Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao

On Wednesday, our port of call is Curacao which is a Dutch territory. We dock at 10:00 and our excursion isn’t until 10:45…so we have a little bit of time. (By the way, Curacao is pronounced with the first “C” having a hard “C” sound like in “Cat” and the second “C” having an “S” sound like in “snake.”)

We again started at the gym.

Morning workout. Click photo for full size.

Then, instead of fruit, we get a heftier breakfast. We even got a made-to-order omelet! We will be snorkeling later in the day.

Made-to-order omelettes. Click photo for full size.

After coating ourselves with sunscreen, we’re ready! We disembark and meet our tour group. After boarding the open-air bus, our tour guide took us through parts of Curacao and explained its history.

We stopped at an old salt flat to see some flamingos.

Flamingos. Click photo for full size.

Eventually we arrived at Blue Bay which is part of a resort community.

On the beach at Curacao. Click photo for full size.

Here we got our snorkel gear and then headed out into the water. The water was still cool. By comparison, when we snorkeled at La Paz, Mexico, the water was warm.

The beach was picturesque. Clear blue water, palm trees, lounge chairs, warm temperatures…what more could you ask?

Seeing tropical fish with their variety of shapes and bright colors is always fun and amazing. Because Jeri’s mask couldn’t seal tight, she just used the mask to peer into the water to see the fish and coral.

Snorkel area at Blue Bay beach in Curacao. Click photo for full size.

Iguanas live on the island.

An iguana. Click photo for full size.

After we returned to the ship, we cleaned up and then grabbed a salad at the buffet. We also got another vegetarian enchilada; this one had kale and canolli beans…a little spicy, but yummy!

After our late lunch, we tried the water slide. Although you start slow, you keep gaining speed as you approach the bottom. Here’s Jeri at the top.

Jeri ready to try the water slide. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Tim hitting the bottom.

Tim at bottom of water slide. Click photo for full size.

Back in our room, we took showers and got cleaned up. We again leave the ship to walk around and shop.

Close to the ship is Rif Fort which was built by the Dutch. Inside now are various shops and restaurants.

Next to Rif Fort. Click photo for full size.

We saw gun holes and took pictures for Josiah who had already explained their function to Jeri. The openings are called arrow loops or arrowslits. The design made it easy to shoot out but hard for the enemy to shoot in.

Arrow Loop from the inside of Rif Fort. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a view from the outside. Notice the three slots.

Three arrow loops viewed from outside of Rif Fort. Click photo for full size.

Near the fort was the waterfront from which you could see the Queen Juliana bridge which is the highest bridge in the Carribean.

Queen Juliana bridge in Willemstad, Curacao. Click photo for full size.

We walked across the floating bridge (which you can see in the above picture) to the historic part of Williamstad.

In Willemstad, Curacao. Click photo for full size.

The sun was setting as we were ready to board the ship.

In Willemstad, Curacao near the Carnival Conquest. Click photo for full size.

For dinner, Jeri’s appetizer was a tomato and green bean salad. Tim had a regular salad.

Tomato and green bean salad. Click photo for full size.

We each had the Italian dish, penne noodles in a tomato sauce with eggplant, zucchini, olives, capers, and some mozzarella cheese.

Penne noodles in a tomato sauce with eggplant, zucchini, olives, capers, and some mozzarella cheese. Click photo for full size.

Our server gave us plenty of cooked broccoli!

Plenty of broccoli. Click photo for full size.

Dessert was Boston Cream Cake and Orange Almond Cake.

Boston Cream cake. Click photo for full size.
Orange almond cake. Click photo for full size.

Edge performed for our evening entertainment. He was funny and entertaining.

In the theatre. Click photo for full size.
Edge. Click photo for full size.
Edge performing with audience volunteers. Click photo for full size.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea

Tuesday was a day at sea. Sea days are always very relaxing. It’s so nice to just lie in bed and not be thinking that is time to get to work on the 101 things that need to get done.

We started in the gym again. We first worked out on the elliptical machine for 20 minutes.

Jeri on an elliptical machine. Click photo for full size.

Then we used some of their weight machines.

Tim lifting weights. Click photo for full size.

After showers, we had lunch which was mostly salads plus a kale and white bean quesadilla. You can see the quesadilla on Jeri’s plate in the picture.

