Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Daffodil Garden

Here in Running Springs one of the neatest things to do in the Spring is go to the Daffodil Garden. Cameron and his family went every year growing up and I wanted to take my children to enjoy it. It is a garden created by a single woman. There are tons of fields of daffodils and it is beautiful to walk in.

I called my friend, Julie, and we decided to go today. It was beautiful a beautiful day. The birds and squirrels woke me up this morning because they were so excited for spring. The sky is blue and there are only a few clouds floating by. It was warm too, much warmer than I expected. It felt like spring and the flowers were spring.

The girls were so excited to go to the flower garden and it was so fun to take three little girls. The third girl is Laiha, the little girl I baby sit almost every day. They ran around and posed at each spot for pictures. I thought I would share with you the pictures.

Easter Dresses

Easter Egg Decorating

We had Mike and Sue over to join our Easter Egg decorating. It was fun and they were the pros at decorating the eggs. Everyone enjoyed the time together. Mike decorated the best egg. At least I think so! Ali enjoyed dipping the eggs in lots of different colors and making multi -colored eggs while Ashling just wanted to make the egg really dark and kept stirring the eggs around.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bon Voyage

We were able to get to the port of Los Angeles with no problems. We went through the check in process fast and painlessly. Soon we were on board the ship. We enjoyed watching the ship pull out of port and seeing all the sights of the port. The port of Los Angeles is pretty amazing in of itself. My favorite picture of Sue is here. She was very happy to be on the cruise and showed it by doing lots of silly things to entertain us all. We spent the first day learning to relax over a long 5 course dinner.

Our second day on the cruise

Talk about relaxing. The second day was perfect. It was warm, not too windy and very beautiful. The seas were calm and we were all ready to relax. We spent the day running around the ship, relaxing in the sun and hot tub, (the pool was freezing,) and eating. What else could you want. I will tell you I was amazed because Cameron did actually read a lot of the day. In fact he even passed up other things to read. It was a climbing book so maybe he was imagining himself climbing the 8000 meter mountains like Ed Vestures. Who knows?

At night we went to dinner again and then spent the evening exploring the ship. We went to a magic show, played games and even went dancing. And of course we ate.... and ate.... and ate....

Formal Night


The cliff divers were pretty amazing. They climbed up the rock and then prayed to their saints in the shrine at the top. Then they dived into a small channel when the waves were right. It was cool because they were unionized and everything. They only dived a couple times a week to make sure that they did not hurt themselves. I bought Ali and Ashling a shell that had the sea in it. It looked like fun to swim across the channel. Any chance they will teach the tourists?


Ziwataneo was a quaint little fishing village with lots and lots of American type hotels. We rode a water taxi to Los Gatos beach and were the first people there. (A tip is that when cruising get off the ship first and you will get the best deals and have areas to yourself for longer.)

I was very excited to go Snorkeling. We asked some people where to snorkel and they pointed to an area around some rocks that was good for snorkeling. So Wade, Melissa, Cameron, Todd and I headed out there. Mike followed a little while later. We couldn't find the way to get out past the rocks as it became to shallow. So we all decided to head further to the west. I found a little canal that went through the rocks and figuring that everyone would follow me I swam out past the rocks. Nobody followed though. I saw lots of cool fish and was in my own world under the water so I didn't realize that there might be any danger. When I realized no one else had come I called them over and Melissa came out there.

We kept having a hard time with the waves and so we were having to work way too hard. It seemed fun to me but I guess that isn't where you should really snorkel. The next thing I knew the waves were crashing harder and harder and it was too hard to swim back. A wave too my fin and that was the last time I saw it. Well then I panicked and got washed up on the rocks and coral. After being pummeled in the coral for awhile I decided to walk across it and then swam the long way back to the beach. I was not the only one who got chewed up on the rocks and everyone had scrapes and cuts.

The most disappointing thing to me was that I had lost the fin and now could not snorkel any more for the whole trip. I went to a place that rented gear to see if I could buy some new fins and I explained that I had lost my fin. A little later a woman came and said that she had seen her cousin on a boat pull something out of the water and she thought it was a fin. So she said she would ask him when he came back. But she didn't come while we were sitting on the beach and I was really disappointed knowing that I had to buy new fins and that if I didn't buy them soon I wouldn't be able to snorkel at all.

