Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
And here I am at the top on my climb, having just rung the bell. It's funny, it was fine going up at first, but after about halfway I got nervous (being not so fond of heights and all). I was up to the last hand-hold I had to reach to get to the bell and I totally froze because it was a little high for me to reach, and I got nervous I was going to fall, so it took me a minute to get up the courage to jump up and reach the last stupid handhold. I don't know how those American Gladiators do it, I tell you.
Let me tell you, bowling on a ship that is rocking back and forth (even gently) is really hard, because you never know which direction the bowling ball is going to roll! I don't think I broke 100 playing either game.
Of course, we spent a lot of time just hanging out by the pool, reading and sleeping in the sun. It was great. And here is my tan line as proof of all that time in the sun!
More than anything, we spent a lot of time with each other. Luckily that's easy for us!
One of the nights they had a party complete with drinks made out of pineapples. That was pretty awesome. But really heavy and hard to carry because they cut off the bottoms to make them flat, which meant that they dripped pineapple juice everywhere.
Sometimes there wasn't a whole lot going on, so we had to make our own fun...
Sadly, the whole nine days passed by and before we knew it, it was time to go home! Here we are getting off the ship at Miami.
And off we were for the twelve hour drive back to Durham (surprisingly not nearly as bad as it sounds). But, we had one more awesome thing that capped off our trip. For I don't know, two years maybe, Bri has been telling us about this chain of fast food restaurants in Ohio called Fazoli's, which has "real Italian real fast." There are some in the southeast but none near Durham. Chris actually mapped out any along our route from Durham to Miami but couldn't find any that seemed nearby the freeway. Anyway, as we're driving back up to Durham from Miami, I pulled off on a random exit to find something to eat for lunch. As we're meandering around, being our normal indecisive selves about where to eat, all of a sudden Bri screams at the top of her lungs, "Oh my God, there's a Fazoli's!!!" And there it was indeed. So of course we stopped there and enjoyed some real Italian real fast, which was actually pretty good. Here we are celebrating the occassion.
And that was it for our trip!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Ok, first of all, Britney Spears is an absolutely horrendous actress. If she comes near one of my shows again, I will cut her. Second of all, why all the Britney Spears promotion when really they should have been shouting from the rooftops that Sarah Chalke was on the show?? She is so fantastic, I love her, and if I'd know she was on tonight I would have been super excited. Not that I wasn't already super excited, it's HIMYM after all, but still. So I feel like the producers completely focused on the wrong guest star, because let's face it, if you're awesome enough to love HIMYM, you're probably smart enough to loathe Britney Spears and be *less* inclined to watch because she's on, not more. Not that such casting stunts are done for the loyal viewer, but regardless.
Also, that two-minute date he made for Sarah Chalke? Man, I want to be the mother of Ted's kids. That was so sweet and adorable. His real-life dad is a partner at Bri's firm, I should get her to make friends with him (even though he's in a different city) so he can get us together.
In other news, I taught step again today! I did another half of the class, this time with two combinations that I made up myself, and it seemed to go well again. And Cat came, which was fun! She said she liked both the combos and me as a teacher, so yay. I have the instructor exam in less than two weeks, which makes me nervous since I don't know any of the stuff that's on the written exam yet. I hope I actually learn the stuff in time, it'd be really embarrassing to fail. Not nearly as bad as failing the bar would be, but hopefully avoidable nonetheless.
And here we are on it! It was really pretty underwater, I saw some cool fishies. I bought a disposable underwater camera and took some pictures but I haven't developed them yet (not that I'd be able to show them to you without scanning them or something, seeing as they're real live hard copies).
After snorkeling for a while, we went to a little restaurant for lunch. We got to try some of the local beer, Wadadli. Here is Chris drinking his beer and getting ready to dance this dance we were taught by the band singing (the restaurant was pretty much just for big tour groups coming through). I do have video of him dancing, but I'm not putting it up for now.