Lunch Buffet. Click photo for full size.

We finished with a slice of German chocolate cake and one of tiramisu cheesecake. Sugar overload!

German Chocolate Cake and Tiramisu Cheesecake. Click photo for full size.

After lunch was total relaxation, Jeri read and worked on some puzzles. Tim took an hour and half long nap.

Jeri relaxing in our room. Click photo for full size.

The we went up top of the ship and walked a mile on the walking/jogging track. We also watched a beautiful sunset.

Jeri and a beautiful sunset. Click photo for full size.

The brass trio was playing as we entered the restaurant.

Brass Trio. Click photo for full size.

For appetizers, Tim had broccoli and cheese soup. Jeri had the minestrone soup. Tim saved his soup and added his steamed broccoli, carrots, and onions to it. Then later he used it as topping on his baked potato.

Broccoli and cheese soup and Minestrone soup. Click photo for full size.

Our main entree was grilled tofu with vegetables.

Steamed vegetables, French fries, baked potato, and grilled tofu with vegetables. Click photo for full size.

For dessert, Tim had the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake and Jeri had bread pudding.

Bread pudding. Click photo for full size.

After dinner, we headed straight to the lounge so we could find a seat for the comedy show. Percy Crews 2 did a PG-rated show called “Old School.” He was funny, but not as funny as the previous show.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk

Monday around 8 am, we docked at Grand Turk. This was four hours ahead schedule since we didn’t stop in the Bahamas the day before. Again we started in the gym.

In the gym. Click photo for full size.

Then we each had a plate of fruit. We wandered the ship and looked out over the island.

On the ship at Grand Turk. Click photo for full size.

Then we changed clothes and got a falafel wrap from the California Deli.

With Falafel Wraps. Click photo for full size.

We left the ship with plenty of time to spare. So we got to the excursion meet-up place early. We visited with Faith Anne and her husband who are the owners of Exclusive Escapes.

Shortly Gary and Marshall came back and dropped off one tour group and picked us up. Because our ship arrived in port early, quite a few people took an earlier tour. So instead of 12 in the group, we were joined by a couple and their daughter (who didn’t snorkel). Our group was nice and small.

On the snorkeling boat. Click photo for full size.

Our first stop was a shallow coral reef. Gary led the way. He had some Cheerios in a bottle that he used to attract the fish. The fish would swim right up to him. One time we were close to him and the yellow fish would actually swim by and brush us as they swam past.

Gary caught a small nurse shark by his hand and let us touch it. Then he let the shark go.

Our second stop was a spot near an underwater cliff where the sea floor drops suddenly. The water is so clear that you can see the drop off. Gary dove down about 50 feet just holding his breath. Then he let out some Cheerios for the fish.

Both of us are still new to snorkeling, so we each swallowed some very salty seawater. Aside from that, we really enjoyed our time. Although initially the water felt cool, we acclimated pretty well.

After returning to the beach, we walked back to the ship.

On Grand Turk. Click photo for full size.

There were two Carnival ships at Grand Turk that day.

Two Carnival Ships. Click photo for full size.

Back in our room, we each hopped in the shower and got clean again. We caught the sunset as we sailed away from Grand Turk.

Catching sunset on the ship. Click photo for full size.
Leaving Grand Turk. Click photo for full size.

We got ready for dinner which is always one of the highlights on a cruise. Tonight they had vegetarian spring rolls! For the entree, Tim got stuffed Portobello mushrooms; Jeri got the Indian dish. The mushroom dish was exceptional!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Click photo for full size.
View inside of the Stuffed Portobello Mushroom. Click photo for full size.

For dessert, we both had the apple pie a la mode.

Apple Pie a la Mode. Click photo for full size.

For our evening entertainment, we saw the Gender Showdown. The host was our cruise director, Leigh, who made it very entertaining.

The game show format involved a number of rounds. Each round required one or more volunteers from each gender. Two rounds were in the format of Family Feud.

One round had six people join hands and see how many people could fit inside.

Gender Showdown Balloon Relay. Click photo for full size.

The last round was a relay which required each person to blow up and tie a balloon. Then he or she ran to his or her captain and had to pop the balloon in some specific manner like chest to chest, back to back, our sitting on the captain’s lap. Hands could not be used to pop the balloon. Then the person ran back and tagged the next team member.

