Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

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 Two – October 10, 2010

Again note – This was written while in Antigua on my iPad, hence the reason for any weird verb tenses. I’ve decided not to really edit, because I want to capture what I wrote while I was there.

***

We got up nice and early at seven o’clock. Okay, that’s really not that early, but things don’t open here until about 7:30, and Tina and I don’t want to miss anything. We can sleep when we get home in Kentucky and aren’t paying so much for a room.

The fountain outside our room…

The little lizards that are EVERYWHERE!

We went to Bayside Restaurant for their breakfast buffet, and it was beautiful. We were given mimosas as soon as we walked in, and we were allowed to seat ourselves, as it was a buffet. There were only a handful of couples in the restaurant, and they were all seated in tables closest to the open wall facing the sea. We chose likewise. Slightly warm (but really, I sweat in the dead of winter, so of course I’m going to sweat in the tropics), but there was a nice breeze off of the ocean. It was so much fun just sitting by the beach, listening to the waves, while we were eating breakfast.

They had a huge fruit spread, a tray table of typical breakfast foods (i.e. – french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, etc.), and a table for cereal and oatmeal. The oatmeal was a make-it-yourself arrangement, and it was pretty interesting. One part that I found really neat was that the bar also had vases filled with guppies! There was also an omelet bar, but we were entirely too full by the time we were done to visit it.

Vases of guppies…

Lots of fruit…

Pastries!

My first trip was pretty standard breakfast food that I had to try because I had been craving them for weeks. First plate was scrambled eggs with mushrooms, hash brown, bacon, sausage links, french toast with the most amazing warmed syrup I believe I’ve ever had, and a fried plantain. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the plantain, but the rest was quite tasty.

My plate…

Tina’s plate…

For my second plate, I decided to do mostly fruits. I could tell I was already getting full, but I had to try some fresh fruit. Watermelon, kiwi (served, not in slices, but in halves!), sugar cane (I had never eaten raw, but quite interesting to bite and suck out the juice), pineapple, star fruit, and passion fruit. I had no idea what passion fruit looked like, and it was pretty ugly (looked quite nasty, actually) but it is now one of my favorite fruits! When I came to the table with it, I announced ugly fruit, which Tina interpreted as they actually had Ugli Fruit, which is one of our favorite fruits. Alas, they did not, but the passion fruit more than made up for it.

Me eating Passion Fruit…

Random pastries Tina got on her second trip…

Oh, and Tina made a new friend that she christened Boots. He just kind of roamed around the outdoor portion of the restaurant.

Funny lid on a box of sugar in the restaurant…

Random pictures from around the resort that morning…

We spent some time in the pool as well, slathering on sun screen repeatedly, even though we felt like we were already burning. The sun is bright here. It was nice just laying by the pool and reading, though.

We went to go sign up for an excursion, as we had gotten some money for the wedding with the directions “Enjoy on your honeymoon.” We signed up for one tour on Wednesday, later found out it was already full, but then changed that to a similar tour called Bird Island which sounds even better. We’re doing that on Thursday.

We had a spa appointment that we had later in the day, so we decided to track down the spa so we weren’t looking for it right before we were due. Near it, they had hot and cold plunge pools. Holy crap. One was hotter than a hot tub and the other was seriously probably fifty degrees or colder. Either way, it definitely made your skin tingle.

Following that, we decided to take another swim as the swim-up bar was open. Big mistake. I had gotten too much sun and apparently not drank enough water, because two drinks (which normally will not wipe me out) made me feel AWFUL. I don’t know how alcoholics do it, because when I get to feeling that weird, I just turn into a big ole baby. I seriously contemplated making myself throw up, but Tina suggested that eating lunch would help. (For the record, the two drinks were a Chocolate Monkey and a Mai Tai. We’ve done an all-inclusive before, and the drinks there were very watered down and were basically just smoothies. I’m okay with that. Here, they use lots of alcohol.)

