I decided fairly last-minute to try out taking a cruise. So I booked the Carnival Valor to add five new countries to my list. I went into the trip with very few expectations as the trip was strictly to add countries to my list.
I booked the trip with a travel agent for a change as I was finding it difficult to find a flight to San Juan, and I wanted to get insurance since the weather van be uncertain this time of year. I booked the trip with Maritime Travel since they seemed decent with their travel show the week before.
I got up early that morning to take an uneventful flight to Toronto and then experience the pain it was to go through pre-clearance to enter the USA. The flight with American Airlines was a different experience I had a good view of the wings and the screw heads all had cracked paint on them and it freaked me out. I had to transfer flights in Miami so I checked out the airport. I had dinner at the Clover Irish Pub and watched some Olympic coverage. I had the Sheppard Pie and it was to die for.
In one of the shops the souvenirs had “Key West Mile 0”. I asked one of the clerks what was special about mile 0 and she did not know as she was new to the area. The other guy said it was the Key West was as far south as you could drive and that it was an amazing place to travel to. The other clerk asked where I was going to I told here San Juan and she said “High Five Puerto Rico!” She then explained how that was where she was from.
I found the boarding process to be unusual as no one wanted to see any ID or passport to board the plane a boarding pass was all they wanted to see. Therefore in theory you could just switch boarding passes with anyone and get on any plane and they would have no idea who was on the actual plane. I think the Canadian system is much safer. Then I got to San Juan and was exhausted for the long day of travelling.
I waited to get bag and then it was not there American decided to leave it in Toronto. I was really nervous since I was on the cruise the next day. The baggage rep was very helpful and explained the process and how my bag was going to get to San Juan the next day. When it arrived they would send it to the ship directly. I then left the airport to find the San Juan Airport Hotel where I was going to spend the night. It was not the easiest to find and I asked an airport worker for directions and all he said was “about 10 minutes.” I think that there is a possibility that he did not speak English that I learned the next day was common for Puerto Rico.
When I checked into the airport there was a lady who missed her flight and didn’t think it was fair to have to pay a whole night where her flight was very early in the morning. Another guy said that “spending a night at this hotel is a sign something has not gone right.” After the long day of travel I went to bed. The hotel was not the greatest but it was not terrible either.
After the mess of a year 2012 was my New Year’s resolution was that 2013 was going to be a year of firsts. This year also seemed to acquire a slogan as well due to my Contiki trip, and that was #noregrets.
Now I know that I have ignored updating here as often as I should in favour of quick tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagrams. For the year-end post I thought I would take a moment to list my firsts for the year (in no particular order).
1. Had a real birthday celebration.
2. First time in Monaco and Liechtenstein (small enough to be a single first).
3. Went to an adult costume party for Hallowe’en.
4. Exceeded my custom’s limit.
5. First major out-of-town music festival. (Osheaga)
6. My first “snowboard”.
7. Tried out a few new restaurants. (Decimal 81, Britt’s, Lemongrass)
8. Volunteered for my first theatre event. (Fundy Fringe Festival)
I have also included below a gallery of some of this years best moments that I have photos of.
After my last article I decided to review a few more items to see it there was something that could top the last two atrocities. Guess what! I found them.
First on the list is Soy Wonderful Noël Nog. This was thicker than the Almond version but had a very bad after taste. In addition after only a week it congealed into a tick lumpy mass of disappointment. Much similar to the beverage version of lumps of coal in the stocking.
The second item was the Gingerbread Man Peeps. These little gems were not only disappointing but the taste like regular Peeps with only a small hint of Gingerbread.
Though I did find a few positive items this time. The first is a local gem Mrs. Dunster’s Candy Cane coated donut bites. These like many other Mrs. Dunster’s products was simply to die for.
The next item that is amazing is from Starbucks. The Cranberry Bliss Bar is an amazing choice to compliment any coffee but the Gingerbread Latte is the best compliment to it.
From Tim Horton’s the biggest disappointment is the Gingerbread Muffin it almost makes you gag from the over strong spice that burns your mouth as you try to eat it.
The Two Festive Items So Wrong It Could Ruin Christmas.
Why yes folks now that Hallowe’en is over and Remembrance Day is soon to be forgotten, it is now the season that is supposed to bring the sparkle in every little child’s eye. Like most good things that are once good and holy bring out the worst in those that try to modernize and monetize classics.
