Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm back

Where, oh where, has Misty gone? Where oh where could she be?

I had a great vacation and never came back to bloggerland. My sweet friend, Jamie, has insisted that I get back to blogging. She's right. I just haven't thought about it.

Since I got back, I had a lazy week and my eats were not terrible, but not great either. I only gained 3 pounds on my trip, but I think I put a couple more back on when I got home. I'm now 1 pound away from where I was when I left for vacation. I lose slowly ... about a pound a week or less. I've been walking and working around the house. I've shampooed carpets, moved furniture, reorganized my workroom and helped clean out the garage.

We are reorganizing the garage because we found a super good deal on a used car. David has been driving the same pickup for 14 of our 15 years of marriage. The pickup is like the Israelites sandals ... it has never worn out. However, we've been praying about what to do for his transportation. Monday, out of the blue, we found this car and bought it the next morning. And here it is...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Last Day

Today is our last day on the island. O booked us a fun deep sea fishing trip today. We all took an anti-motion sickness pill before we left. We had a bit of breakfast and then got on the boat. We made a beer stop and off we went. Our guide told us that they like to fish on the Atlantic side because the fishing is better. Fine with us. J and I were singing the praises of Bonine (motion meds) for the first five to seven minutes. Then J got quiet and then I got quiet. Suffice it to say that the guide turned the boat around after about 10 more minutes and headed back to the island. It was scheduled to be a six hour trip and after they dropped J and I off, they probably had a four hour trip left. I hope O and King have a great time. J and I are in bed. Suits me fine as long as I am off that darn boat. :)

Today is Thursday. Tuesday we played tennis all morning. We played doubles and had so much fun. I thought we were going to play a game or two, so I didn't put any sunscreen on. We played a set and we were pretty evenly matched. We tied up at six games a piece and then played a tie breaker game. So, all in all, we played thirteen games of tennis over the course of two hours. You know what is coming next. Part way through, J sprayed some sunscreen on my back and shoulders. Problem is that the wind was blowing and we found out later that only a few wisps of sunscreen made it onto my shoulders. I got cooked. All the islanders said, "Oh, yes. Our morning sun is the most intense." Yeah. Well, I found that out. Back at home, the afternoon sun is the worst. Here the afternoon sun is mild and sets around six p.m. or so.

The snorkeling has been so much fun. I'm so glad King bought me the nice snorkel set. It's made all the difference in the world. Yesterday one of our friends here saw a baby octopus just off the beach. I think the food is my favorite thing here, followed by tennis and then snorkeling. I'm so very glad O and J joined us. It would have been neat for just King and I to enjoy our stay, but the terrific fellowship of O and J has the made the trip perfect.

My camera battery died, so O is taking all the pictures. I'll post some when I get back home. Tomorrow is "fly day". We go all the way from the boat dock at 7 a.m. to Houston at 11:30 p.m. and then the 3 hour drive home. We'll be tired kids...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 5

Where has the time gone??? O & J arrived safely night before last and since their arrival, we have totally goofed off. Our days consist of sleeping in, a 1-2 hour breakfast, nap/goof off, lunch which is 1-2 hours, snorkel/beach and pool time, dinner and games like 42 or Spades.
Last night we went out to "Sunset Point". Here is O & I enjoying the view.
Pictured above and below is the view of our dinner from O and J's balcony. This is the Mahi Mahi fresh from the boat and about to be filleted.

This morning, we went into Kingstown, the capital of St Vincent. Our taxi driver dropped us off in the middle of town and we shopped with the islanders. These weren't "tourist traps", but the shops along an alleyway where all the locals were. We bought a bunch of stuff (some stuff for you, too, Princess!) and enjoyed the local culture. We had two hours to shop and then our driver picked us up again and we stopped by the grocery store and headed back to the dock to catch the ferry back to Young Island. All the currency here is EC or East Caribbean. The currency conversion is 2.60 EC to 1.00 US. It was too much math for me. We made King the banker for the day and J and I just shopped our hearts out. :) Very fun. I got the cutest shoes for $2!

The rest of the day today was napping and beach time. King and I swam with the cutest silver fish. When we had a fish tank growing up, we called fish like this "silver dollars". I think they liked us as much as we liked them. We also saw a "flounder" that was a fairly young one. It's second eye had just moved up on top of it's body. He was so professionally camoflauged that I marveled at God's creativity. We tracked him, but as soon as he got still in the sand, we would lose sight of him. He was camouflaged like the Desert Storm vehicles that I've seen pictures of. Very cool.
Along the reef, we saw a lot of sea urchins, the black round guys with long poisonous spikes all over their body. Just seeing them gives me the heebie jeepies.

We didn't get in the water early enough today to be lazy. We had to snorkel all we wanted and then go straight back and shower before dinner. The water and air seemed to chill quite fast.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Vacation Day 2

I'll start with a picture from our balcony this morning. All we went through to get here was worth it. And this is what I mean by "all we went through"...

Our second vacation day was also a travel day. We began in Miami at the Wyndham hotel which has recently been remodeled. The room was very nice and we slept hard. Our room service breakfast came about 15 minutes after we woke. We were so hungry and thankful to be pampered. As we stood there praying and thanking God for our luxuries, King (*see note below) began to fidget. I kept praying. More fidgeting. Praying. Fidgeting. Finally, David interrupted my prayer and said, "You can keep praying, but there's something in my pants and it's biting me!" Sure enough, he had ants in his pants! They looked like fire ants, but we don't think they were fire ants. Upon further inspection, he had them in his shoes, socks and pants. As we checked out from the hotel, we requested "special consideration" for the extra guests in our room. We'll see how Wyndham responds...

