As I sit here at this very moment I am saying to myself, " you really need to come up with another opening line. You can't say good morning everyone again." For those of you that blog I bet you know exactly what I am talking about. Sounds simple enough to mix it up a little but I am a pretty simple minded person therefore making this issue complex! Anyway, good Saturday morning. I hope everyone had a good week doing what ever it is you do. If you live here in LA it looks like we will actually have sunshine all weekend with mild temps, which is the first time I can remember in quite a while for us. I know I am happy to see it. I could probably compose a six page blog about all the good things associated with working from home but one negative is when there is a week or several days with nothing but rain and cloudy skies. That kind of weather mixed with not changing scenery very often can wear on you.
Today I want to tell you all a little about the ports and excursions we experienced last year. Let me remind my regular readers and inform the new ones that our second cruise made stops at the same ports as the first with the addition of Roatan, Honduras. It was a reward from Princess cruises or otherwise we would have chosen a different itinerary to experience something new. Our first stop on each cruise was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I give this port a two thumbs, all eight fingers, and one leg up! G.C. to date is the nicest foreign country I have visited...keep in mind I haven't traveled all that much. The people are extremely friendly and it is really safe. In any place in the world, even right here in good ole Dothan, AL you have to be cautious as to where you go and G.C. is pretty much the same. However, I feel as safe there as anywhere I have ever been. It is a very clean, very modern country compared to the rest of the Caribbean. The majority of the locals there are Jamaican. They get one or two year work passes then have to go home for a year. The connection is that they were both settled and controlled by the British at one time. Jamaica has since declared their Independence from Great Britain and G.C. has not...smart move for the Caymanians. The reason so many Jamaicans are there to work is because there are very few true Caymanians on the island. I believe our first guide told us there were about 40k Camanians on the island. He, of course, was Jamaican. His name was Chris and he was a really nice guy. That day(our first cruise) we selected an excursion that toured the turtle farm, Hell, and the rum cake factory. On top of the planned stops, and one of the best parts of the day, was Chris talking and telling us all kinds of interesting facts along the way. For example, as we passed the Ritz Carleton on seven mile beach he told us a condo there would cost us one million dollars...and the Bill Gates owned a whole floor of it! He also pointed out the resort where the Grand Cayman scenes were shot in the movie "The Firm" with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. He even told us the island averages only 3 murders per year and that is usually due to drugs. That problem seems to be worldwide. On our second trip to G.C. we decided that we wanted to have a beach day. We booked it through Shore Trips, an independent company, not the cruise line and boy were we glad. Our driver took us(and by us I mean only me and Linds) right past the beach the cruise lines used where there were hundreds packed on a small beach to our beach. It was right behind a local restaurant and as far as we could see in both directions we saw about two other couples all day! Lunch was included at the restaurant and it was delicious. BBQ chicken, rice, mac & cheese, and fried plantains with a glass of lemonade.
Our next common stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. On our cruise back in March this was the "beach day" we had picked out. Again using Shore Trips, we got a taxi to take us to the private beach club to start our excursion. Lunch and drinks were included with this excursion and they were both great! Service there was outstanding but the beach itself was a little bit of a let down. It was rocky and a little grey. Overall I would rate the experience 7 out of 10 stars. The fajitas and margaritas were great but the beach, not so much. On our second trip we decided not to do an excursion and I am so glad we didn't. It came the storm of all storms shortly after we disembarked. We pretty much hung out is the port area, shopped, and had lunch. Note: do not eat at Pancho's Back Yard. You will leave under fed and over charged. Linds and I both ordered chicken nachos and a drink. We were served about 5-6 chips with very light cheese and about 2 shreds of chicken COLD with about a $30 bill. If any of you know me at all you know how the rest of my day went :).
Roatan, Honduras was up next for the second cruise and was our first, and I hope last, trip there. In trying to keep this short let me say we didn't make it more than 100 yards or so outside the port gates for fear for our lives. Scariest, third world country I have ever visited. The sad part is that it looks like it is a beautiful country with lush vegetation and mountains but I didn't have the guts to go check it out. I did have a large group that was down there last month and some actually hired a driver to show them around with no problem...you may want to give it a try but not this ole boy! There is a song from the nineties that says "I was a scared white boy in a black neighborhood" and that was me. Side note: don't think I am racist, the entire island of G.C. is black too what I am talking about is a culture not a skin color.
Last but not least on our second cruise we were suppose to spend a day at Princess Cays in the Bahamas but due to 6-7' swells we could not safely tender to shore. I was really disappointed but even if safety wasn't an issue I think I would have gotten sea sick on the tender in because that was as rough of surf I have ever seen. As always than you all for reading and go enjoy the sunshine, Jeremy