Spring Break, part three

April 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

Wednesday, March 26

Today, we docked in St Lucia, and I think it was my favorite of all the islands we’ve visited. Ashley had to fly back to the real world today, so she’ll be missing out on the rest of the adventure. Again, we got a rental car, and drove around the island. St Lucia has much steeper, narrower, and windy roads than the rest of the islands, but my dad did a great job driving and only scared the rest of us a little bit.

The town of Soufriere… so cute!

We drove by several cute little seaside towns on our way to see the Pitons (two very steep and strangely-shaped hills). We also drove into a volcano. Okay, it used to be a volcano. A long, long time ago. Then it sunk back into the earth. So now it is really just a little area with lots of tourists and some very hot and very stinky sulfur gases releasing into the air. If we wanted, we could have swam in the local mud and sulfur baths… we did not want.

We then stopped at an estate – the oldest one in St Lucia – for a tour. The coolest part of the tour was undoubtedly the demonstrations and food-tasting. The tour guide, with some help from an old man with very stubbly fingers, showed us how they open a coconut, and then we all tasted the unprocessed liquid inside the coconut and the coconut itself. Neither tasted like much. Next, they opened a pod from a cocoa plant, and we all tasted some of the goodies inside. The inside of the cocoa pod contains some surprisingly slimy seeds that taste citrusy. The actual cocoa bean is inside the slimy stuff, and requires fermentation, drying in the sun, and an old man dancing on the beans to mix oil into them before they’re ready for use. And even then, they are really bitter. I prefer my cocoa beans mixed with a lot of sugar. A lot.

Mom and I sip coconut juice.

At the end of the tour, we got lemonade. Then, we headed back to the ship, and on the way back, we stopped to buy fresh bananas from a banana farm. Yummy!

Dad and I enjoying lemonade.

Thursday, March 27th

Trevor’s 10th birthday! For his birthday, Trevor decided he wanted to go on a sea spi tour. We docked in Barbados and gathered with others from the ship that had reserved spots on the sea spi tour. Sea spies are little glass-bottomed boats – driving them is basically like snorkeling without going in the water. Trevor even got to drive his own sea spi, which was his favorite part of the entire vacation (his second favorite part? the delicious sourdough rolls available on the cruise ship). We drove over a few different shipwrecks and saw TONS of fishies. It was very cool.

Robby, Trevor, and I at the Mount Gay Rum plant.

After our morning on the sea spies, we had lunch and went to the Mount Gay Rum plant for a tour. The tour was pretty interesting, especially since there seem to be a lot of similarities between rum-making, beer-making (which I’ve learned about from Jason), and wine-making (which Mandy taught us about when we visited her in California). The worst part? The tasting at the end. Yep. I am just not really a hard liquor drinker (unless it’s mixed into a yummy concoction). And no matter how “smooth” the rum is, it still burns the throat a little.

Mom and I then stopped and did some shopping before heading back to the ship… the boys opted to go straight to the ship for a nap and some soft serve ice cream. Later that evening, Trev and I went climbed the ship’s climbing wall. We raced… but I’ll be a good sport and not tell you who won.

Trevor’s birthday dinner… doesn’t he look spiffy?!?

Friday, March 28th

Today was our day at sea, and we spent the entire day relaxing and improving our tans. Ahh. Relaxation.

Saturday, March 29th

Our cruise ended in San Juan this morning, and we grabbed a rental car and headed to the jungle villa where we’ll be staying for the remainder of our trip. My mom usually does a *fantastic* job picking out places to stay, so our expectations of the jungle villa were pretty high. Unfortunately, our room did not quite live up to our expectations (although, others that we peeked in on were quite cute, suggesting that we may have just gotten a bad room). The towels were thin, with holes in places, the hot water knob fell off the shower, and I don’t think any of the doors actually locked. The pool was alright, though, and the location was fantastic!

After checking in, we gathered our swimsuits and headed to the beach for a bit. At night, we kayaked on the Bioluminescent Bay. Micro-organisms in the bay’s water release energy in the form of photons when disturbed. When these organisms light up in groups, they emit enough light for the human eye to see. It was amazing! The kayak trip was pretty good (my mom and I make a great team), though scary at times since we were kayaking down a narrow river surrounded by trees and it was pitch black except for the glow sticks on either end of each kayak on our tour. Occasionally, we could hear iguanas and jumping fish nearby… a little creepy, since we never actually saw these animals.

Once we got to the biobay, all we had to do was put our hand or paddle or whatever in the water and stir it up. Then, ta-da, glowing water. Fantastic!

After biobay, we ate a very long dinner (it took almost 90 minutes to get our BBQ’d ribs and burgers in a nearly-empty restaurant… we were very confused). When we made it back to our jungle villa, we heard the Coqui frogs… cooing? chirping? They make a very interesting and distinct noise.

Sunday, March 30th

We were all awoken early today by the roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing right outside our window. I honestly had not heard a rooster before our carribean trip, and I hope not to hear one for a while. They are a bit annoying. And by “a bit”, I mean “extremely” – and the annoyance factor can be multiplied by 10 if it’s before 9 am and you’re on vacation.

Wish we had a BB gun.  Is that mean?

Trevor, mom, and I were unable to sleep in (somehow Robby and my dad managed to stay asleep… or at least fake it), so we headed down to explore the jungle near our hotel. There was a small stream with a few little waterfalls, so we walked along the stream for a while. We saw some big spiders. I think one landed on me, and I freaked out, so we decided to head back to the villas.

Trev and I exploring the jungle behind our villa.

Trevor spent a bit trying to find and play with Oscar, the villa owner’s cat. Oscar was a bit unpredictable, though, so Trevor’s “playing” usually went as follows: 1. Trevor walks around saying, “here Oscar”, 2. Trevor finds Oscar, 3. Trevor walks reasonably close to Oscar, 4. Oscar swats at Trevor, 5. Trevor runs away and/or hides behind Jen.

Mom and Dad in El Junque.

Once we got the boys moving, we all headed to El Junque for a hike in the rainforest. We found a path that lead to a waterfall, and decided to check it out. Trevor and mom actually went swimming, the rest of us declined. Then, we began the uphill hike back to the car and drove around El Junque to check out some other waterfalls and admire the plant life.

Mom and Trevor swim under a waterfall in El Junque.

For dinner, we picked up Pizza Hut, and headed back to the villa for an evening of Pizza-eating, book-reading, and Discovery Channel-watching.

Monday, March 31st

At some point last night, I think Oscar the cat got in a fight with something (possibly a rooster?) outside my window. Rrrraaarrrr! Cat fight. Scary. Today we were once again prematurely awoken by roosters outside our villa windows.

We packed and showered and headed to the airport. Goodbye, warm, sunny, beautiful weather. Hello, snow and cold. I wasn’t really looking forward to the change in weather. I was looking forward to seeing my boys at home, though!

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Entry filed under: Family, Travel.

Spring Break, part two a letter from Barley

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