After the show, we stopped to listen to the string trio. An older man made a request and then got up to dance.

Sweet Liberty taking requests. Click photo for full size.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea

Sunday, our port of call was Princess Cays island in the Bahamas. However the strong winds forced the captain to cancel since he couldn’t properly anchor the ship and said that we were in danger of running aground. At this island, cruise ships anchor offshore and then use tender boats to shuttle people back and forth to shore.

We didn’t have any plans in Bahamas. So instead of relaxing day on the beach, we had a relaxing day on the ship. We first went to the gym and exercised 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and then did some weights. Then we went to the buffet and had some fruit.

Plates of fruit. Click photo for full size.

Since our room wasn’t ready yet, we looked for a quiet place to read. Finally we found a spot outside of the sports bar where we read Ephesians chapter four. Then we went to the theater where we read the books that we had brought with us. Thinking, Fast and Slow for Tim. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus for Jeri.

Time for reading. Click photo for full size.

We had nice salads for a late lunch. They always had fun cold salads and fun vegetarian hot dishes for us to enjoy.

Yummy Lunch at the Lido Buffet. Click photo for full size.

The vegetarian enchiladas were wonderful!

Vegetarian Enchilada with black beans. Click photo for full size.

In the afternoon, we took our showers and then rested and relaxed in our room until dinner. After bread, butter, and a small side salad, Jeri had a root vegetable pie; Tim had the Indian dish. Due to the spiciness, Tim was sweating a bit. So we finished our meals by swapping plates.

Dinner on Day 2. Click photo for full size.

Dessert was definitely the highlight, malted chocolate hazelnut cake!

Malted Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with warm chocolate sauce. Click photo for full size.

After dinner, some of the waiters would do a choreographed dance to some music. Each night was a different theme.

Dancing after dinner. Click photo for full size.

For the first two nights, another couple was assigned to our table. Donato and Maria immigrated to the United States over 30 years ago. When they came, they didn’t speak any English. Although he learned to speak English from coworkers, he is always working and has never had time to learn to read or write it. She said that she learned to read by watching the TV show, Wheel of Fortune. They were very nice and we ran into them several times during the cruise.

Donato and Maria. Click photo for full size.

After this meal, Donato and Maria asked if they could be assigned to a different table so that they could be served by a waiter that they had had on a previous cruise. So the following evenings, Jeri and I had the table to ourselves. We enjoyed eating together without feeling like we needed to make conversation with others.

After dinner we caught two PG-rated comedy shows. Between the show we listened a bit to the band, Smooth Operators, with the horn trio, World Town Sound.

Smooth Operators with WorldTown Sound. Click photo for full size.

The second comedy show with Percy Crews 2 was hilarious. At the end, we were both crying and doubled over from laughing so hard. Our stomachs were literally hurting.

Percy Crews 2. Click photo for full size.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale

After we finished packing Saturday morning, we drove Aunt Vivian’s car to Dick’s Sporting Goods to buy two pair of water shoes for the cruise. We returned and had about 10 minutes to eat a quick bite before meeting our shuttle driver downstairs.

Neil dropped us off at the pier and within about 10 minutes, we were in our room. Totally amazing! So we unpacked and then went to the buffet for a snack.

Our room is on deck 1. A lot of stuff is on decks 3 to 5. The buffet is on deck 9. Jeri found that climbing the stairs seemed to help her sciatica and back pain that she’s been having the past few weeks. Plus Lizzie and others back home were praying for Jeri’s back.

We explored the ship. Here we are above the atrium.

Jeri and Tim above atrium on the Carnival Conquest. Click photo for full size.

Two violin players and a cellist composed the group called Liberty Sweets. They played a variety of music including some Christmas music throughout the cruise.

Violin music with Liberty Sweets. Click photo for full size.

Several nights the brass trio would play music as we entered the restaurant for our evening dining.

WorldTown Sound brass trio. Click photo for full size.

The evening meal was always a highlight of the day.

At our first dinner. Click photo for full size.

Jeri chose the vegetable lasagna.

Vegetable Lasagna. Click photo for full size.

