Posts Tagged ‘mario’s’

Antigua Honeymoon, Day Seven, October 15, 2010

Breakfast at Bayside, as usual. No pictures, because, as stated previously, breakfast is the same each morning. I am definitely going to miss the passion fruit. At some point, I’m going to see if I can track it down back home. I’m thinking Whole Foods… maybe… if I’m lucky.

We went to the pool, read a bit, swam a bit, and after a drink at the bar at 10:30 (Frozen Mud Slide for Tina, virgin frozen drink for me), we went to Barefoot for lunch. I got the steak fries and chili; Tina got the quesadilla. The quesadilla was good; my lunch was also excellent, if a bit spicy. They definitely like their hot spices in Antigua. No pictures of this meal because I didn’t have my camera on me.

By that point, we had just absorbed too much sun, so we went to the room to cool off and rest for a bit. We also went to Bayside again to catch the tail end of the lunch buffet; nothing new to report there, either.

At 4:00, we went to Eleanor’s for tea. I got a spice tea; Tina got orange. It was served hot, though, and a few sips were all we could take. We then spent a bit of time wading in the ocean, collecting shells and sand to take home. Tina has a plan to make a Christmas ornament that is filled with sand and some tiny shells we’ve found here.

And a flower at the resort…

We also found out there is a $28 per person Antiguan departure tax. Yikes. We weren’t expecting that, and as plastic people (which we are changing as soon as we get home, but for now – we’re plastic people), we don’t have that much cash on us. I didn’t want to carry a lot of cash with us to a foreign country, so we literally brought just enough for tips and such. However, we went to the concierge, in a bit of a panic, and were told we had two options. One, there is an ATM at the airport, or two, we can do a cash advance on our credit card here at the resort that is just a 10% charge. We’re doing that option, because we don’t know how much the ATM will cost. We have $40; we need to borrow $16 more in American. We can only got it in Antiguan money, but they’ll accept that, too. I’m not entirely sure of the exchange rate, but it’ll probably be around $40 EC or so, including the 10% charge for the resort. Roughly $20 in American money, and frankly, we feared a foreign ATM charge might be that much.

We have received our departure packet (which is how we found out about the departure tax). This has been a great vacation, but I’ll admit – I’m ready to get back to a normal routine. I’m ready to tackle this diet head-on and get this weight off! (Plus, I know I’ve gained at LEAST ten to twelve pounds here, if not more. Yikes. Gotta get that off fast.)

We’re going to Barefoot for lobster for dinner tonight, and I think Tina wants to go to Mario’s again for dessert. The lava cake was delicious.

***

Waiting for Barefoot to open…

The pool at night…

Barefoot at Twilight…

We ended up having the spiny lobster at Barefoot. Unfortunately, they had sprayed for mosquitos before, and that serves to get them stirred up, so we were both bitten horribly while we were waiting for our food (and even while we were dining). The spiny lobster, though, was amazing. I’ve learned that Tina absolutely LOVES lobster. I like it, but I’d just as soon have a good shrimp dish.

The fun bread basket…

The fires going near the restaurant…

We also went to Mario’s after we had digested for a bit. I was craving steak, because the steak here is AWESOME, and Mario’s delivered. Tina got the lasagna, not so much because she was actually hungry but because… well, it was free, and it could be a midnight snack. The steak ended up being so good that I’m wishing I had another one to bring back myself. Oh well – at least I can cook a good steak, too.

The lava cake was dessert for both of us. Oh man, it was so good. I have to find a recipe for lava cake when we get home.

We’re going to the piano bar later. This is probably the last entry I’ll type here, because we’re packing for tomorrow, and I’m about to put my keyboard away.

***

What follows was written AFTER we returned home. We didn’t make it to the piano bar, and sadly, there was an amazing cultural event near Bayside and I didn’t have my camera! It was basically a live show about the culture of Antigua, complete with a steel band, costumes, dancing, and more. It was amazing. If you come to the Sandals Resort in Antigua, they have this show every Friday at 9:30. You MUST go, and take your camera.

After that, we went back to our room.

***

No more words actually written in Antigua, even though I do still have a shorter eighth day post (and a few photos) to make, along with one more random photos taken on day seven.

