Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Выходные в Поконос

Echo Valley Cottages. Arcadia cottage.На прошлых выходных мы наконец-то выбрались в домики в Пенсильванию. Было желание на такую вылазку всё лето, но обстоятельства не складывались — то слишком дорого, то нет мест, то Ароша болеет, то еще что.

Autumn in Poconos.В прошлый понедельник, 13 октября, был День Колумба, и Арошкина школа была закрыта. Данина работа на такие “праздники” выходные не делает, но у него накопилось много отпускных дней, так что мы забронировали домик с пятницы по понедельник. За 3 ночи, если интересно, мы заплатили $480, включая все добавочные платежи типа налога. С нами поехали так же Данины родители. Им, правда, пришлось уехать в воскресенье, так как с отпускными днями у т. Оксаны напряжённо. На самом деле Данина мама до последнего момента вообще не знала поедет ли она с нами — на работе завал, и начальство ожидает, что люди будут работать вообще без выходных. Мы все очень обрадовались, когда она сказала, что всё-таки сможет поехать.

Us.В Echo Valley Cottages мы уже останавливались в прошлом ноябре. Из плюсов данного места можно перечислить относительно приемлемые цены (особенно, когда делишь на две семьи), довольно большой и тёплый дом, наличие гриля, хорошее расстояние от нас (где-то 100 миль), близость к водопадам и фермам с яблоками. Из минусов могу сказать, что было ощущение, что хозяин считает каждую копейку. Например, запасной туалетной бумаги или бумажных полотенец не было (к концу и то, и другое закончилось); ножи, сковородки и прочее были самими дешёвыми; надо было самим застилать кровати свежим бельём (за которое, кстати, надо было заплатить $25), а при уезде его самим снять, как, впрочем и вывезти из домика мусор в специально указанное место. Еще там была пахнущая серой вода, что тоже не слишком приятно. Ну, и, как в большинстве подобных коттеджей, напор воды в душе там был так себе, так что купаться нам совершенно не хотелось.

After the rain.Мы выехали из Бруклина в пятницу вечером. В обед Даня с Арошей сьездили к Артуру подстричься, а заодно купили кое-какие продукты в русском магазине (хлеб, масло, колбасу, яблоки, бананы, помидоры и т.п.). Ну а я пол дня паковала чемоданы. По количеству собранных вещей можно было подумать, что мы уезжаем не на 2.5 дня, а как минимум на неделю. Дело в том, что в субботу обещали дождь, поэтому детям я брала не только кучу сменных штанов и курток, но и по несколько пар обуви, чтобы можно было переодеть промокшую. Мы также брали с собой свои одеяла, потому что, как и следовало ожидать, одеяла в домике были ужасные — тонкие и противные. Вообще надо отметить, что в гостиницах редко бывают хорошие одеяла, но в самолёт, конечно, их не потащишь, а вот при недалёком путешествии на собственном автомобиле они буквально сами запрыгнули в чемодан.

After the rain. iPhone 6 taken.Доехали мы хорошо — где-то за 2.5 часа. Анюта практически всё время спала, так как выехали мы примерно ко времени её ночного сна, да и Ароша тоже вздремнул часок.

Grandma and grandpa with granddaughter. Grill is grilling.В субботу, как и обещали, шел дождь. Где-то до полудня. Было немного обидно всё утро сидеть дома, но что поделать. Когда хляби небесные перестали поливать нас грустью, мы с Даней и д. Борей поехали в ближайший супермаркет за мясом и овощами для гриля, а т. Оксана осталась погулать с детьми. Надо сказать, что Ароша последние месяца два бесконечно болеет. Одна простуда перерастает в другую. Вот и в эти выходные он был еще недолечен — немного сопливый, немного с кашлем, и, как выяснилось, немного с температурой. Несмотря на то, что на нём были водонепроницаемые сапоги, его ноги в свежевымытой траве промокли до нитки, но мы об этом узнали намного позже — когда бургеры были уже наготовлены и сьедены, а он начал жаловаться на то, что ему очень холодно. Мы даже брали с собой в поездку ингалятор. В последнее время мы часто им пользуемся. Думаю, солевой раствор вреда принести не может.

Dad at Bushkill Falls.После ланча все немного вздремнули и принялись за приготовление ужина. Мы готовили skirt steak, перцы и кабачки. Ароше больше всего понравились кабачки, а мне перцы, хотя всё было очень вкусным. Во время приготовления ужина наши мужчины так же разожгли костёр, но много времени у него в тот вечер мы не провели.

Bushkill Falls.На следующий день после завтрака мы отправились на Bushkill Falls. Мы посещали их во время нашей прошлой поездки и решили прогуляться там еще раз. Людей в этом году была тьма — видно, еще сезон. Бедный Ароша немного подмерзал, хотя одет был вполне адекватно. Т. Оксана надела на него поверх куртки свою спортивную кофту, что возымело нужный эфект.

Bushkill Falls.Анюте в принципе понравилось смотреть на водопады, но больше всего радости ей доставляли многочисленные собаки, которые вместе со своими хозяевами тоже приехали полюбоваться красивыми видами. Ароша тоже любит животных, но такого восторга и восхищения как у Анечки, я не припомню.