Every night they had at least two vegetarian options for the main entrée. One of these options was always Indian with different dishes each night. Our waiter told us that a number of the cooks were from India.

Authentic Indian Cuisine. Click photo for full size.

We chose the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake for dessert this night.

Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake. Click photo for full size.

After supper, we listened to some music by the Sweet Operators.

Music by Sweet Operators. Click photo for full size.

And then we watched the Welcome Aboard Show. Unfortunately the music was really loud!

Welcome Aboard Show. Click photo for full size.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018

Tim’s aunt, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, has invited us to visit several times. So this year, instead of cruising to Mexico like we’ve done the last three years, Jeri and Tim decided to do a Carribean cruise.

After a hectic few days trying to get ready for the trip as well as finishing up stuff for work and home, Tim finally finishes packing around 8:30 am…just in time to call Uber.

Our driver was William, who is Filipino. We had a good discussion of spiritual things and Tim shared the gospel with him.

Everything went smoothly at LAX. During our nearly five-hour flight, we watched two movies. The first was an amazing National Geographic documentary called The March of the Penguins which told of the sacrifices that the male and female Emperor Penguins make to hatch and raise their young. The second movie was Walk the Line which told the story of Johnny Cash and the struggles that he faced.

After our nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale, we made it to Aunt Vivian’s place.

Thursday morning, after a late start, we visit the gym in Aunt Vivian’s building to do some weights. Then we swam in the building’s outdoor heated pool. The water was warm but getting out was cold because of the strong breeze. (Her building is right on the beach.)

After swimming at Fort Lauderdale. Click photo for full size.

That afternoon, we relaxed in her place and Tim took a nap. That evening, we checked out our excursion choices at the various ports.

Friday morning, Jeri and I walked down to a nearby pier and back. Although it didn’t look that far, it was about a mile away. So our two-mile walk in the soft sand took over an hour.

After walking on beach in Fort Lauderdale. Click photo for full size.

We came back and showered. Then Aunt Vivian treated us to lunch at a vegan restaurant, Green Bar and Kitchen. We were glad that she was willing to try something different and join us.

Aunt Vivian at Green Bar and Kitchen. Click photo for full size.

She got a hummus wrap; Jeri and I split a taco salad and a coconut burger. The coconut burger patty was one of the best that we’ve had. It had a great flavor and texture.

Tim and Jeri at Green Bar and Kitchen. Click photo for full size.

After lunch, we did some shoe and snack shopping to get ready for our cruise. After returning to the condo, Jeri and I walked to CVS to get a few more things.

Late Friday afternoon, Tim got a call about a bug in a website project that he’s been working on. So he had to spend a few hours debugging and fixing the issue. Fortunately for all, he was able to implement a fix.

Pre-Carribean Cruise 2018
Carribean Cruise Day 1 – Leave Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Day 2 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 3 – Grand Turk
Carribean Cruise Day 4 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 5 – Curacao
Carribean Cruise Day 6 – Aruba
Carribean Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Carribean Cruise Day 8 – At Sea
End of Carribean Cruise and Back in Fort Lauderdale
Carribean Cruise Photos

Christmas program at Carmel Village 2018

The youth from our church minister at senior home (assisted living) place on some Sunday afternoons each month. This Sunday afternoon, they had a Christmas program.

Jeffrey, Lizzie, Victoria, and Joanna sing some Christmas carols. Although they didn’t practice much before today, they still sounded delightful.

 

Jeffrey played bass guitar while two Stevens brothers (Philip and Tim) played guitar and banjo.

 

The youth ensemble consisted of Christeen Oautu (flute), Lizzie Pau (piano), Joshua Oautu (violin), Philip Stevens (guitar), Tim Stevens (banjo), and Jeffrey Pau (bass guitar).

 

Then they switched up instruments. Christeen Oautu (flute/piano), Lizzie Pau (piano/vocal), Joshua Oautu (guitar), Philip Stevens (violin), Tim Stevens (bass guitar), and Jeffrey Pau (banjo) play some Christmas carols on Sunday, December 2, 2018, at Carmel Village in Fountain Valley, California.

Thanksgiving 2018

We started the day with a Thanksgiving day service at church. Our pastor always encourages people to share what they are thankful for. Then we came home and continued working on food preparations.