One feature that I thought was very neat was that the lights in the room operated by the key card, so as soon as you got in the room, you put your key card in the light switch and you wouldn’t walk off and leave it or otherwise lose it. There was also a button for “Do Not Disturb” and “Clean Room,” so you didn’t have to put a door hanger on the doorknob. You just had to push a button.

Antigua Honeymoon, Day Six, October 15, 2010

Today was a hot, burny, sandy, salty day. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t a bad day, but we are both EXHAUSTED. I’m so glad we have tomorrow to rest and recover and enjoy this resort before we leave.

We went to breakfast at Mario’s. No pictures this time. Our stuff, including my camera, was packed for the trip to Bird’s Island later that morning. We both ate pretty light; I didn’t want to get sick to my stomach on the catamaran trip.

I’m going to tell all about the trip before I put up the pictures, because I took SO many.

At 9:15, we were at the Caribbean Bar with a group of others waiting for various excursions. We were all doing either the Circumnavigation or Bird’s Island. By the time we boarded our boat, there were only five couples total. We were pleased to be in such a small group.

It was a forty-five minute boat ride to Bird’s Island. Gorgeous views. We also passed Oprah Winfrey’s house at one point.

We stopped at a passage between two islands and we were given the option to snorkel out. I asked if we could swim with just the goggles, and we were allowed to. Believe it or not – big mistake. The ocean kept pushing us back, and without fins, we just couldn’t swim fast enough.

As in Cancun, the water was too salty, and it kept gagging me. I have to be honest – I’m just not an ocean swimmer. Period. It was cool looking at the grass underwater, and I did see a Dory fish at one point, but the effort and gaggy-salt water just isn’t worth it to me. I must keep this in mind next time I come to the tropics.

The others in our group had already made it, so the captain of our catamaran came back in an inflatable dingy with a motorboat on the back. It was a little tough getting in from the water, especially after we were both so fatigued from the ocean, but he was a great sport and helped us in. The captain was a tremendously nice man. Tina could have completely made it on her own without me slowing her down, but I am just not that good of a swimmer.

The best part of the trip was this little beach we were on at Bird’s Island. The water was this beautiful blueish-green, and the sand was sparking white. While we were waiting for our actual beach barbecue to start, we just lounged around in the water. For lunch, we had some type of chicken, slaw, macaroni and cheese, and garlic bread. There were also some drinks out; I got what I thought was just Hawaiian punch but it was actually rum punch. Yikes; crazy strong, but fortunately, it didn’t hit me too hard since it was after lunch.

We then went on a short but steep, rocky hike to the summit of Bird’s Island. That was awesomely cool, and it was a nice challenge. At no point did I feel like I couldn’t make it, but it was definitely some 45 degree rocky inclines we had to scale. Fortunately, the path was small and there were good footholds and trees on each side to help pull us up. Looking back, it wasn’t really that tough at all, but was just a fun part of the excursion.

The view from the top was amazing. I’m glad we went, even if the trip was a little pricey and I HATE swimming in the ocean, if just for that gorgeous view we were rewarded with at the top. There were also two blowholes, which as near as I can tell, are simply holes in the rock that are really deep.

Sadly, we didn’t really see many birds. Tina and I did see a pelican get a fish out of the ocean on our swim in, but no birds on Bird’s Island. Did see a few lizards, though.

After enjoying the view for a few minutes longer, we made our way back down the same path we had climbed. It was tougher going down. And I must point out – our tour guide was barefoot! This was not a smooth path; it was covered in jagged, sharp rocks. I’m impressed at how tough his feet must be.

Upon reaching the beach, there was a little treasure hunt for us to take part in. It was over quite quickly, but one of the couples found the bottle of rum they had hidden. I’m truly okay not having won; I’m not touching alcohol for a while after we get back. I know I’ve gained weight here, and I’m ready to get it off of me.

We were then told we had about forty-five minutes to do whatever we’d like. A few of the couples in our group went snorkeling; Tina and I just lounged about in the shallow water on the beach, and I’m sure we contributed to our sun burn.

We went on a dingy ride back to the catamaran, boarded up the staircase from the water, and then it was an hour and a half ride back to Antigua. A few people onboard were jumping back into the water from the boat before we left; I’m neither a good enough swimmer nor energetic enough, at that point, to join them.

