Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fajita Salad

We decided to make taco salads for dinner and I made a vegan version for mine of course. First I mixed some spices    to sauté my veggies in. 
Chili powder 2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Paprika 1 tsp
Onion powder 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp
Ground cumin 1/2 tsp
I put all of the spices in a small jar and added some water. Shook to blend. I cut up an organic red and green bell pepper and halved some cherry tomatoes. I added a little coconut oil to a pan and once it melted I added the veggies. 
I cooked the veggies until they were slightly tender and then I added a tsp of sweetener (sugar, honey, or maple syrup) and the spice mixture I prepared earlier. I cooked the veggies a little longer and then set aside. 
To make the salad I started with lettuce then I added some black beans, the cooked veggies, fresh cucumber, sliced black olives and half of an avocado. 
No dressing needed. This salad was amazing and so quick and easy to make. Use any type of lettuce and add any veggies you would like. Now S of course cooked hamburger meat in taco seasoning and he didn't cook his peppers and tomatoes. S also left out the beans and avocado but added Fritos and salad dressing. See, meat eaters and non meat eaters alike can eat this. 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Second “Fun Day at Sea” and Debarkation

Second “Fun Day at Sea” and Debarkation
Sunday December 2, 2012 and Monday December 3, 2012
Sorry no pictures.
Well Sunday was the last full day on the cruise ship.  Sunrise was at 6:57 am and Sunset was at 5:13 pm.  As usual we woke up and went to the Windows on the Sea on the Lido deck to eat breakfast.  We walked around the ship and then made our way to the Universe Lounge to see the Towel-Folding class.  We didn’t participate we just watched.  It was neat to see how some of the more common items were created.  After the towel-folding class there was a silent debarkation presentation in the Universe Lounge which we decided to stay for and I am glad we did.  We learned exactly what we needed to do to have a speedy debarkation the next day.  I would recommend attendance if offered on any cruise.  After this we stopped in the gift shop to pick up some of the last minute items I had my eye on and then it was back to the cabin.  We packed all of our stuff and then went back to the Lido Deck for some lunch.  This day was very uneventful.  We basically just killed time.  Later we went to the Universe Lounge to see The Game of Love, Carnival’s version of the Newlywed Game, yet not so newlywed contestants.  Back to the room to find our final towel creation which was a large heart.  I have no idea why my pictures were not saved.  By day one I had already learned the entire layout of the ship so I pretty much knew where everything was and since S and I don’t really drink and we don’t gamble there wasn’t much else for us to do. 

Monday is here and all good things must come to an end.  Our time on the Carnival Fantasy was officially over.  We gave our amazing steward an extra tip the night before and I ask everyone do this because these people do not make a lot of money.  We got up early to get breakfast and then back to our cabin to collect our things.  We got in line and waited until we were allowed to disembark.  You do have to go through customs so keep that in mind.  Honestly I was happy to get off the ship.  It wasn’t a bad trip and I loved visiting the two ports of call, but I did find myself getting cabin fever no pun intended.  If we had better weather and had been able to sit by the pool or on one of the decks it may have been a different story.  I wish we had a balcony in our room.  I would have sat there and stared at the water and/or read a book all day.  This was not the case and as a result I got bored quickly.  A word to all future cruise ship travelers, if you are not big on gambling and/or drinking, spend that money on getting a cabin with a balcony, it would be worth it.  Everyone kept telling me to not spend the money because we would never be in the cabin.  Guess what, this was not the case.  There are only so many things to do before you run out of things to do and as a result S and I ended up spending a lot of time in our cabin.  It really depends on what you like to do and what ship you are on.  We didn’t have the best weather, so sitting out by the pool or on one of the decks really wasn’t comfortable and we didn’t have that liquid courage like what I would consider the majority of the other passengers.  I will never say never, but sitting here now I don’t think I would take another cruise.  I am so happy I had the opportunity and experience but I realized I am not a cruise person.  S realized, although he had been on a cruise before and felt he would enjoy going on another one, he is not a cruise person either.  By no means am I suggesting you not take a cruise.  If you have never been on one give it a try.  I would suggest you figure out what you like to do and cater your cruise to what you like to do.  We picked that cruise because it was a quick drive to Charleston, SC, S wasn’t sure I would like being on a ship (this one wasn’t a long cruise) and it was fairly inexpensive.  So this was it, the end of the journey.  I hoped everyone enjoyed it.    

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Second Port of Call Freeport Bahamas!!!!!

Second Port of Call Freeport Bahamas!!!!!

Saturday December 1, 2012
Wow! It has been over a year since we took our cruise to the Bahamas and I am so slack because I am just now finishing my posts about the last two days.  So no more procrastinating here it goes.

