Friday, September 20, 2013

Chile, It Never Rains In ….



Samsung 371Having spent a good portion of my life in Southern California where I was often reminded that “It never rains..”

I leave home to visit one of, if not the driest places on the planet.




On board American Airlines I am reminded that for me flying will always be “Something Special In The Air”. Enroute I enjoy AA's inflight services and the views of Chile as we make our arrival descent.



2013-09-19 09.17.07In Santiago I make a connection flight on LAN but not before being entertained as LAN employees join in Chile independence celebrations.





About two hours after lifting off from Santiago International Airport, I touch down at the entry point for most who come to visit the place that will definitely challenge “The Beach Boys” and their notion of Southern California.



Friday, September 13, 2013

Carnival Imagination, Ride It, Ride It




SAM_0113I send some bocce balls rolling then my almost too intense fight training continues.






With my hands on my chaps, I learn some moves that will not only be deadly in the ring but anywhere else.



SAM_0106“Ride it, ride it, ride it”, May Weather is going to be in trouble.






Next it is more sparing as we pick up a few Bingo cards and I punch out a few numbers about thirty of them to be exact. Pulling some tabs we walk away “Big Winners” with two dollars.

Everyone knows that one way to pick a good fight is talk about someone's momma. If this does not work for me, from seeing the “Love And Marriage” show, I now have another weapon in my arsenal.

Hey, May Weather... “Your wife bends over how do you describe the sight you see?”



SAM CCL 012Fall Of The Bone St Louis Ribs


After a full day of training with multiple trips to the buffet including the desert station and soft serve ice cream machine, we follow this up with a formal dress up, sit down dinner. It’s lobster night, complimented with ribs and lime sherbet.

Almost full, it is time to enjoy a relaxing evening of entertainment onboard the Carnival Imagination.



SAM_0107First it's “Shout” a nice Broadway type production show followed by a stroll inside the ship.

A stop is made at “The Taste Bar” then a walk on the Lido deck before returning to the buffet.




This time it is just a light arm lifting exercise with the weight nicely balanced between two plates.

After my workout I get an invitation to dance in the karaoke lounge, “don't you want to dance with me baby, don't you want to dance with me boy”, or maybe I was just mistaken.

Anyway, I stick around and do it my way before we head to disco for me to do some ringside foot work exercises.

Interestingly, in the disco we discovered, “ain't nothing wrong if you want to do da butt all night long”.



SAM_0108Our night ends in the “Punchliner Comedy Club” where the comedians take jabs and upper cuts at all of us.

No group escapes the pounding blows.





Why is it that one group keeps their kids in strollers until they start shaving? Or, why is it that one group electric bill is always in their cousins name?

This stuff has some of us in tears just like what is going to be the case with “May Weather” when I am done with him.




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cruising, Preparing For “May Weather”



2013-08-26 15.31.26One of the beauties of training in South Florida as a prize fighter is having easy access to a ship load of calories.





In the boarding area for Carnival Imagination, I meet my sparing partners for the next three days. Even with just about an hour to spare before we set sail, we are ready for Round 1. Somewhere on the Lido Deck there is a nice burger, fries and diet coconut cream cake with my name on it.

A lengthy safety briefing temporarily interrupts our plans but soon enough the game is back on as we enjoy a sail away drink then make plans for Round 2. This time it is a bigger plate that when filled up makes for a nice arm lifting exercise.



SAM_0108Our first afternoon and evening session goes well.

Before we know it we up and ready for Round 3 our breakfast set.





This time it is pancakes, bacon, slices of banana bread, more bacon, ham, a choice of muffins, more bacon and of course, fruit along with a serving or two of ice cold high fructose juices. Guava Passion Fruit is my favorite. 

I can already feel the pounds coming on as my feet when I stand up and look down are beginning to disappear. Soon we are disembarking in Nassau for Round 4, 5 and maybe even Round 6.




2013-08-24 12.41.54Nassau Harbour



To get familiar with the ringside bell for next spring, we grab some “Kaliks". Although this is the sound of “cow bells” used here for local festivals, our cold and refreshing “Kaliks” come wrapped in a brown paper bag for secret street walking consumption.



2013-08-24 13.53.34A $1.25 fare and we are headed west for some beach training along the white sands of Goodman's Bay and Cable Beach future home of what will become the largest resort in the Caribbean.





Some “Bean Bag” tossing, “Connect Four” connecting and I am ready to do some “Rum” punches at the poolside bar. Two shared orders of conch fritters compliments the upper cuts and jabs nicely.



2013-08-24 16.23.14However, Round 4 is becoming an exhausting workout.

After doing a few arm curls in the nearby Crystal Palace casino, it is time for a lengthy cool down in the clear and warm tropical beach waters.




Energized, we set out for Round 5 as we head to the place that I have no doubt will be the precursor of my victory celebration. I might even offer to bring “May Weather” here after I defeat her.

How much more can a prize fighter or anyone else for that matter want from the establishment than to be able to add whatever amount of rum you want to add to your own daiquiri? At “The Daiquiri Shack” we get to do just that.



2013-08-24 18.34.02The Best Daiquiris Ever



Soon, I am "floating like a butterfly" and ready to “sting like a bee”. I is ready to take “May Weather”, “Sugar Ray” and “Cassius Clay” all down right now but somehow I don't think I am going to make it to Round 6.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

Germany, More Walls To Tear Down



CAN DE D2 045For me, no trip to Berlin would be complete without a visit to the historic portions of the Berlin Wall near the Check Point Charlie area.





This area of Berlin the symbolic and somewhat ideological clash point of East and West during “The Cold War” is for most the place where the new Germany got its birth.


CAN DE D2 048Indeed, I think it can be said that here was a turning point in world politics and the beginning of the collapse of communism.





Today, the area is alive and vibrant with shops, restaurants and bars but I am glad to see that pieces of history remain. Reminders that around our planet there are unfortunately still more walls to tear down.



SAM DE D2 027



As we leave Berlin, we make one more stop at the Holocaust Memorial.



CAN DE D2 078For me, walking through this amazing architectural memorial is a beautiful reminder of the progress of Germany and its citizens.

This is just one more reason why I love this city.