The Summer of 2013 – Where did it go? (Part 1)

I’ve always considered Summer to officially start on Memorial Day and end on Labor Day.  I suppose it will always be that way for me.  The official dates of Summer for 2013 were June 21st through September 22nd, so that’s the period I will cover!

Beth and I started the Summer of 2013 off in Boston, taking a cruise on the Carnival Glory to St. John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We had never ventured north on a cruise ship, and were very glad we did something different for a change.

This was the scene leaving Boston Harbor.

SunsetDepartingBoston

If you haven’t cruised on a Carnival ship lately, you need to.  Almost all of the ships have now undergone extensive renovations.  Guy’s Burger Joint,  The Red Frog, Blue Iguana, and other venues have all been added to bring your cruising experience to new levels.

RedFrogGlory

And the staterooms are awesome as well.  For this cruise, we chose an 11th floor balcony.

Glory Balcony Cabin

Making this cruise even better was knowing that one of our favorite crew members from past cruises, Nolan Villamor, would also be aboard the Glory.  I am confident Carnival will one day promote Nolan to Maitre’d!

NolanVillamor

St. John, New Brunswick is a neat port city, where the St. John’s River flows into the Bay of Fundy.  The tide fluctuates as much as thirty feet daily, making the “reversing falls” a continual attraction.

ReversingFallsGloryAtStJohn

During Lobster Season, you will even find McLobster at the golden arches!  Yes, I had to try one, and it was surprisingly good.

McLobsterSignMcLobster

We bought tickets for the “Pink Bus,” where you can ride anytime the entire day for one price.  We ride out to the falls in the morning, and then back that afternoon to see the river flowing both ways!

PinkBus

St. John is full of beautiful, historic buildings.  One fine residence displayed this plaque by its front door.

historical Plaque

Onward to the seaport of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The harbor is very active, and historical buildings are everywhere!

HalifaxLighthouseHalifaxArchitecture

Pubs and eateries are everywhere along the harbor in Halifax.  You can also purchase a Harbor Ferry pass, where you can also access the city’s bus transit system all for one low fare.

HalifaxHarborDiningHalifaxFerry

Thomas The Tug is another popular sight along the harbor.  You can purchase rides on it also!

ThomasTug

After departing Halifax, we would have a full day at sea before arriving in Boston.  Our cabin was the most forward cabin on the port side of Deck 11.  Would recommend this part of the ship to anyone.

GLoryCabinDeck

Boston Harbor is a beautiful place.  The sun was coming up as we entered.

SunriseBostonHarborBoston harbor

Cruising from the Port of Boston is a breeze.  Just a $20, 15 minute cab ride from the airport to the ship!  If you love cruising, but are somewhat tired of the Caribbean, give cruising out of Boston a try.  It was a refreshing change!

Next time, we will plan at least a day for sightseeing in Boston.  This year, we had to get back to Nashville for the rest of the Summer of 2013!  Be on the lookout for Part 2!

planewing

 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340 and VP Sales for Tennessee’s largest home builder, OleSouth.com, specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Gallatin, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

 

 

January Cruise 2013 – A Quick Getaway (Part 3)

We’re back on the boat in Progreso, headed to Cozumel and I just realized I had forgotten about “Formal Night” on the Carnival Elation.  I left my phone/camera in the cabin and didn’t take a single picture myself.   I was pleased to see more people than usual dressed in formal attire, especially the ladies in their assorted short skirts and heels!

All throughout the promenade are various photo backdrops, and it doesn’t cost a thing to give your best pose.  If you see a photo that you like, you can buy it.  If you don’t, just leave it in the rack.  This is a great opportunity for you to get that new Linkd-In, Facebook, or Twitter Profile shot – or a family portrait without expensive sitting fees.

Meanwhile, I worried about Ruby, our Blue Doberman, and if she was having seperation anxiety.  Turns out she wasn’t, thanks to our dear friend Julie, who also is a profressional “dog-person.”

Ruby' suite

Tuesday morning, the Carnival Elation arrived on time at Cozumel, and the day was going to be simply gorgeous!   Shown here is the Pilot Boat that drops off and picks up a “Harbor Pilot” from each incoming and outgoing cruise ship.  The “Pilot Boat” has got to be a great scam!

Pilot Boat

In Cozumel, Elation was docked right next to its younger twin sister, Paradise.

