Sunday, June 26, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Jordan and I LOVED our vacation siiiiigh. It was wonderful and very much needed! Here it is in a nutshell:
We drove to New Orleans on Friday, May 13th and stayed the night at our friend’s house in Little Rock (thanks, Bob!!). In the morning, we headed the rest of the way to Louisiana. We had to drive through Mississippi for a while, so there’s ANOTHER state I can check off (been to 26 states now).
On our way to New Orleans, we stopped in Madisonville and visited my good friend Brittany and her cute little son! Brittany was one of my co-workers and close friends at college. She and I would sit at the front desk at work and talk about food a lot. She was also nice enough to listen to all the boy drama from my single days. It was so fun to catch up and see her.
Here’s her cute little boy. She is expecting another boy this summer and looks great!
After we left Madisonville we headed to Harvey, LA where we stayed at the ever so luxirous Travelodge. You know it’s a fancy motel when the door doesn’t close all the way. Yikes!
Luckily, the door locked so we headed out to the Big Easy. And I LOVED IT!!!! As soon as we parked our car, we saw an informal parade. It looked anyone could join, so marched along them on the sidewalk and took some pictures. This guy was enjoying himself…
I LOVED the architecture of French Quarters. It was so adorable. I felt as though I was walking in a city of dollhouses. I kept walking around saying, “Awww!” and “How CUTE!” New Orleans is definitely unique. There seems to be very very little chains and tons of one-of-a-kind stores. Also, there would be random houses in between stores in the city. So cool.
There were tons of street performers too. This guy behind me was holding that pose without blinking!
Several people suggested we hit up Café Dumont for their beignets. We were not sorry we listened to them. Droooool. One funny thing about New Orleans dining is you don’t wait to be seated- you seat yourself! We didn’t know this so we stood around like a bunch of buffoons while servers walked around us as though we didn’t exist. We saw other people sit down at a table so we copied them and sure enough, we got a waiter. It was same thing at dinner. (Is this normal, Brittany?)
There were tons of Psychics and Tarrot card readers….don’t you think with all these gifted citizens, someone would have seen Katrina coming? (too soon?)
The next day was Cruise day! We went to a branch in Harvey for church and headed to our port. It was so exciting to know that we were minutes away from our cruise that we booked six months ago! The moment we got on our boat we chucked our carry-ons in our rooms and headed to the buffet…and we never left.
The next day was our two year anniversary (augh!). We spent it relaxing at the pool and getting all dolled up for dinner. The waiters sang for us and gave us an anniversary cake. Very nice. (And you can’t tell, but we are seated with a view of the ocean. Very cool!)
The next day was Costa Maya day. We hopped off the boat and headed toward the exit of the port. One of the port workers/ travel “experts” asked us where we were going. We explained that we were going to Placer to see our friends. He warned us that it would cost us $50 to get there by taxi. Jordan explained that our friends who live in Placer told us the cab fare is $20 to Placer. The worker just said, “Well, maybe…make sure you act what you are doing or else it will cost more.” Ugh!! So frustrating. Luckily, Jordan could remember enough of his 10th grade Spanish to ask the nearest cab to go there in Spanish. Throughout the whole cab ride (which was about 20 minutes) neither one of us spoke in fear that we would look vulnerable. At the end- $20 for the ride! Aha! Us-1, Shady Mexican-0.
We were so lucky to go to Mayan Beach Gardens, which is owned and run by family friends from our home ward. Marcia took us on a snorkeling tour where we were able to see schools of fish, a ray, and a barracuda. Yikes!
After the snorkel trip, Marcia let us relax on her private beach. We were the only one out there, and it was magical! Her staff also gave us a tasty lunch that we ate right on the beach. I could get used to this.
Thank you, Bales! We loved it and we WILL come back!
The next day was our Roatan day. This day was much LESS magical. We thought we would be at a different port on the island that was close to a beach, so when we got to the port we were totally lost. The locals were pretty aggressive in trying to get you to use their businesses. We thought we could find the beach by walking so we walked by a populated street and passed lots of houses. They were cool but I was too terrified to take out my camera. We finally gave up and let a taxi driver rip us off and drive us to the beach. (Fun fact: In Honduras, taxi drivers have a method of getting business: 1. Honk, 2. Slow down to a crawling speed and follow pedestrians, continually telling them they need a ride 3. PULL ONTO THE SIDEWALK, blocking the pedestrians, get out the cab and stop the pedestrians…)
We ended up at a very populated beach where we were constantly asked if we wanted to have our hair braided. But the water was beautiful there, so that was nice.
After the beach, we headed back to the city and looked at some local shops. We bought some bracelets and a Fanta and said goodbye to Roatan.
Next day was Belize. Belize was simply beautiful. I would LOVE to return. We were told that Belize City is pretty dangerous so we decided to splurge and purchase an excursion. We went snorkeling (again!) and our tour boat took us to Banister Island. It was an amazing, peaceful private island. The water was warm and the island had a bunch of floaties for use to play on. The island also had free kayaks. I kept saying over and over, “I can’t believe we’re kayaking in BELIZE!” It was so much fun.
Another fun thing about Belize was the plentiful supply of cheap Coach bag knock offs. I treated myself to one…and it already broke. Oh, well. When you buy something that is 90% cheaper than the real deal, you can’t complain!
Our last port was in Cozumel, Mexico. We bought tickets to a national park called Chankanaab. We were able to snorkel (no, we weren't sick of it yet!), watch a sea lion show, and play on their beach. It was a great place because we felt safe and didn't have to travel far. I wold love to go there again!
Our last day of the cruise we spent eating, relaxing, and watching shows….then we ate..and ate. Sigh. I miss that food.
It was such as wonderful vacation and it was so hard to come back home and start work again. We definitely plan on cruising again. In fact, we have made a goal to go on a cruise at least once every five years. Anyone want to join us?