Grilling hamburgers and salmon.После водопадов мы снова принялись за гриль — на этот раз в меню был salmon, помидоры и бургеры. Мне кажется, что Даня готовил рыбу на гриле первый раз. Получилось очень вкусно — понравилось и нам, и детям (они, кстати, рыбу доедали потом дома в Бруклине). Данин папа хотел немного вздремнуть перед дорогой домой, но случилось так, что Арошу возле уха ужалила оса. Я не уверена как так вышло, но видно он её чем-то испугал.

Укусила оса.К счастью, аллергической реакции не было, но всё равно Ароша очень громко и долго плакал от боли. Мы приложили к укусу упаковку сливочного мороженого, а потом Ароша его сьел, что слегка подняло испорченное вконец (он даже хотел уезжать и не оставаться еще на одну ночь) настроение.

Packet herself into a basket.Данины родители уехали около 16:00. К сожалению, по дороге домой они попали в жуткие пробки, сильно измучились и добрались до дома только в 20:30.

Anna at Echo Valley.Поближе к вечеру, мы разогрели остатки еды на еще тёплом гриле, а Даня с Арошей попытались разжечь костёр. Как они ни старались, сколько газет и бензина туда не подсовывали, дрова дымились и никак не хотели разгораться. Видно, отсырели за время дождя. Я, честно говоря, уже думала, что так ничего и не выйдет, но Ароше удалось хорошо поджечь довольно большую и толстую деревянную щепку, а от неё потом взялись и остальные дрова. Вобщем, огонь в результате получился на славу.

In front of our fire.Немного погодя, я пошла укладывать Анюту, а Даня с Арошей рассматривали звёзды. Потом мы все немного там еще постояли. Мне вспомнились фестивали, песни у костра, картошка с тушёнкой. Я даже промурлыкала по этому поводу пару песенок, хотя без гитары это, конечно, не то. Потом мы поджарили с Арошей кусочек хлеба на прутике, ну а потом пришла пора спать, и Ароша с удовольствием помогал Дане заливать костёр водой из больших галлоновых банок.

Putting fire out.После того, как лёг спать Ароша, мы с Даней немного поиграли в Hearthstone (в домике был wi-fi) и тоже отправились спать.

Firemaker.На следующий день Ароша проснулся с температурой 37.1. Мы даже думали отменить сбор яблок, но так как он чувствовал себя в принципе неплохо и очень хотел поехать на ферму, наши планы остались в силе. Уехали мы из домиков в 11:00.

Apple picking. Full heavy basket.Longmeadow Farm находилась где-то в получасе езды от домиков и прямо по дороге домой. Мы сначала сделали небольшой обьезд в надежде получить печати в Данин и Арошин пасспорта национальных парков, но visitor center был закрыт на сезон.

Everyone's busy.Ферма оказалась небольшой, но приятной. Больше всех яблок насобирал, конечно же, Ароша. Он вообще очень любит процесс сбора урожая. Мы еле уговорили его попробовать хоть одно яблоко прямо там, а не собирать всё в мешок. Некоторые сорта яблок были уже полностью собраны, но нам хватило и оставшихся. Мы купили чуть больше 30 фунтов яблок по $1.69 за фунт и 2.75 фунтовую банку местного сырого мёда за $20.

Arosha especially liked apple picking tool.Еще там можно было собирать малину, но её было так мало, что мы ничего не набрали. Дети поели немного ягод (мы заплатили за пол пинты), а Даня сорвал для нас 4 сочных сладких кукурузных початка. На самом деле, кукурузу уже не продавалась, но мы не смогли удержаться (её еще много оставалось на поле).

He was quite proficient with it.Анюте, кстати, на ферме, понравилось. Она с удовольствием грызла яблоки и ела малину. Я боялась, что после даже небольшого количества малины её сильно высыпет, но вроде всё обошлось. Эх, всё-таки свежие фрукты и овощи с фермы заметно вкуснее магазинных. Жалко, что от дома до ближайшей фермы 2 часа езды в каждый конец.

Apples were a success.Через некоторое время мы пообедали в Longhorn Steakhouse. Сразу вспомнилась наша поездка в Теннесси и то, как мы тогда устали от однообразия американских сетевых ресторанов.

This reminds me of an old photograph of Alёna when she was a little girl. Apple in each hand.Домой мы доехали без приключений и особых пробок. Если честно, то мне такой вылазки на 3 дня более чем хватило. Летом я думала, что будет хорошо остановиться в подобном месте на неделю, но теперь я поняла, что это было бы утомительно и не так интересно, как казалось. Даже еду жарить на гриле, когда рядом бегают двое маленьких детей, занятие не такое простое. Хорошо, что с нами были Данины родители — чем больше взрослых, тем легче. Одни бы мы тоже, конечно, справились, но вместе и веселее, и интереснее, и спокойнее (во всяком случае нам).
1
1

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fire Island Outing

Lighthouse against some funky clouds.Last weekend was quite active for us. Besides going to Bayswater Point State Park we decided to take full advantage of warmer days and on Sunday went to Fire Island National Seashore again.

Beautiful Fire Island Lighthouse.We even managed to talk my mom into going with us — to our surprise it was her first time there. Only took her 19 or so years. So there was a total of seven of us there and two cars.

