Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

May 2010 be the bestest year yet!

Now, is that 'twenty, ten' or is it 'two-thousand and ten'? Or just 'ten'? You decide. We'll be hearing it all. I like brevity, so I'll skip that 'thousand' stuff and keep it simple.

And we'll be joining friends for black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread, traditional Southern food eaten on New Year's Day, said to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year to those who consume it. We'll take no chance...consume we will!

Life is good! Count your blessings, y'all!!!

Happy, safe New Year's Eve!

Goodbye, 2009. You are almost finished.
Forget the ball gown; I'll be in a night gown, watching the ball drop in Times Square from the comfort of our own warm, safe home...with my fave big guy by my side, and two sleeping wee boys down the hall (their parents are going out to a party).
Whatever you do, wherever you go...stay safe.
May you each experience a happy and prosperous 2010! Life is good, y'all!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My cat...

My cat sleeps about 20 hours a day. She has her food prepared for her. She can eat whenever she wants, 24/7/365. Her meals are provided at no cost to her. She visits the doctor once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her. She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep. If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. She has her choice of luxurious places to sleep. She receives these accommodations absolutely free. She is living like a queen, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of her costs are picked up by others, who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head...
Holy S#!t, my cat is a democrat! Bless her heart...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jammie day...

Yep, that is about what I look like today and how I have felt. After a wee nap, I am feeling better. No fever, just a stuffy head and that means I don't feel like reading. Bummer.

Speaking of reading, Haley told me about Shelfari, an online library where you can register for free all the books you've read, or want to read...and of course purchase books. I have brought home too many books, only to discover that I've already read them; now I can go online and look through my 'shelf' while standing at the library or a store and see if I have already read a book or not. Of course that only applies to books I've read in the last few years that I have been keeping up with my personal list...the list that is always at home when I am at the library! And the list is over there to the R on my reading pane...

It takes awhile to get them registered if you are a readaholic like the two of us are, but it'll be worth it in the long run. I'm still not finished uploading info...and I've listed over 200 books already.

Stay warm...and take your Vitamin C, y'all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A snuggle and wine...

A new snuggle, made by friend Judy, enrollment in a wine club, and something to read (The Winter of our Discounted Tent--who cares what's inside--the title is puuurfect!). Life can't get much better than that, other than maybe some SLEEP.

This photo (thanks, Haley!) was made after church on Christmas Eve when we were opening presents with all the kids at Amy's house...and after flying all night, functioning with maybe two hours sleep. We hit the sack about 9p, feeling like old people. And now I have a head cold. Bugger.

It's Monday. I will survive. I'm tough. I'm not whining...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not much going on...

I went to church this morning, where I had to fill in as eucharistic minister for the person who was scheduled and couldn't make it. I can wing problem:-) Small crowd today, but that isn't a surprise right after Christmas.

A friend invited us to dinner, so I am taking advantage of not having to think about 'what's for dinner?' and concentrating on cleaning off this desk just a little. Gosh does stuff pile up quickly. Both of my guys are gone, all three kitties are sleeping, so the house is quiet. Too bad I don't have time to join da girlz for a nap, but that isn't gonna happen today. Oh yes, just in case you are interested, Brian's injury is much better, many ice packs later!

So that's about it from Mayberry...nothing exciting going on, and that's OK. A little *dull* is just fine. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A shoppin' we did go...

Janet and I made a trip down to the Macy's of the Mountains, but didn't spend a lot of bucks there. I did leave a few a Wally World, since the larder was bare of fresh veggies and fruit. And I picked up a few half price Christmas items to save for next year.

I'm gaining on the laundry and paperwork, no small task after being gone for so long.

And the temp finally got above 32. Yikes...Florida is sounding really good!

Brian and friends went bike riding and he managed to sail over the handlebars and land on a rock. A good sized hematoma is now perking on his backside. Once a parent, always a parent, no matter how old they get! I keep telling him that he has to take good care of himself, cuz I'm too old to make a new son. Oh the joys!!!

Hope everyone had a joyful and blessed Christmas. We sure did. Life is good!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Merry Christmas, one and all! May you never forget the REASON for the SEASON. Blessings to all our family and friends, from our hearts to yours. And please say a prayer for all our troops and their families left back home. God bless y'all real good!

