Tag: Fun stories

Another step in the right direction and a movie review

Hi to all my followers and readers of this blog.  I haven’t posted in a while, as there hasn’t been much to report on lately, however, there has now been some recent developments and another step closer to making my dream come true – To work for Disney Cruise Line (for those if you who don’t know that yet).

After three successful telephone and/or video interviews, I was asked to provide professional references.  This was a new step in the process for me, as my ex partner didn’t have to go through this step when he applied to work for DCL two years ago.

It didn’t bother me in the least though, and I provided six professional references as soon as I was able to.  Two of the six were references from previous employment, and I doubted whether I was going to get a response from them.  My doubts were confirmed, and I had to replace them with more suitable references through the week.

If any of the people who provided me with references read this, this is a big shout-out to you, and a massive thank you, for providing your responses so quickly!

I now await an answer on whether they are satisfied with the references provided, although the recruiter did say that my reference report looked great.  That gives me some sense of confidence, however, i am careful to be over-confident as I don’t want to appear arrogant, which i definitely am not.

On another note, I visited my mom for dinner last night for the first time in quite some time, and really enjoyed spending some time with her.  Usually it’s just an eat-and-run, but I purposefully stayed a little longer last night, and we really had some quality time together.  I love you mom!

For reasons I am not able to publicly divulge, I just couldn’t stand to be home alone last night, and after I left my mom’s place, I went to go watch a movie (alone), and I actually enjoyed it tremendously – not only because it was an excellent movie, but I had some time for (and with) myself, and really used the time to switch off from everyday life and really just relax and enjoy the movie.

I watched Kingsman – The Golden Circle, in which Taron Egerton and Channing Tatum plays.  It was so good to watch an action comedy, with a big star name like Channing Tatum, and see that he didn’t play the main role.  (You can view the trailer here )

I enjoyed the movie tremendously because it had a fantastic story line, the actors/actresses were all excellent in their respective roles, and the fine humor was hilarious!

Apart from just being very nice to look at, Taron Egerton is also a fantastic actor.  His general demeanor, fine humor and radiating confidence in the finely tailored suits of Kingsman, reminds me so much of someone that has recently crept very deep into my heart.

The story is well written, albeit a little predictable, and I was really able to switch off and focus on the movie for the entire duration.

I was one of only three guys in the cinema last night, and on numerous occasions the three of us were all laughing loudly at some of the most incredibly funny scenes, which fit in well with the rest of the story.

I have watched several movies over the last couple of months, and although many of them were great, I haven’t enjoyed a movie this much in a long time.  It really was worth the time and effort to go watch, and I succeeded well in my mission to get out of the house and relax, and switch off from life for just over two hours.

 

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My second overseas trip (last part)

My friend and I departed for Atlanta the next day, where we stayed with my friend’s cousin for a few days (I can’t remember how long exactly, but it wasn’t very long).

I remember how we hid away at the back of the house that evening when our host arrived home after work, as he did not know we were there, and it was a surprise to him.  We had arranged with his wife to pick us up from the airport.  After he had entered the house, we snuck around to the front door and rang the doorbell.  The look on our host’s face when he opened the door and saw his cousin standing there all the way from South Africa was priceless!

The next day, we were taken into Atlanta town, where we bought a day pass to see the Aquarium, the Coca Cola museum and have a tour of the CNN Building.  We also spent some time looking at the various sculptures at the Centennial Olympic Park.  Really a fun day to end off our almost month long vacation before heading home.

That was the last time I was overseas, now more than 5 years ago.  With both my first and second overseas trips, I left a piece of my heart behind, and my heart has been longing to go back there again ever since.  More about that in my next post…

My second overseas trip (leg 7)

My second overseas trip (leg 7)

Once we disembarked in Port Canaveral, we received a warm welcome from my cousin and his partner, who showed us around Orlando a little.

They had some other guests at their house, so they spoiled us even further by reserving us a room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.  For those who have not been there, it is a resort themed on the music of the different decades, from the 1950’s to the 1990’s.  Apart from the music, it also features the popular trends of each of those decades.