Grandmas. Grandpa and Arosha on the left.Even though the day was warmer relative to other days it still was a cold February day. Especially when you’re walking along an open shore of Atlantic Ocean. The sky was very blue and thus uplifting, but the wind was cold.

More of the family.I had to borrow the hood from Alёna’s jacket because I as always misjudged the weather. As did my dad. That seems to be the trait of our male side of the family. Since Arosha doesn’t make these decisions for himself yet he was well dressed.

Shore of open Atlantic Ocean.Fire Island National Seashore is probably one of the nicest “nature” locations that is within an easy reach from us. If traffic conditions cooperate it takes us under an hour to get there.

Wooden trail at Fire Island National Seashore.After having a nice jog we finished off the evening with a family dinner at some random Outback Steakhouse that we found on our way home.

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year 2014

Our little family unit. Featuring little and little little units.When Arosha was celebrating his first New Year, we had a lot of people to share it with. Anna’s first New Year was much more low key — just the four of us and Daniеl’s parents.

Aunt Lilya got out of the hospital a few days before the year end and did not feel well enough to come, Lina and Lёonya were celebrating with his parents, Ignat, Vika and Alisa were celebrating with Ignat’s mom who came to visit from Moscow. My family is in Minsk…

Grandparents.I cooked herring “shuba” and olivie — luckily Anechka took a good nap while Danya and Arosha went to Kings Plaza to get one last gift (Swarowski figurine for grandma) and to ride an escalator. Arosha really wanted to help with cooking, so I asked him to peel some eggs, and he did it with great pleasure!

Danya’s mom made New Year staples — holodets, funchoza, “French” meat, oven roasted potatoes, fried eggplant with tomatoes and fried shrimp.

Danya’s dad bought a really nice bottle of French champagne — Veuve Cliequot. We had a cheaper champagne too the next day, and I can say that I much preferred the good brand one.

Our tree.We went to Danya’s parents at around 7pm and started off with some pictures. I like this new tradition of ours! By the time we were done, it was around 3 hours since last Anechka’s nap, so she got really fussy and started crying. I am surprised she lasted that long! I guess, she knew that it was important to be on family pictures.

I nursed her and she went to sleep peacefully. We started our dinner, and toasted the leaving year with some wine. I am very grateful to 2013. We got the best gift a family can get — a brand new life, our beautiful and healthy daughter.

Arosha really wanted to open gifts, so taking his age into account we did not make him wait until midnight, but let him start the process at 10. Last year d. Boris changed into Granfather Frost, but this year we thought that Arosha will see right through the charade. Instead t. Oksana suggested that we should distract him, while she will ring the doorbell and leave a bag of gifts at the door. We did just that. Arosha was slightly disappointed that Grandfather Frost was too busy to pay a visit, but later on he said that it was actually a good thing since he (Arosha) did not learn a poem for Grandfather Frost. Traditionally children have to recite a poem to Grandfather Frost to get gifts, but I had no luck with our smart, but stubborn son, who did not want to memorize any poems.

Alёna and Anюta.To be honest, by the time the New Year has come I was really tired. Without guests the celebration is not as exciting, plus lately I am chronically sleep deprived. We toasted the incoming 2014 year of the wooden horse and proceeded to open all the gifts.

My gift to Danya sucked — I got him leather gloves which did not fit well even though I bought two sizes, and UGG sleepers which had an odd fit as well. He got car pedal covers for the car from his parents, fancy socks from Linka (both gifts he picked up himself), and a bar of nice soap from t. Lilya.

I got a set of good German knives from Danya (so far I am really liking them), cast iron grilling pan from Lina and Lёnya (I picked it myself and it’s great), a daily calendar with our Instagram pictures from Danya (every day Arosha tears off a picture), clothes from Danya’s parents and soap from t. Lilya.

Alёna and Arosha.Arosha and Anechka got a whole bunch of toys from everyone, including Zhanna (Danya’s mom co-worker). The one Arosha plays with the most at home at the moment is a foam sword which Danya picked out for him on Amazon.

We did not know it yet, but Arosha was coming down with an upper respiratory tract infection, so he was really tired by the time the gift-gifting was over. I have decided to go home to sleep even though we could have stayed at Danya’s parents. I know that Anechka and Arosha are early risers, and I wanted to give Danya’s parents an opportunity to get a good rest.

It’s a good thing that we did leave, since Arosha was coughing and waking up a lot that night. Now, 11 days later he is still sick, although in much better condition. In addition he got double otitis, had a fever for 4 days straight (never happened before) and was prescribed antibiotics for the first time in his life. At first he stopped eating at all, but then he ate chicken soup for 7 days, by his own will. I had to cook it 3 times.

Little helper.Even though we tried to separate them as much as possible, Anechka got sick too. She has a bronchiolitis now, but she seems to be slowly getting well.

Anyhow, I hope this coming year will be happy, healthy and lucky! Cheers!

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven Lakes

Picnic table.Last week we had another great family outing. We went to Seven Lakes and the funny thing is that after coming back and checking in on our last year trip — we were at Seven Lakes during the same very weekend of the year.

The four of us.This trip was unique in a sense that all 6 of us went — Alёna, Anna, Arosha, my dad, my mom and I. We took our car and parents took theirs and just followed us and it worked well. This means that we can take more ambitious trips in this configuration.