Sandy and Dick

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Miami nice...

Here sits the weary travelers, waiting for our 9:30 flight to ATL. Gettin' close.

Merry Christmas, y'all!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday update...

The roof dwellers are leaving for the airport. Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Homeward bound at last! It was nice having free wi-fi on the roof top, and the breeze was nice, but the lure of home is calling...loud and clear.

Adios! Til manana, amigos...we're outta here!!!

Sittin' on the rooftop...

We have our bags in the storage area of the hotel, had lunch at our fave little bar across the street, and are now back on the rooftop, reading, listening to cars whiz by...and waiting for our 6p taxi.

Dick and I had a typical Chilean lunch at the recommendation of our waiter: we were told it is a mixture of rice and beans. We pictured the whole variety, but it was more of a corn chowder, with a few beans in it and some seasoning. Very mild. Could have used some pepper, but we have not seen any pepper put on the tables. Strange. And we opted to have a typical Chilean salad, which consisted of tomato chunks and lots of onion. Tic Tacs, anyone? J&J had the same corn concoction, but opted to have a green salad...which was interesting...and not typical of an American salad. Oil and vinegar are the only dressings available, but that is typical in Europe as well. The local breads are very good, much like baguettes...crusty outside, soft inside. And draft Cristal beer is very mild. All in all, it was a nice lunch.

The weather on this whole trip has been fantastic. No rain to speak of, smooth sailing, and only one day of really cold weather. We are winding up with summer temps here in Santiago that will spoil us for Mayberry, but we'll manage.

Soon we'll say ADIOS, Santiago; hello Miami in the wee hours tomorrow. Getting closer to home.
That sounds mighty fine!

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Enjoy your day. We sure are! Life is good!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday night in Santiago...

But of course this was yesterday when we stopped at a winery for a sample. We tried this one, but it wasn't very good, but the next bottle was excellent.
So after breakfast today, we four purchased our Ho/Ho bus tickets and headed to the subway to take us to the bus stop. We knew it was going to be about a two hour loop, so we got off toward the end in a nice area and had a late lunch, and a subway ride back to the hotel...and a nap.

Santiago is surrounded by mountains. We have a lovely view of a distant snow peaked mountaintop as we sit in nice, high 60s weather. Somehow it doesn't quite feel like Christmas here, but that'll change quickly when we get home! Remember, it is summertime down here, so the days are longer...just the opposite from back home in Mayberry.

We are now back on the rooftop watching the sun go down, enjoying a bit of cheese, chocolate and wine. Not a bad life! But these nomads are all ready to head north.

The plan tomorrow is a late check out, stash our bags in the hotel store room, find lunch, come back and sit on the rooftop and read and wait till 6p when our taxi driver appears to whisk us away to the airport, in plenty of time for our 10:30p flight to Miami. It will be a long night!

Cheers...and buenos noches, y'all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Greetings from Santiago!

We are now in Santiago, Chile, sitting on the rooftop of our hotel in order to find an internet signal, drinking a little vino, eating cashews...we stopped at a winery on the way here and purchased three bottles of wine to enjoy during our stay.

Our driver and tour guide picked us up at the dock this morning and took us on a tour of Valparaiso, stopping at various places, and then dropped us off at our hotel. Hmmm, it is not in the best of places, so we discovered, but I think that is true of a lot of Santiago. We were warned not to wear any jewelry out and to be careful with our possessions, even during the day time, and not to venture out at night. Sigh. Welcome to the real world.

Janet has a headache, so it is we three sitting here on the rooftop where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and are now seeing the city lights surround us.

Tomorrow we will probably hit the Ho/Ho bus and see what the local area has to offer. Santiago is a big city, and that is not our preference, but we'll see what there is to see and determine if it is worth a revisit. At least the folks are friendly, and Spanish is much more user friendly than Portugese. Can you tell Brazil is not our favorite country?

Thanks for all the birthday wishes....another day on this side of the dirt is always a good one!

Love from Chile...buenos noches, y'all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday night at sea…


Dick and Janet getting one more photo, while Jim petted a stray dog!  This was on our tour around Puerto Montt yesterday.  It was overcast…until we got back to the ship, then the sun decided to come out.

