Key West Florida

The forth and final port of call… Key West, Florida. It is on the very tip of the Florida Keys. Key West is a US Island city and home to a naval base. It is part of the Florida keys archipelago. It is Florida’s southernmost point, lying 90 miles north of Cuba. Famed for it’s pastel-hued conch-style houses. ( and key lime pie and roosters)

This is a new port for us, we have never been to Key West even in our childhood travels to Florida. The first thing the list of “what to do” for this port was…I’ve got to have Key Lime Pie!!!! Definitely!!

But, did you know … Hailed as “the Conch Republic,” Key West has the distinction of having one of the lowest rates of depression in the United States. -And what does that have to do with conch? Just about everything! Conch is part of the local diet attributed to this population’s overall low “non-depressive mode.” You’ll find conch in fritters and in salads, and on the local high school’s marquee…The football team is the “Fighting Conchs. BUT honestly, with sunshine and warm weather like this, how could anyone be depressed?

So…a walking tour of Key west to make sure we see the  Southernmost point in the Continental USA


and enjoy some key lime pie and conch…just so we don’t get depressed. After all, today is our last day and it’s back to Miami in the morning and home. We also enjoyed a Butterfly Sanctuary and seeing all the roosters that make Key West their home…they are everywhere!!!!!

Good Morning Key West!

Meet Petar from Macedonia. He was always at breakfast each morning with a smile. We enjoyed our conversations with him.

Transportation off the pier by trolly. No walking allowed because the pier belongs to the US Navy and is a restricted area.

The Navy is celebrating their 150th Anniversary this year, so this statue was placed in front of the Customs house.

Chocolate covered frozen key lime pie!!! YUMMY!!!!

Butterfly Sanctuary

Southernmost Point in USA

Can you see Cuba? lol

“The Little White House”

About 25 years ago, Kermit Carpenter began selling smoothies from a small stand in front of Papa’s Restaurant in Key West during his tenure as Papa’s bookkeeper. When the head chef suddenly drove off into the proverbial sunset one night, Kermit was left looking for a new adventure. Having been brainstorming with his sister Anita and her husband John, they decided that whatever they decided to do, it needed to be high quality and say “Key West”… gourmet food and Key Lime fit the bill, and so began Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.

Meet Kermit 🙂

One piece just wouldn’t do…YES we bought a whole pie and YES we finished it!!!!

The starting point!!!

Roosters EVERYWHERE!!!!

I just had to have conch! ( to fight the depression that our cruise week is just about over)

Farewell Key West! It was a lovely day…

The last port of call and the last night on board the beautiful pearl. The sunset tonight was gorgeous!!!! How I will miss this!

Our last dinner…

And the show tonight was a mix of the week’s entertainment. No pics except for the tribute to the crew which we were allowed to film.

Our room steward Abel from the Philippines did an awesome job all week keeping everything in order in our stateroom. We had fresh towels all the time and each night he made a new towel animal. Very cool!



Mexico …

Cozumel, Mexico! This is such a crazy busy Port of Call for cruise ships! Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island, nestled 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel measures 28 miles long and 10 miles wide and is renowned for it’s dazzling white sandy beaches and the clarity of the “multi-hued” azure Caribbean ocean. The climate is subtropical and the people native to Cozumel are of Mayan descent.

We have been to this Port of Call 4 times!!!

Today’s excursion was to rent scooters and tour the island!!

The wind was crazy today!! Many of the natural beaches were closed due to the high surf. It was beautiful though!!

What a wonderful day exploring and swimming in the warm water.

Tonight as we were sailing the winds were pretty crazy again. This is the first cruise we’ve done that there has been lots of rain and high winds…gale force winds …


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!

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!

4453a566c2118a1889c135b77bf7da10 rio-carnival

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)



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!

img_6667 screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-8-37-58-pm screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-8-38-36-pm

img_6660 img_6696 screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-8-37-19-pm

Have a great Carnaval our dear Brazilian friends!


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

Mi’kmaq… Heritage Day 2017

Today is Nova Scotia Heritage Day!


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.


