Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cruise Day 4, St. Kitts

Today was my first day in a foreign country other than Canada.  Crazy!!!  We had no plans so we decided to walk in to town and see what kind of tours they had going on.  We were walking towards the tour center when a local stopped us and said he had a minibus tour that was $20 a person.  In the tour center it was $60 a person.  Hmm.... that's a lot of shopping I could do with the difference!  As we walked toward the minibus and the other tourists (the part in New Moon where all the tourists are taking a tour of the Volturi castle before they ended up being vampire lunch did cross my mind for a split second...) it seemed legit. 
We drove around the entire island with a few stops along the way.  At one stop a local opened the van door (I was the one sitting right next to the door so I could have been the first victim), but I ended up being the one that lucked out!  Because this guy jumped into my lap!

I got to get out of the van and hold the little guy for a couple minutes.  He was sooooo soft and cute.  And he had a diaper on so I didn't have to worry about any unwanted bodily fluids on my shirt.  Brent was prepared with Purell when I got back in the van and instantly told me, "We are not getting one."  Part of his argument was that we don't even know what to feed it, but them I reminded him that he'll be fine because monkeys eat bananas! :)   This was pretty much the highlight of the day for me and I couldn't stop giggling after holding him.
After that we stopped at some beautiful gardens that had a view of the rainforest on the island
I know we have a rainforest in Washington, but this was a hardcore rainforest! And it was my kind of rainforest because they don't have any snakes on St. Kitts!
Another pretty overlook we stopped at.  This is the Atlantic Ocean side of the island.  Our guide told us that you can't swim in it because there are a ton of sharks. 
Our next stop was at the Black Rock Cliffs.  These rocks were formed by the volcanoes on the island.
Our last stop of the tour was at the beach.  We were here for an hour.  Since we were fried from the day before we couldn't go out in the sun.  But we got to sit on a picnic table and eat lunch and have this view for an hour!
We both ordered a grilled cheese sandwich.  Now, I don't know about you but it takes me about 5-10 minutes to make 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.  Well on St. Kitts they don't move very fast because it took 45 minutes for ours to come.  I guess when you live on the island you just relax! 

The tour took 4 hours and it was so fun to get to see another country/culture.  Later that night this guy was sitting on our bed:
Next blog: Dominica!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cruise Day 3, St. Croix

Today we woke up in St. Croix, another one of the US Virgin Islands.  Today our plans were to go to the BEACH!  I've never been anywhere tropical before, so I always figured pictures of the Caribbean were photoshopped to have super blue water.  FALSE.  The water really is that blue!!! 
We rented a couple beach chairs and an umbrella and stayed here all day long.  It was sooo relaxing!
View of the ship
We were sitting on our chairs and all of a sudden this guy walks his horse down to the water.  And then he keeps walking it INTO the water!  The horse started swiming (who knew horses could swim?!?) and then he kind of held on and swam along next to it.  It was crazy!

A little while later we were laying on the chairs again and looked over and saw a couple getting married!  About 50 feet from us! 

We got back on the ship to get ready for the first formal night.  We started getting dressed and I could feel that I got a little sun.  Well I looked at Brent and saw a "little sun" was more than a little!  This is what my back looked like:
We didn't have any aloe, so we had to spend $13 wonderful dollars on a bottle of it.  Needless to say we were in pain the next few days.  But it's all tan now!!

After we got ready we went to an art auction.  It was our first auction and it was so fun!  We saw a painting that we loved and ended up bidding on it and winning!  Crazy!!!  There were even some paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt, and Salvador Dali!  No one bid on any of those though, they were around $30,000!

Sold to US! I love the bright colors!
At dinner
When we got back to the room that night, this was waiting for us:

Up next: St. Kitts!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cruise Day 2, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

We woke up early and were ready to roll!  We went up to the top of the ship and saw the most beautiful views.  As soon as I saw it all, I wanted to move here.  But then as the trip went on, I wanted to move to all the different places we went :)
We had our first excursion in the morning, parasailing.  Now, if you ever have the opportunity to do this, GO.  It is NOT scary at all.  It is absolutely amazing.  I'm even pretty scared of heights, but it didn't affect me at all.  There were 4 of us in our group and the guys that were taking us kept asking if we were nervous.  The funny thing was that I wasn't at all!  Not even butterflies!  I was just super excited.  Maybe I was destined to be an extreme sports kind of girl!

I love how concerned my cute husband looks in this picture
We got up to 350 feet.  You can go as high as 600, depending on the winds and weather.  I'm glad we didn't get THAT high!
When everyone finished, they asked who wanted to drive the boat back.  Brent jumped at the chance.
He did great and the guy told him, "Ok now you're going to park it."  Instantly my blood pressure went up 20 points because I had visions of owing the parasailing company thousands of dollars to fix the side of their boat.  Well Brent just manuvered the boat in there like he'd been a little sailor boy all his life.  I was VERY impressed!

After parasailing we went into the main town for shopping!  I learned my new favorite phrase on this trip.  DUTY FREE.  It's awesome!  Let's say Brent was going to get me a necklace at a jewelry store in Seattle.  Well they had that same jewelry store in St. Thomas, and even though the necklace was the same price, there wasn't tax!  So we saved a good chunk on taxes!  Brent ended up getting a sweet watch and I got a necklace and some earrings.  I love duty free shopping!!!

