“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: There’s a lot we can do!

When you hear disappointing news, sit back and ask yourself what can I do about it?”   In many instances, the first and easiest answer that pops into mind is “nothing.”   Isn’t it time that we all think just a little deeper for a better answer?  There is a LOT that we can do.  And we need to start doing it!

Statistics show that for every 100,000 homes that are built, 150,000 construction jobs are created, ALONG WITH 150,000 manufacturing jobs related to appliances, furniture, etc.  Hmmm… for every new home sold, THREE JOBS are created (or saved!)  That means our loyal Ole South home buyers created or saved over 800 jobs last year alone!

  What can we do?  Encourage people to buy new homes!  Read about these statistics and other good news here:

  http://www.trulia.com/blog/Craigschaid/2011/03/foreclosures_plunge_27_-_biggest_drop_on_record

I have a silly question.  If statistics prove that housing creates (and saves) jobs, then why is our government taking steps to discourage home ownership?

There is discussion within BOTH political parties on Capitol Hill about eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction.   There are alternatives being discussed as well, but we need to be informed.  With everyone acknowledging that housing is the key to economic recovery, why are they even considering anything that would have questionable effects on home ownership?  Here is more information on this subject:

http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate/ci_17637345?nclick_check=1

What can you do?  Contact Congress!  Here is a handy website that will give you the contact information for each of your elected officials in Washington.

http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/

Would you like to see property values in your area climb?   Even if your home is not for sale, you can help the value of your neighbor’s home that might be.  What can you do?

  

Spend a few extra hours in the yard.  Fresh mulch, trimmed bushes, and green grass makes everyone take notice.  Scrape off any peeling paint and add a fresh coat.  Just those pennies spent will translate into serious dollars for you…and your neighbors!

What else can I do to make things better?   Relax.  Have some fun.  Soon.   We are…starting tomorrow.  Cruising on the Carnival Triumph from New Orleans can be cheaper than staying at home!   If you can’t go, the next best thing is to read about it until you can.  Right here:  www.johnhealdsblog.com

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.

Nashville New Homes: What a week it was!

Last week certainly was exciting, and it started off with a bang at LP Field, home of The Tennessee Titans!

While I was at sea chasing Hurricane Richard on the Carnival Triumph, our six finalists for “Win in 2010” gathered at the LP Party Deck to find out who would win the 2010 Scion.  I really did want to be there, I swear I did.

Each of the contestants picked a key out of a Titans helmet, held by our owner, John Floyd.  No, the contest was not rigged.  I wasn’t there, remember?

But Kelly Ford, an Ole South home owner in Murfreesboro’s Puckett Station was there to turn the winning key.  Here she is, shown with Ole South owner, John Floyd, who was kind enough to stand in for me.  Lucky John!

Here is Kelly, with husband Kevin, after calming down a bit!

LP Field really was THE place to be last Sunday.  Even Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen showed up to get in on the excitement! So, while Kelly enjoys her 2010 Scion, let’s also once again congratulate Brenda McMillan, John Betts, Glenda Garriott, J.J. Love, and John Black.  Although they didn’t win the car, they did enjoy the game from the exclusive LP Party Deck!  We thank them, and everyone for your continued support of Ole South, Tennessee’s #1 Home Builder.

It really was a great week, and other than missing this exciting event, it was a great week for me also.  Selling the best new home values in Greater Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and Spring Hill is always fun, but every once in a while, you just have to take a break and rest up for even more exciting news from Ole South.  Yes, something exciting is happening and more people are going to be able to afford a brand new home just minutes from downtown Nashville!

The cat is still in the bag, and it is going to stay in there a bit longer.  First, I have to unpack!

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.