Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cruise Wrap-up----FINALLY!!

So our last day of cruising was a Sea Day and a most uncomfortable Sea Day for me. Remember I was getting sunburned before we stopped in Costa Maya. I wore capris and one of Papa's oversized t-shirts---oh so glad I did.....because from the bottom of my capris to the top of my feet was a fire engine red when I woke up. Yes, I had on sun screen but my legs were also in the water alot of the time and so I'm guessing the sunscreen was just eventually washed off.

I had to get up in the middle of the night and I was in horrible pain. Not only were my legs on fire but they had swollen to about 3 times their size. BRIGHT RED ELEPHANT LEGS. Once I got up and walked a little, it wasn't so painful but still hurting.

Friday we spent the day just saying bye to our ship. We had breakfast in the dining room and went to the debarkation lecture with our cruise director. I definitely did not want to be in the sun whatsoever, so just kind of wandered around because like I said above, my legs were more tolerable when I was walking.

After lunch, Papa and I were watching tv in the room and starting to gather our stuff for packing and he mentioned my legs were sooo red that they looked blue and he wondered if maybe I was getting blood poison. So we decided to make our way to the doctor's area and have them take a look.

Our room was on Level 7 about mid-ship and the doctor's area was Level 0 at the front of the ship, so off we went, very slowly.

When we arrived, we found all sorts of information hanging on the wall just outside the offices and one sheet dealt with swollen legs/ankles----too much sun, alcohol, salty foods, soda, just about everything I had done. Their advice was elevate or walk (hum, kind of a contradiction but I had been doing both). We also read that for a consultation the doc charged $120. Well, it was Friday afternoon and we were leaving the ship first thing Saturday, so decided to save our money and if I were the same or worse on Saturday, we would just hit an urgent care on shore. For now I'd try walking and elevating the rest of the afternoon. Which I did.

That night at dinner it was time to say goodbye to Lim, Marco, and Klaudio.

Lim, the best waiter evah!

Marco, of the cokes and wine!!
Klaudio, our maitre d'.

We were sure going to miss them every night when we sat down to dinner. I thought, I would really miss sitting down to dinner with my family as well....

DD got quite attached to our "beverage boy", Marco.....

And we all adored Lim, our primary server.

There was more singing and dancing the last night and then before we knew it, it was all over. Some of our group went for last night partying. Papa and I went back to the room and finished packing up. We had to sit our bags in the hall before we went to sleep.

Where they would disappear during the night to be found the next morning on the luggage racks after we debarked.

The next morning debarkation was painless, another fabulous process by Carnival. We breezed through customs, claimed all our luggage and was back at the van loaded and ready to go by 8:00 a.m.

I was still in alot of pain from my sunburned, swollen legs, but decided I just wanted to get home and then I would deal with it.

The ride home was a bit uncomfortable...we had agreed to bring some of Cracker and the Weatherman's luggage back with us so they could avoid more extra luggage fees on their plane home so we were a wee bit more crowded and I really needed to elevate my legs but was unable to most of the time and everything hurt that touched my legs....I spent the trip home quite crabby and vocal but my co-travelers were pretty patient with me.

About midnight after driving all day long we were nearing our exit on the highway when we FINALLY got pulled over for speeding---I had wondered throughout the day if that would happen. SIL was in quite the hurry to get home. We were so exhausted from our day that we didn't put up much of an argument. We took our ticket and went that last mile to home sweet home.

All in all if that's the worst that happened to us on this trip---broken camera, sunburned legs, and a speeding ticket, I count this vacation as quite successful.

Thank you Dream for a wonderful time.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Cruise-Costa Maya

No, I haven't been cruising out there for the last two months. Just a litte blogcation. So much going on. Fodder for future reports.

Back to our cruise----and boy, I desparately need another one right now.

I left off just after our tour of Belize. Just read this week that a Carnival cruiser, 14 year old girl, was killed on an excursion in St. Thomas (I believe?). Caught in the middle of a gang war shootout. Wow. We believed we were so safe in all our ports of call but after discussing this yesterday with a co-worker, I could so imagine our school bus getting stopped in the middle of the Belize jungle and being hijacked by criminals of some sort. With just Mah-lisa and our busdriver to protect us. We were just a busload of naive tourists and quite lucky tourists at that. Never take your surroundings for granted.

So the day after our Belize experience, we floated on up to Mexico and stopped at what they call Costa Maya. I don't believe this is actually a town. More like a pier with quite alot of stores.

Notice in this first picture, the green by the shore and away from the shore is all gray destruction. Hurricane Dean hit this shore dead on several years ago. It was descimated. The gray are all the dead trees that still remain. You'll see this alot in the following pictures.

And I apologize for the quality of some these pictures from Costa Maya. I bought an underwater camera (to prepare ahead for the sinking of my kayak) and the quality of the film was very poor but it was all I had on this island.

