17 June 2007


As a comprehensive trip entry could go on for quite some time, I will name some highlights of each day:

Friday, 8 June 2007: I hung out with Scott and Tanya, my best friends.

Saturday, 9 June 2007: We woke up early, packed, and drove until Primm, Nevada. There we took a nap, went swimming, and got night ride passes. We enjoyed shooting targets on the log flume, dropping hundreds of feet in the air, and plugging our noses and covering our eyes and mouths in the casino (okay, this last one might have just been me). The jerky Desperado roller coaster made Mom sick first thing, so she went back to the room while we made countless more visits to the rides. The wimpiest ride I have ever been on was called “The Vault,” and we watched an animated roller coaster while sitting in moving seats. The worst ride was the virtual roller coaster. Sica and I almost pushed the emergency stop button. After Mom's stomach calmed down, we had orange chicken and went to see Bonnie and Clyde's car.

Sunday, 10 June 2007: Because of the previous night’s lack of luck in finding a grocery store (which made me a bit ornery that late at night), I ate chocolate for breakfast (which made me cheery that early in the morning). We drove to Barstow for church only to realize we were still on our time and an hour early. We held our own Sunday School on the lawn (about the Second Coming). Sacrament meeting consisted of about twenty other people in the congregation, all of whom sat way behind us, though we were in the fourth row. A (hypocritical?) trip to KFC brought us to a crazy lady with a crazy hat who told us she was the first lady of Barstow about ten times and convinced Dad to buy her lunch. She and a nice couple received contact cards. Somewhere in the middle of traveling, I became the official navigator (I almost took us to the Powerline concert instead). Before arriving at the Vagabond Inn, we joked that it was a tramp house, but we found it to be quite charming, especially because of the numerous frames on the walls that boasted the exact same painting. We drove to the Los Angeles temple and walked around.