I forgot to take dramamine for the ride back, so I was a little nauseated by the time we got back. Fortunately, close to the beach, we were given some raisin rum cake, and it was warm and very tasty, and believe it or not, that actually helped.

Then, we were back on the beach. While I enjoyed the day, Tina and I were both SO ready to get back to the room, take a shower, and then nap for a few hours.

We were also hungry, though, so we grabbed some pizza from the pizzeria on the way back. After a shower and some aloe gel slathered all over our pink skin, we collapsed into bed and didn’t wake up for about two hours.

I told Tina that some time, we are going to take a resort trip with tons of cash and just do the spa, every day. Swimming excursions are no longer on my list of things to do. I’ve tried it twice, here in Antigua and last year in Cancun, and I’m just not a good enough swimmer for it to be enjoyable for me.

Lots and lots of pictures…

Oprah’s House…

And back to more pics…

The Bird Island’s Sign

And still more pictures…

The Caribbean side of Bird Island…

The Atlantic side of Bird Island…

And now back to more pictures…

As you can see from some of the above photos, we had a few jumpers off the boat after we had returned from our excursion on the island. I have no idea who these people are, but the jumping looked like fun, so I filmed it. Here’s a short clip on YouTube.

***

Mario’s has had the best service we’ve ever gotten here. It is Italian themed. Our hostess was named Spice, and she spent several moments with us, discussing our trip, before seating us. I really liked the hospitality.

Bread and something yummy (an unfamiliar version of pesto, maybe?) to dip it in…

They had an antipasti buffet. I got a few different types of salad, along with some fried calamari and roasted vegetables. I got some rigatoni with italian sausage, spinach, and mushrooms, which was delicious. For our entrees, Tina ordered grilled pork, which was served with polenta and vegetables. I got the chicken parmesan. Both were quite good.

Dessert, though, was the best dessert we’ve gotten here yet. We got them to go; I ordered a passion fruit mousse, and Tina got the lava cake and ice cream. Both were yummy, but again, Tina’s was better.

We just got some hot chocolate from the lobby. We’re just exhausted, so we’ll definitely be going to bed early tonight. Tomorrow is our last full day. We plan to spend it enjoying the pool, relaxing, and just enjoying each other’s company.

I’ll admit – while this has been great, I’m still ready to get home, eating right, exercising regularly, and getting back to regular life.

Antigua Honeymoon, Day Three – October 11, 2010

This morning was the prettiest morning we’ve had yet while we’ve been here. The sky was a perfect blue and there wasn’t a cloud in it.

View from the 5th floor…

Sister Island, off in the distance…

More views of the resort…

The elevator ride down…

The various sights on the way to breakfast…

The sign for the outdoor pizzeria…

An Antiguan snail…

This was above the swim-up bar by the pool…

Where many activities, including bracelet making, are held…

We went to Mario’s for breakfast this morning. It was largely the same buffet as they had at Bayside, although there were grilled tomatoes with mozzarella, eggs benedict, quiche, and pancakes available in addition to the rest.

I ended up getting four plates this morning, although in my defense, they weren’t all crammed full and I didn’t completely polish off ANY plate. And yes, I most definitely LOVE passion fruit! I’m not sure I entirely care for the pancake syrup they have here; there is some spice in it, perhaps nutmeg or allspice or something similar, that I’m just not that fond of. It was better on the french toast than the pancakes, so I’ll probably stick to french toast while I’m here.

The tables in Mario’s…

The ceiling in Mario’s…

More inside Mario’s…

And the food at Mario’s…

We have definitely decided we’re going to go to Bayside for breakfast from here on out, just because it’s basically the same food and we’d rather eat by the ocean than in a restaurant.

As part of being on a honeymoon, we also get a “breakfast in bed,” which I thinks amounts to room service. We stopped by this morning and signed up for it; it’s a continental breakfast, so we may end up going out for a hot breakfast that morning, too. We’re doing it on Wednesday.

Views from around the resort…

“Lee-zard!”

Flowers from around the resort…

The restaurant Barefoot by the Sea…

The pool, from a distance…

The back of the swim-up bar…

More pool pictures…

We went down to the beach this morning and tried one of the water bikes. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I expected it to be (and they actually had a life jacket that fit me – shocker!), but it was definitely a workout. My legs and lungs were burning by the time we were done. I was amazed at how difficult it was! That was definitely some cardio for the day. Best yet, we also found three sea shells! There were so many people out, I didn’t really expect to find any, but we did. Tina is planning some type of Christmas ornament with them.

More beach pictures…

After hosing off in the outdoor shower, we reapplied sunscreen (we should have brought more – we’ll definitely run out before we’re done here, and it’s crazy expensive in the resort shops) and hit the pool to cool off. We also killed time lounging in the water until the swim-up bar opened. Several people were doing the same thing. We were like vultures for alcohol. My drinking plans for today were to stay more hydrated with water (which I did) and limit myself to one drink at a time (which I also did). Tina got something called a Banana Sip Sop, which was pink and fruity, while I got another Chocolate Monkey. After that, I was done drinking until after lunch. No “I hate alcohol – I want to barf and why won’t my eyes focus!” sensations this time, so this is the way to go.

Then we relaxed in the shade on some lounge chairs for an hour or so and read our books. We’re about to go hit Bayside again for the Mexican Buffet they have on Mondays, and then we’ll swing by Bella Napoli, get some pizzas, head back to the room, and crash for the hottest part of the day before we head out for the evening! No concrete plans tonight; it’s nice not having to keep checking the time!

***

We made it to Bayside a few minutes before they opened for the buffet, so we stopped at the nearby bar and ordered some drinks. I got a Blue Lagoon and Tina got something called Gentle Kisses. Both were delicious, although with so much sun and not enough water, I did get a little wobbly headed.

While we were drinking, some dude on the beach was trying to get me to buy an excursion package from him. That’s my biggest complaint about this place; there are too many outside vendors on the beach to bug us. I had to tell him twice I wasn’t interested. I’m interested in excursions, but I’m only going to do them through Sandals. For all I know, he operates a White Slave Trading Ring, and Tina and I would find ourselves sold into captivity.

The buffet was quite nice, although I apparently do not know what Authentic Mexican is. I wasn’t expecting Taco Bell cuisine or even El Mazatlan food, but it definitely wasn’t what we got. Delicious and no complaints, but not what we were expecting.

First plate was a few different types of meat, along with a delicious fish fillet, and some mashed potatoes. There was also a pasta bar, where you pick your pasta and what you want in it and what sauce, and they whip it up right then. Very tasty. I got bow tie pasta, chicken, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, onions, and some type of tomato sauce, sprinkled with fresh parmesan. Delicioso!

Third plate was a panini, because they had a make-your-own panini bar! I had to do it, just for the spectacle of it alone. Fourth was shared dessert with Tina, and fifth was a bite of pound cake, marshmallows, and blueberries dipped in a white chocolate fountain. (Milk or dark would have been even better.)

Views from our table…

We ended up stuffed. No extra pizza today. We’re heading back to the room for a power nap in the hottest part of the day. We were both drenched with sweat by the time we got back. (Granted, I was drenched with sweat by the time we got to the lobby on the elevator ride down, but still…) It’s fricking hot today! I just cranked the AC down to 68, and we’re about to relax indoors for a bit. We still have tons of time left here, and we see no need to rush ourselves.

We also ended up playing a game of pool at Cricketer’s while we were waiting for our room to be cleaned. We both pretty well sucked, but technically, I won. Yay me!

***

At five o’clock, there was a manager’s cocktail hour. Not entirely sure what that was, but we decided to go down.

The Entertainment Board, which lists all Sandals activities, such as the cocktail hour…

Basically, several guests gathered, all of the managers were there to mingle, and we were served various cocktails and hors dorves. We spent the hour with a very nice woman named Anne, who was the Manager of Public Relations. She was a fascinating person; she was originally from Canada, although I believe she said her mother was originally from Antigua, and she just saw the advertisement for the manager’s position, applied, got the job, and moved. She’s only been here for four months. She was a lot of fun to spend time with and told us a great deal about life here in Antigua. (She also finally confirmed how to pronounce it – the locals call it Anti-Ga, with a hard G, rather than Anti-gwa, so we’re going with the local pronunciation.)

Near the end, they asked for all of the newlywed husbands to come up front. I assumed they were going to do some sort of newlywed game, and Tina insisted I go. What the hey, right? Why not? Well, they were doing a game, but it wasn’t an “answer questions about your spouse” game.

It was a dance contest.

Yikes. If you know me, you know I have NO rhythm.

But you know what, I decided, when my turn came, I am on vacation with people I will never see again, so I got out there and gave it my best. I’ll point out that my best was AWFUL, but it was fun, people cheered (although people did cheer for everyone), and it was fun. And not nearly as embarrassing as I would have guessed, because really – when will I ever see ANY of these people again?

The lady laughing is Esther, who helped us set up our excursions. Very nice lady. Every time she saw us on the resort, she cried out, “My favorite couple, the Longmans!” Granted, our last name is Logsdon, but it was still extremely nice. I know she isn’t laughing at me dancing in this picture…

…but she might be laughing at me out of sight in this picture… and for once, I am not sorry a picture turned out extremely dark… (see full if you want to get a faint glimpse of me making a fool of myself)

After the contest was over, we found out that the winner won a cabana rental for the day, which costs $99. I really wish I had tried harder when I found that out. The winner (and those who got the loudest applause) were those who were the most risque. Maybe if I had stripped off my shirt and slung it around my head I would have won? But that might have made me a whore, so perhaps it’s best that I didn’t do that. (Note to those who don’t know me: I would NEVER have done that. I’m almost too modest to even take my shirt off at the pool. Although I am doing that here, because I’ve seen guys who were crazy fit with eight-pack abs and guys with bigger guts than me and way paler.)

We also got a 10% off coupon for the resort shop, so we chose tonight to buy our souvenirs. I got a little frog for my office, a Christmas ornament for our tree, a cap and t-shirt for me, a shirt and bracelet for Tina, and a big metal lizard for the house. Every time we see a lizard here, one of us cries out, “Lee-zard!” It just seemed like it would be a good addition to our house.

Postcards were also bought for our parents, along with stamps. It costs thirty-five cents to mail a letter to America from here. How ridiculous is that? I have to pay forty-four cents at home to mail my water bill three miles down the road! We’re also sending ourselves a postcard, because we’re huge dorks like that.

We are, once again, doing two dinners. We went to Barefoot as they are seafood themed, and where could we get better seafood than on an island? Every single time we have gotten shrimp, it has been amazing! We got a grilled shrimp appetizer, and once again, it was amazing. They also served us bread with some type of herbed butter – also quite yummy.

The main course was, for Tina, a Seafood Sampler, which consisted of mussels, scallops, calamari, and shrimp, all grilled. I tried a bite of the calamari and mussels, and they were pretty good. I can only imagine the scallops and shrimp were equally amazing.

Alas, I wish I had gotten the spiny lobster. I ordered the Blue Marlin, because I’ve never had it. It was okay (and the rice bed it was served on was the best rice I have ever had). The tempura veggies that came with it were also quite good. The fish itself was a pretty healthy serving, but it was too fishy tasting, if that makes sense. Honestly, it was the fishiest fish I’ve ever fished. Er, eaten. Definitely gonna stick with shellfish from here on out, because I think I’m just more of a shellfish fan than fish fan.

There is a fire show at the Beachside BBQ at Bayside, and we are going to that at nine. And yes, we’re probably going to eat again. Don’t judge me!

***

Yeah, the fire show didn’t happen. We were there. We were there from 8:50 to 9:40, but there was no fire show. Not sure why, either. That kinda sucks, because we were really looking forward to it.

Buffet was good food, as always. I got jerk chicken, pork, some mac and cheese (that was crazy spicy), and half of a baked potato with some butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, and chives. Very good. I went small servings and didn’t clean off my plate, because we weren’t really that hungry. I definitely got dessert, too. There was a chocolate mousse, shaped like a pyramid with a cherry on top, that was delicious.

And a few more pictures taken at night on the way back to our room…

And lastly, a short video recorded on the way back to the room to preserve the very unusual nature sounds you’d hear as you walk about at night…

It’s funny how a long day of doing nothing can tire you out. We are retired for the night. Our wake up call is placed and the Do Not Disturb light is lit.

Great end to a great day.

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