Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ernesto the Pest-o!

After what can only be described as a whirlwind wedding and a fabulous reception we walked to the hotel room my parents got us for the night, had a shower, slept for about an hour, then got up to leave for the airport. After the honeymoon I can officially announce that we will not be naming any kids (yet to be conceived in case you were worried) Ernesto. Our honeymoon was a blast, even without the space shuttle launch. Be forewarned this post is uber long, but blogger has finally let me include some pictures to break up the monotony.

En route to the airport at an unholy hour I realized I had forgotten to bring contact lens solution with me, so we stopped at a 24 hour drugstore where I unabashedly proclaimed "we just got married!" to anyone who so much as glanced in our direction. I was colossally nerdy to be sure.

While we were in the store the "light misty rain" we had been experiencing had turned into "soak you to the bone in under a second" rain - so much that Dave ran across the parking lot to get the car so I wouldn't get soaked. The thunder and lightning shook the building and we saw strikes of lightening hit not to far from where we were.

After having my contacts in for almost 24 hours straight figured it wouldn't be so great to go through customs with giant red, bloodshot eyes so I soaked my lenses en route to the airport. Once we were through security I bought a hot chocolate and we took turns passing out on the oh so comfortable seating at Pearson. About the only thing I recall was a herd of kids (a herd being 7 or more in my books) who shrieked. Nonstop! All the time! While yelling! And running! Into people! And throwing things! That hit people! And the parents? Nowhere to be seen! It was as though a pack of howler monkeys was unleashed in the airport and people of the parent-type age would just look and say "uh not mine" and turn around. serendipity hit again when they were sitting nowhere near us on the plane.

The flight was uneventful - Dave gave me the window seat (I love flying!) but it was fairly overcast so there wasn't a helluva lot to see. We had requested seats that recline (given our "up for almost 24 hours straight and nowhere near a spot where we can rest") but when we got on board we realized that wasn't happening. We did our best to sleep sitting up, and managed a few winks before we touched down at Orlando.

Now I have to say that when it comes to organization I'm not perfect. Our files and important documents? In a pile downstairs. Luckily, I'm not in charge of organizing something as important as oh, say an AIRPORT! When we got off the plane we of course went through customs (where the officer said "oh I'm sorry" to Dave after I cheerfully said "we just got married!" Asshat.), Then you of course pick up your luggage. But! It isn't over! Then you have to re-check your luggage, take a shuttle to the other terminal, go through customs/security AGAIN and then pick your luggage up AGAIN. All because the incoming and outgoing flights cross paths. Surely someone can come up with a better plan than this folks!

We quickly found our shuttle van (how romantique! I know!) after our second trip to a luggage carousel and were driven to Port Canaveral, and were whisked onto the ship. At that point all we wanted (and could ever ask for) was some food (somehow we weren't still full from dinner the previous day) and a place to crash. We managed the food thing just as we were leaving port, but our rooms weren't ready yet, though at that point we'd been up for 30 hours straight with only little naps so I nearly passed out at lunch. We lucked out and got a room with a window (yay upgrades!).

The next day we explored Freeport and Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island, played in the gorgeous turquoise waters, and went parasailing and explored a couple of shops. We had lunch at a local restaurant and tried conch salad, which I had been told was a quintessential Bahamian dish. Dave found it a bit too spicy but we both enjoyed it.

That evening (after a full day playing on the beach and in the water and exploring) we had a fabulous dinner and went to a comedy show before going to bed exhausted.

Early the next day we were one of the first people off the ship to explore Nassau and walked the streets (and checked out the very upscale jewelry stores! Holy crap you could leave very broke but dripping in jewels from any of them!), then got back on the boat to sign up for snorkeling.

