My Lesson from Hurricane Gustav

I have not had much to report on lately so I figured I would share one of my lessons I learned on a previous trip….

Back in 2008, one of my best friends was getting married, so when she said she wanted to have a bachelorette party on a cruise ship, the first words out of my mouth, were where do I sign up? It didn’t even dawn on me that it was during hurricane season.

our lovely ship

This trip would become one of the “best” stressful adventures (and lessons) I have ever had (thus far)

When it was time to leave I was already very stressed because I had just started a new job and was leaving in the middle of a training segment to go on a (what I thought was) a four-day cruise. I already had my reservations about going simply because I had started a new job and you shouldn’t take off for a couple of days in the middle of training, but my trainer at work was awesome, and told me to go and have a great time and that she would get me caught up when I returned.

Anyway, as I am one of the most accident prone people on the planet and bad luck follows me, of course this trip would have some crazy events occur.

Those of you on the gulf coast know that 2008 was a big hurricane year, we had Gustav and Ike (along with many others) and it caused a lot of issues for the gulf port towns.

The day before I left for the cruise a hurricane started forming and the national weather center called this storm Gustav. We were supposed to go to Cozumel, where I had a fun jungle beach tour but when we arrived at the terminal, we were informed that the cruise would change their port of call, and we would be informed on the ship. No big deal, we were still going to Mexico.

In fact the port of call would change four times on this trip, due to where Gustav was “expected” to make landfall.

The cruise I was on, made national news. I was on a 4 day cruise that suddenly became a 6 day cruise and we were circling the gulf to avoid the violent waves that were occurring in the gulf, plus the port of Galveston had shut down, so we couldn’t dock. There was another ship The Liberty, and during those two days, you would see the two ships circling each other, because they could not dock in New Orleans, and we could not dock in Galveston.

The two boats that made news

The two ships actually made national news, because we were “stuck” in the Gulf.

When the Captain came on the speakers and said that we would have postpone our return, everyone in my group started to cheer and clink glasses.

I however, had a panick attack and I swore I would never cruise during hurricane season again. I was frantic and panicking to the point I started crying. Seriously I was crying, after being told I was going to get an extra two days of VACATION! I knew I was going to get fired, I called my the boyfriend and started panicking and crying, and made him call my trainer and tell her what was going on. I literally panicked, I am pretty sure the 10 girls I was with, wanted to slap me.

(I would like to note that I didn’t get fired and I still work for the company, and ironically, I would kill for another accidentally extended cruise vacation)

Anyway, that is the long story short of the experience.

Looking back I learned a very valuable lesson, not only will I be careful about cruises during hurricane season, I would become more relaxed in “bad” situations from that day forward. I adopted the “it is what it is” philosophy and I make the best of every situation.

Anyway, due to Gustav’s potential of destroying Cozumel the ship had to change their itinerary and go to another port.

So we docked in the Yucatan, specifically near Merida. Everyone I was with wanted to go to the beach, and I wanted to climb some ruins,so when we found a guy who said he could take us to both, we agreed.

So we all hopped onto the bus to the beach and I hopped the bus to the ruins and told them I would catch up after I was done. Where I went exactly I couldn’t tell you. He spoke broken English and I spoke broken Spanish, so communication was an issue. I just knew I was going to see ruins, I was very trusting of this guy, and looking back maybe I should have asked more questions so I could tell every one where I went.

After countless hours of research online, I believe I was taken to Temple of the Dolls, a lot of my pictures look like the pictures online (except lower quality) so I am under the belief I was there, however if you think it is somewhere different let me know 🙂

Anyway, it turned into a great day. I got to climb through history, and afterwards lay out by the beach and drink pina coladas. Looking back, I would tell my 25-year-old self to chill out and just enjoy the ride.

Here are the pictures from the ruins.

me on top of the pyramid (my outfit choice wasn’t the greatest, but alas you live you learn 😉 )

Looking back I learned a great lesson from that trip, that there are forces of nature that I can not control. I can’t control every single aspect of my life, and that if something happens all I can do is make the best of it, and afterwards try to correct any situation that may occur. I wasted almost an entire day of my vacation panicking over getting fired (which never occurred) and I should have just laid back and relaxed because in reality it was something I could not control. If I had gotten fired yes it would have sucked, but it would have been ok I would have eventually found another job. Life is all about enjoying the “accidental adventures” and I am glad I learned that lesson. I am ready to take on the next “hurricane Gustav” that may occur on my little adventures.

Until Next Time,

XOXO

Living with the Land

Sustainable living is one of the greatest challenges of mankind. Overall I think vast improvements have occured, however we still have room to improve.

It is often said that the grain produced in America can feed the world three times over, so why doesn’t it?

Well I don’t know, exactly, I have my own personal theories and I am sure there are so many factors that come into play, I don’t want to debate them here, but it is something to thinks about.

Which I often find myself doing on The Living with the Land, ride at Epcot.

Yes I know another Disney post, but you should be happy to know I only have 3-4 Disney related posts planned for the rest of the year…

Anyway,

One of the things I love about Disney, and believe me there are a lot of things I love about Disney. Is how unbelievably educational Epcot is, it really does make learning fun.

This is a 14 minute ride that showcases agricultural advances in the rain forest, Africa and well beyond.

Which is why I am featuring during Green Week.

