Ardasta Gardens, Zoo, & Conservation Centre

Returned to the bus and made my way to Fish Fry, the fourth and last stop of the route. This stop held the tastiest fish restaurants of Nassau, a claim verified by those on the bus, as well as a beautiful beach.

Beach – check out the aqua water.

From stop 4 it was a short walk to the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Centre, which has the only trained flamingo show in the world.

Here I found a variety of plant vegetation and wildlife.

Orchids
Christmas Cactus
And isn’t this an interesting collection of well fertilized plants?

There were animals that didn’t seem to be able to live together, yet they did. Lesson for US all??

Turtles and Black Swans.. who knew??

And some interesting birds,

which you can feed.

If my hand surgeon saw this shot he would cringe..

Plus other creatures,

A Pot Belly Pig named Priscilla. There also is an Elvis. Who knew??
A Seville. This fella has legs longer than his body.

Some creatures were scary.

A park employee carrying a friendly python for all to touch. Not me!

But let us return to the Flamingos..

which walked among the zoo visitors fearlessly.

And lounged with fellow birds in the pond.

The Flamingo Show

The flamingos are trained to a command signal where they walk in procession and march in unison. Quite a show.

There are 70 to 80,000 flamingos in the Bahamas and they are protected by law. They weigh about 8 pounds with the males slightly bigger than the females. In the wild they can live up to 70 years of age. Their color comes from diet and the Caribbean Flamingo has the greatest number of the 6 species. One chick can be born each year. It hatches after 28 days. Both mom and dad take turns sitting on the egg. Flamingos feed by putting their heads upside down under water. Interesting tidbits learned from the show about a beautiful creature which we all love.

This concludes the Nassau adventure, however not before a rum cake was purchased, conch fries consumed, and baskets purchased at the marketplace.

Thanks, Nassau for a fun filled day.

Cruisin': Actual Cruise Day 2

Started the day late. Seas were rough and the drunkin’ sailor bachelors in the cabin across the hall came in loudly at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., and 3 a.m. Gave them at 9 a.m. payback by screaming comments in the hallway to my imaginary husband. “Hey, Harry are you coming?,” followed by another round of the same a few moments later. Oddly, it worked as there was no further offensive middle of the night wake ups from that cabin the remainder of the cruise.

Shortly after yelling at my “husband” an announcement occurred regarding a hop on, hop off bus tour with limited seating for $30. I ran to the Excursion Desk and purchased my ticket as I had heard cabs cost $25. once you placed your toe in them. This was a deal.

Left the ship at the designated time bringing passport, boat card, and drivers license. During the wait for the vehicle I inquired at the information desk about Ardastra Garden, Zoo, and Conversation Centre. I was told this venue was a short walk from a hop on, hop off stop which piqued my interest.

The bus had 4 stops and a sheet listing locations with pick up times was given. Our first stop was the Atlantis Hotel. Many departed here to gamble and shop. Not for me, but check it out and let me know what I missed 🙂 .

Next was Fort Fincastel. This 17th century castle had a $3 tour which was limited, save your money. However, the Castle did afford good views of the harbor and the local vendors had a nice cache of souvenirs.

Here’s my purchase. Isn’t she a cutie?

The historic Queen’s Staircase is located at this site.

Next was Graycliff, a historic area with a hotel, museum, candy store, cigar factory, and wine tasting room. Check out the pictures..

The Museum

Cigars cost from $11 to $33 each at the factory. There is also an on site smoking room on the property.

Wine Tasting Room – tasty and reasonably priced. Grapes are imported.

And some shots of the lovely hotel..

Welcoming Statute
Lobby
And a close up of the tree, oh my gosh is that wine bottles???
Piano area
Elegant Dining Rooms

Then the pool and gardens…

And I came upon a wedding..

Nice way to end the visit..

More tomorrow at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre.

Reputations

As I watch and listen to US political turmoil I become saddened. Why are these now old men coming forth to endorse lies? Is the celebrity so important that they have lost their moral compass? And do they not understand how this affects our country and the potential prison time for them?

All for one last glow in the spot light.

They should have taken up golf.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The carts are waiting but they won’t be in prison.

