Thursday, January 28, 2010

St. Lucia, Lucious!

   The second island we stopped at on our cruise was St. Lucia.  We made the most memories here.  We went on a private tour with a St. Lucian named Herrod Stanislaus!  Jim and I were with a family from Indiana (who happened to have the cabin across the hall from us, what are the odds?) and a family from Maryland. I had talked to both wives  and agreed to join up with them for this tour on the boards of Cruise Critic.
As we were riding around the mountainous roads in our tour van we caught site of our ship.  This is a beautiful island, a lot of rainforest.
We stopped at a banana farm.  These are all exported to England.  They were smaller than what we get around here.  He said in the U.S., our bananas are imported from South America. 
Meg from Maryland was a doll!   Only 16 but, seemed to be my sister from another mother!  We had the greatest time.  The bananas were sweet, seemed to taste like the bananas that I remember from childhood if that makes any sense.
St. Lucia has ONE beer, yep.  I don't know the details of how commerce is there but, just the one.

And the beer is named after the 2 mountains/peaks that St. Lucia is fameous for...the Pitons.

The Real Piton's on St. Lucia

Cindy and Rick (Meg from Maryland's Dad) drinking Piton Beer!  Oh yeah, I can always hang with  the men and am not ashamed of it!

Herrod told us that the island has many snakes.  This fellow wanted money for the picture...gave him a dollar.  There is also 40% unemployment in St. Lucia, no welfare and families take care of families.

Meg's response the the fellow with the snake!  One difference between us, I'm not afraid of snakes!
We went to Herrod's private home for a cajun meal made by his mother.  It was incredible!
Mrs. Stanislaus, our chef!  It was the best meal we had on our 8 day cruise.  That is really saying something if you've heard about how good cruise ship food can be.
Some of the men teasing me, telling me how to pose.
And last (for now) is the Hotel at Marigot Bay.  Marigot Bay is where the original Dr. Doolittle movie was made.  The restaurant there is called Doolittles. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Living in the Past

Ya know, I do what I have to.  We saw the sun for a few hours this morning, even blue skies...NO clouds. After lunch, the clouds came in quickly, fog appeared and snow showers!  a.k.a. little pieces of sunshine...nah...didn't work...I'm blue!  I think in my 51 years, this has been the longest stretch of overcast/foggy/snowy/drizzley/cloudy/sleety/grayey/gloomy/dreary days in my life.  Weeks since we've had a sunny day I tell ya!  So, going back to the Caribbean...I took loads of pictures so, I have to do this for my sanity.  Take what you like, leave the rest.

This was at St. Maarten.  We went on a Tiki Snorkel Hut tour or something.  My first time snorkeling (St. Jim's too)  We loved it and are now buying our own snorkel gear.(cruise next Oct. with 4 ports...all known for good snorkeling)  He's holding MY Rum Punch.  Any photo you see with Jim holding a's mine.  He doesn't drink but maybe one drink a day on a cruise.

Our ship, the Carnival Miracle at port in St. Maarten.  I took this from the water taxi after we left our snorkeling sight.  We didn't get to see any of St. Maarten but, am so glad to have had such a great first snorkel experience.  It's so easy, I'm so glad that I gave in to the peer pressure and did it!

This is a building with stores and such at the port in St. Maarten. There was a quicky mart in there where I bought some Bloody Mary Mix...I like that spicy stuff on deck in the morning on cruises...only then. These areas are extremely secure and fenced off.  You need your ship ID to get back in here(port area) to get on to your ship.  If an unauthorized person jumps a fence (don't see how, they're 10ft. tall or so with barbed wire on top), they'd be met with military intervention (I've heard stories on the Cruise Critic favorite source).  Many islands subsist only because of the cruise ships and or tourism dollars, so, the governments have a priority to keep us safe.

Little retail tents...selling souveniers/ clothing/hats...I bought sunglasses at one, a bracelet at another.  Rum island in price but, good!  And again, clean and safe!
See the beauty of St. Maarten behind the shops?