Probably the most memorable is the bowling pin shaped swimming pool in the middle of the resort.

After checking into the resort, we headed over to the Hollywood Studios theme park, in time to see the street parade.   In the picture below is my favourite ride, the Hollywood Tower Hotel.  We then headed over to Magic Kingdom to enjoy some of the rides and see the fireworks show the evening.

Unfortunately we only had the one night to spend in Orlando, as our trip continued the next day, and we did not get to see half of the things there is to see.  After a quick brunch in Celebration, my cousin took us to the airport.

We drove past the welcome sign to Walt Disney World Resort one more time, and I was sad that we had to leave so soon.  As the welcome sign promises, it was the place where dreams really do come true, and one day, my ultimate dream will come true when I see this sign again as a Disney Cast Member.

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My second overseas trip (leg 6)

The sixth part of our trip included a stop over in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, and finally to Port Canaveral in Florida, which would become her home port.

First a bit about Castaway Cay:  Although this was technically my third time on the island, it was definitely also my favourite!

 

We booked the Stingray Experience as well as snorkelling for our day on the island, and wasn’t disappointed by either.

With the stingray experience, we got to not only see them up close and personal, but also learnt a lot about them, and even got to feed the stingrays – an experience I will never forget!

We also enjoyed some quality relaxation on the white sand beaches of the island, cocktails on the beach, and a little bit of exploring the other things to do on the island.  Lets not forget about the food.  In true Disney style, we were treated to an island barbecue, with all the meat, salads and other condiments that go with a traditional barbecue (or braai as we call it in South Africa).

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From the island we continued our overnight trip to be welcomed into Port Canaveral, as the Disney Fantasy arrived for the first time in her home port.  Not only did people from all over Florida flock to the port, but the Disney staff at the Disney Cruise Terminal were out in full force to welcome her to her new home.

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Once again, the excitement in the air was extraordinary, as a new chapter began for Disney Cruise Line.

Keep a look out for the next part of our journey in my next post…

 

My second overseas trip (leg 5 – The Big Apple!)

My second overseas trip (leg 5 – The Big Apple!)

This part of the trip was probably my favorite!  Not only did I get to see New York for the second time in my life, but we also strengthened some great friendships during the time in NY.

Because it was the christening of the Disney Fantasy while she was in New York, all the guests had to spend that night off the ship, and were treated to a stay in the Times Square Marriot Hotel, and complimentary entrance to The Lion King show on Broadway.

This was my friend’s first time in the big city, so it was quite fun to show him all the sight seeing attractions, and for some, it was my first time too.

I absolutely love this city, and wish I could go there once again.

Since we were not on the ship the night she was christened, we watched it on television in the hotel room and then the next morning on the local news.  The excitement about having a Disney ship in the New York harbour could be felt in the atmosphere all through the city, I mean, the Disney Fantasy did make one hell of an entrance when she entered port, playing “New York New York” on the ship’s horn, and one could hear it echo throughout the entire Manhattan!

Here are some pictures of those very special few days in New York:

My second overseas trip (leg 4)

The next part of our trip was the longest one and the most relaxing one.  It was the part where we actually crossed the Atlantic, en route to New York.

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This was pretty much what we saw for several days.  Just open blue waters.

If my memory serves me right, we spent about 12 days on the open seas, where all you could see around the ship was open ocean, and great sunrises and sunsets.

This was the part of the trip where I really formed an appreciation for the work that each and every crew member does on the ship, and what it means to be a Disney Cruise Line employee.  I also appreciated the hard work each and every one of them do, and began to form an idea of what it means to be on the waters for extended periods of time.

With each day that passed, the ship really started running more and more like the well oiled machine it was bound to be.  Keep in mind that many of the crew were new, it was a brand new ship, and although the operations were not running at 100% capacity as yet, there was a lot of hard work being done behind the scenes to get her ready for her full capacity cruise.

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Of course I couldn’t resist another photo op with my favourite Disney character.

