Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Afternoon Tropical Dream 3/29/10

This has been a roller coaster of a week! One minute it is raining and cold and then the wind is blowing like crazy and the sun is shining! At least the plants and trees are coming back to life. Even the grass is changing colors. Can I get a Woo Hoo? It is almost time to get the lawn mower out! I planted some wild tomatoes and some wrinkled peppers in some pots I have on the deck. These poor plants got their sea legs the first couple of days as the wind was blowing like crazy. Fresh salsa in the summer is where it is at. I am hoping for success this year Mr. Tomato and Mrs. Pepper! Pod is in full swing with spring practice at La Tech. Pea made his way to Ruston on Friday to spend some time with his brother. He got to eat a little crawfish and take in La Tech's first scrimmage of the spring. The showings on the house have picked up and this is a good thing! Now we just need some offers. You never know what I might agree to! I have been doing a lot of research and studying on Alaska this week. Cruise travel to Alaska starts in early May and extends to late September. Cruisetours are a very unique way to cruise the inside passage and then continue your Alaskan vacation traveling the interior of Alaska by rail. I can't wait for the day to get back to Alaska! As a Certified Alaska Expert I should be able to answer any questions that you might have. Onward we must go! Today is a sad day as this morning we will have to leave the Norwegian Pearl. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum! Santa's run off to the Caribbean! He thinks about boat drinks and fun in the sun! Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum! What a journey this has been! It has been a tropical dream for me and what a great way to celebrate the end of our journey with a drink called Tropical Dream! The components for this masterpiece call for 2 ounces of Dark Rum, 1 ounce of Blue Curacao and 1 ounce of Pineapple Juice. Add some ice to your favorite shaker with the 3 ingredients and shake, shake, shake! Shake your booty! I couldn’t help but sing while I was shaking! After you have danced a jig, pour all of this into your favorite cocktail glass and plop a cherry or two on top. Now sit back and enjoy a couple of these as you dream about your tropical vacation. Remember I can make those dreams come true. Test me out one day. I bet you will be surprised as to what we can come up with. Ok, that is enough! Let's get on with our journey! It was a good morning, but a sad morning as we sailed into the Port of Miami. We did not have to pack anything because we had to leave our bags outside our stateroom at midnight last night. You keep a small bag for your incidentals and such. They collect your bags at night and then you pick them up when you disembark the ship. Since we all had late afternoon flights out of Miami we were in no hurry to get off the Pearl. We did have to be off by 10:00AM, but we still had plenty of time. Since we all live in different parts of the country we had agreed on a time to all meet for breakfast and have one last family gathering before everyone headed back home. I decided to order some different items this time. I had two eggs over easy, two biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns and several slices of bacon. I could not end my journey without a couple of glasses of prune juice! What am I going to do without that when I get home? I bet I was the only one drinking prune juice on the whole cruise. I never saw anyone else drinking it, but my travel guide said to drink it so you could eat more food. Man did I eat a lot of food this week. We sat at two big tables and exchanged some of our favorite stories during our trip. After breakfast we had a picture fest and took different group shots. It was a little crazy, but the memories of those pictures will last a lifetime! For the most part we said our goodbyes during this time. I still wanted to walk around the ship and take in the last few breaths of my amazing journey aboard the Norwegian Pearl. There were people still swimming at the pool getting in those last few minutes of vacation time. I guess it is time to double check our stateroom one more time and head off of the ship. We made our way through customs and picked up our bags. We are now on our way to the airport now the fun begins. I will briefly explain as it is quite comical and took some very good travel agent to pull all of this off. Pea was on my flight on Continental through Houston and on to San Antonio. Pod was on American flying through Dallas to San Antonio and my wife was on Delta flying through Atlanta to San Antonio. Is that not funny? The cool part was that we all landed in San Antonio within an hour of each other. It was a blast getting to see and spend time with family that we don't get to see on a regular basis. Our family got to celebrate with my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary and that was best part of the trip! Spending time with my wife, kids, siblings, aunt, nieces and nephews was equally rewarding as well. Before I conclude my journey I wanted to touch on a few highlights on the Norwegian Pearl. I loved the ship and personnel that I came in contact with. The Freestyle cruising concept is the way to go in my book. The specialty restaurants were awesome! The Osso Buco at La Cucina with creamy parmesan polenta was my absolute favorite meal on the ship. The sushi and crème brulee 3 ways was amazing as well! The public areas are laid out well with plenty of room. I never felt like I was on top of someone else. I would highly recommend the Pearl for families with kids as well as couples with no kids. There are plenty of things to do for every walk of life! The Pearl is in the Caribbean during the fall through late spring and then she heads to Alaska for the summer. If you have any questions about cruising give me a shout. This journey is going to conclude, but that does not mean that other journeys are not on the horizon! I am not sure where the next one will take us, but I can tell you it will be fun! I appreciate all of you who have been following this journey and I would love for you to follow my journeys in the future. Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love, plus he is a real nice guy! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. If you have a group who wants to travel together let me know. Traveling in a group is always more fun if you all share like interests! You know you will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Morning Painkiller 3/22/10

It has been a great week! My wife came home for a couple of days! Boy will I be glad when this house sells so we can see each other daily instead of every other month. I have faith and my thoughts are positive that it is going to sell real soon. Can I get some more positive thoughts? Together we can make this happen. I am thankful for my father in law this week. I am not a very mechanical/repair type of person and he came over for a few days to help me with a couple of repairs. I had some sprinkler heads that my mower killed and a crazy door bell that was playing hard ball. The sprinkler head replacements ended up being fairly easy and the spray alignment ended up being quite wet. Now for this stupid door bell that was another story. We spent one night and half of another day tracing wires from the door bell transformer in the attic to the door bell itself. One place we did not look until we were about to call it quits was the carbon monoxide detector in the upstairs ceiling. There were a couple of wires loose and once those were tightened the stupid door bell worked. Why would a home builder run the door bell connection thru the carbon monoxide detector? I have no clue, but I am very thankful for my father in law making everything all right. Thanks Papaw! Pod started spring practice at La Tech this week. They had three practices and with a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator they have a whole new system to learn. Their spring game will be April 10th in Ruston. This week I spent more time learning and researching the River Cruise segment of travel. This is such a wonderful way to see the world from your very own floating hotel. I am very excited about River Cruising! I had some bookings this week in Alaska! Can I get a Woo Hoo? Alaska Cruisetours are the way to go in Alaska. You really get to see the beauty of Alaska from the ship and by rail to the interior. My two favorite Alaskan towns are Ketchikan and Talkeetna. Talkeetna is where you get to see Mt. McKinley and eat the best pizza in the world at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Pizza and Alaska Amber Ale! Nothing is better on a beautiful day in Alaska. Ok it is time to continue with our journey on the Norwegian Pearl. As always we need a nice beverage to start our journey off with and this morning we are going to sip on a Painkiller! You start off with 3 ounces of Rum (Pusser’s), 2 ounces of cream of coconut, 1 ounce of pineapple juice and a healthy splash of orange juice. Sprinkle Nutmeg and add 1 Maraschino cherry. Fill your drink shaker with lots of ice. Add you Pusser’s rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake well, add a cherry, sprinkle with nutmeg and grab a straw! This will take any pain that you have away for sure! This was originally made in the British Virgin Islands – Pusser’s is the official rum of the Royal British Navy. This morning we are anchored just a short tender ride to NCL's private island Great Stirrup Cay. It is a little overcast this morning, but I am in hope of some sunshine! We cannot get off of the Pearl until 10AM so we had plenty of time to eat breakfast. Since I am a huge fan of breakfast I am going to eat too much as usual. I start off with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on a toasted bagel. Then it is on to those crispy waffles with warm banana compote, country