Monday, February 24, 2014

Unexpected Civil War adventure

It's always fun when you have the opportunity to spend time with old friends.....As we usually do when friends come for a visit in our neck of the woods, we took them on a whirlwind tour of the sights and sounds of Tampa-St Petersburg. One of our favorite stops is Ft. Desoto in St Petersburg Beach. There is an old Spanish American era fort there, as well as one of the worlds most beautiful beaches!
Paul and Kim

Visiting St. Petersburg beach

Much to our surprise, it was crowded, and we heard cannons being fired off.....We had landed smack dab in the middle of a civil war battle re-enactment!
Confederate soldiers advancing on the Union soldiers at the battle of Ballast Point 1863

The Union raiders in retreat

Union cannons are fired

And the drum and fife corps are rallying the troops!

To no avail....Confederate forces caught up with the raiders who had set fire and destroyed, 2 blockade-running ships on the Hillsborough River.

Confederate ladies watched the battle, as often was done during Civil wars battles. 

It was a chance to dress in your finest and watch your men defending the homeland.

Battlefield camps were not so glamorous 

I retouched this  photo to make it more authentic...

Bread and fruit was a usual meal... I doubt if bananas were available during the civil war :) 

The re-enactors had camped out for 3 days. They lived, ate and dressed as if in the 1860's.....hmmmmm I wonder if that meant no cell phones, toilet paper or showers? Just saying....

Afterwards, we were we finished the day at Hurricanes in St Pete Beach....The food was divine....the hurricane margaritas were the best ever.....and we re-cemented our friendship.....What a perfectly wonderful day! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A stop on an ancient trade route......Petra

 When I was young, I always wanted to be an archaeologist..One of my childhood memories involves Camels, spices, and constantinople. It seemed so exotic, and so far away from the world I lived in...         ( thank you encylopedia Britannica, for carrying me away so so many amazing places)  Anywaaaay.....I haven't made it to constantinople yet, but I did get a chance to visit Petra.....over 2000 yrs old, and built on the spice routes from the Gulf of Aqaba , to Turkey....

The views from the mountains were amazing! It was very hot that day, and I was dressed conservatively, as not to offend.....

A bedouin camp. We saw many of these on the way to petra, it is always good to see that people still respect and live in the old ways. 

When we arrived in Petra, we started our journey on horseback! I had to take a deep breath, as it had been many years since I had even been near a horse, not to mention actually getting on one...but since I had just ridden a camel a few days earlier.....I didn't give it a second thought, and hopped right on!

We had to walk partway thru the most awesome rock formations!
and all the way we saw areas where they had water conduits, niches with carvings, and the high walls that reached to the sky!

Suddenly, the narrow rock passageway opened into a large area, and we gasped, as we got our first look at the Treasury...carved out by hand into the beautiful rose colored rock. 

The camels were awaiting riders, to take them along the roadway to glimpse the tombs, homes, and shops of the ancient people. We elected to walk the dusty trails, and take our time to look and try to visualize how it must have looked 2000 years ago!

note the carvings on the side of the treasury....

As I wandered around, I caught a glimpse of of a young couple dressed in traditional garb.....they were so beautiful, that I couldn't help but take a picture....

but not so traditional, that they have a modern convenience....I wondered if the cell phone had a signal so deep in the desert! 

The Tomb of the Kings and lesser dignitaries of the time.... if it looks familiar to you, it was featured in a Indiana Jone movie!

One of the homes that must have belongs to a an
affluent Merchant, or a lesser royal perhaps.....

It was a wonderful day, and I would have loved to linger, and use my imagination to to create stories....but alas, the ship awaits, and I must return.....for our next great adventure! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Motu picnic on Beautiful Bora Bora

One of the first cruises we ever did with Princess, was a Trip from Los Angles to Sydney……We thought the most beautiful stop in the islands, was Bora Bora…..We were so lucky to be on a cruise critic tour, that included a Motu picnic. For those of you who don’t know, a Motu picnic, is native style dining, on a small island. No plates, no utensils, you eat with your fingers off a banana leaf…Native fruits, fish, lobster, and of course a pig roast!
We exited the ship and found our tour guide.We then boarded an outrigger, and motored to an area where we could swim and snorkel with the black tip sharks!  Yes…SHARKS!!  Of course they weren't man-eaters, but it was still exciting, just the same!
We were serenaded along the way, by our native guide.
After swimming, snorkeling, and chasing off the sharks, we were STARVED!  And of course, ready for our Motu picnic!

We started off with Island drinks ( we were VERY thirsty!)
012And supervised the grilling of the Lobsters…These lobsters were much different than the Maine lobsters we were used claws, and a different taste.
011We  stuffed ourselves on seafood, pork, fresh fruit, and coconut treats,while we sat at this covered picnic table… napkins?, no problem. We just placed our fingers in the water, and the fish nibbled them clean….it was sooooo fun!
PA050170We had a glorious view of the main Island, someone said that this was the inspiration for the magical Bali Hai…in South Pacific.

145It was very hard to leave this idyllic island ...We seriously considered missing the ship, and becoming castaways! But alas, we knew other adventures awaited, so we drifted back to the port, and rejoined our fellow passengers.
And so we bid a fond adieu to Lovely Bora Bora

sharing with Ivy and Elephants