94. Puerto Vallarta – Mexico

94. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Our 3rd, and last shore tour on our Mexican Riviera cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean “Visions of the Sea,” was at Puerto Vallarta, a still picturesque fishing village.  Tourism began in 1964 after Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made the movie, “Night of the Iguana,” there, and bought homes.

When the young woman who was our tour guide got on the bus, she announced, in Spanish, “This tour is conducted in Spanish.  Is that a problem?”  A man behind me replied, “Es un problema grande!”  (That’s a big problem!)  Then the gal said, “Well, then I guess I will try doing it in English.” (In perfect english.)  There was laughter and a sigh of relief!

Puerto Vallarta had a grand promenade along the wide beach, with bronze statues punctuating the view along the walk.  The last statue was of a boy on a seahorse, a landmark signature point of the city.  Across the cobblestone street, two-story restaurants and gift shops with balconies, presented a picturesque glimpse of days gone by.

Betty went with the group for a walking tour to the local cathedral.  When they got off the bus, Betty stopped to take pictures of traditionally dressed dancers performing on the beach walk.

Because I did not leave the bus with the group, I was treated to a private ride around back streets and over the river to “Gringo Gulch,” where affluent Americans, including Liz Taylor & Richard Burton, had purchased homes.

After the town tour, the bus took us down the coast to a lookout point above Banderas Bay for a photo stop.  The foliage and vistas were reminiscent of Hawaii.  It was another fun day on our cruise.

Then back to the ship for good times at sea as we went back to San Diego.

92. Cabo San Lucas – The Mexican Riviera

92.  Cabo San Lucas – The Mexican “Riviera”

Life aboard Visions of the Sea, a 900 ft+ Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing the “Love Boat Route” from San Diego California to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, seemed like a week-long fantasy.  We went this route twice, the second time on a Carnival ship in 2005, sailing from Long Beach.

Our first of three shore excursions in Mexico was at the Land’s End of Baja California, at the small city of Cabo San Lucas.  A power lift dropped me from deck to gangplank level, and with crewmen holding me port & starboard, I stepped gracefully aboard the rocking ship’s tender for the ride to the dock.

I rolled my walker across the dock to the small glass-bottom boat for our 40-minute trip out to the Land’s End where we saw the striking rock formations of Los Aros.  We passed a pelican rookery, and a pile of seals resting in the shade of the rocks.  We paused near a large sea lion basking on a ledge, and our boat driver yelled at him, “Hey Pedro, wake up!” Pedro rolled over, sat up and posed disdainfully while we took pictures. When the boat turned away, Pedro laid back down to resume his nap.

Cabo San Lucas looked much like any small Southwestern US town, but with major housing construction underway.  Giorgio’s Restaurant, where we stopped for a free beverage, was perched on a high point with a magnificent view of the Land’s End rocks, the great curve of yellow beach along the coast in front of the city, and the harbor with our ship anchored in the center.  You can see our ship just to the left of Betty, who graciously climbed on the rock so I  could get the picture.  Behind Giorgio’s were rows of giant vacant-eyed stone monoliths —pastel high-rise condos standing like Easter Island monuments, quiet, empty, and unfinished.  (Perhaps it was siesta time…I saw no activity.)

When we arrived the second time at Cabo San Lucas, we rode the tender ashore, and sat a while on a bench on the pier and watched the world go by.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  Is it part of getting “older” that we enjoy “being” as much as “doing”?  Got a great picture of a pelican resting on a small boat right in front of us to keep us company.  Two Mexican marines standing at the end of the pier with automatic weapons reminded us of the real world out there.

Cabo San Lucas was exploding — a lot of new buildings and construction.  We watched the parasails, sailboats, buzzing jet skis circling, and tenders coming and going to our ship.   A great cloud of pelicans and gulls followed a fishing boat returning, obviously after a successful day!

Looking Back! Looking Forward!

imagesLooking Back!  Looking Forward!

New Year’s eve 2015 – time to reflect and look back on the past year, and plan for the year ahead.  2015 was a landmark year as I had my 80th birthday, and Betty & I celebrated our 50th anniversary.  Betty also had a remarkably perfect total hip replacement with no pain from the surgery.  The lack of pain is from God’s provision and lots of PROformance, the superfruit extract from eXfuze that is high anti-inflammatory.

