I’m Still Alive!

I fasted yesterday, the Micheal Mosley way, but still it was a fast.  The big news is I didn’t wake up famished.  I didn’t eat until my normal time to eat and I didn’t eat a ton of breakfast, just my normal breakfast.  And I’m not finding I’ve got See-Food disease either.  You know where you see food and you eat it.

I started the day off with one scrambled egg made with a little water and two strawberries, no sugar.  That held me until around 1:30, 2:00 in the afternoon and then I ate a large salad taking my cues from the South Beach Diet.  I didn’t finish the salad.  Then I was okay, but not great until the evening at which time I had a very small piece of chicken.  I had started feeling rather lethargic so I was ready to go to bed early and knowing that once asleep I wouldn’t know I wasn’t eating I opted to go to bed early.  Then I awoke this morning knowing I had consumed somewhere over 400, but under 500 calories yesterday, right on target for what is considered a fast in the 5/2 Diet.

I jumped on the scales this morning because I could tell I was throwing off a lot of inflammation yesterday (in other words I peed a lot, sorry).  And from the last time I weighed, which was not the morning of the fast, until this morning I had lost over three pounds.  Wow!  Now, I don’t expect that three pounds to hold until I fast again on Thursday, but I don’t expect to gain it all back either.

I did learn one very important thing yesterday and that is to plan what I’m going to eat prior to the fast day.  I was a little surprised that my salad was as few calories as it was.  Had I known I was only going to get to around 250 calories with the salad I would have added in some kind of protein.  And the protein would have probably kept me feeling a little better in the evening.  Staying busy helps too.  If you stay busy you aren’t thinking about the Ritz crackers in the pantry.

So, although I’m not eager for the next fast day, I’m not going to quit.  This is doable particularly because after you get to a certain point you can cut your fast days down to one a week.

For me the main point is the loss of inflammation and belly fat.  I absolutely must give my body a rest from all the punishment I put it through.  And that sells me on this diet above all others.

Hawaii – Day 6, Kona and the Glass Bottom Boat

We had originally scheduled a snorkel trip, but after being on several islands and being a little chilly every time we canceled the snorkel trip.  Given that it would have been on a day that we had to be back at the ship by 1:00 p.m., I’m glad we did.  That is really not enough time.  Which, I think I should mention, if you are going to plan this trip by yourself pay attention to when the ship is leaving while choosing your excursions.  All the excursions are, of course, planned around the ships sailing times, but if you’re like us you don’t want to feel the pressure of being there on time or getting left.  We have been on our own on other cruises and never really felt like we were in charge of where to be when, particularly if ship time is different from the time on land.  Anyhoo, we rescheduled our excursion to be on a glass bottomed boat in Kona, our stop for the day.

The Kona stop has the ship out in the water so you take an excursion boat, which is also the life raft, to the shore.  The seas were a little choppy that day so that was a little bit of excitement.  But getting from the ship to the glass bottom boat was nothing.  They dropped us off at the only pier, I’m assuming, in Kona and we walked across the pier to the glass bottomed boat.  This is an option of you don’t want to go snorkeling, but I have a feeling snorkeling would have been better, maybe.  I’m not that conversant on the sea life in Hawaii.  The only other place I’ve snorkeled is in the Virgin Islands, so that is my only comparison.

Once again the people leading the excursion were very informative.  They knew all about the reef around the island and the fish inhabiting the reef.  I was just a little disappointed in the lack of diversity of fish.  There were lots and lots of Tang and some other fish, but as you have probably surmised, the only one I can remember is the Tang.  They are yellow, they kind of stick out.  And trying to catch the little buggers on film is almost impossible because you have to do it as the window passes over them. I snapped 16 pictures and this is the only one with a fish in it.

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What I remember the most about the trip was the people getting seasick on the boat.  Yep, throwing up, right there in front of God and everyone.  The staff on the boat warned us about this before we left the shore so this must happen on a regular basis.  The combination of going under power and sitting with your head hanging over a glass window in the bottom must do a lot of people in.  I feel very fortunate that I have never been seasick, mildly nauseous, but not seasick.  I am aware though that being below and under power can have that affect on you.  The solution is to get up on deck and in the wind.  That usually solves it for most people.  However, doing that means you don’t get to look though the bottom which is why you came in the first place.

