So, I decided in the interest of security, it was probably better that I don’t explicitly announce that I was away from home for 8 days, but I’m BACK!  While it was definitely not exactly the vacation I was imagining, it was seriously awesome.  Just what I needed.  Here’s the play by play…

*Note – this is a looooooong post.  I usually split these up into 2 or 3.  If it’s too long, uh, come back and read later at your convenience.  Or just scan the purdy pictures and get jealous.  Permission, I give it to you.*

Sunday: Galveston

Woke up, made last minute preparations, and remembered OH FUCK, I forgot to cut Zliten’s hair, which was unreasonably long.  Did a quick job of it and just finished as my parents came to pick us up.  After gathering the rest of our stuff we were on our way just about on time.  The drive was uneventful, we got to the dock around 12:30, and find out the boat had JUST gotten there, and wasn’t boarding until way later.  We found somewhere to park, walked around Galveston, had just about the best pitas and hummus and greek chicken salad ever by the ocean, and on my parents urging, we went back to the dock and stood there.  And stood there.  For 4 more hours, as day went to night and sun went to cold.  By the time I got on the boat I had a sore throat and felt chilled but shook it off once we got there as a dry throat.

By the time we got to dinner it was close to 9pm, but we had a great meal in the dining room of curry.  They had awesome curry every day, but unfortunately, there was always too much awesome stuff and I never got it again.  Seriously, greek and indian in one day?  I was totally in heaven.  After dinner, we headed to a “welcome aboard” show which was fun, but after the long day, we were pretty much just ready to curl up with a book and sleep early.  We felt totally boring but we figured better to have a great day the next day than push ourselves.

Monday: At Sea

We got breakfast delivered to the room at 9am as both a wakeup call and uh, because we could.  Bacon, wheat toast, fruit, and hot tea was a great way to start the day.  After that, we were called to the mandatory boat drill, which was fairly short and sweet – some cruises make you put on your life preserver and stand outside on deck for like 30 mins – this was not that.  We went up in workout clothes, and headed to the gym.  While it sounds lame that I spent my first cruise morning at it on the elliptical, I loved the HELL out of it #1 because I hadn’t been able to work out all week and #2 I was looking at a lovely view of the ocean while doing it.

I made sure to stretch really well, then we headed to the room, showered off the sweaty, and grabbed some lunch at the Windjammer (buffet).  My goal the entire time?  Not to eat like an asshole.  While I didn’t do a great job at it every day, over all I didn’t feel like a balloon at the end.  This particular day, I filled up on a salad, and tasted a few other random things.  After filling up, we checked out the ice rink.  While it was super cool to have an ICE RINK on the cruise ship, it was also super tiny and full of obstacles (read: kids and grammas).  We skated for a bit, my mom watched and took some video, and egged me into doing a little spin.

After a while, we decided it was time to have a little drinky poo (I mean, we had been on board for almost a full day and had no liquor, my chiropractor would have been disappointed).  We headed up to a bar that was touting a “martini seminar” and ended up just watching because it was all froo froo stuff (chocolate martinis, appletinis, etc), and enjoyed our whiskey and wine and soaked in the afternoon sun.  Being that it was formal night, we had to leave and get all gussied up for 5:30 dinner (which felt SO freaking early, since we usually eat around, oh 9pm), and I finally got to wear the awesome dress I got in Arizona.  We finally met our tablemates, who happened to live in San Marcos, and were actually a lot of fun!  I believe we got a bottle of chardonnay and split it between myself, my dad, and Zliten.  Since we were all looking spiffy, we got some pictures taken (and one was actually pretty decent!), and then headed for the broadway revue show.  We got there super late and ended up with horrible seats, but it was aight.  Gotta do at least 1 or 2 of the shows!

Our buzz was fading, so we headed up for a few more drinks.  Just chillin’, enjoying a Zliten and me night, and was about to head to bed after a few but ended up checking out the dance club called “the Vault”.  It was kinda cool and unique (you had to put your hand up to a panel to get in and get out and there were big double doors), and we settled in on the second floor for “just one more drink”.  We continue to have one more drink for a while, and after a while some people joined us and we all started dancing on the light up bridge above the dance floor.  Having had a lot of just one more drink, I was dancin’ crazy.  There was a stop for a midnight snack at the sandwichy place, and then to bed around 4am.

