to finish packing. we had decided that we would carry our own luggage off the boat, it was simpler and faster. We walked off the boat and directly into the SuperCab that was waiting for us, it could not have been simpler than that. There was an older couple already sitting in the SuperCab. We started talking with then and found that not only did they live  near Edmonton, Alberta but they lived in the same town where our  son teaches high school,amazing!

At the airport, we checked in and waited.. We had lots of time before our flight so we sat in the baggage claim area and ate the tuna salad sandwiches that mt wife made on the ship. After eating, we went through security. Both of us refused to go through the radiation scanner so they had to do a body check which was fine with us. After security we had a cup of green tea and waited.

Our flight from Houston took off without delay, the trip to Altanta was just under two hours. When we landed in Atlanta, we immediately found our connecting flight and made sure our cell phones were on the correct time. We found a place to have dinner called Book Ends. We had crepes filled with artichokes, Spinach and cheese.They were tasty and filling. After dinner we still had hours to wait before our flight so, we walked around B terminal where we had dinner before going to D terminal where our connecting flight was. Since there was nothing else to do we went to D terminal on the train. We went to the gate to make sure it was the right gate. we checked the electronic board to make it was the right gate. We sat at the gate with at least two hours to go. My wife was watching the monitor and saw a notice that there was an art exhibit in terminal T. We had lots of time so off we went to terminal T.

When we got to terminal T I saw some sculptures that I wanted to see before we went to see the art exhibit, the sculpture was on the same level as the train. the exhibit was sculpture from Zimbabwe. I was called "A Tradition in Stone" zimbabwe. I thought that the sculptures were absolutely amazing! There were original in concept and powerfully expressed, they were simply beautiful.

We had to tear ourselves away from the sculptures or else we would not have time to see the art exhibit. the art exhibit was also interesting, it was called Flight Patterns: An Exhibition of Fiber Art flight-patterns-exhibition. The pieces were constructions of different kinds of fiber medium. It was very textural.

We returned to terminal D because it was getting near the time for departure and we did not want to miss our flight home. At the gate, they started boarding the plane. The agent at the desk called our name. I went up to the counter, I did not want any issue with the flight home. The agent told me that we had been upgraded to first class. I was confused, shocked and pleased. This was a great finish to a great vacation. 

We had lots of leg room in big comfortable seats in first class. My wife had a big glass of red wine. Since I can't drink I had black tea, several cups actually. It was nice, comfortable flight to Toronto. Getting through customs and getting our bags was fairly routine. we caught the shuttle to the Marriott. The difference in temperature was a little bit if a shock on the body, we went from 30 degrees Celsius in the morning to 5 degrees Celsius in less than 12 hours. 

Our hotel room was a nice, large room, clean and comfortable. The thing that interested us the most was to take a shower a get to bed. We were up around 7:30 AM on Sunday. we dressed and checked out. We could have lounged around the hotel for a few hours but we wanted to get home. We stopped at Oceans grocery store oceansfood.ca on the way home because we did not have any food at home. We had the  coffee that we bought at the Second Cup next door to Oceans and the Dim Sum that we bought at Oceans for breakfast. We bought a few things that we needed and we were home by 11:00 AM.

It was a great cruise. I am really that we celebrated my 60th birthday in this way.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Caribbean Cruise - Day 7 - Last Day at Sea

Today is our last day at sea, by tomorrow morning we will be docked at Houston. I was up at 5:30 AM to get my last day of practice in on the ship. I will miss the aerobics room with it vast floor space and mirrors on two walls. today, I feel strong and energetic.

We had breakfast in the Great Outdoors at the rear of the ship. the early morning was warm and gentle on our face and arms. I am sure that we got a full dose of vitamin D on this cruise! After breakfast we walked the deck but before that we used up the rest of the $100 credit that we received when we booked the trip. I bought two T-shirts. That left $1 of credit left. There was a machine near the atrium where you could make a medallion out of copper. We made a medallion of Dora because we know that our grand daughter likes Dora.

Getting back to our walk, it was a nice 24 degrees Celsius, partially cloudy but mostly sunny. We started to notice oil rigs off in the distance on either side of the ship. As we walked around the ship we saw more and more oil rigs. I never knew there were so many oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, but then again, I never really thought about it. I took a lot of pictures of the tankers and the oil rigs, I also took pictures of the clouds.