potatoes and a side of crispy bacon. This is all washed down with strong coffee and my two glasses of prune juice. I am glad I started breakfast early. That was a ton of food, but I am happy! I am looking forward to just chilling on Great Stirrup Cay! I am sure what to expect from a private island that has been made up to look like a tropical paradise. Great Stirrup Cay is part of the Berry Islands and is located 62 nautical miles from Freeport, Bahamas. It is an exclusive port of call featured on NCL's Caribbean and Bahaman itineraries. Our tender boat ride will take about 10 minutes to get to the island. The tender boat goes right up to the beach and you walk right off on to the sand. It looks pretty cool and the water is very clear. I just wish the sun would stay out. We staked our claim around a couple of picnic tables and a couple of hammocks. There were plenty of things to do and some of our choices included snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, volleyball or just soaking up the sometimes available rays of sunshine. I elected to walk around the island and explore some and chill in the hammock. Don't laugh, but after a few hours I was getting pretty hungry. I know my breakfast should have carried me through to the next day! They had a beach barbeque and it smelled mighty fine. They were grilling burgers and dogs and were even baking pizza. There were lots of fruit choices and condiments to go with burgers and dogs. I made my plate and picked up a couple of beers and headed back to our picnic table compound. I waited my 30 minutes after I ate and headed to the water for a little swim. It was a little cool, but the water felt good to me. Off in the distance you can see a storm coming in so we decided to call it a day at the island. With this storm coming in the trip back to the Pearl was going to be interesting as it was getting pretty rough. As we got close to the ship we had to wait for the tender boat that was ahead of us. They were having a hell of a time getting close because of the high waves. This is not going to be very fun and I was a little scared. It felt like we were on a trampoline and the gangway was going up as we were going down. We were able to get back on the ship, but if was not much fun doing that. I am more of a let me off at the pier person, but I am aware that some of these big mega ships cannot get into some of these ports. I hope the seas calm down for the others that are still on the island. Overall I was not impressed with Great Stirrup Cay! I hope NCL will invest some money into her. She does have potential, but I was not impressed with her as she is now. I was going to go to the free seminar on Detox for Health and Weight Loss, but I figured I would just keep drinking prune juice and I would be just fine! I am going to head to the pool and order a bucket of beer and enjoy my last afternoon at sea. They had sail away music going and the bikini scenery was looking good! I think I am getting ready to get hit! HaHa! What a great afternoon this has ended up. Do as much or as little as you want. It is your choice and the options are endless! The last night on the Pearl was going to be a food extravaganza. Not only were we celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary, my dad's 70th birthday, but we were celebrating my brother in laws 50th birthday and my brother & sister in laws 5th wedding anniversary! That is a lot of celebrating! Our pre meal beverage would be at Maltings Bar. They were hosting the 2 - 1 martini's tonight. I was going with the lemon drop and I was not disappointed. Tonight we were going to eat at Lotus Garden. It is like a PF Changs. I had met Jasmine who was my server during my sushi event yesterday and she served at Lotus Garden at night. She was the most incredible customer service oriented person I had met on the Pearl. I was so impressed with her that I told her our last dinner was going to be at Lotus Garden and she made sure we were seated in her station. Ok, before I get started don't laugh at me yet, but I ordered a lot. There was a $15 cover charge for eating at the Lotus Garden and I was going to get my monies worth. I ordered crispy spring rolls, crispy crab won tons, fried calamari and barbecued ribs for my appetizers. I love this eating and ordering concept! For my meal I ordered Singapore street noodles, lemon pepper shrimp and hot & spicy schezwan beef. Then for dessert I ordered crème burlee three ways. The flavors were green tea, red bean and ginger. All I can say is oh my! What a food event this was and I am so stuffed and in a major need of a wheel barrow! The food was so awesome! There are way too man food choices for a 7 night cruise! I was going to go watch the movie, but I needed to go walk around the ship. After several laps I was feeling a lot better. The show tonight was a late one and we went to the Second City "Scriptless" Adult Comedy Show! This show was awesome and the improvisation was incredible. This day and night have been indescribable. What a day it has been and so many memories! My heavenly bed is calling me for one more night. When we awaken tomorrow I will be back in Miami and I will be happy and sad. Good night to all! I appreciate all of those who are following! Leave me a comment sometime. I would love to know who is reading! Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. If you have a group who wants to travel together let me know. Traveling in a group is always more fun if you all share like interests! You know you will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Evening Blue Lagoon 3/15/10