Our bags are now outside our door, waiting pick up.  I’m going to put on my robe and go upstairs to find a signal to send out a few emails.  It is nice being of ‘a certain age’ when one doesn’t care if anyone turns up their nose at my attire.  These folks will never see me again, right?  Jim and Janet don’t count, plus they’ve seen me in my robe before!  They are comfy friends…and we are still speaking after all this time together.

So tomorrow we have a driver picking us up and taking us on a tour for the two-hour drive to Santiago, where he will drop us off at our hotel.  This promises to be an interesting city with lots to see and do.  We are ready for the next adventure.  And also ready to get on home.  We miss everyone!  It’s been fun, but home is where our heart is…for sure.

Ivana, sorry that I didn’t explain better.  GI is a condition that causes one to have to stay in the bathroom quite often, with *stuff* moving up and/or down—not pleasant.  Crud is another name for that condition.  A Kindle is an electronic book, called an e-reader, because you can download many books into it over the internet from anywhere in the world.

Thanks, everyone,  for tagging along with us.  I’ve loved getting your comments….and look forward to catching up with all your blogs when we get home.

Sweet dreams, y’all!  We are heading to bed…after I find an internet connection…

Veendam Day 16 - Final Sea day

Top of the morning to ya! Here we are at sea all day, and this is our final evening on the ship. Tomorrow we dock in Santiago where we will spend two nights and do a little exploring there.
Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done yet? If you haven't, you are seriously running out of time!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday night at sea…now Saturday!


Red alert—what is that?, someone asked.  The whole ship was under somewhat of a quarantine after a few outbreaks of some GI problems amongst some guests/crew members.  Not many, but it was enough that the whole ship had to be constantly sanitized, and there was no sharing of anything, from serving spoon handles to passing the butter dish.  Everything had to be handled by a gloved crew member, causing long lines everywhere, even to get a cup of coffee on the Lido deck.

All library books had to stay in quarantine for 72 hours after being turned back in, and the four of us had pretty much read all the books we had brought on board with us, or swapped from the lending library.  That section got closed pronto!

I was forced to read a (free) Harlequin novel (a mystery, not a sappy love story, OK?!)   I had downloaded it and several others on my computer as a trial to see if I want to read books that way and as a last resort if I couldn’t get my hands on a real book.  It was a bit weird, but desperate times called for desperate measures, so read it I did, having to click to ‘turn’ the pages.  Hmm, would I want a Kindle???  No rush to think about that, although the size would be more appealing to tote about, rather than toting the puter.  I’m an admitted bookaholic and still love having a book in my hands…and no, I am NOT going on a 12 step program to cure my book addiction! 

So now the alert has been lifted and life onboard is back to normal.  This is formal night, the Black and White Officer’s Ball (referring to their formal outfits), complete with dancing, which we are missing by choice.  The four of us had dinner at the Italian restaurant tonight, which was fine.  They brought over two plates of cotton candy to the table after dinner!  I have never seen that done before.  It didn’t tempt me at all, however the Tiramasu was a different story…

We shall all be getting off the ship tomorrow while in port, our final port before reaching Santiago on Monday morning…….which puts us closer to getting home.  That sounds like a great plan!

Love and good night from the sea…

And now good afternoon from Pont Montt where we had a lovely tour of the area.  Wish we could have spent more time here.  Our driver took us up to the German area, then drove us around the huge lake where we saw salmon farming and lots of other normal farming and beautiful country.  Back on board the ship, lunch is over, and the afternoon is free to enjoy the views.  Life is good!!!

Veendam Day 15 - Puerto Montt, Chile

Very pretty...maybe we'll get to actually see this--Petrohue Falls in the Lake District.

Puerto Montt is the capital of what is known as Region X in Chile. It is located on the northern tip of Relocanvi Inlet, in a bay protected on the west by Tenglo Island. It is a main port and gateway into the Chilean lake and volcano district. This small provincial city has undergone significant growth fueled by salmon farms, forestry, the fishing industry and service related companies. The original German settlers left their mark, as the city and surrounding areas still have a very distinctive European flavor. Just outside of the city of Puerto Montt, lies the Lake District, home to the Puerto Montt wealthy and privileged. City streets are lined with beautiful rose arbors and dotted with small cafes and trendy restaurants.
This sounds like our kind of I sit writing this on December 1.
Happy birthday today to Jason. We send you lots of love and best wishes...we'll lift a toast in your honor tonight! Life is good!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Veendam Day 14 - Darwin Channel, Chilean Fjords

Another day of sailing through beautiful scenery...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Amalia Glacier


The sun has been peeking in/out all day as we’ve sailed through the Strait of Magellan.  Unfortunately, it didn’t lift the clouds enough to see the glacier properly, and the photo doesn’t do it justice from this distance, but this is as good as it gets.  Timing is everything!  The sun is now coming out and staying…and speaking of, it doesn’t get dark down here till very late at night!  Who knew?!

