we come

Trip Start Aug 26, 2007
Trip End Sep 11, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, August 26, 2007

We had a nice flight out of San Jose - an easy connection in Houston and before we knew it - we were in Los Angeles.  Getting the car was effortless as was driving down to our hotel for the evening.  We were staying in Long Beach - relatively close to where the cruise ship terminal is.
The next morning we had to return the car - and there wasn't anything close to the cruise ship terminal so I dropped Jim off at the ship with the bags - returned the car and then took a cab back to the ship.  We didn't have to wait long to get checked in and we were on the Monarch of the Seas within minutes.  The Monarch of the Seas is one of the older ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet - and although not as stylish as the others - it was very, very clean and for a four night cruise - it was fine.  We had a Junior Suite - and the balcony was quite large and it had a nice sitting area.  The bathroom had a bathtub and that was much easier than the typical shower arrangement in most cabins.  We had a table for 10 in the dining room and although by the end we were down to 6 - we felt that the best three couples remained!  We really had a lot of fun with them.  Carl and Paula - old friends - she lives in Boston and he lives in LA - they were reliving a cruise vacation they had taken in the past.  Dan and Sandy - an anesthesiologist from Kansas City and his wife - they were celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary.  The AFC was well represented with Bronco - Chiefs and Raiders fans!!!  Jerry and Sandy - you can imagine what fun we had!!  We may be seeing Carl before this vacation is over as he works at the J. Paul Getty Museum and he told us to stop by on our way out of LA if we have time.
Our cruise took us to San Diego where we walked around in the Gaslamp Quarter and had a fun Mexican lunch - did a little shopping at Nordstrom and bought Choco a fancy toothbrush at a 'doggie boutique'.  The weather was perfect and we really enjoyed the day. 
The next stop was Catalina Island.  It reminded us a bit of Mackinac Island - minus the aroma of horse manure - instead there was the sound of golf carts buzzing around - as that is the primary mode of transportation on the island.  We enjoyed walking around and checking out the sights.  There was an old Casino on the island - a very interesting building - it is no longer a casino - but rather a museum for the island of Catalina.
The last and final port was Ensenada, Mexico.  This was quite possibly the nicest of all Mexican Ports that we have visited.  The harbor was clean - the transportation to the town was good and inexpensive.  The streets were clean - the people were friendly and we could browse in the shops without any harassment.  If you did want to buy 'Chiclets' from the kids on the street - you had to flag them down - they were there - but not 'in your face'.  Nice shops and the prices were very fair for Mexican Handicrafts.  What a pleasant surprise.
 There was a beautiful sunrise upon our return to Los Angeles - the perfect way to start our first day in Los Angeles.
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