Elation and Paradise along Cozumel Pier

This was the first time we have docked at the older downtown pier in many years.  All things considered, I like it better.  Downtown is still the hub of activity for this great port!

Carlos and Charlies Downtown Cozumel

A large part of our group wanted beach time, and Carlos and Charlies Beach Club was the destination!  The van driver they hooked up with told them it was no longer there, but he had a better beach for them.  I could give a rat’s ass about getting sand in my crotch, so six of us decided to rent our own car and see just what happened to Carlos and Charlie’s Beach Club.

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Entrance

Not only was it still there, it was even better!  The food is great, and the selection of drinks is endless.  It is located about 10 km south of the newest cruise ship pier.

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Beach

Carlos and Charlies Beach Club Inside

After a few snacks and drinks, we decided to ride around the back side of the island of Cozumel, making a complete circle before heading back to the ship.

Back Side of Cozumel

The shopping area at the cruise pier has a shop for everything you would imagine, even a Drugs and Deli.

Cozumel Drugs and Subs

Elation and Paradise at Cozumel

And the rest of our gang made it back for the Cozumel sail-a-way!

Sail-Away Party Cabin v-4

We enjoyed great service from our Dining Room server Sydney, from Indonesia.

Sydney, from Indonesia

I regret not having a camera with me for more of the cruise.  We had a great experience.  Cruise Director Willie Lee had everything on the ship “in synch” if that is a term.  His staff was cheerful and was always around making sure everyone had a great time.  the Wednesday Night Deck party was one of the most lively I have seen.  If I had my camera then, I probably would have dropped it!

There was always a creature waiting back in the cabin.  I wish they could make one of Ruby!

Towel Bear

towel frog

We were off the ship and in the car headed home at 8:15 am on Thursday!  The weather forecasts were not sounding good through Alabama, but since when is a weatherman right?

Alabama Snow

We made it just past Cullman, Alabama before we hit a large traffic jam around 4:00 pm.  There was no turning around.  Mile Marker 313 on Interstate 65 North would be our home for the next 9.5 hours!  At least the Greyhound Bus next to us had free wi-fi!

I65 Traffic Jam mm 313

We arrived back in Nashville at 3:45 am Friday morning.  You know what?  I’d still do it all again!!!   You should too!

January 2013 Cruise – A Quick and Fun Getaway (Part 2)

Boarding the Carnival Elation at New Orleans was a breeze and we were onboard just minutes after parking the car. Once onboard, you have to get a ceremonial drink to start your cruise. I chose a Bloody Mary since it was before noon.

bloody mary

Carnival Elation is the 7th in the series of 8 Fantasy Class ships of Carnival. It was built in 1998 at a cost of $350 million dollars and was the first cruise ship to ever use “Azipods” for propulsion. If you are wondering what an Azipod is, CLICK HERE.

The Elation and its sisters are considered small ships by today’s standards at 855′ in length, carrying 2052 passengers and 920 crew. No matter what they say, it is still a damn big boat!

We were last on Elation in October of 2011 for its final sailing from Mobile, Alabama. When we returned, it went to dry dock for refurbishment of certain areas and general maintenance. Although it did not get additional balconies or the water park, it still emerged as a new ship and you could notice the improvements on our sailing.

Elation Atrium Bar

Elation Mikado Lounge Balcony

Elation Mikado Lounge Main Floor

Elation Golf Course

ElationLidoDeck

At 1:30 pm, our rooms were ready. It is amazing to me just how quick the ship can be “made new” after each voyage. Off we go to Cabin M22.

Elation Cabin M22

Before we knew it, the ship was setting sail.  What a relief – no Homeland Security issues this time!   (READ THIS and you’ll know what I am talking about)

The closer we got to the Gulf of Mexico, the foggier it got.  When you can’t see, just blow the horn and they’ll move right?  Notice the ever-changing lighting effects of the pool.

Carnival just recently introduced the Punchliner Comedy Club on all ships and it is going over quite well.  Comedian Russ Nagel was beyond terrific as you can see from the standing room only crowd!

Another cool event recently introduced is “Superstar Live.”  This is just like karaoke, except you sing with a live band – which happened to be the Carnival Elation show band.  Here is the group “Sexual Chocolate” performing at “Superstar Live.”

I won’t bore you with all the details about the great meals except to say the famous Chocolate Melting Cake has not changed a bit!