We went back to Barefoot for lunch, this time with Tina getting the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and potato wedges, while I got a chicken baguette sandwich and fries. Both were delicious, and the bread definitely helped soak up the alcohol and made me feel tons better. For dessert, she got a Banana Coconut Pastry and I got roasted apple with vanilla ice cream. Both were good, but Tina once again picked the better dessert.

At 12:30, there was an activity called Bracelet Making, and I had the idea that making bracelets could be transformed into cool Christmas decorations later. Only a handful of people were at the activity, but it was still fun. My bracelet is pretty random and… well, odd, while Tina’s made hers have a nice pattern. Regardless, it was still fun.

The pavilion where we did bracelet making…

The bracelet I made for Tina…

The anklet Tina made for herself…

We got some pizzas to have in the room in case we get the munchies (one all cheese, the other Mexican), and we took a short power nap before we went to the spa for our Champagne Celebration.

*sigh* I SO miss their pizzas…

***

A picture of the outside of Red Lane Spa later, at evening…

The Champagne Celebration was pretty amazing. Tina and I were escorted to different changing rooms when we got there to put on robes and sandals, as well as fill out a little questionnaire on any problems we were experiencing we wanted addressed and how much pressure we wanted, ranging from light to deep tissue. I chose medium; I’ve heard deep tissue is pretty rough if you aren’t used to it. My robe was pretty tight – they did a decent job of estimating my size, but while it fit, it didn’t fit well enough that I would be comfortable parading around nude in it in a public-ish place. As a result, after I put my robe on, I also put my swim trunks BACK on.

Our masseuses were Kadie-Ann (for me) and Jeana (for Tina). They were warm, friendly, professional, and still joking, which was a good thing. The first thing I told Kadie-Ann was that I had never really had a massage. She promptly got a faux shocked look on her face and said, “You’re a spa virgin?” She assured me it would all be good, and I asked if I should keep my trunks on. I was informed that massages should always be trunk-less, if you want it to be a good massage.

We were given a moment to get under the sheet, and then they came in and gave us a full body massage. I wasn’t sure what type of a massage it was going to be, but they basically covered us head to toe, front to back. Very professional, and while I’m sure Kadie-Ann saw every square inch of what God gave me (poor girl), they also did a good job of keeping the sheet strategically-ish located so we didn’t feel completely exposed. Even the “turn over” portion of the massage was very well handled and not at all awkward, as I had feared it would be.

I should also mention the room; it was gorgeous, covered in candles and flowers. There was even flowers under the “face hole” in the table for me to look at, although to be honest, I was so blissed out during the massage, I kept my eyes shut.

Following our massage, they directed us to our bubble bath, filled with bath salts. They even escorted us into the tub while still “sort of” maintaining privacy with sheets. Again, I’m sure they saw everything, but I choose to, I can pretend the towel they held up provided privacy. And then we were given about twenty minutes to just relax in the hot tub and drink champagne and eat fresh fruit. They even provided grapes still on the stem, and it was a lot of fun to feed them to each other. Fruit tray also came with watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and blueberries.

After the bath, one came back in and helped us get out without flashing her. It actually worked pretty well, and we were then left alone to dry off and change back into our robes. We were also given a pretty low-pressure sales pitch on some of the oils they used today, and one smelled so good and is for the release of stress, aches, and pains, so we bought it. Twenty bucks, and it was a pretty big bottle, so I consider it money well spent.

We left feeling EXTREMELY relaxed and mellow. I’ll be honest; I was very skeptical about the massage, as I’m supremely ticklish, but except for when she was massaging my upper arms, chest, and armpit area, it was fine. She used firm enough pressure that no tickle sensation was created. It was definitely worth doing.

A rainbow before we went to the spa…

The sunset view from our room after the spa…

***

Couples photo before dinner…

A cool dragonfly we saw on the way to dinner…

After the experience at the spa, we went to Bayside for the Steak House Buffet Dinner.