According to Wikipedia and other Disney sources, there are 5 distinct areas that are:

the Tropics Greenhouse– this section features crops from tropical areas of the world.

Aquacell– this features the aquaculture also known as fish farming

alligators

Temperate Greenhouse– this section features crops from temperate climates

String Greenhouse– This greenhouse focuses on innovated techniques, which Wikipedia says and I quote “This greenhouse focuses on innovative high-density techniques, such as Nutrient film technique. It also shows off “vertical growing techniques”, in which plants are grown on specialized trellises which cause the herbaceous plants to approximate the shape and structure of trees.”

Very technical stuff which in my mind equals expensive.

Creative Greenhouse– this area shows some of the more unusual ideas about the future of agriculture.

There is also a living laboratory that includes the biotechnology lab and in the integrated pest management lab.

My mind is made up that the next time I go to Disney I will take part in the “behind the seeds” tour to get more of a back story about the ride, as I feel there is so much to learn and can still learn from this ride.

Here are some additional pictures from the ride, sorry about the quality but these were taken with my horrible camera that I no longer use 😉

the gator you see before going into the “land”

Anyway thanks for reading

until next time

XOXO

Jen

The Beautiful Western Lowland Gorillas of Disney’s Pangani Forest

Earth Week Continued, today I am posting about Disney’s Pangani trail, I feel this is worth mentioning due to their conservation efforts and my absolute love for a particular animal.

These are the real reasons I want to go Democratic Republic of Congo & Cameroon. Sadly, I believe only Cameroon is safe right now, but that is for another post.

The The Western Lowland Gorilla, I want to see them in the wild before it is too late.

These animals are sadly considered critically endangered and are not showing improvement.

Anyway, moving on…

I have seen a few Lowland Gorillas in zoos so it was no surprise when I discovered that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was host to a family of western lowland gorillas. These magnificent creatures are located on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. If you ever find yourself at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you must go see these beautiful animals.

I was by myself at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this day, and after visiting the characters I spoke to a cast member about what I should do, he said stop whatever you are doing and go the Pangani Trail, you will not regret it, as we just had a birth of a Lowland Gorilla. “It’s kinda a big deal, ” he told me.

Sold. I know how endangered these guys are and a birth of a lowland gorilla is a big deal.

I walked over to the Pangani Forest and started my hike.

I learned that Pangani is Swahili for “place of enchantment.” I can understand why Disney would chose this name for this trail.

You start off walking on the trail when you come up to the observation point of the Okapi, did you know this is the only living relative of the giraffe? I didn’t and I found that quite fascinating. According to the cast member these guys are very shy and it was our lucky day that the Okapi was out and about.

My next stop was the aviary where African birds where flying about. Bird aviaries always make me nervous thanks to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, so I snagged a few pics and got out!

the creepy bird
the relaxing waterfall for the birds

There were also meerkats, but it was so jam-packed I didn’t even bother trying to get a picture, because well I really wanted to get to the hippos.

The hippos were swimming about and in all seriousness I tried to get at least 20 pictures, but every time my camera finally decided to take the picture the hippo was gone. Those guys are fast.

No hippos 🙁

Quick fact, did you know more people die from Hippos than other animals in Africa. Cast member told me that and to me that is just crazy, but after seeing how fast the guys can swim I don’t doubt it.

Afterwards, I saw the lowland gorillas and I quickly came up to the glass viewing deck.

And I saw him, the most beautiful baby gorilla I have ever seen.

I snapped photo after photo, and this little guy was not shy, he was playing and putting on a show. He made me happy and I think I spent 30 minutes there watching him play and be a little show off.

There were two adult gorillas too!

Afterwards I ventured over to the The Colobus Monkey section of the trail. Disney appears to be doing whatever it takes to help injured Colobus Monkeys and releasing them back in the wild. These guys are not endangered per se, but are hunted for the bush meat trade industry in Africa.

Overall, I give this trail an A plus and believe me I will go every time I got to Disney’s Animal Kingdom here on out. It is now one of my favorite things to do at this park.

For all the photos I took on the trail, CLICK HERE

Until next time.

XOXO
Jen

One of the Best Interactive Lines at Disney

The Haunted Mansion is often considered a Disney Classic.

I love the ride for a multitude of reasons, I remember riding it with my parents and grandmother as a child, I like the spooky atmosphere, and now that I am an adult I enjoy it to get off my feet for 5-10 minutes.

The ride it’s self is top-notch, if you really sit back and think about the special effects, the sights, the sounds, it really is a ride that was superior before it’s time. Something I feel that only Disney can often accomplish.

I won’t get into the back story, yes there is a very intricate & detailed back story, but if you want to know CLICK HERE to become educated. It is quite cool knowing the story before you ride it.

Anyway, when you enter the line queue, you have two options, the “scenic route” and the not so scenic route. It was Leap Day, so we choose the scenic route. The very cool thing about this line is it interactive. Which in my opinion is a great way to keep occupied while waiting in line (just bring hand sanitizer 😉 ). You can play instruments, look for ghosts, shoot water out of the Captain’s Grave, Interact with the book shelf, and well so much more.

If you have kids that don’t want to ride the ride, it is def worth taking them through the line to interact, and then just escape before getting on.

Anyway, here are some of the really cool pics of the line. Enjoy!

P.S Be patient they may take a while to load


Our illegal shot before the pre-show started 🙂

Just escape the cubicle already

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