Chocolate Melting Cake

The first Port of Call (formal term for ship stop) was Progreso, Mexico, which to many is a “shit hole.”    For whatever reason, I like this stop because it is the closest you will ever get to “real life” in Mexico from a cruise ship.  It is worth the free bus ride from the pier into town to check things out.   They now have a “bus port” complete with a new straw market, and its even closer to the beach.

EntryToProgreso

Progreso Bus Port

Progreso Tourist Village

ProgresoBeachfront

Inflation has struck the beach in Progreso.  A massage that used to be $10 is now $20.  Don’t choke – they will still negotiate!

The locals are on this beach in full force trying to sell everything you can think of…. and a few things you would never imagine.   Don’t let it annoy you.  They are just trying to feed their families and a boat load of tourists are “easy pickings!”

I have found it best to tip the “cold beer on the beach guy” and ask him to keep the other vendors away while you sit on the beach with your cold beer.   That works.

Marinas MasssageProgreso

Many musicians stroll the beach at Progreso for tips.

ProgresoBeachMusicians

It is especially fun to tip them to play for the people getting a massage.  Thats what I always do.

Musica Massage

And you can tip them to ride back to the ship with you.  I did that too.

Bus Music

And once back to the Port, there are several bars with a great atmosphere.  Don’t get back on board just yet!

Progreso Beach Bar

Elation at Progreso

The Port of Progreso is a huge industrial port and cruise ship visits are relatively new in comparison.  Each visit, I can see more and more tourism developing this third world town into what will one day be a thriving resort location.  Just wait and see!

MexicanMilitaryShip

Part 3 finds the Carnival Elation in Cozumel.  Join us there, and also as we head back home on what would become “the drive home from hell!”

Janaury 2013 Cruise – A Quick and Fun Getaway! (Part 1)

There is never a good time to plan a vacation, even a short one. When times are slow, we’re out there hammering pennies from the pavement. When times are busier, as they thankfully are now, there are just not enough hours in the day!

Sometimes, everyone is better served if you take just a few days to recharge yourself – and that is what 26 of us just did!

We headed out at 7:00 Friday morning, January 11th for New Orleans. Sometimes, I would rather drive to New Orleans rather than fly. One reason is this “drive-thru daiquiri joint” in Pearl River, just outside of New Orleans.

Drive-Thru Daiquiri Joint

We arrived at the Drury Inn Suites at Carondelet and Poydras Street around 3:00 pm. Several in our group chose to fly down and we all arrived at the same time. The Drury is convenient to everything – Carondelet turns into Bourbon Street one block over, Harrahs Casino is 3 blocks down, and they have a complimentary happy hour and hot breakfast included with your room. They also have a rooftop pool.

Drury Inn New Orleans Rooftop Pool

It had rained the entire day, but the skies cleared just in time for us to enjoy a night on Bourbon Street. First a visit to Harrah’s, where Beth picked up a quick $100. After dinner at Pat O’Briens, we joined all the other tourists and freaks on Bourbon Street.

I ran across these two girls. They said they were doing this to pay off their student loans. I believed them.

Glitter Girls

This cat was just a freak and couldn’t possibly have had a student loan, and probably wouldn’t pay it if he/she did.

guess

Regardless of your level of social tolerance, Bourbon Street really is something to experience.

The cruise ships normally arrive in New Orleans before sunrise, and you can usually see them from the roof top of the Drury Inn. Not today!

NOLA Fog

The Carnival Elation had arrived, so after breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed to the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. Normally we would have left our car at the Drury Inn, which usually includes parking in their cruise special. This year, they are adding on to the hotel and building a parking garage. In other words, we had no choice but to park at the cruise terminal ($75), where we arrived at 11:15 am and were on the ship having the first drink at 11:40. The Port of New Orleans and Carnival Shoreside staff have mastered the process here!

This cruise was my 20th sailing, the 14th with Carnival and the other six with Royal Caribbean and Princess. I keep returning to Carnival quite frankly because I have had more fun on their ships. Damien Smart, my Carnival Vacation Planner, has always taken great care of us, and everyone that sails with us. People may think I get rewards or kickbacks for these cruises, but I don’t. I just recommend people that I have good experiences with. Give Damien a call at 1-800-819-3902, ext 82885.

Meanwhile, up on Lido Deck, you can see just how busy the Mississippi River is at New Orleans.

Nashville’s own Ingram Barge Lines has a huge presence here and the boats they have here make the ones we see on the Cumberland look like toys. Years ago, Ingram Barge’s main office was located in the Shell Building in New Orleans prior to Mr. Bronson Ingram moving it to Nashville.