Arosha and grandpa.It took us almost 3 hours to get to Seven Lakes because we got stuck in some major traffic in Manhattan. Arosha was starting to get restless, but Anna slept just fine.

The middle generation.She also slept well on her way back. She woke up at one point and started crying when we started crossing George Washington Bridge. By the time we were done she stopped crying and went back to her sleeping. She sleeps really well in the car. Even Arosha took a nap on the way back.

Closed gate at Lake Welch.At Seven Lakes we did the same thing we did last year. We drove up to Lake Welch Park that was closed just like last year. We left our cars near the gate and went inside. The autumn is really getting close to full “bloom” at this time of the year. The forest was beautiful.

Walnuts. "The squirrels will have to swim for these." The only mistake we made was overestimate the warmth of the day. My mom had a bunch of different things that we spread around. I ended up with a poncho made out of our picnic blanket. But since the park had tables we didn’t need it. Arosha picked out a table and we had a nice fresh air lunch.

Alëna.Arosha ran around and played with the leaves, explored all the bushes, threw some walnuts into the lake (for squirrels, naturally) and collected a bunch of acorns. When we got home we discovered a tick on his hair. Luckily it was not attached and was just stuck in his hair. That was a bit scary. Got to be careful with those bushes.

Drummer.Overall we had a really nice time. When we got back to our cars instead of just our cars there were total of 12 cars now. We weren’t really sure if it’s OK to leave our cars where we did, but I guess otherwise figured if somebody is doing it it must be OK. Alёna feed Anna and we started our drive home.

Acorns.On the way home we decided to stop by Red Bowl for a nice dinner. The owners — David and Vivian were really nice to us and congratulated us with our newest arrival. They also gave us a nice and unexpected gift — for luck they said. Dinner was great. The day as a whole was great. Too bad it’s getting cold out now, so we’ll probably have to stop soon.

Designer winter clothing line.

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2013 Nissan Altima SV

2013 Nissan Altima SV.Last Saturday we did an important thing — my parents bought and picked up a new car — 2013 Nissan Altima SV — to replace their beloved Sonata that drowned in the flood caused by Hurricane Sandy.

It was a hard loss for them to deal with. My mom did her share of crying and my dad spent weeks worrying and wondering why he had parked the car where he did. He understood that nobody expected such major floods to happen, but he kept replaying the scenario — what if he only parked it 2 blocks in other directions.

Nissan Altima.Either way, we can now happily put it all behind and hopefully they can enjoy their new car. Geico came through for them and did what they were supposed to. In fact it was a pleasure dealing with a company that handled everything professionally and didn’t give us any hard time about anything.

As far as the new car goes, my cousin, Arsen did all the hard work. He did a lot of research on a good replacement, spoke with multiple Nissan dealers when my parents decided that Altima was the best option, and found a great price for them. He also arranged all the financing and made sure that there are no extra hidden fees that dealers love to throw in. If it wouldn’t be for his help I would have to go through all that myself and even though I can do that it always gives me tons of stress. So I’m grateful to him for his help as much as my parents are.

2013 Nissan Altima SV.The new car is more expensive than the “old” Sonata was, but it it’s a higher class car. It has a new body for 2013 and this time my parents decided to get a navigation system, which I think is a great decision. I never understood how useful a built in system can be until I actually ended up with one in my own car. We also corrected a mistake we made with the last purchase — no more low profile tires and sports suspension. My parents prefer the car to feel softer and don’t really care much about it’s cornering abilities.

Anyhow, the new Altima is great. I hope they enjoy it for many more years to come. By the way, they also picked a non-silver color this time. I think it looks much better and richer than boring silver that every other car seems to be painted in.
1
1

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2012 Hyundai Sonata SE

Hyundai Sonata SE.Yesterday was a big day. My parents have been talking about replacing their old 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix with over 130,000 miles with something new. They wanted something reliable, but didn’t want anything fancy — they just need to get from point A to point B in relative comfort and don’t want to worry about parts falling off like the Pontiac started having a tendency to do.

Hyundai seemed like a good candidate from the start. The company has been working on their reputation lately and we ourselves considered Genesis when we were looking for a new car. They give good warranty, make good quality reliable cars that are inexpensive which overall results in good value for the money.

Hyundai Sonata SE.That’s how our Saturday started. We went to a local dealership to look and test drive 3 models — Elantra, Sonata and Tucson. What nobody of us expected was coming back home in a new car. I originally though that Elantra would be a good fit for them. During the test drive my dad started saying that the engine feels too week. Coming from my dad that really means something. He doesn’t care about HP, but when the car doesn’t pull — it doesn’t pull. So 1.8 litter 4 cylinder engine was no good. It also felt somewhat cheap inside.

Steering wheel.Next up was Sonata. A bigger 2.4 litter engine was what my dad wanted. He was happy with it. It felt nicer inside and it was quite a bit bigger too. The low end model — GLS — lacked certain features like auto-headlights, power seats and it had steel wheels with plastic hubcaps. My dad liked having auto-headlights and wanted good wheels instead, but they figured they can live without it. Then it turned out that they only had black and red cars in stock in that configuration which ended up being a deal breaker for them. They wanted something light and neutral.

