And this picture is why we came to the Caribbean. Isn't that beautiful? It was one of the most beautiful beaches I've even seen, and did I have my swimming suit with me? No, I did not...grrrr. Actually, it was kind of funny, you had to walk through a sort of trash pit to get to this beach, but it sure was worth it.
I don't know if someone placed all these here, or if they just washed up on the beach, but there were mounds of them...I just thought Rorie did a great job with the picture and wanted to show you all!
Ahhh! Nate! You're on the wrong side of the road! Oh, wait...no, go ahead and drive on the left side. He actually did a great job driving. The frustrating bit was that there are no street signs, so even though we had a map that said, Turn on Such and Such, there was no sign to say, You're on Such and Such. We eventually found everything we wanted to see though. On this island there were basically only two main roads that went everywhere, so if you drove long enough, you got there!Standing in front of a statue of Blackbeard the pirate. This apparently was his castle. We drove up and read on one flag, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Okay then....love to have this guy as a boss. "I'm happy already, OKAY!" It was actually pretty cool, and they had loads of other buildings to see...I can't remember why they were cool/important, but one of them was an Amber museum. Did you know that Amber isn't just brownish in color? It is also blue or green depending on volcanic ash or water. Caribbean amber is green, and it is beautiful. Random picture that I can't seem to turn the right way. Whatever.Ah...here is an amber fountain. Okay, then.We drove and drove and drove to find the awesome look-out spot or something that was supposed to be really really cool...and, nothing. It was closed down and boarded up, so we were looking through a hole, and Rorie decided that a rear-end shot was in order. Should I be worried that Nate's rear is smaller than mine? It's just the angle and the color of shorts...right?
Drakes bench. Some guy named Drake used to keep a look out up here (I think is the significance of this...I was tired, so we just sat and enjoyed the view).
While this was probably one of my favorite days on the cruise, I will dub St. Thomas as the day of stairs. These stairs for instance were part of the Blackbeard tour. They dubbed them "99 stairs" and had no explanation what-so-ever for them. And actually, there were over a hundred...104 I think (maybe 102). Seriously though..we walked up a lot of stairs that day...not down so many, but up a bunch. That random side-ways picture of me on stairs...38 of 'em. We were all very very sore the next couple days from these stairs.
Don't let the look on his face fool you. Dan is in heaven...he is eating Roti. Goal number one accomplished. This thing was huge! And actually rather tasty.
See, proof that I tried it too. Rorie and I split one they were so monstrous. The guy in the shop (obviously not a tourist shop) seemed a little surprised to see us there. Then he looked to see if we finished everything. He gave Rorie and me suckers afterwords. I bet they laugh at people like me a lot, but hey, what can you do?
After more stairs and the end of a tour some guide tried to sell us drinks. Alcohol is huge in the Caribbean (okay, probably every where, but I live a sheltered life, okay). He was shocked when we said we didn't drink, but finally told us that he could make a drink with no alcohol in it. Everyone ('cept me...party pooper) needed refreshment so they ordered some pina colada thingy. I'm sure it helped cool everyone down with all the stairs we climbed. ;)
Rorie and I woke up that morning an did a Pilates class on the ship. It was kind of embarrassing to be the only people there in a glass room surrounded by all the people working out, but hey...what can you do.
Then we headed off to the Wacky Rollers Adventure Course. Rorie was insistent that we do a zip line tour. Have I mentioned I don't like heights? No, actually, this was awesome and a lot of fun. Rorie even did a Tarzan jump onto another net. It looked awesome. She was the first to go, and she made it the first time. Lots of people had to try a couple times. I'm not explaining it well, but it was fun.
More narrow streets, with more crazy drivers...This I learned on our cruise. No matter the island, regardless of laws...drivers do what they want when they want. It actually works out pretty well, but scared me to death.They had a formal night a couple times on the cruise. This was our first one. We opted to go for not so formal, but more churchy clothes. I don't know though...next time I might see if I still fit into any formals. Why not dress up? Oh, wait...cause I don't like to. But everyone in a while to feel fancy...yeah...next time, I'll do it.
Probably the most fun thing we did (and we had a lot of fun!) We took a catamaran cruise and snorkeled and relaxed and it was just awesome!We stopped at a beach like this.
We sat on top of a boat like this. (Are you loving Nate's Hawaii shirts...that's how we found these guys if we ever got separated)
Snorkeled looking like this. Yes, I snorkeled. This is big for me actually. I hate having me face in water, and I hate not being able to choose how I breathe. It was fun though. We saw (or, I would have seen had I been able to have my glasses) a sunken ship, loads of fish, lots of sea turtles, and some flat fish that disappeared in the sand when we got close.
We eat lunch like this. I try fish for the first time and planton (or something...it's like a banana). My first bite of fish I was thinking...this isn't bad. My second bite I thought...whoa...this is fishy. And that's all I tried. But hey...I tried!
We protected ourselves from the sun like this. Dan squirting me with sunscreen...boy does it smell, and it didn't work all that great. Rorie got fried, and everyone else got a little burnt. I do have to admit that one of my goals was to come back the same pasty white that I left here from (even though I did try tanning before I left...no, don't ask me to explain...eventually I just felt stupid and stopped trying). It didn't work, but I also didn't get burned really bad either. The only bad thing about this stop was that we didn't see any of the island...at all. We just skirted around the coast. I'm not complaining, and I wouldn't have changed what we did (cause it was awesome!) but I would have liked to have seen a little bit of Barbados.We took a country line dance class that night on the boat.The entertainment was no so good (like, not worth it at all) so most nights we found ourselves in the library playing cards and filling out a crossword puzzle. I actually had loads of fun doing this.