Ingram on Mississippi River

And then there are numerous freighters like these all around.

Freighter</a

Most people don't realize that the Port of New Orleans is over 100 miles away from the mouth of the Mississippi at the Gulf of Mexico. The nice thing about cruising from New Orleans, no matter what the weather is on the high seas, your first and last 8 hours of cruising will be smooth!

Map NOLA to GULF>

Check back for Part 2 and find out all about the Carnival Elation and the ports of Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.

2012: Back to Honduras – Part 4 – The Long Ending!

One thing that we look forward to each year is interacting with the families we come in contact with each day.  Each morning we visit the local store to purchase our needs for the day, and we always purchase containers of rice, beans, sardines, and snacks for families that need a little break.  This year, our great friend Sid Neuhoff gave our “food fund” a great send-off and because of Sid, many added families were helped.  We look for Sid to visit Honduras with us one year!

This year, we did not come in contact with as many different families as we have in past years.  Our work this year was concentrated on one family in particular.  If you want to find a family in need, you don’t have to look very far.  David Hartley has a special “knack” for finding those that need it the most.

One evening, on the way back from the jobsite, David yells, “STOP RIGHT HERE!”  

After their home was demolished from flooding, the family assembled a structure to keep them out of the elements. One day, they will hopefully have something more substantial.

Inside, David found three children, with the oldest being four years old.  Mom and Dad were still working in the fields.  In this economy, you work whenever work is available.  We left what we had that evening, and stopped by again the next evening with more!

Hopefully we will be able to help this family even more on our next visit.  Their original home was washed away in October 2011, during the severe rains that resulted in catastrophic flooding of southern Honduras.  Many families were affected by flooding and have yet to recover.  If we all help a little bit, we can make a lot of difference.

As stated earlier, each year the circle of friends gets larger and we would like to visit everyone we know as well as our past projects each year, which can’t always happen.  This year, our friends from the Rotary Club of Choluteca joined us for dinner one evening at El Potrillo.  The staff at El Potrillo was excellent, as was the breakfasts and dinners we had there.

The Staff of El Potrillo. This is an excellent place to dine and a great place to stay while in Honduras.

We also enjoyed dinner several evenings with Teresa and her great staff at the Barcelona Hotel in San Marcos de Colon.  Their fried chicken is known all over southern Honduras!

Staff of the Barcelona Hotel in San Marcos de Colon, Honduras.

Ann and Sharon were able to visit Jayacayan, the site of last year’s project.  Jeremy and I were able to attend the Choluteca Rotary Club meeting Friday evening.  Our Tennessee District Governor, Dick Bowers, was also there as was the others representing Lawrenceburg Rotary Club, who coordinated this year’s effort.  

Meeting of the Choluteca Rotary Club.

By sneaking out of the Rotary meeting early, I was able to catch up with David Hartley and Keith Clodfelter who were having dinner with the Osotro family, that we have known for years.

The Osotro Family. Esther, MaMa, Carolina, Jose, and Michelle.

Each year, we look forward to taking a day off to explore.  Friday started off with a visit to downtown Choluteca and its many streetside vendors.

The streets of Choluteca Honduras

Ever wonder what happened to all of the Datsun B-210’s?  They are now taxi cabs in Choluteca.

At the straw market, you can find just about anything you would want, especially fresh fruit.

After a few hours in Choluteca, we headed to Coyolito, where we would catch a boat over to the island of Amapala, also known as “Isla de Tigre.” 

Supplies delivered to Coyolito for the ride over to Amapala.

We visited this island on last year’s trip and felt the need to see it again.  I have always said Amapala would be a great cruise ship port and I just learned that representatives from NCL, Carnival, and Princess Cruise Lines were on the island exploring that possibility the day before we were there!

We boarded the boat at Coyolito with Romario and who we will call Captain Smiley.  He never stopped smiling the entire day!

Coyolito, where you catch a water taxi to Amapala Island, shown in the distance.

The boat ride to the fishing village and restaurant is about 45 minutes.  I am not sure what the exact charge per person normally is, but we paid $100 US for all eight of us for the boat for the entire day. 

The fishing village and restaurant as seen from the Gulf of Fonseca.

I cannot remember, nor could pronouce the name of the beachside restaurant, but here it is.

Beachside Restaurant on Amapala Island, Honduras

The food was awesome!  Not only cooked to order, but caught to order.  Very possibly the best shrimp I have ever had.