The fjords are beautiful, reminding us just a bit of Alaska.  We are at sea today and tomorrow, when we pass through the Chilean Fjords.   Seas have been very calm, with little wind.  We heard that some folks complained about that!  At least the ‘red alert’ has been lifted and we are now well stocked with library books to enjoy.  Our new port of call is Puerto Montt on Saturday, and we are definitely looking forward to exploring there.

Are we glad we made this trip?  Yes.  Would we come back?  No, especially not to Rio.  There is still the Amazon River that Dick wants to see, so that might draw us back to Brazil, but I am in no hurry to do that.  There are other destinations on my bucket list ahead of that one.

Hugs from the other deep south!

Veendam Day 13 - Strait of Magellan, Amalia Glacier

Look at all those channels! We have left Ushuaia, sailed through Cockburn and Beagle Channels, visited Punta Arenas, Chile, and are today in the Strait of Magellan, named for Ferdinand Magellan, a Portugese sailor. It is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but it is considered difficult because of the unpredictable winds and currents and the narrowness of the passage.

We will be seeing Alamia Glacier today. Any bets on how cold it will be outside? Brr....
Actually, it isn't too cold, but we'll still manage to stay inside. J&J are doing better with their colds...and we are avoiding all germs! Ship is still on red alert. Still have intermittent internet...
Having fun! Life is good!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Veendam Day 12 - Punta Arenas, Chile

Patagonia’s largest and most commercially important city, Punta Arenas, Chile is the capital of the Magallenes Province. Located on the western side of the Strait of Magellan, between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Andes, Punta Arenas was once the stomping ground for European explorers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. Now, Punta Arenas’ economy is based on farming, oil exploration and tourism. The port provides a base for South Atlantic fishing boats and Antarctic research vessels. The weatherworn streets of this bustling, active city of 100,000 are a mixture of old mansions (built during the wool boom of the late 19th century), cathedrals, homes with colorful corrugated rooftops, high rise office buildings and modern hotels. From English sheepherders to Portugese sailors, this area is a melting pot of various cultures.

We are here for the day...but are staying onboard. Jim caught Janet's cold, and this is just not a very interesting port, in our humble opinion.

The internet goes down frequently being this far south. Having is Good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Veendam Day 11 - Ushuaia, Argentina

So this is what the end of the world looks like...Ushuaia, Argentina...the bottom of South America. Wow, are we a long way from Mayberry!

On the shores of Beagle Channel and surrounded by mountains, Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city, and is known as the “Port at the End of the World”. It is the capital of Tierra Del Fuego, a large triangular island beyond the Magellan Straits, and the Southern Atlantic Province. Ushuaia was originally colonized as an Argentinean penal colony in 1902. It remained a prison outpost until 1947. In fact, some of the 42,000 present inhabitants are descendants of those prisoners. It is now a major South America tourist destination and is rivaled only by Buenos Aires for ship traffic. Ushuaia is one of few cities on earth that offer the sea, mountains, and forests all in one place. Ushuaia can best be described as a hearty frontier town in a truly dramatic setting.

This is where Route 3 (the Pan-American Highway) ends. Wowza. The highway began in Alaska. That's a long way from here.

And this lovely spot is the area's major attraction - Tierra Del Fuego National Park. Since we are only here for a few hours, we'll probably just walk around and take in all the local smells and views...and say howdy to the locals. Life is good!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Veendam Day 10 - Cape Horn!

This is a view from a ship...
And this is a map of the area... is supposed to be a bit treacherous in this area. I hope our captain knows his way around down here. No news is good news!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Veendam Day 9 - Pt. Stanley, Falkland Islands

Here is a photo of the ship entering Port Stanley.
Whale Bone Arch, erected in 1933 to celebrate 100 years of British rule.

