Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dodgers game

After the day at the beach, we hurried back to the hotel, showered, grabbed some dinner and headed for the LA Dodgers game.  We were staying about 23 miles away from the stadium and gave ourselves and hour to get there, but it took us an hour and a half to get there.  Traffic was horrible.  What you hear about traffic in LA, is true.  We missed the first inning and missed some highlights.  But we were seated in left center field on the 3rd row and saw a great game.  The Dodgers won 11 to 4.  There were 5 home runs during this game, which is very unusual for LA.  The crowd was very lively in the outfield bleachers and we had a good time.  After the game, they had a fireworks show and allowed the fans onto the field.  Something I thought I would never dream of doing was to actually put my foot on the field at Dodgers Stadium.  I was in heaven.  We didn't stay for the show as we had to get up early the next morning and start driving home and it was already almost 11pm.  Here are a few pictures of the game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day at the beach

On Friday, after we debarked, we found our car in the parking structure in Long Beach and headed for Manhattan Beach.  We had a night reserved at the Marriott in Manhattan, next to Redondo Beach.  The hotel room wasn't ready for us, so we went to Subway for lunch and then went and changed into our swim suits in the bathrooms at the hotel.  We then headed to the beach for 3 hours.  Manhattan Beach was only about 5 minutes from our hotel and it is a very nice area.  The beach was clean and we had a great time.  We boogie boarded, body surfed, played in the sand and seaweed, and just had a great time.  I don't think Krissinie got out of the water the entire time.  Korbin and Austin built themselves a seat in the sand near the edge of the water and their seats soon filled with water and sand and the seats that they built were gone in a flash.  Briawna and Tait buried themselves in the sand, and Jer enjoyed taking a lot of pictures.

One funny thing about the beach.  When we got to the car, I reached into my pockets and felt sand and small sea shells.  But I also felt something wiggly.  It was a small crab.  I threw it onto the ground and couldn't believe it.  So I decided to check the other pocket, same exact thing happened.  Unbelievable.

Video of Austin and Tait

Day on the boat

The next day, we spent the whole day at sea.  It is actually nice to have a day at sea.  You can relax and enjoy the boat and just eat, and eat, and eat.  Especially ice cream.  This day was the only day that we had any rain, but it was not raining hard and there were times when it was nice and sunny.  The seas were not too rough and we had a good time hanging out by the pool, playing miniature golf, going down the water slides, eating, and wandering the boat.  Krissinie really seemed to enjoy looking at the photos of our family.  If you have never been on a cruise, you need to understand that there are photographers everywhere and they are always trying to take your picture.  They hope that you will want to buy the photos as a memory.  Most all of our photos were too hideous to even think about purchasing, thus, the reason why Krissinie enjoyed looking at the pictures.  She had several good laughs.  We also went to a comedy show (family friendly), watched some karaoke, and watched a little TV in our rooms.  They had Hunger Games playing and we watched a little here and there.

That night was our last night on the boat, so the dinner crew had a special dance for us that night.  In the video, you can see that Austin and Tait were asked to join them, and they did.  It is a fun video.  We also had to have all of our bags packed and out in the hall by 11pm that night.  When you wake up the next morning, you leave the boat when called by zones.  We had some time to get a nice breakfast before our zone debarked.  We sat around for a couple of hours waiting, and then they call your zone and the debarkation goes pretty fast.  You find your bags, go through customs, and next thing you know, the cruise is over.  What a memory!  What a blast!

La Bufadora (The Blowhole)

After we were done on the zip line, we felt that our taxi driver had done us right, so when he offered to take us to the blowhole for an additional $7 per person, we chose to go.  It was another 30 minute drive and our taxi driver loved showing us the country.  They have many olive trees in the area.  At the blowhole, they have a long road with vendors on both sides of the street trying to sell you everything.  It was funny to me how they would keep saying, "this is the place for you my friend".  We walked down to the blowhole, which was kind of cool.  Glad I went zip lining first.  As we walked back to our taxi, we purchased some ponchos for $10 each, a couple of back packs, and Tait bought a toy.  We found, what we thought were, some very good deals.  I don't have a picture of the blowhole, but I have a picture of us near the blowhole overlooking the ocean.

