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Real Adventures in St Thomas

We’ve been home for 4 days already, and I’m still having a hard time getting my head where it needs to be.  Seems I’m still on Caribbean time, and I have a feeling I will be for a while.  We had such a good time that I’m already planning our next one!  Of course I have to win another trip before that can happen but I’m working on it.

I’m going to do a review of the cruise itself but since it was the largest part of our vacation I will save that for the last post.  For now, I’ll be sharing our adventures on each island.  They didn’t really turn out as we had planned but that’s ok, we had fun, which is the important thing.  I still find it kind of hard to believe we visited four different countries while we were away.

St Thomas was our first port.  While we were pulling in both Chelsea and I were in awe that first, it was no longer ocean for as far as the eye could see, second, how pretty the water was, and mostly just how beautiful it was over all.  I think we took fifty or so pictures just pulling into port.

If you remember from my previous posts we had planned to visit Coral World for this stop.  So when we finally got off the boat we hopped a bus to get downtown to browse before we made our way further in.  Downtown was pretty, although crammed with people which I suppose is to be expected.  On one side there were stores, on the other there was the ocean.  Can’t ask for better shopping scenery!  We skipped the main shopping places in lieu of the flea market type stalls.  We had a very tiny budget so had to be very careful what we purchased.  That day we each bought an inexpensive sundress, and something for the boys back home.

As we decided to explore a little more we found ourselves a street or two into the downtown area and were all of a sudden surrounded by jewellery stores.  We’d attended a seminar on the boat in regards to shopping on the islands, so we had some coupons for free stuff that we figured we would cash in at that point.  If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t bother.  While the items you get are sort of cute little tokens, they are similar to something you would get from a 25 cent candy machine, but that’s how they get people in the doors, and then they really do expect you to buy something.  There had to have been a couple hundred jewellery stores just along that street and while the prices were really amazing, they still weren’t in our range.

After exploring for a bit we had to start figuring out how to get to Coral World.  We approached a police officer for directions, as we figured it would be the safest way to find out.  We had asked several people before then and couldn’t figure out why no one understood that we wanted a regular ol’ bus.  Not a charter, tour, taxi, etc.  As it turns out they do have a city bus but it’s the same type of vehicle they use for tours.  Coral World was at the very opposite end of the island, but by taking the bus it only cost us $2/each to get there.

We had to walk a little bit but for the price neither of us were complaining.  When we got there, the admission price was a bit more than we expected.  It turned out well though because there was a beautiful beach right next door.  Having looked at photos before we left I knew it was there, just hadn’t expected to use it.  So we ended up spending a good portion of our day laid out on Coki beach.  It was packed, but still so relaxing to lay out on the white sand beaches and swim in the clear water.  By the time we were ready to leave we were both mush from the heat and relaxation, great way to spend an afternoon if you ask me.

We still had about 4 hours to spend on St Thomas so we decided to take the bus back as well.  The ride back was considerably longer but for a total of $4 we got to see the entire island.  We talked with locals who told us where we needed to get off, pointed out landmarks, and interesting little tidbits.  We basically had our own little tour, in the same type of open vehicle, saw more than most since the bus traversed the entire island, and paid a fraction of the amount.  It was a little nerve wracking since we had to watch our own time table, but that was ok because it was an experience I won’t soon forget.  I also hope that it showed Chelsea that if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path it just might be worth the extra trouble.  If you’re looking for more info on how to get around St Thomas, this link has good information.

Of the three islands we visited, St Thomas seemed to be the least commercialized.  Considering the amount of jewellery stores that might sound odd, but even those stores were mostly ma and pop type fronts.  We both loved the easy atmosphere, beautiful murals along the roads, and the beach was the prettiest we saw on our trip.  One day I’ll go back and be able to spend a little more time there.

Here are just a few of my favorite pics from St Thomas…

   
   
   
 

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Cruise Day Countdown!

About a year ago at this time, my friends and I were madly voting away in a contest to win a cruise vacation.  I didn’t think I stood a chance in heck of actually winning, but as it turned out, by the end I was the one with the most votes.  A few weeks later I received my certificate in the mail telling me I was the proud owner of a 7 day Caribbean cruise for 2, and that I had a whole year to use it.  What I didn’t count on was that the cruise itself isn’t really the biggest cost, and flights were not included in my prize, nor were any of the ‘upgrades.’  Either way, I swore to myself that I would make it happen.  So, about a month or two ago, I realized that my year was very quickly running out.  I had until April 15th, so I called and booked it for April 7th in the hopes that by some miracle we could pay for the flights.

Oasis of the Seas

April 7th is now 6 weeks away, and after scrimping, and saving our pennies, we’re all set to go!  Passports and plane tickets are in hand, and my daughter and I are now planning out everything we’ll do aboard Oasis of the Seas, and on our shore excursions in Nassau, St Martin, and St Thomas.  This is a first for both of us.  Raising a special needs child doesn’t leave a whole lot of money laying around for vacations, so I’m very grateful that I will be able to share this with Chelsea.  Ben and Dad will have their own vacation in a few months, and they’re happy with that.

I’d been so busy worrying about plane tickets, passports, time off work, and everything else that goes along with a vacation, that once it was all done I came to the startling conclusion that I was going to be visiting a tropical locale, and that I would not only be wearing summer clothing that shows off legs, and arms, but <gasp> having to wear a bathing suit.  That was when the panic really set in.  We moved to Calgary about 5 years ago, and while I enjoy summers here, they are as far from hot and humid as you can get.  Swimming is not a Calgary summer time activity, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I put on a bathing suit.  Not only that, but it’s been a long winter, spent mostly in front of the computer, causing my weight to reach an all time high.

As all of this was running around in my brain, I realized that not only am I bigger than I’ve ever been, but I really don’t feel all that great.  I’m more tired than usual, less motivated to get out and do things that I normally would jump at the chance for, and just generally feeling blah.  All of this has resulted in a drastic change to my diet, completely cutting out sugar, restricting carbs, increasing fruits & veggies, and lowering fat intake.  I’m not following any particular diet, but in the week since I’ve made the changes, I’m already starting to feel more like myself.  Chelsea and I have also signed ourselves up for an exercise program.  We only have 6 weeks, but at this point, I’m more interested in feeling better than what I will look like in my bathing suit, so we’re going to give it all we’ve got.

I’ve also come across a few other bloggers who are keeping track of their progress on a weekly ‘Fit-N-Firm Friday,’ that have really motivated me.  They’ve already started so if you’re looking for motivation, these ladies have some great idea, check ’em out!  Starting this Friday, Chelsea and I will be posting our stats, along with a count down to cruise day!

Multi Testing Mommy
Pampered Patty
Domesticated Mama
Whispered Inspirations
Kats Confessions

If you’re at all interested, Mighty Ships did a program on Oasis of the Seas that not only shows the boat, but the exact cruise we will be going on.  You can watch it here.

Have you been on a cruise?  What do we need to know?  Are there any ‘must see’s’ on the Islands we’ll be visiting?

Natoma

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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