So, I’ll be real honest and say this was my least favorite excursion, but it did get us off the boat.  Afterwards, we walked around Kona for a bit and shopped and then went back to the ship.  An easy, relaxing day.  And by this time we were so relaxed it would have been hard to get us excited about a fire on-board or the ship blowing up or any number of things.

I’m Fat

Yesterday my husband and I went to the first birthday of his only granddaughter/grandchild.   And in this age of immediate social media almost before we were home from the party there were pictures posted on Facebook.  And for the first time in a long time I allowed myself to really look at those pictures and say to myself, “You’re fat.  Do something.”  I was planning on doing something starting this week, but the pictures convinced me I really must start somewhere and keep going.

As a little history, I am a cancer survivor.  I had breast cancer seven, almost eight years ago.  I am also over the age of 60.  And I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for over two decades.  But the biggest factor in this weight is I’m in a very happy marriage.  I know that sounds really silly, but I have noticed that being married to someone that really loves me and lets me be me has given me every excuse in the book to do what I want and a lot of that involves eating what I want.  I’m not blaming my husband, I’m just saying that is my reality.  It didn’t used to be so.  I was in a very sad marriage before.  My husband was hyper-critical and I was never good enough.  I worked myself to the bone.  Once that marriage ended I didn’t gain weight because I hoped at some point I would remarry and have a chance to really have a loving marriage.  And my husband, who is a widower, will tell you the same thing.  We were very trim when we started dating.

The cancer also led me to a doctor that is always on the cutting edge of what they are learning about cancer.  Annoyingly, he is on the cutting edge of what they are learning about cancer.  I keep asking him just how he plans for me to die because if I followed his advice to the letter I don’t think that would be a possibility.  Fortunately, I haven’t done that so I assume I’m right on schedule for my check-out time.  However, it’s gone past that now.  The latest thing he dropped on me was that there had been a study done recently that said that if a person cut out wheat and refined sugar five days a week their inflammation levels would drop to the point that having it for two days a week would not make a difference.

And that brings me to my point here.  My daughter recently introduced me to the 5/2 Diet.  You eat five days a week and you fast two days a week. Here is a link to Michael Mosley explaining it.  I am starting tomorrow, Monday, April 8th.

Here goes nothing!  When I get brave enough I’ll post the picture from the party and maybe in a few weeks I can also post improvement.  Nothing before this has worked, not restricted calories, not yoga, not working out daily at the gym.  So, wish me luck.  I’m not good at this.

Hawaii – Day 5, Hilo and Volcanoes

The ship travels at night.  This actually works out very well because the rocking of the ship makes for superior sleep.  We arrived bright and early in Hilo.  This is where we had decided to see a volcano.  There is one on Maui I hear, but Volcanoes National Park  is near Hilo.  And for sheer duration and information I think this is the time to see the volcanoes.  The bus takes you up into the park and you have several stops each timed perfectly.  If there’s anything else to know about volcanoes I can’t imagine what it would be.  Our first stop was at the top of the mountain to view the crater of Kilauea.  This particular volcano is not active right now, but supposedly is the most active.  There was steam coming out of it.  In the visitor’s center you learn all about Pele, the mythical goddess of volcanoes.  One of the things I found the most interesting in the center was the various forms lava takes.  I had no idea it was as diverse as it is.  And I could see after looking at the display why the natives of Hawaii thought there was a being behind all that violence.  Lava can appear in a form that looks like hair and then in another form that looks like tears.  It’s not just rough or smooth.

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After you learn about volcanoes you are taken to a place where there is steam rising out of the ground all over the place.  I guess if I’d thought about that more while I was there I might have found that stop a little disturbing.  Obviously something very hot is right beneath my feet.  But, instead, I just enjoyed the steam facial and got back on the bus.  And on we went to the next stop.  This one was lower down and you looked down into the crater of a volcano.  We noticed that there were people walking across the crater so we asked our guide about that.  He told us that you can get an excursion that leads you down there.  It takes almost the whole day and it is a long hike.  At first I had wished we had known about that, but upon further consideration maybe it’s just a well we didn’t.  We probably got to see a lot more with the one we were on. This stop took us to the most recent lava flow and the damage it had done.  There was nothing there!  Literally, just rocks.  The lava had taken it all away or burned it off.

