Friday, August 26, 2011
Ho Hum.... where are we tomorrow... oh yeah Tahiti......:-)
At 12 midday the bells rang and the Captain of the Watch was in the middle of his midday announcement when he was interrupted by call that there were hijackers trying to board ship...... before a code papa could be broadcast the captain realised it was just King Neptune and his entourage boarding the ship as we had just ( well late last night, but he doesn’t make calls after hours ) crossed the Equator.
The main objective of King Neptune’s visit is to initiate all virgin Equator crossers from Pollywogs to Shellbacks. But there also those who needed to be tried in King Neptune’s court, guilty of atrocities on the high sea.... Unfortunately Garry and I were taken into custody and brought before the court for our flirtatious public behaviour. The verdict was guilty and we were sentenced to the Chair.... Not electric but slime!! They covered us with oatmeal, chocolate sauce, raw eggs and some slimy red stuff.... it stank... But the punishment was not complete until we “Kissed The Fish”..... yuk!!!!
One of the other fellows punishment was to lick cream off the tummy of Bikini clad beauty. He must of been so excited when the last thing he saw before being blindfolded was her laid out on the table ready for him. Little did he know that as soon as he couldn’t see anymore she was replaced by Garry and his hairy belly!!!
It was all good fun and it took a couple of shampoos before we got the smell out of our hair.... but at least we can say we have done it!!!
Garry’s Princess Bread Roll Count - 225
Joanne’s Lobster count – 19
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Remember Phillip stuck in Amsterdam..... well Princess came good and refunded all the stranded passengers their expenses in getting to Bergen to embark on the ship...
And yay to Captain Vinnie as he has started in the last couple of days giving us 5pm updates... We are impressed...
We got up early so that we could see the sail into Honolulu, but we could of had an extra half hours sleep in as were running a little late.... This didn’t matter too much as our departure time was extended from 10 pm to 11pm and whilst we queued to leave the ship an announcement was made that all aboard was now not until midnight.
When we first ventured up front you could see Honolulu off in the distance.... We stood there as we sailed pass Diamond Head, an extinct volcano and around pass Waikiki. As it was a Saturday we passed the Pride Of America, a cruise ship that runs the 7 day cruise of the Islands.
We docked right next to the Aloha Tower. There we 6 of us travelling together today and Ros had hired a car to get us around. Once off the ship you had the Aloha Tower Marketplace right next door and whilst we waited for our shuttle to take us to hertz we saw a heap of free shuttles taking prospective clients to such places as Wal-Mart, Hilo Hatties and there was a shuttle with a Jewellery and Pearl shop advertised on the side....
Once again here we had the United States showing us their wonderful organisational skills we spent nearly and hour waiting for our shuttle.... Eventually he turned up claiming he didn’t know we were waiting for him... this was after the 5 phone calls that told Ros he was always “on his way”.....
We were picking up the car from the Hilton in Waikiki.... we found the queue and again we waited.... At one stage with the scare that they might not have a car big enough for us.... By now our morning start turned out to be a lunch time jaunt.
Our first stop was Waikiki... well, we were already there!! Once Arnold got his driving legs in what seemed to be the widest vehicle we had ever driven in, we parked by the beach and us girls and garry ran around and took pictures, the other 2 boys stopped for coffee.
We took photos of the beach bums and surfers and of course a Waikiki visit is not complete without a photo opportunity with the Duke.
We decided to stop and join the boys for coffee and a bit of lunch. The weather up and down all day a little overcast with the occasional drop of rain... Unfortunately while we were trying to enjoy our al fresco lunch!!
We drove around to Diamond Head and drove into the crater which is known as the car park... We decided against the 2 hour return trip up to the edge of the volcano, so we drove back out and found a nice lookout just outside.
We then drove to the Halona Blowhole, here you could look down on the Beach made famous by the movie “ From Here to Eternity “ . We walked around to the blowhole and waited patiently for it to build up enough to spurt... it took a little while but once it did it repeated the performance several times.
The skies were looking fairly ominous now and we debated whether or not the trip to Pali Lookout was going to be worth it... but we soldiered on.... Lucky we did as the views were quite clear.
We made the small loop back into town and headed out to the first of the shopping sprees. As we had the car we could travel out to the outlet centre for an hour or so and then back into Al Moana for a little more retail therapy. We decided to head back to the ship for a late dinner and just outside the ship we found a little bistro where we enjoyed a lovely chicken Curry and a well deserved drink.
When we headed back to the ship our hearts sank as we saw Maurizio our head waiter racing past with a suitcase.... We thought he was leaving the ship in the cover of darkness without telling us.... But we breathed a sigh of relief when he told us that he had just bought the bag and was just after a quick bite before heading back on board....phew..
Deciding that our well deserved drink at the restaurant was not enough we met up on deck for a night cap..... and longed for a plate of hot chips but had to settle for leftover cakes....
