Friday, November 30, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise, Day 5: Puerto Vallarta

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta well rested and ready for the extra time we would be spending here. Puerto Vallarta is a huge city, but has a great deal of charm. It has fantastic beaches, rustic historic areas, lush jungle type foliage in places, wonderful restaurants and plenty of shopping. Our ship docked at Bahia de Banderas, which I learned was formed by an ancient volcano. This volcanic crater is now the second largest natural bay in North America and is the deepest bay in the world! I am really enjoying Puerto Vallarta, it is the best part of Mexico I have visited so far. (Yes, I am riding a donkey while holding a dog!)

above: beautiful beaches...
above left: This church was under renovations, but it was beautiful inside. The top of the tower has a crown supported by angels. above right: many of the shops displayed their merchandise from windows on the second floor.
above: There were plenty of great beachside restaurants
above: I like the "little gems" you can find just walking around, such as these arches by the beach, or the lamp posts with dolphins.
above: Puerto Vallarta has plenty of wonderful statues throughout the city.
The Private Villa...

Above: Relaxing at the private villa, nestled high into the hill.
above: the villa has beautiful grounds with lush tropical plants and a refreshing pool.
One of the verandas I enjoyed, with spectacular sweeping views of the beaches

Dr Wang at Sea
Day five: I was horrified to learn that there were Alaskan King Crab Legs on the dining room menu this evening. I thought these people were civilized on cruise ships. Don’t the chefs realize that it’s just not right to eat the underwater creatures? I mean, other than that miserable Jaws, what did any of us underwater creatures ever do to humans to deserve to be slaughtered and eaten?

-Dr Wang

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise, Day 4: Mazatlan

Yesterday we arrived in Mazatlan, Mexico. It was perfect weather, mid 80's or so with plenty of sunshine. After taking a ride in a "shuttle" that was really a tractor, we arrived at the terminal and made our way through the tourist-trap square. We braced ourselves for the berrage of time-share salespeople representing themselves as tour guides. Luckily we were tipped off, and walked right past them all.
above left: the tourist square at the terminal was actually very nice. above right: these are the types of vehicles that pulled the flatbed with benches to take us to the terminal!
above left: my first corny pose of the day, with Senor Frog, above right: the "city coat of arms"

We hired a driver for a private car all day. It was the best way to see Mazatlan. I stopped along the way for a photo opportunity with this lovely mermaid. Mazatlan was an interesting place to visit. Beautiful beaches, a good blend of old and new, lots of resorts, etc. We were very fortunate to have had such a great driver who spoke English perfectly and took us all over. I felt like we had a good perspective of the area.
above: another beautiful mermaid, and above right: a smugglers cave now locked up with this gate that says "Diablo"
We stopped to watch the famous rock, they were amazing. when I get back I'll upload the video I took.

Above: In the Old Town part of mazatlan, there was lots of character like this doorway to a home. above right: we walked through the market, which had everything from fresh produce, meats, clothes and trinkets.
I already forgot the Spanish name for this square, but it was beautiful.
We visited this cathedral (I think Sacred Heart) in Old Town, which was quite ornate inside.
Above: back at the ship last night, we had Bananas Foster for dessert....mmmm oh-so-good!

Dr Wang at Sea
Day four: This evening was probably the highlight of the cruise so far. Rick brought me to the nightclub lounge, to see a live performance. As a looked around the room, I realized that I was the only fish there. I could sense people watching me wondering what I was doing there, but I figured, I paid my way and darn-it, I was going to enjoy this cruise no matter what. Of course I didn't appreciate the fact that the people sitting next to me asked me if I had the Alaskan King Crab legs for dinner...
-Dr Wang

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise, Day 3: Cabo San Lucas

We arrived in Cabo San Lucas early yesterday morning. As usual I was up early to catch the sunrise and watch us pull into the bay. I'd been to Cabo earlier in the year when we were on our cruise through the Panama Canal, but we had different things planned for this trip, so I knew it would be different.

We started the morning by chartering a private tour in a glass bottom boat. We saw thousands of fish swimming, from tang, sardines, yellowtail, and many others. We went right up to Lovers Beach, and all those famous rock formations of Cabo, so famously photograhed. We went within a few feet of a group of sea lions, who were sunbathing on the rocks. I'm sorry that I can't share any photos...this internet connection is really bad. I've tried to upload more photos but it just won't cooperate. When I return I'll get them up here.

above left: The "Window to the Pacific", and above right: Sea Lions sunbathing on the rocks

above: Later, while walking in town, I stumbled across a place called "The Giggling Marlin" that I thought was cute.

above: we ate lunch at a GREAT place called "Panchos", which was very clean, had good food and good service. Check out the musician on the left...he was wearing a HUGE FAKE moustache!

above: back on the ship, enjoying a glass of wine at The Wheelhouse Bar.

