Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back in the (Cold) Saddle

We just returned from a week long cruise in the Eastern Caribbean aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. What a fantastic ship! Our friends Kathy & Paul Corbin joined us again, as they did 2 years ago when we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in the Western Caribbean on the Ruby Princess. Kathy and I not only graduated from high school together, but we also attended Iowa State where we met our respective spouses. Coincidentally, Jim and Paul were fraternity brothers. Kathy and Paul sang at our wedding. They are the type of people that you can pick right back up with no matter how much time has passed since you have seen them.

We flew to Miami for this cruise, and our room was right next to the Corbins. We were able to open up the glass divider between the balconies so that we could sit outside together. I was a little concerned because the rooms were at the very front of the ship, which can be bumpy. But none of us had any problems with the waves. The staterooms were by far the best we have had (in our limited experience). They were spacious and very well appointed. The whole ship was beautiful and the staff was excellent.

We spent late Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday at sea before arriving in San Juan on Monday. We met up with a friend of Paul's, who took us on a walking tour of old San Juan. It reminded me of New Orleans, but with narrower, hilly roads. Then Tuesday we arrived at St. Maarten, and Jim and I went on a snorkeling expedition. It was a lot of fun, but the snorkeling was not too great. Kathy and Paul scuba dive, so they booked a scuba trip.

Wednesday was Jim's 55th birthday, and we spent it on St. Kitts. We had rented scooters to tour the island. It is not very large, so you can make it around the island in 2-3 hours. The first thing is that they drive on the opposite side of the road. I am sort of comfortable doing that, but I was not sure if I wanted to try it on a scooter. Especially since I have never been on a scooter before, much less operated one. Then I saw the size of the scooter as they were going over all the features of them. They were bigger than the Vespa size I thought we were getting. I reluctantly decided I would ride behind Jim. Now, I should mention that I have never gotten on his motorcycle with him. I have control issues and I don't like sitting behind him whether on a motorcycle, jet ski, bike or whatever. But it seemed the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately they did not have a larger scooter, and this thing was really not a bicycle built for two, let me tell you. The seat was small, and the foot pegs for the second passenger were minuscule. At one point going up a hill I had to get off and walk because it didn't have enough power to take both of us. I know we had been eating a lot at the buffets, but come on!

Anyway, we took off. The roads sucked, but at least the traffic wasn't too bad once we got out of town. Then it started to rain, and I'm not talking liquid sunshine here. It poured! I had just gotten comfortable (sort of) with Jim's driving, and now I was fearing slippery roads and a wipe out. Plus the buses would fly by, cut back over in front of us and create a tsunami of water flying at us. There was no place to take shelter and we had no rain gear. So we kept going, despite chattering teeth and the fact that we were freezing. The sun would pop out, we would begin to dry, and then the rains would come again. This happened multiple times during the day. I was never so thankful as I was when I saw the scooter rental shop. Ughhhh!!! NEVER want to do that again!

Thursday and Friday were days at sea, so we played trivia games, hung out at the pool, saw shows and just relaxed. It was hard to come back to 39 degree weather and gray skies. But it is good to be home.

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