So as I mentioned above, we were going a Clear Kayak excursion at this port. The night before I started getting a little anxious about it all and was sharing my fears at dinner. We were doing our floating in the ocean. I had never kayaked before and was concerned about the boats being closed top kayaks and I might turn over and not be able to exit from it successfully. I shouldn't have worried so much ABOUT THAT part. They were open kayaks, more like canoes.

So at the end of the pier we hooked up with our excursion leader who was glad to see us BUT explained the weather was kind of treacherous today with high waves, etc. and were we sure we wanted to do this? What kind of question was that? I was getting more terrified by the minute. I looked at Papa who threw it back to me and after asking "were we gonna die out there", our leader assured us we were going to be just fine but here sign an additional waiver that says "I informed you about the weather and ocean conditions releasing the tour from responsibility in the event of.......... "

Regardless of this gloomy outlook, we had quite a few people in our excursion group and so we all headed to our safari bus that would transport us to the fishing village of Mahahual.

See what I mean about the hurricane aftermath. So very sad. This was the one place that I really felt like my tourism dollars might do some good. That's all they seem to have.

After about a 20 minute bus road, we arrived at the village which is basically a long strip of stores, restaurants, bars and sections of the beach that have been cordoned off as "private beach areas". The rest of our cruise group had optioned for a private beach day at this port and so they found themselves in this area as well.

Anyway, we gathered at our "excursion bar" to lock up our valuables and went to the beach where we received our 5 minute kayak tuitorial, loaded up and started paddling.

More setting of the stage. I was getting a bit sunburned by this time in our vacation and so I opted to wear some capris and one of Papa's shirts versus a swimsuit trying to avoid an all out sun-scalding. SO VERY GLAD I DID.

So off we paddled:

and who did we pass by. The Weatherman and Cracker on their "private beach". When they spotted us paddling by, they started yelling and flailing about, amazed that I had gone through with it (after discussions from the night before at dinner when I admitted I was terrified of doing this). That's the Weatherman, front and to the right...Cracker is a little behind waving her arms.

So out to the open ocean we went. It was pretty wild. We were going out so far to a reef but as we would get closer, the water breaking over the reef was quite abit over our heads. One kayak got swamped and started sinking but it wasn't our's.....I should tell you now that there was a leader of our group who we were following and following all of us was a speedboat with our rescuers aboard. We were told that if anyone just wanted to quit, get their attention and they would pick you up or if anyone had a problem, again just get their attention and they would be rescued. By the end of our time, they had picked up 2 boats worth of folks but again wasn't US.

Now if you've been reading this blog long at all, you will realize that Papa and I sometimes see things differently and butt heads from time to time. Paddling a canoe, I found out, was something we should have done with different partners. Papa kept telling me I was paddling on the wrong side than him and not paddling fast enough, and just basically not doing it right. THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME. I was in the front, how do I know what side he is paddling? And I should be doing opposite? And this was not a race, I wanted to enjoy our little ocean voyage not come in first. And we were on the open ocean....a very wild, wavy ocean and the whole thing was just a tad bit FRIGHTENING to me. I barely had time to snap a photo here and there and no time whatsoever to apply EXTRA SUNSCREEN TO MY EXPOSED CALVES. I'm sure you can see where this heading.

So needless to say, the Bickerson's paddled along yelling at each other. It was so hard for me to refrain from knocking him out of the boat with my paddle to shut him up (only because I knew I needed him to help me get back to shore!) We ended up battling the ocean and wind and the waves and each other for about an hour but viewed no ocean life through our kayak bottoms. Our leader finally gathered us around and said we were heading back to shore, the conditions were a little bit dangerous. WHEW....and so we paddled back to shore. I was partly relieved and partly proud that I wasn't one of those in the rescue boat. I HAD DONE IT and SURVIVED.

We ended up receiving alot of free drink tickets from the bar since our excursion was cut short and were set loose on the beach, to eat, drink, or shop. Which is what we did.

We stopped by and visited Cracker and the Weatherman for a few minutes and received a serenade.

Then it was time to meet up with our group once again for the bus ride back to the the Costa Maya pier.

Those that didn't have a safari bus ride, had to use a taxi to get back to the pier. Quite the little traffic jam to get all the cruise boat (more than one at this port) passengers back to their ships on time. DD and SIL had a smashing time but it seemed to be exhausting for them as well.

That's SIL in the big straw hat toward the left.

That night was our final formal night for dinner. The winds and high waves on the ocean were a precusor to a bad storm at sea that evening, so after showering and getting dressed up, I slapped on my sea bands and took a Dramine and off we went to dinner.

Cracker and the Weatherman enjoyed their port time much so, they called it an early night and went to bed, passing on dinner. Papa almost made it to the dining room but when he passed by the sushi bar, the seasickness had it's way with him and back to the room he went. I continued on, lurching down the boat until I made it to the dining room and met DD and SIL. DD was hunched over stating she was just going to eat some bread for dinner but we convinced her to pack it in and go back to the room if she felt so awful. So SIL and I had dinner together that night and participated in some more singing and dancing with Lim, our waiter.

Then I called it a night.

Next report will be our cruise wrapup.

For now....Grammy