Jamaica mon’

Smile mon! that’s right we’re in Jamaica for the day!

Jamaica is our first port of call. Ocho Rios is Spanish for “eight rivers”. The name “Ocho Rios” is a misnomer because there are not eight rivers here. It is most likely a British corruption of the original “Las Chorreas” or “the waterfalls”, the name given because of the nearby Dunn’s River Falls.  Ocho Rios is in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the area.

Limestone, molasses, sugar and coffee are the key exports in Jamaica.

Docking at James Bond pier named after the 1962 James Bond movie  Dr. No

Dunn’s River Falls Waterfall and Beach

A “MUST HAVE” while in Jamaica is Jerk Chicken with festival ( the little fried donut) and bammy (made from cassava root)

The birds were so much fun to interact with at Dolphin Cove. Macaws, lovebirds, parrots, an owl…were all very friendly and liked the attention. This way to the Iguana!

Meet Charlie! Charlie II that is. The first Charlie, the one I held last time we were in Jamaica passed away. This Charlie was a sweetie though. I love Iguanas, they are just so interesting!

David was REALLY brave and held the snake. NOT me though…I am terrified of snakes!!
We had an amazing day in Jamaica…now to set sail!

David purchased a bamboo shirt…he’s looking a bit tropical for our dinner tonight.

Goodbye from Jamaica ( and Charlie)

At Sea…

Today we are sailing on the open seas! Heading from Port of Miami, Florida to our first Port of Call, Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

What to do at sea?

Good Morning! Coffee on the balcony anyone?

We started our day at the Great Outdoors cafe with a wonderful breakfast until it started to downpour. A few minutes later the sun came out and there was a rainbow.

Next stop the excursion desk to pick up a brochure and decide what excursion to take in Jamaica tomorrow.

The sun was shiny so we wanted to catch a few rays. It was so crazy windy that we were only able stay out a short while.

Back to the cafe for lunch.

We watched a sushi demonstration and David &Glenn volunteered for a little fun. ” Brad Pitt” and “Vin Diesel” had to catch an egg in their mouth. Success for the brothers and their prize…sushi. It was delicious!!

A game of Deal or No Deal…

A little onboard shopping … I didn’t end up getting the hat 😛

And a few games of shuffle board…

An afternoon snack ( warm peach crumble with hot vanilla sauce)

And a little more suntanning…

There’s just so much to do on SEA days!

And one of our favourite things to do every evening is dress for a fancy dinner and show! And to finish the evening…a little music in the atrium. It’s the PERFECT ending to the day.

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Haha…Oh these little bitmojis are fun!

Goodnight from the middle of the ocean…sweet dreams

HELLO Mom & Dad 

A couple days in Miami before our cruise means it’s opportunity to visit Mom & Dad Goode. They have been spending their winters in Cortez, Bradenton Beach area of Florida for the past few years.

We headed to the coast through the Everglades on the Tamiami highway. We saw lots of alligators and interesting birds but because we were short on time we didn’t stop for pictures. We decided to meet halfway on the west coast of Florida in a quaint little town called Matlacha (pronounced “mat-la-SHAY”)

Matlacha is one of five communities on Pine Island in the Cape Coral area.  It is an “Old Florida” fishing village, home to many brightly colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants, and traditional Floridian cottages. We ate at a wonderful spot the “Blue Dog” The shrimp tacos and key lime pie were delish! We spent the afternoon browsing the shops and catching up with Mom & Dad.

After a bit more food we headed back to Miami to get a good night’s sleep!

FAT Tuesday 😂

FAT Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday aka…Pancake Day is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. So…the date is determined by Easter. Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.

This year Pancake Day is February 28th and for dinner tonight guess what we’ll enjoy?

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My phone must realize it’s soon time for vacation, it has been posting this message off and on all day! 😂

It’s time for a Haircut!!!!

In Chinese culture, the dragon is an auspicious animal that dominates clouds and rains. On the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month is thought to be the day that dragon awakes and raises its head according to the Chinese folk legend. So the day is called Dragon Heads-raising Day. And there is a poplar Chinese idiom “二月二, 龙抬头” (èr yuè èr, lóng táitóu) which means ‘On the second day of the second lunar month, dragon raises its head’. After the day, spring is coming and there will be more and more rains. People think these credits go to the dragon.

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Today…February 27th is BLUE DRAGON Festival, not to be confused with Dragonboat Festival!

Also known as the Eryueer Festival(二月二), The Blue Dragon Festival, also known as the Zhonghe Festival or Longtaitou Festival, is a holiday closely tied to China’s ancient agrarian culture. It’s a traditional holiday meant to welcome the earliest tentative signs of spring and is held on the second day of the second month of the Chinese calendar.

Longtaitou literally translates to “dragon raising its head,” a reference to the animal believed to preside over all creatures and, importantly, control the rains. Farmers celebrate the Blue Dragon Festival to ensure favorable rainfall and plowing conditions for a strong harvest season.

Longtaitou Festival is celebrated in various ways, most of which are still identical to those practiced in the ancient times, including eating Chinese pancakes (春饼) and noodles. Haha, tomorrow it’s pancake day here in Canada!

It’s time to clean the house and get a haircut! Similar to housecleaning ( sweeping away Chinese New Year’s luck and good fortune if cleaning is done in the 1st lunar month), it’s considered bad luck to cut your hair during the 1st lunar month. Cutting your hair on the Blue Dragon Festival aligns yourself with the dragon’s dignity and power. Dragon is highly esteemed for its dignity and power for good. It is thought to be auspicious to cut hair on the Dragon Heads-raising Day. Luck and opportunities will always knock on your door in the year. So, on that day, barbershops’ businesses are prospering and full of customers. Time to get a haircut!!!! Hint, hint David!!! lol

And…Eat Dragon Foods…Dumplings are called the “dragon’s ears,” pancakes are the “dragon’s scales” and noodles are the “dragon’s beard,” to express hopes for rain and a good harvest.