We went to a demonstration on pastry in the Atrium. It looked more like they were setting up for a demonstration on Black Forest cake. My wife said that if it was not interesting we woulds leave. Well, it was not that interesting. As soon as the chef started talking about how he was going to put the Black Forest cake together, my wife asked me if I wanted to go back out on deck to walk. I said that that would be a great idea, i was not really interested in watching someone put a Black Forest cake together. It was nice outside, warm and breezy. We might as well get as much of this nice weather as possible because tomorrow, we were going to return to the cold.

We are at another show with David Naster, this one is about bullying. he showed a video that had people who talked  about why and how they worked through being bullied and how they eventually rose above being bullied. David Naster is sincere about what he is trying to do, use comedy to improvevpeople's lives.

We had our last lunch in the Garden Cafe, actually we sat outside in the Great Outdoor on the rear deck. With the breeze it actually felt a little cool so we went back inside for tea and dessert. I guess we were getting far enough north that the ambient air temperature was starting to cool off.

On the one hand, it is sad that cruise is  coming to an end but on the other hand, I am looking forward to getting back to our regular life. I am thinking about home and the life that my wife and I have together. It is funny in a way, vacations make us realize how much we appreciate the life that we have. i miss our house, I miss our bed, I miss the food that my wife makes every day that is both healthful and delicious.

At 4:00 PM I went for a consultation with acupuncturist Acupuncture who was on board. He asked me a series of questions, he looked at my tongue. His diagnosis was that I was deficient in Yang Qi. I did not have enough heat in my stomach to transform the food into Qi. The fact that food was sticking in my esophagus and coming back up hours after I went to bed was evidence that I was having rebellious Qi. Instead of the food going down which it is supposed to do, it is going up. interestingly enough, his diagnosis and treatment was the same as my regular acupuncturist. I might have had some treatment with him  with him but it was our last day on board and I was going to see my own acupuncturist the following week. I have a lot of confidence in my acupuncturist's ability to help me.

Based on the acupuncturist's recommendations we decided that I should eat some meat for dinner, lamb would be preferable but we would see what was available. I settled for Mahi-Mahi which did not cause me any problems at all at dinner, My wife had linguine and calamari. We switched plates half way through dinner so that we could sample both dishes, they were both good.

Back in our stateroom we started packing, as much as we could so that we could be prepared to leave the ship in the morning. It was 11:00 PM by the time we finished packing so we just went to bed. Tomorrow was going to be a long day of travel.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 6 - Day at Sea - Heading Back to Houston

Although I did not get to bed until 11:00 PM the night before, I was still up at 5:30 AM to go to the fitness center to practice. Since we were at sea for the next two days, there was not hurry to go anywhere early in the morning. i went through quite a bit of Qigong; Yi Jin Jing, Six Healing Sounds, Whole Body Breathing, and Bone healing Qigong. I went through Taijiquan slowly and softly, the sword form, as it is,, twice, then I finished with a hard and fast version of Taijiquan, much more external than internal Qigong.

After discovering the Great Outdoors, the outdoor restaurant at the rear of the ship we decided that we would have breakfast there, weather permitting. When I was walking back from my practice this morning, the temperature was very nice, I would say about 25 degrees Celsius. It was a bit windy but the wind was warm. It was an easy decision, we ate breakfast at the Great Outdoors. It was nice, there were not a lot of people there and it was warm and sunny. After breakfast, we tried walking on the upper deck but it was so windy up there that we were forced to go back down to the lower deck.

At 10:30 AM we went to a seminar on fruit and vegetable carving. I stayed with my wife until just before 11:00 AM, then I went to seminar on Modern Masters that was given by park West. I know that objective of all of their talks is to sell art but I still found these seminars entertaining. I learned about several new artists that I did not know before, Romero Britto britto.com/,

 Peter Max petermax.com.

 Yaacov Agam, Yaacov_Agam
integrated rainbow by yaacov agam

 and David "Lebo" Le Batard.

They were all quite modern artists who had very unique styles and who had built successful careers as artists. these are the kind of artists that someone would want to collect with an eye for investment because these are all artists who will increase in value during their lifetime and certainly afterwards. At the end of the lecture everyone received a free work of art, a limited edition print of an original work of art.

After lunch we went back to the Stardust theater, listening to David Naster talk about the benefits of laughter during difficult points in a person's life. He showed a nine minute video about people who used humor to deal with their lives. David talked for an entire hour. he told true stories about people who he had met and how they used humor in real -life situations; injuries, divorce, death and other stressful situations.

After dinner we went back to the Stardust theater again to see Le Cirque Bijou le cirque bijou which featured the Russian couple we saw before plus other acrobats, singers and dancers. I thought that the Russian couple were the most elegant and graceful of all the performers. It was an entertaining show.