It has been an awesome week! We started off with the wet crap and the week ended with sunny cloudless skies. I can't believe that we actually touched the 80's. I guess I have to say Spring is in the air since we have now sprung forward. Look out patio here I come. Lighter later equals more time outside with a glass of red wine. Pod starts spring football practice at La Tech and one of my passions besides helping you with your travel vacations is my love for college football. I can't wait. March madness and St. Patrick’s Day are here as well. I am not a huge college basketball fan, but come tournament time and I am at point at the TV. It should be an interesting Final Four. Who is going to win? Leave a comment below. I think West Virginia is going to win! Last week I spent time learning more about River Cruises and will expand and break those cruise lines down in the near future. Summer travel and cruising bookings are pretty hot right now. There has even been interest in getting holiday travel set in place for the end of the year. Alaska was on my mind this week as I completed my education on Alaska and became a Certified Alaska Expert. If you have not been to Alaska yet make sure you add it to your bucket list. Cruises and Cruisetours take place from early May until late September. You can go from 7 to 14 nights or even longer in some cases. The choice is yours as you can cruise and then add a land portion to the interior of Alaska before or after the cruise. It is an awesome way to see all of Alaska. On top of that the best pizza in my book is made in Talkeetna. Mountain High Pizza Pie is the bomb and I cannot wait to get back for my fix! Todd makes the best pizza, calzones, hummus and serves ice cold Alaskan Amber. The cruise lines that sail in Alaska are Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, Cruise West, Silversea, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise line and Regent Seven Seas. Alaska is so cool and there are so many options to choose from. If you need help with your Alaska journey give me a call and leave your worries to me. I need a drink! Day 6 on the Norwegian Pearl is going to start off with a Blue Lagoon! What the heck is in a Blue Lagoon besides crystal clear water and white sand? Here we go! Take 2 parts premium vodka, 1 part blue curacao, 1 part lemonade and a couple of cherries. Pour the vodka and curacao over ice in your favorite highball glass. Fill to the top with lemonade, top with the cherries, and serve. With spring in the air get your groove on and make a Blue Lagoon. Day 6 is a sea day. That means we will not be stopping until tomorrow when we reach Norwegian's private island called Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Last night was a long night so I sleep in a bit. The restaurants are open a little longer for breakfast when you are at sea. I was not sure what the day would bring, but I was starving. We ate breakfast at the Summer Palace. I had my normal of smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese and capers. I can't forget my prune juice and coffee. I did add these golden waffles with this warm banana compote that almost put me on the floor with yumminess. I just thought I was going to go lay at the pool. I need to go walk the interior of the ship and burn some of my breakfast off. If I have not mentioned it yet my dad is a blackjackaholic! He is good at it and when the casino is open he will most likely be there. During my walk I made my way through the casino and I see my dad not playing blackjack, but standing next to a wheel of fortune slot machine with a light flashing above it. What in the world is going on? He just hit 2K on this slot machine. Now that is what I am talking about! I need some of that luck to rub off on me. Some of the things I could choose from this morning included rock climbing, bowling, trivia, crazy golf, Texas Hold'em, bingo and a Burn Fat Faster seminar. I should be going to that one but elected hit the library for a while a write. I know boring, but I needed some quiet me time. After some good writing I headed out to find the rest of the family who were soaking up the rays at the pool. That is the cool thing about a cruise is that there are so many things to do for everyone. You can do as little or as much as you want. It's your vacation! I know I should not be talking about food again, but it was after 