Monday, 11 June 2007: The Aquarium of the Pacific boasts a lot of cool things, including touch pools, baby seahorses, and shark eggs, but the most engaging thing was the machine that played different sea animals’ sounds, including the dolphin and the humpback whale. After listening to the noise for a few seconds and watching a spectogram spread across the screen, we were able to mimic the sound and see how close we could get. When Sica started running down the stairs to the entrance of the aquarium, I knew Amy, Paul, and James were near. They came in and Sica whisked James away to the land of Aunty fun. Unfortunately, James in the land of Aunty fun made the one attendant of Grandmother land rather dim for a few moments. The arrival of the Bankhead family made us rather forget about the exciting things to look at; instead, we watched James’s reaction to everything, including his habit of suddenly pointing at things (birds especially, accompanied by “BUH!”) Mike’s girlfriend’s family met us at the aquarium and took us to lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen. We boarded the great beast (which did not have an obstruction in its blowhole, sorry George), found our rooms, and explored the ship. Having never been on a cruise ship before, I marveled that such a thing could float and that people wanted to be waited on hand and foot (that is so one of my mother’s sayings) for such a long time. At dinner, the strawberry bisque was the favorite and was re-ordered many times. The aunts coincided in the choice to take care of James for the evening, which made us quite popular during dinner, as the waiters loved him, especially a nice gal from the Philippines named Mary. One waiter told me not to give any to James since it had alcohol in it. I assumed he was talking about the bisque and every table had a good laugh about the alcohol we had consumed on accident. Then we asked another waiter who said it didn’t have alcohol, so maybe the first waiter meant my chocolate cake or something. We decided James would learn to walk during the trip so he could get his sea legs.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007: In the explorations of the ship, Sica and I discovered a jewelry shop and looked around the whole store. When we came back to look at the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen, one of the employees let me try it on. Wow. The ring was great to behold and the employee was great to talk to. His name is Farhan, and he is from India. The other employee is named Tony, and he is from Croatia. Both were to be visited many times. I wanted to go surfing, but no one would go. Donny said that no one pays to surf, you just get a friend’s board and go. “When will I be at the beach again?” I asked. I ended up walking around the USS Midway for hours. There were sixty stops with the headphone recordings, and we were sick of it by the twenty-fourth. Fortunately, things got more interesting up top, and there were benches to rest on. The most interesting things I learned: there are more people trained to be brain surgeons than Landing Safety Officers in the world, people on the ship were more stressed when landing at night than when under hostile fire, people in the code room began dreaming in morse code and could tell who had written which messages. I also saw the maps and previously-top secret operations of Desert Storm. There was a place to try your hand at flying, but it looked exactly like the virtual ride in Primm, and I wasn’t even steering then. Rick, Scott, Lena, and Donny went for it. Lena screamed enough to be heard outside (getting laughs from the crowd), and Scott yelled at Rick a lot. I went running in the gym, sat in the lukewarm tub for a few minutes, played Settlers next to all the evening desserts, and ate sushi that Uncle Mike bought. Amy, Lena, and Donny met Farhan. Donny talked about tungsten jewelry with him.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007: Everyone began to yell at Heidi, Sica, and I for not letting room service into our room. The guy assigned to our room had noticing us avoiding him and did not look happy. The Monarch of the Seas arrived at Catalina Island. Grandpa rented out the first golf cart rental place’s entire stock, making me laugh at a koochy girl in a short pink skirt whose boyfriend couldn’t get her a golf cart and instead got them bikes. We raced around for a while, James staring with glazed-over eyes until he fell asleep. The island is beautiful. Maybe some day I will get a summer home there. We learned that only 800 cars are allowed on the island and the waiting list for a car is 15 years. Dad bought us snacks at the local store, and we watched a man barfing into a garbage can on the way to the beach. Apparently the harbor there is the fourth dirtiest in the world. Swimming is not allowed. We discovered that it would have been a lot cheaper for us to get off on the island and arrange our own kayaking, but canceling the ship-arranged kayaking was just as expensive. Although I enjoyed the kayaking very much, let me just say that river kayaking is so much better. On the ocean, it’s hard to flip and there aren’t any rapids. Sica let me be in the back, and we had fun popping the ball things that grow at the top of kelp to make it float. Mom got us to go to dinner early so that we could get a table for our whole family. During dinner, I clanged my glass and announced that I would be going to the University of Leipzig to earn my Master’s degree. Everyone seemed excited for me and Grandpa said he would miss me. I will really miss him too. It makes it hard to go, not knowing if he will still be around when I get back. Amy gave me a long massage and told me that my muscles were messed up and I needed help, nothing new. We tried to start letting room service in, but we were always napping or something during the cleaning times. Amy and I listened to a comedian who was pretty funny and not too dirty. Then we went to watch Settler’s and eat some of Uncle Mike’s nightly sushi.

Thursday, 14 June 2007: The ship arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. Although we all went separately, we ended up following Donny el Diablo around as he interpreted locals’ views on good shopping. Ty was really good at bargaining. I wondered if one of the hammocks would be good for sleeping. I finally found some silver earrings for when I need to be dressier, but the man had them priced way too high at 18.99. I brought some similar but white ones to him that a lady had priced at 7, and he gave in and sold them to me for 7, although he tried to get me at 7.99. I went to the rock climbing wall and met a nice belayer guy from Manchester. I told him I wanted to visit my namesake there soon. Real rock is a lot more fun and challenging to climb on, especially since you can make up your own grips, you don’t have to go by colors. I did a tough problem and it felt so good even though my shoulder was sore from kayaking! Aunt Mary convinced Amy and I to sign up for the rock climbing competition. One other lady competed, and she had never climbed before in her life. She kept saying that we were all way young, but she didn’t seem to realize that Mary wasn’t our sister. The Glauser girls took first, second, and third. Amy beat me by .28 seconds. Mary was only a second behind me. Room service finally cleaned up our room. I went into the jewelry shop and chatted with Farhan and Tony several times. Farhan asked for my email address and wanted to know what I would be doing around 1 AM. I told him, “Sleeping,” and apologized that I just could not stay up that late. Later when we kept walking past the store, Farhan would see me and wink. I felt so stupid, but I needed a picture, so Sica and I went back again and took a picture with Farhan and Tony. Yikes! My favorite shirt is now getting pushed back because of that strategically-placed, blue flower! Grandpa and I found some good seats in the theater to watch a ballroom dancing team from Idaho perform. They were awesome, even though the ship started rocking like mad and everyone was getting woozy. Can you even imagine if we had been drinking like others? Heidi barfed in the bathroom. Good thing we got Febreze after the Primm casinos.