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?

img_6533 img_6538 img_6540 img_6542 img_6543

img_6536 img_6544

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

All things new… Jan 1, 2017

January 1, 2017…

The people you love… The places you’re a part of… The memories you hold onto… …and those unforgettable moments when you close your eyes and breathe in life with a smile… A new year is a reminder to celebrate and give thanks for all the things that are good in your world… 💙

With an annual walk on the beach this afternoon after the rain cleared a bit ( yes we went yesterday because it was such a nice day BUT January 1st Beach walk is a tradition and a MUST) …a reflection of what was ( yesterday)… and what is to come (today) And a delicious seafood chowder to warm us up ( FULL of shrimp, haddock, scallops, lobster, crab and a little potato)

img_5090 img_5099 img_5122 screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-5-10-18-pm screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-5-14-22-pm

img_5130 img_5139 img_5141 img_5149 img_5154 img_5158 img_5165 img_5244 img_5180 img_5223 screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-4-58-51-pm screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-5-03-49-pm

img_4993 img_4994 img_4995

img_5057 img_5097 img_5095 img_5096 img_5077

We are READY! It’s time to begin…


What is happening here?

I am sad!!! VERY very sad!!!! Something is happening here along the coast of Nova Scotia in the last month…and no one can figure it out!!!!!!

Herring, Lobster, Bar clams, Starfish and more…

15665820_10153957219720672_570750332964845033_n 15697646_10153957219885672_300650572248465869_n 15740831_10153957220325672_4775692536022090319_n 15747794_10153957220370672_4879573638603554249_n 15781132_10153957221185672_547384145578485860_n 15698285_10153960594320672_7337359685035432286_n 15697228_10153960594470672_4914741341098347670_n

In some of the photos it looks like things have been cooked.( lobster turns from black to red when it has been cooked or steamed)

A marine mystery is confounding residents of southwest Nova Scotia who are watching thousands of dead fish, starfish, crabs, clams, scallops and lobster wash up on the shore. Residents of Plympton, a small community in Digby County, say they have been finding dead herring on the shore of St. Mary’s Bay for more than a month, but recently other marine life has started washing up dead. Dead fish have also been found on the shores of the Annapolis Basin. This is extra concerning now that other species are involved.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans began investigating Nov. 22 after thousands and thousands of herring began washing in the eastern end of St. Mary’s Bay. But still no one knows what’s causing this!!!

I hope this mystery is solved soon!!! It is so very sad for our beautiful coast and all the marine life. What is happening??


Fish & Chips with Family

Yesterday was my beautiful parents Anniversary. They celebrated 55 years marriage December 16th.Wow! That’s a milestone. I thought my 30 years was a milestone. I called Dad yesterday to see what they were doing. Not much he said, just staying cozy inside having hot dogs for lunch!! Haha, that made me chuckle. My parents have always enjoyed the simple things…TOGETHER!

Here is a pic on their special day 55 years ago…


And today with my Abby girl 🙂


Family is the BEST!

Speaking of family. Today Dad’s family, his sisters and brother ( who recently celebrated his 80th) got together at a local restaurant for lunch and we were invited. Of course we went. I always love an excuse to see them! Some of his brothers and sisters ( he’s from a very large family) and of course my grandparents have passed, so I treasure these special moments and opportunities. You just don’t know how many more you’ll get to all be together.

We had a lot of fun and laughs and catching up. I even had fun taking selfies with my Auntie who doesn’t have a clue about social media. I love her. I love them. Christmas time provides wonderful opportunities for family fun.

img_3887 screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-23-35-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-41-00-pm

img_3858 screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-25-55-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-29-37-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-58-50-pm

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-41-00-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-50-36-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-55-02-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-56-04-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-8-02-20-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-8-06-26-pm img_3898

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-7-32-42-pm screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-8-04-55-pmI hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. Today it’s a snowy one again on the east coast. Lots and lots of snow, and for some reason the plows aren’t going and thankfully we are cozy inside! Snowy BUT oh so pretty!

img_3891 img_3892 img_3895 img_3896




A Seafood Hotpot at Shifu Square on a SnOwY day in Shenyang

How’s that for a title?

Today it snowed!! I figured it would, and I am just like a young girl!!! eek BIG squeals! Watching from my window on the 11th floor, playing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”  I couldn’t wait to get out and play in it…rather just walk in it. Today was full of traffic jams in slow moving traffic, taxis that didn’t want to take you anywhere, and overcrowded subways and buses because EVERYONE is using them today. SNOW days create a WHOLE new adventure in China!

