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New York we have arrived… again Sunday, 23 September 2012

Posted by Ian Marks in Ian M, New York, Bermuda cruise, San Francisco 2012, The Ians on Tour.
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This morning we arrived in New York after our ocean voyage, but I get ahead of myself as I haven’t blogged in days.

Ian C has updated about the first day in Bermuda so I’ll write from there.

Day 2 in Bermuda we decided to go and explore St George, the original capital of Bermuda. We caught the ferry from the dockyard for a 50 minute run up the coast. Very picturesque with wonderful views out to see and all the houses with their white roofs. We arrived in St George and wandered the very small streets and checked out a museum. In the main square they were having a traditional dunking demonstration – this was a punishment for women who nagged their husbands. Actually it was just a comedy routine and a laugh for the tourists: fun but hardly historically accurate.

After spending a couple hours we decided to go to Hamilton, the current capital of Bermuda. The next ferry wasn’t for some time so the decision was made to be adventurous and take the bus. It was a very nice drive except for the overbearing American group who felt they had to try and engage the whole bus in conversation.

Hamilton It is a big island capital. I thought it felt a bit like Noumea bit the city is much bigger – Hamilton has a shopping mall! But it was in Hamilton that we saw the first person wearing Bermuda shorts, and given the climate they are probably very correct. We were getting quite hot and bothered so caught a ferry and headed back to the ship – time for another swim.

Friday the 21st September 2012 was a landmark day for me so I celebrated with breakfast in bed before heading out for some more sightseeing. We went to the National Museum of Bermuda that takes up a large part of the original fort. After climbing the hill to the top of the fort there is a magnificent view of the ocean and back to Bermuda. The original fort is still in place and they have restored some of the original guns. The fort was still in use during WWII when the island was used for PoWs and a strategic location. Also there is the Commissioners House, a grand building with panoramic views. It is now used as a museum with some wonderful photographs but it is the building that is the real attraction, it is simply magnificent.

After returning to the ship we just wandered a bit before going to dinner In Portofino restaurant. The food was lovely but the service was dreadful, staff clanging plates, glasses and cutlery. This is supposed to be elegant dining but the service and staff act more like its pizza hut.

Saturday was spent at sea and we just wandered around, did a little shopping and generally enjoyed everything the ship had to offer on our last day. That night at dinner I had Maine lobster Nd it was delicious. Sunday morning we arrived in Bayonne New Jersey, disembarkation went reasonably smoothly and our driver whisked us back t Manhattan.

Now we’re staying at the Tryp Times Square South. It’s a lovely hotel with quite large room for New York standards. The lovely part was the lady at reception got us a room well before check in time and she was very pleasant, unlike the grunt we got from the guy at the other New York hotel. After unpacking and checking out our lovely room we went for a walk, well a long walk actually. We walked 24 block uptown to Columbus Circle and then headed across Central Park and to the Apple store. Unfortunately Apple didn’t have any iPhone 5s in stock, I might try again in San Francisco.

So now just resting up before we go out tonight with some friends of Ian Cs.

Cruising along the ocean waves Monday, 17 September 2012

Posted by Ian Marks in Ian M, New York, Bermuda cruise, San Francisco 2012, The Ians on Tour.
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Well ocean slight swells actually.

On Sunday morning we left New York for Bayonne New Jersey and our cruise on Explorer of the Seas. Our driver got us to the port reasonably quickly. Like our previous cruise experience, there was a man waiting to take our luggage as we got out of the car and we were whisked away to checkin. The lady at the head of the queue looked at our booking confirmation and said “straight through to the next room please”. It was the special checkin area for suite and premier passengers. The room was set out with nice chairs and wood paneled checkin desks – all very fancy with no waiting. Onto the ship we went and standing at the gang plank at the bottom of the ship could not have been more taken aback at the sheer size of it.

After getting into the glass lift we were rushed from deck 1 to deck 11 where lunch was being served. We got ourselves a drink and sat by the pool watching the ship slowly fill up. After wandering around for a while we went to our room and what a lovely room it is. There is plenty of space, a lovely private balcony, large enough bathroom with a bathtub and a walk in wardrobe that fitted all our clothes as well as our now empty luggage!

So the remainder of the day was filled up with muster drill, a few drinks and relaxing on our balcony before dinner. We met our dinner companions who while nice enough are not really our type of people.

So Monday brought with it flat seas, lots of sunshine and the decision to go for a swim. The pool was busy but alright though there seems to be a “thing” where lots of people sit around the edge, this makes is difficult for people to then get into the pool. We floated around for a while and then people watched from our sun chairs.