We walked down the beach and Cameron kicked a rock harder than was necessary while he was paying attention to the beautiful sights. He got a blood blister and it hurt him a lot. We also saw a woman who got caught in a current and had to be rescued by a local. Going to the beach is different in Mexico. There are no lifeguards and you have to hope that you can swim good enough or else someone will have pity on you and rescue you.

Later as we were leaving that woman waved me over and she had my fin! I was so happy to have it back. I am glad I asked around about it since finding it was much better than having to buy new ones.

I don't have any pictures here. I am not sure why we didn't take any but I know Wade and Melissa and Sue did so hopefully soon I will post some.

Puerta Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is beautiful. There is a thick canopy of forest that is fairly tropical inland and tons of palms right along the beach. Also the beaches have white sand and look great. The water is fairly warm. The city is very large. It surprised me how big it was. I was still expecting a small little town like little Ziwataneo. But this town had every American store you can imagine. There were restaurants, stores and even a costco.

We had a van taxi take Mike, Sue, Wade, Melissa, Cameron and I to a beach called Mismaloya beach. It is at the bottom of the jungle and a river ends in the cove. One end is a private hotel and the other is covered with little umbrellas and a nicer restaurant. The restaurant was made with a stone floor and a large thatched roof. We were attacked by people who thought our only purpose in being at the beach was to spend money. Everyone asked if we wanted to snorkel. Finally one lady told us she would take us for an hour and half out the the rocks for 50 dollars. That sounded good to us so we loaded up our stuff and went out there.

Snorkeling is lots of fun. We saw a ton of fish and were able to feed them bread. When some took it right from my fingers they bit me. I am glad they didn't have too many teeth! He also took us on a tour of the area. The caves were really impressive.

Back at the beach we relaxed on nice loungers. We enjoyed a wonderful fajita lunch right under our own umbrella. It would be nice if we had those services at our beaches in California. We also relaxed and took a nice walk along the beach. Soon it was time to go back to the ship.

Once on the ship we went to the Tex Mex restaurant and had Mexican food. The food on the beach was much better. I guess the Asian cooks have a hard time doing Mexican right. Or maybe it was the fact that we had just had the authentic Mexican food. Dinner was its regular almost two hour ordeal. It is fun to sit and visit for that long with each other.

More Puerta Vallarta Pictures

Cabo San Lucas

The last port we stopped in was Cabo San Lucas. It was so beautiful. We thought of Angie and Luke who we seem to remember went here for their honeymoon. All ten of us hired a boat and went snorkeling. On the way to the snorkel spot we saw many humpback whales. Our boat driver was amazing and he got us very close to the whales and knew how to stop for the best pictures. And we weren't even on a whale watching trip! We snorkeled in a nice cove where we saw many fish and fed them rolls from the cruise line. Then we went over to Lands end and the arch. Our boat driver got us up close and personal to the seals. We went to Lovers Beach and he dropped us off for a little while. The pacific ocean is dangerous while the other side is calm. I went for a nice swim. Did I ever tell you how much I love swimming?

We finally we able to secure some Mexican dresses for the girls in Cabo and we found the best price for them so I was glad I waited. I love the negotiating system for things. It is fun to see what the lowest price you can pay for something is. I wonder if Gap would consider doing it?

We had to tender from the cruise ship on to a smaller boat to cabo. On the way back to the ship the seas were rough and our boat threw us for quite a ride. Cameron was thinking where he would jump if the boat went down. I was not that scared but found out from a fellow passenger that last year he went on a cruise and an older lady broke both her legs when she didn't jump far enough and landed between the boat and the ship. Needless to say we over jumped to make sure that we landed safely on the boat.

Our last cruise day was cold, stormy and windy. I personally liked it. It was fun to see what the sea really can do from the safety of a big boat that can handle what the sea puts out. Cameron and I sat in the hot tub with very high winds and it was fun to be in the hot tub during such a storm. At last we had to come home. It was fun to see the girls again and they both looked like they had grown inches while we were gone.

More Cabo Pictures

Here are a couple pictures of the whale and a picture of Wade and Melissa with Land's End behind them.