The Falkland Islands consist of 2 main islands and a group of small landmasses located 300 miles east of the Argentine Patagonian coastline and 480 miles northeast of Cape Horn. It is the most accessible of the sub-Antarctic islands. With a population of approximately 2000, 2/3 of which live in Port Stanley, Falkland Island is the smallest, most remote capital city in the world. This very British island was invaded by Argentina in 1982, but a counter-invasion by Britain led to reclamation of the island within 3 months. Its pubs, neat gardens, British ‘bobbies’, red mailboxes and the Union flag flown over the Government House leave no doubt that British roots run deep. This very unique port is built on the north facing slope of the island to catch the sun year round and overlooks Stanley Harbour. Houses with brightly corrugated metal roofs dot the hillside and are a striking contrast to the surrounding countryside. The residents are extremely hospitable as they welcome you to this very isolated, but not insular, part of the world.

The climate is temperate, but generally cold, wet and windy. Even in summer the maximum temperature is 75 F. Now y’all see why we had to pack summer things and warm clothes. This is summer time down here!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Veendam Day 8 - At sea

Another sea day. There's a good chance we four will be sitting here a lot today, watching the sea go by. This is called the Crow's Nest. We call it the office for now. Life is good!


We spent part of the morning sitting here reading. Dick has gone to a Q&A session with the captain and I am in class. The internet system has been down more than up...I have msgs in my inbox that I have been trying to send since last night:-( All is well, other than that. Having a good time. Hopefully the weather will cooperate at Pt. Stanley tomorrow, although they are having gale force winds right now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Veendam Day 7 - At sea

So today is a sea day, which we love.
Here is a photo borrowed from the internet of Montevideo. Uruguay was another new country for us on this fascinating adventure.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Veendam Day 6 - Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America, but boasts of a healthy economy, impressive living standard, and the best social services in South America. One and half million people, or over ½ of Uruguay’s population, reside in the capital city of Montevideo, located at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. Cattle and sheep estancias (ranches) occupy over ¾ of the land. The coastline, however, is one long sandy beach. A scenic riverside road starting near the port and ending at the city limits links the beaches. Within the city proper, the beaches lie along the river, so water quality is not the best. Montevideo is an architect’s delight, with styles ranging from colonial to art deco.

We’ll be docked here for the whole day. Janet has a cold and might stay in today...the plan is to go ashore and get on the local bus and do some sightseeing. We are late getting in by about an hour and a half. If you get behind a slow ship in the channel, you are stuck going slow. Oh well...stuff happens. We are not doing a tour, so it doesn't matter to us.

Yesterday, Dick and Jim did the HoHo bus while Janet and I shopped and had fun dodging the sidewalk shop hawkers. Lunch and a nap felt mighty good. The show was quite good last night. The guy was part of a group that we saw onboard a Costa ship in the Med back in '02 when there were three guys. Now he and his wife are the entertainment, offering more variety than the guys did.

Having fun in the sun...temps are about the same...then we'll have two sea days before arriving in the Falkland Islands. We'll be editing photos and uploading them very soon.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Veendam Day 5 – BA!

Buenos dias! The plan for today, back when I was setting up these daily blogs, was to send a live photo today from BA using my crackberry, since we are here all day. Since I couldn’t get international data service down here, that idea went down the tube.

So here is a live update instead! Yesterday, Dick, Janet and I left Jim onboard nursing some hip pains (he had a replacement done recently and overdid using it, thinking he was good as new after so short a while…wrong!). We caught the shuttle in to town, then got on the Hop on/Hop off bus (HoHo bus for short). That took us all the way around and through the city, for well over two hours. Photos will follow later on the ivylog blog.

Today’s plan is for Dick and Jim to ride the HoHo bus, while Janet and I walk around the shopping district and poke our noses in the stores. Sounds like a plan to me!

Our onboard entertainment tonight is The Best of Argentina, Tango and More, so we’ll get our tango fix tonight after sailing. Another good plan! No worries that our two boys will be trying that out.

The weather is perfect—low 70s—and the sun is shining. Life is good!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Veendam Day 4 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

We are here for two days in the capital and largest city in Argentina. It is considered the wealthiest city in SA. With 13 million inhabitants, it has a very European flavor, and is often referred to as the "Paris of South America."

