Senior Night

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

January 18

It just keeps happening over and over and over again.  Next year’s seniors weren’t even born yet when I began covering the team . . .

[Congratulations to the 2018 seniors, bringing joy and excitement to older people who deign to wander out of their houses in the middle of winter . . . ]seniors - Copy

[Sure, they all look innocent enough . . . ]

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[But if you tangle with them over a puck in the corner, you’ll find they’re tougher than Boolean algebra . . . ]seniors3 - Copyseniors4 - Copy

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[The meeting to the captains.  We’re hosting River Lakes, yet another class AA team, that beat us earlier in the year.  Revenge always provides good incentive . . . ]

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[The seniors are introduced with the parents, beginning with Allison . . . ]

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[Talia . . . ]

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[Taylor . . . ]

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[Calley . . . ]

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[Kristin . . . ]

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[Josie . . . ]

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[2018 SENIORS]

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[And they are introduced first . . . ]

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[Followed by their teammates . . . ]

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[Roger Riley, as always, sings the Anthem.  We have quite a record when he does . . . ]

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[He is joined by scoreboard operator, Donnacha O’Connor, better known as the superintendent of the Alexandria Golf Club . . . ]

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[LET’S PLAY HOCKEY!!!]

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[5 of the 6 seniors started; we couldn’t do 6 for 6 because we don’t have a senior goalie.]

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[Blueliners Mayson Toft (14) and Talia (27) . . . ]

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[McKenna Ellingson (24) on the doorstep, a scene that was repeated often this game.  McKenna achieved a natural hat trick against Detroit Lakes earlier in the week – amazingly in less than 2 minutes she scored evenstrength, on a power play, and shorthanded . . . ]

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[But not this time . . . ]

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[Kaci Trosvig (25) gives it a shot.  We had good legs from the beginning . . . ]

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[Where’d it go?]

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[Alexis Heckert (20) this time . . . ]

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[McKenna, again . . . ]

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[And again . . . ]

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[And the shot . . . ]

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[Save by the goalie . . . ]

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[The boys in the VIP zone keeping an eye on things . . . ]

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[She was followed on this rush by Marki Oberg (10) . . . ]

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[Appears to be a face-off, but where’s the Cards’ center?]

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[Alexis finally appears on the downhill side . . . ]

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Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.  ~  Usain Bolt

Up Next:  Yup, Panama

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Panama Canal (Day 4, Part 2)

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

January 18

Havana

[We have finished lunch and now it’s time for a walk around Old Havana . . . ]

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[Guess who?]

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[And sunset by smartphone . . . ]

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No one could have imagined a place like Havana, Cuba. It is absurdly contradictory, always arguing with itself over whether it is audacious or meek, heroic or stupid, beautiful or abhorrent.  ~  Ed Kirwan, The Three Ravens

Up Next:  More Panama

 

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Panama Canal (Day 4, Part 1)

December 18

Havana

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[A really BIG day.  I took so many pictures I have to break it up into two parts – pre-lunch and post-lunch.  We begin with wake up and breakfast at the Melia Habana hotel . . . ]

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[Such a view!!]

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[The neighborhood . . . ]

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[I’m a travelin’ man, made a lot of stops, all over the world . . . ]

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[And our digs for the one overnight, the only night off the ship for the entire cruise . . . ]

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[‘Twas a nice place . . . ]

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[Che and Fidel are everywhere . . . ]

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[As I recall, this was recent hurricane damage . . . ]

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[Public transportation, for the public, no less . . . ]

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[Yasser Arafat?]

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[Yah, sure, you betcha!]

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[Stop!  (Not yield)]

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[We were driving around in search of “The Laundry.”  As indicated by the name, it was an old laundry since converted to an artist studio.  We’d stop at intersections where our driver would call out to pedestrians for directions to the place.  It was a lot of fun, though tree limbs on the residential streets threatened to tear the roof off the bus.  We saw embassies and other places where we likely shouldn’t have gone – even our guide Dee thought it was funny and hoped we hadn’t done anything illegal. We were eventually greeted by a legendary land shark, with headlights and a grill?]

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[Tourists rush to the studio entrance to avoid being “grilled” by the shark!]

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[Our host, with Dee interpreting in the background . . . ]

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[If you just ran across this guy on the street, you’d think – artist!]

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[Another grill shark – I think the whole idea of this place is, “art as metaphor” . . . ]

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[Let’s just take a stroll around the place . . . ]

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[All cool stuff, indeed!]