12 and I was a tad hungry. Don't laugh, I love food! I was going solo today for lunch as I would be sampling the all you can eat sushi at the sushi bar. There is a $15 charge for this and I was glad to pay it. There were a few people at the sushi bar so that meant my rolls would not take very long to make, plus I got to watch these sushi masters make my rolls. I ordered a spicy tuna roll, a godzilla roll, a dynamite roll a glass of white wine and a shrimp tempura roll. You heard me four rolls and I and going to stay here a long as I have to. I will finish them all. They are all really good and I am in sushi heaven. After I am done they bring me three flavors of mochi ice cream and the only way I can describe it is like eating a frozen gummy bear with ice cream in the middle. I think I need a stretcher! I am going to hang at the pool this afternoon, play some ping pong and watch Pea & Pod play in another soccer tournament. Later in the afternoon we went to the Champagne art auction. They have several of these throughout the cruise and there is art being sold from world class artist. Opening bids start at $100. Some of the art sold for thousands! That was amazing to watch. Daylight is almost over and it is almost time for our pre dinner tradition of the 2 for 1 martini at the star bar. I still think it is one of the best bargains on the Pearl if you like martinis. Pear Pleasure was my martini of choice again. What a great way to finish off your afternoon and get your mood right for the evenings activities. It is nonstop action! Dinner would be at the Summer Palace tonight. My meal would start off with an onion mushroom tart and chilled strawberry soup. The main course was surf and more with lobster, filet minion and grilled shrimp and a side of mushroom risotto. Desert was a lemon cream pie. Oh know I never should have had dessert. I forgot at 10:00 was the all chocolate buffet. I am in bad trouble. I guess I cannot worry about that now. We decided to waddle down to the Garden of Geisha show. It is a show featuring flying circus acrobatics. It was really an awesome show. I was still waddling even after the show as we headed for the all chocolate extravaganza. I am not kidding you they have transformed the entire garden cafe to this amazing chocoholic paradise. You name it in chocolate and they have something made with it. The chocolate sculptures are beyond belief. I think I sampled about 10 different things. I am in a chocolate coma! I have requested a wheel barrow, but I am not sure they are going to accommodate me. Where is my prune juice? I thought I was going to waddle my way down to the Bliss Lounge and rock the night away, but my dance moves would not have been very pretty. It has been an awesome day and my heavenly bed is calling my name. Tomorrow we will take a tender to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. This is a private island owned by NCL. I am really looking forward to the crystal clear waters. Good Night! I appreciate all of those who are following and if you know someone who likes to travel I would be honored if you would forward them a link to “Travelin’ with John” Make sure and tell me who is going to win the final for in the comment section below. Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. You know they will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Afternoon Coco Cabanatini 3/8/10

I start this afternoon with a birthday wish to Pod. My youngest son has turned 19 and even though I will not be able to celebrate it with him, he will be in my thoughts. Enjoy your round of golf and your rib smokin' adventure in the Sunshine State today! Happy Birthday Pod! I hope you have a wonderful day! I sit here and wonder why and the heck do you write three blogs! I have been thinking about this for a long time. I write Travelin' with John, College Football Dad and Cookin' with John. You know what? I would not trade the experiences that I get to share with you all for anything in the world. This is what keeps my world spinning! It also keeps me balanced! I am thankful for my family, friends and business associates. I am honored that I get to share my life with you and thanks for the opportunity to share. I have been spending a lot of time researching River Cruises or what they call small ship cruising. I am very fascinated with this type of travel. Even though River Cruises can take place in Russia, the Galapagos, China, Egypt and Vietnam I am concentrating my studies in Europe. The rivers you can travel in Europe consist of the Rhine River, Main River, Moselle River, Seine River, Rhone River and the Danube River. You can start with the Windmills, Vineyards and Paris in the spring and then move to the Christmas time on the Danube. It is so fascinating that you can see so much of the world from your floating hotel that can take you right to the center of the city. No mega ship can do that. The main players in the River Cruise market are Avalon Waterways, AMA