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Johnny B

John and Diane's 125-day Adventure at Sea

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First, I want you to know how much I have enjoyed your posts over the years.

 

As to your husbands knees. After enduring months of pain and hobbling around, my wife insisted that I see an Orthopedic Surgeon, Diagnosis, right knee hardly any cartilage. Good news, due to years of spin class my muscle tone is great and that helps my knee. The end result is that I had a cortisone shot in my right knee and have had no pain for two months. A cortisone injection may help, it's worth a shot (pun intended).

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Love reading your posts!

 

We disembarked the Amsterdam's Hawaii cruise the day you embarked and it sounds like the singers and dancers are the same group we had....and yes they are fantastic. Some of the best we have seen on our cruises with not only HAL but Princess and RCCL. One of the production shows they did was called "Dance" and the dancers did an unbelievable job. Highly recommend seeing it if your can. This cruise was our first on the Amsterdam and it's fun hearing you talk about the ship.

 

Hope John can get some relief for his knee pain.

 

Barb

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Was the town Tapachula?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

 

The town over the hill from Huatulco is La Crucecita. A lovely little place.

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I have had the cortisone, as well as the jell shots. I have worn a knee brace from the ortho doc for a number of years. You can buy a stretch one at a drug store. This might help. I think the key is not to overdue. I also take turmeric.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

At Sea en route to the Panama Canal

 

First of all, let me thank all of you who responded with ideas about acupuncture, cortisone, and surgery. We attended the acupuncture seminar yesterday and then followed it with a 15-minute consultation with the acupuncturist, and John decided, “What the heck; I’ll give it a try.” Yukari has been the staff acupuncturist at a Japanese hospital in the past, so she’s had plenty of experience. During cocktails and at dinner we quizzed all our friends about whether they’d had acupuncture and whether it was effective. The answers varied from “I don’t believe in that stuff” (yes, we know it’s not astrology), to “I tried it but didn’t see any difference” to “It’s wonderful and it changed my life.” After John’s appointment today, I’ll give you an update to see which category he’s in.

 

Yesterday was the perfect sea day. We just hung out reading in the morning, went “to the beach” (the aft pool) in the afternoon, and then had a lovely nap At 7:00 it was time for the Crow’s Nest, and since Jeff, Ann and Cathy were at the Pinnacle for dinner, we invited Gene, Jodie and their families to join us for dinner. We spent two hours eating, talking and laughing, and finally had to let Gene leave when it was time for him to introduce the evening’s entertainer in the Queen’s Lounge. The rest of us stayed and talked for a bit longer, but then wandered down to see most of the show. Gene’s comment that “you’re the only people who have invited us for dinner” really surprised me. The family, including Gene’s mom, Jodie’s dad and stepmom, are just the nicest people and great company.

 

Generally, we’re not big fans of magicians (or ventriloquists), but Fred Moore was just a hoot. His show was called “Magic, Comedy and Baldness,” and that’s exactly what it was. His head resembles the proverbial billiard ball, and he plays it for all it’s worth. His jokes were of the conversational variety and were just incredibly amusing comments. A teenage boy in front of us laughed so hard we were afraid he would wet his pants, but it seems he managed to finish the show with no “costume malfunctions.”

 

Today is just another day in paradise: time to write in the morning, a leisurely lunch, time by the pool and John’s acupuncture session. I can hardly wait to see the result.

 

 

Note to SJSU Librarian (and anyone else who might be interested: I had a nice long chat with the temporary librarian (we get a new one for the WC) and she told me she already has the list for the book club. Here it is:

 

The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez (Panama)

 

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami (Japan)

 

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw (Shanghai)

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

by Katherine Boo (India)

 

The Rocks by Peter Nichols (Mediterranean)

 

Enjoy your reading!

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Have had both replaced, 15 months apart, and the relief from pain is wonderful - also free movement etc - can highly recommend! Have a great time, look forward to your posts.

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Soooooo happy to see your daily posts...my world cruise adventure has begun. I was a bit worried when I did not see any posting from you prior to the cruise. Often you post re packing and preparations.