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[Then it was time to go as the Super takes a final photo . . . ]

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[The main library of the country named in honor of national hero, Jose Marti . . . ]

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[The requisite stop for Cuban cigars and coffee.  Yes, our guide Dee helped out behind the counter . . . ]

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[I haven’t tried one yet . . . ]

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[The municipal hospital – Cuba is known for the quality of its health care and often sends its doctors around the world to aid in emergency siutations . . . ]

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[The Capitol looms in the right background . . . ]

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[The Cuban Telephone Company buiding with the tower . . . ]

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[The capitol . . . ]

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[With its dome undergoing renovation . . . ]

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[As the sign says, Parque de la India . . . ]

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[With the phone company in the background . . . ]

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[And now up close and personal with the capitol . . . ]

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[Gran Teatro de la Habana (Opera House) . . . ]

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[As are the following four photos . . . ]

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[Did someone mention vintage cars?]

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[New hotel construction . . . ]

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[Fort San Salvador and statue of Miranda just across the water from Morro Castle . . . ]

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[Street scene . . . ]

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[Self explanatory?]

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[Walking through Old Havana . . . ]

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[ISO fine dining . . . ]

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[Where we were . . . ]

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[The full explanation . . . ]

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[Our destination has been sighted . . . ]

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[This must be the place!]

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[La Bodeguita del Medio is a typical restaurant-bar of Havana.  It is a famous tourist destination because of the personalities which have patronized it: Salvador Allende, the poet Pablo Neruda, the artist Josignacio and many others. La Bodeguita lays claim to being the birthplace of the Mojito cocktail, prepared in the bar since its opening in 1942, although this is disputed. The rooms are full of curious objects, frames, photos, as well as the walls covered by signatures of famous or unknown customers, recounting the island’s past.  (Wikipedia)]

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[This is a privately-owned restaurant, and though it caters to large masses as ourselves we found it to be quite tasty and well served . . . ]

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[As often happens on such trips, we’ve already forgotten the names of the folks dining with us here.  As I recall, he is a retired professor from Michigan, and the Super generally referred to him as “Rudy” because she thought he looked like Giuliani . . . ]

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[The Supers says . . . ]

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[Mmmmm, good!]

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Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.  ~  Ernest Hemingway

Up Next:  Continuing the rest of this day

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Alex – 4, Rogers – 3, OT

January 12

Still trying to sneak in local events amid the continuing coverage of the Panama Canal cruise . . .

[Great to be back at the RCC.  Our Cards were hosting the Rogers Royals, an exurban team that has pretty good record against big school competition.  It appeared to be a good matchup.]

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[And we’re off with Anna Doherty (7), Alexis Heckert (20), and McKenna Ellingson (24) on the forward line . . . ]

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[Alexis on the goal porch, new linemates Calley Richardson (19) and Kaci Trosvig (25) have joined the fray, with Mayson Toft (19) back at the blue line . . . ]

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[An attempted shove in . . . ]

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[Calley crashes in . . . ]

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[Clean up in aisle 4!]

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[Here comes Kaci . . . ]

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[Allison O’Kane (36) keeping the puck in the zone with Alexis on wait . . . ]

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[Marki Oberg (10) joins Alexis and Kaci . . . ]

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[It’s loose – Marki’s on the door step!]

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[Pressure again . . . ]

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[The puck exits, stage right . . . ]

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[Mayson launches a shot from the point . . . ]

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[Allison and Alexis swarm the net, but still no goals . . . ]

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[Kristin Trosvig (15) gets off a shot in front of a falling Royal . . . ]

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[And McKenna follows it toward the net . . . ]

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[Where’d it go?]

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[Ohhhh, behind the goal again . . . ]

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[Cards try to keep it in the zone . . . ]

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[They had some players who could really scoot too . . . ]

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[Anna chases it into the zone . . . ]

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[Get back, get back!!]

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[McKenna hustles to get back on D . . . ]

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[Better spot her . . . No. 13, Sami Scherling, had all 3 goals for the Royals . . . ]

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[McKenna shoots, Anna looks for a rebound . . . ]

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[The puck, please!]

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[Oy!]

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[Calley and Alexis crash the net . . . ]

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[And Alexis jams in the goal!]

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[We were now only behind only 2 – 1.  But Royals scored again soon after . . . ]

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[We were behind by 2 after the 2nd period . . . ]

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[The girls’ auction and fundraiser was going on at the same time . . . ]

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[3rd period – time to find our legs.  This was our 4th game in 6 days – yet we really picked it up in the final period and dominated play the rest of the game . . . ]

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[Early in the period, Olivia Kopp (13) scored on a shot from the point that hugged the ice all way, right down my sightline, and snuggled into the near corner . . . ]

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[As a defenseman, Olivia doesn’t get to celebrate goals much – so she gets extra coverage.]

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[Keep up the attack . . . ]

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[Taylor Breitkreutz (34) is in deep from her defense position . . . ]

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[Then young Kaci scored on a wrap around – we’re tied at 3!]

