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Patricia Shipp Lieb; published by Twilight Times Books, Solstice Publishing, Xlibris Press and Amazon Kindle.

 I like lots of space; photography, writing, reading, diddling around on the computer, playing Poker, spending time with family and friends, walking on the beach, and hiking through the woods. Author of: The Adventures of a Squirrel Named Peanut, Twilight Times Books; My Eighteenth Birthday, 1960 suspense-adventure; Solstice; Danger In The Cliffs, Solstice; Saying I Love You, poetry on Amazon's Kindle; The original version of Murders In The Swampland is available in hard-back books from Xlibris.com; Murders in the Swampland (third edition, updated) true crime now on Amazon Kindle.   

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cruising the Western Caribbean with friends on the MSC Cruise Line

The Darf House
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Dec.,11, 2013 our MSC Cruise with friends... Ft Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean

On our stateroom balcony, my hair blows to the tune of the wind and waves. Voices from adjoining balconies blend as this ship edges along the Bermuda Triangle. I listen to the sea; it sings to me a tune, low with its own backup of  soft winds. We move over water that sparkles silver and gray as far away as the Great Exuma to the North and the rain forests of Jamaica coming our way sometime in the night. I smack my lips to taste the salt that falls from my hair. I ride my thoughts like current and wonder while my mind wanders at the song that surrounds me.
Sun shines through strands of summer-bleached hair as my squinted eyes gaze
over soft waves. I suck the warm salts from Caribbean air and watch current caps twinkle silver
under the sun now far away in the western sky. My thoughts go farther than my eyes. The sea full of life waltzes in my head. The precious corals surround themselves in a school of golden fishes and tango
with breaths of greenery. I see it all in neon. I know what is in the sea. On this deck I gaze at the heavens. I’ve been in the clouds and beyond.
Suddenly the sky to the west is dark gray, with gray rain falls. The water is charcoal;
the air is cool.
Out of the Bermuda Triangle, we wait as mean storm clouds move toward us. We must postpone Heaven imagery. We must first move into the cabin and out of the storm moving on the sea.

Falmouth, Jamaica
                We took a ride on the trolley, $25 per-person. Susan was tour guide. She explained that Jamaica got its Independence in 1962. Yama, she said, means yes; irama means feelings; and
no problem mon, means there is just a situation
                Outside building in the town are original, she said. The trolley tour was enjoyable but certainly not up to our expectations.
                Next, we rented a tour van and enjoyed a scenic rice to Montego Bay and back to Falmouth. On the way to Montego Bay, the van blew a tire…. two Jamaican cab driver stopped to help get it fixed.
                The ride was pleasant. We stopped at the top of a winding hill to visit the Darf House, built by slaves and previously owned by a rich cane-plantation and slave owner.
                We purchased a few souvenirs; also I mailed a card and letter to my daughter.
                Back aboard, we sit on the balcony, listen to natives play Jamaican music and watch passengers meander back to the ship.

Dec. 13, 2013: 
               Again we plan for another “relaxing day at sea.” We watch people wander the corridors lounges and dining areas dressed in long dresses and tux, diamond earrings, spiked-hell shoes and clanking bracelets. Humans of all lands and all seasons. Soon I retire to the balcony with a book title Lonely Avenue, the unlikely life & times of Doc Pomus, by Alex Halberstadt, a pad and pen in my hand. I put myself in another land, another day. Only the Caribbean wind blowing hair over my face and the salty air‘s embrace touches me physically. On page 41, I read of a place in 1945 in Harlem called the Baby Grand Honky-Tonk. Here a spot of light danced across the ceiling and bounced off a pair of shiny steal legs. And I read of the absences of self- pity and how Doc gets around on the subways in Harlem to Manhattan and I marvel at the thought of who was there watching the show. And I wonder where I will be when, at any pinpoint in time, someone is watching me. Exciting what words of a book can do. The Caribbean breeze over the blue waters is heavenly. Maybe I will linger on this balcony through the sunset and until the dawn awakes me?

