Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours...Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Life on the Ship

Sunday afternoon we got on the Norwegian Star and got ourselves settled before we left port.
Mamadillo and the Mighty Mississippi

For some reason, I was really into clouds this trip.
If you look in the distance in the middle of the picture, there's a Carnival Cruise Ship that left just before us.

Brent and I had bought some hats at this cute little hat shop by Jackson Square. (Oh, don't worry, you'll see them in the next post) The cashier was telling us that we should be on the port side as we left New Orleans for the best view. Luckily, that's the side our rooms were on. He was right. It was the best view.
Jackson Square from the ship
Mom and Dad's stateroom was right next to ours....
That usually made it easy to find them.

After our good dinner - the food on Norwegian wasn't as good as Holland America - we came back to find a towel creation on our bed.
We decided it was a bunny
And the next morning, we awoke to no land in sight. We were in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico!
It was a little humid out on the balcony.

All day Monday we were at sea, so we looked for things to do...
Brent and Dad played a little oversized chess. When asked who won, Dad said he baited Brent into a trap and he fell for it. Sorry Love!

We played a little shuffleboard, but I guess those pictures are on my parent's camera. We sort of made up the rules because we couldn't find any rules for a few days. When we did find the rules, we decided we liked our rules better. Brent is an AMAZING shuffle board player, followed closely by Dad.

We sat and talked and watched the water go by.

We also went to a talk about what to buy in the different ports. Apparently people go on Caribbean cruises to buy jewelry because you can haggle in the Caribbean. I'm not a great haggler, but I really liked the port maps that they gave you - I'm a fan of maps. But, my favorite thing about the shopping talk turned out to be the raffle. Just for going, you got a raffle ticket and at the end, they gave away some stuff. Del Sol sunglasses, t-shirts, that sort of thing. Which we didn't win. But the super duper prize was a strand of pearls. And when they read off the number, Brent was the winner! Woho!
At the time, we thought they were real pearls, but I'm starting to wonder now. So, they may be worth $30 or $300. We really don't know. But, they are still beautiful and Brent did win them. And he did then give them to me. It was exciting!

And then we watched the sun go down.

 There is something about a sunset over the water that makes it all the more beautiful!

And after dinner, we found this on our bed...
A penguin was the concensis.

And so ended our fun filled day at sea. Next stop, Costa Maya, Mexico and the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins!

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Orleans!

Since we were only going to be in New Orleans for a little over a day, I wanted to stay in the heart of things. We stayed in this great hotel called Place d'Armes (they say it differently than I do since I speak a little French and they have totally Anglicized French). It was a great, old hotel just a couple of blocks from the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, that meant that it was also close to the infamous Bourbon Street. That made sleeping difficult until I broke out my ear plugs, then it wasn't that hard. 

The Courtyard

Mom and Dad got a room with a balcony. This is the rod iron work around their balcony.

I love how the ferns are growing right out of the wall. Too cute!
 Mamadillo did some posing too...

But, we weren't there just to see our cool hotel. We needed to see some sights. Off to Jackson Square.
Jackson Square is in the heart of the French Quarter, and right behind our hotel. The big white building is Saint Louis Cathedral. The buildings on either side of that are museums, one of which, and I can't remember which one, is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. There's a statue of Andrew Jackson, who the square is named for. And all around the park, there are artists selling their wares. Mom and Dad got me a gorgeous picture of a little shack in the bayou for my birthday. I love it.

I think Saint Louis Cathedral looks a little like a temple, don't you? 

Well, except for the crosses...and the inside. Ok, maybe not a temple, but a really cool building!

And, the obligatory scrunch pictures!

Oh, and the statue for Andrew Jackson
And to prove that Mamadillo was there too...

Sometimes it's hard to find her, but she's in all those pictures.

It was a warm day, so instead of walking all over, we decided to take a carriage ride to see a little bit more of the city. Everyone told me to pick out the carriage, so I did, based on the mule pulling it. (They use mules because horses can't take the heat. I'm with the horses!)

I thought Honey Boy was cute. I wonder what breed of horse his parent is and what they looked like. Anyway, Honey Boy was cute, but the driver was a little, ok a lot hard to understand. Maybe I should have worried a bit less about who was going to be pulling us and more about who our tour guide was. It was a nice ride anyway though.

Oh, and I almost forgot! We were right by the Mississippi River. This was my first look at the Mighty Miss! It didn't look too might right here.

At one point when we were in Jackson Square, I looked over and saw a boat floating past. From that part of Jackson Square I couldn't see the river, and the boat was higher than I was. It was a weird feeling. I mean, I know that New Orleans is below sea level, but it's a completely different thing to actually see it.

While looking at the Mississippi, a cute little street car went past.
We didn't ride a street car this time around, but they are quite cute!

We ate at Margaritaville - remember the Jimmy Buffet song? They had pretty good hamburgers. But the best was what we had for an appetizer. We were in the South, so we thought we'd give fried pickles a go. I mean, I love pickles. Why not.

They were really good! I had envisioned a whole pickle deep fried. That may be how some of them are, but these were pickle slices. And the dip was really good. A little spicy and nice. We were so proud of ourselves for being brave!

And we finished the day off with beignets. They are a fried scone type thing that is really good. 

Although, don't breathe in when you're getting ready to eat them...there is a lot of powdered sugar on those things!

And last, but not least, the streets. They are so beautiful!

All over you see signs like these.
So, what did we think of New Orleans? It is a beautiful, old city. There are very nice people there. The food is good. But...it has a weird smell. People are CONSTANTLY smoking, everywhere. And everyone seems to be drunk, all the time. It's too bad. But, it was worth it to go to know that we never want to go again.

Next off...the cruise! I can hardly wait!