We hopped on the airport shuttle and had a surprise at the airport! We arrived an hour and 45 minutes before our flight, which we had read was plenty of time. OBVIOUSLY, that information did not take into consideration a Friday morning at the American Airlines International section of Miami airport. I have never seen lines so long. Ever. I don't know what the occasion was, but American employees were stationed everywhere and were answering questions from hundreds and hundreds of passengers like ourselves. I like organization and let me tell you, there was none at the airport. Not at American Airlines, anyway. The international section of American wasn't even labeled "international". We got in line and found out that they close the flight an hour before it takes off in order to get all the baggage, etc. That left us 20 minutes to get through a section with many hundreds of people. Later at our gate, we tried to estimate how many people were in the area and we guessed a couple of thousand? Anyway, we got in another line and we still weren't going to make the flight. I asked another American employee what we needed to do and she took our passports, swiped them in the machine there and told us to go over the the counter. Basically, we jumped over everyone else in line (at least a 40 minute wait) and our bags were checked. Then we had to take our bags to the next line to have them stowed for delivery to the plane. That line was growing FAST because their computer broke down. Finally made it through that line and then we had to go through security. That line was three lines wide and very long. God blessed us again as a very harried lady called out that there was another security area around the airport a bit and it had no lines. We shot out of there in search of the other security check through. She was right. It was a breeze ... until they called me aside to inspect my bags. I had no worries because we had been very careful of how we packed our backpacks. Duh. I had left a resealable diet coke in my backpack from the night before. God blessed us again as the guy just through it away and gave me a dirty look. Eeek. Off we went to our gate. I was so rattled by the time we got there that I was just sweating. As we encountered the chaos intially and throughout the ordeal, I truly believed that God would work out the details and get us on the flight, but it didn't look like it was going to work out time after time. Throughout the morning, He was so obvious in showing me that trust isn't about things looking good, but about ... trust. Believing in the Truth and knowing Who He is. He works out the details. I was humbled.

Our flight to Barbados from Miami was a piece of cake. Many of these little islands are their own little sovereign countries, so I got my passport stamped quite a bit, which I like! We flew a turbo prop airplane from Barbados to St Vincent. We went through customs and immigration yet again and walked outside to see a friendly guy holding a sign that said "Young Island" (our resort). Delight!! We drove from the airport a short distance to the dock and I was amazed to see how beautiful and enchanting Young Island is from a distance. Here I am with Young Island in the background. Our cottage is very visible in the background. See the two sailboats parked right next to each other (they are over my left shoulder). As you look at them, look at the one on your right. If you go to the back of the sailboat and then go straight up, you will see our cottage, the top one. There is one just to your right and lower, but we are the upper one. In the picture, there is something grey above our roof. Not sure what that is.

The little ferry that takes you back and forth from St Vincent to Young Island only takes about 3-5 mintues ... very charming. When we stepped out of the boat from our ferry ride, Giselle from the front office, met us and a nice islander also greeted us with rum punch. Strong drink, especially for this non-alcoholic gal! Giselle personally gave us a short tour of the lower part of the island and took us to our cottage. She gave us a tour of our cottage. We were already feeling so pampered. The weekly cocktail began about 15 minutes after our arrival, but we preferred to settle in. We unpacked and washed our faces before dinner. It is suprising how refreshing it is to simply wash our face. It truly takes away the "sticky" humidity feel.

We walked down to dinner which was served by the beach in a thatched, open hut. Very charming. It was a 5-course meal, so I can't remember everything we ate, but I do remember the bread! They bake 6 different flavors of bread daily and our choice last night was coconut bread and cinnamon bread. YUM! I had a carrot soup, smoked salmon roulade, Mahi Mahi with saffron and a warm bean salad. David had a salad with papaya and vinaigrette, the salmon
roulade, veal yams and tomato basil. We had banana cake and homemade ice cream sandwich for dessert. (licking lips sound)

When we got back to our room, we realized there were three of us inside! This little frog liked the a/c and decided to join us. As cute as tree frogs are ... we decided his songs would be a bit much a few hours later. Here he is pictured on our patio (after leaping from King's hand).

It's very humid here and has rained a couple of times, but they are quick tropical showers. The sun is shining now and there is a constant breeze. Last night we turned the a/c on in the room and by the time the room cooled off, we were wishing for sleep. The disco across the channel at St Vincent (200 yards away) tuned up after we went to sleep. It woke David temporarily, but I knew nothing until 6:45 this morning!

Breakfast was under the same thatched "kiosk" or hut as dinner and we had fresh fruit, vanilla yogurt, incredible omlettes, strong coffee, fresh orange juice and more cinnamon bread! You may wonder about the pounds that we will pack on this week, eating like we are. Let me reassure you that it might just all even out. :) We are on a volcanic island, after all, and just to get to our room, we walk up 39 steps! I can't imagine the hike up to the upper cottages. We are
down by the beach. I want to go play tennis a fair amount and it's at the top of the island. Last night we looked up at it and David says it was about a 30-35 degree angle from where we were standing. The local parrot is the St Vincent parrot and they are here on this island, too. They have a couple in a *huge* cage by the office and the name outside the cage is "Misty". The parrots are beautiful and talkative, even so late last night.

We can't wait for our friends to arrive. O & J arrive tonight around 8:45 and we plan to surprise them by taking a taxi to the airport and meeting them. This airpot is tiny and so unlike anything back home.

* As a reminder, "King" is my husband and I am "Queen". "Princess" is our daughter.