What! Do you mean I don’t need that Ipad or social network.

The times that I enjoy the most, I find myself surrounded by forests or in parklands walking a path or  just enjoying the way the sun warms my skin. Especially when I have had my friends with me.

Doing what we all like to do is a response deeply ingrained in each of us, we all want to lie around on a sunny day, just taking in few rays, or reading a book, throw a frisbee to the dog, or just chat with friends. All of this is to me just part of enjoying life & having a good time.

I always find that doing this sort of stuff is another one of those things in life that people tend to take for granted & yes we do that a lot. Just being able to relax, to step away from the everyday stress of life and spend some quality time with friends & acquaintances is the best therapy anyone could ever ask for.

It’s my personal opinion that people don’t get outside enough nowadays. There are just too many reasons to stay indoors, there are Playstations, X Box or whatever, as well as all of our computers with their social networks, I pad’s & lets not forget the TV.

It’s these things that tend to keep you a hostage to their ability to alter reality, safe and happy whittling away your time doing nothing special. Yes we are losing the means or even the want to go outside and see the world, to see real people. I understand this requires effort, yet it can be so worth it.

Now just so you know, being the hypocrite I am, I own most of these anti social things, of which my favorite is my I Pad, although mine has an antiglare coating so that It can be used outside, I love my books all of which I can now carry on my I Pad & of course as a photographer I use it to showcase my work, “I also play games on it everyday”.

During my time working on the cruise ships I have found, that a large percentage of crew tend to take our computers out to the local Internet cafes or the local coffee shops, spending time catching up with our social networks, when we could & should be out exploring all of the wonderful places we travel to. That being said most of us tend to do just that. I personally love to go hiking and spend almost all of my time outside in the wilderness when it is close by & if not just looking around a new city exploring.

What I’m finally trying to get around to is that everyone including me! Should spend much more time outdoors doing something they like with friends or even by yourself. A favorite exercise of mine is rollerblading, I have rollerbladed in lots of cities around the world although San Francisco proved a little daunting with those huge hills everywhere, I also enjoy riding bicycles which I can hire from the ships from a very nominal fee sometimes even for free, for me it has to be somewhere I can see something while I ride, maybe even around a lake or a city.

It doesn’t matter what you do if it gets you outside, fishing, bungee jumping, lazy days at the beach, while your there why don’t you build a sandcastle your never to old to act young. So go sailing or join a dragon boat club, be lazy for a change and just read a book, throw that Frisbee. It really doesn’t matter what you like to do, you just need to get out and give it a go, you never know you might even get to know some more people.

Walking that’s “My new favorite pastime” I know I seem to be going backwards with my style of exercises’ I guess I am getting on a bit now, I think its just about time to start my second or is that my third midlife crisis. I’ve never felt old yet.

When I was younger I lived in Perth – Western Australia. I had a fantastic outdoor lifestyle. At that time life consisted of going to the beach, cable waterskiing, rollerblading & many other types of outdoor activities, I also squeezed work in there somewhere. Bike and walking paths were everywhere; with stunning views, most parks have free barbeques so that social gathering becomes a lifestyle. This is true of most places in the world, so no matter where you live there is always something to do and see. You just have to get off your butt and go out and explore it all.

The cost is going to be very little, almost nothing and sometimes it will cost you as little as time away from the TV.

As I find myself growing older and getting more set in my ways, I needed a wake up call, to get me moving in the right direction. So I have made it my resolution (not a new years resolution as I never seem to follow through on those) that I will walk everyday, not always at the same time of day, as this is not always possible for me. Sometimes I walk around a new city just soaking up what it has to offer, sometimes its just to the shops or coffee spots & sometimes its just a walk around the deck of my current ship. If I miss a day I won’t worry, I will just walk the next day. Although It took some effort I have finally decided to get off my butt & yes this took me a long time, as I was very content with who I was for such a long time. Now I have finally decided that I want to be thinner and healthier than I am, so that I can enjoy everywhere I go and see, without feeling like I am puffing & wheezing.