Following that we got to see what I considered the best part of the journey, a lava tube.  Now, this was news to me.  I didn’t even know that anything like this existed.  You only see a portion of it, but what you see is remarkable when you consider it was made by lava flowing, cooling on the outside to form the tube and flowing on out leaving the tube hollow.  They have installed lighting in the tube so you can walk through it.  The portion you go through is around 400 feet long.  Just amazing.

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This tour, for the most part, would be accessible to anyone except for the lava tube.  You go down a steep flight of stairs and a steep walkway to get to the entrance.  Then you hike back up on a path back to the parking lot.

Our final stop was a chocolate factory.  It was surreal to me that we made this stop after so much natural violence.  But there we were in the midst of hundreds of boxes of candy.  A little non sequitur in many ways.  The Japanese people on the trip seemed to enjoy it.  They bought bags of the chocolate.

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That night the ship moved from Hilo to Kona going around what the Hawaiians call “The Big Island” or Hawai’i.  As it moves there was an active volcano flow that could be seen around 10:00 p.m. Hawaii time, which is 3:oo a.m. at home for us.  I slept through it.  I didn’t want to sleep through it, but rocking boat, time change and a day of hiking through the park had taken its toll and I was dead to the world when that happened.

Hawaii – Day 4, Maui and Laundry

We were in Maui for two days.  We didn’t book an excursion on the second day, but I haven’t finished telling you about the excursion we did book.  The second part of that was “On Your Own in Lahaina.”  After the whale watching we went to get a bite to eat right across from the beach/pier/dock.  Lahaina is very reminiscent of Key West in Florida.  And it is an older town, so everything has that wonderful sense of age to it.  Again, with the birds.  Our table was right next to an open (as in no glass) window and the dove were having a great time napping in the sun and browsing through the crumbs in the restaurant.

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The people there must be extra diligent about this sort of thing because I never saw one dropping.  Or the birds know that if they want a free breakfast/lunch/dinner they better behave while inside.  At any rate, they provided a lot of just plain delight for me.

The one thing that stood out the most and was mentioned by almost every tour bus driver was the HUGE banyan tree that is in Lahaina.  It takes up a full city block.  It is truly amazing and I’m glad I got to marvel at it.

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But we had chosen this day to do our laundry since we pack light so we can carry on.  Well, that wasn’t a good idea.  Not this time anyway.  Norwegian, or at least Pride of America, does not offer a self-serve laundry like Carnival does.  Ooops.  Our helpful steward gave us a bag to use for getting our laundry done, but after we read through the prices and figured out it would cost us about $100 to have our laundry done we decided to take the free shuttle to KMart and buy soap.  Our wonderful balcony had to serve the dual purpose of being a clothes line for our wet clothes.  However, if you travel enough with Norwegian you can get this service free with your Latitudes membership.  I don’t know that that alone would keep me booking with Norwegian, but good to know.

Just in case you missed it, there is a free shuttle to KMart.  There are free shuttles in most of the ports that take you to various shopping sites.  I saw one for Walmart at a later stop and one that took you to a mall and one that just took you into town.  Most of the ports are not right at the town, you have to get there somehow and so they provide you with these shuttles.  So, if you don’t want to book excursions at every stop you’ve got the option of just going into town and exploring on your own.  You’ll have to book an excursion to go to Lahaina and shop though because ships don’t dock at Lahaina, it’s on the other side of the island.  And we got the best information from the shuttle drivers who appear to be mostly retired people that just want something to do.  Ours had lived on the islands for years if not decades and were quite informative.

So, just in case you like to research before you go, here’s a link to Go Hawaii – Maui.



Hawaii – Day 3, Maui Wow-wee

Day three found us docked in Maui.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I remember this as a surfers paradise, but that is beyond what I could do with it.  We wanted to watch the whales.  And this is the place to do it.

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See our lovely view of the dock.  What did I tell you?  Port side, dock.  Starboard side, island.  We booked the Maui Whale Watch and Lahaina On Your Own excursion.  This is only available December through April because that’s the only time the whales are there.  But it is fantastic.  And the biggest reason I wanted to go to Hawaii was to see the whales.  This adventure leaves out of Lahaina.  You go out with marine naturalists that are working with a non-profit organization to save the whales.  They do a marvelous job of giving you all kinds of information on whales.  The whales come to Hawaii and mostly Maui to have their calves.  We saw two mothers and two babies.  And several male escorts.  According to the guide on the boat the females come here to get away from the Orca found in Alaskan waters and to have their calves in safety and the males come here because the females came here.