Friday, 15 June 2007: After breakfast we gave Mary a contact card and got off the ship. The best thing about the cruise: yummy food, all the time. The worst thing about the cruise: not being able to find anyone since cell phones didn’t work. We drove to a Starbucks to use the internet to make hotel reservations. Paul had to do some business, so we took Amy to her Sheraton in downtown LA after visiting Manhattan Beach. When we went to rinse off our feet, a biker turned a sharp corner really fast and tried to run me over. My only reaction went like this: "MER!" I ended up getting rammed against a rail. Then he tried to get Sica. He swore a few times and asked if I was okay as I walked away, totally not knowing how to react. Then we took Amy to the Sheraton. Holy cow it was nice. I would love to decorate like that some day. They had black wooden shelves, beige curtains and floors, and red in random spots, such as However, they had no free wi-fi! We went to another Vagabond Inn which had some of the in the rugs and chairs.same paintings and enormous refrigerators for a hotel. When we met up at the Dodgers vs. Angels game, I had to sit back a row as I had originally planned to go home with Grandpa. No one scored until the sixth inning, but the Dodgers took it after Saito came in to pitch. Go Dodgers! We had Dodgers dogs and James made it through the entire game.

Saturday, 16 June 2007: I realized I left my phone charger on the ship. Heidi tried to get her seashell from kayaking to stop stinking. The thing inside died, it's not hard to tell. On the way to Baker, the air conditioner died. Whewee. A silver bullet flying through the Mojave desert, enjoying the 105-degree weather. Luckily we had a lot to entertain us. We watched movies, I read A Train to Potevka and listened to some Ben Folds and Rachmaninov and Better Than Ezra, and then the three girls napped first leaning to one side, then to the other. When we arrived at Chili’s in St. George and peeled our sweaty backs and legs off the seats of the Sequoia, we mentioned water four or five times before we had even settled into our seats. I think I had four or five glasses of liquid. The My Fair Lady show at Tuacahn was awesome. What a cool place to have a stage! The red rocks are beautiful, and they can use the scenery behind them as a stage. During the horse race (when Eliza Doolittle yells, “Come on Dover, move your bloomin’ @*$!”), a rider fell off and the play had to be suspended for a bit until the ambulance could take her away with a broken leg. The acting was great, and the singing echoed off the cliffs. There are so many good songs in that play. I was disappointed by the ending though. She goes to him and he’s still a jerk. Oh well. By the time we were on the freeway, the temperature was fifty-four degrees cooler than it had been, what a relief. We watched Akeelah and the Bee, parts of which had recorded in slow mo or without sound. What a great show. Spelling bees rock. After seeing all of these spelling movies, I wonder why no one ever encouraged me to take it more seriously. If I got as far as I did without studying etymology or without even studying the words every day or very often, how far could I have gone? Oh well.

Sunday, 16 June 2007: We arrived home at 4 AM and went stee-raight to bed.


  1. wow travelogue. i'm glad i got to hang out with you.

  2. Glad you added pictures. FYI: I think that pic of you and the jewelry shop boys highlights an undesirable aspect of that particular shirt you are wearing. I didn't notice it in person but . . .

  3. Yeah, isn't that lovely? When I added the pics, I also added a comment about that big blue flower . . . Maybe I should pin a giant ribbon there to cover it up. It reminds me of how every date seems to involve spaghetti and somehow that spaghetti finds its way to just the right place.

  4. Look at you at the Dodgers game! Too bad it wasn't a Cubs game! Or wait, do I mean a White Sox game? Help me out here!