Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bifocal Reviews Tuscany,Florence, Pisa

Day four Livorno/ Pisa, Florence (Tuscany) From the ship we shared a taxi with George, Karen,Jim and Jan to the train station. They had convinced us that (even though none had done it before) it would be easy. On the dock (bolstered by great success in Rome and other "foreign language" ports), we found a taxi driver who spoke perfect English. Karen (who shared my same birthday) made sure we negotiated a price BEFORE getting into the cab. For all six of us, we were told that it would be 20 euros total. Naturally, through some hard haggling and shrewd negotiation we ended up paying 24 euros. The driver couldn't figure out what was going on, but took the money anyway and was happy. From there things took a good turn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bifocal Reviews Cannes, France

Well, we ARE entertainment reviewers! So, we were glad to have this little side trip to Cannes, France home of the famous International Film Festival.
Here is my daily blog entry:

Day two--Cannes, France
We slept like whatever sleeps soundly. I fell asleep aboard ship at around 8 pm after struggling to stay awake for several hours. Barbara had decided to iron some clothes last night and while trying to keep her company I nodded off two or three times, seated on an all-too-comfortable couch in the ship’s laundry room. This morning we met Bill and Jan, from Minnesota at a nearby table and shared some dining conversation. He is a retired veterinarian and described how it felt to have his whole arm up the backside of horses and cattle.

Below is our Bifocal Review Video. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bifocal Reviews Monte Carlo, Monaco

Day three Monaco: There was a lot more to Monaco than I expected. One thing I was starting to appreciate was that cruising on a smaller ship allowed us to dock very close to the center of things. Though, I have to admit that Monaco is not very big. In fact, it is the second smallest country in the world (the Vatican being the holder of the smallest title. One disadvantage to cruising also became apparent. The tours are wildly expensive and extremely time consuming. There was no need to pay the requested 120 plus euros for a private tour in Monaco. We literally walked 10 minutes to an elevator (a lift to Europeans) and were at the doorway of the Oceanographic Museum made famous by Jaques Cousteau. Honestly, we did not find the lift until AFTER we'd climbed the steps, in the rain.  From there were bought a fare on the kiddie tour train that circles the country in twenty minutes...for eight euros per person. In addition, because it was raining I was allowed to return later and ride a second circuit, this time stopping at at world famous Monte Carlo Casino for my one spin of the roulette wheel. Enjoy a short video which gives you the Big Picture of this tiny country, renown as a must see location for the rich and famous. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gordon Richiusa – Renaissance Man

Gordon Richiusa – Renaissance Man

Click on the above link to read the interview conducted by Dana Stamos of Gordon Richiusa (one of the bifocal reviewers) regarding his latest book, The Five Principles of Everything. Barbara Rich, with her Gradual Diet, is one of the 16 contributors to this fast-rising, award winning text.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A 5 hour tour of Rome, Italy!

Port Number one on our 10 day cruise of Rome, began from the land. We were lucky to have heard about ROMECABS.COM and a sister group StephanoTours, through a coworker at Saddleback College. Oceania Cruises had arranged our flight into Rome, but we were responsible for our transportation to the port where our ship was to embark. This was about 45 minutes from the Rome Airport. The plane landed at around 9 a.m. and we were supposed to be onboard no later than 4 p.m., so since visiting Rome had always been a dream of mine, I couldn't miss even seeomg as many sites as possible during this short window of opportunity. RomeCabs was the answer we were looking for in our dilemma. They picked us up at the airport, with explicit instructions and an exact location to meet our driver. Though the cost was about $300, remember we would have had to find transportation to the port anyway. In this case, we had the company of a very knowledgeable Italian, who spoke perfect English (along with 12 other languages) we was more than happy to show us as much as possible in the time allotted. One thing of interest, when I asked Claudio, "Of all the languages you speak, which is your favorite?" He surprised me by saying, without hesitation, "American English sounds the most beautiful to me of all the languages I know." The video below is our Bifocal Review of this one leg of our journey. Here is the first day entry from my journal notes: Day one-Rome I said "I love Rome already," to my wonderful wife,Barbara while we merely standing in line to have my passport checked, by Italian immigration so that we could begin our introduction to the Eternal City. Barbara had made friends with Jackie, a professor of the Classics. She was on sabbatical and took us under her wing in the airport tram make sure we did not miss any of her favorite sites in her favorite city. By the time we boarded our cruise, we had seen all the sites she had suggested and more. For, after Customs we met our guide from RomeCabs, Claudio.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL--Directed by John Madden/ Starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson/screenplay by Ol Parker from a novel by Deborah Moggach/PG-13/ 2hr28min (B) This film renewed my hope for a good film without violence and vulgar sex. I realize sometimes it is necessary for some films, but really, it is not mandatory in every film! Judi Dench doesn’t know how to fail in her performances. She is always, no matter the role, giving a stellar performance. I will add that the other actors were great as well. I loved experiencing the colorful India with a culture all its own. The movie was a little long, but I enjoyed it well enough for it not to matter. I give it three binoculars. Notably, this was the only film opening in Southern California to improve ratings by 22% in the second week. This just goes to show that there is an audience for movies without violdence or explosions, naked young bodies, or gratuitous sex. (G) After the last Academy Awards debacle, I hadn’t had the urge to see many movies. Sure, there were a couple of long flights that required I spend some time staring at the seat-back screen in front of me on the airplane, but other than that I just was not motivated. Then, along came this little film that no one was screening. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel might have been a little long, but it was the kind of film that leaves the viewer with a positive impression of a culture, of the wonders of travel and of the magic of seeing life “as a privilege and not a right” (as one of the characters in the film is quoted as saying) that just seems to be missing from so many movies these days. Naturally, this one will not reach a wide audience, here in the U.S. until AFTER it is noticed by some awards shows. In England, I’m told the film has already achieved a marked success. And, when it happens that the British love a film, well American success is usually close behind. Even though the film was nearly 2 ½ hours long, and it was “merely a mood piece,” I stlll enjoyed every minute of it. I give this one 3 Binoculars with the option to raise my rating when the awards season begins anew.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bifocals-Once Around The Boot-Birthday

This is just an introductory look at our ten day cruise aboard the Oceania ship, Marina. We will be posting in the coming weeks 1 more short videos of each of the stops on this wonderful tour. On the list will be Rome, Cannes, Monaco, Olbia-Sardina, Florence/Pisa/Tuscany,Naples,Sicily,Corfu-Greece,Dubrovnik-Croatia and Venice. For now, take a look at little preview.