Cruise to Mexico and Belize - September 2003

Cruising the Caribbean on the Carnival Elation

Day 1, September 28, 2003:

Terri, Elroy, Rachel, and I departed Galveston at 4pm on our cruise.  Wayland had been nice enough to drive us down there, and we got there about noon.  The wait was in line was painful—a couple of hours.  After finally getting on board, Terri and I hurried to our room (E-14) to unpack.  (Our luggage was already waiting for us.)  After unpacking (and before the ship had disembarked) we had to complete an emergency drill.  (We had to put on our life jackets to complete the drill.  I became an official “helper” to a few people who sat near us.  They thought that I worked on the ship or something.  They couldn't believe that I had never put on one of these life vests before.)  Afterwards, Terri and I went to the deck to watch the boat pull away from the dock.

We went and explored the ship.  At 6:15pm, we went to eat dinner in the Inspiration dining hall.  (Here I had the best chicken I have ever had in my life called Supreme Chicken a la Grecque.)

Later we went to a Game Show where Terri was chosen to play!  She got to 50 points first and won a 14 carat gold plastic ship on a stick.

Later that evening we went with Rachel and Elroy to grab late ice cream.  Terri and I, being the old folks we are, hit the hay at 10:15pm.

Day 2, September 29, 2003:

The water was VERY choppy this day and people were vomiting all over the place.  Luckily Terri, Rachel, and I had seasickness patches on that kept us from having trouble.  It was truly odd to see barf bags taped to stair railings.

After eating breakfast at 8, Rachel and I went to find out more info about shopping at the ports of call.  ~Terri and I had already decided that Cozumel would be our shopping port.  After this seminar, I laid down for about 30 minutes.  I made it back in time to see a seminar about the available shore excursions.  Terri, Elroy, Rachel, and I all signed up to go cave tubing in Belize, and Terri and I signed up to do a kayaking adventure in Progresso.

I then left Rachel to go to a seminar called “Frustrated With Your Hair.”  Only one other lady, besides me, showed up, so we got complimentary consulting scheduled for Tuesday. 

I should probably mention here our old versus new itinerary.  A tropical cyclone hit Progresso, so a change was necessary.

Tuesday in Progresso
Wednesday in Cozumel                      
Thursday in Belize

Wednesday in Belize
Thursday in Cozumel
Friday in Progresso

We all met for lunch, and, afterward, went to the casino.  I entered a slot tournament that Jane’s sister wound up winning.  $500 was the prize.  After this, Terri and I took a nap on the deck, went to the cheese/wine tasting (promptly deciding to leave), and then went to Pete’s Piano Bar for Tea Time.  This was followed by more trivia.

We ran into Elroy and Rachel at the casino and decided to go play spades until time to get dressed up for our formal dinner.  After changing out of our dresses after dinner, we went and saw a dancing/singing show, followed by more Spades (where I must mention that Terri and I beat Elroy and Frances twice).  After this was the Late Show, a very funny comedy act.

When it was time to retire, Terri and found chocolate mints on our pillows and our beach towel was made into a frog.

Day 3, September 30, 2003:

Today was supposed to have us stopping at Progresso.  Instead, it was a sea day.  We did have an emergency stop in Cozumel to let off a lady who had fallen down and broken a hip. 

Our day was:  breakfast, hair consultation (where the lady tried to convince me to dye my hair copper), Brain teaser, trivia, casino, lunch, men’s hairy chest contest, gambling, Bingo, a tour of the galley (which was huge and stainless steel), chips and salsa happy hour, casino, dinner, casino, and a juggling and comedy show.  Bedtime required that we set the clocks ahead an hour.

Day 4, October 1, 2003:
Today was a stop in Belize.  Rachel, Elroy, Terri, and I went Cave Tubing and Rainforest Walk shore excursion after a quick breakfast.  We waited in the Mikado lounge where we tendered to shore.

The Cave Tubing was supposed to be very strenuous—but the only difficult part of it was that I had rented water shoes that were so thin that I could feel every rock for almost three hours.  (A 45 min. walk through the rainforest—the rest was on the tube (except for a few shallow spots.)  The water was quite chilly at first, but eventually our bodies regulated and we were on our way.  (There were military men in camouflage with large guns standing on the cliffs.  That was a bit freaky too.)
The caves were amazing.  At one point we were on the river in pitch black—and at others had just the light from the headlights they provided.  We were able to see bat caves on the ceiling and HUGE stalagmites and stalactites.

We had lunch at a place called Cheers.  The menu was black beans and rice, coleslaw, curry chicken, watermelon, and bananas with caramel sauce.  (This may have been my first time to have curry.  I liked it, but this wasn't the spicy kind.)  Then we had our choice of lemon juice or iced tea. 
We then headed back to Belize City, shopped a tad, and loaded back onto the Elation. 
Terri and I took quick showers and tried to play in the casino, but they keep it closed until the boat disembarks.  We headed up to the deck and took short naps before heading down to play spades with Elroy and Rachel.  We then got dressed for dinner, played more in the casino, saw the ending of a fiddler/patriotic show, and played cards again.  (Terri and Kristy 3, Elroy and Rachel 1)

Day 5, October 2, 2003:
Today was Cozumel.

