These past two weeks have been some of the most relaxing days I have ever had. On Saturday, November 13th, I pulled away from a South Austin Church in a car plastered with silly string, the inside full of blown up condoms, and the stereo blaring Super Freak. I was a married man, wedded to the most beautiful woman ever, ready for a life-long adventure together.
Our adventure started with something I would have never done on my own – a cruise! If I had my way, we would have spent our honeymoon in the mountains. We thought about going to Hawaii at first so we could chill on the beach, as my wife loves to do, and we could also get some time in the mountains, but because of the cost and logistics I conceded and opted for the cruise, and I must say, I’m glad I did.
It was the most relaxing vacation I have ever had. We did nothing but relax! Our days on the ship were pretty much the same for the most part. We would sleep in as late as we wanted, and often times order breakfast in bed. After we were awake and well feed, we would head up to the Lido deck of the boat and lay out for a couple hours and read, all while sipping on the drink of the day, which was always served in some sort of souvenir cup.
After we had our fill of the sun we would eat lunch, which was usually followed by a long relaxing nap. Once we woke up from our nap we would get dressed and head to dinner. Dinner was always amazing. We never left that meal hungry. There was even a vegetarian selection each day. I would either opt for that or get a seafood dish. We even had seconds on occasion or ordered two appetizers each. There was no limit on how much food you could get. The service was also outstanding.
Out first port day was Jamaica, the day I was most excited about because we got to take a bus ride through the interior of the island. We toured the Appleton Estates rum distillery. The most interesting part was learning how the whole system was entirely sustainable. Every bit of the sugar cane was used, nothing was thrown away. The molasses was used to make the rum, the cane sugar was extracted and sold, and the leftover cane was burned, and the steam used to generate electricity. Even that ash was used to spread back onto the cane fields as fertilizer.
Jamaica is a very mountainous country; so I really enjoyed the bus ride though the hills, around twisting corners, through a beautiful rain forested landscape. I even departed from my vegetarian diet for a few minutes to indulge in a local delicacy – Jerk Chicken. I did however end up getting an upset stomach from it, but thankfully I was also drinking a Ginger Beer, another local treat. Ginger is great for soothing an upset stomach.
The return ride through the mountains was very long because we hit “traffic” which was the result of an 18 wheeler slowly making its way down the extremely narrow two-lane road, which was also the highway, one of Jamaica’s better roads. As we pulled into port we heard the ships horn sounding the final call for boarding, so we quickly grabbed a handful of post cards from the gift shop and boarded she ship. Upon arriving at our room we heard the ships horn blast its final call for boarding, we watched from our balcony as several people scrambled to get back on the ship.
The next port day was Grand Cayman. Sadly, our plans for this day were stunted by rain and cloudy skies. We had originally planned on taking a taxi to a locals beach and rent snorkel gear. But, because of the weather conditions we opted to stay close to the ship. After spending some time walking the streets and looking in gift shops we had a drink at a local pub, which was outdoors, and right along the shore. After our drink we decided to give snorkeling at the reef close to our ship a try.
It ended up being quite fun. We swam around, looking at the reef beneath us, and an old shipwreck. There wasn’t as many fish as I thought there would be, but it was still fun expelling air and diving down as closely to them as I could. There were several other people snorkeling around us, including a few divers. Going deep looked like it would have been a lot of fun. Upon finishing our snorkeling excursion we decided to head back to the boat and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
The final port day was Cozumel and our most enjoyable port day, as it was the first day we had sunshine. At Cozumel we hopped into a high priced cab and rode about 3-4 miles down the road to the State Beach, Chankanaab. Entry to the beach was also high priced; twice as much as we had thought. By the time we paid our cab fare, entry to the park and saved $12 for the cab ride home, we were left with a measly $17 for the day, which meant we were not going to be able to snorkel (or eat lunch) as planned.
We put our $17 to good used though. The beach was covered with small cabanas and waiters at the ready to serve you drink and food. We both opted for a cold beer, which I was quite surprised to discover my favorite Mexican beer, Indo, was not on the list of beers offered. So, I opted for a Sol, which you can also get in the States. For our second drink, we both got daiquiris; which, I wasn’t fully convinced had any alcohol in it. This also made me nervous as the drink was made from blended ice. They say in Mexico, “don’t drink the water,” but we ended up being ok. Only slight stomachaches resulted.
But, before having our second drink I struck up a conversation with a woman, from Canada that was getting out of the water with snorkel gear on. We told her how we were on our honeymoon and made it to the beach with very little money to spare. The woman was extremely nice, and she and her husband let us borrow their rented gear to snorkel around the reef.
It was very beautiful and full of fish, way more than we saw at Grand Cayman. It also helped that it was a sunny day as well. As we swam around, exploring the reef, large tuna would swim right by your side, you could reach right out and touch them, but they would swim away after feeling you reach for them. It was very enjoyable! We were so thankful for our Canadian friends that let us borrow their gear. It really made our day.
After that, we spent some more time relaxing on the beach and then made our way through the botanical garden and old Mayan Ruins they had set up throughout the garden. I’m not a huge history buff by any means, but I always enjoy looking at old artifacts like this. I just can’t fully enjoy it because I’m too lazy to read the plaques in front of the artifacts describing what they are. I’m the same way in museums. I love looking, just don’t care too much for learning.
After finishing up or Mayan Ruins tour we hopped into a cab and headed back to port. We also got ripped off on the cab as well. We attempted to share a cab with another couple but the guys running the cabs quickly shut the door and whistled for another cab to take us to port. Had we been able to share the cab, it would have only cost us $8 as opposed to $12. The locals definitely know how to work the system. But I really don’t mind it that much. They need the money.
The voyage home was just as relaxing as our first two days at sea. We did however have one evening where the sea was rougher than usual. You could really feel the ship moving around, but staff on the ship told us it was nothing compared to other days they have experienced where stuff is moving around all over the ship. Despite the choppy night at sea, we had a great time.
Many of our night were spent with the door to the balcony open, falling asleep to the crashing waves. It was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever experienced. And, lying there with my new bride made it even more surreal. It was splendid!
Granted, I would have rather gone to the mountains, I must say this was TRULY a relaxing vacation. I will definitely be doing this again. Sadly, the vacation is over though, but on the flip side I’m back in Austin, working hard on Adventure Naturals.
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