I also absolutely love scuba diving & I want to be able to do this right up to when I finally toddle off this wonderful planet. Saying that I have been lucky to dive in some of the better destinations around the world, here are just a few of them. Cayman Islands, Cozumel – Mexico. Key Largo – Florida, Great Barrier Reef & Townsville – Australia, Saint Tomas – Virgin Islands. Aruba, Curacao – Dutch Antilles & the Red Sea – Sharm El Sheik  – Egypt.  . I have had one and two tank dives, I have sailed on live aboard ships, some were drift dives,wreck dives, day & night dives I have loved them all. I love being underwater and now with over 500 + dives, I sometimes think I am half-fish, my dream is to have an underwater housing so that I can take my Canon camera underwater to get some of the images I see up to the people who don’t dive  to give them a taste of what I see while I am underwater.

There are plenty of people out there already doing these things. I am not writing this for them or even for you, I am writing this for me I know that is selfish of me, so if you want to come along and get outside and reclaim your old life. Well then let’s get to it & hopefully I will see you in the park.

Please let me know what you think, as I think I would like it.

Either way I will still be walking everyday.

#3 Rio De Janeiro – Brazil

Now Rio is a fascinating and wonderful place to visit and I have been there many times, one or two of them I intend to go into in a little further in the blog.

Though this time I gave my time in Rio to one of my casino staff, so that they would have a chance to experiance Rio. As cruise staff we have to sometimes do extra duties when aboard the ships, one of which is inport manning where the ship is required to keep a certain amount of people who are trained in mustering people in an emergency, to stay onboard incase there is a situation while in port.

On one of the other times I had been to Rio I was lucky enough to go up to the statue of Christ, Atop Corcovado(which means ‘hunchback’) Cristo Redentor as he gazes out over Rio, a placid expression on his well-crafted face.

Christ The Redeemer Statue Brazil

With a group of friends we got some local currency Reals, pronounced Re-als. Then we took a few taxis to the bottom of Corcovado (Thats the name of the mountain) and after paying a small fee at the booth there, we were transferred to small busses which take you up a winding road to the base of the statue. I remember the very first time I went to the statue the taxi I was with was able to take you right up to the base of the statue. Times change and I guess we have to move along with them.

We walked up the stairs passing the vendors selling small statues, magnets and heaps of other small objects of worth to somebody? just not me.

Onto the statue we went, now you can see it from almost anywhere in Rio even from Sugarloaf. When we reached the top of the stairs and got our first look at the massive statue perched upon this small mountain you stand in awe of the view and the statue. My first thoughts were how in the heck did they get it up here in the first place. So I looked it up,

Here is an excerpt from another site with a small blurb on the subject.

It wasn’t until 1921 that someone had the idea of placing a statue atop Corcovado. A team of French artisans headed by sculptor Paul Landowski was assigned the task of erecting a statue of Christ with his arms apart. It took 10 years, but on October 12, 1931, the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) was unveiled. The sleek, modern figure rises more than 30 meters (100 feet) from a 6-meter (20-foot) pedestal and weighs 700 tons. In the evening a powerful lighting system transforms it into a dramatic icon able to be seen from most areas in the city.

Statue of Christ, Atop Corcovado

Sugarloaf -Rio De Janeiro

knowing we were on a tight time schedule and after a small terrifying trip in another taxi, we made it to Sugarloaf (Pão d’Açucar) as it is locally known. This soaring 1,300-ft granite block stands at the mouth of Guanabara Bay framed by beaches, the most famous of which is Copacabana.

Sugarloaf's Gondola

At the cable car entrance and after paying ($30 Real) each we were let into the Italian-made  gondola’s, bubble like cars holding 75 passengers each which move up the mountain in two stages, the first stopping at the Morro da Urca, a smaller mountain in front of Sugarloaf, and the second continuing on to the summit, to a fantastic view of Rio, weather permitting, each stage taking around three minutes.

It is simply stunning to be standing there drinking in the fact that you are staring at one of the most fascinating and most popular destinations in the world. Soaking in as much as we could as there are many places of interest each with its own spectacular view.