On the way back to the boat, I asked our driver if he knew of our church.  He said, "oh yes".  He told us that Ensenada has 3 chapels and agreed to drive us past one of the chapels.  First, we had to stop at an ATM so that I could pay him.  In the Southern part of Ensenada, there is a section of town that is very nice.  There was a huge movie theater, a Walmart, Home Depot, and a Costco.  There were also some very nice restaurants.  We found a bank in this area of town with an ATM that dispenses dollars.  So I was able to withdraw some money to pay Carlos.  He then drove us by the University and explained that his daughter attends the University for $400 per year.  He then drove us by the LDS chapel which was pretty close to the University.  It was a small chapel with a gate around the outside.  It reminded me of the chapels in Brazil.  We then headed back to the boat and felt very fulfilled after a great day in Ensenada.  Thanks to Carlos.

Video of Tait on the zip line

Tait and I were tethered together and I caught some video of us zip lining together.  Sorry that the video is sideways.  Sometimes when I video with my iphone, it videos side ways and I cannot figure out how to rotate the video.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Las Canadas- zip line

Carlos, our taxi driver, took us to this new campground called "Las Canadas".  It is about 30 minutes outside of Ensenada and is beautiful.  They have built all of these clean campgrounds.  There is a pool, a water park, a small lake with paddle boats, an amphitheater, the zip line of course, and ATV and horseback riding.

The place was very clean and very safe.  They did tape on the girl's flip flops.  We were able to cross 5 rope bridges, and 5 zip lines.  One of the zip lines was over 1600 feet long.  You could barely see the platform where the zip line ended.  Look at the 5th picture in this group of pictures and you can see the amphitheater.  We started on this side of the hill and ended above the amphitheater.  This place was incredible and the kids were having a blast.  Austin kept saying "best vacation ever Dad".  Made me feel pretty good about choosing to go.  Here are some pictures of the place.  Oh, and with the exchange rate, it ended up costing $79 for the 7 of us.  Pretty darn good!  Jer and I paid more than that for a zip line in St Lucia per person.  But I must say that was pretty cool also.

Ensenada Mexico

Ensenada was probably the highlight of our trip.  We had no idea of what we were going to do in Ensenada. The excursions that Carnival offered were not very good, especially for families.  So we were thinking of just walking into town and doing a little shopping and then heading to a local beach.  We docked at 9am that morning and didn't have to be back on the boat until 9pm.  So we had plenty of time to explore Ensenada.  The weather wasn't looking great in the morning.  It was looking over cast and kind of cool.  But the weather forecast was for low 80's and clear.  The clouds and fog cleared out within a couple of hours and it turned out to be good weather.

At the dock, there were over 50 seals right next to the boat on the land sleeping.  Some were very noisy, and some were in and out of the water.  We watched them for quite while and were amused at how noisy they were.

We then decided it was time to head for the city.  We started walking from the boat, out toward's the city.  Just as we were about to leave the port, a taxi driver approached us and told us he had a terrific deal for us. Needless to say, Jer and I were a bit skeptical.  He told us he would take us to a zip line.  The zip line wasn't offered on the boat, and I wondered about safety.  Jer, Krissinie, and Briawna all had on flip flops, and we were all dressed in our swimsuits.  Not really the best attire for going on the zip line.  But he persisted and told us we were dressed fine and that they would tape on their flip flops.  We chuckled at that thought.  I told him that we would go into town and shop for a while and then come back and talk to him after we thought about it.  He persisted even more.  He told us he would drive us out there, wait for us, and drive us back.  He would not charge us for Tait.  $15 per person (so $90).  But then he explained that the zip line was another $16 per person.  Now I really started to question if we should go.  I told him we were heading to town and we would be back.  He would not give up.  He convinced me that we would be happy.  I also thought that $16 per person is really not that bad a price.  So we went.  Here is a taxi driver.  He was a God  send to us.

