Friday, December 23, 2016

Back in The USA

Days of TRAVEL
November 26th-27th 2016

We woke with the awareness that this was the end of our amazing Cruise adventure. There is always a bittersweet for the end of a vacation for me. Although the time has ended, I do enjoy returning back to my home and routine. Today was quite the day however, no time to relax....we had a BIG drive back to NY ahead of us. Miami to NY is a LONG LONG LONG ways to go.
The ship was nearly docked when Mark and I woke up and it was still dark. Departure time was indicated as 8am. We needed to hurry off and get going as we still needed to get Diane to the airport and return Ben to his home as well. Then the three of us; Me Mark and Gavin would be hitting the many several hundred miles north back home.
The boys continued to sleep despite my anxious directives to get things packed up. My stuff was ready at 5am......the minutes ticked slowly as the boys crawled from their bunks and stuffed items into their bags. Hurry Hurry up I thought, knowing if I said it out loud, they would both only go slower. Break time.....Mark and I hit the upper deck for some relief from the now seeming very claustrophobic state room. Sun was coming up by now, and the day was moving in. Miami welcomed!
When we last departed from a cruise, we found we had to stand in line for hours to get off the ship. I was determined not to have this happen again. We soon headed back to the room grateful that the lines were much shorter then at the last. We did however run into one small snag. We couldn't find Diane. Exiting was located on both the front and the rear of the boat. She was at the front, we were at the rear. While Mark went to find her, the boys and I stayed in line to descend. We were off the boat, and no Diane and no Mark. Not a big deal right? Well I had Marks passport. He wouldn't be able to get on land.
Added stress, Well he finally returned and then he had to go back to tell her to get off and we would meet her...then we had to go through customs and bag check, locate a return shuttle to the parking lot area and then then then we were finally on the road heading North,.....For as much as I love to travel I so hate the stress of getting from point a to point b!  Returning from a trip always seems to be more damaging and longer too.
We somehow got lucky and Mark's truck was not buried in behind another car when we got to the parking and quickly we packed up. It was even a smooth ride with no traffic as we drove out of Miami. We got Diane to the airport and on her way lickity split and soon were in Melborne where we said our goodbyes to Ben.
The rest of the ride was AWFUL!!! There didn't seem to be any traffic jams, nor were there any detours or was simply LONG and DRAINING on us physically and mentally. Somehow we made it to the Georgia Boarder......
Did a customary Stop at South of the Border in South or is it North Carolina?  Mark and I think of this as about 1/2 was about 2am when we stopped her that same day.

We drove on through the night.....I seem to be the one who drives through North Carolina  both ways. Not sure if that is about where Mark starts to fade or coincidence. Any of those States we drove through after South of the Border, I was either sleeping or driving....After a while they all just seem to run into one another. 
Delaware....were getting closer...

FINALLY we crossed the NY border!!!! Hooray! We arrived in NYsomewhere around 10am. Just in time for breakfast. Considering we left Central Eastern Florida yesterday about the same time....We had been on the road for now 24 hours straight. 

This return trip we found nearly killed us, and once home we decided never again! For as much as I dread flying both on my nerves and my wallet. We have officially decided we will never drive like that to Florida again. Ben graduates in May, so we know we will be traveling back soon.....and it will NOT be via car. TTFN

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Caribbean Cruise Day 7

Nassau Bahamas
November 25th 2016

Day seven and our last full day on the Cruise. Day seven happened to be my favorite day!! It was a day in the Bahamas..and we had the best time.

The sun poked its head out and we knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
A big breakfast before we left the ship for our port at Nassau Bahamas.
The colors of the water were amazing. The blues were screaming an invite. "Come play!!!"

The plan for today was to hit the beach. Things were a little more confusing when we arrived then the last time Mark and I were here last year. We disembarked later then we had last time, so we did not have the Island so much to ourselves when we got off this time and there was not nearly as many people offering us rides. We were still successful in finding a taxi easily enough however.
Best Beach please!! Then we were off to Paradise Island....

