Week One

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As I said before we started, we are doing without internet on the ship, so there will not be a detailed blow by blow description of our travels, but I’ve been taking some notes on my phone, and depending on how good the internet is in Galveston on turn around day, I hope to post some brief notes about our first week of two on the Liberty of the Seas!!

So, we’re on week one of a two week cruise around the Western Caribbean with our boys. The first two days of the cruise were sea days, the first of which was cold and rainy!   No view of Caribbean weather, so it was an inside the ship day!  The second sea day, however, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the temperature was in the 70s…beautiful!
This was also an alone day for us, as the boys had two performances of In The Air, and had a lot of prep to do during the day.  After breakfast in the Windjammer, we spent a lovely couple of hours by the Solarium pool, reading, people watching, and enjoying a couple of Pina Coladas! A little time in the casino, a little shopping,  some nap/reading time on our cabin’s balcony, and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to meet the boys to get in the theater and see 2 great performances of In The Air!
After 2 sea days, we spent today in Roatan, Honduras at Captain Jack’s Bar, perched over the water, just outside of the port!  With our Bartender Babe making incredible drinks, and their kitchen making excellent Conch Fritters, Onion Rings,  Calamari, and Plantain Chips, it was a wonderful relaxing day spent with 2 of our 6 favorite kids!  Great family time, talking about dreams and the future, it was an incredible day!  No need for zip lines, monkey farms, or swimming with dolphins! After a hug, we told Babe we’d see her in 6 months when we’re back. She said she’d be looking for us!!
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Today we are in Mexico…Costa Maya to be exact. Susie and I were last here 2 and a 1/2 years ago, and had a wonderful beach day with the boys.  This year, however, the boys have to work, so different plans are called for. Tonight they do two performances of Saturday Night Fever (6 and 8:45 PM), and on days like this, they also have a “tech run” in the morning, so a busy day for them. We’ve decided that we’re just going to get off the ship and hang around the dock area.  As I write this, Susie and I are waiting for the boys in our cabin, and preparing for the 1/2 mile walk down the pier from  the ship to the land!!!  Yes, a full 1/2 mile of pier between the ship and Costa Maya!  It’s a definite knee brace day!
There were 4 cruise ships in Costa Maya today, so the pier was crowded. The boys took us to a favorite burrito place and we had a couple of great ones, before heading back to the ship.  The walk was long, but we stopped a couple of times to look at the incredibly blue water!  Back on the ship, we said bye to the boys, and both groups went to relax.
Right now, Susie and I are sitting in the Platinum Theater waiting for the start of the first performance of Saturday Night Fever. Our night ahead?? Two performances of SNF, a drink or two, and then meeting up with the boys after the shows.  Nothing better than seeing Kenny and Chris on stage!!  This is the 7th and 8th time we’ve seen this production of SNF, and I tell you it just keeps getting better, and we’re not of that opinion because 2 of the cast members are part of our family!!! The audience LOVED the show, meanwhile we shed a tear or two of joy, watching our kids doing what they love!!!  Life is very good tonight!!
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Welcome to Cozemul , Mexico!  Port  #3 on this week’s cruise, and the only port we visit twice during our two weeks on the Liberty of the Seas.  We’ve just gotten back from a wonderful day at the El Cozumeleno Beach Resort, where for a $65 Day Pass, we had an incredible day of food, drink, and pool life!  Thanks to Miguel and Santiago, we never wanted for ANYTHING!!!
We’re back on the ship now, sitting on our balcony having a rum and coke and watching our larger sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas leave the dock.  Our lines are being dropped now and we will soon follow her. Next stop…Galveston, Texas, after a sea day tomorrow!!  The end is near for most folks, but for us, just the beginning of week 2!!
Last night we had an incredible dinner in Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant.   Thanks to Manager Alex, waiter Marvyn,  and the magicians in the kitchen, it was a magnificent dinner, and we all loved it….and may have eaten too much!!!
Today is a sea day, and the last day of the cruise for most…but not us, as we start the adventure all over again!!!  Susie and I slept in a bit, then went to the Windjammer for breakfast, then spent an hour plus watching people trying to master the Flowrider!
Then we met up with Kenny outside Sorrento’s on the Promenade Deck to watch the Move it Parade,  orchestrated by our other son Chris!!!  Good job Chris..well, except when Shreck almost went flying, but all’s well that ends well!!
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We spent the rest of the afternoon taking advantage of our drink package at various venues around the ship. Changed for the night, had a couple of glasses of wine at Vintages, and then finished up with a martini with our friend Silbert at the R Bar.

Tonight, a late dinner and room service ala Chris and Kenny!  Burgers with Sriracha Peanut Butter, etc.  a fitting way to end week one of our latest adventure!!!
See you next week, when we sail to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica!!

Cruise Part 2 – The Addendum

Susie and I were driving down the road in eastern Texas this afternoon, when we both realized that there was an interesting story, that happened to Susie on our return to the Liberty from Cozumel last Thursday afternoon, that we’d never shared with our blog family. Here’s that story…

After a wonderful day at the Hotel B in Cozumel, the 4 of us caught a cab, and headed back to the International Pier and the Liberty. At the pier, the boys had an errand to do, so we parted, and Mom and Dad headed back to the ship. Just so you know, the standard procedure when you return to the ship is similar to being at the airport. You come up the gangway, they scan your Sea Pass card (a security person is at the machine, and checks that you are the person who’s picture shows up after the scan), then you put your bags through an X-ray machine, and go through a metal detector before you go on your way. They are checking that you are not trying to sneak booze or other contraband material onto the ship, and 99% of the time, it’s a quick and easy process. Not this time!

So Susie and I throw our beach bags on the belt, and proceed through the scanner. Mine pops out, and I grab it, while Susie’s gets sucked back in. It comes out again behind someone’s backpack, and the security guy says, “Who’s bags are these?”, indicating the big back pack and Susie’s blue beach bag. They take the two of them over to a table, and the security man starts going through the big backpack, while Susie stands there twiddling her thumbs! Apparently, he was looking for what they saw on the X-ray, and he was unloading and unwrapping everything in the backpack, till he found what he was looking for…two live rounds of ammunition!

The guy’s story was that he’d taken that backpack hunting a couple of weeks before the cruise, and guess he hadn’t emptied the backpack and that was what the bullets were from. They asked if he had more bullets or a gun with him. He said “no”, but Susie thought he seemed a little sketchy. Our question was, how did he originally get on the ship??? As Susie stood there, EVERYTHING that was in that backpack was examined, and when the guy asked what was going to happen now, the security officer said, “Well, we have to call the Federales…” OMG!!! We figured they probably then proceeded to search his cabin!

Oh, and what happened to Susie? Well, they originally thought her bag was with the backpack, and that she was with this group, and after 20 minutes of search, the officer asked about her bag, she said it was her’s and she wasn’t with them, they ran it through the scanner again, found nothing, and sent us on our way! Before we knew about the bullets, we thought they grabbed her, because the waiter at the Hotel B had spilled a whole shot of tequila on her bag. Luckily, the Federales are Tequila friendly!!!

And now you know…the Rest of the Story!

Day Thirty Four and Thirty Five – Friday, September 23 and Saturday September 24, 2016

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Susie and I woke in Nancy and Mike’s bedroom a little after 7, and decided to catch a shower before starting our day.  We exited the bedroom a little after 8, and went outside to sit in the beautiful Texas morning with Mike.  The weather was perfect, and we talked about the kind of weather, and seasons they experienced in El Paso.  Mike told us about the 9 inch snow fall they’d had last year, and about the cold mornings and warm afternoons, that were the norm for winter in El Paso.  Pretty soon Nancy joined us, and when it was established that nobody really wanted breakfast, we sat around for a couple of hours, talking.

I’m not quite sure what Nancy and Susie were talking about, but Mike and I talked a lot about the old days at WABC, and about things we both remembered happening when we worked there, and how retirement was going.  We also had lots of discussions that the 4 of us participated in, talking about kids, life expectations, travel, and just about everything that came into anyone’s mind.  Then Nancy suggested that we take a ride and let them show us around El Paso.  Sounded like a good idea, so we all grabbed what we needed, and headed out to the car.

By this time (around noon) the temperature had risen, and I’m not going to say it wasn’t hot, but the lack of humidity does make it a lot easier to take than a hot day in New York!  We drove through their part of town (they live on the West Side of El Paso), and they showed us some incredible houses, and great views.  Then we went past the University, and saw some of downtown El Paso.  The Rocky Mountains, that we drove over three weeks ago, and that have been so much a part of our travels since then, end in El Paso, and as we drove up Rim Road, around the very end of the chain, we had some great views of the city below, and views across the Rio Grand into Mexico.

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The Southern End of the Rockies

It’s amazing to be so close to Mexico, and to stop at a scenic overlook, and clearly see the tall fence that separates our country from their’s.  We also saw the Border Patrol Agent that sits there all day (and probably night) in his car, watching for folks that might be trying to get over the approx. 10 foot tall fence!  The difference between what you see on the US side of the border, and what of Mexico you can see are quite a contrast.  Big buildings, highways, and lots of cars on the US side, and small buildings and what looked liked dirt roads on the Mexican side.

After our tour, the decision was made to go out for lunch, and then to just have some sandwiches at their house for dinner.  We decided to go the PF Changs , and the four of us had a very nice meal, and of course, lots more conversation.  Then it was time to get back to the house, so that Nancy could drop of Mike and me, so she could take off with Susie.  You see, Nancy had been able to score a 4 PM appointment with her hairdresser, to get Susie a trim, and thereby solving a dilemma Susie had, about what to do about her hair on the trip.  After the girls left, Mike and I sat down in the living room, and guess what…we talked some more!  Like I said yesterday, it’s like the past 30+ years that we haven’t been in contact, hadn’t happened, and it was just two old friends talking about anything and everything!

When the girls returned (lovely hair Susie…nice job Nancy), Mike again started up the blender, and there were more margaritas on the horizon.  This time, the four of us sat in their back yard, and although it was warmer than it had been that morning, it was still a really nice late afternoon.  We sat there talking (gee…big surprise, huh?) till Mother Nature treated us to a beautiful sunset, and then Nancy decided it was time to eat.

What a great idea, to have a nice lunch and then eat a sandwich later.  Really something we should do more often. Thanks Nancy for coming up with the idea, and supplying great sandwich fixings to boot!  After dinner clean up, the four of us adjourned to their lovely living room, and the conversation continued till about 11, when we all went off to bed!

When we got up and out this morning, Mike was alone, as Nancy and Sammy had journeyed to the Dog Park, and some fun for the four legged kids, and conversation for their Moms.  No strangers to conversation, we joined Mike in the back yard, and converse we did!  When Nancy got home, she proceeded to assemble a great ham and egg breakfast for us all, and over good food, with good friends, we had more great conversation.  As our time with our friends came close to ending, we realized that it really didn’t matter if we did big things, went for a ride, or just sat around their pool.  The conversation flowed, and it was obvious the four of us were very comfortable, and frankly, that’s something that doesn’t always happen.  Susie and I are so glad that we reconnected with Nancy and Mike, so glad that they asked us to stay with them, and so happy to find that a great relationship still exists!

It was with much sadness that we left their house, and it was with lots of hugs, promises to stay in better touch with each other, and the hope of Susie and I, that our two good friends can journey to Ocean City, and be our guests at the beach next summer.  I’m sure that if this two days proved anything, next time we all get together, there will be lots of great conversation!

So off we went to Interstate 10, and the 4 hour or so trip to where we find ourselves tonight, Fort Stockton, Texas.  Our whole trip was on Interstate 10, and at first we thought we were looking at a 5 hour trip, but then realized that before we got to Fort Stockton, we passed another time zone,  Right now we are back on the Central Time, so suddenly we lost an hour of our day.  The advantage we had of gaining that hour, when we crossed into a new time zone from east to west, is evaporating as we go back east, and very quickly it was 6:30 PM!  Susie had planned to do some laundry tonight, and we were fortunate again that the facility was on our floor.  The only problem was that as the washing and drying went on, the time got later.  Our solution tonight?  Well, as the drying cycle was in progress, we ran out to a McDonalds that was down the road, and picked up Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions, on a Sesame Seed Bun.  Yes, two Big Macs!  We wondered if anyone not our age can recite that jingle?  Not a gourmet meal, but something we haven’t had in months, that was quick, and satisfying.  Had we waited till after the clothes were dry, we probably wouldn’t have gotten to a restaurant till after 8, so this worked tonight for us!

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As I write this, it’s after 10 PM, but since we just changed from Mountain to Central time, its not that late for us.  The good news is that I’m all caught up, and back on track with the blog.  That’s good, but as we ship out on the Liberty of the Seas a week from tomorrow for 2 weeks, I realize it won’t be the last interruption of this blog before we drive back to New York.  Still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do, but fear there will be an interruption again, but as that’s still 7 days away, let’s just have fun in the present, and not worry about it.

Tomorrow we start 3 nights in San Antonio.  The River Walk, the Alamo, and a fun time for all…I hope!  See you tomorrow!