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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Windmill Tours

Aloha Everyone,

Many of us have seen giant wind turbines all in a straight line in wide open spaces. During sunset or sunrise hours, they appear like some alien creatures from a galaxy far far away. They certainly lack romance which Miguel Cervantes described in his classic story about Don Quijote de la Mancha.  

There were about 15 couples or 30 visitors including Vita, Len, JJ and me. The group was invited to watch an orientation film inside the small building. Randy Buckmaster was a perfect guide: knowledgeable, enthusiastic and ready to answer questions. The two hours tour included an overview of the windmill industry, history, job opportunities and the future of this fast growing source of renewable energy.

Fascinating and useful information especially for younger people who are looking for an exciting job. I took mental notes to share with our nephews and nieces.

For more info, please go to AWEA, US wind industry’s annual market reports.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sun City Shadow Hills, Indio CA

Aloha Everyone,

Our friends from Schenectady, NY spend the winter months in Sun City Shadow Hills, Indio, CA. Indio is Indian in Spanish. Location is 127 miles east of Los Angeles alongside I-10. Based on the 2010 US census, the population is 76,036, an increase of 55% from the previous decade.

Sun City Shadow Hills is an active 55+ adult community. Completed in three phases, there are a total of 3,000 homes.Retirees who relocate here, either permanently or part-time, give warm winter weather as a reason. On the flip side the summer dry heat can be uncomfortable requiring one to stay in their air conditioned homes.

I love the clubhouses.  I can see myself working out in a fitness center, using the aerobics and dance studio, arts and crafts room and library!  Yoga classes are also offered.

But it’s not our time to settle down. Even with potential wonderful neighbors like Vita and Len and Mimi, a charming lady who lives across the street from them,  the two of us are not yet ready. We continue to enjoy our traveling lifestyle.

Rick Steve’s mantra is, “Keep On traveling.”

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 28, 2018

La Jolla Tide Pools

Aloha Everyone,
La Jolla tide pools are considered among the best in Southern California. We decided to visit one as part of our Sunday activities.

November to March is a good time. This is when the low and minus tides happen during the day — a perfect opportunity for families with young children to explore. Today’s lowest tide was to occur at 12:30 pm.  

Sunday beach goers were scattered along the coastline enjoying the gorgeous early summer-like weather.
With my son and granddaughter leading the way, we walked pass Scripps Pier toward Dike Rock. The name, Dike Rock is fitting because big and small rock formations are scattered within the sandy environment thereby attracting juvenile fish, gobies, lobsters, California sea hares, snails and anemones.

While I am pretty confident of my balance, little children, including my granddaughter climbed and jumped from rock to slippery rock calling out the amazing discoveries they were making. My granddaughter spotted a pod of dolphins beyond the  breaking surf. She likewise noticed a group of small children trying to ply out an octopus hiding under a rock.

A group of students from the Marine Conservation Studies, University of California San Diego were surveying to record changing patterns of tides and how they affect sea life migration. Conversing with one of the students, I learned that this is done once a year. A few years ago, the student commented that there were many star fish in the tide pools but today none was found.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Family Time

Aloha Everyone,

All is well on our end. This time is slated to spend with our family. After several days with my Mother, the two of us are now in La Jolla enjoying our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter’s company.

The next travel destination is Indio, CA near Palm Springs to visit our friends Len and Vita. We then return to stay with my Mother for a few days before J.J. and I depart for Mexico.  We will be  flying to Leon to explore the region of Guanajuato.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lyft, Alternative to Taxi

Aloha Everyone,

There are a number of services that promotes itself as an alternative to taxi. From our son, JJ and I learned of Lyft which his company recommends over the more popular Uber which has had some personal safety issues for their female passengers.

I find it exciting to learn something new. After signing up for the program, I followed their simple online instruction to download their app. J.J. and I used their service twice. Both times, we were given the fare estimate, which was accurate, name and the photo of the driver, make of the automobile and when we could expect to be picked up. An average of 5 minutes from the time of request was excellent.

All transaction is processed online and charges paid via credit card. This avoids carrying cash. You are asked to rate your experience ranging from friendliness of the driver, cleanliness of the car to riding comfort.  

If you have not yet tried Lyft, I highly recommended their service.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 19, 2018

Safely Back in the USA

Aloha Everyone,

The first thing I did upon reentering the USA was to call my Mother. It was wonderful to hear her cheerful and strong voice.  

Our usual practice is to purchase local SIM cards and load a sufficient amount to stay in touch with our family. Being on a cruise ship and visiting ports of call for only one day made this difficult.

J.J. and I took a shuttle bus to Fort Lauderdale Airport to catch a Southwest Airline flight to Nashville. The flight took nearly two hours. Seating is first come first serve. J.J. and I were the last passengers to board, thus we each occupied the middle seat apart from each other.

Nashville Airport is compact but clean and functional. We had a 2nd light snack before boarding our flight to LAX.

Southwest Airline’s advertising slogan, “In a world full of no, we’re plane full of yes.” On board complimentary service include non-alcoholic beverages, light snacks such as chips, cheese and crackers, peanuts and pretzels. I am happy to say that the three flight attendants worked tirelessly. They added humor to the announcements or sang the information. 

To make up for the “junk food” my body was subjected today, I ate a large garden salad at the airport hotel.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dining Options On Board NCL

Aloha Everyone,
There are several dining options on board NCL Star. J.J. and I dined at three of the four specialty restaurants repeating Moderno, the Brazilian Restaurant twice. Their amazing salad bar was excellent.

For our general dining, our preference is Versailles which serves breakfast from 7:30am - 9:30am and dinner from 5:00pm - 9:00pm. Lunch was usually the buffet. Our willingness to share a table is a passport to meeting interesting fellow passengers who are also curious and enthusiastic to learn and share their own experiences. Some told us that after being together everyday, their conversation became dull and they needed an infusion of fresh topics.

Here are some of the sumptuous dishes we enjoyed and fellow passengers who helped us make our cruise memorable.

Nancy (l) and Marietta (r) from Northern California. Related by marriage, the two ladies often travel together.

Robert and Regina from Austria, they grow corn and potato in their farm.

Aloha -- Cathi