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About SelectSys

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    North County San Diego

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  1. If you haven't done so already, I would also recommend exploring the Mesoamerican culture sometime. Spending some time in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City really demonstrates the breadth and depth of the civilizations that once occupied a good chunk of the "new world" to use a Euro-centric phrase. The museum is as impressive as any I have seen though it can be overwhelming in a single, day visit. Many of our cruise friends from this site have visited Chichen Itza and Tulum, but really there is so much more to see and know. Here is a stock photo of the "Pyramid of Niches" from one of my favorite sites in the state of Veracruz called Tajin:
  2. To me it really depends on a couple of factors including the intensity of the collection effort. For example, I live near a small tide pool that is really in the heart of an urban/suburban area. The tide pool is enjoyed by many. However even if a very small % of the people who visit this area took something home the tide pools would probably decimated in a no more than a month or so. In other areas with much less people visiting on a regular basis taking something might not be a big deal.
  3. Thanks for your post and I 100% agree. Here is a graphic from 2016 that should help everyone see how fortunate they truly are: https://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2016/10/what-is-your-world-income-percentile.html#.X20GvmhKiUk
  4. That is my expectation as well. The selective lockdowns in Madrid are not going over well by many parties as they seem to target the poor. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-spain-madrid/madrid-region-orders-partial-lockdown-in-poorer-areas-hit-by-covid-19-idUSKBN26927C More to come.
  5. The unfortunate thing is the person who didn't get the vaccine creates a burden on others. If behavior had no external consequences than what you say would make sense. The impact and responsibility of externalities provide the basis of many lawsuits and regulations/laws. I feel cruise lines should be able to impose any requirement on passengers as long as they it is done in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion. My classic liberal tendencies support this view. Unfortunately other laws, such as the right to medical treatment, make following through on this impractical. Amazingly many states allow riding of motorcycles without helmets. https://www.edgarsnyder.com/motorcycle-accidents/state-helmet-laws/ It's a delicate balancing act to manage private and personal interests. Most modern societies make these tradeoffs in many areas. I live in a state that is considering the elimination of natural gas as a fuel for climate change reasons. I personally like cooking & heating with gas - not to mention my BBQ and fire pit. Regardless of my preferences to use gas it may become illegal to do so where I live in the future. My options at that point will be to 1) conform, 2) look for an alternate place to live or 3) buy propane on the black market and hope my neighbors don't turn me in!
  6. I like your strategy and hope to follow it one day. I am curious if you mostly pay for your airline tickets or use points? What is you generally strategy for airline tickets? I have typically used points for leisure travel but expect to be buying more tickets in the future.
  7. Sorry CM42, it could be you are out of luck for quite some time. 😞 Thanks for reminding me that it is best to have varied interests - food, travel, art, etc. I feel fortunate not to be facing a similar dismal near-term travel outlook that you seem to have. As a suggestion, perhaps you might consider expanding your Euro-centric tastes and attempt something new. Who knows, maybe you will discover some new dimension of travel that brings you joy. Here is a list of UNESCO world heritage sites that you might consider checking out by country: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/&order=country#alphaM
  8. Bummer to the OP. I now know why I got a refund for a cancelled Norwegian flight in March - DOT rules mandated it. Of all the COVID travel related refunds I received related to COVID 19, that was the one that I thought was most at risk.
  9. "Beachcombing" is increasing a frowned upon activity. Things that were OK when I was a kid are increasingly illegal. In California where I live, state law delegates to the local jurisdiction as to whether or not beachcombing is legal. Fortunately I haven't gotten a ticket at my local beach for leaving with a sandy towel or chair!😎
  10. Assuming an effective vaccine will be created, I think it will depend on the country. As always economics and politics will drive entry requirements. In the near term I can see vaccination as a requirement for entry in those countries that have successfully controlled COVID. I would see New Zealand and likely Australia in this camp. Perhaps these vaccination requirements will go away if for some reason COVID is eradicated (unlikely) or mutates into something less problematic (more likely) like the typical flu. I agree it is a good question. While debated at times these days, it seems to me that all countries should have the right to specify the requirements and control entry into their country for health or any other reason.
  11. It's obviously a speculative play to put down some money on a cruise at this time. At the start of COVID I got a refund for my cancelled cruise. I have gone back and forth in my mind from time to time since as to whether or not this is the time to "take the plunge." So far I have resisted the temptation to put money down. Depending on the amount, I might be OK losing out on a deposit. I have lost out on other travel by not using non-refundable tickets purchased on a Mexican discount airline called Volaris. My calculation that it was worth paying $50-$100 for a roundtrip ticket well in advance of my planned travel date. I knew something might come up and simply acted as my own travel insurance company. The good news is that we all have the choice to decide whether or not to "take the plunge" and risk a future loss to a cruise line.