We drove over the bridge to Paradise Island and past Atlantis to an area of beach front that is public. Once we started walking towards the shoreline we were "attacked" by peddlers. Beach Chairs, umbrella's, snorkels, jet skis, coconuts, souvenirs, chips, soda's, .and we were even offered "party favors."
It was all quite overwhelming. No thanks...well, maybe...Oh okay.
We ended up getting four beach chairs, Soda's, chips, at least one souvenir, a coconut and two jet skis, but only used one. We politely refused the "party favors", although it would have been interesting to see what kind of balloons and party hats this guy was offering. Something tells me it was not that kind of party favors.
Mark did cave and purchased two jet skis for the boys to enjoy. After taking the $200- for 45 minutes each. The sellers and the boys disappeared. (yes we got jipped!). Helpful hint. Wait a bit the price will go down and you may have a better idea if the sale is exactly what your family has in mind.

As it happened. My youngest son was not so convinced that he was prepared to drive the skis solo. We did not find this out until after they had headed towards the water and Mark had paid for two skis. The seller offered to extend the time, rather then return the money. Live and learn I guess. Buyers beware!
Sometimes the money is nothing to see our moody teen smile!!!! My youngest had the best time. He had protested the beach all week making every attempt to stay out of the sun as he would "get tan". My youngest is going for the vampire/living dead look apparently and had attempted to avoid the sun (yes on a Cruise to the Caribbean) all week. Today however he let his "I am an ANGRY 13 year old, who will not let on that I am having any fun" facade down and really enjoyed himself.
This was a good look for him and his fun only continued as the day progressed.
The boys started out with Ben driving...
Ben was calm, slow and cautious!

When Gavin finally got up the nerve to drive..... they went just a little but faster. 

There they go.........

While the boys were off jumping the water in the sea doo's. Mark, Diane and I were getting our enjoyment in the waves.

Mark was the first to make the plunge. He was out wave jumping encouraging me to come further into the water. I'll admit I was a little cautious. These waves were just a but more aggressive then the ones we had frolic'ed in a few days prior.

Even in the shallow waters once the waves came in they were up to your neck or higher even if you were standing in ankle deep sand before they hit.

I found this our the hard way as did my mother in law.
I began walking out in an attempt to catch up with Mark. What I really wanted to do was get past the waves crashing on the shore and get to that section where the waves were not rolling over but just beginning to break. Perfect wave jumping. I should have moved faster or known better. I'm not sure which, but before I knew it I was hit and tossed under the water.

If you have ever experienced this yourself, then you know that brief period of time when in that moment as your body control is missing and your spinning around underwater completely disorientated to which way is up or down. That short period of time when panic hits you as your tossed about and your brain tells are never going to come up...these waves are swallowing you whole. Your gonna die!!! (I suddenly sang Welcome to the Jungle by G&R in my head.)
Well I was in that moment, as short as it felt like I'd never stop rolling about under those waves.....then it stopped abrupt my face aligned with the sand. I quickly picked myself up for fear another would hit before I had a moment to breathe.  Get the hell up and away from that water now!!! I never moved so fast all while I was rubbing the salty sea out of my eyes. Eyes starting to focus after said rub, I look and see 3-4 teen boys watching me with a smirk. Then I realize OMG!!!! my boob had popped out of my bathing suite!!!! Breastest BEWARE!!! I quickly adjusted myself and headed back to the safety of my beach towel and lounge chair......well that wasn't exactly what I had hoped to happen, but after some time I was back again only this time I was a little more cautious.
My mother in law also decided to take a dip. (She would kill me if she knew I had these pics in cyber-space)
I stood on shore warning her. Be careful Diane..the waves sneak up on you! Then BAM!!!!

Down she went. It certainly knocks you on your butt! I think that was the first and last time she went in the water. My guess is this might be her last time ever. 

The boys however became wave riding pros!!!!