Cleaning the day's catch on Amapala Island. From the boat to the skillet!

Huge portions too!

Fish and Shrimp combo, freshly caught and cooked while you wait.

Early Saturday morning, we left Choluteca for Tegucigalpa, anticipating extra traffic on Saturday morning.  The traffic was even worse than anticipated.  There was still time to enjoy a Big Mac inside the Tegucigalpa airport before our flight to Miami.

Mc Donalds inside Tegucigalpa airport

A long, great day seeing the sunrise in Choluteca, and the sunset in Miami.

It is truly amazing how many of the same places and same scenes can create different, yet wonderful memories year after year.  We will be returning to southern Honduras again next February, and who knows…maybe before.  If you would like to join us, or just participate financially, lending a helping hand in Honduras is a truly rewarding experience.

Trey Lewis is VP Sales & Marketing for Ole South Properties Inc, Tennessee’s largest independent home builder,  615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340 or email TLewis@olesouth.com.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

“Give me back my bullet.” Part 2

While within the confines of the Homeland Security office, David Hartley called me from Lido deck to see what the problem was.  I quickly told him “they found a bullet in Beth’s bag….gotta go.”   As I hung up , all I could hear was his laughter coming from the phone.   “Whats so funny about a bullet?” 

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this ordeal, here is the link:   https://nashvillehomesblog.com/2011/03/25/give-me-back-my-bullet-part-1/

OK, we’re back on board and found the group up on the bridge deck, just in time for a sail-away picture.

 

Then the questions and comments started flowing.  “Why is a silver bullet a security concern?  How embarrasing!”   

I am almost “over-the-hill” and sometimes slow to catch on.   Then,  it hit me.  They thought the fuss was all about one of those battery-operated bullet things that are made for women to play with.  Poor Beth.  This will be a cruise joke for ages to come.

On Monday morning, we arrive at the port of Progreso, Mexico.   If you want to see what real life is like in Mexico, you must ride the bus into downtown Progreso and check things out.  This was our sixth time to visit Progreso, so we decided to make a quick run through the “tourist village” at the pier and then enjoy the day relaxing onboard Triumph.

The “tourist village” has grown considerably since our last visit.  I found a neat sling shot in one of the stores that I plan to use at the lake this summer to shoot rubber balls and stuff at friends.  Beth bought a Mexican pottery thing.  There is a neat little bar on the beach with an excellent view of the pier, and they have gotten real creative with their marketing:

From the looks of the bras and panties they have gotten, they probably had to give away more drinks to whoever was there to watch.

The view looking outside of the bar was a bit better!

After a few cold ones, we headed back to the ship, jumped on board, and went through the security scanners.  They pulled Beth aside …. “Maam…pleese open yoor bag… look like weapon.”  (You should have seen the look on her face.) 

She opened her bag and there was my sling shot!   “Pleese go there to security.”   She was not about to… and made me go instead!  I guess that is fair.  It was my sling-shot.   Now, it looks like we both are now on “the list.”  LOL  

The harbor pilot “gig” has always intrigued me.  Someone from the port has to be on the ship when it is in a particular country’s port area.  When you are clear, they jump off on the Pilot Boat.  This happens in every port, arriving and departing.   I know there is a good reason, and I’ve heard them all…but it still sounds like a scam to me.  What a neat job!

The next day we were in Cozumel, where there are a zillion things to do.  Margaritaville appears to be the new hot spot, although Carlos & Charlies still takes the cake for being wild.  Panchos Backyard is a must if you are hungry, and if you are not, stop there for a drink anyway!    Enjoy a few scenes from the rest of the day.

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The highlight of cruising is getting to know people from all over the world.  This cruise was no exception.  Our head-waiter, Nolan Villamor from Phillipines, along with Alejandro his assistant, made each evening meal very special.

Another highlight of dinner is the entertainment.  After the meal, all of the dining staff dances and sings for the crowd.  Some may think this is “hokey” but we have always enjoy it.  Perhaps we are “hokey” too!

 The morning of debarkation, they had a lounge set up to return everyone’s “contraband.”  I was comforted to see I was not the only one that bought a sling shot!  On the way out of the cruise terminal, I almost stopped by the Homeland Security office just to see if they would “give me back my bullet!”  My better judgement prevailed…this time.