His name- Carlos Santana
Jer has his business card.  If any of you ever decide to go to Ensenada, you should call Carlos.  He will treat you right.

Set sail for Catalina

We went to bed that first night and woke up in Catalina.  Catalina is not very far away, so I assume that we sailed out to sea for a bit before they turn it around and head to Catalina.  I don't know, I was asleep.  Our day on Catalina Island was fun.  We had some time before our excursion, so we walked around for a few minutes.  Mostly everyone on Catalina Island gets around on golf carts.  That is one of the excursions you can do while there, but we chose the wildlife adventure.  We booked an excursion at sea looking for dolphins.  We boarded a small inflatable boat with about 20 people aboard.  We all wore poncho's because of the splash from the waves.  We went out to sea for about 2 hours, but did not find any dolphins.  We did see several seals, a bald eagle, and I spotted a large fish jumping in the distance.  We tried to get closer to see what it was, but it wouldn't jump again as we got closer.  It appeared to be a marlin or a sword fish.

It was a perfect weather day in Catalina and we had a good time.  The people who chose to para-sail looked like they were having a really good time.  I would think about doing that next time.  Here are a few pictures of Catalina Island.

Cruise ship

The boarding process went pretty smoothly for having 7 people to check in.  The girls all checked in together, since the 3 of them were in one room, and the boys all checked in together, since the 4 of us were in one room together.  I was amazed that after arriving at the boat early, there were sure a lot of people checking in early.  We had to have passports for Jer and I, but all of the kids just needed their birth certificates, except for Korbin.  Korbin needed his driver's license since he was over the age of 16.

We boarded the boat and the first thing we did was find the food.  We went straight to the self serve soft ice cream machine.  We spent a ton of time at that machine and we ate more than our share of ice cream.  We also ate some good food and then explored the ship.  It takes a couple of hours before your luggage shows up at your room.  So we just wanted to get to know the ship better.

We then departed Long Beach at 5:30pm.  But before we could leave, everyone on the ship has a mandatory meeting to discuss safety and what to do if the boat is sinking.  We then hurried to our first sit down dinner.  We chose the early dinner at 6pm every night.  We sat at a table with another family from California.  The mother with her two son's, 17 and 8, and their aunt, sat with us all week.  Here is a video at our first dinner.

Cruise to Mexico

So I have been meaning to leave some information about our cruise, and I just haven't had the chance.  So here we go.  We had an absolute awesome time on the cruise.  We drove down to St George on Sunday, August 19th.  It rained like crazy from Parowan to St George, and we arrived in St George shortly after 9:30pm.  It was an extremely hot and muggy night, but we were glad to have a place to stay for free.  Thank you Jim and Judy.  We then woke up early to get started for Long Beach California.  We did not want to be late.  We had to be on the boat by 3:30pm.  We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time in case we ran into any kind of trouble with the car or traffic.

We arrived in long Beach at 12:30pm and found the parking structure without much of a problem.  They allowed us to start boarding early.  So we unloaded the car and were ready to board.  But just before we left the car, Austin asked where his suitcase was.  We all looked around and couldn't see it.  I had that feeling in your stomach which makes you kind of sick.  We were thinking that Austin just didn't bring his suitcase up to the car when we were loading the car the day before.  You start wondering how is he going to survive the next week without any clothes?  But then someone noticed the suitcase on the other side of the car, and we were all good.

So here is the photo of us just before we boarded the boat.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day on the lake

I promised to put a few more pics of our day on the lake on the blog. Here is the boat we rented for the day. It was a beautiful boat and we had an incredible time. What a day!!!

Me waterskiing

It has been a few years, but I can still get up on one. Not quite as daring as I used to be, but it sure felt good to make some turns behind a boat.

Korbin waterskiing

Korbin had a lot of fun waterskiing. He is better at standing on boards sideways, but he still had a lot of fun waterskiing. He did try to get up on one ski, but just couldn't quite do it. Next time.

Krissinie's first attempt at waterskiing

Krissinie didn't stay up for long, but she had a good time trying and is looking forward to next time.