Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vacation Journal, part 8- St. Kitts

For our stop in St. Kitts we didn’t plan a tour, we just knew we wanted to hit a beach for the day.  Originally, I thought we would hit Cockleshell Beach.  Well, we had breakfast and ventured off the boat.  Upon entering the terminal area, we were approached by someone selling a tour. He whips out his portfolio and flips through all the pictures showing us what we’d see throughout the day and also the beach we would visit, South Friar’s Beach (this was another one I wanted to see and was having a hard time deciding which to visit).  The whole day only cost $20 per person.  We thought this would be a good deal considering that just a taxi to and from the beach would cost at least $20.  And now we would be able to see a little bit of the island, too.  We told us to meet 40 minutes later so we had time to browse the shopping area.  It was then that I realized I forgot to pull more cash out of the safe.  I spent HOURS researching and deciding what we would be doing on each island. This also included budgeting and breaking down what I thought we would spend on each island.  I had everything broken down in envelopes and paperclipped all together.  Tim made fun of me the weeks leading up to the vacation because I was spending so much time planning and figuring it out.  It was pretty funny on the night before we left, I had piles of cash laying out on the bed trying to sort it and jeep it separate and also trying to put it together knowing what bills I would need.  This is definitely not the task I would normally take on in the relationship.  HE’s the financial one, not me! But I am the planner so I guess if it needs done ahead of time, that falls under my umbrella.  Remember, he still didn’t know what islands we were going to when we stepped on the ship.  Actually, every night he asked where we would be the next day!  So now my only problem was I left this day’s cash back on the ship.  Dang it! Back to the ship I go.  I walked quickly, grabbed the cash, and was on my way back to the shopping area.  We browsed a bit and then met up with our group as they were walking to the little bus we would be on for the morning.  See—almost got left AGAIN!  Good thing for good timing.  Or just luck, I guess.

The land in the distance is the Brimstone Hill Fortress


Where they used to distill the rum

At the endge of the rain forest

We saw the Brimstone Hill Fortress from afar- the group opted out of going inside.  The first stop we have was an old distillery.  Here they made rum in the 1800’s, I think.  We walked down into the beginning of the rain forest area and saw a little stream. 

Next, we went to the Caribelle Batik Factory. Batik is what you see on all the sarongs on different islands.  The patterns on the clothing is hand made.  I’m really not sure if it’s wax or something similar but they draw it on and then melt it off…..ok, not really sure what I’m talking about here—but it’s something like that.  J  Here they had really pretty grounds and beautiful gardens. 
Caribelle Batik. Old ruins

Gardens at Caribelle Batik

After this we drove back the way we came and headed further south.  On the drive through a town we saw a tiger shark being brought up from the water. The guys that had caught it (I’m guessing from a fishing boat) we so excited and happy! They were showing it off as they wheeled it up from the shore.  It was a big one, already gutted and everything. 




One of the best views we saw all week was here on St. Kitts where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic were divided by land and you could see both from up high at a viewing area. The beach we were going to is down on the lower right hand side of some of the photos. 


This is zoomed in to the beach we went to, South Friar's

Best view we saw all week!

After this we went on the beach.  I really liked this beach because it offered a lot of everything. There was jet ski rentals, a bar and restaurant, snorkeling areas, a big sunning/diving platform, lots of umbrellas and chairs for shade, monkeys. Yes, monkeys!! Wild monkeys and mongoose just roaming around!



Plus the water was nice and clear.  Glad we ended up at this beach! Another couple that was on the tour wanted to rent jet skis so we walked down to that area with them to find out the price.  If we both got them they would charge us $45 for 30 minutes.  We thought that was reasonable so listened to the rules, threw on our lifejackets and hopped on!  We were restricted to staying a certain distance out and in-between a certain area.  But we could go out as far as we wanted!  At first I wanted to go out really far.  Tim would drive us out and then come back in.  We kept doing this and every time he went out further! Total anxiety!!!  I wonder how deep the water was out there.  I didn’t drive cuz I was too scared to switch spots on fall off in the ocean!!  Jet skiing in the ocean- two thumbs up! Glad we did it! After we turned the jet ski back in we lounged in the sand. Tim took a nap, I took in the sights.  After awhile I got back in the water to snorkel the length of the coral.  Here I saw lots of fish, some really colorful. None that big, which was ok with me! I also saw LOTS of sea urchins with looonnnngggggg spines.  The longest I’d seen. I would guess some spines were 10-12 inches.  Once I was done snorkeling, Tim was ready to hit the water for a little bit before we had to meet up with the rest of our group for the ride back to the ship. 

Throughout the whole vacation we took into consideration if we could live there.  As we were planning our trip we watched lots of House Hunters International and I decided it would be a goal/dream of mine to have a house on an island someday.  Tim agreed! So we made sure to think about whether or not we could live on any of the islands we visited.  I decided St. Kitts would be my choice.  For some reason, hard to pinpoint why exactly, St. Kitts was my favorite island. 

Once back on the ship we got some sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, fries, and of course frozen yogurt! This afternoon was a Battle of the Sexes game that Tim wanted to catch.  We made sure to be there for that. They played one game and had a hard time getting others to volunteer for the next one.  I made Tim just up there with me and we waited to see what our task would be.  We were on a team of 3 and we had to circle the pool area holding a golf ball on a ping-pong paddle.  Tim beat me in our round, I was too worried about dropping the dang thing.  Us females lost the relay L  But we both got a cruise ship medal!! Lol After the short game we went up to Deck 11 and played a round of miniature golf.  It was actually a pretty fun course and I beat Tim!!--- Did anyone believe that??  Cuz I didn’t, he actually smoked me.  I didn’t do too horribly and actually beat him on two holes!!

