vacation

The Bad – okay, it’s not that bad…

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What can be bad about a two week vacation in paradise? Nothing really, just some observations and small annoyances…

I don't like to stereotype people, but certain nationalities do have certain reputations for certain reasons. I'm not going to say who did what when I can explain my feelings without doing so… that would be rude…. here are some things I observed…

– Rude to wait staff. What purpose does this serve? Does it make them feel better to be rude to others? Pleasant behavior goes a long way people! I saw these 3 middle aged people get food from the buffet, sit down at a table, join hands, and say grace. The man then snapped his fingers to the waiter and gruffly yelled from 2 tables away, 'orange juice, 2 coffees!' Is that necessary? I hope he prays for forgiveness for his rudeness.

– Pushy people. I had the most annoying lady in the world grab my shoulders with both hands when I was standing on a wet, slippery stairway and ask me if I intended to go down. No.. I'm just standing here for fun. Perhaps she didn't notice the people coming up the stairway blocking the way down. Maybe she missed kindergarten the day they were taught to take turns and don't push strangers. This same person also rolled her eyes at Billy (she thought he was lying about closing a door – wtf), told the driver that we were American (uh, North American - yes US of America decidedly - no) and made comments to the last person to get on the bus at every stop – despite the fact that the last person aboard was never late. Oh, and she talked about the drivers' ability, gave him suggestions, talked while the tour guide was speaking, and basically 'made things up' (she was an idiot).  

– People who rip on locals. Yes, comparatively they drive like maniacs, but that is how they drive. They are used to it. They do not drive on the wrong side of the road! That is their law! Just because you don't drive like that doesn't make it wrong! – In fact in the 'olden days' when you meet a stranger on the road, most would prefer them to be on their right side, as most people are right handed, and their weapon would be easier to access and use – DUH! You are probably not enjoying the scenery if you are complaining about the driving – did you go on a cruise to see the same thing that you see at home?  

– Never discuss politics or religion – you never know who you might offend. I think it's fairly normal and acceptable with a brand spankin' new president of the US to ask if you like him, as the nice British couple did to the American couple at our dinner table one evening. It is a big thing to us non-Americans, and viewed as 'progressive' to have such an eloquent well intentioned president – (he was in France at the G-10 at the time btw…). Well this Michigan couple rolled their eyes, then she proceeded to tell us all how 'proud' she was and how funny she thought it to be when her 6 year old granddaughter saw President Obama on the TV and said 'BANG BANG'. WTF? Needless to say, this halted our nice little conversation! I thought Billy was going to strangle this ignoramus, or at least gouge her with a fork. What an idiot! Can a 6 year old be convicted for treason? Lucky for us, this couple only showed up for dinner 3 times… one time she ordered off the children's menu - a hot dog - and told the waiter it was the best food he served her yet. Ugh.

– I've decided not to grow old. Okay, that's fairly unrealistic, howabout I've decided not to grow old and live in a bubble of ignorance and poor behavior. I don't know what some people think, or even if they do, but I saw an elderly lady in a scooter/wheelchair thing whiz up behind the ever pleasant Mummy Linda and BEEP! Yes, she repeatedly beeped her horn until Linda moved! She couldn't politely say, 'excuse me', no, she beeped! Acceptable? No! Unbelievable? Yes!

– More on the elderly. Perhaps they have been in this world so long that they don't have a need to be kind or respectful (of course not all old people are rude…). Many were never aware that someone was behind them, trying to get by, or perhaps the doorway is not the best place to search through their purse. Talking during a tour guide's instructions, not always the best idea, oh, and hey, it's RUDE! And for the love of God – quit complaining about every little thing!

– Loud talkers. Holy crap! Do I really need to hear every word of your conversation from across the entire bar? Is it because you want everyone to know that you've seen every broadway hit in the last 5 years? Or are you just trying to draw attention to your new fake boobs on your real old body? Announcing to the dining room that next time you go on a cruise, you're bringing your maid, (are you that much of a slob that the cabin stewart doesn't cut it?) and that you blew the wad on jewelry in St. Thomas doesn't impress most diners. It makes you look small…   

– Late is rude. We had a tour scheduled in our last port to meet (and depart) at 10:50. By 11am the guide was ready to go although we were missing two people. When we started walking, and older lady (who we knew from a previous tour) came up to us and exclaimed, 'but my son's not here! You have to wait for him!' And we did. He strolled up at 11:15 and was then sort of looking at the shops… Uh – Hello? Other people in the world. Oh, and not a word of apology to anyone. ARG!