Terri and I did most of our shopping together, getting some free items and lots of gifts.  Since we thought we had to depart early, we hurried up quite a bit.  We did manage some good deals though.

We got four spray painted pictures for $30.  I got Kris a t-shirt, and Terri and I both got him hot sauce.  I was held up in one of the stores by a Mexican police officer who insisted I speak to him in Spanish.  I was really nervous he'd arrest me.

When we were passing by one of the Carnival’s recommended stores, I got escorted in by the owner.  He hooked me in by the arm and pulled me into his store.  He told us about their free shipping policy, and then told Terri that she could have one of the oriental rugs if he could keep me.  She decided, thank goodness, that I was more valuable than an Oriental rug.  I never thought I'd get bartered for a rug!

After our shopping, we went back to the boat.  (This is where we found out the change of port.)  But we went and ate lunch, played some more spades (Elroy and Rachel 2, Terri and Kristy 1).
We saw a Mexican show at 7:15pm, and I got pulled up on stage to dance with them.  (Mexican men must like women with red hair.)  

Then there was a scavenger hunt…Terri and I gathered everything we could find from our room.  (We had guessed the scavenger hunt would either be “who has this…” or a list of items we would have to go around and collect.)  It turned out to be the items that people currently had on them, and, if you had the item called, you earned a point for your team.  Out of however many items they called, we only missed three of them.  Some woman provided us with a lighter, but we had a lot of obscure stuff like a beach towel wrapper and mint from our pillow.

Elroy was wonderful!!!  They made a guy from each team:
  1. Wear women’s high heels and walk the stage
  2. Dress up like a woman (in 3 minutes) and do their best woman walk across the stage.  (He came in 2nd but secure our win.  We got our 24 carat gold plastic ship on a stick.)  
  3. I must also commend Frances here.  The women's clothes had to come from somewhere, and Frances didn't think twice about ripping off her skirt to loan to Grandpa Schorn.  So she's sitting there skirtless, and Terri was wearing a sweater.  I ask Terri to give her sweater to Frances to cover her legs.  Terri said she was cold and didn't want to give her sweater up.  It took a bit to convince her that Frances's nakedness trumped three minutes of chilly.

Later that night was the guest talent show.  They had a couple of singers, a hula lady, and a woman who could whistle through her toes.  After the guests performed, the cast put on a skit “If I weren’t on the sea, this is what I’d be…”

After laughing a lot, it was time for bed.

Day 6, October 3, 2003:
Today was Calica.  Terri and I signed up for a kayak adventure at Tres Rios in Cancun.  We kayaked up and back one river, but opted to lie in the shade at the beach.  After the kayakers got back, we snorkeled through the 1st river.  The water was very cold at first, but it was a nice trip.  When we were done, we changed clothes and ate the extensive Mexican buffet.  It had an open bar, so Terri and I got soda and virgin strawberry daiquiris. 
We took the thirty-minute bus rid back to the Elation and looked through a few shops there at Calica in front of the ship.  Terri and I reboarded and took showers before heading to the Battle of the Sexes trivia.  We then played in the Casino where Terri and I both won some money on the quarter Wheel of Fortune slot machine.
During dinner we had Baked Alaska for dessert.  We then played more in the casino until the Elation put on a show called “Spin”.  After the show, we went back to the casino.  We saw Elroy win at Caribbean Stud.  He got a full house, which paid $100 plus his bet 7:1.

Afterwards, Terri, Frances, Elroy, and I played spades.  We then went to the Gala Buffet at midnight.  They had gorgeous food carvings and ice sculptures.  Frances saw a display of what she thought was guacamole by the sushi display.  She sat at the table and took a HUGE spoonful.  We see her face turn red, her eyes water, and she starts coughing.  It turned out to be wasabi. 

Day 7, October 4, 2003:
The morning started off with Terri, Rachel, and I playing trivia.  (Actually, the day started off for Terri at the wheel of Fortune slots where she won $56.)  Next was “Win a Cruise” Bingo.  We didn’t win.  I did, however, get another 14 carat gold ship on a stick in a Mind Teasers trivia game.

Then Jane’s family won the horse race for the horse they had purchased and decorated.  We participated in TV/Movie trivia then headed to play spades.

Destin, Florida - July 2003

Day 1:
We (Kris and Kristy) arrived through Delta on 7/13/03 to Fort Walton Beach's airport. We were quite confused while boarding the airplane, as we had to go outside to this tiny airplane that had no first class, one stewardess, and only one bathroom. VPS, the airport we landed in, is actually a part of the Eglin Air Force Base, and it is quite tiny (which explains the tiny plane). We actually had to depart the plane outside as well. (I was glad it wasn't raining. If it were raining, they would just give us umbrellas as we made the journey.) Terri, Wayland, and Adam were waiting for us when we arrived. We grabbed our luggage and went to the hotel.