Waterways, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises. I have some very educating videos on my website for you to look at when you have time. I think you will be in awe at this awesome way to travel in Europe. If you have been on a River Cruise send me a note or comment. I would love to know your thoughts about your experience. In the future I will break down each one of the River Cruise lines. This way you can get a good feeling about your River Cruise options. I know it is 5:00 PM somewhere in the world so let's start or journey off with a nut from a tree. HaHa I must be the nut that fell from the tree! It's ok to laugh! Day 5 on the Norwegian Pearl is going to start of with one of my wife's favorite martini's! "Coco Cabanatini" tell me what you are made of? Ingredients consist of 1 Part Malibu Coconut Rum, 1 Part Banana Liqueur, 1 Part Half & Half and 1 Part Goldschlager Cinnamon Liqueur. I will leave the parts up to your liking. Then add all parts together in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into your favorite martini glass. Garnish with banana slice and cinnamon stick if you desire. Cheers! Day 5 on the Norwegian Pearl would begin early as we are in Tortola (B.V.I). One of the cool things about NC is you can order room service 24/7 and today we would take advantage of that service. Even though we could order whatever we wanted off of the breakfast menu, we kept it simple with coffee, muffins, toast, croissants and my prune juice. I don't know what to think about this prune juice, but it has been a great help! Yesterday we were in the US Virgin Islands and now we are in the British Virgin Islands. What is the deal with these Virgin Islands? Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local belief is that the name was originally given to the island by Christopher Columbus, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove". In actuality Columbus named the island Santa Ana. The Dutch settled, and dubbed it Ter Tholen, after an island off the west coast of the Netherlands. When the British moved in the name was altered to its present day form of Tortola. The BIV are serene, seductive, and spectacularly beautiful yet still remain remarkably laid back. Whether you are in to water sports or swimming you will find beautiful white sand beaches and clean warm waters. One of the most popular things to do while in Tortola is to visit the Baths on Virgin Gorda. These huge rock formations are scattered about the beach and in the water. Some are almost as large as houses and form remarkable grottoes. We decided to take a half day Catamaran sail and snorkeling at Sandy Spit on the Mystique. This is a brand new shore excursion in Tortola and not too many people new about it so even though it held 36 passengers there were only six other people on this excursion besides our group. The Mystique would depart Road Town at 8:00 AM as we would head to Sandy Spit. Sandy Spit is an uninhabited islet of Little Jost Van Dyke Island in the Caribbean, sitting midway between Sandy Cay and Green Cay. We are headed west down the coast line with Tortola on the right and St. John Island off to the left. The water is absolutely beautiful! We did run into some head wind which made it fun for those sitting on the nets in the front on the catamaran. Let's just say that they got a nice soaking. We just passed Great Thatch Island and are now headed north to Sandy Spit! Thank goodness we had bread products for breakfast as this excursion served unlimited rum punch and pain killers along with some snacks. Our mid-morning snack had are motors running even though we were sailing! Life is good. As we approach Sandy Spit we all are outfitted with a mask, snorkel and fins! We are anchored about 50 yards from the most beautiful crystal clear water I have ever seen. This island is only 1/2 acre in size. With the currents constantly changing the sand is always changing positions. I guess that is why they call it Sandy Spit. After about 45 minutes of snorkeling and walking around the island we headed back to the Pearl and Road Town. The music was jamming and the rum punch and pain killers were flowing. I would call that the brunch of champions! The 4 hours that we spent on the catamaran was well worth the $79 per person rate they charged us. Once we made it back to Road Town we shopped for awhile and headed back to the Pearl. She would be departing Tortola at 3:00 PM. What an adventure! When you go to Tortola I would highly recommend this excursion. The afternoon would be spent at the pool and watching Pea and Pod play in a soccer tournament on the basketball courts. Some of the things we could of participated in was line dancing, ping pong, bingo, rock climbing, bowling, Nintendo Wii on the big screen and trivia just to name a few. We elected to chill and enjoy the awesome sunshine at the pool. As the afternoon is winding down the night is still young. The Star Bar was calling our name with 2 for 1 martini's. Tonight we had the Lemon Drop and the Coco