The tour guides are going out almost every hour so they know where the whale are.  I’m assuming the whales are pretty much in the same area all the time they are there anyway.  They don’t promise you will see them, but the chances are very good you will.  There is nothing quite like seeing that first spout.  As you get closer you begin to see the familiar black hump going up and then down and all of a sudden you might see a smaller (there’s nothing really small about a whale ever) tail fin pop up.  Baby whale!  It’s so exciting.  The whole boat comes alive and cameras are clicking all around you.  However, I am going to suggest that if you want to photograph the whales get a camera with the ability to shoot rapidly and fire off several shots every time.  I just have a little Cannon and by the time I pressed the button to take the shot the whale had gone back down.  I have a lot of pictures of foam though if you want one.  I did capture one fin wave from a calf.

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We were out there for quite a while.  I don’t know how long they stay out, but I was very satisfied by the time we headed back and felt like I had definitely gotten my money’s worth.

Hawaii – Day 2, Boarding the Ship

This was seamless for us.  As I mentioned before we stayed at the Marriott Beach in Waikiki.  The shuttle to the ship leaves from there.  Norwegian gives you a loading time when you check in and we had received 12:00 noon.  In the morning we walked down to the restaurant that is in the hotel complex and had a very good, very expensive (this IS Hawaii) breakfast.  Afterwards we walked along the beach.  Now, this is where the sadness comes in.  There are a lot of people living on the beach right across the street from the hotel we stayed at.  I don’t imagine it is much different anywhere else though.  There was an encampment of about 20 homeless people occupying one of the covered shelters on the beach.  And I saw several homeless people just wandering around.  I noticed later that every day on the daily news sheet the ship hands out you are warned to watch your belongings and be vigilant of your surroundings.  We didn’t have any trouble with the homeless people.  They didn’t beg or even approach us.  It just makes you feel sad and kind of, well, ashamed that you have spent so much on your vacation and they are living with nothing.  Honolulu is the most populous city in Hawaii.  And that makes it just what it is, a city with all the foibles of any city.

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Anyway, we arrived safe and sound back at the hotel, collected our luggage and headed to the lobby to await our shuttle.  And to enjoy the pigeons that were enjoying us in their lobby!  Norwegian takes a full bus to the pier so we actually were allowed to board an earlier bus.  Arriving at the pier we found ourselves inspected, photographed and standing in line.  Then I noticed that we had priority boarding because I had joined the Norwegian Latitudes Reward program when I booked the cruise.  We skipped over to that line, bam, we were done checking in and onto the ship.

This was our first time to have a balcony.  We’ve gone from an inside cabin with no windows to twice taking a cabin with a “seaview” and now we have moved up to the balcony suites.  Ah-h-h-h-h, yes.  Moving in the right direction.  However, the smaller suites are really small!  I didn’t realize, but should have, that they take your balcony out of the space you would of had in a cabin with just a window.  Regardless, we considered it one of the best things we did.  However, and this is another tip for you, most of the disembarkations on Pride of America are done on the port side.  That means usually your view is of a dock, a working dock with all kinds of shipments coming and going.  If you want the view of the islands instead book the starboard side.  You won’t miss a thing and you’ll have something pretty to look at all the time.  Not only that as hard as I had tried to figure out which way the ship was going to circle the islands, I didn’t guess right.  The starboard side had the traveling view too.  Now, we did occasionally see a whale on our side, but you have to go at the right time for that to be a factor.  I will discuss this when we get to Maui.

Stepping upon the Pride of America is like having a huge party for being an American.  The main lobby is done in Colonial America decor.  They have the John Adams coffee bar and the Thomas Jefferson Bistro.  Having been raised in Virginia that made me homesick every time I walked through it.  So, silly.  Now, I’m planning a trip to Williamsburg to get a fix.  Dastardly cruise ship!  Match that with the hula dancers swaying away on the steps up to the sixth floor and you’ve got quite a combination.

We were soon settled in our cabin and ready for a little refreshment.  We didn’t sail until later that evening so we had plenty of time to explore the ship.  And then we said good-bye to Honolulu and headed for Maui.

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