Tuesday: At Sea Again

We had attempted to order room service again for breakfast for 8:30, which failed to make it into our bellies as we just kept sleeping.  I woke up with my back just about as hurty as it was before.   I hadn’t slept well at all, and thank goodness for the herbal muscle relaxers my chiro gave me (valeran root), or I wouldn’t have made it through the day as well.  I was allowed to take them every 3 hours, and I did that.  I read a lot that morning, and forced myself to take a short dip in the freezing pool (ice pack/bath, I called it), and was feeling a little better by lunch – we went to the dining room,  and they had… A SALAD bar with all sorts of awesome fixins.  I had that and some “spicy” noodles.  So, so good.  We got out right at 2, and an ice show was starting.  It was amazing what they could do on that such a TINY rink (seriously, I’d do 3-4 glides and be at the other side).

The rest of the day we played games with the rents and read, at dinner we got bottles of wine to celebrate my parents 34th anniversary (yay for NATURAL muscle relaxers that don’t prohibit booze, though I had one glass and saved the rest for a day I was feeling better).  We played games for a while after dinner (this was like, the penultamite game day, I think we got through a billion rounds of farkle, mexican train, and phase 10), and then hit the late night comedy show, which was not too blue and was actually pretty hilarious.  Also, see above.  Our towel animal for the day was a bat.  That’s a new one!

I straight up ate like an asshole this day.  I skipped breakfast, but had lunch, snacks, dinner, and after dinner snacks at the dinner buffet upstairs.  I’m pretty sure I was just being mopey and feeling sorry for myself.  My belly felt rotund and even my dad asked if I had gained weight, heh.

Wednesday: Roatan, Honduras
My back was a little better, still a little sore and stiff, but I was totally mobile.  I popped a few muscle relaxers (and it was the only time all day, so yay), and we had breakfast (fruit, corned beef hash, half a bagel with bacon and cream cheese) and headed off the ship.  We walked about a mile up through a shopping area, and then my parents were over it, so we got a taxi back to the ship.

However, Zliten and I weren’t over it.  We saw a tour advertised for 20 bucks a person to go see things on the island, so we went for it.  We ended up in a cab with the driver who spoke no english, and a “tour guide” who spoke some to translate.  We ended up running some errands with him first which actually gave us a great view of the island, and then our first real stop was the iguana farm.

It was so, so, so cool to see all those iguana just hanging out.  There were HUNDREDS just chillin in the area, cuddling with each other.  At first we just looked, but we saw other people go to pet them so we gave ’em some love.  Some were tolerant, some were skittish, but some actually, when you were petting one, would come up and be like “hey, me next please” and nuzzle you.  It was AWESOME.

Next stop was the beach.  I knew what a treat we were in for having been to Gulf of Mexico beaches and Carribean beaches, but Zliten has only been to So Cal ones.  Murky dark blue, cold, gritty sand… not to say they’re not beautiful in their own right, but come on… turquoise, clear, warm water.  White sand.  Perfection.  We only had about 30 mins, and I spent the entire time in the water swimming (my back felt super happy about that).

We came back, killed a little time before dinner reading (I had a little snack since we missed lunch of salad and some shepards pie), and the theme for dinner was carribean so we both wore happy bright clothes.  I had a little wine, we ate, and then we went back up to the buffet dinner area (they had the best tables), and I was pretty good, I think I munched on ONE thing, and we played more games.  Later, more reading, (so sue me, I had the entire Hunger Games series and I was ADDICTED by this point) and bed.

Thursday: Belize City, Belize
I think this was the morning I actually woke up finally feeling cold symptoms (not just a sore throat), but it might have been the day before.  Kinda trying to forget about that, heh.  Anyhoo, I woke up a little later than we had hoped, had pretty much the same breakfast upstairs, and then headed in Belize.  We walked around the pier area with my parents for a while, found some souvenirs, and decided we were going to do a ruins tour they were advertising once my parents were over shopping, since our tubing and ruins tour got cancelled (boo!).  Unfortunately we took so long, they said it was too late (double boo), so we decided we were going to first get a local beer, then walk around the city.  After we got out the gates, it changed from “happy fun port city” to “please give me money please please please”.  We ended up talking to some dude and buying him lunch (just cause we were kinda curious what it would be – it was a whole fried fish, beans, rice, and a salad), and then decided it was time to go back to happy fun dock land, as we didn’t see an end in sight.  I know there are beautiful places in Belize, but it was obvious we weren’t meant to see them this time.

