Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our 115 day World 113, at sea!

Here we are and everyone is packing like crazy.  Jeff and Kween Karen are both anxious to see friends and family and to be at home.  Bill and Mary Ann, however, are continuing through the Panama Canal!  I believe they may be getting off in San Diego but I am not sure!  so, we will continue also and will use our own personal pictures from when we were on this cruise 3 years ago!  This will depart on Wednesday!

i don't know what has gotten into me for the last 3 days but I have been absolutely useless.  I did make a diet cake...1 can pumpkin, 1 cup water, 1 cake mix, flavor of your choice.  It is good.  I made a batch of cornbread that is in the oven now and I put on a pot of soup and then I laid in my chair.  Not good!  I think it is the whole diet thing so we need to do some revamping!

Tomorrow is another ay and I will need to wake up with a better attitude!

Where we did not go today .....but the Amsterdam did!

At sea!
Pictures of the day!  from Kween Karen...thank you!

                              This is my kinda day!     Look at all the bags, purses and wild colors!


                             It is so amazing to have all the different landscapes on such a small island!
Here she is enjoying herself in a sulphur mud bath!  What fun she is having...she tries everything!

                       Kween Karen is so adventurous!  She lives life and enjoys every minute of it!                                                       


 St. Lucia

Twenty-seven miles long, and 14 miles across, the island of St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands. Created by volcanoes, St.Lucia has peaks that tower over 3117 feet, forested hills, sulfurous pits, and valleys full of banana plants. In fact, 70% of the island's earnings come from the export of bananas, as there are 2000 banana farms on the small island. The population of 145,000 are mostly natives of African descent. Hotels and miles of golden sand beaches have brought tourists here as well. Cruise ships bring many guests here. As many as four ships can be seen here on a single day during the peak season.. The downside to that scenario, is that the vendors are not willing to bargain much at all. And we found the prices to be way out of whack for typical souveniers.

We were here on a Carnival ship somewhere around 1995. At the time, we had taken a tour, which took us up to the scenic volcanic peaks and rainforest. So we do not remember anything of the town of Castries, except that we must have been here on a weekend, and the stores closed early. In our daily newsletter, it stated that the shop hours were 8 to noon on Saturdays, although large malls tend to operate from 9am to 9pm every day. We do not know where these malls were located, because they did not show up on the ship's map.

Back to the start, the ship arrived here early at around 8am, which was good because it could have been much later due to the problem we had with the hatch and our leaving late from Devils Island. The Captain was able to keep his promise and get us here on schedule. It was promising to be a good day weatherwise, with some clouds floating by, and a slight chance of rain. That rain never happened, because we packed two umbrellas with us to town.

There had to be a dozen shore excursions today, but since we have been on one that did the whole island, we decided to walk to town. There was a cute little water taxi that was taking folks to the center of Casries from Pointe Seraphine where the ship was docked. It cost $10. per person for a round trip. Walking to town took only about 15 or 20 minutes. We think we made it to the center of town before the folks even boarded the little taxi, since there was a mile-long line.

On the way, we passed a man who was selling his coconut carvings of small birds and a half coconut as a feeder.. They were hanging from a tree with strings. He claimed he personally created each one, but we also saw these in huge amounts in the marketplace.

There was a huge market that included veggie and fruit stalls, meat sellers, and souvenier stands. One huge building had clothing, handbags, swimwear, wooden carvings, jewelry, and masks for sale. But upon asking the price for a few items, we were shocked that things cost four times more than they should. It was obvious that too many cruise ships passengers come here, and that keep the prices up. Even though we were told that most of the ships will be re-locating to Europe and Alaska for the late spring season, the vendors still did not want to bargain to make any sales. For that reason, we saw few treasures being sold anywhere. One of us was looking for a visor, a simple item, but almost non-existent here. Baseball caps, woven hats, and ladies or mens safari hats were everywhere.

We covered the entire marketplace, then decided to go back to the ship. This area had no restaurants or cafes at all, so looking for our favorite pizza was not an option. In our opinion, this market was not the cleanest place we had been, or the most welcoming for cruise passengers. The only restrooms we saw had a charge to use them. In this area, Belem in Brazil had them beat by miles with their newer facilities and cafes. Perhaps, you would have to find the places on the island where the nice hotels are located, and you would find the nicer cafes and restaurants.

On the stroll back, we sat for a while on the seawall. A very young policeman came along to chat. Wanting to know where we came from, he told us some info about his island. He sort of suggested that we would be pleased to see the rest of the island, and not just the waterfront and marketplace. We did tell him that we did tour the island several years ago and enjoyed the views. Then he went into detail about the nearby stores, explaining where the grocery store was located, as well as the bigger outlets. They are are related to each other, like our Walmarts, Kmarts, and Costcos. We thanked him for the information, then continued walking.

Back at Poine Seraphine and the dock, there were many pierside shops offering better souveniers. That's where we found the coveted St. Lucia visor for a grand total of $7. Not a bad deal at all. Back on the ship, we had a soda break and a few crackers and cheese. After a quick walk around the dock area, we went to the aft pool for some quiet sun time and a swim. The water was chilly and clean, but felt oh so good. Between reading a book and watching helicopters and planes landing at the small nearby airport, the afternoon flew by quickly.

The sailaway party was at 5:30pm, and was attended fairly well, despite the fact that it was dinnertime for half the folks. Bill and Leta came to this last sailaway, and stayed until the sun went down, giving us all a treat to photograph.

Our host, Tom M., joined us for dinner this evening. He is always a pleasure to have as a guest, keeping us all entertained with cruise stories. On the menu tonight was the 22 ounce ribeye steaks, and of course, we both ordered one. Since our lunch was really just a snack, we really enjoyed the tasty steaks. They were tender, juicy, and seasoned nicely. So much better than the beef they served during most of this trip. It took long enough, but perhaps they have finally used up the last of the imported beef.

Now we have three days at sea as we sail towards the final port of Ft. Lauderdale, a complete circumnavigation of the world in 115 days. Wow!

Mary Ann & Bill

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