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November 11, 2009

SEA DAY

 

Hangin' out in the window.

Hangin' out in the window.

Sea day…a week into our adventure and a great day to rejuvenate, catch up on school and simply hang out.  

 

A new discovery on Princess Cruise Lines:  self-serve laundry rooms!  Forget that it feels a bit like college, it’s simply brilliant!  One of the stumbles in long-term travel is how to handle laundry.  Yes, ships typically offer cleaning, but like hotels, its typically $2/pair of socks or underwear, so you choose carefully.  And while we’ve gotten pretty good at rinsing in the sink, there’s just nothing like truly freshly laundered clothes.  It was like Christmas today when we emerged with warm, clean socks, undies and our favorite shorts and t-shirts!

We spent most of the morning spread out on lounge chairs in the pool atrium, juggling math, vocab and spelling.  I finally gave it to the tropical air and crashed for an afternoon nap, but they trudged on, making great progress on school in hopes that we can finish it up and put it away by the time we head to DC.

Tonight, it was movies under the stars…a huge projection TV on the pool deck, with popcorn and comfy chairs.  Then back to the cabin for a nightcap  game of Clue.  A perfectly wonderful low-key evening…We loved it.  

 . . . and around the pool.

. . . and around the pool.

 

 

Tomorrow, Acapulco.  I’ve done all the research on the civil unrest and drug issues, but with a gameplan laid out, we’re heading ashore on our own.  Looking forward to the cliff divers and the fort…and of course, Dundee is looking for adventure.  Stay tuned!

November 10, 2009

CABO SAN LUCAS

 

The Arch between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific

The Arch between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific

Of course we’ve heard all the stories of the wild and crazy adventures of Cabo’s nightlife, but somehow, I’d missed the part about it’s captivating beauty and generally fun vibe. 

 

Sacagawea and Dundee discovered the art of Mexican bartering immediately upon stepping off the tender onto Cabo’s piers.  From young children hawking brightly painted whistles to tour vendors to photos with local reptiles…everyone had something to sell and weren’t shy to tell us about it.  They caught on quickly, tho, and confidently replied “No. No mas” as they strolled down the boardwalk amidst the hawking.

Seals or sea lions?  Ears or no ears?  Locals just call them Poncho.

Seals or sea lions? Ears or no ears? Locals just call them Poncho.

 

 

We eventually cut a deal with a local water taxi guy and set off to see the beaches and rocks that make Cabo so famous.  We come from beautiful beaches, and are always a bit difficult to impress, but Cabo seemed to captivate all three of us.  The brilliant waters of the Sea of Cortez are teeming with tropical fish, sea lions, and pelicans, most of whom are about as brazen as the street vendors with whom they share the place. 

We wandered the streets and markets, walked along the beaches and climbed the rocks, then settled into a harbor front dive for a bite of lunch and people-watching.  All-in-all, a perfect day.  

A bit of local color at lunch!

A bit of local color at lunch!

 

A perfect day.

A perfect day.

November 10, 2009

ROADSCHOOL…ON THE HIGH SEAS

Our digs at sea

Our digs at sea

A night out!

A night out!

Our first days at sea aboard the Coral Princess have been the perfect mix of adventure, fun and road-school seasoning.  The destination – a full transit through the Panama Canal with various stops along the Mexican Riviera, Central America and South America.

Dundee and Sacagawea are amazingly disciplined and determined to stay on task with our Roadschool assignments.  First order of business:  scope out those perfect spots around the ship to set up our classroom at sea.  With laptops, books and assignments, they quickly settled in to tackle math, vocab, spelling and literature.  We’ve also been pretty impressed with the ship’s offerings of lectures and other activities – an astronomer whose discussions dovetail perfectly with our work on astronomy so far this year; a tech guy offering classes on Excel, something we’ve been wanting to do; the art forums, showcasing artists among our favorites, and a local historian whose talks are a perfect supplement to the work we did on each port in preparation for the adventure.

