My Whacky Vacation Blog!

This vacation cruise has been nothing short of an adventure from start to the end. Funny things have happened each day. Here’s some of the highlights that have happened:

Sunday August 3, 2008 – Good Thing We Left For the USA Today

We were met with nothing less than delays. We had a 2 hour delay crossing the border. When we got to Customs, we decided not to let it get to us, so we put on our crazy faces and made the border guard laugh when we told him that we were catching a cruise in New York City to Canada. Not to be outdone, however, we were met with delays ranging from construction to a greasy spoon joint forgetting our order (we definitely should have gone to Subways or something), making what should have been an 8 hour drive a 12.5 hour drive.

Monday August 4, 2008 – I Get to Call Joelle “The Crazy Lady!!” All Day

Part I
We get to the pier in New York City and Joelle was so certain we were coming back on the Friday. In fact, she was so certain that she argued with the parking attendant who told us the ship was arriving on Saturday. Joelle wouldn’t back down and the guy says, “Look, if you plan to come back on Friday, you’re swimming back!” So, Joelle pulls the car aside and and goes, “I’m going to prove to him I’m not crazy!” She pulls out the itinerary and looks and it and goes, “I’m Crazy!!!” Need I say more?

Part II
We get to the deck and Joelle was certain that we were staying on Deck 4. They looked at her puzzled and ask what her room was. She looked at her sheet and told them “7292 – Empress Deck”. The first digit clued me in: Deck 7. I asked her, “Are you sure it’s deck 4? It says 7292.” Again, she is adamant, so I didn’t bother to argue with her until we actually got on the ship and into the elevator. I told her to push the Empress Deck. She reaches for the 4th floor and I told here that it read Promenade Deck and that Empress Deck is the 7th floor. She gave me permission to call her Crazy for the rest of the day. And I did!

Tuesday August 5, 2008 – Calmest Day at Sea

If anything, we had a calm day at sea. Our room is very comfortable and the boat has gently rocked us to sleep. I haven’t slept so good in ages… except when Joelle hits me for snoring. I may try sleeping in a deck chair if that persists. Yeah Right!

I got some great dusk photos at sea. As well, I auditioned for one of the parts in the “Legends” show and tied for the choice of Elton John. However, I lost by a hair in the applause test. Oh well! Maybe I should have tried to audition for the Ricky Martin part.

Wednesday August 6, 2008 – St. John, New Brunswick

I had a great time on the photography tour today. I caught a lot of great pictures and the tour guide is a pro photographer and showed a whole bunch of tips and tricks. Yes, Joelle and I knew a bunch of them, it is still great to hear these things from other  photographers. Overall, I was very happy with my pictures. I haven’t seen Joelle’s yet, but I’m sure she’ll have to dump her cards very soon. Unfortunately, my leg got sore to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore, so I had to go back to the boat, while Joelle shopped in the market square.

Got some great pictures of the dining room staff doing a dance, and we all had some great times at dinner. Too bad it was too cloudy for sunset shots, but I’m not complaining because I caught some great shots today as it is. Was going to try the audition for Ricky Martin, but I will admit right now that I don’t know all of the words to Living La Vida Loca. I decided to stay in my cabin and work on my photos instead. Made some great sepia shots of New Brunswick… that’s how I see the place

Thursday August 7, 2008 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Overall, had a great time shooting around Peggy’s Cove. The pictures there are what postcards are made of. Joelle had fun shopping at Del Sol, around Pier 21. We also took a double decker bus tour around Halifax and Joelle wanted to get off at the shopping district on Spring Garden Rd. It practically felt like Guelph… mind you, there are two musical instrument stores in Downtown Guelph within walking distance. I was disappointed not to find one there in Halifax that was close enough to the ship. Oh well… got some decent shots in. Took in a bit of Halifax history, but it was a shame that the tour guide that we had was only exploiting the disasters that happened in Halifax (I’m positive that it has some great points to it) and his knowledge of the metric system couldn’t fill a coffee cup… and the dude is Canadian.

The highlight of my day was watching Joelle walk a professional steamer back to the ship, that she bought off of Kajiji, and told the guy that we were just happening to be in Halifax at the time. I would have loved to have taken pictures of everyone’s faces as they looked at Joelle walking this steamer to the ship. Talk about the a huge laugh!