Early afternoon, we had our Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family. We prepared a small turkey breast for the meat eaters and a Tofurky roast and ham for the vegetarians. Plus we had real mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and apple pies. Yum! Actually we were full so the pies are for later in the day.

Here are Sarah, Victoria, Josiah, Lizzie, and Tim before the meal. Joanna and Jeri are finishing preparations.

Sarah, Victoria, Josiah, Lizzie, and Tim (Joanna and Jeri at the counter behind). Click photo for full size.

Lizzie, Josiah, and Jeffrey next to the (messy) counter.

Lizzie, Josiah, and Jeffrey before the meal. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie, Josiah, Nicole, and Jason before the meal. Victoria is seated at the table behind.

Lizzie, Josiah, Nicole, (Victoria), and Jason. Click photo for full size.

Jeri and Tim in the kitchen.

Jeri and Tim in the kitchen. Click photo for full size.

Here are the four brothers (plus Victoria): Jeffrey, Justin, Jason, and Josiah.

Victoria, Jeffrey, Justin, Jason, and Josiah. Click photo for full size.

Joanna and Sarah working in the kitchen.

Joanna and Sarah helping in the kitchen. Click photo for full size.

Here is the entire family around the table: Josiah, Nicole, Jeffrey, Victoria, Justin, Jeri, Jason, Joanna, Sarah, Lizzie, and Tim.

Josiah, Nicole, Jeffrey, Victoria, Justin, Jeri, Jason, Joanna, Sarah, Lizzie, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie took a selfie while Jeffrey and Jason work on dishes.

Selfie by Lizzie with Jeffrey and Jason doing dishes. Click photo for full size.

Another selfie by Lizzie with Victoria, Jeffrey, Jason, Joanna, and Josiah after the meal.

Lizzie, Victoria, Jeffrey, Jason, Joanna, and Josiah after the meal. Click photo for full size.

Here is a montage of the photos.

OCC Fall Choral-Vocal Showcase

A few photos from the concert.

Joanna, Victoria, and Sarah in the middle row. Click photo for full size.

One of the highlights of the concert was a piece by Craig Courtney called “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas.” Each of the twelve days was represented by a different time period/composer. Eliza (the choir director) assigned individuals to the various groups.

Three French Hens from 16th-Century Italy (in the sytle of Palestrina).

Sarah (on the right) singing the Third Day of Christmas. Click photo for full size.

Six Geese from 18th-Century Austria (in the sytle of Mozart).

Joanna (on the left) singing the Sixth Day of Christmas. Click photo for full size.

Eight Maids from 19th-Century Germany (in the style of Wagner).

Victoria (in the middle) singing the Eighth Day of Christmas. Click photo for full size.

Eleven Lords from 19th-Century Russia (in the style of Tchaikovsky).

Joanna (in the middle) singing the Eleventh Day of Christmas. Click photo for full size.

After singing the Twelve Drummers from 20th-Century America (in the style of John Philip Sousa).

OCC Chambers Singers Fall 2018. Click photo for full size.

Here we are after the concert. Jeffrey was there but is missing from the picture. (Sorry Jeffrey.)

Lizzie, Josiah, Joanna, Jeri, Tim (front), Nicole, Victoria, and Sarah (back) after concert. Click photo for full size.

Sarah, Joanna, and Victoria sang with the OCC Chamber Singers at the Orange Coast College Fall Choral-Vocal Showcase. Here is a compilation of the pictures that we took.

Dressing up for Halloween

Joanna and Sarah were invited to a costume party for Halloween.

Joanna went as Mary Poppins (even to work).

Mary Poppins (Joanna) at work. Click photo for full size.

Sarah was Audrey Hepburn. Professional photography by Lizzie Pau.

Sarah as Audrey Hepburn. Click photo for full size.

Here they are together.

Mary Poppins (Joanna) and Audrey Hepburn (Sarah). Click photo for full size.

Joanna made “mummy” cupcakes.

Joanna with “mummy” cupcakes. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie taking a picture.

Lizzie taking a picture of Mary Poppins and Audrey Hepburn. Click photo for full size.

For fun, here are pictures of the real Mary Poppins and Audrey Hepburn.

Mary Poppins. Click photo for full size.
Audrey Hepburn. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a daily digest.