Mom and I went on a week-long vacation, my first in a while. Flying to Miami back and forth was a nightmare, but the actual cruise was perfect. I discovered that my mom makes herself scarce for pictures, I am unbearably moody without sleep, humidity is terrible, oysters are still disgusting, and ocean sunsets are sublime.
Our first day was a "fun day at sea." There are a lot of activities on the ship to keep passengers engaged throughout the day... like a Harry Potter trivia quiz. I won, of course, and I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed. Just the other week, my dad said, "Honey, you have a masters degree. Why are you reading Harry Potter?
On Monday, we visited Grand Turk. We went to a hole-in-the-wall cafe called Sunshine's featuring Jamaican favorites. Despite my unyielding obsession with goats, I had goat curry and loved it. After lunch, we went to a beautiful beach.
|Insane hair... all day.|
San Juan, Puerto Rico is vibrant, beautiful, and full of life. It's also hot and unbearably humid (seriously, how did I ever live in PA?) We did a walking tour, which in hindsight... might not have been the greatest idea. I didn't complain about the heat or the stickiness, but I thought, "This must be what hell is like." San Juan really is amazing, though. I fell in love with the pastel-covered buildings, and El Capitolio is stunning. We also spent a good chunk of time exploring Castillo San Felipe del Morro where I got claustrophobic in the dark tunnels and dungeons.
I was really looking forward to visiting St. Thomas. It's supposed to be home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I'm no expert on beaches, but Magen's Bay was gorgeous, and I love the beach. We visited Drake's Seat, which offers a magnificent view of the island. We also went on a "sky ride" that makes the lift at Lagoon look like child's play, which I guess it is. Every bump and creak from the cables sent shivers down my spine, but the views from that lift were amazing.
|View from Drake's Seat|
|Panorama of Magen's Bay|
|There she is!|
|In love with this picture. I should turn it into a postcard.|
Amber Cove is in the Dominican Republic. It's a major resort area, but Mom and I liked the natural landscape and the residential areas the best. The lush and rolling hills were beautiful, and they looked exactly like a scene Jurassic Park, you know, where the raptors emerge and eat everyone. As it turns out, parts of the movie franchise were filmed in the Dominican Republic. Despite this authentic beauty, we somehow ended up at the not-so-authentic resort, Ocean World. Aside from goats, I have an obsession with dolphins, and I'm certain that countless viewings of Flipper contribute to this obsession. We swam with a baby dolphin named Luna. We also saw shows with sea lions, grown dolphins, and parrots. This day was definitely our favorite.
|Usually, I hate birds. But this was cool, even though I found bird seed in my hair that night.|
|And my mom was simultaneously delighted and freaked out.|
|This was probably my favorite show. My mom kept on pointing out how attractive the trainers were.|
Another "fun day at sea" and the last day of our vacation. It seems silly, but I loved the dining room. Loved it. I told my mom that you have not adequately lived if you don't gain at least 5 pounds on a cruise. I tried everything, ate tons of ice-cream, and somehow lost a pound. But I swear I lived. I tried oyster for the second time. The first time I tried it, I thought it tasted like the cold, wet booger of the sea. This time, the oyster was fried, so I thought it would be better. It wasn't. It was just a cold, wet booger of the sea covered in panko.
Our server was named Jahut. He was kind, funny, and incredibly humble. His family is from Indonesia, and he just saved enough money to build a home. He showed us pictures of his adorable 2-year-old, and he described life in Indonesia with his family. His goal is to get promoted to "supervisor," and I think my mom left him a glowing review. He deserves it!
|And what's a vacation without the obligatory posed shot? Clearly, I had no idea what to do with my hands.|
What can I say? .... the trip was fabulous, so thanks Mom for an incredibly thoughtful and generous birthday present. Next cruise is on me... when I get a job.
And stay tuned for the next blog post about my move to ID. It's been a real life soap opera.