This is Kathleen, and if you don’t like what I say it’s still Kathleen.

Cruisin': Actual Cruise Day 1

After the ship tour plans were quickly formulated for this 4 day Nassau cruise. Muster time came while enjoying a bit of sun, and the jacuzzi.

Muster is taken seriously by all crew on the ship and it should be. During this drill instructions are given on where to go in case of emergency and life jacket application is demonstrated. This is a must.

Once muster obligations were completed the pool side Welcome Party continued with cruise recreation staff introductions made. As the wild dancing, and loud music continued I sought a quieter fare, the Art Gallery reception.

Then to the cabins where luggage had arrived. This cruise line had an interesting way to receive your cruise card. Life is impossible without this multi-purpose card which does everything from open doors to charge drinks.

The card was located in a mailbox next to the cabin door. It was in a sealed envelope. What an interesting way to do this. And for those who loose things easily lanyards were available throughout the ship.

Next was free liquor tasting. Cups filled with a teaspoon of liquor were distributed to the 100 passenger long line. The liquor is reasonably priced and a find for future gifts. Purchase is done at the tasting with pick up the last day of the cruise prior to departure.

Since dinner was assigned at 8:15 pm time was available for taking in music at several of the ship bars. As I am not a late diner the dining room manager changed my dining time for an earlier time the following days. Should you have any dining room problems always ask this individual for assist.

Dinner was beyond delicious with multiple appetizers selected in lieu of a main course and dessert. The dining room is always eager to please and what you wish to order and the number of orders requested is never questioned. In fact it is encouraged.

Post dinner was a short welcome show in the main theater with an orientation by the cruise director. The cruise director handles the events and fun things which take place on the ship. He or she usually reigns from a far reaching country but always speaks amazing English as does all the cruise staff. For 3,500 guests there were 1,600 cruise staff from 51 countries.

Next late night adult humor of Joan Rivers caliber done by 2 very different middle aged American males, one a Texan, and the other a Miami guy. Extremely offensive but hilarious – white, black, sex, but no politics was the fare. And as the emcee said this is what it is, don’t stay if you are offended. Well put, as we need to laugh at ourselves to get through this.

Think the funniest joke was when the comedian asked a carmel colored gal where she was from. She stated, “Morocco.” He then asked, “Who’s minding the 7-11?” She replied, “My dad.” If only my cellphone was ready for a picture of that comedian’s face. I believe this is called, “Priceless.”

Then an evening stroll on deck and bed.

Stay tuned.

Cruisin': What to Do on the Ship

The Ship is a City on to itself, a luxury home away from home with almost every amenity available. Here’s some of what is in store:

  • Food – available 24 hours a day at fine restaurants both free and specialized at a cost, cafeteria style, bars with food… Plan on gaining at least 5 to 7 pounds depending on cruise length.
Fine Restaurants
  • And did I mention room service also?? Some items are free depending on time of day and other specifications..
  • Bars – for every need from sports bars, to Irish pubs, bars on deck, karaoke, discos, and even places for quiet conversation..
  • Musical Venues – at every bar and in hallways as you walk through the ship.
  • Health Spa Services – from hair to massage to exercise equipment to specialized treatments like acupuncture are available on the ship. Often the ship doc gives lectures. Check your daily newsletter for the the info as well as spa specials.
Table on board with staff who can explain available services.
  • Did I say Bingo?????????? Many prizes and much fun. Great way to meet folks.
  • Casino
This and certain decks are the only places where smoking is allowed. Sadly, this limits many who wish to participate.
  • Art Auctions – while pricey go and attend as free 8 x 10 prints are often given for attending, as well as appetizers.
  • Single Venues – some ships have single cabins and all have single meet and greets. Nice way to meet someone to go to dinner with or on an off ship excursion. There are also meet and greets for LGBQT folks, those wishing to maintain sobriety, (Bill W meetings), and bar/disco single get togethers based on age.
  • Library -borrow a book or play a game of Scrabble or cards. These spots afford an elegant, quiet, comfortable place usually with good ocean views.
  • Evening on deck movies – nightly with current movies played.
  • Comedians – family friendly in the early evening with adult humor for late night shows.