 

I always love your positive attitude to travel experiences and combine your reports with Jeff's fabulous photos and also his "glass is half full" attitude. Thank you so much for taking me along on another WC. What a fun cruise it has been so far. Cherie

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

At Sea en route to the Panama Canal

 

 

 

 

 

Note to SJSU Librarian (and anyone else who might be interested: I had a nice long chat with the temporary librarian (we get a new one for the WC) and she told me she already has the list for the book club. Here it is:

 

The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez (Panama)

 

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami (Japan)

 

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw (Shanghai)

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

by Katherine Boo (India)

 

The Rocks by Peter Nichols (Mediterranean)

 

Enjoy your reading!

 

Diane - thanks for the book list. I will peruse my local library's online catalog and request them or interlibrary loan for those they don't have. Barbara

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Thank you for once again taking the time to share your cruises with us.

I always enjoy reading your travels.

I hope the acupuncture helped John as much as it's helped my husband.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Panama Canal

 

As I sit here in the library (at my usual long marble table at the end), I’m watching us glide smoothly across Gatun Lake, the central part of the Panama Canal. This morning we entered Miraflores locks about an hour later than our schedule had forecast, but at least it gave us all a bit more sleep. Shortly thereafter, we transited Pedro Miguel locks, and sailed into Gatun Lake. The outside decks are just jammed with people and of course virtually everyone has a camera.

 

I learned by actually reading (for a change) the canal information we were given (and looking at the pictures) that the need for locks is not because the two oceans are at different levels; oceans are all at sea level (hence the name). The problem is that Gatun Lake is just under 100 feet above sea level and it is huge. It has islands and beautiful tropical shores and if you only looked in one direction you wouldn’t even know you were in a lake. Because of Gatun Lake, when we approach from the Pacific we need to go up to the level of the lake, sail for a couple of hours across it, and then go down to the Caribbean, which of course is part of the Atlantic.

 

In another hour or so, we’ll be in Gatun locks which completes our transit. Although we’ve done this before, it is endlessly fascinating to watch the whole process, including the mechanical “mules” which pull the ship into the locks. When the canal was new, actual mules were used for this job, so the mechanical replacements, which look like miniature trains, are still called that.

 

The ship provides a Panamanian guide to narrate the crossing as well as “Panama rolls,” which are sweet rolls filled with apricot jam. The funny thing about those rolls is that whenever we have a particularly scenic sail-in, somewhere like Hong Kong or Sydney, the rolls are simply renamed. They’re still delicious!

 

John had his second acupuncture treatment today and decided that the jury is still out. He felt some pain relief yesterday after his first treatment, but today he says it hurts worse than yesterday. We really aren’t familiar enough with the expected results of the treatment to know if this is to be expected or what. We just hope that with the significant financial outlay for this treatment on the ship there is a positive result. He skips tomorrow and then has his third “pincushion” treatment on New Year’s Day - should be fun!

 

Last evening’s show was called ABBAFAB and it was just what it sounds like. We listened, clapped and danced for 45 minutes to some of our favorite ABBA songs. While Ann and I were asking each other why the girls’ outfits were so weird, we realized that when they were new, in the 70’s, they weren’t weird at all but just incredibly cool. I don’t think I could have ever walked in those shiny, white thigh-high boots, though. The group will perform tomorrow night again, but they’ll be re-named and will sing the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John.

 

This evening we’re looking forward to our first Sommelier dinner of the cruise. The meal itself consists of (I think) six courses paired with appropriate wines chosen by Jacques, the Cellar Master. We always enjoy these kinds of dinners, but it’s a good thing it begins at 6:30 instead of our usual 8:00 because it gives the food at least a little while to settle. I’ll go into more detail about the courses and the wine tomorrow - we’re really looking forward to it.

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ABBAFAB was on our P'dam TA this spring, both there shows were great. Are they staying on board for the world cruise?