Our next cruise will be aboard Carnival Elation – its last cruise from Mobile, Alabama, October 15 – October 22, to Belize, Roatan, and Cozumel.  We’ve already got a great group going and more are planning to go.  You should join us too.  Just leave your bullet at home!

 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

“Give me back my bullet.” Part 1

Last Saturday, we left Nashville around 3:30 am for New Orleans for another cruise on the Carnival Triumph.  Its really not a bad drive, and you can use the money you saved on airfare in the ship’s casino too!   To set the mood for the cruise, we always stop in Pearl River, on the outskirts of New Orleans, and visit the “drive-thru dacquiri” joint.  Only in Louisiana will you see drive-thru drinks, along with open container laws!

We parked the car at the terminal at 11:45 am and were having our first drink on board the Triumph less than 20 minutes later.  This had been the smoothest boarding ever and the afternoon was off to a great start… for a while anyway.

Several hours later, I was on Lido Deck waiting for the “Muster Drill” to start when I heard our names being called over the public address system.  This was around 3:15 pm, and the ship was to sail at 4:00.  The announcement said to contact guest services immediately on Deck 3, or by dialing 7777.  Beth was roaming the ship with others, so I happily skipped down to our cabin to make the call.

Several weeks before, I had hinted on John Heald’s blog (www.johnhealdsblog.com) about the possibility of getting a cabin upgrade for this cruise.  I just knew that was what this was about!  But what were we getting – suite upgrade perhaps? 

When I arrived at the room, Beth had already called guest services, who told her to proceed immediately to Deck 3 with her passport because she would be “exiting the sheep.”   I went ahead and called also and was told not to worry, they had already talked to her.  They confirmed that she would be “exiting the sheep” so I thought I probably should tag along, just incase it really was about a cabin upgrade.

Thoughts were spinning through my mind like a hamster on a wheel.   My buzz-investment, starting at the drive-thru joint, was now gone.  We were escorted off the “sheep” and taken to the Homeland Security office.   All hopes of the cabin upgrade vanished when they asked Beth if she owned a gun. 

I unfairly lashed out at her; “you brought a damn gun?  What the hell….”  No, she really didn’t.  Did someone plant a gun in her bag?  I now had gas building up and wasn’t about to “trust a fart.”  Pure tension. 

We were then informed that scanners picked up what appeared to be a bullet in her travel make up case at 11:59 am.  They had been calling our cabin continously and could not use the public address system because of a damn onboard wedding.  The ship was ready to leave, and here we are at Homeland Security.  Naturally, we gave them permission to open the bag.   There it was.  A 38 caliber bullet.   WTF?

“Maam, why do you have a bullet in your bag?”    I then tried to bring some Barney Fife humor into the situation.  No one cracked a smile.  This really was serious.  Beth quickly remembered why the bullet was there. 

Two years ago, we went on a river trip with some friends, and having a gun when traveling remote areas on a boat is a must.  They had a gun on their boat, but did not have any bullets.  We did, and Beth stuck them in her make up bag to take to them.  Apparently, there was one leftover and it has been in that bag ever since.  Beth pointed out that the same bag had already been on Triumph TWICE since then.  (Beth, shut up….don’t make them look bad).  They took no offense.  Thank God.  (It turns out they have brand new equipment, and it works!)

They accepted the explanation and asked her to sign an affidavit.  Then, they would have to perform complete background checks with 1) Homeland Security, 2) State of Tennessee, 3) Harbor Police, 4) US Coast Guard.  If all clear, she would be released to board the ship.  All they needed now was her driver’s license….and it was in the cabin!   They escorted her to the cabin and started the background check after she returned.  They told me I was free to board the “sheep” but in the interest of world peace, I chose to stay with her.

The Triumph’s Chief Security Officer was waiting patiently, and it was very obvious the ship was being held for us.  He was most polite and made certain we got back on board safely after the lengthly background checks proved Beth’s innocence.   When we boarded the ship, a few words on the walkie-talkie and the gangway was removed.  WHEW!

Down the Mississippi River we go.

We cruise a lot and get asked questions all the time about what you can, and cannot bring aboard.  Let me tell you from experience that whatever you have in your luggage will be seen by many experts trained to recognize weaponry.  I bet they can even recognize a mouthwash bottle filled with vodka.

 This is a very good thing and makes me feel much better that the possibility of terrorism onboard a ship or plane has been greatly reduced.  Hats off to Homeland Security!    And, thank you Carnival Cruise Lines and Captain Angelo Los for waiting for us!  It won’t happen again.