At this point they were offered a step up SE model which they had in light silver color. This car came with sports suspension, 18 inch low profile wheels — which my parents weren’t very happy about, but it also had auto-headlights, fog lights, key-less start button, power seats and a bunch of small niceties like that. It also came with a built-in bluetooth phone system which I’m happy about, since my dad never could talk in the car and we sometimes worried that he wasn’t answering. We hooked up his phone to it already.

Interior.We never got to testing anything else. The rest of the day we were working on the price. I think we got a good deal which I’m even more sure of after doing the research online. It’s not as stellar as deals used to be in 2008 when everything was falling apart, but by today’s standards they came away with a very nice car for a good amount of money. We also ended up redoing my dad’s insurance with a different company which came out a little bit more for full coverage than my dad was paying for liability alone. Geico rules.

The old car ended up getting donated. My parents felt very sad letting it go. They also felt extremely nervous ending up with a new purchase, but I remember that I went through the same very thing. I didn’t want to leave my new car outside alone. But it will pass. I wish them many years of enjoyment of their new purchase. Let the new car bring them only happiness.

Sonata.
In: Family, Gadgets & Gear   Tags: , , , , , , ,
Time: 16:28   Comments: 4 Comments   Post a Comment  
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bermuda Cruise

Warwick Long Bay. Pink sand beach.It seems that only yesterday we were on our way to Bermuda, but alas, all good thing end quickly. I’m sitting on the balcony of our stateroom. The sun is shining, the wind is nice and warm and there is nothing, but water beneath my feet. Water as far as the eye can see. We are sailing home.

Us on our balcony.I, as always, was planning to write all throughout the vacation, and as always had no time for it. There are a lot of things to do on the ship and Bermuda had a lot of interesting destinations. We didn’t have enough time for everything as it is. Tomorrow we’ll be home and I decided that now is a good time to start writing memories down. I guess I’ll go in sections, as always, and hopefully will finish by the end of first week home.

The Cruise


Papa on deck 13. Leaving New York.For Alёna and I this was our first cruise ever. And even though we were in all-inclusive resort in Mexico once, we didn’t really know what to expect from all this. Plus there is an added bonus of Aroshka and he is a handful to say the least.

As far as all-inclusivity goes it’s not like it was in Mexico. Only some places are free and no drinks hard or soft are included. In that respect Mexico was much better, but this was a whole other experience.

Ocean from our balcony.We spent a little bit over an hour in the port going through registration and check-in, which wasn’t too bad. The cruise itself has started the moment we got onto the ship. Our staterooms were ready, the buffet was open, we were in vacation world.

Beach. Water. Sand.Norwegian practices a form of cruising that they call freestyle cruising. What that means is that you can go into any restaurants at the time convenient for you and you can seat wherever you wish. This might not be a big deal normally, but when you are traveling with a 10 month old anything else would just not work.

The Ship


Norwegian Gem docked on Bermuda.The ship, Norwegian Gem, is an experience on its own. It’s huge. It’s a floating resort with restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, pools, water slides, casinos, bowling alleys, stores and a full 2-level theater which can rival most Broadway theaters in size. And I’m probably leaving something out. It’s paint jobs is fresh, light and uplifting, compared to most other ships out there.

Mama, Alёna and Arosha on Warwick Long Bay beach.The ship has 15 decks, has outdoor promenades for walking, running and sun-bathing. It also offers magnificent views of the city or the islands when in ports and endless ocean when at sea. The ship has the capacity for almost 2,500 passengers and over 1,000 crew members. It weights 93,000 tons!

Endless ocean.Even though it is this huge the movement of the ship still can be felt. Rocking gets especially pronounced when it’s moving at the maximum speed. I decided not to test fate and wore a patch behind my ear that prevents motion sickness. So did my mom. Alёna and my dad were fine without one.

Parents' stateroom.The staterooms were quite small, but they served their purpose well. The best part was that our room was interconnected with our parents’ room. And unlike in hotels, when the opened door gets into your way all the time, these doors would swing open 180 degrees and would get magnetized to the wall, which was very convenient. It was also nice to have a 2nd room to go to when Arosha would sleep during the day, so we wouldn’t disturb him.

Departure


Manhattan skyline from the middle of Hudson river.This is something that I was really looking for and enjoyed very much. Armed with camera in hand I got up to the deck 13. As we started moving we were presented with very unique perspectives of our magnificent city.

Verrazano Bridge.Manhattan skyline, Empire State Building, construction of WTC 1 — everything right in front of us. However the best moment for me was sailing under Verrazano Bridge. I driven over it hundreds of times, but never under it. All in all I took a LOT of photos, as you can imagine.

Food


As far as food goes — there was plenty. A lot of different options and restaurants. The cruise includes 4 venues in it’s price — several buffets that have great variety of food depending on the time of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and are open 24 hours a day, 2 large dinning rooms that have a permanent main menu and a list of daily specialties and a place called Blue Lagoon which serves lunch food such as hamburgers, hot dogs and other kinds of sandwiches. There is also free room service available 24 hours a day, but we only used it for lots and lots pitchers of water.

Arosha eating green beans. Our first lunch on the ship.As I mentioned earlier the only included drinks in the price are hot tea, unsweetened iced tea, coffee and water. Also in the morning one could get juices which were not of the highest quality. Everything else costs money. An alcoholic cocktail would typically cost around $10 and one could get freshly squeezed juices for $4 a glass. Overall it worked just fine for us.