They enjoyed the water for hours.
During our beach stay I must have been encouraged to purchase an all you can drink coconut 30 times. I finally decided why not? I handed off my $20- and proceeded to drink! There were five drink selections......Sex on the Beach...., Pina Coloda,.... Miami Vice (I can recall the others). At any rate I proceeded to consume my interpretation of $20 worth of alcohol all while thinking to myself; just how much alcohol can be in these things anyways?
It's not surprising that rum is quite possibly cheaper to obtain here in the Bahama's then say, the fruit juice used to lessen the potency of the alcohol. With that said!!!! I am pretty sure the alcohol put in these coconuts was NOT watered down...after I tried all five flavors and was beginning to cycle back towards my favorite. (Although they all were delish) I was feeling incredibly content. Yep!!!! I was Conogedanut (ed)!!! (that was the only way I knew how to spell the word I was saying instead of coconut.)
The beach was getting crowded and the gang was all feeling full of sand and sea. The day hours had passed leisurely by and it was soon time to head back to port. Although I was just getting started and could have easily consumed another 5+ drinks (not). We packed up our belongings and found a cab to head back to the ship.
When we arrived back by the port. I caught a picture of the local police. Interesting outfits don't you think?
There was some kind of a protest going on. I had inquired about it, but was not given much of an answer.

We did a little souvenir shopping. I was not really in the best frame of mind to be purchasing anything however.  I was just a tad bit loopy still. Then my husband and Ben headed back to the ship leaving my youngest in charge of his highly intoxicated mother.
In my drunken state I ended up spending $50- in the market on overly priced garbage. I bought a T-shit with the arms and stomach part cut and tied together (as if that is a tropical and cool thing. I was told by the seller, she had done the cutting herself) a bongo drum with my eldest child's name engraved on it (The seller ran off somewhere and came back with the word Nick scratched into the soft wood, not really etched at all.)  and a banana leaf photo album I think I purchased simply because I was told I needed to think of the baby the female seller said while patting her swollen tummy and telling us about the five other children she had to raise and feed at home.  YEP!!!! Reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon when the cartoon head would suddenly turn into a lollipop. SUCKER!!!!!!!  I am beginning to think the coconut sellers and these local venders are working together. Get em all liquored up at the beach and sell them JUNK at the port.
Of course it wasn't until after I was back on the ship I was having buyers remorse on both the liquor and the "gifts" I had so lovingly purchased to bring back to the two children I had left at home. One of which was dog sitting. Nothing a slice of desert wouldn't cure!

Having filled my belly and the buzz wearing off I ended my last evening at sea sound asleep. I missed any of the evening activities having hit the bed around 7pm that night and sleeping all the way through until the following day. Something about the sun, the waves,  some alcohol, a full tummy and peaceful rest in the belly of a ship that simply knocks you out! I have to say sleeping in the ship does seem to have some tranquilizing powers. I never sleep as soundly as I have while cruising.
It was a wonderful day..... even with the wave tumbling, boob exposing. money spending, souvenir garbage toting, too early to bed bumming.... it was TRULY AWESOME!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Caribbean Cruise Day 6

Thanksgiving At Sea
November 24th 2016 Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Day six was a sea day and Thanksgiving. Not much planned for the day. Mark and I spent several hours on deck enjoying the sun. We found a nice spot on the upper deck above the pool area. The cruise had an ice sculpture maker demonstration, This guy made a turkey out of ice in about 15 minutes.
Enjoying the sun and a few cocktails. No waiting til 5'oclock here out in the Atlantic ocean.
This cute little towel turkey was waiting in our state room.

Mid day was time for some deserts.
After lunch Mark and I headed to the Adults only area and enjoyed some more sunshine. It was totally a LAZY do nothing but RELAX day!

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We found a nice place at Savor for a meal with all the fixens,

Turkey, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. I couldn't have done a better job at home.

Desert too!

My personal favorite....the Lava cake.
After dinner, Mark and I took on the slot machines before the evening entertainment on the upper deck.
It was a family glow party. There was dancing, contests and all sorts of family fun. My family didn't stay, so Mark and I headed out and about before bed.

Another great day. TTFN