It really was great, y'all. I'm not saying it was perfect, because there is no such thing, but it was pretty amazing. To catch everyone up: Last week my husband, the 2 dorklets and I went to St. Thomas for our first "real" family vacation. There was no medical stuff attached, no wedding or family reunion, no work commitments- five days of just us, the sun, the water and a new place to explore. Travel to the Caribbean in August can be a real hit or miss experience because it's officially hurricane season, but I took out full trip insurance coverage and packed two big umbrellas, so, according to Tracey's Law*, we were in for blue skies, and they mostly were. Just some white clouds thrown in and the occasional gray one. I'm not going to go into massive detail about everything. Because that really would take several posts, and after TN last month I'm so over that. But the highlights shall be fully highlighted.
Where we stayed: Sugar Bay Resort and Spa on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. It's an all-inclusive resort with 6 different eating places (3 meals a day included!), free soda and certain alcoholic beverages (yay, pina colodas!), 3 pools, a private beach, a nature trail (with it's own mini-jurassic park thing going on- iguanas everywhere!!), and a mini-golf course. There was a shuttle that took you all over the resort, the bellhops were FANTASTIC, and we really liked it. Could have spent all 5 days just hanging out there...
Places we visited: We spent a lot of time enjoying Sugar Bay (including all day Friday) but we did get out to see the sights a couple days. On Saturday we took a guided tour of the island. We saw Drake's Seat (great view), St. Peter Mountain Great House & Botanical Gardens (too many stairs, but pretty flowers and a huge parrot enclosure, plus a pretty good view), and Mountain Top (best view ever! plus some fun touristy shopping. The so-called world famous Banana Daiquiris kinda sucked though.). Then we went to an outdoor shopping plaza that I forget the name of for lunch and retail therapy (or, in my case, alcohol therapy). We ate at this restaurant called The Fat Turtle and were introduced to the most wonderful concoction called a Walk the Plank. It's a (house specialty) blue margarita with a mango twist. Even K got a "virgin". So. freakin. good. Then we skipped out early and took a taxi back to the resort. We were supposed to go parasailing but it was too windy for it, so we hit the pool and played instead.
Sunday we went to Coral World (www.coralworldvi.com) and possibly the best time ever had on a vacation. The boys and I got to swim with Remo, a huge 400 lb sea lion who is so graceful on land and in the water, and he gives great kisses, too. Then the boys and Shawn went on an underwater Sea Trek (I'll definitely have to post this picture- they look like Storm Troopers!) where they got to walk along the floor of the ocean. They saw all sorts of aquatic life, including sharks! Almost everywhere is handicap accessible with ramps and handrails (except the Undersea Observatory Tower. you can get to the Tower (it's a pod looking thing that I can't believe hasn't been blown away!) but you can't get to the undersea part. The stairs are those circular kind, like the ones to Dumbledore's office except they don't move (now that would have been cool). While the boys trekked I wandered. I saw lemon sharks being fed, turtles playing (big turtles, could swallow my cat whole turtles- ok, maybe not my cat because he's getting a bit chunky, but a small cat would be history, if turtles ate cats.), stingrays hiding in the sand and I got to visit some lorikeets and play for a bit. (Also, the hotdogs there are grilled and like twice as long as the bun. So yummy.) There were coral reef exhibits and a "hands on" tank where you could pet some starfish. And iguanas everywhere! I'm pretty sure I didn't even make it through the whole park. Gonna have to go back some day.
After C.W. we walked next door to Coki Beach. It's a sandy beach with calm waters, so perfect for klutzy broads and so-so swimmers. The boys went snorkeling and I just played in the water. Shawn had to haul me in and out so I stayed in for as long as I could. I missed the wave action but I felt very safe swimming in the flat waters- no risk of a wave pushing me under. It really was a perfect "last day".
Coming home: We left Monday. The airport was packed and Delta's ticket network was down. We were given boarding passes to get through customs and security and promised seating assignments at the gate. Shawn checked in with them as soon as we got through to let them know I would need a wheelchair to board because I wouldn't be able to get up the stairs to board (you board staright on from the tarmac. what do they do when it rains?). I got "lifted" to the plane door. It was pretty cool actually. And guess where our seats were?! FIRST CLASS! I know it's all because of me. :D It really is like the movies, y'all. Hot towels to clean up with before dinner, blankets and pillows, and the in flight movie was The Avengers (too bad it wasn't captioned; gonna have to contact Delta about that!). It was a nice first experience to include in all of the other great first experiences we had on our trip. Once we landed in Atlanta things went downhill fast, so I'm going to pretend our trip ended there, flying over the ocean with all the leg room we needed and a not-yet-released-to-dvd movie playing on the monitors.
* Tracey's Law- if you prepare for it (and I mean really prepare, not some half-assed attempt to fool the universe), it won't happen.