Tag Archive for 'vacation'

26 June 2006 – En Route to Dominica – 23:40

By the time we woke this morning, the ship was already in St. Thomas. The skies started out pretty overcast, but soon brightened, although the heat and humidity didn’t let up.

St. Thomas

Breakfast was had in the Galaxy Dining Room with each of us ordering our choice of items. After that we gathered together a bag for the excursion to the island. St. Thomas itself is relatively small and rises quickly to a decent height. I was somwhat surprised to see that so much of the island remains forested. When we got off the pier, we were immediately beset by taxi drivers. Once we escaped them, we found ourselves in an outdoor mall filled primarily with jewellers and souvenir shops.

We found a watch–a Fossil–for me so that I could stop asking everyone else the time and wandered through a few other places before going back to the pier to meet for our Atlantis Submarine excursion. Once everyone arrived, we walked down the pier to the Subquest, the ship that took us out to the dive spot. The ride out was quite pleasant, and the co-pilot’s narration was generally amusing.

When we got out to the sub and its on-the-water companion, the Subconscious (!!), at their berth near Buck Island, we transferred ourselves to the sub. Inside quarters were tight but not bad. Down the center of the sub was a line of outward-facing seats with a 2-ft-diameter porthole in front of every two spots. Beneath each was a card with pictures and names of some of the fish we could expect to see.

After submersion, things got interesting. We left a sandy area for a deeper ridge and valley where many types of corals and sponges could be found. Fish darted through them and around us. Among others we saw yellow-tail snappers and yallow-and-black-striped sargent majors. We also spotted a couple turtles, a hermit crab, and two nurse sharks. The other side of the sub saw a ray, but we sadly did not.

Once we were back on land, we caught a taxi downtown so that we could check out the Del Sol store where we got shirts that change color when they’re in the sun. Wandering down an alleyway, we found a Cafe Amica where we could eat. At the waitress’s suggestion, Mom, Dad, and I ordered vanilla banana coladas, wihch while not as good (according to my parents) as the act advertised, were very good. Along with that, I ate a “Romanian pizza,” an Italian-style pizza with garlic sauce, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage, capers, and corn. Though it was quite salty, I enjoyed it.

Alleyway

Another taxi ride brought us to the ship where Kelley and I showered the salt water off ourselves before resting. We got up and headed to the pool shortly before the ship left port at 17:00. Kelley and I got in the pool for only a bit before the annoying kids drove us back to the sun chairs. After an additional shower, we readied ourselves for the “Welcome Aboard” show, which included singing, dancing, and the comedian Al Romero. I personally found the ship’s cruise director funnier, but whatever.

At dinner we were somewhat disappointed to find that our assigned table is only for four; we’d been looking forward to some socializing. All the same, we had a good time with duck and beef wellington and various seafood. Our waiter is a nice young man from Indonesia. I think Kelley’s made an impression on him already. Later along, the maitre d’ stopped by. We noted that he was from Turkey and started to tell him what a wonderful time we’d had there. He seemed shocked to find Americans who had been to such a little place as Side.

We ventured to the karaoke bar only to discover that the crowd and some of the singers were…. rather disturbing. Kelley didn’t want at all to perform there, and I can’t blame her.

Monkey?

We then attempted some stargazing out on the Lido Deck, but it was far too windy and too light. It’s choppier tonight, too. Taking refuge in our rooms, we discovered the first of the infamous Towel Creations waiting on my bed. “What is that?!” I demanded. “It’s a monkey,” my mother informed me. To me, it looked more like something grabbing its groin. I spent some time star- and water-gazing on Mom and Dad’s balcony before Kelley and I started brainstorming alternate titles for the monkey. (I’d share some here, but I would hate to see the kind of scary search keywords that would start showing up on my records if I did.)

Things are winding down now, and it’s time for my shower.

More pictures: St. Thomas

25 June 2006 – En Route to St. Thomas, USVI – 23:40

It’s been a long day. Dad woke me up at 03:20 this morning, and we got off shortly after 04:00. All the early morning hocus pocus was nearly for naught, though, because our flight out of Greensboro got delayed by a missing flight attendant. We got to Atlanta with just enough time to be worried about our bags and for me to run several times through the entire terminal in order to find an available restroom. As we settled into our seats in the back of the Boeing 737-300, I spotted a baggage cart with our bags in it getting hauled away.

The flight from Atlanta to San Juan was long enough to warrant an inflight movie: the new Pink Panther film. I haven’t had much interest in that one because I felt like the Peter Sellers version really didn’t need to be messed with. I did watch it, though, and it wasn’t terrible, but I do still prefer Sellers over Martin (and monkeys over hamburgers).

I spent most of the rest of the flight staring at cloud formations over the Caribbean. As we got close to San Juan, though, things got hazy and cloudier.

After enough standing and queueing and shuffling to make me feel thoroughly British and completely exhausted, we made it onto the Carnival Destiny. Since then we’ve spent some time exploring and acclimating ourselves to the environment. We had a lovely dinner with a married couple from Houston and a newly-wed couple straight out of college in Missouri. I was feeling somewhat ill at that point–most likely due to too little food and rest, and only had beef and barley soup and a salad for dinner. The others had some terrific steak and a Black Forest dessert, both of which I tried.

Lido Deck at night

We headed up on deck after dinner for some photos and watching the lights of San Juan (pictures). It may be the cloudy, hazy day, but I think I prefer the city in the dark. Before departure, we held a lifeboat drill, which, as I stood on deck with my orange lifejacket, I thought would never end. After that, we returned to the upper decks to watch as the ship left port. Seeing the fortress lit up at night was nice–which I’d had my camera then.

My sea legs are developing. There’s not much noticeable sway and only a little vibration. Nothing much to speak of.

Best end here so that I’m rested for St. Thomas tomorrow and our Atlantis Submarine tour.

The Devil Is A Mosquito

Maybe I’ve been misled all these years, but isn’t hydracortisone supposed to stop itching? Because this stuff isn’t doing squat for the gifts San Juan left me.

Forgive me for not having gotten around to any serious posts about my trip. May this peace offering sate you for now. It makes a great wallpaper all by its lonesome.

San Juan, Puerto Rico