Deck 12. Pools, BBQ.Beside the included stuff there are multiple restaurants that require a cover fee. What that means is that you have to pay a fixed fee per person and then you can order as much or as little as you wanted from the menu. One could order several appetizers, soups, salads and main courses. We usually stuck to an appetizer or two, a soup and a main course. The cover fee ranges from $10 to $25.

Alёna. Dinner at Grand Pacific Dining Room.The quality of food was pretty decent. Wasn’t anything spectacular and some places were more enjoyable than others, but we sure did enjoy it a lot as far as quantity goes.

Right when we boarded the ship we visited the buffet for a large selection of foods. What stuck in my mind was beef curry, which was very good. Other days we mostly ate breakfast and lunch at buffets and for dinners we would explore different restaurants.

Mama. Grand Pacific Dinning Room.We went to Mexican Tequila Restaurant on our first night and on our last night (last night it was only Alёna and I), on our second night we went to Magenta Dining Room, then we tried Cagney’s Steakhouse, French Le Bistro, Oriental Garden, Grand Pacific Dinning room and there were several places which we didn’t get to — not enough time. One such places was Japanese Teppanyaki which was always packed and ran $25 a person. There are plenty of these around us, so we comfortably skipped that on the ship.

In Cagney’s Steakhouse, which also ran $25 a person, our waiter screwed up the order of things. As a result our steaks were put under heat lamps to keep them from getting cold and I think they ended up being very dry because of that. The manager of the restaurant offered us a free bottle of wine because of the screw up.

Grand Pacific Main Dining Room.I think my favorite places ended up being Tequila ($10 per person) and French Le Bistro. Free dinning rooms were only OK. Each evening after dinner we liked to go back up to the buffet and eat fruits and deserts. And all throughout the trip we consumed several tons of ice cream.

Arosha


Arosha tries open water for the first time ever.Now this is a most important section and could be a post in its own. Arosha handled the trip very well, had no problems sleeping in his temporary crib, tried a lot of new things and generally had fun, I think. Of course the brunt of dealing with him fell upon Alёna and my mom who was very very helpful. He didn’t really sleep any better than he does at home, but my mom would let me and Alёna go do our own things after 7-8pm when Arosha would go to sleep for the night. We usually didn’t stay out for more than 2 hours, but it gave us a lot of freedom to explore a lot of things.

On the beach in the dockyards.When we were getting ready for the cruise we read that kids that have to wear diapers will not be allowed in any pools, including a kids’ one. Luckily for us that turned out not to be the case. For the kids who are 2 years old and older there are plenty of activities, including a baby-sitting-kindergarten service. For kids under 2 (and there were plenty of those too) there is a play room with all kinds of toys making a bunch of sounds and such, and as I mentioned a kid pool.

Kids pool on the ship.Arosha had a lot of fun swimming. Alёna went to the pool with him every day and with each passing day he seemed to enjoy it more and more. The pool is really shallow, so he could crawl right in it on his own, but he insisted on trying to drink the water from it, so Alёna had to pick him up all the time. He also tried swimming in the ocean on the beach while we were in Bermuda, and he seemed to like it for a short amount of time as well. I guess the water in the ocean was a bit too cold for him though, so it didn’t last long.

Arosha in playroom.When we went to eat we would give Arosha a piece of bread, green bean, or some other food and it would keep him occupied for a good amount of time. Although often it would still end with Alёna or my mom having to pick him up and entertain him in some other way because he would start to get bored and would start to get fussy.

Arosha crawled into a tent in the playroom.As far as people were conserved — everyone was very very friendly — passengers and crew. They would talk to him, make sounds, funny faces and he would smile back to most of them. It really is a nice family place and people don’t mind little kids at all, which was very pleasant.

On the boat. Looking at fish.Arosha’s main forms of transportation turned out to be baby Ergo carrier strapped to Alёna or his stroller. Large back-pack baby carrier that we bought right before the vacation and brought with us wasn’t used a single time. It simply isn’t practical at all for these trips. It’s way too big and complicated. Maybe if you take hikes every weekend it might work, but for vacation purposes it turned out to be an overkill. We returned it right after coming back home.

Ship Activities


There are a lot of things to do on the ship. We got to try only a small portion of activities. We didn’t even have time to go to the pools or hot tubs. We watched some of the evening shows in the theater, but found them rather simplistic. Dancing was somewhat amateur and got boring quickly. Hypnosis comedy was not funny. After several unsuccessful tries we gave up.

Deck 12.One evening Alёna and I went to see a show with married couples in one of the lounges. Host, a guy named Sinan, would ask the questions of the wives while husbands couldn’t hear and vice versa and then the other one had to match the answer. That was pretty hilarious and we enjoyed that.

One of the hallways. Staterooms on both sides.Another very curious thing that happened to us was at the art auction. There was a gallery and they would host auctions daily. Everyone had to register to participate and you would be given a number for bidding. My dad’s number was 186 and mine was 190. Only two of us went from our family. There were a lot of people there. The prices however we quite high and we didn’t really find anything that we really wanted to get.