– One morning Billy and I were eating breakfast with a nice view of our favorite pool. A couple we had met on a tour (who annoyed me to no end, as they were water piggies and loaded up on the bottled water given out by the tour - they took the last four bottles, plus they brought 2 – 2 litres, leaving Billy and I with 1 1/2 bottles to share – thanks, really nice on a 7 mile hike/climb up a freakin' volcano when it's 80*F outside… anyways…) Well, they plunked down their towels, books, etc. then came inside to get breakfast. I looked down at our backpack, as we were heading out for some fun in the sun too, and it struck me as rude! Why couldn't they find lounge chairs when they finished eating? People would abandon their things on a lounge chair for hours! If it's not busy, then it's no big deal, but this was always done in the prime areas! Rude!

Being on a big boat with many nationalities, ages and people in general can be a little annoying when people aren't aware (or care) of how their behavior affects others. Of course it was an awesome vacation, and even the bothersome self centred people provided Billy and I with animated conversation – of course though, it's rude to gossip! I'm not perfect y'know! Certainly! 

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The Good – Part 2

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On the ship our days were pretty lazy. We're not the type of people who daily scan the newsletter looking for activities. Bingo, bible meetings, singing/dancing productions, karaoke, and seminars about shopping don't get our juices flowing.

We spent a lot of time reading by the pool in the sun, some time in the casino, saw a magic show, and possibly the worst comedian ever, (butter face jokes? Are you kidding me?). We shopped a little in the boutiques in the ship (I had a gorgeous silver bracelet made for $15), and spent hours on our balcony sipping drinks. We loved people watching (and critiquing), and had a thousand laughs.

Princess TV shows 2 episodes of the Love Boat everyday, (at different times) and we really enjoyed catching a few minutes of that show. Totally funny. I could write an entire post on ways the Love Boat isn't a good representation of the cruising experience. We loved the cheesiness of it all.

Every night we went to the dining room, except twice when we went to the steakhouse. The English couple from Bristol (Mummy Linda and Howard) were a lot of fun. The food was good, and I was happy to OD on sushi twice. I ate my body weight in smoked salmon, capers and croissants. The salad and fruit bar was fab, and despite the heathly options I still managed to gain about 6 eelbess. Terrible!

In a few ports (Curacao, Grenada, St Vincent) we sat outside and had tried local beer, (Hourin, Carib beer, Polar Beer – all quite good). We strolled about the port areas and shopped. We loved the Ron Jon shop, but especially liked Piranha Joe's. All I really wanted to get for myself was a map of the Caribbean, and luckily, they were everywhere! I ended up getting maps from all the ports except Grenada (rats!) and Dominican Republic (because it was a shithole – I shall discuss at a later time under 'the bad'). So awesome. So lucky. I love these maps and hopefully they won't cost a fortune to get framed…

Here are some things that we seen and experienced…

– Monkey sat on my shoulder (and Billy's too) in Grenada

– Saw an armadillo

– Climbed (uh) a dormant volcano in St Kitts

– Drank a Margarita at Margaritaville in Grand Turk

– Saw a stingray, crazy little crab things, and held a jellyfish (they don't sting – eww) in Grand Turk

– Saw many lizards and crabs in St Vincent

– Awesome snorkeling in Aruba and St Vincent (saw a barracuda)

– Saw the recently bloomed Century Palm in St Vincent, as well as local parrots

– Viewed several iguanas at the golf course in St. Thomas

– Ate raw conch – seriously, Billy did too, in Grand Turk

– Ate disguiting squid (not battered nor deep-fried) on the cruise ship and grossed everyone out…

– I tried all types of different food – I really enjoyed cold soups, and a local meal in St Vincent

– Thankfully did not see a Turd Shark

I want to record these memories because I never want to forget how wonderful it was. I always want to remember how much fun we had and especially how we enjoyed each other's company.

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A few words about vacation – Part 1 – The Good

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Of course it's good to be home. There are so many good things coming up to look forward to. I want to say a few things about our vacation, beyond the speedo sightings…

– It was awesome. A few people have asked us what the best part was, and that is hard to narrow down. There were so many great things big and small. I really enjoyed snorkeling in Aruba. We went to three sights, and the water was warm and so clear. The ship we were on had a rope swing, and Billy was a bit of a swing piggy. Pretty funny stuff… he was trying to do a back flip off of it, but failed again and again! The captain had a pet parrot that cried for him when she couldn't see him, and followed him around like a dog when he was in sight. The bird tore into someone's novel, and climbed ropes she wasn't supposed to and was put in on her perch in the hold for being bad – where she cried and cried for her master. Pretty funny stuff!