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I just LOVE all the culture, special days and festivals in China!

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Spring is coming…time to get a haircut!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A HUGE South American Party

*** Make sure you press PLAY on the audio file to get the full effect as you read this post. lol

It’s that time of year in Brazil!

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It’s Carnaval! It falls on February 24-28 this year. It is the biggest celebration of the year in Brazil. We had so much fun experiencing this when we lived there, and just to break up the wintery snow month of February and help me think about warm, sun and beaches…I just had to break out my Havaianas ( have to pack them for my cruise next week anyway)

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AND for dinner tonight I just had to make some delicious Brazilian food … shrimp with heart of palm and rice topped with toasted almonds and lime…lime pie and coffee… and caipirinha’s of course!

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Have a great Carnaval our dear Brazilian friends!

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And maybe I will watch Rio…love that movie and the music.

Mi’kmaq… Heritage Day 2017

Today is Nova Scotia Heritage Day!

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This year’s Honoree is The Mi’kmaq and their ancestors.  The Mi’kmaq and their ancestors have lived in this land for at least 11,000 years. Mi’kma’ki, their traditional territory, includes Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and much of New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula.

In the world of hockey, it is well known that Mi’kmaq craftsmanship resulted in some of the best made hockey sticks in history. This year, Nova Scotia Heritage Day will honour Mi’kmaq Heritage by celebrating the important accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq community, including its contribution to Canada’s favorite past time, hockey.

The Mi’kmaq community will host a two-game hockey challenge called The Mi’kmaq Heritage Hockey Classic – Bury the Hatchet. The theme, Bury the Hatchet, was selected to honour a ceremony held in 1761 that saw the signing of the Halifax Treaties. The treaty ceremony marked the end of more than 75 years of hostility between the Mi’kmaq and the British, and celebrated the beginning of a peaceful and friendly relationship between the two nations.

Canada’s native population did not record in ‘hard-copy’ the history of their nations. Rather, they had appointed ‘story tellers’ who passed on knowledge of their culture from generation to generation in the form of ‘oral history’.  The early Ice Hockey sticks were carved from Hornbeam trees, which are native to Nova Scotia and provide a very durable hardwood. One of the tools used in the carving of Hockey sticks was known as a “Crooked Knife”. As a result of the huge numbers of Ice Hockey sticks made using these methods by Mi’kmaq, local supplies of Hornbeam were largely depleted and the Mi’kmaq then turned to the yellow birch, another hard wood which possesses the same characteristics. In the early years of the development of the game, sticks were simply called after the name of the game. Thus boys played with “Hurleys” and later with “Hockeys”, rather than with “hurley sticks” and “hockey sticks” as they do today.

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It is always nice to enjoy a “day off” in mid February but it’s also a great way to learn about your country’s heritage. Sadly my husband worked a LONG day ( 13 hours) and it was just me at home. So no family day adventure. BUT I took advantage of it by just having a RELAX day.

IN honour of heritage day … we had  fish for dinner ( no we didn’t catch them ourselves) and berries for dessert!

Is there anything more Nova Scotia than smelts, trout and blueberry grunt?

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Hope you enjoyed your long weekend! Back to work tomorrow.

THE GREAT WALL

1700 Years to Build. 5500 Miles Long. What Were They Trying to Keep Out?

It’s FINALLY in theatres here in Canada. It was released December 16 in China and I have been waiting patiently…


THE GREAT WALL

I have been wanting to see this movie. There were advertisements and displays for it everywhere when we were in China before Christmas. It was released there December 16 and now 2 months later it’s out here in Canada.

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I’m not a movie person. I rarely go to the theatre. BUT this one…I  just had to go see!

And to start our “Great Wall Adventure”…we had dinner at the Great Wall Restaurant in downtown Halifax.

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And then to the movies…

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I was so looking forward to this and even googled to see what section of the Great Wall this movie was depicting…haha…I laughed. Oh…China!  It was actually filmed at a giant film studio in Qingdao. I have seen such studios when I lived there and this information really didn’t surprise me.

Considering The Great Wall is a film about China, audiences around the world won’t be too surprised to find out that it was actually shot there too. However, no real-life locations were actually used.

Unable to shoot on the actual Great Wall of China for the obvious reason that it’s one of the greatest wonders of the world, Zhang’s colossal team of designers built two walls in a giant film studio complex in Qingdao — one was a low wall, while the other a high one. With the entire set stretching to well over 200 metres, both were placed in front of one of the largest green screen ever used in the film industry.

According to the director, even Matt Damon was impressed when he first set eyes on the structure: 

“Matt Damon said it was the biggest green screen he’d ever seen and I think it’s the biggest green screen ever assembled in the world.”

Well the movie wasn’t what I had hoped for or expected ( based on one legend about the great wall) but it was a fun day and David’s older brother and his wife went with us for our “Great Wall Adventure Day” so that was fun to spend time with them and get our plans together for our upcoming cruise together in a couple weeks.

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Soaking up some sun

I’m not the only one that NEEDS their Vitamin Sea  C. Someone else likes soaking up the sun.

This winter hadn’t been too bad…then…FEBRUARY! It’s the Snow month!!

Snowstorm on Thursday and NOW another BIGGER one again tonight… Yes, I live in the red area…60 cm. Yikes!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE living in a place where we can enjoy all the seasons. But I do crave sunshine and blue skies. That’s why I take a few vitamins and eat lots of tropical fruit in the winter.

And usually plan a little getaway…

Ahh…

What helps get you through the “COLD & SNOW” months? Or is Winter your favourite season?

Wishing you a great week ahead!