Well it is our second port of call and I must say this was by far the best day of the trip for me.  According to our Carnival Fun Times, Sunrise was at 6:44am and Sunset was at 5:17pm.  After learning there wasn’t as much to do in Freeport as there was in Nassau we decided we would sign up for a tour.  We looked at the Fun Ashore guide to select which one we would enjoy the most.  We picked three, and the Western Heritage Tour won out.  This 5 hour tour was described in the Fun Ashore guide as “Discover Grand Bahama island’s natural wonders, history and culture as you visit 5 heritage sites.  You’ll travel through the western part of the island aboard an island bus.  Visit Mermaid Pond and the historic Pinder’s Point Lighthouse that served as a guide for mariners during the 17th century.  Continue on to Hawksbill Creek and the famous Boiling Hole to learn about the island’s geology.  At Holmes Rock, an inviting nature trail will lead you to Josey’s Cave.  Walk along a boardwalk into the cool environment of Fern Gully, the perfect place to admire ferns and other wetland vegetation.  Your final destination is a beautiful beach and one of the top snorkel sites on the island.  Directly from the beach, your guide will lead you on a snorkel adventure around a pristine reef teeming with fish and other marine organisms.  Relax in your comfortable lounge chair and enjoy lunch at the beach, prepared fresh from the grill.”  How amazing does that sound? Now you know why that tour won out.  Believe me it was just as perfect in person as it was on paper.
So we met our tour guide Dwaine and we all boarded the island bus.  As soon as he opened his mouth I knew I was going to like him.  He was so entertaining and he kept you interested in all the island history.  He was such a great tour guide and if he is still a guide I would HIGHLY recommend him for any tour.

So off on the tour we ended up at Pinder’s Point Lighthouse and we got off the bus.  Dwaine told us the story of Freeport and how the natives were the only ones that knew how to navigate the tricky waters. 

He also showed us the difference between a piece of coral and limestone.  As we learned coral is turned into limestone when the coral is above sea level and dies.

While riding on the bus we saw a bunch of conch shells which they use to line the roads to help protect against flooding.  Dwaine stopped and let us pick a conch shell to take with us.  There was a guy out there who had some on his boat and he gave S and me 2 really big ones.  They are so beautiful.

Next on the trip was Hawksbill Creek and the Famous Boiling Hole.  This was so beautiful and amazing.  This spot was a dive site that Jacques Cousteau explored.


Now it’s on to Holmes Rock where you will find Josey’s Cave and Fern Gully.  It was interesting to learn that Josey’s Cave was where the locals would go during a hurricane for protection.  I didn’t go in but S did.  As you can see from the pictures it was fairly big.

Then we walked through all the beautiful vegetation of Fern Gully.  There was a really neat tree trunk that looked like an elephant head.  There were also a couple of other neat statues.

Finally, the last part of the tour, the beach.  Now I must tell the entire story.  Throughout the day on this bus tour I would casually ask about the snorkeling and what kinds of things you would see.  Well once we got to the beach and I got my snorkeling gear I felt I had made the point of no return decision to at least get into the water.  I decided to ask Dwaine if there were sharks out where we were going.  Let me say before I go on, in my mind I am hoping there is some sort of net up to keep the sharks out because this is such a hot dive spot and there were kids on this tour.  In my mind I’m thinking how dangerous could this be?  Well at the time my dear husband was behind me when I was questioning Dwaine on the shark population and unbeknownst to me my dear husband was standing behind me shaking his head no.  Why you might ask, well I am somewhat of a chicken shit when it comes to certain things and being eaten by a shark is the top of the list and S knew nothing on God’s green earth would get me in that water if there was any chance I would come face to face with Jaws.  Ok maybe not the Jaws but something large enough that I would be his/her next meal.  So back to me standing in front of Dwaine, wide eye, hoping with everything I have that he was going to say no to my question.  Are there any sharks out there, his eyes briefly flash past me and I think nothing of it, he looks back at me and says oh no there is nothing to worry about.  Whew!!!! I mentally jumped for joy.  Now as I said earlier S was behind me shaking his head so when Dwaine’s eyes briefly left mine I am assuming he understood what it was my husband was trying to do.  To be fair Dwaine didn’t lie, he told me there was nothing to worry about, he had done this a million of times.  So with my new found confidence I marched off to the water with my husband.  The water was chilly but once we got in it was perfect.  We started off and yes Dwaine was right there with us.  There was a total of 9 of us to start.  We swam until we got to a sand bar and it was not even deep enough to cover my legs when I stood up.  Dwaine told us we were going to swim to a point in the ocean and then back.  When he pointed to this magic spot we were to swim too I put my foot down.  I let it be known that was a little too far and he said ok how about we go to the next closest point and he showed me where that was.  I agreed.  At this point my husband told me he knew it went from being a group tour to a JoJo tour.  So we start off and we had been in the water for a few minutes when a guy from Germany started screaming help.  Oh my gosh what in the hell is going on?  First thought SHARK, and don’t look under water because I was getting ready to see something I didn’t want to see.  I looked around for my husband as I was slowly making my way back to that safe sandbar and what did I see?  My husband swimming towards that man.  Oy Vey what was he thinking?  Right behind S was Dwaine.  Almost immediately Dwaine starts yelling its ok, he just got a cramp.  It took a minute for my mind to register this because my fight or flight had kicked in and I was flying.  I was making my way back to the beach.  Well once it sunk in that this man just had a cramp I quit my journey back to the shore and stayed where I was.  Come to find out this guy was not a very good swimmer and he had his young son with him.  His wife and other son stayed on the beach.  Well once S and Dwaine made sure the guy was ok they sent him on his way back to the shore with his son in tow.  So back to our snorkeling adventure, now there were 7.  Once we all got our masks back on and started toward our destination all was well.  Dwaine got my attention and pointed at the squid that were swimming below us.  They were so close I could touch them.  S said he could hear screams coming from my snorkel.  He didn’t realize what was going on until I pointed the squid out to him and then he knew I was just excited.