Tango music was born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, notably in the brothels of the Juníny Lavalle district and in the arrabales (poorer suburbs). Its sensual dance moves were not seen as respectable until adopted by the Parisian/wiki/Paris high society in the 1920s, and then all over the world. In Buenos Aires, tango-dancing schools (known as academias) were usually men-only establishments. Today there are many tango dance styles.

The language spoken is Spanish that is closer to the Neopolitan language of Italy. Tourism, manufacturing and agriculture are very important financial aspects of this area. The temperate climate draws visitors to the area year round, and with the relative low cost of living, many come here for a visit and stay!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow or sea?

I’ll take the sea, thank you very much!  Mayberry got about an inch of snow…as we were enjoying a bit of sunny sailing along the coast of South America.   Ahhh, the Good Life!  Hate to rub it in, kids, but at least the snow didn’t last long.

What a disaster it was trying to get onboard the ship on Friday.  Apparently the Rio health authorities and the immigration authorities were having some power struggles of their own, and everyone from the captain, the crew and the passengers had to have EVERY passport inspected and NO ONE got off till they were completed.  We were supposed to set said at 5p and instead, passengers were still disembarking at that hour when we were finally able to walk up the plank. 

Holland America didn’t handle it very well from a public relations stand point either, not telling all the milling, waiting crowd what was going on.  They moved us from one terminal where our hand luggage was scanned, to an adjacent terminal to sit and wait.  At least they brought sandwiches and cookies to the masses.  When we were finally allowed to board (how were they going to herd up all these unhappy folks?), they began running hand luggage through ANOTHER x-ray machine.  Huh?  That would have taken HOURS to re-do, and by then the crowds were getting larger and larger around the exit area.  The folks herding the cattle finally gave up on that screening idea and let folks begin walking through the metal detectors.

And these are the same authorities that will be in charge when the Olympics arrive in Rio.  You couldn’t give me a free ticket to come back and attend.  Just sayin’.  And the clerks, ticket takers and waiters we encountered did not speak/understand English, and I am not referring to fluency…I am referring to anything beyond the basics of hello, thank you and goodbye!  I don’t expect other folks to be fluent in this international language, however, when they are in the service industry of dealing with travelers, they should have enough speaking ability to at least get by and assist their guests.  Sadly, they have a long way to go, and while Dick and I can compensate and get by, not every traveler will be as adventuresome and understanding.

We are enjoying the digital workshop onboard and are huge fans of Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Dick posted some Rio photos yesterday during class… –check it out and leave him a message.  I posted a few photos today… .  The class is mighty popular, and since we’ve had the classes before, we try not to ‘hog’ the computers.

Copacabana Beach…in the rain yesterday from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain yesterday.  Christ the Redeemer statue is off to our right…in the clouds.  We did get a few peeks at that massive structure.    


So today we are enjoying music, reading and napping.  Ahhh, the good life!  Did I mention that???  It’s off to class we go…ho, ho, ho…

With love from the sea…

Veendam Day 3 - at sea

Colorful Veendam lobby...

Ship Facts...
Ship's Registry: The Netherlands
Passenger capacity: 1,350
Crew members: 580
Gross Tonnage: 57,092 grt.
Length: 719 feet
Beam: 101 feet
Maximum speed: 22 knots
Dedicated: January 1996, by actress Debbie Reynolds
Digital Workshop, powered by Windows®: offering fun, free learning about digital photography, videos, scrapbooking, blogging and social networking. Dick and I took this class onboard the HAL Eurodam last year and loved it! This version appears to have expanded info, so we'll definitely be in class learning new techniques. Maybe I can upload some new photos!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Veendam Day 2 - at sea

This is what our outside stateroom should look like (y'all know these are pre-posts, don't you?), according to the HAL online photos. Looks like the one we had on the Eurodam last year, so it will be fine. More than fine, after all, we are on a cruise!!!

Today is a sea day (as is tomorrow), so we'll be doing lots of exploring and taking photos. There is a digital class onboard, so we'll check that out.

Happiness is being on a cruise ship! Happy Sunday, y'all...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hello, ms Veendam Day 1 - Adeus, Rio...