Once dinner came around we still weren’t too hungry but decided to go to the dining room for apps and dessert! And we had a blackjack tournament to get to.  There is a blackjack tournament held on Friday night and Tim wanted to enter.  He has really good luck in Vegas at the tables so we were hoping for the same here, too!  So we ordered quickly and were on our way.  We got the chicken noodle soup, wild mushroom soup, the tomato and mozzarella salad, chicken tenders with thai spices, the raspberry cake, and of course the chocolate melting cake! All good! Tim’s luck wasn’t as good as some of the other guys’ and his name didn’t stay on the leaderboard too long L  He played a few rounds and I hit the fairy slot machine again. And even won some again!
Tonight we also saw a new comedian that was pretty funny.  We really didn’t drink too much on the ship at all but while in the comedy club we ordered a couple. I got the Kiss on the Lips, mango puree, peach schnapps, and grenadine.  Fruity and not too much alcohol- just how I like it! A good drink to recreate for summertime!!

Tomorrow – St. Maarten and the last full day on the ship L


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vacation Journal, part 7- St. Lucia- more photos

The biggest tree in St. Lucia

A jail used during battles for the island.

Fishing village- Anse La Raye

Our tour guise James, feeding the banana peels to goats

Calabash tree


The Pitons

Small village, Soufriere, near the volcano


Diamond Falls



Here you can see my hand reaching for the flower. Another person on the tour told me not to touch it- but was too late. Tim and I were behind the tour guide and didn't hear the warning that you can read about in the picture...Oops! Luckily, I didn't feel any of those effects  :)

Beach on the south end of the island

Tim took a picture of me on the beach....

And I took a pic of him...we just didn't know it til we were going through pictures.

Up next- St. Kitts

Vacation Journal, part 7- St. Lucia

Ok- Long hiatus from blogging. Mainly cuz I've just been too lazy to write, then once I wrote I was too lazy to upload the pictures.  Pair that with this crazy week of hurting my back, not being able to move around or walk and then later in the week Kaydin throwing up multiple times on Wednesday and Friday, well blogging has taken the back burner.  I'm glad to say my movement is almost back to 100% and Kaydin seems to be past her throwing up and back to her normal energetic self.  Now back to finishing our travel reviews....

Today (May 5) we had a tour with James Touring Service.  James was a great guide and we saw LOTS of the island.  Today we ran into lots of rain and it was cloudy and overcast most of the day.  We started out seeing downtown Canaries and the largest tree on the island.  We also saw many calabash trees, their state tree or country tree, whatever you would call it..  The fruit is huge but not eaten, only hollowed out and dried and used for bowl-type uses.  We also saw the governor’s house- beautiful.  And she’s a woman! Woop!!  We drove through the windy roads and went from one end of the island to the other.  We went up some pretty steep and winy roads- thank goodness Tim and I do not get motion sickness. 


The Governor's Mansion
 


A cashew




Banana plantation

We saw many banana plantations throughout the day and stopped at one.  People were selling bananas there.  James bought some for the group to try.  They were really sweet! Better than the ones we have here.  They also were selling banana ketchup and banana BBQ sauce in a stand along side the road. This was one the things I read about.  Kaydin and Tim use ketchup or ranch on almost EVERYthing so wanted to bring some back home.  Surprisingly, they have not opened the bottles yet!  We sampled the ketchup and it was very good, didn’t try the BBQ sauce but I’m sure that is very good, too.
During the drive James stopped (well his driver did) and jumped out to pick a cashew nut. I had no idea it grew like this.  No wonder they can be so expensive.  Only one nut is inside this and he said it was a lot of work to grow and harvest the nuts.  He bit into one and it gushed juice. Later in the day he picked a cocoa fruit.  Inside were the individual cocoa beans.  We tried it and it was juicy and tart, but REALLY slimy and gross feeling.

We saw the small fishing village of Anse La Raye.  Here they have a Friday Night Fish Fry and party into the night, EVERY Friday.  That would be fun to attend.  IT seemed that a good deal of the island was pretty poor but we saw some massive houses also that were very cool!!  And going for a cheap price, too!  St. Lucia is where the Piton (Pee-tawn) Mountains are.  Very pretty! St. Lucia had some great views. Would have been even better in the sunshine.

Along the road was a man with a python.  We stopped to see the snake and were able to take pictures. In my head the whole time I KNEW I would NOT touch that thing.  Well somehow this happened---


Yikes!!

We were able to pick the places we wanted to see with James. I did want to see the bubbling volcano of sulphur but he said it would be an additional $8 entry fee and that you don’t get to see too much and suggested going to the botanical gardens and Diamond Falls.  Here it was still an additional $5 fee for entry but as a group we decided on that.  The waterfall was really cool and all the plants and flowers here were really cool.  Tim lagged behind the group and tour guide and took lots of great pictures.  I never knew he liked flowers so much!!  ;) Actually I think it is mainly the picture taking that he really enjoyed.  But he said this was his favorite place of the day.  The waterfall is fresh spring water and we saw the area where it starts.

After this stop we traveled further south so hit a beach. The one that he normally stopped at was getting rain and thought if we traveled further down we would find some sunshine, and we did.  It was cool being able to see so much of the island but Tim thought it was too much time in the car- he was right but still a good tour and saw many things!