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The Good: Downtown LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Farmers Market.
The Bad: Not enought time .... again
The Ugly: American Immigration
Lets start with the Ugly cause things do get better.... American Immigration ... what can I say except not consistant.... Ft Lauderdale was a breeze.... LA another story.... Gosh you would think with their current financial climate you would think they would be welcoming 2000, can’t wait to spend their money foreigners with open arms...
The face to face immigration interviews were to be held on board this time. Princess do the right thing with allocated group times. Maybe if they police this little better things may have run a little smoother, lines were a lot longer than anticipated mainly because people from groups 5, 6, 7 were queuing up before groups 1, 2 and three had a chance. I believe the last to be processed was at 11.30am... not bad when allboard is an early 4.30 pm........... this must be because 4 seadays across to Hawaii is not enough to be able to leave say a couple of hours later.... hmm!!
Anticipating delays in getting off we decided on the dreaded Princess Tour....... There always seems to be alot of waiting around when on a ships tour and whilst sitting in the princess theatre waiting to be called, all you can think that there is precious port time going begging...
On saying that the itinerary of the tour was great.... if it was a private tour of say 6 or 8 it would have been excellent.... Once on the bus we headed into downtown LA. Didn’t take too long as the roads were not as caotic as we thought they might be.... We drove around the financial district and significant buildings and sites were pointed out to us.... There is a haze that sits over LA and unfortunately the windows of the bus seemed to have developed the same haze which made picture taking a little impossible.... the photo’s may look blurry but that is exactly what we were looking at....
Our first stop was at a quaint old section of the city with a real Mexican feel. We walked down a little pedestrian street called Olveria St. Down the middle were lots of stalls and in the old buildings where shops and restaurants. Here any souvenir you missed out on the Mexico could be snapped up here.
Now we were on way to Hollywood Boulevarde..... it is amazing to look around and see names and signs of places you see on Tv or you hear about in songs.
The bus dropped us off just around the corner from Manns Chinese restaurant and I am sure this span of the street is the most busiest. Our guide weaved us through the crowd pass Madam Troussaudes, pass Manns, into the Kodak theatre up to the platform where you can get the best picture of the Hollywood sign. She left us there and gave us half and hour to get back to where the bus dropped us off... Just not enough time to walk back and take in the Stars and the Hand and foot prints along the way... Lots of buskers and people dressed up as the stars that are commemorated on the sidewalk.... but be warn these people are bit more ruthless than the ones in Europe that ask for “ 1 dollar” for a photo.... Garry nearly got chased by a man with a hand full of snakes after filming and walking away .... lucky I could see it coming and was ready with a hand full of change to throw into his hat.... Or you see that nice photo of Mickey Mouse and me..... well while he was snuggling up to me taking this photo he is quietly whispering to me that I have to tip him. I told him “Yes I know.... Just smile for the camera”... there is so much to see along this strip but we had to get back to the bus. Which we were happy to do as we knew that we had other things to see....
We waited and waited for the bus as he could not remain parked at this spot and you could see this look of concerned on the Guides face... She had left her phone on the bus and couldn’t contact the driver.... She couldn’t use another phone as didn’t know the number and didn’t even know the name of the bus company the bus was from.... Not sure how we found him of if he just turned up.... but there was a precious half hour wasted here.... ( I know it doesn’t sound like much, but in some places that is all you get).
Now that we were safely back on the bus we did the drive by touristy thing again.... we drove down sunset strip and saw all the famous night spots like whiskey a go go, comedy club etc.... then it was off to Beverly Hills to drive down the famous Rodeo Drive... The story goes as to why all the famous actors live in Beverly Hills is that Actors and Actress’s were deemed as undesirable neighbours due to the hours they kept and I presumed the parties they had.... Mary Pickford was the first to build a mansion in this area and soon others followed forming an estate that became “Home to the Stars”.
Our last stop was at the Farmers Market.... This area has been done up and is a real hive of activity... the front part is the original area that the Farmers Market was opened up for the local growers to come and sell there produce.. Now this area boasts lot of restaurant and takeaways to satisfy any palette.... Even if you are a dog... the Dog Bakery is sure to have a biscuit for you... The area has been extended and there are now shops of every kind to be found... The area at the back is called The Grove with lots of fashion shops and lovely old tram that runs up and down the middle....
Who ever thought that we would sail half way around the world .... walked down an avenue to stop and watch a live performance of our every own Guy Sebastion.... Just note that that photo was specially posed for me.... What a thrill..... While I was taking pictures this man walked up to me asked who this was and I told him that he was Aust First Idol.... “ oh he must be really famous there “.... I smiled and agreed....
After our allocated hour we were back on the bus and on the way back home to the ship....... Back up on deck for sailaway drinks, the horns sounded and we were off heading to Hawaii under the new command of Captain Vincenzo Lubrano.......( We do miss our 5pm Captains Toddies Updates )