The plan for today: morning sightseeing in Rio if this rain goes away, then head to this beautiful ship for lunch on the Lido deck. Departure is at 5p, so we'll be outside taking lots of photos as we sail away from Rio.
Rain greeted us when we landed and stayed all day, so we just went to the hotel and napped, then went to dinner and back to the hotel. We are such party animals...NOT. The clouds were hanging so low that we couldn't see anything yesterday, so why waste time going sightseeing to see nothing but rain? Nope, the nap won out, although we did sleep just a little on the plane ride down here. And no crying babies!
Woohoo...let the new adventure begin! Stay tuned! Bon voyage (how do you say that in Portugese?)...
And a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to Sarge Charlie. Love ya bunches!!! Sarge is battling demon cancer and winning, so please click over and leave him a little lovin'. He has earned it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday update...

Rain greeted us and stayed with us all day. Yuck! Oh well, the nap was good and we'll turn in early tonight to get caught up on our sleep.

By the way, Rio is 3 hours ahead of Mayberry time, not 2.

The hotel is supposed to have wi-fi, but I couldn't connect. I think their router is down. Fortunately they have a cable connection here in the lobby, so here I sit...and tomorrow I go on the ship's service.

WX forecast is more rain tomorrow, and if so, we'll just take a taxi to the ship and not do any sightseeing.

That's it for now...sweet dreams!

Ola, Rio!

Rio de Janeiro is a bustling international tourist city on the NE coast of Brazil. Unfortunately, we will only be here for this one night, but we will make the most of it for sure. And probably find that we want to return and stay longer.

Will we see Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain up close (named one of the Seven Wonders of the World)? Ride the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain? Or see the permanent parade stand used during Carnival? Visit the famous beaches? Wow...what choices!

Brazil is the fifth largest country by geographical area, occupying nearly half of South America. The population is made up of many racial and ethnic groups. Portugese is the official language, and the Roman Catholic Church is the dominating religion, making Brazil the largest Catholic nation in the world!

Football is the most popular sport here. Rio is proud to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games for the very first time in South America. No way would I want to attend that chaos, but I am happy they will have this distinguished honor!

A very big happy birthday today to Dick's brother Bob! We'll lift a toast to you tonight at dinner. Cheers!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're leaving on a jet plane...

But we DO know when we'll be back again, unlike the lyrics from that song that will now be playing in my head all day!
I had to promise Missy that I would look at her picture every day, so she is reluctantly letting us go. We know Brian will take good care of her while we are gone and give her lots of lovin'.
Bummer on international data plans from AT&T for this trip. They don't have data coverage in the areas of South America where we are going, except for Chile. Well, by the time we get there, we are almost ready to go home. I can get text messages, so the kids know to text me if they need to. Of course I'll get internet on the ship, but that is slow as molasses and expensive, but if we wanted to save money, we'd stay home, right? I am not complaining...just stating facts. But it doesn't mean I have to like it.
We have an overnight flight to Rio...nine hours worth and that is just from Miami, so that means we arrive tomorrow morning. Can you say tired? Will the crying baby be behind us or in front of us? Hmmm...we'll be tolerant.
Enjoy your day. Ours will be a long one. Life is good! And yes, Julia, there are some undies and socks in those bags...that are NOW packed and ready. Well, except for that rolling computer backpack.........oh.............I guess it's time to shut this thing down. I'm having withdrawal symptoms already. Oh no!!!!!!!! Does that Rio hotel have wi-fi???

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bag check...

Purse. Check. Dick's backpack. Check. My rolling computer backpack. Check. And two bags for clothes. Check. Filled up and ready. Not checked!

This was the scene when we left home in June for the last cruise. We have this packing business down to a pretty fine science, so everything has a place and everything we pack gets used. We'll be in spring/summer/fall climates on this journey, so we have to pack clothes that can be layered. Yep, we can handle that. Basic black pants, and a variety of tops, throw in a few scarves, a sweater, jacket, my two wad-up 'formal' outfits, and I'm good to go. The fashion police won't be cruising with us.

And Dick? A couple of pairs of jeans, grey dress pants, blue blazer (for dressy nights -- tux stays home), khaki pants for all other nights, some shirts and a windbreaker. Oh yes, and a tie (he hates those). That'll do for him. Simple.

I'm checking my list...and marking things off as they either get done or get packed. I like doing that...then nothing gets forgotten.

Future blogs set up. Check!