Cabanatini! What a great way to start he evening. Freestyle Dining gives us the opportunity to eat when and where we want at whatever time we want so we hit the casino for some blackjack. I actually did ok and have some extra funds to play some more later. Dinner tonight would be at Mambo's. Mambo's is a specialty restaurant with a $10 extra charge. It is a cross between southwest/tex-mex. They start you off with a complimentary margarita. There were too many options for me so I ordered several things. Don't laugh, but I ordered southwestern eggrolls, pulled pork taquitos, lobster tacos, baby back ribs and caramel flan! Oh my gosh! My taste buds are completely satisfied, but my stomach is getting bigger. I need to go to the walking track and put in a few laps. After a few slow paced laps we head off the catch the late showing of The Second City's 50th Anniversary Celebration. It was hilarious and the improvisation was just awesome. The super late night adventure was the White Hot Dance Party at the Spinnaker Lounge. Everything is white with fog, snow and ice sculptures. Pea & Pod took the bed sheets and made white togas. They were hilarious looking, but fit the white semi dress part just right. Pea & Pod stayed until the end and my night was ending. This had been an awesome day and my heavenly bead was calling my name. Tomorrow will be a sea day so we will have plenty of time to relax tomorrow! Not really! There are too many things to do onboard the Pearl. I can't wait to see what day 6 brings us on this awesome journey! I appreciate all of those who are following and if you know someone who likes to travel I would be honored if you would forward them a link to “Travelin with John” Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. You know they will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Afternoon Hypnosis 3/1/10

What a strange week this has been! Where has this month gone? It seems like yesterday it was the first week of February. I hope this year will not keep that same pace up or I will age faster than intended. I know I am sort of old already, but let me stop every now and then and smell the peppers! (I mean Roses) My food senses have been going wild! I love to play with food and I have been cooking some insane food! Check out "Cookin with John" for some great recipe ideas. New recipes are updated weekly. My wife is back in Big D full time while our home in San Antonio is looking for the perfect home buyer. I know everyone has different things that they believe in and those beliefs are their own. I had a friend of mine on Facebook who recommended that I go to a Christian book store and buy a statue of St. Joseph and bury it in the yard and your house will sell pretty quickly. I was not sure of this as I thought it would be sac religious, but I was very wrong as I researched this process. I went out and bought my very own St Joseph statue with a burial bag and buried him in the yard. The instructions say to bury him head first facing the street with his feet facing the heavens. Then you say a prayer and then your home will sell. Once your home sells you de- earth St. Joseph and you place him in your new home. I have never heard of this and I am willing to believe! I will keep you posted of our progress. The Travel Business has been all over the place. There has been a lot of interest and quoting, but not very many bookings this week. I love what I do and will always have a positive "Cruisitude" If you want a non biased hard working travel agent to take all of your researching headaches away; I have one to recommend to you. All kidding aside if you have travel questions or need recommendations I am here for you. As a Cruise Planner and a Tour/Resort Specialist you will be in good hands. Test me out sometime! I bet you will be very impressed. It’s time to get your beverage on as we get ready for day 4 on the Norwegian Pearl. I decided to go the martini route today. Are you ready for a "Hypnotize Me"? Your ingredients consist of 3oz(s)Ketel One Vodka, 1 oz Strawberry Vodka, 1 oz Hypnotiq (Hpnotiq is an exquisite blend of premium vodka, natural tropical fruit juices and a hint of Cognac), 1 oz Strawberry Liqueur, 1 oz Grape Pucker and 3 Drop(s)Dry Vermouth. Did I say all liquor? Take your favorite martini shaker and fill with ice, then add all of the ingredients and put the lid on. Get your groove on and shake your bootie! Take your favorite chilled martini glasses and pour. This is one potent drink and now I know why you are hypnotized after you drink this. I guess I can officially say I have been hypnotized! That was a crazy drink! Day 4 on the Norwegian Pearl begins with a hop, skip and a jump on deck 7! This walking and prune juice is going to get the best of me! I must keep going. Our port of call today is St. Thomas. Can you say paradise? We decided to eat breakfast at the Blue Lagoon Cafe. It is a 24 hour a la cart cafe. My breakfast consisted of a croissant scramble, hash browns, bacon and prune juice. It