We spent our days lounging around in the sun, enjoying the on board entertainment, making friends, and eating.  It sometimes feels like all we did was the latter, but there were some other fun times in between.

Allow me to take some time on the food:  It was everything and more one could ever imagine!  From breakfast, to lunch, to supper, and all the snacks and things between, “Every Meal was a Moment”, as we often said as we took pictures of the wonderful and delicious food that was available or served to us.  At some point, and I can’t exactly remember when, all we wanted was just a plain old home cooked meal!

Just a few of the many lovely dishes we were served.

Apart from the food, there was some great entertainment too.  I fondly remember the nights that we spent in the “Adult club” area, dancing and drinking the night away.  The best nights were those nights that we moved an hour on, as we were crossing different time lines.  On such nights, the bars would stay open an hour longer, and the crew would all go to bed an hour later, as they could get up an hour later the next morning.  There was a certain untold excitement each night that the clock moved an hour on, which you could feel in the air, and subtly see in the behaviour of every crew and passenger.

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Many of the days now seem like a blur, although we were “busy” all the time…

The seas started becoming rougher as we went along, and I remember one day, standing at the aft of the ship, looking forward, on one of the top decks.  Although one could not feel it, the ship was moving quite substantially.  One moment, looking towards the bow, you would just see sky, and no horizon.  The next moment, as the bow of the ship ducked down, more than half of your view would be ocean, and the rest the horizon.  This ship is so big, that if one didn’t see that, you wouldn’t believe how much the ship was actually moving.

One other moment where I realised just how rough the waters were, was one night, where I went outside on the fourth deck to have a smoke, and the sea spray from the bow hitting the swells came up all the way to where the smokers were standing.  That, together with the strong winds, made it nearly impossible to get a cigarette lit, never mind smoke it.

Like I said, those days were a blur, however, it was during these blurry days that I realised something again (and this was not blur at all, it was clear as daylight): I knew I wanted to come back to this ship, but not as a passenger, as a CREW MEMBER!  That dream has not yet come to fruition, but, I am working on that, now more than ever, to make that dream come true.

In my next post, I’ll be sharing some of our adventures in New York.

 

My second overseas trip (leg 2)

I was so excited about yesterday’s post, that I almost lost track of the journey, but allow me to continue…

The second leg of our trip found us flying from Paris to Hamburg, Germany, via Scandinavia with a connecting flight.  We literally flew right over Hamburg to Scandinavia and then back to Hamburg!

We arrived in Hamburg late in the afternoon, and were picked up from the airport by my cousin to travel back to Bremerhaven to join the Disney Fantasy where she was in port.

What I can remember of this journey from Hamburg was that it was quite cold, but I had my first experience on the Autobahn, I saw a wind turbine for the first time, and I was surprised to see porn magazines and DVD’s being sold at the rest stops next to the highway.

 

We arrived in Bremerhaven and saw the Disney Fantasy, in all her glory, for the first time.  Once again, that little “thing” inside me was stirred, that butterfly feeling inside your stomach which you cannot control or explain.

That evening we went to “The Last Bar Before new York”, where we had German beer and a lovely dinner.  It’s a small little restaurant/pub in the harbor at Bremerhaven, one that I am sure that the crew of the Disney Fantasy frequently visited during the time that the ship was being prepared for its maiden voyage from Bremerhaven.

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The next day my friend and I explored the shops in Bremerhaven a little.  There wasn’t much to explore, but it was great to experience a different culture and language again for the first time.

If my memory serves me correctly, we sailed away on the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy later that afternoon.  A 14 day journey crossing the Atlantic was about to begin, and you could feel the magic and the excitement in the air, especially on the ship!  Although the ship was not full, there were still a lot of guests sailing, many of them land-based Disney employees, and some who I had the pleasure to meet and get to know over the next few days.

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This was on the Disney Fantasy while still in Bremerhaven. It was wet and it was cold!  Mind the ladder in the background, the ship was still receiving touch ups.