This was kind of a random island...how we did what we did I mean. We were supposed to hike a volcano, but I kind of hurt myself (no, nothing serious...just me complaining) and didn't think I would be able to do it. So, when we got to port we were looking at the tourist info booth and another couple approached us and asked if we wanted to go with them on their tour...they need 4 more people. They said that the people they eat dinner with really recommended this guy named Albert. So, we decided why not...and toured St Lucia with Albert and two other couples we didn't know. They were from Germany area (I think) and Puerto Rico, but living in Miami. We saw a waterfall that you could get in an play in (but again, no swimming suit...really, you think I'd learn)
Went to a drive through volcano with hot sulfer springs. I actually really liked this tour, but the others thought it wasn't much.
Saw the Pitons.
Tried banana ketchup. Yep...banana. Not bad actually. I mean, not something I'd have as a staple at my house, but not bad. Cool enough for a picture anyway.
Saw a Banana Plantation. Did you know that banana trees only produce fruit once...then they are chopped down. I had no idea. Random eh.
Saw a wood carving place. I would have loved to have bought some statue or carving...but they were a little out of our budget....and what would I have done with it?
Was probably one of the prettiest islands we went to (that we saw)...either that or just the cleanest. They won their independence about 26 years ago, and I wonder if that makes a difference. Maybe they have more pride in their country so they take better care of it.
Another one of Dan's fun surprises...Ting. A carbonated grapefruit juice. Actually, it's really good and slightly addicting (for me anyway). He laughed when he saw it and we all had to try it. Yummy.A fortress. Cool eh.Silly pictures that you have to take, but never look good in.Dan and Nate standing guard (at least I'm assuming it's a guard house and not an outhouse)and this I was surprised to see. There were feral cats everywhere. I went expecting dogs. Dan said on his mission there were millions of random dogs everywhere. But on the islands we went to...feral cats.Oh I can't remember what this is called, but these are some steps for how they get the picture made...drawing, wax, dying, repeat the process. It's pretty cool.An authentic lunch (at least I think it was authentic..you should have seen the shack it was made in) at the beach. pretty tasty...especially the carrot, coconut raisin mixture. I know..trying all sorts of things I normally wouldn't (can you tell I'm normally a really bland eater).Beautiful beaches that we lounged around on.
St Maarten started out, and I'll admit it...I was grumpy. I have a few reasons, only one of them good, but I was getting ready to come home. Anyway, I didn't stay grumpy for long...it's kind of hard with the group we were in to stay grumpy. In fact...I don't know if Rorie and Dan got grumpy at all...Nate and I both did, but we got over it quick. So, we decided to rent a car again. We figured...why not. They drive of the right side of the road, and it was probably cheaper than taking a taxi everywhere. Taxi's are nice since you get a built in tour guide, but sometimes it's nice to just got at it alone. So, we ended the cruise how we started. This time Dan drove. The island is cut in half nationality wise. Half is French, and half is Dutch. I think we were all kind of done with the sight seeing stuff (except Rorie...it's a good thing she was there or we wouldn't have seen anything!), but we drove around a bit.
Oh, this is me being a party poop and just sitting whilst the others explored. And then I got over it. :)Now this was kind of cool. At this beach these planes are landing just across the street, so they fly right over you...and I mean right over you. Dan and Nate were directly beneath this one...Rorie and I opted for the side view. Dan said it was quite a rush seeing that big machine heading straight for you. And hey...look at the beautiful beach, right?The breads here were supposed to be fantastic. We went at the wrong time of day and at this bakery they were basically out of everything, but we got these, and they were tasty. I don't know about fantastic, but good anyway.
Ah. This is a favorite of mine. Probably just because I look like I'm standing on the beach (I'm not) under a coconut tree. But anyway. Dan had a few goals this trip, and one of them was coconut water...yes, water, not milk. Anyway, our last day and he found someone selling them off the side of the road! I think he was the only one who really enjoyed it, but it was fun to try stuff he had on his mission.Dan and I wanted to end the day at the beach, so we turned in our rental car and headed back close to port where they had a beach and some shops. Everyone (expect me...not hungry...at all) tried roti again, and then the guys debated whether or not to go out on the wave runners. They decided it was too expensive...then decided to just do it, so out they went for a half hour. Actually I think it was longer because I started to get really paranoid. We were supposed to be back on the ship at 4:30, and our water taxi was looking like it was leaving, and the guys weren't back yet, and they weren't back yet...and Rorie told me to breath...and they weren't back yet, and they finally came, and I made Dan rush (without his shoes on) to the water taxi....and then we waited some more (for Rorie and Nate to get there, they weren't as paranoid as I was).
Anyway, it was an awesome trip. We definitely would like to go on another cruise sometime...but we will probably try a different line...not Carnival.
I'm very glad to be back home though, even though I enjoyed my vacation a whole heap. Getting back wasn't so fun. We docked in San Juan again (oh goody) and basically just waited...Oh, the best part though...after going through customs, or whatever we went through, the guy asked Dan if he was traveling alone. Dan said, "Nope, me and my wife" and he pointed to me. The guy looked at me...looked at my passport...looked at Dan...looked at me...and then said, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask...How old are you!?!" Hahaha..it was awesome. You should have seen his face when I told him 27, and his even funnier face when Dan said we had 3 kids at home. It didn't make Dan feel all the great because the guy told him, "I thought you were going to say, 'Just me and my daughter.'" Well, it certainly made my day.
Our plane flew out at 5 so we had loads of time. We flew into Vegas about 11:30 (or 12:30 Utah time) and then drove straight up to Aurora to get the kids. It was a loooonnnng day with not much sleep. Caden is funny though...he keeps saying, "Mom! We're like a family again!" I tried to tell him that we aren't "like" a family, we "are" a family, but it's cuter how he says it.