                I read until our friends returned to their stateroom balcony after doing some “partying” in various ship lounges. My friend’s laughter over-rode the waves that clashed onto the ship. She had juices she’d picked up at the buffet, two decks above us. “I even got garnish” she noted loudly, and with laughter. Needless to say, I retired my book for the afternoon.

Aruba is a lovely Dutch Island. As other Island run by the Dutch, it is clean with manicured landscapes.  I was amazed at the beautiful cactus, cactus trees and flowers growing over virgin lands. I noticed palm trees grew only in housing developments, so it is my guess they are brought in.  According to our tour guide, a small well-kept house would cost about $70,000-to-80,000. Housing runs some $400,000 in gated communities, he noted.I think I could handle life in this majestic environment—not the upper-class but the ordinary colorful little houses with cactus blooming in the yards.       

Off the ship, we chose a tour bus for a sight-seeing trip over this Dutch island. We sat on the first row of seats behind the driver. A woman lingered at a seat in from of us. She complained that she has motion sickness and had to have a front seat. Her husband told her, “Just sit down.” She made him sit in the jump-seat beside her, even though he said he would rather sit in a regular seat further back.
                Some people behind us asked the bus driver to stop at an ATM so they could get American currency, which is acceptable in most of the Caribbean Islands. After the stop, the folks got into an argument about who’s seat was where.
                For a while, the weather was looking like rain, but then all-of-a-sudden, the sun came out and smiled down on Christmas decorations throughout the elegant city. After the two-hour tour, we walked through bits of downtown. We stopped at an outside bar and ordered a beer. Met a nice young couple from the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.  It took their photo, also snapped one of the nice young bartender who came from Holland. “My mother loved me so much, she sent me to the other side of the world,” he said.  Someday, he wants to be a chef and retire and “die” in Italy, he said.


On the Balcony, Dec. 17, 2013
On the balcony this pleasant day at sea we travel from Curacao 696 nautical miles to Cristobal, Panama. Flying fish bring the sea to life. We watch sea birds follow and dive for the fascinating silver critters before they disappear back into the Caribbean. The winds are soft. I read to the tune of waves washing alongside the ships bottom deck. Tomorrow morning we will arrive at port and linger there for the day. We have been to this very poor country of several times. No reason to again tour the poor.
                After a walk through the port, going online, and stopping for a beer, we went back to the ship. I sat on the deck, a breeze cooling over me while I sipped a grapefruit and vodka drink with a pineapple slice fixed on the glass rim. An enjoyable afternoon of reading.

Fun on the MSC

Dec. 18, 2013
                In the Jazz lounge fives girls and a guy line dance. The routine looks like the one we do at country line dancing in Florida called the “Chattahoochee Choo-Choo Train”, but they are doing the dance slower as they count steps in Spanish.
                Back on the cabin balcony, I read “Lonely Street”, while a sea bird, brown on top with white on its belly and its wings, follow schools of flying sea fish; the bird dives for them as they surface.
                This book has such meaningful interest, with incite to a lot of personalities, including Roger Dangerfield, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley, Dione, Bette Mitter, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Ridal. Maybe I will review it for Amazon.


                The sun wasn’t orange when I woke this morning. It was white with gray clouds moving over it to light the sky with a gray and white paint. I watched for a while then took a few photos from the wind-howling balcony. 
 Cozumel was our last port. We walked around the town. I was amazed at a mime with a long dress coated with mud. Pigeons surrounded her, a coupled rested on her arms. It was a great photo opts for sure. I always remember the margaritas at the Wet Wendy’s and tequila t Senior Frogs… because I paid the price. Up throughout the night with a severe stomach illness. Spent most of the last day at sea in bed. But the trip with friends was lots of fun.

Heading home across Alligator Alley:

Now, I look forward to home, the wild turkeys, the birds and much other nature in my own back yard.