Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 4: Up Where the Air is Clear

After a day at sea, we woke up in the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas to be exact. Here we signed up to do something I've wanted to try for years. PARASAILING!!! As we waited for our scheduled departure we decided to browse some of the shops nearby in search of a sun hat for me. How about this one? Just a wee bit understated don't you think? We need something a bit bigger.

Then it was time to make our way to the boat for our parasailing trip. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous. Our trip was a tandem ride so Nate and I got to ride together, and what do you know we were the first one's up.

The part I had been most worried about was how it was going to feel as we lifted off. I half expected my stomach to end up in my feet but I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was as the parachute just smoothly took us into the air.

The views of the water and the island were beautiful. While the boat bounced along the choppy seas below we floated in the air and took in the sites around us.

Then it was time to come down.It was a great ride and I can finally check that one off my bucket list.

After parasailing we made our way downtown to do a little shopping. Then with a few hours to spare we decided to grab a taxi cab and go to the beach. At the recommendation of our parasailing guide, we instructed the cab driver to take us to Sapphire Beach versus Meagan's Bay which is apparently more popular with the tourists. Our parasailing guru had assured us that it wasn't really any farther than Meagan's, maybe a 15 minute cab ride. A half hour later we arrived at Sapphire Beach after getting a nice scenic ride of the island.

We enjoyed playing at Sapphire Beach but as the minutes ticked by, my anxiety about missing the ship grew as we were much farther away than we had originally anticipated. With about an hour to spare we caught a taxi to take us back to the pier.

Our cab driver, while willing, was obviously not thrilled about taking 2 people all the way across the island and he tried flagging down a few other cabs to see if he could find someone else to take us. The first cab was packed full, the second empty, the third was just right...sort of. While the third cab (which actually turned out to be a tour group) looked pretty full, he managed to convince the driver/guide, Sunny, to squeeze us in. Literally. On separate rows, sandwiched between several cushiony ladies, Nate and I prepared for one crazy ride. At speeds of probably up to 50 miles per hour, Sunny zipped through the rolling, and winding two lane mountain road that circled the island. With no seat belts and no real doors on the cab, we all gripped the rails in front of us. White knuckles all around, and we all gasped as he narrowly missed pedestrians. Then came the traffic jam. We sat and waited as time ticked by. After what seemed like forever, Sunny had waited long enough and proceeded to do a 6 point u-turn to turn the big cab/bus around on the two lane mountain road to go the other direction. Free of the bonds of traffic, Sunny zoomed the other direction. "I've never got anyone back late yet," he assured over the speaker. "He's been driving like this all day," said the lady seated next to me. Somehow that didn't make me any less nervous. Sure enough we made it to the ship in one piece and no pedestrians harmed with about fifteen minutes to spare. Plus we came away with a ride equally as memorable as our one earlier in the sky. Nate attests that he's been on some roller coasters that weren't nearly as exciting as Sunny's drive. So if you ever make it to St. Thomas and are looking for a good tour, check out Sunny Liston. It will be an experience you'll never forget.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 2 & 3: The Fun Begins

The first stop on our trip was Carnival's private island, Half Moon Cay, in the Bahamas. In the words of our Cruise Director, Noonan, this private paradise was ours to enjoy. We took advantage of the time to just relax and recover more from our busy travel day the day prior, while we enjoyed the sun, and the water...

Or both at the same time.

The water was clear and a bit cool to the point that we eased our way in the water inch by inch as our bodies adjusted to the "refreshing temperature." Once we got into the water and away from the shore we had the perfect spot to people watch. From our vantage point, Nate gathered more empirical evidence for his increasingly accurate hypothesis that there are only two groups of people who do not look ridiculous dancing...women and minorities. The beach at Half Moon Cay seemed to be no different.

Shortly thereafter as I was enjoying floating in the water, Nate decided to embark on some impromptu treasure hunting. (FLASHBACK) Earlier that morning as we got ready to leave the ship for the day, I decided it would be best if I left my wedding ring in our room safe. I asked Nate if he wanted to do the same, and he told me, "No, it's not going to come off, and even IF it happened to, it wouldn't be as big a loss as if we were to loose yours." (FlASHFORWARD) I heard Nate call my name and I looked over to see him motioning me to come to him. "I feel like such an idiot," he said when I stopped next to him. "I lost my ring. I went down to do a handstand and it just slipped off my finger here in the sand." As panicked thoughts of "I warned you," swirled through my head, we scanned the beach for kind people with idle snorkel gear. Luckily old married couples are sympathetic to a panicked wife concerned with her husband's wedding ring becoming buried treasure. The old guy even came out to help search. Even more luckily, with the mask Nate was able to find his ring on the first dive, or this could have been the first and last happy picture of us that day.

Later we waved goodbye to Halfmoon Cay and wouldn't step foot on land again for another 41 hours as the next day we were sailing the open ocean.

During our day at sea we played Scattergories, and watched the ice carving demonstration for the ice sculpture that would be displayed at the infamous late night buffet.

We also watched "The Game of Love," which was basically a spin off of the Newlywed game as Noonan pulled a couple of newlyweds (married less than 24 hours), some oldie weds (celebrating their 50th anniversary), and a couple smack dab in the middle. From this game we learned that A) the wife is always right even when the husband has a different answer and witnesses to back up his claim, and B) you can always embarrass your kids/grandchildren/parents by making out on stage and confessing the craziest place you ever "got down to business time" (wink, wink) in front of a theater of strangers.

That night the sea rocked us in our seats and in our sleep as we sailed on towards St. Thomas.

Day 1: Come Sail Away

Our cruise vacation started Friday night at 10:30pm as we boarded our red eye flight to JFK airport in New York where we would catch our 8am flight to Miami. I've never taken a red eye flight before and I'd probably have to think really hard about it before we did it again, but at the time it was our best option to make it across the continental US in time for the cruise departure, without incurring the extra cost of a hotel room. The late night flight, paired with the time change made for a very long travel day. Nevertheless, we made it on the ship with no problems and may have taken the opportunity to catch up on a few Zzz's, after we checked out the lunch buffet.

It was a cloudy day as we waved good bye to Miami and set sail for the Caribbean. But that didn't dampen the spirits aboard the ship as soon the deck was busy with people doing the electric slide and the Cupid shuffle, and every five minutes some server was trying to offer us an alcoholic beverage. I guess there's a reason Carnival's called "The Fun Ship."

Once we were given the all clear that our room was ready we escaped the noise of the party for the serenity of our balcony and watched the ocean roll by in peace.

That night we met our dinning table. I have to admit I was a bit nervous to find out who we were assigned to eat with. Would they be nice? Would we have anything in common to talk about or would we sit there in awkward silence? Would we they think we were cool? It was high school all over again. We ended up sitting with one other couple, Steve and Jill from Long Island, who were about our age and had been dating for about 9 months. Over the course of the week, we ended up seeing them quite a bit on and off the ship.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

April What?

Well May is quickly drawing to and end, but wait, what happened to April? If you're going by our blog...apparently... April didn't exist. Or at least not much that was fun/news/picture worthy happened, May however will be much different. Nate finished up his last rotation as a med student and is now a dedicated house husband until he starts his residency in June. During the month and a half that he has off we are trying to get in as much fun stuff as we can before I give him over to Scottsdale Healthcare and become a residency widow. Our big adventure was our Caribbean cruise extravaganza aboard the Carnival Liberty. During our week long cruise we visited the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Puerto Rico. Since we got back, and after the world finally stopped moving (5 days later) I've been trying to get all our pictures ready to post. Without further adieu, I'm starting a series of posts on our days aboard the Carnival Liberty.