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[We had the momentum now . . . ]

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[Going to OT . . . ]

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[On the attack early – we skated really well with crisp passing.  The guys at rail, there for the following boys game, were commenting on how well we were playing . . . ]

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[About halfway into the 8-minute OT, McKenna and Anna had a 2-on-1 breakout – McKenna carried the puck up the right side and at the last second sent a perfect pass to Anna coming up the left. You can see in the photo Anna just had to put the puck in the upper left corner for the win! And they did it in front of a full house at the end as a girls fundraiser was ongoing and a boys game was following!]

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[Hooray for us!!]

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[Really fun, well-played game.]

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[The final four photos courtesy of Echo Press.  Here McKenna celebrates her winning assist . . . ]

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[Celebrate!!]

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[Alexis . . . ]

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[8th-grade goalie Hailee Bailey.]

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You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.  ~  Herb Brooks

Up Next:  Havana

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A Wee Bit ‘O Belated Christmas

January 12

We interrupt coverage of the Panama Canal cruise for something only of interest to the family, if that . . . 

[It was 16 below zero the morning of our great sharing of presents . . . ]

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[It was not possible until this day because, of course, we had been cruising the waters of Central America from December 15 – January 5.  And then Jami came for a 4-day visit this week.  You open first, Mom!]

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[Oh boy!]

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[Thank you, Grandma Fran and Grandpa Ed!]

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[Thank you, Jami!]

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[Her home-grown and made parcel]

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[From Jami and Danny . . . ]

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[Wool-covered soap]

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[More from Jami and Danny . . . ]

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[Hurry, open it, open it!]

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[Oh boy!]

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[But we opened the wrong ones – Ruthie got Barack, and I got Michelle.]

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[What could this be?]

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[Hello, Carol Burnett!]

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[This was the Rita supply box . . . ]

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[Pizza cards!]

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[Ohhhhhhhhhhh!]

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[Coasters]

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[A nifty cloth bag]

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[Woo-woo!]

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[Hey, moose (towel)!]

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[Socks!!  (Rita makes sure the whole family is always well stocked in foot coverings).]

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[Coloring book – Thanks for everything, Reetz!]

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[This is my mom and dad????]

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[Your turn, Jami.]

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[Her package from Aunt Rita . . . ]

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[A book for Ruthie from Rita.]

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[And Jami got a cloth bag . . . ]

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[And socks!]

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[Thank you, Rita!  And see y’all again next year!]

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Santa Claus has the right idea.  Visit people once a year.  ~  Victor Borge

Up Next:  Girls’ hockey?

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Panama Canal (Day 3)

December 17

Cuba

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[This was the big day.  The highlight of the trip for both of us was going to be Cuba.  The Super readies accordingly with breakfast at Mamsen’s.]

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[Land ho!!  Our first sighting of this mystical country famed in song and story . . . ]

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[As we approach . . . ]

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[The Escambray Mountains loom off our starboard side . . . ]

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[Grab a lookout spot and don’t leave it!]

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[A likely candidate to have “American tourist” tattooed on his forehead . . . ]

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[We are coming in to the city of Cienfuegos (see top of this page), population 150,000.  This stop was not on the original agenda, but as things so often happen between our two countries we were not going to be allowed access to port in Havana.  That change also meant the cruise would not be going to Belize or Cozumel either – that was fine with us as we had been to those places, and now, instead, we would have three days in Cuba.]

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[Cienfuegos is not a deep water port so we would be tendered in.  And then take a 4-hour, 160 mile bus ride cross country to Havana . . . ]

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[Tendering away from the Viking Sun . . . ]

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[And landing in Cuba – it all seemed rather routine . . . ]

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[Then the requisite selfie aboard the bus . . . ]

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[As a result of the 50+-year trade embargo with this country, we were stepping back in time.  This is still a major means of transportation here . . .

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[Our tour guide for our first two days was Dee, and our driver was Danny – as a pair, they were quite a hoot!]

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[This is the Museo Provincial in Cienfuegos . . . ]

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[And now we’re heading out of town on the road to Havana . . . ]

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[A rest stop halfway through the trip.  Travel from south central Cuba (Cienfuegos) to the north coast and Havana is mostly flat empty or farm land . . . ]

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[Havana, we have arrived – at the statue of Generalisimo Maximo Gomez . . . ]

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[Morro Castle and lighthouse, guarding the entrance to Havana Bay . . . ]

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[Cuban Uber?]

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[When one thinks of Cuba today, isn’t this what first comes to mind?]

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[Fine outdoor dining?]