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John had his second acupuncture treatment today and decided that the jury is still out. He felt some pain relief yesterday after his first treatment, but today he says it hurts worse than yesterday. We really aren’t familiar enough with the expected results of the treatment to know if this is to be expected or what. We just hope that with the significant financial outlay for this treatment on the ship there is a positive result. He skips tomorrow and then has his third “pincushion” treatment on New Year’s Day - should be fun!

Effects can be cumulative, so keeping at it helps. Also, there are choices in needle placement, so some variations can have better (or worse) results. Keep at it until he knows for certain if there's improvement.

 

Yes, it is a significant financial outlay, but if it helps, it's worth it. This is a very long cruise, and it would be a shame to be in such pain that it's impossible to "see & do".

Good luck.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Panama Canal

 

As I sit here in the library (at my usual long marble table at the end), I’m watching us glide smoothly across Gatun Lake, the central part of the Panama Canal. This morning we entered Miraflores locks about an hour later than our schedule had forecast, but at least it gave us all a bit more sleep. Shortly thereafter, we transited Pedro Miguel locks, and sailed into Gatun Lake. The outside decks are just jammed with people and of course virtually everyone has a camera.

 

I learned by actually reading (for a change) the canal information we were given (and looking at the pictures) that the need for locks is not because the two oceans are at different levels; oceans are all at sea level (hence the name). The problem is that Gatun Lake is just under 100 feet above sea level and it is huge. It has islands and beautiful tropical shores and if you only looked in one direction you wouldn’t even know you were in a lake. Because of Gatun Lake, when we approach from the Pacific we need to go up to the level of the lake, sail for a couple of hours across it, and then go down to the Caribbean, which of course is part of the Atlantic.

 

In another hour or so, we’ll be in Gatun locks which completes our transit. Although we’ve done this before, it is endlessly fascinating to watch the whole process, including the mechanical “mules” which pull the ship into the locks. When the canal was new, actual mules were used for this job, so the mechanical replacements, which look like miniature trains, are still called that.

 

The ship provides a Panamanian guide to narrate the crossing as well as “Panama rolls,” which are sweet rolls filled with apricot jam. The funny thing about those rolls is that whenever we have a particularly scenic sail-in, somewhere like Hong Kong or Sydney, the rolls are simply renamed. They’re still delicious!

 

John had his second acupuncture treatment today and decided that the jury is still out. He felt some pain relief yesterday after his first treatment, but today he says it hurts worse than yesterday. We really aren’t familiar enough with the expected results of the treatment to know if this is to be expected or what. We just hope that with the significant financial outlay for this treatment on the ship there is a positive result. He skips tomorrow and then has his third “pincushion” treatment on New Year’s Day - should be fun!

 

Last evening’s show was called ABBAFAB and it was just what it sounds like. We listened, clapped and danced for 45 minutes to some of our favorite ABBA songs. While Ann and I were asking each other why the girls’ outfits were so weird, we realized that when they were new, in the 70’s, they weren’t weird at all but just incredibly cool. I don’t think I could have ever walked in those shiny, white thigh-high boots, though. The group will perform tomorrow night again, but they’ll be re-named and will sing the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John.

 

This evening we’re looking forward to our first Sommelier dinner of the cruise. The meal itself consists of (I think) six courses paired with appropriate wines chosen by Jacques, the Cellar Master. We always enjoy these kinds of dinners, but it’s a good thing it begins at 6:30 instead of our usual 8:00 because it gives the food at least a little while to settle. I’ll go into more detail about the courses and the wine tomorrow - we’re really looking forward to it.

 

Enjoy your voyage! AbbaFab is really cool

 

One of the best parts of the canal is that little white row boat with two crew onboard that still comes out with the first line

Edited by Copper10-8

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I second AbbaFab. Saw them last year.

 

 

I will third the AbbaFab comment. They were on the Oosterdam in Jan/Feb 2016. They actually gave away free a CD of their songs! They did the 2 shows and both were excellent.

