Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vacay #1: Mexico

My deepest apologies for taking forever to blog about my cruise. I have had a stressful 3 weeks of vacationing, shopping, eating and sleeping.
I don't have all the pictures from my fellow travellers... so here are some highlights featuring my photos.

Speaking of my fellow travellers... here they are. Joanna, Alyssa & Melissa. I had the privilege of sitting in the front seat of our taxi from LAX to the Los Angeles temple at 1am. Good times.

We stayed in the L.A. temple patron housing Friday night. It was much cheaper than a hotel and we had planned to go to a session at the temple Saturday morning before getting on the boat. The housing lady told me to call security when we were getting off the freeway to have them open the temple ground gates for us.

I called.

No one answered.

We pulled up. And the gate was locked. We were on the outside trying to get in. And there were some guys with their car on the inside trying to get out. I walked up to the gate to get the scoop. As soon as I looked at the guys I totally recognized them. They were roommates of a friend (of mine from Ricks College) that I had met in Virginia. Did you get that? Weird. We met twice in Virginia. And again after midnight on the L.A. Temple grounds. They said they were trying to get their car out and that security was no where to be found. They told us about a spot where the gate was lower and we could easily hop over. Our taxi took us there where the guys met us to help us also put our luggage over the gate. I think our taxi driver thought we were nuts and was probably considering calling the cops. Luckily, he didn't. Here we are jumping the fence, with our good buddy helping us out.

Such a beautiful temple. I felt like a celebrity. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling 100% yet. My cough was pretty much the only thing remaining. And it was loud and frequent. Throughout the session I was offered cough drops, tissues, water, etc. I received pats on the back, words of encouragement and so much more. From the temple, we took a $90 taxi to the port where we got on our boat. The Norwegian Star. Saturday evening & Sunday were days at sea. This was the view from our port hole. We had 4 of us in a small room. But it was much bigger than what we thought it would be. I was sure one of us would have to sleep in the shower. Luckily, that wasn't the case. Monday- our first port was Cabo San Lucas. We were attacked my offers for taxi's. We had a guy down to 500 pesos when we spotted a guy with a sign that read "Special LDS rate" and had a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. We chatted with him to see what special rate he would give us. We got him down to 800 pesos. I am not sure why we went with him when we had a much better deal with our other guy?? We took a boat taxi to Lover's Beach. It was gorgeous. Our driver/ captain (what are they called if they are driving a boat taxi??) took us to a few of the features of Lover's Beach- like the cool rocks and the smelly sea lions.

My favorite part of the beach experience is when the boat just pulls up to the beach and you jump off. While the waves are crashing and the boat is moving. I was the last one to get off and of course a big wave came up and knocks me off the boat. I fell under the boat, my flipflops fell off and I later discovered that my pockets and bathing suit filled with sand. Luckily, watching me was a man who caught my flipflops and travelling companions who laughed and laughed at me. Our taxi captain said he would be back in an hour to pick us up. So I tried to dry off while trying to avoid contact with sand. That was fun.

We returned to the town where we browsed the shops and street vendors. My goal was to try guacamole at each of our ports. (Sadly this was the only place I experienced it- other than the ship). So when I saw this sign, I knew we had to eat at this restaurant. And it was good. Holly Guacamole indeed.

Tuesday- Port numero 2 was Mazatlan. We caught a taxi to the "Golden Zone" which was pretty much a "Let's sell the same crap to these dumb American tourist Zone". Wasn't very impressive. There was a spot between the shops where you could walk onto the beach. But you got attacked by guys selling stuff, so it wasn't too relaxing.
Exhibit A. Joanna on the beach. The rest of the people in the picture= guys selling stuff.
Here are my feet relaxing on the dark sands of Mazatlan. One regret is not collecting sand at each of the beaches. The taxi's were pretty snazzy though. Our driver even let me pose as the driver. I should have taken off and become an illegal Canadian living it up in Mexico.

Wednesday- Our last port was Puerto Vallarta. This was our longest port but unfortunately, we saw and did the least here. Joanna and I decided to get pedicures at the spa. Then we ventured out to find nothing but a Super Walmart across the street, beckoning us.

I know that Walmart is dumb and American. But it was probably one of my favorite places, other than the beach. It was neat looking at all the fun, unique products. My favorite was this:
I love it. Second regret, not buying 10 of these. It just makes me smile. Since it was our last stop in Mexico, I had to spend my pesos. So spend them I did.
On fun chapsticks. And oddly named candy. And a churro mix that comes with a free pasty bag. Ha ha. And delightful flavored juice crystals. Like Apple, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Mango. I am not sure if that one brand is Clight or perhaps C light... like Crystal Light. Clight just sounds like a disease.

But don't worry. I didn't give all of my pesos to Walmart. I did buy this fun little bowl from a nice senorita in Cabo. I think it really needs some salsa or guacamole in it.

Thursday & Friday were days at sea as we sailed back to Los Angeles.
Thursday was a sunny day. But windy. Too windy. Wind is probably my least favorite element. We were trying to enjoy our last 2 days of cruising by sitting on the deck, soaking up the sun and reading. But the wind made it too cold so I headed back inside. And it is a good thing I left when I did as later that evening I developed some weird wind/sun burn combo on my feet, shoulders and a knee. Yes. A knee.
We were deeply saddened to wake up Friday morning to find the sky cloudy and the wind still blowing. It was soo chilly. So we hid inside. All day.
When the wind blows, the boat rocks. On the first day, I felt a little sea sick, but nothing major. By the last day I was feeling fine, while my travelling companions were all Nauseated Nancy's. The worst place for feeling it was in the theater as shown by the rocking and rolling set.
Being our last night, we decided to live it up and eat at Endless Summer, a Mexican restaurant on the ship. I was full after the guacamole, mango salsa & chips they started us out with. Then we received our complementary margaritas. We were pretty much an anomaly- cruisers over the age of 18 that didn't drink an ounce of alcohol.
Unfortunately I was full by the time our food arrived. But I managed to eat some of my burrito and a smidgen of the mango/pineapple dessert.
My pasty skin (other than the burnt patches) rejoiced to see the sun out and the clouds/wind gone when we ported in Los Angeles. We spent the day amongst the palm trees, DSW's, Targets and walked along Hollywood Blvd. And even hit Downtown Disney for dinner. It was quite the painful experience to be so close to Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones & Soarin' Over California and not ride them. We were wondering if you could buy discounted tickets (since it was 9pm and the park closes at midnight) but just like every party has, we had some poopers that didn't want to. So we returned to our hotel room. Where we slept for 3 hours before heading to the airport to return home.
It was a great trip as evidenced by Exhibit B. My awesome tan lines.


Kristi said...

sun, guacamole, party poopers- so fun. thanks for sharing your adventures.

Mikaela said...

What a great vacation! I love all your fun stories! It looks like you all had a fabulous adventure. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your travels, so keep 'em comin'!

aniC said...

i'm still sad i wasn't invited. but i guess you made up for it by coming and visiting me.

Craig and Amanda said...

Shelley, I loved looking at your pictures it looked like so much fun I was jealous. I can't believe you went to walmart are so funny!!

Rachel D said...

fun trip eh! when we cruised riviera style we hit mazatlan first and made our way up, and i totally remember lovers island in cabo...too bad there were no lovers around.