And after that we headed back to the boat! Antigua was nice, but it didn't seem like there was a ton to do. The next day we went to Barbados, which I think was my favorite of our stops. It had a very European feel, Bri and I both agreed. This is the Barbados Parliament building.
Barbados was actually the only place we went to where we didn't go to some sort of water (beach or waterfall). Our first stop was to a rum distillery for a tour.
It was actually a surprisingly detailed tour. We got to hear the history of the company, of course, and check out some historical-type rum things. Here are Bri and I at the pot still that the distillery originally used in the 1800s.
And here is Chris outside of what looks like a Barbadian rum shop (it's actually the front of their theater where we watched a video of Mount Gay Rum being made).
We got to try a couple of their rums at the end of the tour, and one of them tasted like scotch, which was unexpected. That's what happens when you let your rum age a lot, apparently.
After that we went to the Barbados museum and got to see lots of old Barbados stuff. It was more museum than I was expecting, given other less than awesome museums I've seen in various places.
They had some other places that sounded like they could have been neat, like George Washington's house on Barbados, but we elected to skip that and head to Ocean Park, an aquarium. Here we are at the entrance! And yes, the seahorses do shoot water.
It was interesting being there because it was run very differently. For example, most aquariums have a touch pool (see picture) where you can hold some of the little sea creatures. In the USA, they have an employee monitoring you and making sure you don't do anything improper. In Barbados, there's no one around so you end up with obnoxious women (not us) poking sea stars with sticks and taking them out of the water.
Another difference? In Barbados, you an actually wade into the Stingray Pool. And again, there was no one around to monitor (although we didn't go in until we saw someone who worked there and were able to ask them if it was ok, because we weren't sure if maybe we were misinterpreting the name "wading pool" somehow...seeing as, again, there were stingrays in there, it just seemed not right).
And that was our whole day in Barbados! When we got back to the ship, our favorite housekeeping guy had left us yet another surprise, this one actually identifiable.
What a red-letter day! Ok, that was long so I'll save St. Lucia for another post.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This is only somewhat related, but once I'm settled in up in DC I'd like to get a saltwater aquarium. I know they're a lot of work and all, but I really like them and I think it'd be really neat to have in my apartment. I'm not sure when I'd actually get it, but eventually. I'd probably have to settle for a regular-sized starfish, though...bo-ring.
...And this is what the rest of Samana looks like. Actually, this is relatively nice for what we saw driving to the spot where we got the horses. It was kind of awful. If you can see in this picture (it's kind of small) they have something about God written in that yellow scroll painted on the house. I'd say at least half, if not more, of the homes in Samana had something God-related written on them, which I found interesting.
Anyway, we finally made it to the horse place and we got relatively decent horses for the half-hour (ish?) ride to the waterfall. It's very interesting, they have kids (high school maybe?) who literally walk along side you the entire way, keeping the horse moving. At first I thought, maybe we're just really close? Or maybe they're just getting started? But nope, they go the whole way. The girl who was with me was very nice though, once she figured out I understood spanish she was chatty with me. However, I could barely say anything back to her because I couldn't remember the words in spanish, just italian, so it was kind of embarrassing. Here we are atop our horses, making this vacation number three involving horseback riding.
And this is the waterfall we went to! Cascada Limon. You swim at the base. There were a bunch of locals there too, and some of the kids (again, probably high school-ish age) would climb up the waterfall partway and jump into the water. No thanks!
Theoretically after this we were supposed to go to a beach to swim, but we ran out of time so we just called it a day and headed back to the ship.
The next day we were going to Tortola, and there didn't seem to be a lot to do there so we decided to just make it a beach day. Tortola was much nicer than Samana, in standard of living if not in natural beauty. Here is the beach we went to.
Unfortunately it started raining (not downpour, but enough that it was hard to just sit out on the beach) so we finished up early and went back to the ship, where at least we could hide from the rain on the ship. Here is another shot of the island, from the vehicle taking us back to the ship.