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Getting ready to dock in Cartagena, Columbia

Happy New Year’s Eve

 

Today’s port is one of those that make me wonder why we even bother. We don’t arrive until 12:00 and then all aboard is at 5:30 with sailing at 6:00. Since tonight is New Year’s Eve and a formal night, we wouldn’t ordinarily have a port at all, but I guess that’s the way it will be. The best part about it is that it will give us a chance to call our daughter’s family, using free internet somewhere on shore.

 

Last night was the Cellar Master Dinner, and boy was it good! As we entered the Pinnacle dining room, we were seated and given a flute of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, one of my favorites. My philosophy is that life is too short to drink bad Champagne. After a welcome from Jacques, the Cellar Master who has become a friend, we were served seared foie gras with caviar on a piece of toasted brioche. The servers also decided that we needed a top-up on our Champagne - oh darn!

 

The next course was a cream of roasted celeriac soup. I’ve known of celeriac, but had to ask to make sure that it was the root of the celery plant. I hope I have that right. Served with it was a glass of Conundrum, a white blend from California.

 

Next was probably my favorite course, a lobster salad with asparagus and artichoke hearts. Oh my! I used to think I disliked lobster, but since we’ve begun taking these cruises I’ve learned to like it quite well, especially in small amounts. The accompaniment was Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. We often tease Jacques that he will never plan a dinner without including Cloudy Bay because he likes it so much. It really is a lovely wine and paired perfectly with the lobster.

 

The main course offered a choice: a duo of beef (grilled tenderloin and short rib) or a brie and spinach tart. Surprisingly, I ordered the beef and John the tart, because I’m not usually much of a beef eater. However, we switched the wines, because the beef came with Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon from California and the tart was accompanied by Chablis Premier Grand Cru from France. That was one fine white wine.

 

Dessert was a chocolate pot au creme followed by some excellent cheeses, and accompanied by a glass of port, which I turned down.

By the end of the meal, we had had waaaay too much food, not to mention the wine. Needless to say, my time in the gym was unenthusiastic this morning, and John skipped it entirely.

 

Even though we do love specialty dinners, we also appreciate the “everyday” meals served in the dining room. We have found the quality excellent and, when paired with the wonderful service which is a byword on HAL, we have nothing to complain about. In fact, tonight nine of us will gather in the dining room to celebrate our friend Michael’s birthday - so we’d better be off the ship right on time to find a gift.

 

P. S. I've heard that ABBAFAB is not going to be on for the WC, but they are going to do another show before Ft. Lauderdale. They really are great!

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For John's knees: ice is his friend! Make up a real ice pack using a "hand towel" and placing ice in the middle, fold sides in, then ends . Wrap it around his knee(s) using a bath towel to tighten it and catch drips. Do that after every walk, bike, elliptical, etc for 15 minutes... and whenever needed. I'm a professional when it comes to knees! Keep off the Advil etc as much as possible...a "gut buster"...I've had both knees replaced (after 50 years of assorted operations on them)...and one revision. Totally sympathize...but the ice will help a lot (don't do the jacuzzis!). Hope all can settle down for the WC! Looking forward to your reports!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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I agree on icing your knee. All the acupuncture treatments will not replace missing cartilage. It's bone on bone, unfortunately. When you get home, and go ahead with a knee replacement, you will notice a marked improvement. After surgery, do the exercises. No pain, no gain. Good luck. Following your adventures with interest.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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I have had the cortisone, as well as the jell shots. I have worn a knee brace from the ortho doc for a number of years. You can buy a stretch one at a drug store. This might help. I think the key is not to overdue. I also take turmeric.

 

I always travel with a pair of elastic knee supports. If a knee acts up, the extra support can save the day. My new ones were about $3 apiece from Wal Mart. Consider doing some shopping for them in Fort Lauderdale.

Thank you so much for sharing another Grand World Voyage with all of us.

 

Barbara

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We found the Amsterdam Cast singers and dancers of exceptional quality... especially the dancers! Three are from eastern Europe/Russian classical training and it really shows in their form. I spoke to them a few times and thanked them for their hard work in training and in the 6 shows they did for our Tales of the South Pacific cruise.

 

They said their contracts were until May! so I'm sure they are are same performers from late September (unless there was an injury or other unexpected change). I hope you can see all of their shows. Enjoy!

