Canadian Cool to Tropical Tan

by Nancy Burns

Braille Monitor

July, 2009

From the Editor: Nancy Burns is the past president of the NFB of California. She and her husband Don have retired to New Mexico. As we settle into summer, Nancy offers a vacation report. This is what she says: Packing for a twelve-day cruise in a midsize suitcase and one carry-on became more challenging than I had anticipated. Adding to this challenge was the fact that we would board the ship in Vancouver, British Columbia, sail around the Hawaiian Islands, and disembark in Honolulu. We had planned this trip for several months because Don and I were celebrating our fifteenth anniversary. We were traveling with our friends Jim and Mary, who were celebrating their fortieth. All of us had previously traveled to the islands, but it had been several years before, and we were all very excited about this cruise.

After leaving Vancouver, we set sail for Kauai and were at sea for five wonderful days. With the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean surrounding us, there were times when the sailing became a little rough. Our favorite thing to do during this part of the cruise was to stand on our balcony and listen to the waves crash against themselves and the ship, creating whitecaps as far as one could see. There is nothing like this incredible experience.

As the ship continued to bounce through the Pacific, we found plenty of activities to occupy us. Shipboard shops provided everything from the necessities of life like toothpaste and sunscreen to duty-free gifts and souvenirs. The outside decks provided an opportunity to walk. For those who preferred a bit more exercise, there was a complete spa. A beauty salon helped the women prepare for formal evenings, and games for passengers of all ages kept us entertained. A casino was available while we were on the open sea, and a variety of bars and coffee shops served up our drinks of choice. Afternoon tea at sea was always fun. Then there was food—lots of food. Any time, twenty-four hours a day, food was available and plentiful, from pizza to gourmet soups and salads to steaks and seafood. During my first cruise, when I complained to a waiter who was passing a large platter of cookies, he advised me not to worry because it was the ocean air that caused our clothes to shrink.

The meals and desserts were not only tasty but creatively presented. My favorite dessert on this cruise was something called chocolate melting cake. It was an individually baked chocolate cake with a sort of pudding-like filling. On the same plate there was a small dip of vanilla ice cream, usually decorated with something chocolate. Yummm.

As we docked at the first island, Nawiliwili, the lush, green tropics provided a startling contrast to the blue ocean. Because of the heavy rainfall this is the only island of the Hawaiian chain with navigable rivers. The other islands provided contrasting scenery and endless shopping opportunities.

The last day of our trip before flying back to Albuquerque we spent in Honolulu. The warm, gentle trade winds softened the effects of the tropical sun. We wandered through the International Market, picking up chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, Kona coffee, and other goodies to take to family and friends. As we settled into the airport shuttle and said goodbye to Hawaii, we lingered over the wonderful memories but were now anxious to return to the Land of Enchantment.