Girls Cruise

October 28, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

My friend Shelby and I were planning on going to Shanghai (PVG) for a few days this month.  We were scoping out apartments, looking at hotel prices and checking the load factors of various days on our respective airlines.   Things looked very good...we inquired on some beautiful apartments in the French Concession, and were just about set to make a deposit on one, when we looked at the flights again.  Hmmmm, not good.  Okay, change it to this day...hmmm, not good either.  Okay, try this day.... no??  Day-um! What's going on??

It's the last month of the World's Fair (Expo) in Shanghai.  The flights were packed!

Always a proponent of Plan B, we swung into action.  Had to be cheap, and easy to get to....and something we both wanted to do.  I found an inexpensive four night cruise from Tampa, with two "at sea" days, and a port call in Cozumel, Mexico.

Next, I had to convince Shelby to go.  She doesn't care for the Caribbean--she prefers 14 night cruises in more exotic destinations.  It didn't take long to convince her--the price for the balcony stateroom was right, and I am sure she was under the influence of a fine red wine when she finally agreed to go!  Oh, and there was an excursion called "The Amazing Cozumel Race" which I think sent her over the edge.  More on that in a bit...she was convinced!

We met in Tampa the night prior--something a non-rev almost always has to do.  If the day of the cruise comes around, and the non-revver can't get a seat on a flight, they literally miss the boat!

On a cruise, everyone is your friend--you don't meet any strangers!  We had a blast with some of the people we met!  We are both trivia hounds, so we met a couple times a day in my favorite bar on the ship (and there are pleeeeeeenty!) the Schooner bar.   Winning six out of nine trivia games, we (along with our teammates) won coveted prizes: keychains, pens, highlighters, and baseball caps!  See?  Worth playing for, right?

My favorite question of all the trivias we played:  Where is the only American flag to be raised once, never lowered, and never raised again?***

My favorite T-shirt of the cruise worn by
one of our trivia friends at the Schooner Bar.

At the cigar bar, Shelby and I met Shannon, a musician from Florida.

Of course, there were the obligatory towel animals in our stateroom!

Over the years, Shelby and I have discussed competing on one of our most favorite television shows, "The Amazing Race."  We have decided, after seeing seeing how brutal the race seems to be at times on relationships, that we wanted to keep ours intact.  That, and I don't want to have to run around the world with a huge backpack on my back!

We decided to sign up for the Amazing Cozumel Race, instead.  What a treat--a delight--this race was!  And, it wasn't easy, either!

The only team to be playing from our Royal Caribbean ship, Team Old Stews began with a taxi ride from the cruise ship terminal to the starting point, a shopping plaza along the coast.

We were given a race badge and a map.

Also, a cell phone, in case we really got lost!

Finding answers in order to
figure out the clue at the museum.

Our initial clue was a photo of a huge Mexican flag, that we had to find in order to pick up our next clue.   In a hot summer rain shower, we sprinted out of the plaza, along with teams from the Carnival ship.

It was hilarious!  Running around Cozumel, with all the locals pointing us in the direction we needed to go.  Of course, the flag wasn't flying that day, I assume because of the rain showers.  It didn't take long for us to figure out where to go...and the next clue sent us to the Cozumel Museum.  We were first at the Museum, where the old man actually pointed to each answer we were looking for in the displays...while other teams had to go it on their own--until he was finished helping us.  Then, he helped the next team!
I wanted to have my picture taken with this nice, sweet old man.  Just as I planted a tiny kiss on his cheek to thank him, using the hand he had around my waist, this innocent old man grabbed my boob and copped a feel!  Niiiii-ice <dripping sarcasm!>

This picture was taken immediately after the cop-a-boobie incident.

I had to get a henna tattoo on my ankle, which had our
next clue (the four dots, representing #4 on the map.)

The snorkel clue

One of us, (SHELBY!) had to snorkel and dive in order to read the name of a sunken boat in order to figure out the clue above...

While Shel was fighting strong currents and trying to relay the information to me, I was safe and warm and sluggin' back a Corona.  Fortunately, the water is crystal clear in Cozumel and Shelby was soon joining me in our mini Corona-fest!

One of the last tasks we had to do, was to locate another clue flag in a the mercado publico.

Sounds easy, right.  Uh-huh, until you see the size of this flag (8.5 x 11 inches); and the multitude of stalls in the market, with the butchers, the vegetables, spices and strong smells, all contributing to a kaleidoscope of clutter and color and aromas.

We finally found it in this stall--see it on the left?

Once at this stall, we had to find the ear of corn with the next clue.

Found inside the corn husk, the clue led us to the finish line, a restaurant called La Candela.  (If you ever get to this restaurant, the salsa they serve is to die for good!)

While we were behind for much of the race, as it always is on the television show, brains win out almost every time.  We hauled ass to get to the finish line, using the map and our wits to figure it all out...and weren't the Pink Ladies a little shocked to see us sitting there, sipping margaritas and eating chips and salsa, when they crossed the finish line.  They weren't very gracious, either.   We had won the Amazing Cozumel Race fair and square, and they were pissed!

Whatever, losers!  (Did I just say that in my outside voice??)

Second place team.  Also known as the First Losers!

"I'd like to thank the Academy...."
The prize.  Well, that and a margarita!

Radiance of the Seas
That's right...we represented, ya'll!

From our balcony we could see a rainstorm on the horizon.

Fun tablemates, Denise and Rick

I learned a new skill!

We ordered several dishes
to try out different things.

Where is the only American flag to be raised once, never lowered, and never raised again?
On the moon!

My View One Year Ago:   I Got Married!
My View Two Years Ago:  Update on Baby Widline
My View Three Years Ago: Floppy-headed Baby 

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October 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM delete

Great post!

October 30, 2010 at 8:14 AM delete

Now this is why I have missed you posting on your blog for the past weeks. Very cool and fun! You have the ability to tell a story and put us right in the middle of it. Thanks!