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[Museum of the Revolution (was the Presidential Palace) . . . ]

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[Hotel Nacional de Cuba . . . ]

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[A common sight, once classic buildings in serious states of disrepair.  In parts of the city, some restoration is beginning, but it must be incredibly expensive . . . ]

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[Again, the national hotel . . . ]

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[More modern buildings just past the . . . ]

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[The Hotel Nacional . . . ]

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[The United States Embassy . . . ]

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[In the embassy neighborhood . . . ]

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[Exhaustive research determined this is simply known as “a man on a horse” monument?]

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[The national theater?  It must be the garage side?]

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[In the Plaza of the Revolution . . . ]

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[Che and Fidel on the buildings . . . ]

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[And the vintage cars in the plaza . . . ]

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[And a vintage house . . . ]

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[Papa Hemingway as wall mural . . . ]

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[The Russian Embassy . . . ]

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[We had an overnight in the Melia Habana hotel.  Every hotel should greet us like this!]

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[Feliz Navidad!]

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[Quite the lobby . . . ]

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[The Super tries to capture the excitement . . . ]

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[Up to our room . . . ]

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[Which had THREE queen size beds? Were we suppose to invite guests?]

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[OMG?]

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[Where’s PBS?]

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[There’s the Russian Embassy to the left . . . ]

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[And there’s . . . other stuff to our right.]

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[All the comforts of home . . . ]

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[Time to go to dinner – our chariots an armada of vintage cars!]

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[And here we are – a pretty basic beans and rice entree . . . ]

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[From a government-owned business . . . ]

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[And then on to our evening’s entertainment . . . ]

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[Established in 1939, where Vegas got its ideas . . . ]

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[And inside, though you’re actually outside, it feels like you’re inside?]

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[We were initially seated a long ways from the stage.  But there were cigar smokers near us, so at the Super’s request they moved us to . . . the front row!]

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[Even looking up into the trees, it seemed inside . . . ]

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[Let the festivities begin – there were dancers and singers, everywhere!]

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[And a table of young Germans in front of us . . . ]

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[The Super noted the dancers had “nice butts.”  I feigned indifference.]

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[It was quite a production that went on from 10:00 to midnight . . . and we thought we couldn’t make it?]

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[It was awkward for me to crane my head backwards and look up . . . ]

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[And the dancers would come right down our aisle . . . ]

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[We have to get back to the hotel – it’s WAAAYYY past our bedtime.]

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Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.  ~  Ernest Hemingway

Up Next:  Day 4?

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Panama Canal (Day 2)

December 16

At Sea

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[Breakfast at sea?  What a nice idea!  (We’re aft by the Infinity Pool.)]

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[Proof of the aforementioned “aft” part.]

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[Back inside in the Atrium, three floors worth from deck 1 to deck 3.  Featuring, on this day, art from Cuba (I believe) on the big screen.

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[And because this is a Viking endeavor, featured throughout the ship, the works of Edvard Munch, a fine Norwegian fellow.  The Munch Museum in Olso now has in its permanent collection well over half of the artist’s entire production of paintings and at least one copy of all his prints. This amounts to over 1,200 paintings, 18,000 prints, six sculptures, as well as 500 plates, 2,240 books, and various other items. The museum also contains educational and conservation sections, and has facilities for the performing arts.  (Wikipedia)  As I recall, it’s the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single artist.]

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[E.T., call home!]

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[And here you have it . . . ]

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[Roll out the barrel . . . ]

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[Our “fireplace” in the Mamsen’s seating area . . . ]

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[Our boat . . . ]

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[The Super eyeballing our boat . . . ]

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[Oh oh!  Traffic!]

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[The art displayed on each deck landing . . . ]

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[The Star Theater, where all important events of the day took place from entertainment to lectures . . . ]

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[This was a nice feature we’ve never had before – like cruising with senior college!  Over the course of three weeks we got to know all of them – interestingly, Karen Hansen and Bill Gurstelle are married, to each other, and live in St. Paul, and we all came home on the same plane.  The lectures ranged from such as the local culture of upcoming places to . . . catapults and pirates.  Though there were often more than one lecture per day, the 6:00 pm lectures were a nice prelude to going to dinner . . . ]

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[My personal stateroom stock . . . OK, this was the entry to The Restaurant, the main sit down and order eatery (gentlemen we required to wear long pants and a collared shirt).]

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[Cruise director Heather Clancy invites us to our first stop – Cienfuegos, Cuba.  Heather has a marvelous mezzo-soprano voice and has performed all over the world.]

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[An example of Heather’s work . . . ]

[Oh oh!  Two ships, we must be approaching land and rush hour . . . ]

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Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than the things you DID do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Cast off the bow lines. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  ~  Mark Twain

Up Next:  Day 3 (with usual disclaimers)

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