Sunday, December 11, 2011

Athens, Greece

Our ship lifted anchor at Santorini about 10 pm and headed on to Piraeus, Athen's main port and one of the most important in the Mediterranean. We got there at 7 am after a leisurely cruise of 123 miles. We booked one of the ship's shore excursions for this stop. As is usually the case, ship sponsored land excursions are always expensive, the groups are often too large and at the end of each tour, you always feel that you missed something that you shouldn't for the money that you paid for.

We never learn our lesson, we just keep doing it time and again LOL. Part of the reason is we just do not want to be bothered searching for better alternatives. It is just so mindlessly easy to book a ship shore excursion and have the assurance that the ship will not sail until their excursionists are back on board.

On our way to the Parthenon, I saw some workers at a distance doing some clean-up work. I zoomed at the group with my point and shoot camera.

The result could be better but I'm happy with the 10X zoom of my pocket camera. Mababaw ang kaligayan ko, photographically speaking LOL.

The Parthenon undergoing some cosmetic (?) work.

I do not know what this is or why I'm here.

I was told this is a significant ruin but if this was in my neighborhood the local powers-that-be will say it is an urban blight and ought to be demolished and replaced with an income generating nonsense.

Everybody was looking and I looked, too, but I do not know what we were supposed to look at, so I just took a picture of them looking and what I thought they were looking at.

I'm glad we arrived before the tourist horde started coming. It was a mess here and I do not know how the parking lot we left behind or what passed for one, looked like. Our bus driver just told us to bail out quickly when we arrived and he'll pick us up at the arranged time and place, give or take a few minutes. Amazingly, we found our bus or the bus driver found us amidst the chaos - a near miracle without a gps or a cell phone.

Street parking Athens-style, any which way you can LOL.

The Panathenaic Stadium, I think.

We're headed to that ruin (like I care) atop that distant hill. After seeing so many ruins and archeological sites in many countries we've visited over the years, I'm getting an overload of them. I'd rather see other things even if they are less historically significant or famous.

I thought taking a pic of this mailbox is a pleasant change from all those ruins.

The glory of the past behind the beauty of the present.

At last we are heading down to the bus and back to the boat! I need a drink!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time Out

On a quickie trip to Vegas, I saw this stack of cash in one of the hotel casinos. I had to take a pic! This is as closed as I am going to get to a million dollar cold cash in easily spendable hundred dollar bills. Given the "walk away" inflation of our time though, this is really not much money - a nice tract home with a view in Southern California, a fancy foreign car, a few trips abroad and all you would be left with is just enough cash to buy yourself a drink or two at your favorite bar and, if you luckily drop in during happy hour you'll stlll have a few bills left for the bartender. LOL.


I'm glad I kept the lifestyle, food and clothing preferences of my struggling college days (as in struggling for good grades and a more generous school allowance) to this day. I don't have to worry about money or lack of it because my enjoyment of life would not change drastically, either way.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Santorini, Greece

Our first port of call was Santorini, an island we already visited in 2003. Other than finding out changes that occured between then and now, I really did not feel like going ashore - I just wanted to hang out at the poolside bar, relax, eat and sleep. None of these happened. I found myself at the dock with my wife and travel companions enduring the heat, humidity and the long line to ride the cable car.

As soon as I saw there were several other cruise ships at port, I know it is going to be a mess dockside. It is hard to quickly disperse arriving cruisers to all points in the island where the only convenient venues are a cable car, a donkey ride or your leg power for an uphill climb to town.

It took us an hour lined up under the sun to get a cable car ride!

More cruisers are coming in to invade Santorini!

Cable car is the preferred way unless you want to walk or ride a donkey along a smelly route to the top.

My wife never fails to say a prayer whenever she run into a church anywhere in the world.

It is not clear in the pic but there is a long line of people in the background ready to take the cable car back to the dock.


That's real grass there! When the sun calls it a day, you can lay on the grass with a bottle of your favorite wine and a selection of cheese and assorted fruits and listen to live music while you watch the sunset and wait for the stars to show up. Unfortunately, I associate grass with the unpleasant task of mowing our lawn at home and none of this decadent lifestyle LOL.

I took four shots and this is the best one of the lot. Tell me I do not need to go back and reshoot LOL.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eastern Mediterranean Cruise, Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, 2011

I was thinking of a South American cruise or a land tour but I was told that the best time to go there is early in the year so I was prevailed on by my wife to take another Mediterranean cruise instead, this time, to include Istanbul, Ephesus and Athens. Might as well go! I've been inching to go anywhere to get some distance from the sight of our recently renovated kitchen which I think was a waste of good travel money. My wife better start feeding me with good homecooked meals or I will paddle up the Amazon and live on piranhas... if I'm lucky to catch any LOL. If I know my wife as well as I do, she'll probably tell me to keep paddling upstream until I reach the Amazon's source water and email her when I get there...then she will lovingly tell me to stay there for good LOL.

Our trip started well because of scheduling luck - we picked  Detroit to catch our connecting flight to Rome. Had we decided to get our connecting flight in NY, we would have run into problems because of the hurricane. We arrived in Rome with plenty of time to spare to get to Civitavecchia where our cruise ship, the Celebrity Equinox, was at berth. The ship was a let down compared to the newest and largest of the cruise ships, the Allure of the Seas, which we tried last January to visit some Western Caribbean islands. I'm not complaining though, Equinox's food is good, it is less crowded and more importantly, they let me bring in my favorite recreational drink at check-in.     

On the way to Civitavecchia

D'Revelation, a popular Pinoy dance band on board. They are good!!

A lucky shot of Stromboli

An early morning view of Oceanview Cafe

An entertaining culinary demonstrations while we were spending the day at sea

Did you say you are on a diet? Good luck!

Poolside, just about the only crowded spot on the ship

No comment

Their theater

These are some of the guys who will make or break your trip. The guy with the hat on is the ship's executive chef, a swiss married to a Pinay from Cebu.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2011 Orange County Fair, a brief visit

We are having our kitchen renovated so for the last three days we have been eating out or bringing in take out food. I did not realize how important a kitchen is until ours is temporarily out of commission LOL.  For a change,  I thought it will be good idea to go to the OC Fair and try their food since this year's theme is Let's Eat. It was a disappointment: the food is so-so and costs a lot more than comparable food outside but what the heck, this is at the fair.                                   

It is OK to stroll inside the fair and drink your beer or wine as long as you are of legal drinking age.
Inside the Ice Museum