Sunday, November 28, 2010

Setting sail for England

We boarded the Queen Mary 2 at the Port of New York, which is actually in
Brooklyn. Our cab driver delivered us to the port and check in went
quickly, we were impressed!

The day was very foggy and visibility poor. We could see "The Lady", The
Statue of Liberty, she was shrouded in the mist and beautiful.

The Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She was the first major
ocean liner built since the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969. She is now the
flagship of the Cunard Line. The Cunard Line is now owned by Princess and
we found a disappointing similarity between dining options on both lines.
Meals on all the lines are becoming more standardized and interchangeable.

The Queen Mary 2 was named and christened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004.
With the retirement of the Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, the
Queen Mary 2 is currently the only transatlantic ocean liner in operation as
a liner, although the ship is often used for cruising, including an annual
world cruise. There is a definite distinction between an ocean liner and a
cruise ship. At the time of her construction in 2003, the Queen Mary 2 was
the longest, widest and tallest passenger ship. She no longer holds this
distinction following the construction of the Royal Carribean Freedom of the
Seas in April 2006. However, the Queen Mary 2 remains the largest ocean
liner ever built.

The Queen Mary 2 was intended primarily to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and was
therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships. She has a
maximum speed of 29.62 knots or 34.09 mph. The ship has fifteen restaurants
and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the
first planetarium at sea.

An interesting fact about an ocean liner regards their height. As with
cruise ships built to transit the Panama Canal being built with the size of
the locks in mind, an ocean liner can not be built higher than the Verrazano
Narrows bridge in New York. The Queen Mary 2 was designed with a flatter
funnel to pass under the bridge, and has 13 feet of clearance under the
bridge during high tide. So, after successfully making it under the bridge
and popping our first bottle of Champaign, our trip across the North
Atlantic to England has begun.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Syfogin New York

I've been asked by a few of you about the name of my blog "Syfogin" and what
that means. I feel like I grew up around the word but it was my
father-in-law, Mr. F. M. Buford that provided the definitive definition.
First, for those new to the word and how to pronounce it, the first part is
"Cy". For you baseball fans, that's as in the Cy Young Award. The second
part is "fogin" as in I'm fogin my back yard for mosquitoes. So, it's
Syfogin. According to Mr. Buford it is an old Indian word that means to get
on your horse and ride around looking at things. As Chief Crazy Horse said,
"Let's go syfogin up to the Little Big Horn and see
what's happening." Of course Mr. Buford had an active imagination, but
there you go, it's Syfogin.
In Mr. Buford's tradition, my Sweetheart is now going to take you Syfogin a
little around New York City.
As you know, on some trips you over pack and other times things just seem to
fall apart. Sugars first discovery was that his cobbler had given him the
wrong pair of walking shoes for the trip. They looked the same but one size
to small. We all know how cranky you can get without your "normal & usual"
Even though New York is one of the largest cities in the world, shopping is
not always easy. In addition it turned out he forgot to pack a casual pair
of slacks. So off we go looking for both items.
Natives know how to use the subway system in ways we foreigners never
realize. How can two stores separated by three miles be right next door to
one another, I ask a person from New York city. It defies logic for someone
used to walking from place to place. It has something to do with this
subway station being next to that subway station, so two places seemingly
miles apart are next to one another.
We stumbled in Macy's and were blown away by the fresh flowers! All the
windows and everywhere in the store were huge (15 feet) flower arrangements,
garlands and animal scenes. The store was packed. Didn't find any britches
for my Sugar but it was a sight to behold.

Continuing to wander around we found what NYers call a shopping mall.
Actually just a building with a few stores. Definitely not a mall in our
sense of the word. As we entered we were presented with a pair of round
naked brass people 25 feet tall. I guess everyone takes this photo op then
apparently they rub the graphic part of the male figure (if you get my
drift). It is rather shiny!

We made a point of dining at The Russian Tea Room, one of NYs famous
restaurants. There are four floors each done in a different style and
atmosphere Only one was open because of the Easter weekend. It is one of
those place where they pull the table out for you. Food and service were
divine. We bought a pair of Faberge champagne flutes in their own little
box as a reminder of that wonderful evening.

I The Russian Tea Room is next to Carnegie Hall and delighted when a young lady did walk up to me and ask me how to get to Carnegie Hall. For once I could seriously use the line “Practice, Practice, Practice”
Tomorrow we board the Queen Mary 2 for the cross Atlantic crossing

Saturday, November 13, 2010


A crossing of the North Atlantic is more than just a voyage along one of the most storied routes in nautical history, it is a true high-seas experience. The five day trip doesn’t just take you from here to there, it takes you on a modern day adventure. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 departs from New York City for a civilized and leisurely cruise to Southampton, England, style truly does count on this ship. This crossing has always been one of my dreams and I hope to share it with you in this remembrance but first we must start in New York City. The Greatest City in the World. I guess I’ve been a little prejudiced since first reading Around the World in New York City. We arrive in New York three days before departure on the cruise and in time to do some sightseeing around the island. Upon arriving my expectations are always so high I get disappointed about doing needed shopping before just Syfogin around the City. At least My Sweetheart tells me it’s needed shopping. The picture at the beginning of today’s blog is at the ferry landing in Battery Park, here we join the ferry for Ellis Island. Ellis Island in the New York harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants as the site of the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954. The main hall has been completely restored and shows and historic slice of America’s past. The Stature Of Liberty is a bonus stop on the way out to island.
Next it was time to learn an amazing fact that I never really knew. We were in New York on Easter Sunday and I had never been to the Easter Parade. I told my Sweetheart that we really must go. I found out it was on Fifth Avenue, so we started out. I was listening for the marching bands and floats, but no, Here is what I have since learned about the Easter Parade. The Easter parade is an event consisting of a festive strolling on Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday. It is a somewhat informal and unorganized event, with or without religious significance. Persons participating in an Easter parade traditionally dress in new and fashionable dress particularly lady’s hats and strive to impress others with their finery. So, no bands, no floats and no balloons.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

I’ve seen people sleeping on benches in the airport but I never dreamed I would be one of them. Due to poor listening by people around me and saved by my travel agent our flight out of Fairbanks was at 1:15 in the morning. So after an earlier dinner and a movie, Eat, Pray, Love, it was out to the airport. The movie was interesting, maybe cute. I had just bought the book but after seeing the movie there’s no need to read the book. Not being a late night person the airport bench looked inviting and I caught about an hour’s sleep. After a round about trip through Los Angles we arrived back in Dallas at 3:30 in the afternoon and back home to Calvert the following day. Arriving home is one goal and the starting point of another. But for now it needs to be a time at home and back to work.
Our arrival back home coincided with Jack’s Birthday and the Calvert Yacht Club was in attendance. You will remember Jack as one of the travelers early this year on the Panama Canal trip. Jack is also the instigator of next year’s trip down the Danube River through Romania to Budapest. That will be in April of 2011.
To help myself remember past travels and experiences, I am going to chronicle last year’s trip from New York to England aboard the Queen Mary 2. It will be fun to dredge up old pictures of England and France and trying to remember the different adventures.
Since our return from Alaska my business has been going crazy and occupying most of my time. This is a good thing,thank heaven for the Oil Patch. See you shortly as we look back on leaving to cross the North Atlantic.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~Lin Yutang