Dr Wang at Sea
Day three: Cabo San Lucas looks beautiful from my balcony. It was a very interesting day for me. When he returned from his day ashore, Rick brought me to one of the top side outdoor bars overlooking the pools. From my position on the bar, I could see the sun setting on the horizon on the ocean, which was so beautiful. I watched a few passengers swimming in the pool below, wow, what we say down below the surface really is true: White Men Can’t Dance OR Swim! I'm hoping to catch a show tonight, I hear one of the shows has a mermaid in it....
-Dr Wang

Wisdom Wednesdays, Featuring Dr Sidney Wang at Sea....

This week, Dr Wang is on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera, but his work does not cease. He is writing his column from his luxury stateroom on board the Dawn Princess ship. Being on vacation, Dr Wang is responding to an e-mail without access to The Great Bubble Wall. This is his opportunity to dismiss cynics who suggest he is a fraud and relies to heavily on The Great Bubble Wall for his psychic abilities.

The e-mail Dr Wang selected this week is from “Mrs V” in Houston TX. Melissa writes:

Dear Dr Wang- I just received notification that I have been accepted to compete in a televised Jeopardy tournament. I am so excited about the opportunity, being a teacher with a double major in history and science. I have been practicing literally for a year, and I passed all the pre-selection tests by the Jeopardy team. Apparently I am good enough to compete! My question is, what do you see happening? Will I win? I get nervous under pressure but I know my material! What’s on the cards Doctor?

-“Mrs V”

Dr Wang responds: Dear Mrs V,

Congratulations on being selected to compete on Jeopardy, you must be good at trivia! As I sit in my vacation bowl aboard this cruise ship, I have spent nearly a full day contemplating what awaits you. I watched the white-caps dance on the surface of the Pacific Ocean, it was there that I received my psychic vision about what awaits you on the set of Jeopardy.

I foresee you lasting through four rounds of games. You will indeed win the first three rounds, quite handily. So a “high fin” salute to you for that! However, by the fourth round the pressure will be considerable. There is a topic that is more elusive to you, whose outcome is difficult to predict. I suggest that you study the following subjects: Marine Biology, Underwater Mysteries and re-read Moby Dick.

Even me, being a creature of the water am unable to help you with the question that could stump you. Whether or not you win the final round, the good news is you will have given it your best and will go home with more money and prizes that you have today.

Well, I'm off to the fish flake buffet.

In the meantime, keep swimming upstream,

-Dr Wang

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise, Day 2: Evening at Sea

The satellite on the ship has had terrible recpetion so far, and I've had all sorts of trouble uploading I apologize that I have so few lately. I'm lucky these made it up...

Above: Having dinner with our new friends on board the Dawn Princess. We really lucked out to meet such teriffic people.

Above left: I chatted with The Captain during his cocktail reception before dinner. Above right: The atrium was fully decorated for Christmas and looked so festive.
Tuesday morning we arrive in Cabo San Lucas, our first port of call...
-Rick Rockhill

Mexican Riviera Cruise, Day 2: Day At Sea

Overnight we sailed South East across the Pacific Ocean, parallel to west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, passing the islands of San Benito and Isle Cedros. The Isle of Cedros is a large island formed by a volcano, and has tree covered mountains, which was quite beautiful in the morning sunrise. We will be at sea all day Monday, headed for Cabo San Lucas.

Above: Just before day break, having my morning cup of tea, waiting for the sun to rise....
Above: It was a spectacular "burst" into the sky. The morning sun is my favorite...I like the way it illuminated the ship.
The Fruit & Vegetable Carving Demonstration

Above: Mid-morning I went to watch a demonstration of carving fruit and vegetables. These guys work fast and made some cool the dragon-fly and the penguin. I told Mrs Danvers she needs to learn this skill.
This evening is formal night, so tomorrow morning I'll try to post a few photos.
-Rick Rockhill
Dr Wang at Sea
Day two: Today I went up on the Promenade deck to observe the morning walkers doing their laps and see the beautiful coastline of the Mexican Riviera. While on the Promenade deck, I asked Rick to stir the water on the surface of my bowl, so I could enjoy the sea air. The tiny air bubbles filled with the smell of the sea was quite enjoyable, I must admit.
-Dr Wang


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