We ended up heading to a place called The Wet Lizard, and after visiting with the pretty iguanas basking outside, Zliten got some more beer and I started sampling the local rum.  They had a GENIUS idea of having this little plastic collectable cups in 5 different colors.  So the collector in me had to have them all.  We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking by the seaside.  It did not suck.  We met the owner, who actually moved here from GEORGIA and opened a bar 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back.  I need to friend her on Facebook and she’s going to recommend stuff to do next time we go to Belize.

Needless to say we were a little tipsy still for dinner – finished off my bottle of wine, and then we ran into our elevator friends (a few days before, we saw a couple in the elevator and talked, then saw them again) and they invited us to go to one of the interactive shows (don’t forget the lyrics or something), so we went and watched R do pretty well and get 4th.  We then headed to the Conniseur club bar where Zliten found they had a pretty nice whiskey (Blarton’s Single Barrel) for pretty much well price, so we stuck around there for a while getting to know them – and found out that T, part of their group, was the girl I was hopping about on the bridge dance with many nights before.  Also, R and Zliten decided they liked each other’s shirts better and exchanged them.  Pretty cool souvenir!  Things get fuzzy, but they did karaoke, and then we headed to bed.
woke up randomly at 4am, went down and watch them change over from late nite snax to breakfast and read.

Friday: Cozumel

I woke up randomly at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I was parched, and tap water sounded icky, so I headed down to the little late night snack area and nursed some hot tea and water and watched them clean the area (I was the only one up) and change over from late night snax to breakfast.  I filled my tea (I seriously drank soooo much herbal tea this trip, besides some sugar free lemonade and kiwi water I found once, it was the only sugar free/caffeine free option) and went back to bed.  Not having it either.  I stayed up until about 6:30 reading.  We had set a 7:30 am wakeup call, but neither of us were up for it, so we snoozed until 9.

We both got up frantically and got clothes on.  I was freaking out because I couldn’t find my seapass (the ship card that lets you buy stuff and get on and off the boat), and I HAD to have food, and we had a 9:45 appt to start our zip line/snorkling adventure.  I got upstairs, literally SHOVED half a bagel and some meat in my face, and then it was time to go.  We were not the last people there (we booked it and made it only about 2 mins late), and we waited in the sun for them to be ready.  We were both a little worse for wear due to the last nights excitement, but we just kept swigging water.

Once we got there, they showed us how to put on the harnesses and helmets and got us climbing shoes, and we were off.  Once I went down the first rapelling tower, my hangover was gone (adrenaline ftw).  There was this awesome course which started with a 60 foot rapell, and consisted of some crazy zip lines, rope bridges, and a rock climb.  I felt very safe the entire time, and the last zip line, the highest one, we ran and jumped out into nothing – and it had the most beautiful view of the beach.  The whole thing was a little too much for two of our crew – Zliten (he did some, which I’m super proud of, but some of the heights were a little much for him), and this older Asian lady, who kept saying “Mama don’t do that”.  Hilarious!

After that, we got our masks and snorkels on and headed to the water.  The current was really strong so it was more of a float course than a free explore, but we did it twice.  I’ll admit, hawaii was better, but this was AWESOME and we even saw a BARRACUDA!!!  Zliten dug this a lot more than he expected, and we will be doing a full snorkeling trip next time  we get the chance.  We grabbed some lunch from the resort we were at (chicken fajitas, heh) and then headed back to the boat.   Zliten napped (he was just overstimulated, I think) and I finished my book and started the next one.

We had the second formal dinner (passed on wine), and then tried to get some more pictures.  There was another comedy show, this one was hilarious!  It was the dude that played Biff from Back to the Future, and he played so well with the audience – he pretty much heckled US before we had a chance to heckle him.  It was probably one of the best ship comedy shows I’ve been to!   We played a few more games with the ‘rents, and then passed the hell out and slept like the dead.  Our elevator friends tried to invite us to go party again and we had to decline.  We felt kind of old and boring about it, but it was the right call.