Bowling alley.The best part came at the end. There was a raffle and the auctioneer goes — the winner is one-eight-six! We got quite ecstatic. It’s not often that you win anything. The winner gets to go to the gallery and pick one of the five paintings. I’m sure they are not expensive, but it still is nice. So the room murmured and the auctioned told them to applause because the guy won, even though they didn’t. Then surreal starts to happen. He puts his hand into the bucket and pulls out another number — the winner is one-nine-zero. I raise my hand in disbelief. The guy looks at us and says: “Did you guys mess with my bucket?!” So out of 3 tickets that he pulled out 2 of them were us. Unreal. We won not one, but a pair of nice paintings.

Mama bowling. The sharpest shot I got.The night before last we all went to the bowling alley. My mom never played bowling and really wanted to try. So we played one round and I was really glad that she got to experience that. Also I got my parents to play air-hockey for the first time. That same club also had a karaoke machine. When Arosha went to sleep for the night my mom stayed with him and Alёna, my dad and I came back. You see, Alёna wanted to try karaoke.

She says that she tried it once a long time in Minsk, and never tried it in America. The club was full of people and I was thinking — why would somebody voluntarily put oneself through all the stress of going on a stage and singing in a club full of people, but she insisted. The book of songs had songs in English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Japanese, but of course no Russian. Alёna picked out a Beatles song Let It Be.

Ship pools.We put her name into the bucket and she got picked first. I was slightly freaking out from the nervousness, but she just went up there. The host asked her what did she have to do to get there. I’m not quite sure what the question meant, but Alёna replied that she probably should’ve drank a bottle of beer before it. And then she started singing. All my nervousness went away when I heard how good she was. I stood up all proud. Then everyone started clapping and so did I.

Ocean.She was happy and my dad was extremely surprised at how good she is. He has a lot of musical background seeing how he played four musical instruments, his dad (my grandfather) was a professional musician all his life and his sister (my aunt) was a music teacher. Of course he heard Alёna sing before, but when at home she always tries to keep it down. Anyhow that was a very cool experience.

Last night Alёna and I went to see Deal or No Deal and the computer would pick people out to play. I was really nervous about that too, so I was kind of glad that we didn’t get picked. One lady next to us got selected though, but she didn’t do too well. She “won” 50 cents.

Spinnaker Lounge.Also we could just go to a lounge located on one of the high levels on the front of the ship. It was called Spinnaker lounge. It had beds and large chairs right in front of the windows. You could just lie there and enjoy the view. Balconies also had a great view. Actually it was just an endless ocean and nothing else, but it felt very peaceful and romantic.

Ship guide.One day looking out of the windows at Spinnaker lounge I spotted a large flock of dolphins just jumping out of the water. We were in the middle of our journey at the moment. It felt special to just see a group of wild dolphins living their lives in endless waters of the ocean.

Beach near dockyards.Alёna and my mom did some shopping on the ship in Duty Free stores and we played in a casino once. I’m sure there were other things, but I can’t think of anything else we did. We just relaxed. And spent a lot of time in Kids’ Playroom.

Bermuda


On our way to Warwick Long Bay.For my last section I left the Bermuda itself. We were supposed to get there by 8am on Wednesday, but we had to increase the speed because somebody had a medical emergency and we were supposed to meet with some boat from Bermuda who would pick that person up. So we ended up seeing the island itself on Tuesday evening. However the ship didn’t go into the port.

Fish in the water.When we woke up on Wednesday morning we were already docked at Heritage Wharf. We could go off and on the ship as many times and as often as we pleased. The ship served as our hotel while we were there. Wednesday morning turned out to be rainy and everything looked gloomy. Not at all as I imagined Bermuda. But luckily for us the rain stopped soon after and we took our first tour.

One of the scenic outlooks.There were a bunch of taxis right in the docks and we picked one guy who agreed to show us around for $40 an hour. Not a bad deal at all for a private guide and a car for the 5 of us. He took us to Hamilton — Bermuda’s capital — at first. The city was really nothing special. The tallest building on the whole island is 10 stories tall, which makes our ship taller. But we did get our passports stamped with Bermuda stamp at the Customs Building.

Park in Bermuda.The driver made a lot of stops at the scenic outlooks and we visited one of the beaches on our way back. We saw the famous Horseshoe Bay that is supposed to have pink sand from the hill, but he took us to a beach where the sand was noticeably more pink — Warwick Long Bay. All the beaches were absolutely beautiful with volcanic rock formations of different forms in azure water. The only sad thing was that the sky was all covered in dark gray clouds. All in all we ended up spending 2 and a half hours with our guide, which was more than enough for us.

View from our window on Bermuda. Commissioner's house.On Thursday we woke up to a sunny blue sky with amazing blue-green-azure water. Now that’s how Bermuda should look like. In the morning we went to a local beach. This was Arosha’s first time swimming in open waters on a real beach. We didn’t spend much time there as we didn’t want to get sunburn. Later in the day we went through some local shops. We were considering to take some tours, but we were late for most.

View from the fort.I really wanted to try a Segway tour for $75 a person, but it really only went through docks which was not fun and the day was too hot. I’ll try a Segway somewhere else. Also we wanted to try a glass-bottom tour, but they were done for the day. I ended up going into a local fort that was visible from our rooms, but it wasn’t very interesting. However the views from the top of the walls were pretty good. That’s where I took a shot of our ship that i wanted to get.

