Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tanned, Rested, But Not Yet Ready

To head back to work that is. Your hero (Me) is back from the whirlwind tour across the western Caribbean on a well needed vacation. What follows (is a rather long) summery of our trip.

Sunday: Come Sail Away
An Early morning good bye to the pub-a-lup and a drive to the airport was fairly uneventful. Parking was easy as the Turkey Day crush hadn’t hit yet. Checking in was another story however. Our airline (rhymes with Air Scam) has begun to charge for your second checked bag, so we decided to cram everything into one bag each. Not a bad idea but what we didn’t figure on was getting hit with an overage charge for 1 of the bags weighing over 50 pounds. That took a $40 chunk out of my wallet. It wasn’t until later that we realized (Mrs. Bloggerman realized I mean) that if we had brought another bag and took out the over weight portion of our stuff we would have only gotten a $20 hit on the second checked bag. Note to the Airlines: I hope you choke on these bag are all criminals and extortionists. If you knew how to run a business you would buy your supplies (fuel) in bulk and would have been able to lock in low prices the first time around. Also if gas/oil prices are so can you still justify charging these rates??? Go Fly Southwest!

A nice, easy cab ride to the cruise port in Tampa and an easy time meeting up with the ‘Rents and getting on board helped soothe my feelings over the bags. We had a beautiful (but windy) sail away from Tampa and got to see the sparse 6 feet of clearance between the top of the ship and the bottom of the skyway bridge, Yikes! Our first dinner on board was also really good with the exception of our idiot Matre’ D and his “Hello” shtick...nobody cares...stop it! Now!

Monday: Under (or rather on top of) the Sea
Our first full day started at sunrise with Mrs. Blogerman’s birthday and a 4-mile run on the deck (that’s 16 laps around the ship for those of you keeping score at home) and a stretch class on deck. Not a bad way to see the sunrise if you have the opportunity. Then on to breakfast where I found my new favorite jelly, guava!! A fun day was enjoyed by kicking back in a beach chair by the pool and taking in the sun while my lovely wife enjoyed her day at the spa. We topped off the evening at the ship’s Supper Club with so much damn food that we could barely even finish half of our main course much less desert.

Tuesday: Grand Cay-mon-man
There really aren’t many people as crazy as the Blogger family. Who else would get into their first Caribbean port first thing in the morning and catch the first tender off the ship just to get a run in? We took a quick jaunt down the famous 7-mile beach but could only get in about 4-miles before the morning rains came (the only rain we saw all week btw!). Never a worry as we caught a bus back to the docks and went back to the ship to grab breakfast and a shower. We then met back up with the ‘Rents to tour around Georgetown and Hell (yes that’s what it’s really called!) The day finished up with dinner and some gambling. Yeah gambling!!

Wednesday: Discover Mexico – 1KM
Cozumel can be a very depressing or a very fun place depending on who you talk to. However if you give that person a lot of liquor and watch your mother do her first tequila shot in at least 40 years I think you’re going to end up on the fun side of the equation. When we got into port we did a little shopping (ok window browsing) and then headed over to Playa Mia for our cooking class with Louis and Moises. They were great and thankfully there were no sharp knives around their kitchen so we didn’t make the dangerous mistake of combining a deboning a fish while under the influence of lots of alcohol!! We all had a great time cooking tilapia, chicken, saprasillas, and even some rice pudding stacks for dessert.

Thursday: Belize Me? Belize You!
What do you get when you combine dangerous crocodiles, a deflating pontoon boat, a missing hat, and the open ocean? You get one hell of a trip up and back the Belize River. Then again you really should expect the unexpected when you go to a Central American country where the beer is cheaper to buy then the water. Mrs. Bloggerman and I piloted our own boat (along with a few others in our convoy) up the Belize River with our three guides leading the way in their boat. We went through the Mangroves, up the river past crocs and iguanas, and then turned around only to find out that we had sprung a link in one of our inflatable pontoons. One of our guides, Jakeem, jumped on board and started pumping away at the portable pump. His stay on board lasted the entire way back as that damn leak just wouldn’t go away! All was good however until Mrs. Bloggerman’s favorite Mr. Met hat went skyward and then underwater as we hit a particularly hard bend in the water. couldn’t get any worse could it (although we were still having a good time!) could....after following the convoy back down the river toward the port we take a sharp turn into what looks a lot like the ocean. was the ocean. There are the cruise ships and all we are thinking is make sure to stay in the wake of the boat in front of you so we don’t flip in the water with a skinning ship and a life jacket that had questionable floatability left in it. We got back in one piece and after a few stiff drinks realized it was a hell-ova day!

Friday: Ro-w, Ro-w, Roatan
Not nearly as funny but this wasn’t a funny stop. Only a very relaxing beach break on a private island with only 20 of the approx 2500 people on board the ship. We had the chance to check out the animal rescue operation they have going on (with lots of monkeys, parrots, and something that looked like a leopard cub), the pool, and the best part the white sandy shore with not a ship in site. We got some great snorkeling in with our guide, Umberto, and even got stung by a school of jelly fish that we didn’t even see until after the fact. Finish up the afternoon with some Fundito (queso cheese and refried red beans served fondue-style) and some cold beers.

Saturday: On the Sea Again
We set out to sea on our return to the states so I decided it was a perfect time to test our wind speed and run 10 miles (40 laps around the ship) to get some exercise. After breakfast it was straight out to the pool lounge chair to get some sun and finish the process of “chilaxing”. That was the long and short of the day. Not exciting but it sure was calming for the nerves.

Sunday: The Great Return
The day represented both highs and lows. We had the highs of a great morning but the lows of getting off the ship and realization that our vacation was coming to an end plus the fact that my Jets couldn’t get the job done in the rain against the Broncos later on in the day. I think I lost about 10% more hair then when I started after the game. We spent the day over at my parent’s house and then got ready to head back home on Monday.

Monday: The Final Act
If you’ve read this’re crazy and possibly part of the chronically unemployed sub set of home shopping network purchasers and infomercial watching addicts. But I feel that I owe you a final chapter. We got to the airport (with 3 bags this time) at 3pm for a 6pm flight that didn’t take off until 730pm. When we got up in the air we hit a top speed of 719 mph (aided by a 150mph tail wind) and got into Baltimore at our originally scheduled arrival time of 9pm. That’s fast. Once we got the car, we headed home to the Mooks who was way too happy to see us!

In closing a great time was had by all and I want to extend a special thanks to the crew over at MightyBabyBoig for taking care of the pup-a-lup and to Mom and Dad Bloggerman for a great week of family vacation.

Ok now if you have not jabbed your eyes out with a fork here's a photo album of the week:
Thanksgiving Cruise 2008

Until next post (tomorrow)...Bloggerman Out!

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