We also found the best chocolate I've ever eaten.  And I have eaten a lot of chocolate in my day!  We walked around a few other stores and Brent was very patient while I tried on rings.  I was just having fun and trying on the bling-iest ring I could find.  I tried on one that was $32,000!!  The funny thing is that I actually like how mine looks on me better than that one did.  Still, it was pretty funny that the sales guy was like, "Ok well that's the retail price but I can give it to you for $25,000!" Um, yes sir you could.  And I could also buy a car for that.

After shopping we walked around and explored the island.
A view of our ship
We walked up a bunch of stairs to Blackbeards Castle.  The castle was closed that day, but we got close enough to see the tower.

We walked around a little more and then headed back to the ship.  We had to get ready for the SUPERBOWL! 

That night they had a big Superbowl party in the theater on the ship.  They had two sides, one decorated for the Saints, and one for the Colts.  Brent wanted the Colts and I didn't care, so we sat in the middle.  They gave away a bunch of football related prizes and threw out some stuff to the audience.  I caught some beads (I didn't even have to show anything to get them!) and Brent caught a mini football.
We got back to our room after the game and this was waiting for us on the bed:

How cute is that??  Alan, our stateroom attendant, was one talented guy!  And yes, those my sunglasses :)

Up next: St. Croix!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cruise Day 1, Puerto Rico

We just got back from the best vacation EVER!  It was so relaxing and I saw so many amazing things.  I tried to burn as much of it into my brain as I could, because some of the stuff I saw couldn't be described with words.  There are too many pictures to put up and still have room to write, so I'm going to do a few blogs about the trip.

We flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday and spent the night. We got in late and by the time we got to our hotel it was midnight. We walked around the hotel for a little and then went to bed. We got up in the morning and it was sooooo sunny and warm!

We had 1/2 a day to spend in San Juan so we walked around Old San Juan looking at stuff. 

The streets were soooo cool!
Those that know me pretty well probably know I have a fear of birds. I HATE it when there are huge groups of them and when they fly around me or over my head. Well we went to this little square and people watched for a while and there was this HUGE group of pigeons.

Now, I know I haven't had spanish class for quite some time, but I remember enough to know this means 'do not feed the birds.'
Well apparently not everyone got that because there were a bunch of people throwing bread crumbs to them.  Some of the pigeons were even landing on people!  And we wonder how people end up with the bird flu...

So all this is going on, yet little innocent me on the bench away from the birds is the one that gets pooped on!!  How gross is that??  Thank goodness I had just bought a bunch of hand sanitizer.  And thank goodness it wasn't on my head!
Pretty sure this is how you get food poisoning, but hey, it's still pretty cool!

It said on our cruise info that we could board the ship after 2.  Well Brent and I were super excited to go and we got there around 1.  Luckily we still were allowed to board.  It wasn't crowded at all yet, so we spent a couple hours just exploring all over the ship.  We went on the Royal Caribbean cruise line and it was soooo pretty inside!

That night we played (and lost) bingo and enjoyed a (virgin) mango daiquari.

The ship set sail that evening at 8pm and it was so cool to see it set off!  Well it was cool until about an hour later when I thought I was going to puke.  Apparently I get a little sea sick :)

The next day we woke up and we were in St. Thomas!  I will blog about that tomorrow :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Floating Down a River in the Middle of January

Two Saturdays ago my mom organized a float trip down the Skagit River to see the eagles.  This is the time of year where they're around and you can see hundreds of eagles during your trip.

There were 12 of us in our group (11 of who do crew with my mom.  I was the odd man out).  We got all bundled up and ready to go and got on a bus that took us to the river!

I haven't worn a life jacket forever.  Well let me tell you.  They tighten up those things until you feel like you have a corset on.  I should have let all my breath out like horses do while their getting their saddle put on because I had a hard time breathing after that. 
Cute mom is ready to float the river!

They had two types of rafts.  One that the guide paddled for you, so you have a relaxing float down the river.  Or they have the kind you could paddle yourself.  I was all for the guide paddling, but I was definitely in the minority.  That'll teach me to go rafting with a bunch of rowers :)

Our guide ended up being hilarious.  He said the most eagles he had ever seen was about 600.  He said it was kind of eerie and they were everywhere you looked.  Well, we saw about 10.  Even though we didn't see too many, we still had a blast goofing off and paddling ourselves down the river.

One of the other downfalls of being in the paddle boat was they all do this at least 2 times a week.  I do not.  My arms felt like they were detatching from my body halfway through the trip.

A nest.  After I saw how big they really are, I learned I will never let Macie anywhere an eagle might be.  She would be a goner!
One of the guys we saw.  There was one that actually scooped down and grabbed a fish in the river.  So cool!
In this picture I have on EIGHT (no exaggeration) layers on my top and four on the bottom.  I was lucky I wore so much because even then I was chilly!
We all had so much fun.  The guide also does white water rafting in the summer and now my mom is planning on some trips to go do that.  Thanks for the fun day momma!