The port town of Oranjestad was awesome. It felt very European.

We found a little outside bar at the end of alley and had some local beer.

It was a great day…

– We golfed at Mahogany Run in St Thomas. Absolutely gorgeous. When the starter was giving us the quick run down on the course, he mentioned that there are 3 holes known as the Devil's Triangle.

If you don't take a penalty for those 3 particular holes you win a prize from the clubhouse. The prize the day before was a Mercedes, the prize the day after we played was a Jaguar, and the day we were there, the prize was a poster (harhar). Well I was pretty darned excited as I parred the first of the three holes! Then the darned drink cart chick got in my head about aiming left of the sight pole and I winged one in the woods. Then dumped one in the water. William faired about the same, so no poster for us…

We had a fantastic time. It's been almost 6 months since I golfed with William (remember back issue part 2?) and I forgot how much fun we have together golfing.

– St Vincent is so pretty. Yes there is poverty, but the people have self-respect there. It was clean, and amazing. We went to a black sand beach that is only accessible by boat.

The snorkeling there was a little cloudy due to a super strong current, but it was still spectacular. We cruised in a catamaran for 2 hours, then hit a few sights by bus before heading 2 hours back.

Apparently quite a bit of the movie 'Pirates of the Caribbean' was filmed there, and I can see why.

Just gorgeous.

– In Curacao we had a beach day, which was slightly ill – timed as William and I had a bit too much sun the day before, but the beach was great, and it was a beautiful day.

– The port at Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos is freakin awesome. The layout is the best we seen. The tours were easy to spot, they had a car rental place right there, there were a ton of shops, and best of all the beach and Margaritaville. There is a huge pool, an enormous beach area, and a big restaurant that all cruisers are allowed free access to. It was great and most fun. Jorge Monkey got a little tipsy in Grand Turk.

We spent the day on an eco tour clear bottom kayak adventure, and it was pretty awesome.

– We were scheduled to stop in Trinidad, but for some reason went to Grenada instead, and it was a pleasant surprise. The island is very pretty, and we had a fantastic guide that took us all over. We went to a place to learn about the local spices, a waterfall, a lake at the top of a dormant volcano, an old fort

and a beach. On our own we went to another fort, and had some drinks at bar. Great island.

– In Barbados we zipped lined which involved significantly less adrenaline than I was expecting, but was serious fun  none the less.

  - We had fantastic dinners, mostly with a nice couple from Bristol, England. We spent a lot of time on our balcony sipping drinks. We had a favorite pool that we spent a lot of time lounging near.

Fantastic! More to come!  

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This week in review

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I have been quite the busy LG this week…

The weather was fairly decent this week, so I jumped into the yard work at the house in Windsor. This, by far, has been my favorite part of the project. I really like being outside, doing the physical work, and seeing great progress. The backyard is going to look fabulous when it's done (except the shed) and it will be a selling feature of the home. I have another full day to spend in the back yard, some in the front, then just making it pretty and planting some hostas, spreading mulch, etc.

I spent about 11 hours this week working outside at the house, and this really tires me out! I've been coming home, making dinner, doing laundry, then pooping out on the couch for the rest of the night.

This week I've also been really busy getting things organized for the 18 hole tournament, and a little bit for the 18 hole league and the 9 hole league. I've had 2 meetings this week alone and by 7:30 am this morning I had sent no less than 5 emails regarding golf. It's really important to me to have all this golf stuff ready to go before we leave (yeah!). I don't want any loose ends out there bothering me when we're away.

I'm so excited about our trip. It seems like years ago that we booked it, but the last few weeks have flown by, and I can't believe we're nearing the end of March! I'm seeing KT next week who is going to give me advice on some of my clothes, and I will probably borrow some things of hers… I'm still tanning (haven't burned yet, not even my ass). Next week I'd like to get my hair cut, nails done, and William to dye my hair (I have to cut his too). I'd like to get the wood moved from the house in Windsor, but Billy has been working so much, I can't borrow his truck… I'll be going there on Monday to put out some garbage, the recycling, and work a little in the front porch (if the wood is out) and maybe the yard, (weather permitting). MomG is going to London this week, so poochy may be alone a little more than she is used to, but oh well!

It will be a busy, fun week next week! William needs this vacation so bad!

So today? William is heading to work soon. Arg. I have a couple of things to do in town and around here. Tonight we're watching DVR'd shows, having great big steaks, some drinks and hot tub action. Life is busy, but GOOD!

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