Betty Foidart

Joined January 2015Living in: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • Day17

    Puerto Carinto, Nicaragua

    January 15 in Nicaragua ⋅ 🌬 31 °C

    And it only gets hotter....36, humid, sunny, and no breeze. I was told that there were several marina police boats with automatic weapons mounted on the bow that accompanied us into the harbour. One of the tours had to be cancelled due to warnings of political unrest in the area. As you got off the ship there was a small downtown area of shops with very little merchandise and outdoor restaurants with no wifi. The street was lined with market stalls while other sellers carrying their items for sale, mostly pottery and trinkets, roamed amongst the tourists. They were very, very persistent in your face and followed us down the street despite me repeatedly saying politely, “No gracias”. Although I would have liked to support the people, there was nothing of interest for me to purchase. The area cordoned off for tourists was only 3 blocks long and patrolled at each end by the local police. From the little we saw and reports from others who took tours, this is an extremely impoverished country. Within an hour we were back on board the ship. When we departed there was again an armed marina police boat accompanying us out to open waters.Read more

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  • Day16

    Puerto Quetzel, Guatemala

    January 14 in Guatemala ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    It was 32 today and sunny with no breeze. We had the option of taking an $140 USD excursion to the colonial heritage city of Antigua but JS had already been there over 40 years ago so we decided to stay near the port for free. This time we docked at the cargo port, the largest in Central America. We saw huge shipping containers stacked several high with the words Chiquita or Del Monte emblazoned on the side. There were also several large, metal grain storage sheds and huge piles of imported coal.

    To get to the main tourist port we took a free shuttle bus, a rickety old school bus, about 10 km up the coast. JS headed straight to the wifi restaurant and bought 2 locally brewed Gallo beer for $4 each, which allowed us each 1 hour internet time. I asked why my internet time didn’t at least come with a Coke, instead of him getting 2 beers and just got a shrug in response! “Oink, oink”, I replied.

    The tourist market was fairly large with each stall owner anxious to make a sale. I wandered around once before deciding on my 2 small purchases. There was a lot of pressure to buy and the price dropped considerably but I either didn’t need, want or have space in my luggage for anything else. I did feel for them though because there is a lot of poverty in Guatemala. I was told by someone who did the trip to Antigua that there were a lot of “beggars with no limbs” and a lot of “guards armed with machine guns”.

    It was now 3 o’clock and JS was getting grumpy with hunger so we headed back to the ship. A late lunch, naps and working off some of those calories doing laps around the ship (3.5 laps = 1.6 km) has been our usual afternoon routine. I’s a tough life! Holland America used to be the only ship that had a veranda deck that went completely around the ship unobstructed. Our stateroom is located on this deck so it is very convenient for walks and lounge chairs.
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  • Day15


    January 13 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Chiapas was another small Mexican port with little to see and do. It was a hot 29 degrees and sunny. There was only one building which held about 10 souvenir shops and a central stage for local performers (folk dancers, a band, and costumed Mayan performers). You were expected to make a donation if you took any photos but we both forgot our money in our cabin safe. Internet was available at a small shop if you purchased something so I had to go back to the ship to get cash. For a $2 Coke we were given the password for the wifi. Smart people! There was also an outdoor restaurant that had a large swimming pool that you were welcome to use if you made a purchase at the bar or restaurant. JS got the Coke, Corona and a dip in the pool while I got a few minutes of internet time. Something is wrong with this picture!Read more

  • Day14


    January 12 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    We arrived in Huatulco at 10 am so there was time for a hearty breakfast before heading ashore. It was 29 degrees, no breeze and mostly cloudy which still made it very hot for walking. We walked through the small town stopping at a cafe for a cerveza and coke for a total of $5, which then allowed us wifi access. Afterwards we visited a fair in the park where you could buy local products, such as coffee, herbs, soaps and handicrafts. There was a live band that JS said sounded like Santana. The beach was busy with families and the water was warm. Having seen all there was to see, we headed back to the ship for a late lunch and reading on the deck. It wasn’t a very exciting day and we were glad to depart at 6 pm.Read more

  • Day12


    January 10 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Our first port....been there, done that x 6. We didn’t feel any need to explore the city, particularly because the downtown area was a bus or taxi ride from the marina. It was 28 and sunny so we opted to walk a couple of blocks to the Galleria Mall, spending time at the food court to take advantage of the free internet. Walmart and Sam’s Club were next door so we picked up some Coke and Mexican nuts. Puerto hasn’t changed much...busy with people and traffic, dirty and dusty, and hot. There was a magnificent yacht moored near our ship with it’s own helicopter that another cruiser estimated the value at $6 million for the helicopter alone! Research tells me that the yacht is owned by a self-made Montana industrialist billionaire and is one of the largest yachts in the world.

    We departed Puerto an hour late due to a medical emergency on board. I saw an alert, elderly man being stretchered down the gangplank. It’s not surprising as I think the average age of our fellow travellers is around 75+. There are lots of wheelchairs, walkers and canes and then there are many who are walking laps around the ship daily. We don’t have a set time for dinner as we opted for the freestyle dining, which hasn’t been a problem because the majority of the old timers like to eat at 5 or 6. We normally eat late but the dining room closes at 9 pm so we have had to be mindful of that.

