Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hygiene on the High Seas

PLEASE NOTE: Swine flu is in the news right now, leading me to repeat this post from January 25, 2008. In addition to info about staying healthy on a cruise there are some interesting links to the Centers for Disease Control and epidemics. Back in 2008 we were worried about bird flu now it's swine flu. Go wash your hands.

Purell bottleWhen we go on cruises we do everything possible to avoid travel-related illness, like the Norwalk virus (Norovirus).

We pack Wet Ones moist wipes, Lysol spray, Purell hand sanitizer and a pump bottle of Equate, Walmart's anti-bacterial liquid hand soap, for the cabin's bathroom. In addition, we always use the hand sanitizer stations found at every eating establishment throughout the ship. And we are very careful what we eat, drink or touch when on shore excursions.

So I was pleased to run across the following links about healthy cruising from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You can read about their Vessel Sanitation Program and the results of the periodic inspections -- with scores, reports and what corrective actions were demanded.

The CDC also has a list of cruising tips to help you stay healthy on your cruise vacation. And health news and alerts for travelers in general.

If all this information about shipboard health and sanitation isn't enough for you, check out their links to the latest news on bird flu and other pandemics.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shopping for a new car

2009 Hyundai Sonata
The new 2009 Hyundai Sonata

In 2006 Jack decided to trade in his ten year old Nissan 200SX and get a new car.

However, just like me, he would rather have a root canal than spend a few hours with a car salesman.

Last Friday we decided it was time to start looking at least. The Nissan 200SX was now 13 years old and the chance of a decent trade-in offer was getting less every year. Also, with the economy where it is right now car sales are down and there are reports that one can get a good deal on a new car. Internet sources say that on a Friday, late in the month, sales goals are looming and a dealer is highly motivated to sell a car.

Needless to say -- a mere five hours after we entered the showroom we drove home in the new car. And a car that was assembled at the Hyundai factory north of Pensacola in Montgomery, Alabama.

The color is Camel Pearl although it looks a lot like tan to me. It has great leg room and has a wonderful sound system with XM satellite radio. It drives beautifully and it's a little bit heavier than the old Nissan or my 2001 Honda Civic. It will be a lot more comfortable on long drives.

By the way, Jack got a good trade-in offer. Even though the Nissan was 13 years old it had very low mileage -- less than 38,000 miles.

The photo above was taken on Saturday at an Alabama rest area on Interstate 10. We tested the new car with a drive to Mobile and had lunch at Felix's Fish Camp.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ports of Call, Island Princess Cruise, November 2009

Here are some web sites with information about the ports we will visit on this cruise plus links to interesting local attractions and restaurants.

Cartagena, ColombiaCARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
Cartagena Port Review
Private Tours of Cartagena

Cristobal Port Review
Cristobal Cruise Terminal

Port Everglades Port Information
Port Everglades Inlet Cam
Las Vegas Cuban Restaurants
Grampa's Bakery & Restaurant

Puerto Limon Port Review

Montego Bay Port Review

Aruba Port Review
Madame Janette Restaurant
Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill
Matilde Restaurant

More attractions and activities to come . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Into the Woods" at University of West Florida

Little Red Riding Hood and the WolfLast Sunday afternoon we saw an excellent production of Steven Sondheim's "Into the Woods" at the University of West Florida.

The cast was mostly students, and very good musical theater students at that. We were pleased to see that one of our favorite local actors, Brooke Hardy, was Little Red Riding Hood. She was excellent as was much of the cast -- especially the actors who played the Baker, the Baker's Wife, the Witch and Cinderella.

For the list of cast and crew plus photos of the production click here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The medical blog is up to date

Several of you have asked if I was ever going to complete the web log about my knee replacement. Well I did it. It's up to date and you can find it right here.

By the way I am doing fine and getting better every day.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

News from Along the Next Cruise Route

Island Princess
Our next cruise will be late in the fall of 2009 and will head to Panama, the Southern Caribbean and our first visit ever to South America. The ship will be the Island Princess, sister ship of the Coral Princess, one of our favorites from our last trip to the Panama Canal.

Here are some links to online English-language news outlets from countries we will visit on this cruise.

Aruba -- Aruba Today
Colombia -- Colombia Reports
Costa Rica -- AM Costa Rica
Jamaica -- Western Mirror, The Gleaner
Panama -- The Bulletin