View from Sugarloaf Mountain

Once again knowing we were on a tight schedule, and after a quick photo shoot with all of my friends we headed of to another icon. Copacabana beach, while walking around the promenade were we were able to see all the fascinating people who make the beach scene in Rio so popular. There are the beach tanned females, and soccer playing males strutting around, as well as the favela (poor) kids playing hacky sack, as well as the capirinhas sellers (Brazils national cocktail) every type of fruit sellers and even bikini sellers in case you forgot your own. There are even hotels and places to stay if you need one, somewhere to suit each budget. After a full day spent looking around the city and out of time, we headed back to the ship.

Please understand I have only gone into a small percentage of the things you are able to see and do. There are so many other places, samba’s and people and flavors to experience while in Rio and having been there many times I have been lucky to eat, drink and experience most of these due mainly to my life on ships.

Christ the Redeemer and Rio taken from the Helicopter

One of the other times I was in Rio I took a helicopter trip over the city (O.M.G Wow) if you are short on time and wish to experience most of the sights in one go, this is one of the best ways to see this massive city and if you have a few extra dollars as it was not cheap. Although it was another fantastic way to see Rio, we flew around Christ the Redeemer then off to the beaches, Copacabana, Leme and Ipanema and a quick whirl around the city.

Christ The Redeemer - Rio De Janeiro - Brazil

Then I asked to go back to Corcovado to get some more shots of the statue, when we landed we had only taken up forty minutes of our day and so we went to the base of Sugarloaf to one of the many churrascaria restaurants this one overlooking Leme beach they have a buffet with seafood and salads as well as lots and lots of sizzling meat dishes brought to your table, until you turn over the coaster that’s on your table stating that you are too full to eat anymore, green for more and red for enough.Then we went out for coffee in one of the small cafe’s near Ipanema beach.

We sauntered around Ipanema beach checking out all the beach life that goes with it as well as some of the boutique shops the area boasts. Then back to the ship as always and off to the next port.

Montevideo – Uruguay


 

#2 Salvador – Brazil

So on we go!  We sailed into Salvador it’s a small town on the coast in Brazil.

Salvador Brazil

Portuguese is the primary language in Salvador, yet English and Spanish are spoken fluently.  It has a beautiful side with some nice old buildings and lots of churches; places of worship are everywhere as always in third world countries I have found that religion is very prevalent when there are lots of poor districts. It also has a slightly seedy side to the city with quite a few beggars in the streets. When we walked out of the ship the city area was divided into two areas the dockside which was on the lowland also it’s where the military base (navel) is situated as well as a large indoor/outdoor market place with people selling everything (Mostly crap, yet sometimes crap you feel you need usually until you get home and think to yourself why did I buy that coconut monkey??)

The upper city which was reachable for those on foot by the elevator,which you took to the main part of town up a cliff around 500ft straight up costing you less than 25 cents for each person. There are two big lifts taking around 20 to 30 people each and they are nearly always full with a lift operator in each.

Salvador - Main Square

When you get to the top you are confronted with the main square where you will find some of the churches and cafes and shops, this is where most of the tourist go as it feels the safest while you are in Salvador. With a little walking we found a money changers, cambia,or cambio, depending where you are,  (cambia means change) luckily it was right next to a great little coffee shop in one of the town squares overlooked by guess what, another church, so we just sat in the sun enjoying coffee and watching the world go by.

Salvador - Church

When we were walking back to the ship and as we got close to the dockside markets we saw the police screaming and pointing guns at a group of youths across the road everybody was standing with their hands in the air while the police crossed over the road then while one police man covered them while the other searched them for weapons, I was pretty freaked out with how candid they were about weapons there and how quickly the police jumped on this group of youths that did not seem to be doing anything wrong, although I quickly shrugged that off as paranoia in a different country that I really knew very little about and overall I was glad they were not pointing the guns at me or my friends. So we set off once more on our way back towards the ship.

Where we headed towards our next port Rio.