Monday, March 23, 2009

Awesome Trip

The cruise was wonderful. Another great family adventure. I have to say, I LOVE traveling with kids this age. Everything is new to them, and they are not afraid of something new. They are mostly un-self-conscious, and they love to be around us. Plus, no diapers.

Texas was cold and rainy before spring break, including the horrible drive down to Galveston. The next morning we awoke to blue skies and blue seas, put away our jackets and never needed them again. The first full day was at sea, then next morning we woke up in Cozumel, Mexico. Its one of my favorite places on earth. Since it is an island - and most of that protected park land - it is everything wonderful about Mexico, like beaches, and guacamole, and family-loving people. And nothing you don't - the ferry price from the mainland keeps criminals and drug cartels out of the place.

We all took a taxi to Chakanaab, a national park built on a coral reef. Anna loved snorkeling as much as the rest of us, lifting her head above water to declare, "The fish are glorious!" Colin suffered a little too much claustrophobia with the snorkel mask, and was content to view the fish through the beautiful aqua waters from my shoulders. Thank goodness the salt water makes us so buoyant!

The second port was Grand Caymans, and we took a charter tour to Sting Ray City. There is a sand bar off the coast where hundreds of docile sting rays congregate. These are not Steve Irwin's sting rays -- they are used to people, and will glide right against you. You can even kiss them and support them platter-like on your arms. Emily and I did, and their huge 5-foot long bodies are solid, all muscle, and very relaxed as long as you kept their gills underwater. We snorkeled a little while before heading back.

Our last port was Montego Bay, Jamaica. Everything I heard/read about this island was true - the people are friendly, poor, and aggressive in pursuing your tourist dollars. Everyone says, "No problem, mon." I smelled pot everywhere we went. HOWEVER, we did have a great day there. We were firm on the shuttle we got on, insisting that we only wanted to go to Doctor's Cave Beach, not on any kind of tour. The beach just cost $5 to get in, which is enough to keep you from being inundated with people trying to sell you stuff. I did let the braid lady do Anna's hair, and it is adorable. The water was as clear as glass, and the sand was soft and buff. The kids loved swimming out the the inflatable trampoline and digging in the sand for shells. Anthony and Emily took the kids on a jet ski ride. Anthony brought me a yummy frozen mango daquiri, with a stout rum floater. As we left, we found a taxi driver (Everton) who took us to eat jerk pork and chicken. OK, there were mostly tourists at the restaurant, but I did spot a local guy, who yelled out, "Coconut man! Come here!" and this little guy carrying green coconuts and a machete came over, chopped the top of the coconut off, put a straw inside, and let him drink it. "The coconut water is the only water that touches your heart," he said. "A coconut a day keeps the doctor away." It was only $3 for a coconut, so we got one and all tried the tasty water - nothing at all like coconut milk, this was light and refreshing. Colin would have sucked it all down if we let him. Then the coconut man chopped the coconut into 3 pieces and peeled out the "jelly" or the flesh for us to eat. Colin and I were the only ones who liked it, so we ate it all.

Then we had 2 more days on the boat, heading back to Galveston. There was so much to do on the boat - putt-putt golf, in-line skating, basketball, swimming. We didn't even get to the rock climbing wall! Colin loved "that game where you push the thing with the thing" (i.e. shuffleboard). There was even a small ice skating rink on board, and one night we went to a great show filled with many Russian skaters. There was a kids' club (i.e. free babysitting) for many hours during the day which gave a welcome break.

Oh, yeah, then there was the eating. The food was very good, and we all enjoyed our dinners together in the formal dining room. I was proud of my kids, always ordering from the regular menu. Colin nearly always had the salmon and Anna favored the Indian entrees. Also, I ate bacon for breakfast every day. Sheesh. We're all on diets now. No more bacon for me!

Now, if the boat would just stop lurching. None of us got seasick at all, but the first day off the boat I was pretty dizzy. Even today when I'm sitting still I occasionally feel a little rocking.

13 comments:

Sinda said...

Welcome home! It sounds like the perfect vacation -

Laura said...

Never been to Cozumel, but I love Grand Cayman. Every time someone mentions sting rays, I think about Hanna Craig and the skates she studied from the... I can't remember, maybe the Black Sea.

Lula said...

That sounds so relaxing! Was it a package deal, or did you guys plan the whole vacation yourselves?

Emily said...

I felt the rocking yesterday, too, but only a few times.

It was great having Anna as my bunkmate, and I loved spending time with you all!

Vetmommy said...

Lula, the cruise had the ports of call already planned, obviously, and we picked what we wanted to do in each port. The cruise offers "excursions" - trips you can book with them but we prefer to go on our own. It is cheaper that way, and usually less crowded. We'd been to Cozumel before so knew our way around and what we wanted to do. In Grand Cayman we negotiated a trip to see the sting rays for $25 per person, and the boat was charging $50-60. I did a lot of research about Jamaica so I knew generally what to expect. TripAdvisor.com is great for figuring out what is worthwhile and what is a tourist trap.

peevish said...

A warm beach sounds great right now!
Sounds like fun.

ColeBugsmommy said...

I'm getting our passports in April. A cruise from Galveston is what I want to do next!

premenopaws said...

Oh that sounds just heavenly! Some day...

Triona said...

Sounds like you had a great time, I'm glad it was a lovely holiday for you all. See ya soon.

get2eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh,wow..oh,wow THAT sounds like HEAVEN,Jennifer..you described it so well..:) I'm surprised your equilibrium worked the other way round but I bet you were happy it was thata way! hahaha

Aunty Norma.xx

mainlyclearskies said...

I'm glad you had such a good time!

Krispy said...

What a wonderful trip! You are encouraging me to get those bambinos into some bigger travels!

I remember being in the airport bathroom in Miami after our honeymoon cruise (on a much much much smaller boat) but I was in there and I could still feel the lurch of the boat... had me hanging on to the sides of the stall. ha!

so glad ya'll had fun!