  12. Fortunately for you, Roman ruins are only one of the many things you travel to see. If your sole interest was in viewing Roman Ruins you would be in a bit of a pickle. Like you, most people with varied interests and a quick resequencing of travel priorities can still lead to some satisfying experiences. For example, I just went to the Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona. I probably wouldn't have gone except for COVID 19. That fact, however, didn't detract from my enjoyment. COVID has actually brought me personally some benefits/blessings. I can work from home and avoid the commute. My kids are more available as their schedules have slowed down. I have gotten to know my neighbors better through "socially distanced" happy hours in everyone's yards and made a trip that I wouldn't have made otherwise. I am trying to make lemonade from the lemon that is COVID 19 in 2020. 🙂
  13. I know from your other posts that you spend a fair amount of time in Mexico. Mexican healthcare varies quite a bit from location to location and state to state. The difference between the public system, which most of the population uses, and the private system in also quite dramatic. Private healthcare in the big cities is quite good. A surprising number of people where I live cross south to get most of their health care in Tijuana as opposed to the US. Price and quality for all but the most complicated procedures is on par with that available in the US in the private system. Unfortunately Huatulco isn't in the best location for health care. Maybe the plan was for a Medivac from the airport as the closest private hospital I am aware of is in Puerto Escondido. This hospital is at least 2 hours away from the cruise port and is pretty small. The ride to Oaxaca City is over 5 hours along narrow, mountain roads. A Canadian expat who runs a B&B and lives full time in Huatulco said they go to Mexico City for their healthcare. The owners are actually trying to sell the place to move closer to a big city for healthcare as they are getting older and worry about emergencies. What was interesting about the NCL ship was that their next scheduled port stop was in PV. This would have seemed a much better location as PV is a large city with lots of healthcare available as well as being reasonably close to Guadalajara. I am not second guessing the shop, but I know that I wouldn't want to have a major medical problem in Huatulco. One thing everyone should know in Mexico is that the system is different and you could be asked to pay in advance for treatment even though the law says otherwise. Here is a reasonable starter link: https://blog.oncallinternational.com/medical-care-in-mexico-some-surprising-risks-and-how-travelers-can-prepare/
  14. Totally agree that is one of the toughest problems from a public health policy perspective and involves many trade-offs where losses are going to happen regardless of outcome. COVID management might not be a game, but that doesn't mean "game theory" isn't useful nor being looked at from the perspective of shaping policy: https://areomagazine.com/2020/05/19/game-theory-and-the-politics-of-coronavirus/ https://news.umich.edu/game-theory-and-covid-19-major-defense-project-pivots-to-explore-how-to-coordinate-safe-behavior/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399618/ https://arxiv.org/abs/2007.13305 Sorry for the diversion, I just spent time many years ago studying this for some time in school. Well, deviations from orthodoxy once established in someone's mind is difficult to change. Sometimes it's much easier to dismiss an alternative opinion as an uniformed rant rather than spend the time to look at the facts. This trend seems to be accelerating as traditional education (including numeracy) is eliminated and replaced by other subjects deemed more important by our education/governmental establishment. Yep, even basic arithmetical and estimation skills are just about non-existent these days for most. Even the study of these subjects are ridiculed as being for "nerds." I think the statement of "lies, damn lies and statistics" has been around for a long time. https://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/lies.htm As someone who works with statistical models quite a bit, I have updated this statement to "lies, damn lies and spreadsheets." COVID has certainly exposed the masses to models. Unfortunately their limitations are rarely discussed nor are likely understood by policy makers. This makes it easy to dupe the policy maker into believing whatever the modeler wants to present. This is true. You can't apply a model directly from one area to another and expect it to hold. I agree with the vaccine requirement. I think businesses should have the right to determine their own policies for something optional like cruising which minimizes their risk of problems. If you don't want to take a vaccine, simply go on a different type of vacation. BTW - I got my flu shot yesterday. Hope it works!
  15. I have never purchased or even looked that seriously at cruise air as pretty much all my travel to and from the ship has been paid with miles. However, what you suggest is an interesting idea that I will look at in the future. With respect to the original poster's question, managed shore excursions isn't too appealing to me although not necessarily a complete "deal breaker" based on the overall experience. For me cruising has never really about trying to see all that much on shore during 8 hour stops. It's just not all that practical or even possible.
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