I managed to really hurt my knee while I was walking in Halifax back to the ship by stepping on an uneven piece of pavement. It was swollen for the night and the pain just short circuited me to the point of passing out after dinner. Good thing sunset wasn’t anything spectacular.

Friday August 8, 2008 – So I Married a Photo Bomber!!

Woke up early from last night’s passing out… about 5am. Joelle couldn’t sleep, and this time it wasn’t because of my snoring. So, we decided to head out to the aft of the ship to catch the sunrise. Not really to my surprise, there were a bunch of teenagers that were up all night at the back of the ship watching the sunrise. We were sharing photo tips with them showing them how to catch the sunrise. I managed to catch some great sunrise shots that morning and caught a few shots with them looking at the sunrise. It was such a cool pic. The cooler part was that I managed to do it without going blind!

Of course, I left the deck early because just after I left, they spotted whales and dolphins. It figures!

This was also a day at sea, so I was relaxing… a little more than I had hoped. I fell back asleep and woke up around 12:30pm. So, I grabbed some lunch with Joelle and we decided to walk around the ship. Joelle spotted a ship’s photographer lining up a family for a shot and Joelle joins the line-up for shot. Everyone there looks at her with deep puzzlement for a few seconds and then everyone burst out into total laughter. It was a classic photo bombing… a totally beautiful sight!

It didn’t end there, however. Joelle and I rushed out of dinner to catch our final sunset on the ship and it was beautiful with all of the pink and orange hues. Sure enough, as we then go about the ship gathering some photos around the ship of various parts of the ship, I have my camera aimed at a hallway in the restaurant and then Joelle sticks her face in my camera, making the funniest face just as I’m snapping it. I burst out laughing as I was photo bombed. Of course, she did it to me a few more times, and I found them equally funny.

Saturday August 9, 2008 – Good Morning New York

Joelle and I rushed out of bed at 5:30am thinking we were going to catch a sunrise over New York City’s skyline as the ship’s log stated that we were supposed to be docked in New York at 5am. So, I run to 7 forward with my ultra wide angle lens on only to find out that we’re not even crossed into the harbours yet. I run back to grab my zoom lens and rush up to deck 10 only to find Joelle already waiting for me. The sun was not yet up yet, so I had a bit of time. A few people from our photography tour were on deck as well, getting ready to catch the sunrise. What a sunrise it was. It was totally spectacular. Even better was that we were far enough from the skyline that I was able to shoot the sun lighting up the side of the skyline. We were just crossing the Statue of Liberty and it was stunning in the sunrise as well. All in all, I took about 280 shots that morning. I was excited because it was a fantastic morning.

We grabbed breakfast and got ready to leave the ship. We decided to leave the car parked where it was and do a little shopping in New York City by train. Man, the subway is hot and steamy in the summer time. We were on this one car that was making me break out into a sweat! Of course, Joelle and I made a few stupid mistakes in New York, and we’ll never do that again. Joelle made me promise never to speak of it again! I more than willingly agreed!

I didn’t find a musical instrument store in New York City where Joelle was shopping, but I figured that I wasn’t going to let it phase me. We visited Joelle’s aunt in New Jersey and I found a Guitar Centre in Buffalo on their computer and figured we could pass by it tomorrow. However, I was reluctant to go there because my friends have dealt with them and it seems no better than dealing with Future Shop here – great to go to if you know what you want, but don’t look for anyone that actually cares about a customer as much as they do about their commission.

Didn’t matter however, because our plans got marred. A major NASCAR event in Watkins Glen, NY caused all of the hotels to be booked from Syracuse to Rochester. We got to Rochester and decided that it was time to just drive home, so at 11pm, we stopped on a rest area and grabbed some McDonald’s Chicken Snack Wraps for the ride home and headed for the Canadian border. Mind you, Joelle was hoping that the Wal-Mart in Buffalo was open 24 hours, but it sadly wasn’t. Her brief hope was faded and we decided it was time to cross. We made it back into Canada at 1:30am and got home to Guelph by 3am.

The vacation itself could have been better, but just having Joelle with me made it a fantastic time as it was. She made me laugh and made me feel good overall. This morning, we capped the end of our vacation by going to Angel’s for breakfast.

And the music store thang… doesn’t bother me because I only have one place where I like to shop and that’s Long & McQuade and they haven’t steered me wrong in the past 30 years. What was I thinking going anywhere else??

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