Ian C decided that we should go for another swim and off we went to push our way through. The swell had picked up a bit and the water was sloshing from one end to the other. The water kept getting wilder in the pool until there was a wave running through the pool. Then a beach ball appeared and a spontaneous game broke out that Ian and I joined in. Yes people I was playing a ball game with others. It was a lot of fun.

So that’s the cruise so far and as I type this I’m enjoying a frozen Piña Colada in the bar atop the ship with views over the ship and the Atlantic spread before me.

It’s a tough life but I’m up for the challenge!

An update today Friday 14th Friday, 14 September 2012

Posted by Ian Marks in Ian M, New York, Bermuda cruise, San Francisco 2012, The Ians on Tour.
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So I’ve been a bit slack in updating the blog.

On Wednesday night we went to see Evita starring Ricky Martin. The audience were as predictable as expected: before Ricky Martin sang a note they were cheering. But the show was excellent! The chorus were very talented. The understudy was playing the part of Evita and while very talented did not match well to Ricky which diminished her performance when they sang together. It was quite surprising how many people in the audience didn’t get the plot and were trying to work it out loudly between them – sad really.

And that brings us to Friday. We awoke early (early for us on the trip so far) and walked 10 blocks to the Circle Line Cruise: three hours traveling around Manhattan. It was interesting but the four valley girls behind us were really annoying – chatting through the narration. But it didn’t spoil our entertainment.

After the trip round Manhattan we caught the bus and train to Central Park. We spent many an hour or 3 just wandering around. Really interesting.

So now we’re back in the hotel room having a rest before going for dinner and them to Top of the Rock.

New York – our first full day Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Posted by Ian Marks in Ian M, New York, Bermuda cruise, San Francisco 2012, The Ians on Tour.
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And here we are at our first full day in New York. Bit of trouble sleeping last night and then the jet lag hit! We didn’t become conscious until about 10am this morning and took us a while to get showered etc for the day ahead.

Started at a New York diner for breakfast, interesting but like London not many locals work in hospitality. We then set off to ride the famous Staten Island Ferry. But before that we rode the subway. I can say that I have finally ridden the subway in New York! To say its confusing is an understatement but I had my king of the maps with me and Ian worked it out.

So after getting off the train at Whitehall Street we went to the Staten Island ferry terminal at the bottom of Battery Park. The building is huge for a ferry terminal. Lovely trip across to Staten Island and Ian C will post pics. From the ferry you can clearly see Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty and great views back to Manhattan. There is a 9/11 memorial on Staten Island that is very understated and very moving, I wasn’t expecting it and was quite taken aback by the simplicity and just how appropriate it was.

After returning to Manhattan we wondered around Battery Park for a while. We wandered down to Bowling Green station and caught the train to Grand Central Station. Having seen the station in movies and TV I must admit to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time a little disappointed. It is certainly grand but it is the fact that all the train side of the station is just so practical, over the years all the grandeur of the platforms has been stripped away. Where there was once 1 platform that was grand in itself they have stripped out all the grandness and there are 3 platforms that service the “commuter” train services.

Back to Times Square for another wander, a drink and now trying to organise our lives for seeing Evita this evening – a night at the theatre with Ricky Martin.

On tour 2012 – The journey begins Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Posted by Ian Marks in Ian M, New York, Bermuda cruise, San Francisco 2012, The Ians on Tour.
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So this years adventure begins like so many, on a plane. We’re traveling to New York for the first part of our holiday and as usual the flight is, at best, torturous.

The bright spot was no waiting at the Sydney airport to check in. The whole process took less than a minute, very happy about that! So a couple of pre flight beers and we jammed ourselves into the less than spacious plane. We selected the seats at the back if the plane whee there are only 2 on the side and lots if space between you and the window, the problem is the seats are the same size and for a person of my generous proportions it was a bit uncomfortable,

So after spending hours looking at the ocean we arrived at San Francisco airport. I understand why US immigration needs to be so formal and strict but it is quite frightening. We did the transit thing and went to the gate for the next flight. Slightly more leg room but the seats are the same width. As I type this we’ve started our long approach to New York JFK airport.

The holiday has really begun with the yucky bit, but from here it’s gonna be fabulous!

And the theme continues Friday, 12 November 2010

Posted by Ian Marks in Fiji 2010, Ian M, The Ians on Tour.
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I would love to report that we have been out and about doing lots of things but I can’t. We’ve spent more time at the pool bar, in the pool or sitting around admiring the view. Last night for something different we sat in the Terrace Bar and watched all the happenings from there.

It was fun, relaxing and a little intoxicating after we switched to cocktails. Tonight is Lovo night so we might wander over to have a look at the unearthing of that. Other than that I think it might be pool time. For doing little of nothing we sure are sleeping a lot!