Kauai in a Red Convertible!

Today we reached our last port of call:  Kauai.  I’ve been to Hawaii before, but never to the “Garden Island”.  Fred has told me many times about how beautiful it is, so I really couldn’t wait to see it for myself.  The kids were both excited, too.  We knew we’d need a rental car, so we booked one online the night before (in our wait-until-the-very-last-minute style).  Luckily the internet cooperated!  We had several places on the island that we wanted to see and renting a car was the only option for us.  I suppose we *could* have taken one of the excursions offered by the cruise company, but why spoil our record now? Continue reading “Kauai in a Red Convertible!”

Honolulu – Stocking Up for the Last Week Onboard

Today was a day that we mostly just did work and restocked our supplies.  Think snacks 😉

The kids both decided to sleep in, but Fred and I got up around 8am and walked to the closest Coffee Bean, which was about 1.5 miles away from where the ship was docked.  We had a little trouble finding it, but eventually ran into a really nice guy who walked out of his way to show us how to get there.  Then we sat down for an hour or two and worked.  I got to upload and edit more photos for the blog, so that means I might get to post something before we get home (if the internet on the ship cooperates). Continue reading “Honolulu – Stocking Up for the Last Week Onboard”

Guam – A Visit with Gina and Joe

Today we took a break from the sightseeing scene to visit with friends.  Fred was really excited to find out that his friend from high school, Gina, and her husband, Joe, live on the island.  So after going through the immigration process for US customs, we felt like royalty as we bypassed the shuttle, skipped the tour busses, and walked happily past the long lines. We headed straight to the parking lot where Gina picked us up. It was awesome!

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Manila – Freddy is home!

Fred grew up in Manila, so getting a chance to be back was really a highlight of the cruise for him.  The rest of us were curious to see what his childhood home is like these days.  The kids had never been to Manila and it had been over a decade since my first and only visit.  We knew that the ship would be docking near the area where Fred’s Dad used to work, so he planned to take us on a walking tour first. Continue reading “Manila – Freddy is home!”

Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta

Fred was in charge of planning again today, so we went on another of Zoom’s private guided tours.  It wasn’t until the night before, when I spoke to Zoom on my cell phone, that I learned we’d be going the Mekong Delta.  Fred had no idea what we were doing!  He just knew we’d be doing something “outside the city”.  You’ve just got to love his “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” attitude.  🙂

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Chân Mây – Da Nang City, Marble Mountain & Hoi An

Since we were so happy with our experience yesterday, Fred arranged another tour with Zoom today.  We met Tâm, one of Zoom’s English speaking tour guides, at 8am right outside the ship next to all of the tour busses.  Tâm showed us into a very comfortable van and once the driver started down the roadway, he quickly started telling us about the places we’d be seeing during the day. Continue reading “Chân Mây – Da Nang City, Marble Mountain & Hoi An”

Vietnam – Cai Lan, Halong Bay

Today was the best day we’ve had ashore on this cruise so far.  Everyone had a truly wonderful time.  Fred was in charge of the planning for today.  This is unusual, since I normally do copious amounts of research and planning; however, I’ve been really busy trying to catch up on the blog, so Fred was in charge.  He looked at a few websites & videos and in the end decided to leave a bunch of things until the very last minute.  When we got off the ship, we only knew that we wanted to see the sites in the bay and do some kayaking if we could.  I was a little anxious, but I’ve seen him work miracles before.  The man has a golden tongue and is a walking lucky charm!

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Hong Kong – Stanley Market & Central

I’ve been to Hong Kong before.  I enjoyed seeing the skyline on the Star Ferry in Hong Kong Harbor and walking in some of the local parks, but for me, the overpowering smell of the dried fish markets really got to me – and Fred had even more trouble with it.  Needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on experiencing that again.  I knew that the kids hadn’t seen the city, however, and Fred was eager to show us places I had not been before, so I was willing to give it another chance.  I’m glad I did. Continue reading “Hong Kong – Stanley Market & Central”

Taipei – The Magic of the Unexpected

Big cities have a life of their own and one of the things I love most about them is how you often encounter the unexpected.  When I was lucky enough to spend extended time in New York City, I’d sometimes leave our apartment intending to go to one place & end up elsewhere.  On the way to the grocery store, I might stumble upon a street fair, or while walking in Central park, I once actually saw a huge flash mob.  Taipei brought back those memories for me, because we had a lot of random, unexpected experiences today.  Our day was planned as one thing, but it ended up being quite another – little things we never expected that made the day even better.  It was truly magical.  Continue reading “Taipei – The Magic of the Unexpected”

Okinawa

Some days are just better than others.  On those days that slip below par, it’s a good idea to find a way to see the best in what you’re given.  Today was one of those days.  We looked at all of the possible excursions in Okinawa and there really wasn’t anything that truly excited us, so we decided to just walk around and check things out on our own.  We saw a lot of others doing the same thing, too.  We knew there was a touristy shopping street not far from the ship, so we planned to go there…eventually.  The kids are I were already missing our time in Tokyo, so we were happy to be back on Japanese soil.  At the least, we wanted to find some good sushi.  That didn’t happen, but we still found the day’s silver lining, which for us was just joking around with one another and enjoying the offbeat things we saw in Okinawa.

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