Saturday: At Sea
Being that we did the responsible thing, we were up around 9 and finally had breakfast in the dining room.  Honestly – meh.  I had chocolate pancakes, which sounds amazing – but it was just pancakes with a small smear of chocolate, not full of chips like I’m used to.  It took an HOUR, they never brought me syrup, and we kinda wanted to leave but we stuck it out.  Honestly though – it felt kinda decadent to be offered donuts and pastries as a bread side to my order.  I declined, but still.

While our stomachs settled, we read by the pool (it was a little too cold and windy to actually get in), and then got in a workout as my back FINALLY felt good enough.  I did a 5k on the elliptical in about 32 mins.  I was kinda bummed that my activity tally for the cruise was 6 miles on the machine, about 3 miles of walking, and just random walking about the boat, but it is what it is, and considering my injury, I’ll take not having been laid out.

We went back to the dining room again for lunch (mostly for the awesome salad fixins), and ended up with RAW yakisoba chicken (mine was a little undercooked, so I picked at the cooked pieces, Zliten’s was almost raw), so we sent his back and had to wait for new ones.  Honestly, the dining room experience during non-dinner hours was kinda meh.  Since I was feeling better, we went to do all the things that I hadn’t been able to – we mini golfed (I lost by 1 point, I never lose, grrrr), we inline skated for about 20 mins while watching the dodgeball tourney (I would have SO done that, but I didn’t have closed toed shoes on), we played some mexican train with the rents and our dinner table companions, we read more, and before dinner we started getting packed to go home (happy and sad about it by then).

The last dinner ended up being our least favorite (every other night was amazing) – they left skin on the mahi mahi tempura and it was super fishy.  We bid our dining companions adieu (they were fun, they were recent retirees that live about an hour south of us, and we exchanged xbox gamer tags with J, who likes playing shooters).  We then went through all the cruise pics, picked a few faves, and had made plans to meet up with our elevator friends at 9:30, and we had an hour, so we read, and met them, and exchanged emails, talked a while, and then they had partied too hard the night before and went to bed.  We were about to as well, but another girl we met that night sat down and started drinking with us, so we said one more.  The one mores happened until the bar we were at closed, and then headed to the disco until about 2:30, and all the bars shut down since it was the last night, so we went to bed.

Sunday: Galveston

Honestly, I’m saying thank goodness for the fog.  We were supposed to have to get out of our rooms by 8am, but since we got delayed coming in, we could stay in until noon.  Hooray for extra sleepies!  I woke up a bit before Zliten so I read, and then we showered and got the rest of the room packed.
fog delayed our getting into port by about 3 hours, so I got extra sleepy!  We grabbed our stuff, snagged a light lunch snack, and then headed to our departure lounge where we, you guessed it, played games.

It took about an hour until we were called to leave the ship, and then about an hour to get through customs, but we were on our way by 2:30.   We stopped for some BBQ on the way home for dinner, got in around 7pm (pretty uneventful drive)…. and my dad figured out then that this luggage was left on the shuttle (I thought the car packed up nicer that on the way there…).  They had it and they could ship it to him for 35 bucks, so alls well that ends well.  We ended the night on the couch, eating veggies, and enjoying being hooooooome.

As I’m sure no one but me you all are wondering… what happened with my weight?  Well, I left weighing about 170.  This week, I weighed 169.8.  I actually think I felt slimmer the first day back than today.  So this tells me that eating a lot and not exercising much?  Does about the same thing as sticking to my super healthy diet and working out like mad.  I also lost the bloated feeling (minus the two days I ate like a jerk), so I’m pretty sure the issue is not wheat, dairy, gluten, or anything like that.  Boggles the mind.

All in all, it was a fantastic week away.  While I could have moped that I was sick and injured, I’m thinking it was my body telling me to slow the fuck down and enjoy vacation.  Which I did.  But I also got to zipline, swim in the ocean and snorkel, inline skate and ice skate on the ocean, dance, drink, eat lovely food, and add 2 new countries to my list!

Very, very happy to be back to my normal routine though.   I love traveling, but I definitely love home.

Question of the day: what is your FAVORITE thing about vacation.  Freedom from work/obligations?  Different and interesting food and drinks?  Seeing new places?

If you wants more photos, you can see here.  More to come of snorkling and the iguana farm once we, uh, actually deliver the for reals film in like 3 months… 🙂