En route to the Island where we could go snorkeling our friend Ernesto showed up, first with darkened skies and later with pouring rain, and driving wind. Lots of the people who came with us on the tour demanded their money back but we figured we'd be getting wet in the water anyway so we decided to dive right in . Dave had never been snorkeling before so it was fun exploring the waters. We fed the fish bread from our hands under the water (such a neat feeling to have an entire school of fish right around you, knocking into you and pecking at your hand for food!). While we were in the water the wind really picked up, and most people were still in the building waiting for the storm to pass. The wind was so strong and waves were so high the boat we came over on couldn't leave the dock so we spent some more time in the water. I swam through what I think was a school of little tiny jellyfish which left not so cute stings all over my arm and legs, and Dave had a few stings too. When we were finally waterlogged (I think we were in the water longer than anyone there) we went ashore, and raced to the other end of the Island to the hut where our things were being stored to stay relatively dry.

Neither of us had experienced tropical storms, but couldn't get over the feeling of the rain hitting your body so hard that it physically stung, and you could feel every drop even when you covered your face with a towel, and the wind pushing you along. Dave had a drop land right in his eye and it blurred his vision for a couple of hours. I was disappointed we hadn't taken many pictures (so as not to ruin the camera) and Dave was feeling rebellious so he ran the length of the boardwalk onto the beach and I took pictures. I call the one above "take this, Ernesto, you're not ruining our honeymoon!"

On the boat ride back I tried Kalik beer, a local brew that was also on the "must try" list while Dave had some VERY strong rum punchey punchey. We walked back to the ship, dripping wet. When he wrung out our towels on the pier I'm sure more than a litre of water fell to the ground. We showered and relaxed for a few minutes before heading out again because it was "only sprinkling" because I wanted to check out the straw market so we'd have souvenirs to bring back to people. We were also hoping to find an internet cafe to email home, having already paid an arm and a leg on the ship for internet access.

Of course, our friends Murphy (and his laws) and Ernesto (and his pelty rain) decided to interfere. It started absolutely pouring. I have no idea what made me decide we didn't need to pack an umbrella or rain jackets, but we didn't. The first internet cafe we crossed the street in water up to our knees to get there only to find one computer was being used for the foreseeable future and the other was broken. We decided to keep looking, since by this time we were already soaked to the bone. There was a steady stream of drips coming off my skirt. We walked around for what was probably another hour, much of the time in water up to our ankles and knees. At one point when we were crossing the street my flip flop (not the most practical of shoes I realize) floated away into on going traffic. The local guys laughed at me while I dove for it, and while Dave quizzically waited on the other side of the street, probably wondering why it took me so long to cross given that I was right behind him when we started out.

We finally gave up and went back to the ship, again dripping the whole way to our room, had another shower to warm up, and then got ready for dinner. We saw another comedy show that night and passed out about midnight.

The boat was supposed to stay docked in Nassau over night, (so we could explore the city overnight and in the early morning!) and leave at 9 the next morning but with the weather the captain decided to head back early. (because apparently he wanted to rush towards the tropical storm that was now in Florida? We didn't get it)

That meant our last day was entirely at sea so we relaxed by the pool, and took it easy. I don't think either of us could go on a cruise where more than a day was spent at sea again - we got bored pretty quickly when it was just the multitude of things on the boat that could entertain us. We decided to blow $5 at the casino on nickel slots, and lost. It was smoky though, by the time we blew our $5 we were happy to leave. We had sushi at the sushi bar before our late dinner and decided to go to show that night since the cruise director was going on about how amazing it was.

Now, I get that it's his job to sell sell sell! the stuff on the boat, but the way he was going on about this show you would have thought it was broadway calibre. After seeing it, we thought it was high school calibre, but not much more. We smugly snickered to each other from the balcony, in full knowledge that neither of us could be anywhere as good as anyone on stage, and went to bed knowing that we had to be up and in line for US customs at 6:00 the next morning.

The next morning we were indeed up in time for customs, standing in a long line with eyes half closed and important documents in hand. Customs officials sauntered onto the ship after we'd been standing in line for about 20 minutes after we all did, and then ate a leisurely breakfast before seeing any of us. We cleared customs okay, packed up our things, got off the boat and into a rental car and drove to Orlando.