My rhyming story picture book, “Mouse in the Manger” was an award-winning Finalist in both the Florida Writer’s Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.

Our intent for the new year is to press on – keep on keeping on with renewed resolve to our commitment made some 45 years ago to be as healthy as we can be.  We were challenged by our doctor in Hawaii to learn and do what it takes to be healthy.

As God led us on a path to health and well being; we learned many things, and gathered tools and resources to improve our health.  We had stages to go through, as we learned that low fat, low cholesterol eating, while good, was not enough because we were eating preservatives, artificial colors and additives that were detrimental.  We learned the necessity of “movement” called “exercise”, and then resources for eating organic as the food supply became detrimental from GMOs.

We trained at the Better Life Institute to teach people how to lose weight, and then worked with a certified nutritionist as wellness coaches for 20 years.  We loved helping others improve their health, and continue to offer the information and resources we found when people want to make the lifestyle change for good health and anti-aging.

If better health is one of your new year’s resolutions, and you are serious about it, give us a call, and we’d be delighted to help you on your journey by sharing what we’ve learned.

2016 Goals:

Help people with their health goals.   Expand our eXfuze business.   Exercise daily.   Be consistent with the Blog – twice weekly.   Publish a new rhyming story picture book – “Danny the Dragon” – already in the works.    Ashly Otis, who did the illustrations for “Mouse in the Manger”, has completed one illustration of Danny – and it is gorgeous!

What are your goals for 2016?  Feel free to share – writing your goals is the first step in getting started!

Your health is your greatest asset!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Memories

imagesChristmas Memories

My favorite holiday is Christmas! It is first special because it is the birthday of Jesus, who came to be with us and be our savior. Second, Christmas has special memories from my childhood that I cherish.

Christmas was always the big family event of the year, with Christmas Eve as the most exciting part for me. Soon after Thanksgiving, we would go to a tree farm and buy a fresh cut tree, usually eight to ten feet tall to set up near the front window in the living room.
We fussed with the strings of lights because all the bulbs had to be good for the string to light. My sister Jan and I decorated the tree with many colored balls and dangling ornaments, and strands of icicles. We had a special antique angel for the top.

Our gift giving tradition was to “fish” for small inexpensive gifts. Mom said that Grandma started the tradition during the Depression when there wasn’t much money for gifts. All the wrapped gifts were piled on the pool table in the front room, and a sheet tacked up over the door. We tied a string on a “fishing pole” to throw over the sheet. Someone would hook a gift on the string and call for the recipient to come “fish” it out while everyone watched to see what they got. With many small gifts, the giving could be stretched out for the whole evening.

The gifts also became a tradition. I always gave Mom a box of #2 lead pencils and packs of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum — individually wrapped, of course. I tied the pencils in a long string. I always gave my sister Jan a can of cashews, and Daddy a bottle of after shave lotion; usually Old Spice or Bay Rum. Daddy got paperback books, or Zane Grey westerns or Agatha Christi mysteries.

We vied to see who would notice the passing of midnight, and be the first to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Then we hung our stockings on the mantle over the fireplace and waded through the mounds of wrapping paper to go to bed.
Christmas morning I was up early! I snuck out to once again try to shout “Merry Christmas” before someone else did. First stop was to see what goodies were in my stocking; maybe a candy bar or a small jackknife.

Mom was already up preparing Christmas dinner for the midday. Normal days we ate in the kitchen, but today we ate on the big table in the dining room. Mom usually boiled two of our own chickens, and dropped dumplings on top of them. I loved those dumplings and gravy! The rest was traditional, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple pie or pumpkin pie for dessert.

Either Christmas Eve or the end of Christmas day, or both, Mom would sit down at the old upright piano, and we gathered around to sing Christmas carols.

Sigh. Christmas was over. Now, the long wait until next year. The wonderful memories lingered as we ate leftover chicken and pie.

Do you have special traditions at Christmas, or memories from Christmas past? Please share – we’d love to hear them!