When we got back to the ship, though, we had a special surprise! The housekeeping guy that did our hallway somehow knew who we were, because every time we passed him by in the hall he'd say to us "Hello ladies. Christopher." (You have to imagine that with a Filipino accent, too). Anyway, we got back that night and look what he left us in our room!
We weren't *quite* sure what he was (duck? swan?) but I welcomed him to the room regardless.
I forgot, I promised to tell you about the worst magician ever. The ship had a "theater" where every night they had a different sort of show. I don't remember precisely what night it was, but it was either after Samana or Tortola, they had a magician named Richard Burr (not the senator, mind you) performing. He was stupendously awful. Like, you could see the trick behind every damn thing he did. He told very weird stories, and then as he finished every trick he would shout out "Yessss!", as if he wasn't sure if it would work. The best part is, they kept touting him as this magician with five Guinness World Records. However, when we got back home Bri looked him up and it turns out that all five records are for rolling silver dollar coins around his fingers. That's not even magic!! He was truly terrible. Mystic Marty would have been way better. But he gave us something to laugh about, so I guess it was worth it.
Next time: Antigua, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Or maybe some subset thereof.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Of course, the biggest landmark was South of the Border. I had never heard of this prior to driving to Atlanta a year and a half ago, but apparently it's this weird amusement park/motel/I don't know what on the border between North and South Carolina. They have billboards for miles in both directions, with great sayings like "You never sausage a place. You're always a wiener at Pedro's!" Here we are passing by it (yes, amazingly enough we decided not to stop.)
We finally made it to Miami and spent the night at our $17 dollar hotel. They didn't have our reservation in their system (shocking), but luckily Chris had printed the confirmation email and so they were stuck with us. It's funny, it was right on the water and right next to the Hilton, but the hotel was really crappy and worth much closer to the $17 we paid than to the going rate (according to Orbitz) of like $160.
The next day, we made our way to the port and to our lovely boat, the Norwegian Pearl.
We'd heard that all you do on cruises is eat, and sure enough, first thing we did when we go there was have lunch!
We knew that on the cruise specialty drinks (ie anything other than water, tea or coffee) had an extra charge, so we managed to pose for some pictures which portray what it would look like if we'd brought along some contraband champagne and mini bottles of liquor (which we didn't, of course).
For the first day we were just at sea, so we hung out by the pool, played around on the ship, and just relaxed. It was great! This was when we figured out that the ship was filled primarily with people at least 15 years older than we are, too (turns out it's a crapshoot whether the restaurants/bars/lounges actually have anyone in them or not after 10...some nights you get lucky, some you don't).
Next entry...the island stops and the crappiest magician ever!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Update: We were supposed to meet for the picture at 12:15, and it started raining literally at 12:12. And stopped by 12:30, but it was too late and they cancelled the picture. Although instead of the rain date they gave us (the Tuesday after spring break) they decided to do it tomorrow at 12:15. I have a test during that time! Dumbasses. Luckily I spoke to that professor and she's letting me do the exam later that afternoon, so it works out ok, but why have a rain date if you're just going to make up some other date anyway?
Monday, March 03, 2008
I went to the dog park yesterday with Jamie, as we do every weekend, and there were two little girls there, maybe 10 years old (not related, both their with different families). And their names were Bronwyn and Indigo. Ok, I know I don't have much room to talk, but really? Those are the best names their parents could come up with? Especially Indigo. Come on. Other than Violet (which is a real name), colors were meant to describe colors only, not people.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
I got the study materials for the group fitness instructor exam today in the mail...and now I'm scared of this test! There's 100 multiple choice questions, which cover biology, anatomy, things like "which exercise isn't an example of X?" and basically all that stuff that I haven't thought about since AP Bio. I have to get 80% of those right, which is waaay more than I had to get for the MPRE! And then there's the practical portion, where I have to do a bunch of stuff both in a group and by myself, and I have to get a "pass" in nine out of ten categories. So now I'm scared I'm going to embarrass myself and fail this exam. Great.