The hotel I had managed to book us at was the Quality Inn Bayside in Fort Walton Beach. It was about 2 miles from the beach and 15 minutes from, what we would find out to be, the better beaches of Destin. After checking in, we all changed into our bathing suits and went to a beach in Ft. Walton. The red flags were out at the beach and waves were rather bruising, so Terri and I opted to lay out on the beach while Adam, Kris, and Wayland went into the water and later built the first of their sandcastles.

At first we thought the nastiness of the water was due to the hurricane stirring in the gulf. (Kris and I had bought a shovel and very simple bucket from Wal-Mart before we left for Florida. We did not have a cheater bucket that already has the formation of a sandcastle built into it.) After the beach we headed back to the hotel to change for dinner. We went to a place called Giuseppi's Wharf where Kris, Wayland, and Adam shared an appetizer of Jalapenos stuffed with crab...and we all had dinner.

Day 2:
The next day we all decided to go to Big Kahuna's Waterpark. Beforehand we went to Big K-mart to pick up a few things and got to the waterpark at 10am. After a few hours, a big storm came in, and we were forced to get out of the water. We packed up and headed back to the hotel where we all dried off.

For lunch, we then headed to the Asian King Buffet, which was excellent. (Even Terri, who doesn't like Chinese food seemed to enjoy it.) Then we all went to the Gulfarium, a marine life exhibit.

They had many marine displays and 4 marine shows. We saw a dolphin show, a sea lion show, a show featuring a scuba diver, and a show that incorporated 2 dolphins and a sea lion. It was really quite interesting to see.

That evening, the guys decided to go to the Florida high point and Terri and I opted to hang out at the hotel. (We didn't think it would be fun to drive an hour each way to see a sign that said "Florida High Point".)

Day 3:
Tuesday had another beach excursion in store for us. We actually decided to head to Destin to check out their beaches. While the sand was quite similar to that of Fort Walton (pretty white), the water was much nicer...less seaweed, better visibility, pretty green in hue. And, unlike two days before when red flags were out cautioning people to swim, it was only a yellow day in Destin. We all went in the water a while, and, later, Wayland and Kris started making a really nice sandcastle. I helped a little bit, but, after seeing the sandcastle they had made in Ft. Walton, knew I'd just be in their way. 

About 2pm, we went to Chick-Fil-A and had lunch and then headed to another beach where we hoped snorkeling would be possible. The new beach's waters were actually quite dirty, so Terri and I napped under the lean-to that Wayland had made for us while the boys did their thing. Before departing for the day, Kris and Wayland buried Adam in the sand (and made it into a mermaid, sort of) like Joey on Friends. (Adam is a HUGE Friends fan.)

That evening, we all headed back to the hotel to change and shower, went to Big K-Mart again to buy Adam the 4th Season of Friends on DVD, and went to play putt-putt. I was limping the entire time, as I had forgotten to put sunscreen on my feet and they were already beginning to hurt. We then went to the Crab Trap Restaurant for dinner. (It had been highly recommended by a friend of Terri's.)

Day 4:
The next day Terri, Wayland, and Adam headed home in the early morning. Kris and I lounged around a lot, as both of us were burned and we had done pretty much everything there is to do in Destin/Ft. Walton with his parents. We finally decided to get up and go to the beach for a few hours, even if we were burned. (We didn't want to stay in the hotel room all day.) We walked about 4 city blocks to reach a bus stop where we were able to catch a fifty-cent bus to Uptown Station (and boy was that a chore for my swollen, burned feet).

Uptown Station had a free shuttle (the green line) that would take you through much of Ft. Walton. We got dropped off at a beach in Ft. Walton, but were very disappointed as the water was still quite nasty. We didn't stay there very long before we decided to take the yellow line that would take us into Destin. From the drop off of the yellow line, we took the blue line to a Destin beach, which was much nicer. After playing around at the beach a little while, we changed clothes in a bathroom and went to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. Then we took the many shuttles back to as close to our hotel as it would take us, and we walked the rest of the way to our hotel.

Day 5:
Our final day wasn't really all that eventful. We had to check out at 11:00am and asked the front desk to hold our luggage until we could be picked up. (Our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:15pm.) We walked really really far (my feet still throb) to downtown Ft. Walton to go to a really crappy Science Center. (It was for kids...the displays were pathetic but from the description it sounded like something that Kris would really enjoy.)

We then caught a free shuttle and went back to Crab Trap for lunch. We also grabbed an Italian Ice. We took another shuttle to Uptown Station, where we had plans to catch the 4pm bus to the location closest to our hotel and walk back to the hotel to catch the 4:45pm airport shuttle we had scheduled. The bus was over 20 minutes late when we called the shuttle company and had them get us from Uptown Station--take us to the hotel to get our stuff--and then go to the airport. We had another small plane...landed in DFW...hardly had to wait any time before getting our luggage...went downstairs to wait for the shuttle to take us to my old boss's hotel, where we had parked for free, and headed home.

Did I mention we got engaged this weekend?  He asked her and she said yes...oh wait, it was the other way around.  Regardless.  We got engaged.