15355757_1169509039783964_1883374236791759662_n 15390737_1169509149783953_1131657017718607501_n 15285013_1169509173117284_724836972556199281_n 15337525_1169509266450608_8777770906324635064_n 15337650_1169509243117277_2795293920620151827_n 15350695_1169509356450599_8264516546739722519_n 15338717_1169509469783921_8037714076449585894_nBUT I had to get to Shifu Square ( Government Square)

15390703_1169509279783940_2856259353785348787_n 15267981_1169509346450600_6952743402021153529_nAnd Today’s special EVENT was a Seafood hotpot with some members of the hiking group that we used to go out with on the weekend. 3 guys, 3 girls and me. They were thrilled to hear I was back in China and of course wanted to treat me to dinner. Sometimes I feel like I get invited to things like this just so they can have a foreigner sit with them at their table. Unfortunately the 3 ladies that were coming were traveling together and had a fender bender, very common on a day like this. I am so glad we took the subway rather than taxi. Anyway it ended up that I had lunch with the group leader (far right), my Chinese friend and another person I have never met from the club.


This was interesting as I could just sit back ( the conversation was mainly Chinese) and enjoy as many plates of crabs, prawns, shrimp, clams, mussels, oysters and the like… were steamed in front of us.  After the seafood came the regular hot pot items with one very interesting item…bone marrow. eww…but I ate it and it was ok.

15349597_1169510976450437_455697254639987923_n 15380803_1169511063117095_6901023685145405452_n 15401107_1169511069783761_7418087806039254819_n 15391150_1169511079783760_1010091772887330243_n 15380682_1169511123117089_1310440801254403067_n 15317909_1169511299783738_4745886773324783963_n 15400581_1169511296450405_5030596152482682533_n 15193535_1169511373117064_7922528435260082132_n 15319023_1169511469783721_2398376140902623989_n 15355580_1169511519783716_8372580289171226810_n 15380355_1169511553117046_8788938569672746138_n 15439855_1169511566450378_8048144196187691426_n 15380398_1169511699783698_6301004296171389197_n 15400345_1169511709783697_4189732096660466945_n 15232066_1169511729783695_1686701527414244829_n 15284840_1169511803117021_2227984062883327239_n

15390957_1169511836450351_5873541475521389427_nOne thing I can not get used to is the mixed washrooms, side by side, at these restaurants.

15350497_1169511856450349_2533056416229015720_n On the way home I took more pics of the lovely snowfall before taking the subway which was sooooooo crowded. No pics of this because I was literally sandwiched between hundreds of people. I kept thinking if anything happened…explosion or whatever…I would never be found. SO MANY PEOPLE!!! That’s what happens on a snow day.

15391223_1169515893116612_4915383072250847606_n 15401110_1169516199783248_5530125687434033854_n 15439770_1169516263116575_3361194259767149906_n 15267741_1169516356449899_7605781174917548832_n 15400451_1169516429783225_2524074113467815102_n 15284921_1169516476449887_492914185183025558_n 15401015_1169516463116555_3514835676456507817_n 15327373_1169516563116545_473108199364914376_n 15356641_1169516619783206_5949865989980133256_n 15327384_1169516869783181_2435918459882260510_n 15319080_1169516893116512_7239146620308420219_n 15285013_1169521239782744_314752084128453753_n 15355726_1169521296449405_962580367961323430_n 15318019_1169521716449363_763042067379670795_n 15390763_1169521853116016_3511331890713965964_n

David was late getting home from work. He had fun in the snow too, rather trying to get home in it from Michelin. Normally they take a bus but because of the weather the company figured it would be faster by subway too!

15349608_10154730893097770_3408605184795968972_n 15439791_10154796062811514_4263087283756376453_n 15391101_10154796062961514_8586295462633880593_n 15401049_10154796063401514_2160522040285353834_n 15356698_10154796063526514_810103484978952554_n

This evening we were invited to dear sweet friends for dinner. Sarah has been here from the start of the Michelin Project in Shenyang and for the past two years has taken the position of site manager. You have to know she is an amazing lady to communicate in Chinese, and keep things top notch at the plant with mostly Chinese colleagues. There really aren’t too many expats left these days so her circle of business and the people she relies to get these accomplishments are Chinese. Our very first Christmas in China in 2011, they invited us to their home for Christmas dinner, along with a few other expats who didn’t go home for Christmas. Sarah & Rodney live in a serviced hotel apartment that does not have a kitchen and so over the years they have become close friends with the chef that prepares delicious meals for them tailored to their special diets. How wonderful is that?  It was so lovely to catch up with her and her sweet husband Rodney. A perfect evening!

15390665_1169530759781792_5941085095658104756_n 15356575_1169530813115120_7273810965451074990_n 15319132_1169531023115099_8882834387250572598_n

15337598_1169530829781785_8111384447463090752_n 15401181_1169530903115111_7891574882054663597_n 15283925_1169530916448443_3604467346774205306_n 15439724_1169530966448438_5239344198094554230_n

Everyday here is like a gift and I will treasure it in my heart for days to come…or at least until one day I can return?