Evening Song and Dance Performances – usually two per evening, well done and entertaining.

  • Family Events for kids..
  • Shopping – all Duty Free with some great gift ideas.
  • Formal Pictures – many groups take advantage of this service. So, bring your best smile if interested.

And once again…

Bottom line… Take advantage of all. So much to do, so little time.

Enjoy!

Cruisin': More Prep and On To The Ship

Hey, you’ve found the perfect cruise, what’s next???

  • On Line Registration – do this asap and check out the excursions etc.. as some book up quickly.
  • Excursions not done by cruise line – many have found these reasonable and fun. Since I travel solo I want the protection of the ship, that said, ask around. and Auntie Google to see what you can come up with if you are a couple or solo adventurer.
  • Get documents together – passports with adequate page amounts, drivers licenses, and for those non-Americans check out cruise and country policy to ensure you have all the needed paperwork. Contact the cruise line directly with any questions regarding this kind of paperwork. The folks on the phone lines are helpful and knowledgeable.
  • Make a list of what you need and cross items out as you collect them. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Plan your time. Set 2 clocks, phone and analog, and bring a battery analog clock with you. If driving to the port day of gas up the night before and leave early. The lunch on the ship is always delicious and there will be things to do if you arrive early.
  • Some cruise lines are assigning check in times. It was a breeze with this service in Port Carnaveral as opposed to a visit 2 years ago. After metal detector one merely had to flash the passport a couple times and walk on to the ship.
  • Off site parking another breeze. Give the driver a tip.
  • Once at terminal you can carry on your bags or let attendants handle. Again, if an attendant handles bring all you need till late afternoon in your carry on. Don’t want to loose pool time.
  • On board – eat lunch and get the daily listing of things to do. If there is a ship tour – do it. It makes all the difference in the world getting acclimated to the ship.
  • Daily Listing -as you munch on lunch decide what to do for the remainder of the day post lunch and tour.

There are also APs available for your cell. Since I was attempting to de-phone except for pics I didn’t partake but those that did loved the service.

Next, what to do on the ship.

Cruisin': Tidbits I Forgot

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • Hallways are long. Pay attention to art work for ease in finding your way “home.”
Who could forget this picture?
  • Cabin attendants are wonderful and have all the answers. They accept extra tips and if a shoe breaks or clothes don’t fit anymore, there are loads of clothes left by former guests. Attendants usually give a business card with their name as soon as you enter the cabin.
  • Some cruise ships allow wine, one bottle, and water to be brought on the ship. Check with the cruise line.
Check if there is a corking fee.. The metal detector allows you to bring on a corkscrew.
  • Ships are sparkly clean but protect yourself with frequent use of hand sanitizer. They are available everywhere.
  • Pack a carry on with swim suit, change of clothes, medicine. If you have the ship take your baggage it won’t arrive till late afternoon and if said previously it bears repeating..
  • Caffeine sensitive – bring your own teabags and watch the decaf coffee consumption.
  • Bring a stash of otc’s and the like.
  • If offered, take the health insurance plan. A fellow passenger paid $900 in ship infirmary costs for pink eye.

All aboard!

Cruisin': A Primer The Selection and Beyond

So you’ve decided to take a cruise, (as have I), but where do you start? For me it was easy as I had 3 to 4 days available and knew what port I wanted to depart from. But for others here are a few things to consider:

  • Where do you want to go??? An island or beach destination or visit Europe, cruise on the Rhine, Danube, the Baltics, Italy or Greece? Cruising makes life easier with only one unpacking required…
  • What do you want to pay? Luxury or austerity? Some simply want a room for a quick change, (me), while others want a balcony overlooking the sea with several rooms. There are enormous options but decide what you want and price range. Also, check out last minute, cheapie, Expedia/Groupon and the like websites for cruises.
  • Actual Cost – don’t forget the add-ons like the daily per person fee for service, ($13 at least per day/per person), parking, (recommend off site as reliable and half the cost as terminal), then there is plane and transport from airport to terminal. Cruise lines always have a service but check costs to ensure best price for plane fare and shuttle.
  • Dates – for those who only read bullet points I repeat. Check weather for the area during the time frame desired.
  • Type of Cruise Line – Carnival advertises it is a party ship and it is with many youth, bridal parties. Drink packages well used. However, it is fun. For those who want a wee bit quieter and relaxed cruise there are other lines. Again, what do you want? Ask those who have cruised, call the various lines, and read the ship bios and advertisements.
  • Services for Children – This is a great service provided by the cruise ships so couples can have some free time together, if you wish to be.. Ha!Ha! as my daughter would say..
  • Handicapable Services – All lines offer, however some better than others. Investigate and perhaps use a specialized cruise travel agent if you need these services. They would know best.
  • Packing – light and an extra bag for momentos. Bring easy to wash quick to dry clothes, nylon, wash and hang with the shower closeline. Mix and match – plain bottom with colored or printed tops. One pair sneakers and flip flops, nice pair shoes, ballet slippers work and less space for the suitcase. Throw in a dress that folds up and out without creases as you never know if you’d like to go more than casual. Nowadays folks seems to like the top deck cafeteria verses the formal dining rooms but do one night in the formal. Amazing service and food. Layer, layer, layer as with any travel experience especially with climate change. You can never predict. I was glad to have a heavy sweatshirt to walk the decks at night. Great experience watching the full moon and waves.
  • Bathrooms have loads of racks, and closets ample space. Safes are in each room. Lighting varies with one outlet per room to recharge cells. No need for foreign adaptor plugs.
  • Wifi packages available and still pricey- either by minute or day depending on need.

That’s all I can think of for now.

Stay tuned for more.

Do You Feng Shui?

Are you shaking your head? Well, since we started with a question, let’s continue..

What does Feng Shui mean?

Feng Shui means wind and water. It is the art of creating energy through object placement for change.

What does it do?

By placing objects in certain areas of your home or business it allows chi, energy, to enhance the area for change to occur.

Where did it begin?

China, about 6,000 years ago.

What is it based on?

The Bagua, which analyzes the energy of spaces.

Here are a few suggestions to test the process..

  • Clear out your wallet of old receipts and other junk, or better yet purchase a deep red colored wallet. Have your finances improved?
  • Get rid of dead plants in the home, bonsai, and cactus. Replace with rounded leaf plants or those with leaves pointing upward, e.g. peace plant. Once live flowers fade, toss them and get new or purchase quality silk flowers. How’s the family harmony level now?
  • Declutter the home, keep it immaculately clean. Are good things moving into those new spaces?
  • Always shut the bathroom door, keep the toilet seat down, and place a mirror on the outside bathroom door. Watch for financial changes.
  • Bedroom – remove pictures of old beaus, past relationships and only have pictures of those who sleep in the boudoir in the boudoir. Are you a happier couple?

Intrigued, want to learn more? Start with this web site. Her tips will change you life.

http://www.FengShuiForRealLife.com

OR

Purchase her book: Feng Shi To the Rescue By Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA

available through the web site.

And watch the results change your life.

St. Augustine Film Fest: 10th Anniversary

For the last 10 years St. Augustine has been having a film festival with each year growing more. Occurring in January it draws folks from Florida and beyond. Tickets are reasonable, and with the potential of seeing 3 to 4 films daily, this is a steal. For those interested in more fare there are also parties and sometimes film makers appear to answer questions regarding their films.

This year the Fest awarded Joe Pantoliano a Lifetime Achievement Award. Joe is a character actor who has graced the screen with over 100 credits from films such as Risky Business, (in his youth), to The Matrix, to From the Vine, the opening night film of the festival.

Post film Joe took audience questions with the snarky wit he is known for. One of his 4 daughters, Daniella Sheppard Pantoiliano, showed two of her shorts at the festival with dad in attendance. Proud papa, 🙂 .

What were my favorite films this year?

  • Saint Frances
  • Balloon
  • Love in Suspenders

Perhaps you can catch them on Netflix, but better yet put this Festival on the calendar for next year. And if cost is a factor, we are always looking for festival volunteers.

See you at the movies.