See the happy girl?  That's where I am mentally!  More later!  I DO have some good fun pictures.  Took SO many at St. Kitts and St. Lucia because we did excursions in vans with island guys.  Awesome! 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yearning for the Caribbean!

We went on a cruise the week of Thanksgiving '09, you could tell who the northerners were at the Ft. Lauderdale airport .  Like us, they made a beeline for a place outdoors with sunshine.  I wish that I was soaking it up now.  I'm trying not to exaggerate but, I think that we haven't seen the sun for weeks here!

I was just a few feet from that guy, found my place in the sun!

Heading out to sea on the Carnival Miracle.  Excuse me, I'm about the cry.

I was exhausted, but SO happy to be on board to start our 8 day cruise!  My St. Jim is hilarious.  He can do just a subtle thing in a picture with his posture or eyes that crack me up because I know him SO well!  Anyway, he cracks me up in this picture!

Of the 2,600 or so passengers on the Miracle, this guy caught my eye.  He wore a skirt.  Some of you who know me well won't be surprised that I made sure that I met him.  His name is Michael, he's 40, traveled with his sister and her husband, he's been on 17 cruises AND has crystal blue colored eyes! 
More later!  I need to cry about our weeks of clouds and fog and grey......

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wistful Thoughts of our Cruise

We went on a Cruise Thanksgiving Week 2009.  So many fond memories.  Once I get out of denial regarding our current situation (12 foot snow walls), I'll post more. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A White Christmas Was Nice but, Enough Already!

Two weeks before Christmas we had a blizzard and at least 12 inches of snow.  December 23rd was rain and then sleet.  So, I had some lovely pictures from that night!

And then it snowed beginning Dec. 24th in the morning.  Nearly every church cancelled their services.  We didn't, oh noooo, not us stubborn german Lutherans!  Well, we only had the 3PM service, which was great as there were probably 600 people there (the place was about full!) in spite of the horrible roads, I saw many visitors and folks from other churches.  It was awesome!
That night after we left my folk's house (live 5 houses away) we kept driving (4WD truck) and went all over looking at Christmas Lights.  Everyone was home with their twinkling lights as a blizzard was a comin'.

Same angle but, taken today, January 9th.  So, we had that Christmas Blizzard.  Then we had another one Weds. of this week.  That's three blizzards!  1975 was the last time some of us oldtimers remember this much on the ground. 

This is in our neighborhood, mostly elderly people.  But, nearly every youngun (under 70) has asnowblower and I don't think anyone has to hire as these men go out in groups of 2 and 3 and do each other's and then the homes of the single gals or elders. 

This is my parent's home.  Five houses to the south of them is our home.

Our home.  Hey!  How many of you have seen the following picture?  It's gone out across the country, even among pictures in the Wall Street Journal.

The man on the left is Steve Sempeck.  He's the owner of the buses.....and the owner of our town's bowling alley.  It burned down on Jan. 7, '10.  Extreme cold temps.  Brutal.  the ice is from the firefight!

I'm standing by the pin setters taking a picture of where the lanes were.  Gutted.

So sad.

The gentleman in the dark coat was an employee, his gal is to his right.  I chatted a while.  He doesn't know what he'll be doing.  He also had 6 of his own bowling balls in there.  She was crying, her mother played in a legue there and had bowling balls in there too.  I told them I had been praying for the owners and the employees since I heard about it.  The owner said he'll rebuild, and to tell my mother, "we'll have her bread pudding too".  Every time my Mom eats there she has to have their bread pudding, she's obsessed.  Small towns.  We all know each other, or know someone that they know. 

Although sad, I heard so many positive affirmations and lots of gratitude.  Oh, the place closed down early the night the fire started on account of our THIRD blizzard of the season.  So, When that Diner (IN ELKHORN) opens up again, I'm there, for a chicken dinner and bread pudding!