    Missing in pair of retro prescription sunglasses! Maybe at home, Walmart, Costco, one of our hotels. I’m not only clumsy but forgetful in my old age. Feeling sad as I sure could use them on this trip.
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  • Day11


    January 9 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    We’ve been at sea for 2 days travelling south along the coast of Mexico at a speed of 37 km/h. The temperature gradually increased from 15 to 23 degrees in the sunshine. The ocean has been fairly calm. We’ve explored the ship and finally got our bearings. Meals have been good and we are both watching our caloric intake, one with more success than the other. We purchased 5 bottles of wine at Costco in San Diego and were charged $18 corkage fee each for 3 of the bottles as we were allowed 2 free in our stateroom. This seems expensive but one of the bottles that we paid $11 for was on the menu for $46! Each day we’ve been doing 3 laps around the ship equaling one mile plus doing several flights of stairs, not to mention the steps from aft to stern. Four days ago I came down with a cold, which seems to be my travel norm these days sadly. In order to prevent a repeat experience with rib fractures, I’ve been taking ample Robitussin-DM shooters which made my brain foggy. I am on the mend now which pleases me immensely as I was a bit anxious about being out in the middle of the ocean with a respiratory emergency like in Portugal!

    JS is half-way through his 2nd book and I’ve been enjoying the American Test Kitchen presentations. A professional chef from the TV show prepares the meal, shares the recipes, and gives a lot of general cooking tips. Their show is based on the science of cooking. We have been going to most of the evening entertainment shows and saw the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the story about Freddy Mercury and Queen. Excellent movie that everyone should see.

    Here’s my most exciting experience so far. Yesterday I was given a free bingo card so I went to try my luck. A couple in front of me had to leave early for a massage appointment and handed me their 5 cards on their way out. I yelled after them for their cabin # just in case they won and jotted it down. With a Texan drawl he told me, “You can buy me a drink if you win”. Five minutes later I yelled “BINGO!” on his card and won $150! I left a note on their door, which happened to be 2 doors down from us, telling them to come and collect their winnings. He was shocked, initially thinking it was a joke, and felt that the money was mine to keep because I didn’t even have to tell them that I had won. I felt it was the honest thing to do as he had paid for the bingo card. He gave me $80, which I thanked him for his generosity, and he kept $70 somewhat reluctantly. We were both happy!
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  • Day9


    January 7 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Our final night in California was at the Residence Inn in Long Beach. I got a great deal at this hotel, likely because it was a 15 minute taxi ride to the San Pedro cruise ship pier, costing an additional $25. It was also located aways from downtown requiring a long walk over a bridge. Oops...could have planned that better! We had a stressful time returning our car rental as the location was closed on Sundays, unbeknownst to me when I booked it. We had no GPS, wifi, or good old-fashioned paper maps so we got lost more than once. Tempers flared and we were both relieved to get rid of the rental, relying on foot power to explore the area.

    It was time to cruise on out of here. We had just received notification that we had a free upgrade from an interior cabin to an ocean view so that was good news. Boarding the Holland America Amsterdam was a breeze as we were the only passengers there at 2 o’clock. The big rush had come and gone on board earlier. JS was relaxed and happy, unlike our airport experiences. The ship didn’t depart until 7 pm.
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  • Day4


    January 2 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    We picked up our rental car, which was a bit of a fiasco because the Hertz location was closed due to computer issues so we had to be shuttled to a different location. After a long delay we headed to a popular National Monument which was closed due to the government shutdown. We ended up in the adjacent National Cemetery for a moment of reflection and a good view of the city. We had lunch at the top-rated Mexican restaurant in San Diego near the touristy Old Town, where San Diego originated. Old Town is a state park but it’s very commercialized in true American fashion.

    Our home for the next 4 nights was at the Marina Suites in Oceanside, a small beach town an hour’s drive north. The one bedroom timeshare unit was dated but clean and right on the oceanfront. The location was convenient for day trips to La Jolla and Laguna Beach, two of my favourite spots. We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway and I was able to show JS the different resorts I had stayed at 3 years ago. The weather continued to be cool, in the low teens, and cloudy.
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  • Day2


    December 31, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    The highlight of San Diego was the MS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. We spent 3 hours exploring the immense ship and only saw a portion of the exhibits. They allowed us to return the following day to complete our tour, another 3 hours. The Midway is run by volunteers and receives no government funding. We’ve always been fascinated by these carriers in the middle of some ocean with aircraft coming and going day and night (which we learned occurs every 45 seconds!). The Americans have a very high regard for their military.

    JS’s knees and hips are troubling him again, compounded by the regained weight since April. We never made it to the Gaslight historic area or to the famous zoo and I had to readjust some of our dinner plans that were too far for him to walk. I’ve realized that I will have to lower my expectations in terms of activities for this trip.

    Day 2 and I took my first tumble....rainy, dark unlit street, turned to give JS directions, and the curb attacked me! Minor abrasions and no fractures. This newly diagnosed osteoporosis is going to be a challenge for me as I always was a clumsy kid!
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  • Day1


    December 30, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    After a hectic few weeks of Christmas activities and family visitors it was time for our annual escape to warmer climes. In order to avoid getting up at 4 am for our 6:45 am flight, we stayed overnight at the Four Points Hotel right at YWG. Unfortunately, JS got up to the bathroom 3 times that night and then woke me up at 4:30 to go to the airport, which was just across the street. This kind of defeated the whole purpose of staying at the airport to get a good night’s sleep!

    It was an uneventful flight to Calgary and then onwards to San Diego. Despite that, JS’s airport anxiety was at a peak with him swearing that this was his last trip anywhere. If he would only follow the security rules that are well known to him life would be much easier. The security scanner broke down just as it was our turn to get screened so that certainly didn’t help. His frustration leads to obnoxiousness and I predict that one day he will be denied boarding!

    We arrived in San Diego at noon and took the public bus downtown to Springhill Suites, our home for the next 3 days. We had a relaxing walk along the harbour front and a delicious fresh seafood meal. The warm, sunny weather was short-lived as the next 2 days were cool, windy and rainy. We watched the New Year’s Eve Holiday Bowl parade from the 5th floor patio of our hotel but it was disappointing because the huge balloons had to be tethered down due to the strong winds.
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