Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Caribbean Cruise: Costa Maya, Mexico

We were at sea the evening of day one and all of day two. Those who know me, know that I can't swim a lick! Imagine being a non-swimmer and surrounded on all sides by the Gulf of Mexico's inky blue fathoms:

Yikes! My primal fear of water was not allayed by the ship's safety drill requiring all passengers to muster in life vests. But soon enough, I became accustomed to the gentle rocking of the ship, and my comfort level was greatly increased when I discovered the first-rate pina coladas at the tiki bar on top deck!

Day three found us in Costa Maya, Mexico:

This port took a direct hit from a hurricane a few years ago and is still recovering. But the port facility has been repaired beautifully and provides plenty of places to dine and shop:

The HIGHLIGHT of Costa Maya was our excursion to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. We boarded a bus for the one-hour trip across coastal marshes to the ruins, tucked deep within a rain forest. The serenity of this ancient and sacred place is awe-inspiring:

Son-in-law Pat, daughter Andrea, and Hubby listened while our very knowledgable tour guide, Diana Garcia, discussed the Mayan temples:

Hubby and I felt a bit like Indiana Jones when we scaled this wall -- It's steeper than it looks:

-- But we made it! Here we are at the top:

Too soon, it was time to return to port and board our ship, the Norwegian Spirit:

Farewell to Costa Maya:

Next stop -- Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Belated Valentine's Day cookies for Logan

I'm a few days late, but I'll bet my great-nephew won't mind munching on late Valentine's Day cookies. I'm mailing these today, Logan!


(and hugs)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cruising from New Orleans

The Big Easy -- My favorite Southern city and a great place to begin a Caribbean cruise. Daughter and Son(-in-law, but also -in-heart) vacationed with us this time and, because he's never been there, it was a true pleasure to introduce him to this grand city.

We strolled
the French
and enjoyed street performers
(This fellow won my heart with Beatles tunes);

visited beautiful Jackson Square, heart of the French Quarter;

ate a
New Orleans breakfast -- Cafe du Monde cafe au lait and beignets with snow caps of powdered sugar

(Don't inhale and don't sneeze when you're about to take a bite! And don't wear black!);

and walked the riverside alleyway from Cafe du Monde to the French Market, complete with statuary and just the way I remember it despite Hurricane Katrina's attack. That wall to the left of the photo is the flood levee which secures the area from Mississippi River flood waters.

Mardi Gras beads and broken bottles embedded atop courtyard walls
suggest that life in the
French Quarter is an uneasy
mixture of partying and threat
of criminal activity.

Even the sidewalk water meter covers are decorative in the Crescent City! (This one's for you, Pat!).

In the French Market, vendors had jewelry pendants and earrings which replicate these famous meter covers.

And I couldn't resist photographing my favorite New Orleans ladies -- not "of the night" -- I mean the wonderful French Quarter architecture that is the soul of the Quarter. Most display Mardi Gras finery this time of year:

Time to leave the French Quarter, though, and board our ship -- Norwegian Cruise Line's "Spirit." Just one last reminder of our embarkation port, though -- the paddle-wheeler Natchez gliding along the Mississippi:

Next stop: the vast, blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and our first port of call -- Costa Maya, Mexico!