In this post I am going to focus on food items that are not only symbolic to the festive season, but flavours that you would not think could go wrong. Let’s start with the first item egg nog. This is my favourite holiday drink and each year the shelves are filled with thick, over sweetened, dairy goodness. That has its own still enjoyable light alternative. Warmed with rum and nutmeg makes a nice snack on the early winter night. If you think that they could not ruin that you would be very very wrong.
This is where Earth’s Own comes to town with their Almond Fresh Nöel Nog. This festive joy comes in at 100 calories per 250mL serving. That assumes that you can actually stomach this. This tastes like almond milk with the hint of sweetness and nog spices but is thin and there is not even a think of some type of egg substitute. For this the makers all deserve a lump of coal in their stockings.
Then comes the next item. What one item is unmistakably the cookie of Christmas? It would be the Gingerbread Man or any other gingerbread cookie item or piece of house, etc. How could anyone ruin this you say? While let’s leave that feat to Nabisco and their gingerbread flavour Oreo cookies. This could have been good but the gingerbread filling was overpowered by the vanilla cookies leaving only a wee pit of festive flavour left. This could have been so much better with a gingerbread cookie and white mint filling. Therefore Nabisco a lump of coal goes to your stocking too.
Leave a comment, what do you think is the worst commercialization of a food/drink for the holidays this season?
I love writing and submitting views and reviews on a lot of things. With that I feel that some people over favourly review things. For me a 5 star is in my opinion the best of the best where the service was above and beyond, or for movies that I loved it so much I would buy the DVD and watch it a couple times a year.
I see a 3 or 4 star review as a favourable review still. When it comes to traveling places I always ignore the 5s anyways and look to the reasoning why people did not like it. Quite often people will have just been too picky.
Right now I am getting close to 50 reviews on Trip Advisor check them out and let me know what you think. Am I being too hard?
Just a quick post today and the first of many more. I have seemed to get out of my slump from the past two years and have been trying new things.
On the fitness side of things the summer has been very non-structured and I have been eating in moderation a little bit of everything,
My goal for September is going to be no alcohol or chocolate.
The first is going to be difficult as I have a German beer stein that I have been wanting to christen on the first day of Oktoberfest on September 21st but I will delay it as Oktoberfest is still going on in Munich until October 6th.
There is not a more fitting way to start this post than with the Face of Truth. The truth about Rome is that it is the most miserable place on Earth.
This was my 3rd visit to Rome and it seems to never get better. Rome has a very limited Metro system so getting around is not the easiest although unlike many other cities Rome is very consolidated into 2-hour walk to anything. The charm about Rome is its history as the centre of an ancient empire. Though when you get to see the real Rome most of the ancient ruins beside the Coliseum, a field where Circus Maximus was and the Pantheon there is really not much left to see of that empire. The only real remaining Empire left to see is that of Christianity and Catholicism.
When it comes to food, Rome is very lacking in its own identity. It adopts styles from other Italian regions and International Inspiration. On my first night in Rome, I went to a place called Piazza Navona which was loaded full of people eating at all the restaurants that circled the Piazza. I went through a couple of allies and found Ristorante Ottavio. I was small, quaint and “Roman”. In typical fashion, while travelling I ask the server what is really good to try. The gentleman says that the lobster is very “fresh and wonderful”.
I then ask him how fresh it is. He quickly leaves and brings back this poor almost dead looking lobster that to most who have never seen a real fresh live lobster before would be very thrilled.
So instead I ordered a pasta dish that was much more amazing than the plate that that poor unfortunate lobster would eventually have ended up as. While in the Piazza I saw a Seagull catch a Pigeon in mid-air and fly off with it in its beak. This had me thinking that given the number of pigeons and seagulls that we have in Saint John that this is just further proof of the miserableness of Rome.
Though Rome does have many sides and moments of wonder. Earlier that day I was on a walking tour of the area and as I approached the Pantheon the skies just opened up and dumped as much water as it possibly could on the crowds of tourists and street people who with amazing speed switched from selling collectibles to selling ponchos and umbrellas.
That being said it did not rain for very long just long enough to get completely wet and leave enough water to make it more humid as being evaporated by bright sunshine that rapidly came out.
The Trevi Fountain was amazing as usual and like Pigeons in King’s Square or like any other old thing in Europe was over packed with crowds of people.
And the Coliseum and Roman Forums have not changed a bit since the last time I have seen them in 2011.