We had already arranged for a hotel room at the Los Quintas near the airport. (only the cheapest for us!) Hoo-ee, was it an adventure! Dave's line is "meh, at least we'll have stories!" We got our room on the 2nd floor, and were kinda stunned to find it reeked of mildew. It was as if there was some flood and they never bothered to clean it up. We put down brochures for fun things to do in the area and within minutes the corners curled up because it was so humid in the room. On our way to the mall, we noticed two guys, probably in their mid 30s, arriving in separate trucks, both wearing wedding bands throw knowing glimpses at to each other and then slinking into a room together and started joking it was no longer the Mildew Inn, but the Downlow Motel.

We hit the mall and decided to have some lunch at a Thai place across from it, having become accustomed to the "eat 24-7" schedule on the cruise.

Thai food is my absolute favourite I think - and so when the waitress asked if I wanted my food "hot" or "Thai hot" I was wavering. I've ordered the "hot" at some places and found it to be pretty wussy, but I also knew that "Thai hot" could also mean "uh yeah, get an ambulance over here. Tall an ambulance, this dumb white chick thought she could handle hot food but apparently can't and is now wriggling in our floor coughing."

Dave solved the debate when he helpfully interjected "oh no, she can handle Thai hot" and that was it. The first few bites were completely manageable and very tasty, but by the 4th or 5th it was definitely hotter than I'd really wanted. By about the 15th I thought I was in over my head and Dave looked at me sipping my water and asked if I was okay. The waitresses, all Thai, hovered around our table wondering how I was doing. I just said it was just hotter than I expected. I think they secretly all got together in the back to say "Hah that'll teach her! Dumbass!" I tried ordering some coconut milk (which helps to make things less spicy) but all they had was coconut water, which was really of no help. Finally one waitress suggested adding sugar to it to balance things out, and that made a huge difference and I soldiered on, determined to show them I could take it. There was so much on the plate though, that I wasn't able to finish it. I was so full that I only nibbled on the mango sticky rice we decided to split, which is one of my favourite desserts.

We went back to the hotel for a quick siesta another guy was getting out of a repair van to meet up with and another dude who arrived in an SUV and they exchanged glances and went into a room together. By this point we decided that there should be the Brokeback Hotel, with signs out front saying "Gentlemen! Going on fishing trip!? (wink wink!) Come Stay here! Your wives will never know!" We went back to the room to rest for a bit but the whole mildew/gross carpet/humidity got to me and we changed rooms (and saw more men having obvious liaisons) en route to the new room.

We then relaxed a bit, watched TV (cable! Oh how it'd be cool to have cable!) had a quick nap before hitting the Olive Garden for dinner. For Americans I know this is a "no big deal" restaurant, but they closed all of the Olive Gardens in Ontario to keep Red Lobster open, so it's a total treat for us. We were stuffed to the gills after dinner and made it a fairly early night watching Cable TV and packing our suitcase up. About midnight just as we were turning out the lights we got another phone call from a man who seemed to be looking for his date. We're sure he was also there for some action too. Dave keeps saying that other than me, the staff and some old lady we saw at breakfast I was the only woman staying at the hotel.

The drive to the airport (after the mandatory panic about missing passports at 6:30 in the morning) was uneventful, as was the flight home.

Next in the seemingly unending (and hopefully not too boring) saga is bachelor(ette) party in Ottawa later that same day and Sara's wedding on Sunday.


TB said...

Sounds like a blast in spite of the storm.

I love conch. I know the best places for conch chowder and salad. I do the same thing with lobster bisque when I visit New England. And what did you think of Kalik? It's sort of the Coors Light of the Carribean :o)

wordgirl said...

I'm exhausted just reading this post. But then I remember my own honeymoon and it all comes back to me.

Henly said...

I miss the Olive Garden (sigh).

St Yves said...

Yay! many happy wishes to you!

Heather said...

Tb: It was a blast. You're right - Kalik was very much a coors light of the Caribbean, and I'm not a coors light kid. Besides, I was so water logged by that point I really wasn't in the mood for beer.

Wordgirl: It was all rather exhausting. I'm really looking forward to some down time.

Henly: I miss it too! Stupid red lobster.

St Yves: Thanks!

Mrs. Chicky said...

Brokeback Hotel! Ha! I think I see a sequel.

Sounds like there were some good times in there. Like your husband said, at least you have good stories. ;)