 

And many thanks for sharing with us again. Safe, healthy travels to you both!

And best wishes for all the many forms of knee therapy; trusting that together they will help you. m--

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Sunday, January 1, 2017 (imagine that!)

Happy New Year!

At Sea en route to Half Moon Cay, HAL’s private island

 

What a wonderful 24 hours we’ve had. Yesterday was just plain relaxing during the morning and then in the early afternoon we headed ashore in Cartagena only as far as the shuttle bus would take us. It was a fascinating little bit of jungle, though, and it brought back memories of a previous visit here. There was the requisite huge gift shop, which was lucky since we were on the hunt for a birthday gift, but beyond it was where the interesting part began. On the “front lawn” area was a large group of flamingoes (flamenco in Spanish) along with a couple of peacocks. Flamingoes are fascinating animals who can turn their necks in any direction and have the strangest looking faces of almost any bird I’ve seen. There was one who was apparently taking a nap, standing there on one leg with his head turned backward onto his body. If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you’d not recognize it as a very tall, very skinny bird.

 

Behind the shop were the aviaries, with big, bright birds of every color. There were parrots and toucans and all sorts. There must have been about 50 in all. Interspersed among the birds were yet more peacocks which walked up to almost anyone without any fear of humans whatsoever. The screeching in the trees brought our attention to some monkeys who were jumping from branch to branch. All in all, it was a fascinating place to be. We did find a birthday present, or rather two: a tin of chocolates and a hand-woven leather bracelet, since Michael rather likes them.

 

Considering what was coming up later in the day, we decided that a nap was a real necessity, and it went really well until our laundry was returned. Since they wash, dry and fold everything, I certainly can’t complain.

 

Our usual 7:00 get-together in the Crow’s Nest was even more fun than usual, since everyone was dressed to the teeth (check out Jeff’s photos) and we were, after all, celebrating a birthday on an almost universally celebratory day. Dinner gathered ten of us together at table 309 (Jeff’s usual WC table) and the table was decorated with hanging balloons, New Year’s hats for the men and hairpieces for the ladies. My favorite table decorations, though, were the three bottles of Champagne that some of us had provided for the occasion.

 

Early into the dinner, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Michael, but then Alan seemed to make a decision that singing it often was the best way to celebrate. The people at the tables surrounding us at first looked at us strangely, but after the third or fourth repetition began to find it amusing. When the birthday cake arrived, we had a dozen waiters, area managers, and even the new dining room manager singing “Bonja Boulia,” (spelling?) the Indonesian birthday song.

 

All this time we had not noticed that the group of four at a next-door table was the ABBAFAB group, and they were laughing with the rest of our neighbors. Toward the end of the meal, John went over to wish a Happy New Year to some other friends and then stopped at their table and asked if they would consider singing to Michael for his birthday. When we were almost ready to be done with dinner, all four of them came over and sang “Fernando.” What a great group of folks! ABBAFAB is performing their Elton John/Billy Joel concert tonight, and I think we’ll all be in the front row.

 

The ship’s New Year’s Eve party began at 11:00 in the Queen’s Lounge, with the HalCats playing and Denise singing. The music was very danceable and glasses of Champagne were distributed to all and sundry. The countdown was projected on two screens and, precisely at 12:00, the nets of balloons were freed and all the usual activities took place: kissing, yelling “Happy New Year,” stomping on balloons and singing along with “Auld Lang Syne.” We stayed and danced for another 15 minutes or so, but then headed back up to the Crow’s Nest where all of us (except for Michael and Susan) hung out until about 1:00 - along with half the children on the ship. Boy, were they having a good time.

 

An hour into the new year, we decided that these two old folks needed to find their bed, and although we put on the “Do Not Disturb” sign and planned to sleep until at least 8:00, we were awake by 6:30 - old habits die hard. It was a wonderful day and evening and I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2017.

 

P. S. John has the knee supports - they're really helpful.

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P. S. John has the knee supports - they're really helpful.

Happy to hear it.

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