Well…… not until we get to Progreso.  Stay tuned for Part 2!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: ‘Tis The Season.

My first real job after college was a National Accounts Representative for a furniture manufacturer…in other words, a furniture salesman that travelled around the country.  The year had been pretty good, and to show appreciation during the holidays,  I sent my customers sausage and country ham from Early’s Honey Stand.  I felt real good after the packages were sent until my Dad said…OH NO, YOU DIDN’T!   

So, most of these buyers were sent food they are not supposed to eat, for a holiday that they do not celebrate.  Call me a fool, but I never thought to ask what religion these furniture buyers were.   Well, guess what…no one got offended, no one got mad.  They all appreciated the gesture and probably remembered me as a dumbass!

As you know, we have delicious Otis Spunkmeyer cookies at our model homes and we offer them to everyone that visits.   I’ve made the cultural “faux pas” of offering these cookies to international home buyers during Ramadan.  No one got mad, no one got offended, and I learned more about that tradition.  And we are still friends.

One thing I think everyone can agree on is… ’tis the season!  Regardless of your religious preference or tradition, this is a season for kindness and being thoughtful to others.  Lets throw out political correctness and just be human.   Acts of kindness should not have cultural or religious boundaries.   And if myrhh and frankencense were suitable gifts for a king, a simple smile and kind word should suffice for all of us.

We all need a good laugh every now and then too!  Here is a cute parody on the modern day Nativity:

And what happened at this shopping mall in Canada is simply incredible.  The first time I watched it, I kept waiting to see mall security burst in and break it up.   I then remembered it didn’t happen in this country!   Take a look:

And now, everyone is glued to the local weather forecast!  Could it be that Nashville has the first “White Christmas” in 17 years?  Read more on this here:

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20101222/NEWS01/12220345/Will+Nashville+get+its+first+white+Christmas+in+17+years

Way cool!  I am excited about the possibility of snow for Christmas.  But there is another thing on my “bucket list.”  Spending the Christmas holidays somewhere warm….

And one year, we will.  Just not this year!

Merry Christmas!  (or Happy Holidays, if you prefer)

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: And what a week this is going to be!

Forbes Magazine just released a list of the most affordable places to live in America and Nashville ranks #5!  However, the list is somewhat perplexing to the mind because Birmingham is rated #11.  Seriously folks, who would pay MORE to live in Birmingham when they could live in Nashville for less?  I just don’t get it.

We at Ole South continue to do our part in making these great rankings possible. With brand new town homes from $89,990, traditional neighborhood new homes (with garages too!) from 119,990, up to all brick masterpieces with 3-car garages under $300,000 and all points between – you simply will not find a better new home value than with Ole South.

You owe it to yourself to visit our website, http://www.OleSouth.com. Even better, pay a visit to one of our 20+ neighborhoods in the Greater Nashville area, to include Cane Ridge, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and Spring Hill. Eat an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie or two while you are there.

It is just now Monday, and so much is happening that I cannot begin to tell you all about it…so I won’t. Stay tuned though.  A new home in Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County will soon be more affordable than ever.  

Folks, tomorrow is Election Day and I truly hope that everyone will exercise their right to vote.  And regardless of the outcome, each one of us should make an effort to get involved in matters that are vital to our future.  If we don’t voice our opinions and concerns openly, our elected dummies have no choice but to vote for what benefits them the most.   So let’s all vote, become more involved, and earn the right to bitch!  :0)

That said, last week while cruising on the Carnival Triumph, I discovered what just might be my second favorite place to live, right behind living in a brand new Ole South home in Greater Nashville.  That place is Roatan, Honduras.  Carnival Cruise Lines just spent a zillion dollars developing the newest cruise port on the Caribbean, Mahogany Bay.   Check out John Heald’s Blog for the details.  

http://johnhealdsblog.com/2009/12/13/mahogany-bay/

And here are pictures from our visit:

Roatan is almost like Disneyland for adults.  There is a lift-chair thingy that carries you from the ship to the beach areas.  The beachfront rivals anything you have ever seen.  Air-conditioned cabanas are available for rent to those that have more money than good sense.  Food and bar service is everywhere and the place is super-clean too!  I wish I had more pictures to show of this awesome place.  Actually, I do, but you can’t see them.

Remember, it is only Monday.  Check back often for exciting updates that are sure to be revealed this week! 

Happy Monday!

 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.