Our classroom nook

Our classroom nook

It’s a bit of a beta test:  can we really enjoy the decadence of cruising and the adrenaline of Central America ziplining while also staying on task with math and vocab?  We’ve got many miles and adventures yet ahead, but so far so good; we’re on task and getting the work done, while still finding time for the real-life experiences that make the globe such an amazing classroom.

Who knew what this year’s roadschool adventures would bring?  Could we really do it?  Would the education stack up against a traditional classroom?  Could we handle all that togetherness?  So far, I’m finally able to breathe a cautionary sigh of relief…. early indications suggest that it’s a resounding success!

November 10, 2009

A Left Turn

 

Just a touch of Magic

Just a touch of Magic

After bidding a sad farewell to cousin Laura, we hit LA’s freeways once again to spend time with dear friends who recently left Kailua to settle in LA’s outlying ‘burbs.  No matter how seasoned a traveler – nor how often over the years I’ve conquered LA’s freeways – it’s always still a bit of a shock to hit the road at 75 – 80mph with folks zooming past me on all sides. Yep, Toto, we’re definitely not in Kailua (er, Kansas) anymore!

 

We had great plans to enjoy quality time with friends then take our kids (their three, plus Dundee and Sacagawea) to the new Getty Museum perched on the cliff in Santa Monica for a day of architecture, art, and absolute education.  The Getty is truly stunning – an amazing feat of engineering, architectural design, and sheer determination – a fitting tribute to the industrial giant whose early 20th century success made it possible.  Somewhere, tho, in mapping our day, my friend Mary and I took a left turn.  Perhaps it was the LA air, or the power of marketing and puppy-dog eyes . . . we somehow concluded that the educational value found in the visionary dream of a modern-day entrepreneurial icon is at least as educational – and certainly more heart-pounding – than the collections of yester-year’s industrial giant.  Yes, we bagged our plans for the Getty and opted, instead, for a day with a mouse and his magic.  

Fireworks booming, Tinkerbell flying . . . Walt was on to something.

Fireworks booming, Tinkerbell flying . . . Walt was on to something.

 

 

And what a day it was!  While we might be scolded for our late start (finally walked through the entrance around 1PM), no one can fault us for our tenacity and staying power.  We did it all — Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, Buzz Lightyear, the teacups, Tower of Terror, and more –  and didn’t leave again until they kicked us out, well after midnight!  The smiles and giggles, the heart-pounding rides, the ooohhs and aahhs, and for Sacagawea, the first time to experience the Magic of Mickey.  As Tinkerbell magically flew over the castle while fireworks boomed all around,  my gaze settled on Sacagawea’s eyes wide as she tried to soak it all in . . . Yep, a left turn well worth taking.  Getty can wait.

November 10, 2009

ACCESS HOLLYWOOD!

Backstage PropsAfter a few technical difficulties, we’re back in business with the blog!  Pardon the multiple entires as I try to catch up!

It’s an amazing trip already.  We started our adventures in Los Angeles, exploring the back lots of Hollywood and getting the inside track on “the biz” from cousin Laura, our resident expert.

First, an amazing backstage tour of the costume shops that bring TV and movies to life.  Check out our choices…pretty fun, huh!

Next, off to Universal Studios, where we hung out with the stars (particularly Shrek and Homer Simpson) and took in the crazy rides.   We dodged our way through the Simpsons, escaped Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs, and screamed our way out of the Mummies…laughing hysterically all the way.  Educational?  Maybe.  Fun?  Absolutely!

November 4, 2009

ROADSCHOOL ADVENTURE

It’s that time…bags packed, boarding passes, field trip ahead.  Practicing what we preach…can we really zipline through the rain forest and keep up with math and vocab?

Sacagawea, Dundee & I are hitting the road (and seas) to find out.  This time, it’s top spots on the mainland US and cruising through the Panama Canal.  Stay tuned for museum updates, family connections, Costa Rica rain forests, conquistadors, and Cartagena pirates.  Columbus is holding down the fort at home, while we get to chart a new adventure.

It’s early, still dark out, and time to go.  Love that feeling, just as an adventure unfolds, when the checklist is complete and it’s time to do it.  Let the adventures begin!