was simple and hit the spot. St. Thomas is known for shopping and Magen's Bay. St. Thomas is a shopper’s paradise. Havensight and Downtown Main Street are the prime shopping areas. The beaches in St. Thomas are known worldwide. National Geographic has rated Magen's Bay one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Although all the beaches on the island are public, there is a charge of $3 to enter Magen's Bay. Morning Star beach is also lovely, well worth a visit and it tends to be a little less crowed. Taxis are available on the pier and generally charged per person. There are no meters in the taxis so negotiate the fare in advance. We decided to go the taxi route and venture out and see what St. Thomas was all about. We were very lucky and hooked up with a local driver named Ever-Ready. He does a 3 hour tour of the island with many stops and photo opportunities. The island of St. Thomas is 3 miles by 12 miles. There are no manufactures on the island. They also have one of the world’s largest saltwater to freshwater conversion plants as there is no fresh water on the island. Medical care is free to all of those who live on the island. They are still in the re-building stage from the last four hurricanes that have hit the island. Most of the people cannot afford to rebuild their homes as the costs are too high. The Governor is in charge of the island. We went to Blackbeard’s Castle and to the St. Peter Great House on the World Famous Mountain Top. The St. Peter Great House provided great views of Megan's Bay, St John’s and St Croix. We were able to take some breath taking photos from here as well. One thing that the St. Peter Great House is famous for is the Banana Daiquiri! I am not sure what all of the ingredients were except a lot of dark rum and fresh bananas. It was just awesome! I am glad that we took the 3 hour tour of the island. Ever-Ready was a wealth of information as we developed a true appreciation for the island. We head back to some of the shopping areas and check out some of the local bargains. There were some great deals and everything was a little crowed as the Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Carnival Liberty and the Costa Atlantica were all in port. We decided to go back on board the Pearl to eat lunch. Why spend extra money when all of your food is included with your cruise? You can come and go to the ship as long as she is at the pier. After lunch Pea, Pod and I decided to walk around the pier area for a while. We found this small beach hut bar with live music and Caribe Beer buckets for $10. Good music and a good cold beer! What could be better? St. Thomas had been awesome and with so many things to do on the ship we headed back. We decided that the pool was calling our name. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the pool. Pea and Pod played in some of the pool games with the cruise staff. It was pretty funny watching some of the stunts they did. Sailing on a cruise ship makes it so easy to visit all of these different ports of call and you only unpack once on your floating resort. Before dinner tonight we were going to visit the Star Bar. From 6 - 7 they offer 2 for 1 martini’s and in my opinion one of the best drink deals on the ship. I had a Pear Pleasure, Pea had a Cocotini and my wife had a Raspberry Fruitini. This was just an awesome start to a great evening. We met back up with Pod and headed to Indigos for dinner. My meal would start off with a potato goat cheese tart and some chicken french onion soup. Then it was off to tilapia topped off with a lemon butter sauce and capers. Dessert was this yummy chocolate cream cake with a warm chocolate sauce. I am in food heaven! I think I need to take a walk. All of this food is getting a little heavy. The show tonight is Sea Legs, A Showgirl Revue. Showgirls perform to the music of Frank Sinatra and Beyonce. Then it is off to the Caribbean Deck Party for Hot Dancing under the stars. It is shake your bootie time! For those of you who know me I am a terrible dancer and shaker. It was fun to watch though! Our night ends at the blackjack table. I broke even so I was ok with that. Wow, what a day this has been. As you can see you can do as much or as little as you want. It is your vacation and the choice is all yours. St. Thomas I thank you for allowing me to visit and see the true beauty of the island and the people who live here. I think next time I visit St. Thomas I will visit the St. Peter Great House again and then go hang out at Magen's Bay. I heard they make some awesome pizza beachside. My heavenly bed is calling my name. Tomorrow we are headed to Tortola (B.V.I) I can't wait to see what day 5 brings us on this awesome journey! I appreciate all of those who are following and if you know someone who likes to travel I would be honored if you would forward them a link to "Travelin with John" Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. You know they will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!