Horseshoe Bay.On Friday we only had a part of the day, since the ship was leaving at 5pm. In the morning my dad and I took a bus back to the Horseshoe Bay to take some photographs of the beaches and blue sky this time. Alёna, mama and Arosha stayed behind. We agreed that when we get back we’ll take a glass-boat tour that starts at 1:30pm and ends at 3pm. We were supposed to be back on the ship by 4:30pm the latest.

Horseshoe Bay.The bus ride to the beaches took a little over 30 minutes. We got off at the right spot and started our hike. We wanted to hike from Horseshoe to Warwick. We calculated that we should be back on the bus stop near Warwick at 12:20pm to make it back in time. So that’s what we did. The views were magnificent. I took a lot of photos. All the beaches were filled with people. Some had more, some had less. Horseshoe Bay had way too many. On our way we had to climb a bunch of steep rocks and hills and I’m happy to say that my dad at his 72 has no problem keeping up with me.

Near Warwick Long Bay.When we got to Warwick Long Bay, I took my photographs while my dad jumped into the ocean for a swim. After he got out I decided that I should get into the water at least once during this vacations as well. So I jumped right in and stayed in the water no longer than 5 minutes. Now I can say I did swim near Bermuda.

Hamilton. City hall.At 12:20pm we were on the bus stop. To our dismay however the bus would not come. Something happened and they were not running on schedule. One full of people finally showed up at around 12:50pm. It took us to the next stop and told everyone to get out at Horseshoe. That bus stop had 3 times more people. And no buses. Finally some “Special” showed up and started loading people. We decided not to wait for the next one, get in and just stand. We were not making it at all back in time for the boat tour.

Glass-bottom boat tour.Because the bus was overfilled with people it was not making any stops. I was hoping only for one thing — that Alёna and mama would come down from the ship to the start of the tour. But what were the chances? When we got back to the dockyard I somehow spotted Alёna in the massive crowd before we even got out of the bus. I don’t know how. We jumped off the bus and ran to her and spotted mama too. It was 1:30pm. We got the tickets and got on the boat at the last moment.

Coral reefs.The boat didn’t take long to get to coral reefs. We could see all kinds of weird things growing and tons of fish through the glass. Bermuda is a shipwreck capital of the world as we were told because of all the hidden reefs. We saw one shipwreck and even got to feed the fish. There are tons and tons of them in the water. We ventured into the Bermuda Triangle as well, but luckily didn’t disappear. I thought that hour and a half might be a bit too long of a tour, but the time flew by in an instant.

One of the shipwrecks.And that was that. We were back on the ship, waiting for it to sail off back home. Exactly at 5pm it departed. We were going back full speed and the ship was rocking hard from side to side. Vacation was coming to an end.

Coming Home


Pink sand.The vacation was great. The cruise was a lot of fun for the whole family. Bermuda was beautiful and now we can stick another pin in our travel map. Too bad it was so short. It felt like one moment we were getting onto the ship, all excited and another moment we had to get off and it was all over.

Getting ready to leave Bermuda.The disembarkation procedure was simple enough. Pick a time when you want to get off, get an appropriately colored tag, attach it to your luggage and put the luggage out into the hallway. Ours was green for 9:30am. We got up in the morning, ate our breakfast and waited for 9:30. When we got off we found all our bags, but Arosha’s brand new baby carrying backpack was missing. We looked through everything and were starting to make our peace with the fact that somebody took it, since it was new and there were no checks of any kind. But our faith in humanity was restored when we spotted our backpack in the Lime section. Somebody just can’t tell the colors and they put into the wrong group.

Sunset. On the way back home.When passing through customs the officer didn’t even open our passports. Counted our passports, counted us and let us go. We caught a cab and that was that. Great vacation, great memories.
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin

Monday, June 16, 2008

Parents’ Apartment

Living room view from the hallway. Note the entertainment unit with a 46 inch wide screen TV in it and 6 spot lights in the ceiling.I made the last post on the parents’ apartment a while ago. I wanted to take some pictures for a while now, but I held myself off so I could post photos of when everything was ready, or almost ready.

Different angle from the same spot. Super comfortable sofa which fits the whole family and a buffet in the corner.That moment finally came on Friday, June 13th, which coincided with our 13th anniversary in United States. The final touch was the installation of curtain rods and the handing of curtains themselves, which my parents ordered a month or so ago.

Living room with a piece of dining table visible. Note an over a 100 year old clock on the wall. It was given to my great grand parents as a gift on their wedding in 1906.There is also a matter of getting the frames for all the paintings they have, but that will not change the general feel of the rooms.

And a nice dining area.All the pictures have captions on them, so just mouse over the photo to see a small description.

Master bedroom. My mom will say that she did not yet have a chance to get a matching bed cover. The monster does not care however.I think the apartment came out really well and is super cozy. I would trade in a second. ) I also will take credit for a lot of it. ) I talked my parents into getting most of the stuff in the living room, including furniture, lights, rugs and even picking the wall colors.

My sister's bedroom. Yes, it really is pink.The bedroom furniture was picked out by my parents themselves, but I like it a lot also.

In conclusion I want to say that I’m very happy for my parents. It’s nice to finally have a nice place which came out so great.
In: Home Sweet Home   Tags: , , ,
Time: 16:58   Comments: 6 Comments   Post a Comment  
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6

Leave a comment

O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin