Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So, We Got This Phone Call...

...and we headed off on a 7-day cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic. Mama Gaia, having a cruel sense of humor, gave us a rousing send-off. This is what Miami looked like in the proverbial rear-view mirror:

Things were better once we got to the islands, but the ship shook, weaved and jiggled the entire seven days:

We did OK; neither of us took a header on the stairs or got tossed out of bed in the middle of the night, but nothing screams, "Fun!!" like listening to the guy at the table behind you puking up his lunch while you're trying to eat yours.

Our first stop was St. Maarten. We were going to do a bicycle tour of the island, but that got vetoed after we were told I wasn't allowed to ride a bicycle in sandals. Huh? I've ridden thousands of miles in sandals and I ain't dead yet. The worst part was that the only reason we even knew that before we showed up at the meeting point, was due to an off-hand comment by the shore excursion dude after we had already paid. Nothing in the printed description or on the web site gave any hint that "close-toed" shoes were required. Shore Excursion Dude kept trying to convince us that it was no big deal, just buy some water shoes on the ship or in port. Sorry; not gonna happen. I'm not going to do a bunch of last-minute scrambling around because you cannot put useful information in the description of your shore excursions. So instead of that, we just wandered around a little while being accosted every 30 seconds by someone wanting to give us a ride in his taxi:

Obligatory sign in case you're confused where on Ma Gaia's round belly yer standin'.

First sign as you leave the port. In case the shipboard entertainment isn't living up to expectations, I guess.

The beach. Not nearly as much panhandling and selling as we expected. Just one guy selling sodas from a wheelbarrow full of ice.

A signpost to show you the way home.

Downtown. We saw cars and trucks going both ways on the road. Not sure what the protocol is when they meet head-on. Drive on the sidewalk?

The next stop was St. Thomas, which we didn't really see other than from the ship. We had a hiking tour on St John's, so we walked off the ship, then went a bit down the pier and got on a ferry. By the time we got back, we were tired and hungry enough that we decided to skip walking around and just got back on the ship. So even though the ship stopped in St. Thomas, we actually visited St John's:

One of our tour guides with our transportation in the background.

A tricky bit on our hike; steep downhill, loose rock and tree roots.
Lots of green, but fewer flowers than I expected.

Wild donkeys descended from the ones brought here to work the sugarcane plantations.

A beach we wasted an hour at that we could have spent hiking. I'm confused why Every. Single. Shore excursion has to have "time at the beach." Hows abouts time doing what I paid you $140 to do? At least it was a nice beach.

Our last (and in our in-no-way-humble opinion, the least) of our stops was Nassau, Bahamas. We've been here together three times and have yet to step foot on shore. Judging from everything we've ever read about the place, there is exactly three things to do: snorkel, shop and get drunk (expensively). None of those hold any appeal to us whatsoever. So we took a few pictures from the upper deck of the ship, then spent the day enjoying a mostly-empty ship:

Waves and rocks.

More waves and rocks.
The Epic has two three-lane bowling alleys. Just for giggles, we thought we'd try to bowl in a moving bowling alley. As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, the lanes had absolutely zero slide, hence the little bunny-hops on release. We didn't do well, but we did a fair bit better than anyone else we saw making the attempt:

Of course, whenever the ship made an unexpected lurch, this happened:

The results:

Nothing is wrong with your eyes; our monitor was all janky.
So now it's back to reality. Which for me seems to consist mostly of large piles of leaves I need to do something with, and about 30 hours of CPE before the end of the year. For Debbie it means back to dealing with grumpy, over-entitled people trying to book cruises.

Off to read up on depreciation.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I'm thinking through and collecting information for one of my long diatribes. I haven't done one of those in a long time, mostly because I've been up to my eyeballs in construction projects. But it is time and past time that I tackle the leviathan known as the ACA or ObamaCare. In the meantime, there's this:

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


I was sitting in front of the computer being my usual more-or-less inert self when Debbie suddenly grabbed the camera and ran outside. I tried to peek out the window from my recliner, but I didn't see anything to get excited about and went back to my mindless web surfing. She came back with this:

Sunsets like this are rare down here for some reason. At least one of us got to see it.