There were so many beautiful and colorful fish and vegetation.  I just couldn’t get enough of what I was seeing.  Dwaine stayed by my side the entire time pointing out different things.  Well before I knew it we were at the destination.  I brought my head up out of the water and looked at Dwaine with my eyes opened as wide as I could open them and a huge smile on my face and asked where the other point was that we were supposed to go to.  He pointed to the spot and I said “Let’s go”.  Everyone else was now gathering around and they were asking what we were doing.  I told them we were going on further and with my bossiness that I try to suppress reared its head when I let everyone know to basically let’s get the show on the road by yelling Ok People let’s go!   So this time we make it to the point and then we were swimming on the other side of the rock barrier, i.e. deeper ocean.  As we were making our way around the rock barrier Dwaine starts pointing at something.  As I look I see huge gray manta ray fish.  Again with the screams.  S is still behind me, which I later find out it was because he was looking at all the underwater surroundings and if he did happen to see a shark he was going to try to steer me in the opposite direction or be there to slap some sense into me so to speak if I saw one.  Any who back to the manta rays, I was in awe, and they were beautiful.  I didn’t want to move.  I just wanted to hover above them and watch them for as long as they would stay in that area.

As we move on Dwaine said once we get around the rocks back on the beach side there are usually sea turtles hanging around.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any but, we did see a huge barracuda.  I have been told time and again they are what you need to watch out for but for me I am still more scared of running into a shark.  Who knows it could be a different story if Jaws (the movie) had a barracuda as the star instead of a Great White Shark.   There were more beautiful fish and vegetation and as we made our way closer to the shore.  I didn’t want to leave this underwater oasis.

Once we got out of the water we sat outside and ate our lunch.  The weather was perfect and this was an amazing way to spend the day.  I am glad that in my mind there were no sharks out there.  I would hate to think that my fear would have kept me from experiencing something so beautiful and amazing.

The tour was over and we were now at the dock.  There were some shops and booths selling food and trinkets.  We saw a booth where they were making drinks using local rum and they were putting the drink in a coconut.  What?  How much fun, a drink in a coconut and there was a lady right outside the booth preparing the fresh coconuts.   I just had to try this.  I got one with coconut and I think banana.  Let me just say they do not skimp on the rum.  It was strong.

We walked around a little and just had to take our pictures with the Senor Frog.  From what we were told there were, and I’m sure to this day, many drunk people leaving this place trying to make their way back to the boat.  We actually got a picture of Senor Frogs before they opened when we were waiting to leave for our tour.  It was packed that afternoon.

Freeport was by far my favorite part of the trip.  I’m not saying Nassau wasn’t a nice place to visit and I may have felt different if we had signed up for a tour there as well, or if we had never signed up for the tour in Freeport.  I am so glad we did though.  I didn’t want to get back on the ship I really loved being in Freeport.

Once we got back to our room we had a surprise waiting for us and when I walked in it scared the shit out of me at first.  Once my eyes focused and I realized what it was I laughed my ass off.

I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.  I would have been so much more informative if I had finished this blog shortly after the trip as I intended to.  Next up, the last day on the boat.