After our cruise with Donna and her family and David and his family on The Valor, we all wanted to do it again. We looked at West Coast cruises which are pretty limited. Milton and I had taken a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas in 2011 but by this time, Royal Caribbean had pulled out of the West Coast, possibly due to a crime wave of drug cartel related crimes in Mexico. Carnival’s Splendor was a new ship and almost as big as the Mariner of the Seas and Donna, David and everyone else had liked Carnival before. Carnival had quit stopping at Mazatlan, though, also apparently due to the crime wave. The ship would leave out of Long Beach with stops at Cabo for two days and Puerto Vallarta for one.
Donna has always been in touch with my dad’s side of the family since she was a little girl. Darlene, Roger and I had never had much contact with that side of the family since my mother and dad divorced. They were much more involved with Donna, Davide and Hebert. I think they visited them while they were growing up and I know Donna had made several trips to Arkansas. My uncle Pete and his wife had visited San Francisco after I had meant Milton and I had taken them out to dinner. My cousin, Edward, had also visited once and we spent a day together. I was thrilled when Donna suggested inviting our uncle Pete, in his late 70’s at this time, and Edward, who was around my age.
My grand-nephew, Alex, had come to live with Milton and I just a few months previously and so we got him a ticket, too. Alex was 16 when he had come to live with us but had now turned 17. We really didn’t know him very well when he had asked to come live with us as we had only been to Washington State, where he lived, only a couple of times during his lifetime. I just don’t have much interest in other people’s kids so when we did visit, I was always more interested in catching up with my adult sisters, brother or cousins, than getting to know children.
Alex had come down with his mom at one point to pick up my old Nissan which I was giving to his brother Sean since I had bought a new car. My Nissan was over 10 years old but still ran pretty well and Sean needed a car and I really didn’t want to deal with selling the Nissan.
When Milton and I had lived on Waller Street in San Francisco, my nephew, Chris, had lived with us from 16-18. My brother David had lived with me in San Francisco in the 70’s from when he was 16-18. Alex would be the third teenager in our family that had come to live with me in the Bay Area. Of course, when David had come to live with me, I was much younger and only a few years older than him. When Chris had come to live with Milton and I, we were only in our thirties. It had been many years since we had a teenager in the house and we had never had one post cell phones, computer games and texting. These were all new challenges for us.
When I had seen Alex in Seattle on a trip there and we had meant him when he and his mom came down to pick up the Nissan, we both were under the impression that he was very shy and had difficulties socializing. Darlene, Roger and I are all minimally social so it didn’t surprise me to think that Alex wasn’t very social either. As it turned out on this trip, we discovered that Alex was actually very social. Once I made him aware of the “teen” club on the ship, he was hard to keep track of for the rest of the cruise.
We spent the first night in Kettleman City, along Interstate 5 as it takes us two days to get to L.A. since none of us like sitting in a car for very long. Then we stayed on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood the next three nights. We met my brother, David and his wife, Leslie and their two kids and my sister, Donna, and her husband, Teddy and their two kids, at Disneyland on Friday. We all went to Santa Monica Pier on Saturday. On Sunday we all got on the Carnival Splendor and met up with my cousin, Edward, and his friend, Neil, and my uncle, Pete, and his girlfriend, Lou. We had a couple days at sea and then were in Cabo for a couple of days. Alex and I went snorkeling there and rode a waverunner and we all enjoyed the beach. Donna and others went and swam with the dolphins.
Then we spent a day in Puerto Vallarta. Donna, Teddy, Nick, Christina and Alex went on a zip line excursion and had a great time.