Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Brief Journal of Ports of Call

I must go through all of our pictures and choose the best to post. Until then, I will give a brief synopsis of each of the places visited before I forget. I will comment on each location in the order that we visited them.

1) Riverside: Kirk picked us up at the Ontario Airport in California. We went to Denny's for breakfast, then took naps. That evening, Roger and Julie joined us at Kirk and Tamra's for pizza. The next morning, we took Ezekiel with us to visit the Mission Inn and enjoyed lunch outside on the plaza where a guitarist was playing relaxing music. That evening, we celebrated Bill's 62nd birthday at Marie Calender's. On Sunday morning, we visited Kirk's church, Set Free. Following the service, Kirk drove us to LAX to catch Air Tahiti. The Tahitian Islands are in French Polynesia. The language is French and so is the currency.

2) We arrived in Papeete, Tahiti at 11:30 p.m. We were driven to the Intercontinental Hotel which must be one of the most fabulous in the world! Our buffet breakfast cost $45 each. We were paying for the view as well as the French food! After a tour of the island, we shopped in town and refreshed with Cokes for $10. That evening, we opted to have fish and chips on the balcony of our room. It was a bargain at $38. (Now I know why the rich and famous go there.)

3)Tuesday morning, we boarded the Ocean Princess which hosted 600 guests. We were assigned to a stateroom with a balcony on Deck 4. Breakfast and lunch was in the Panarama Dining Room. The array of beautiful food was often confusing! We enjoyed dinner every evening at 6 p.m. at Table 29. We were so blessed to have 3 other couples join us who were well traveled and just plain fun! We became very good friends and have already received emails inviting us to join them again for another trip. The group was from Canada, Florida and Utah. One couple were both lawyers, one was a chemical engineer for Shell Oil, and one is a defense contractor. Each evening, we were entertained in the Caberet Lounge by very professional talent.

4) Bill and I both loved the island of Morea. It has tall sharp peaks that are covered with tropical foilage. Unlike Tahiti, it is not commercialized and is quiet and peaceful. I was fascinated by the the comments of the tour guides. On each island we heard how much the missionaries were appreciated! Without the missionaries, they would not know how to read and write, they would not have medical care, and they would still be offering their sons and daughters to the unknown god as sacrifices.

5) Bora Bora seems to be the most popular island among the movie stars. We saw homes built by Marlon Brando and Jack Nickelson. We were taken to Bloody Mary's Restaurant (famous for the musical South Pacific) and saw the names of all the stars who have visited. An over the water hotel room costs $600 per night. The American military built the airstrip.

6) After leaving the port of Bora Bora, we were 5 days at sea enroute to the Big Island of Hawaii. We had rough waters as we passed the equator. However, we were kept busy going to line dance classes, cooking class, and lying by the pool in the shade. One morning, we sat in the hot tub while watching an ice sculpture of a fish. Another day, the premier chef for all Princess ships taught us to make mousse. He has cooked for US Presidents, Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana. We were also invited to visit the ship's galley. It was shining!

7) Bill and I had been to the Big Island of Hawaii before for a week, so we didn't do much there. When we went to Kauaii the next day we took a movie tour. The bus showed us clips of movies before we got to each filming locations. We saw filming sites for Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley, Gilligan's Island, Fantasy Island, Jurassic Park, South Pacific, and a few war movies that I'm not familiar with. The mountains and waterfalls are breathtaking!

8) Maui is beautiful, but we really loved Kauaii. Kirk said it was his favorite, and we agree. We were given a special blessing in Maui, however. As we boarded the tender to take us ashore, some of the entertainers on the ship shouted for us to look. There was a huge mother whale and her baby headed for the ship. Bill and I had watched the whales spraying white water from their spouts earlier in the morning from our balcony. Now, we could see these magnificent creatures up close. As we enjoyed the moment, we learned that Den and Bobbie West are worship team leaders for their church in Nashville when they are not performing on the Princess Cruises. Also, Norm Oliver is a new Christian who plays the piano every evening in the Casino Lounge. It was fun just to talk with them and exchange cards.

9) Oahu was like going home! It was our third time to visit, and brush up on our Japanese. Japan has taken over the island and it is literally bilingual. Princess Cruises put us in the Moana Surfrider Hotel as part of our package. It is one of the oldest hotels on the island and has the grandeur of a fine British Hotel. It has 800 rooms that are always filled! Surf was up, and we enjoyed sitting on the veranda watching the riders! We stayed two nights, and went back to places we visited on our honeymoon 30 years ago.

10) Last stop was Oceanside Pier Resort in California. Kirk, Tamra and Ezekiel shared our time there. We had a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with a fabulous view of the ocean. The resort was next to the pier. Again, we watched the surfers and I had flashbacks to my school years in San Diego. Galen and Sondra came down on Sondra's birthday and we all drove to S.D. to have dinner at Anthony's Fish Grotto. We also thought about Kevin as we were near the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Before leaving California, we saddened to hear that Tamra's father had been admitted to the hospital to treat his cancer. We are reminded that life is brief, and we should be thankful for all of the moments we have been given by God to enjoy his beauty and our families!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fantastic Journey!

Bill and I are glad to be home after a journey half way around the world. Yes, the Ocean Princess crossed the equator on our way from French Polynesia to the Hawaiaan Islands. We saw the artistic hand of God everywhere we went, and met fun and gracious people on the ship and at each port. I will be posting pictures of our journey after we completely unpack and go through 3 weeks of junkmail.

I was pleased that people were still coming to Bible Study Class yesterday. There were 14 people present and 5 regular members absent. We passed out the Easter music to choir members and will start practice in March.

Mom surprised me! She has resigned teaching Bible Study at First Baptist Tecumseh after teaching for 75 years. She began teaching small children when she was 13 years old. She deserves the rest. She is still independent, but is slowing down.

Noel is hanging in there. Dr. Kahn is not giving up, and is trying to fix the pain. Mark called me yesterday. He is my shopping sidekick. He's a bean counter and loves coupons. We're going to K-Mart after lunch this afternoon. I also have one piano lesson today.

I thank God for all of my experiences, and am grateful that I have a home that I love and am glad to come back to. I am humbled by my blessings! Watch for pictures soon!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Preparing for Cruise

It's very hard for me to think 3 weeks in advance, but I have been trying. I think I have all the bills covered, prescriptions thought out etc. Security for the house has been arranged and ....I'll see what we forgot. We will fly to California for a couple of days to enjoy Ezekiel. Then, we'll fly to Tahiti from LAX. After a few days in Tahiti, we"ll board a Princess ship to cruise to Pepeet and Bora Bora. We'll be on the open sea for 5 days enroute to the Hawaiian Islands. We've been to Oahu and Hawaii, but it will be our first time in Maui and Kauai. We plan to stay in Hawaii for a few days to get our land legs back before flying to California. Once there, Kirk and Tamra will share a condo with us at the Oceanside Pier Resort. Actually, we will babysit Ezekiel while Kirk speaks at a State Conference. (He just returned from Haiti.)

I took Gramma out to lunch yesterday at the Arrows Cafe. It's like a Cracker Barrel, and we all love the new restaurant in Tecumseh!

Well, I will blog again much later. I will use what computers I can find to stay in touch. God bless all my loved ones! Happy Valentine's Day!