The ship was still not 100% complete during this journey, as there were still finishing touches being made as we sailed, and even though many of the crew were new, we were treated in a way only Disney can.  The food was tremendous, crew where ever you went were friendly and helpful, and it still was a truly Disney Magical experience.

Our first port of call on this Journey was a couple days later, on a Portuguese Island called Ponta Delgada, but more of that in the next post…

Please follow, share and comment!  More to follow soon.  Thank you to everyone who do read my posts 🙂

My second overseas trip

My previous post (available by clicking here) was an introduction to how it came about that I went on my second overseas trip.  This post, and over the next few, I’ll be going into a little more detail on that trip, and ultimately how I got to have my second Disney Magical experience, and how it affected me.

First leg of trip – Paris

The first leg of our trip (yes, our, as a very good friend of mine joined me on this trip of a lifetime) was Paris, France.

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We only stayed in Paris for three days, but man, the memories that were made in those three days are countless!  Some of my fondest memories are things like the night that we returned to the hotel, and before we went in I had a quick smoke.  While having a smoke, a couple of tiny snow flakes started falling, and my friend and I got ever so excited about the “snow”, only for it to stop after those initial few flakes, never to be seen again…

The next story is one of my favourites to tell:  It was February 14th, yes, Valentine’s Day, and here we were, in the “City of Love”.  My friend and I are merely friends, but we decided to take advantage of this day and booked a “romantic Valentines dinner” in a fancy French restaurant that evening, which was to be followed by a river boat cruise through the city on the River Seine.

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So after just about killing each other trying to find the place (we can laugh about it now, but it was quite serious at the time), eventually we got to the restaurant and were seated at a table about the size of a chess board.  On either side of us, the next table was about as far away as half a chess board, barely being able to squeeze a waiter or waitress past it.

So here we were, two staunch Afrikaans South African guys, in a foreign city, where everyone speaks a foreign language, on Valentine’s evening, surrounded by couples and lovers.  I think we were the only “same sex couple” in the restaurant, although we were not a couple at all, but nobody else would have known that.  We certainly got some strange stares from the people around us.

The best part is, when the menu was presented to us, we could not understand a single word from it.  So to make the stares even worse, we were both on our phones, trying to “Google Translate” the menu so that we just had an idea of what were about to order to eat.  Very romantic, isn’t it?

Then there was the time that we found a small little restaurant in an alley close to Pont Neuf, where we tried frog legs, it being a traditional French dish.  Needless to say, I didn’t really enjoy it, but at least we tried.  The funniest thing was that they had these oil lamp burners on each table, and after taking a picture of one of the dishes we had, the camera’s strap somehow landed up on top of this burner, and we only noticed when it started burning!  In my mind’s eye I saw how we would be responsible for burning down an age old restaurant in the middle of Paris!  Thankfully it didn’t get to that, and we managed to extinguish the strap quickly and without incident.  We did, however, very quickly pay the bill and got out of there…

Then we went to the Virgin Music Store on Champs-Elysées, and when we exited the store, couldn’t understand why there were these hoards of people standing outside in between crowd control barriers.  We asked the one security officer what the hype was about (he could actually speak English), and he said that One Republic was to appear there later in the day.  It being 2012, neither my friend nor myself really knew who they were, and we didn’t think much of it.  If only we knew back then how famous they were to become!

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My last story from that leg of the trip was once again not such a pleasant one at the time, but we have a good laugh about it now when we think back about it:  When we first arrived in Paris, we took the train from the airport into the city, to where we though would be closest to our hotel.  Not understanding the language, it being cold, and the fact that my friend had a very uncomfortable and heavy suitcase that had to be carried around, we were so frustrated and lost, that we eventually hailed a taxi to try and get to the Hotel.  10 Euro’s later, and literally driving us around the block (that’s how close we were to where we needed to be), we reached our hotel and was able to check in.  We eventually ditched that suitcase much later in our trip, but as I believe, it somehow made its way back to South Africa some years later…

 

More on the next leg of our trip in my next post.  Thanks for following, and please feel free to leave comments!