now that we’ve been back from our honeymoon for some time, i will post the honeymoon photo essay!
i am far too tired from teaching high school students this week to write any sparkling prose, but find photos and a narrative of the trip below. oh, and when danny and i travel together, i take the “people photos” and he takes the “arty photos.” and he takes his photos on a non-digital nikon, so none of his arty photos are posted here. you’ll have to come visit me in houston, where they are hanging on the walls. they make our whole vacation look very arty.
anyway. no further delay.
the good thing about taking a cruise out of galveston was that we could drive there in less than an hour and park at the pier instead of dealing with airfare. and even better: danny’s disabled veteran status earned us free parking, which saved us $70. and i like saving $70. that’s $70 worth of fruity tropical drinks, my friends.
so we drove down to galveston on sunday afternoon, arrived early and starving, and stopped by a mcdonald’s right on the beach to grab lunch. we didn’t know that they’d be serving lunch on the boat, and i wish we had known this, as this mcdonald’s was so packed with skeevy dirty flip-flopped and bikini-topped beachgoers that i felt greasy with sunscreen by the time we finally managed to escape with a chicken sandwich.
afterward we returned to the pier to wait in line. it actually didn’t take nearly as long as i was expecting it to… there were about 3300 passengers, and we were through security and information and check-in in about an hour. and then, one of my favorite parts of the cruise: passing all the suckers who had reserved crappy bottom-deck rooms (suckers) while we boarded the elevators for our sixth-floor balcony room. and the balcony was fantabulous, because it allowed us to spend many hours of our vacation sitting on our little deck reading magazines and watching very blue water go by.
here’s danny on the balcony:
and me, wearing a nautical shirt in honor of our embarkation:
and a view of the ocean under the balcony, obviously taken quite some time after we’d left galveston, where the water is more puke than blue:
we had to do the whole life preserver drill thing, and then the ship set sail around 4:00 pm. danny and i spent most of that afternoon checking out the boat. it had this impressionist painting theme, which was creative but over-the-top and tacky in some of the usual ways.
here’s the interior lobby:
that night we had our first encounter with our table-mates. we’d asked to be placed at an eight-seater table, but the cruise was booked pretty solid, so we didn’t get our first choice and instead ended up sitting at a four-seater, with kip and alycia, a couple from victoria, texas. they’d gotten married the day before. very nice people, but very… texan. kip was skeptical about everything included on the menu that wasn’t, in his words, “meat, potatoes, or cheese.” but there was one thing on the menu every night that satisfied all… the chocolate melting cake. i ordered the chocolate melting cake every night we ate in the dining room save one, and that one night — on which i ordered some apple cinnamon thing — that was a mistake, and i was left wishing i had ordered the melting cake.
here’s a very poor-quality photo of the melting cake:
the first two days were at-sea days, and we spent most of our time lazing about the deck and sipping drinks with fruit on the rim. i got my nails done at the spa and danny got a professional shave. we went to a wine-tasting, where we learned (a) how to be pretentious about wine and (b) that we really like vouvray. overall there was much relaxing, eating, and attending shows in the showy tolouse-lautrec hall.
the second full day at sea ended with the first formal dining night (sorry about the schmutz on the camera lens):
after which danny enjoyed some quiet time with one of the towel animals our room steward left for us:
our first stop was in montego bay, jamaica. no one i know who has been to jamaica has found it particularly pleasant, so we booked tickets to the sandals resort there. a bus picked us up at the pier, drove us to the sandals private beach, and we spent a few hours there with complimentary food and drinks. boy am i glad we did that. the drive on the way to the resort was horribly depressing. outside of resort areas, montego bay is pretty much dirty, run-down, and poverty-stricken. jimmy buffett’s margaritaville is couched amid entire stretches of roofless shacks, each housing approximately 3843984 people.
so anyway. sandals was a good idea. the beach there was really nice, and while i wouldn’t want to spend an entire vacation in jamaica, i really liked reading real simple magazine under a grass umbrella and looking out at the very blue water.
danny out in the water in montego:
us on the beach (notice the lovely sunburn in my armpit):
danny enjoying a cigar on our balcony with jamaica in the background:
after jamaica, we went to grand cayman. we had heard many positive things about grand cayman and therefore chose not to book a shore excursion. we shopped around the main strip, ate at hard rock cafe, and generally ambled along the shore. by this point, of course, i could no longer sit out in the sun, since those parts of me not covered in freckles were pink, despite multiple applications of sunscreen. but grand cayman is BEAUTIFUL and i would definitely go back to stay a while.
us and and the boat at grand cayman:
rocky beach and the boat:
me taking a picture of danny taking a picture of our boat:
me with a giant margaritaville parrot:
amid the shops and attractions at grand cayman there were many statues of a famous pirate named big black dick, which is hilarious. i was going to take a picture of big black dick, but obviously he was always surrounded by half-drunk high school and college kids. (many of such kids were on our ship, i suppose because they just graduated. danny and i call them “the dudes.”)
the weather wasn’t looking too promising toward the end of our day at grand cayman, so danny and i decided to head back to the boat. this time we had to tender, which means taking a little boat to the big boat; i think the pier there was trashed by a hurricane a few years ago.
danny and i on the tender boat:
this, however, is the “before” picture. because the skies opened on the way back, and as the unfortunate passengers sitting along the exterior of the boat, we were soaked to the skin. fortunately, the carnival staff people were handing out fresh, warm towels to passengers as they got back on the boat. so we wrapped up, headed back to the room, and ordered chocolate cake and coffee (free room service!) and watched television and hung out in the room until dinner. when i ate another melting cake. mmmmmmmmelting cake.
our last stop was cozumel, mexico. yay for cozumel! it rocked my socks.
me on the pier at cozumel:
and here’s both of us:
we had booked a mexican cooking class / wine tasting / beach excursion, which turned out to be awesome — the best tour we took. at the pier, a bus picked us up and drove us to playa mia beach park, where a very enthusiastic chef named luis taught us how to cook lots of tasty mexican dishes while his assistant, who unfortunately was nicknamed gordo, kept the margaritas coming. i have lots of pictures of this because it was SO FUN. and we got to wear HATS.
i like wearing goofy hats on vacation.
and so does danny, after a few margaritas:
and after a shot or two of tequila:
he was concentrating very intently on our meal. next to him, find greg, whom i did not like. i thought he was bossy. he kept telling me where my butter should go. jerkface.
and below find danny with luis, our charismatic instructor. whenever he said my name it sounded like “bicky.” he gave us this sage advice: to ensure that you wash your hands for the appropriate amount of time before cooking, sing the “american version” of “la cucaracha,” which goes like this:
after our fabulous cooking class and some time lounging around the beach and taking pictures at playa mia, a bus took us back to the main drag in cozumel, where we did a little bit of shopping and were yelled at by many mexicans wanting to sell us things. most vendors were trying to be clever. “come and buy a necklace for your beautiful woman!” but my favorite was more straight-forward. “come into my store and buy things!”
statue on the coast of mexico:
then we had to get back on the boat, alas:
we had one more day at sea before we got back to galveston. this was the only rough day, and although i don’t get seasick and in fact find myself rather amused when the boat is tippy, kip was not so fortunate. but we had a good time doing many on-the-boat things. we tried our hand at the casino (danny at the blackjack table, where he came out under $25, and me at the quarter slots, where i won 25 cents!) and drank a few fruity drinks.
a scary picture of me in the casino with a fruity drink:
sunday found us back in galveston. and let me tell you, the water in galveston looks much pukier upon your return. but it was a very relaxing week, and i actually did feel a little.. rejuvenated about school upon my return. of course, this has swiftly faded.