Tina enjoying her glass of water…

The only part of the buffet was soup, salad, and dessert, but the salad bar was pretty amazing. It was by no means a standard salad bar; there was even some type of seafood salad that had some type of calamari in it. Very delicious. The main salad bar also didn’t have any dressings that I recognized, so I got something that was yellowish and quite good. Tina got the caesar dressing, which I did not because I really dislike caesar. However, this caesar dressing was amazing. I wish I had gotten it.

Our salads…

Me sweating at the table, even after the sun has set (and really ecstatically happy, for some reason)…

The one downside we’ve found to this place is that service is SLOW. Perhaps that is because tips aren’t allowed? At Aventura Spa Palace in Cancun, you were allowed to tip, which we did, and service was pretty speedy. Here, it’s often quite slow, and I’ve yet to be able to actually drink my fill of any beverage (except for at the swim-up bar, and I don’t see myself doing that again).

The food, though, is absolutely incredible! Tina ordered the rack of lamb, which came with couscous and steamed vegetables. Oh God. Delicious. I ordered the surf and turf, which was honestly one of the most amazing steaks I have ever had. It even beat the one from last night, which was also pretty freaking amazing. It was served with mashed potatoes and the same steamed vegetables that came with Tina’s. The serving, though, was pretty small, which actually works out quite well because we’re going to Eleanor’s at 9.

Tina’s dinner…

My dinner…

We also shared four different desserts – a creme brulee, chocolate cherry cake, some type of chocolate mousse, and a little pecan pie-type treat. So good! (Not sure why the pictures came out so blurry…)

Eleanor’s is one of the restaurants on the resort that requires reservations. You can’t always get reservations, so we decided to take the 9 o’clock slot in case there aren’t any later in the week. Frankly, we’re so active here, I’m finding myself starving all the time, and I promised myself from the beginning that I was going to eat what I wanted and just make up for it with exercise. (I did weigh myself at the spa. Weight is about the same, so maybe I’m doing something right. I definitely need to work on drinking more water, though. I’m sure I’m dehydrated here.)

Quick break from the evening to watch The Simpsons, decompress a little, and then we’re heading out to eat again.

***

When we came back to the room from dinner, we found that they had left some towel swans and flowers petals on our bed. Nice touch. (I also just realized that I forgot to take photos of it, apparently.)

Quick funny story that happened while we were watching The Simpsons. Tina has some OLD nail polish on her toes that is pretty cracked. She wasn’t able to get a pedicure the day of her wedding, so the nail polish was quite literally a few days old. She brought nail polish with her, but no nail polish remover. So what does my new wife do? She uses gin from the room’s concierge bar to take it off! And it actually worked really well. In her own words, she’s MacGuyverWife!

Eleanor’s was a very elegant dining experience. Unfortunately, I must disclaim one quick thing. I sweat. A lot. Even at night, when it isn’t really that hot, it’s just so humid, I find myself literally pouring with sweat. So all of my photos are probably of me with a nice sheen of sweat on me. I’m definitely “glowing” here. That’s one thing that I am definitely hoping changes with more weight loss.

We had to walk to the other side of the resort to get to the restaurant (not really that far, but it’s still a bit of a walk), and of course, my face was drenched by the time we got there. Oh well. Small price to pay for getting to live in paradise for a week.

Table decoration…

The ceiling…

Tina…

And me…

We shared a very small appetizer of coconut shrimp. It was literally three shrimp with a nice tropical fruit chutney. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a photo. Guess we were hungry. It was the best fried shrimp I have EVER had. I could have easily made an entire meal out of them.

Our second course was, for me, a Chilled Conch Salad. Fairly skimpy on the portion size (as I’m finding many things here are), but okay. It wasn’t something I would get again, but I’ve never had conch before (even though I dig the shells) and I wanted to try it.

Tina had coconut shrimp soup, served in a coconut halve and garnished with grilled shrimp. Hers was fantastic.

We each got grilled, Antiguan lobster for our main course. Apparently, these are caught locally, split, grilled, and served with butter, potatoes and peas, and some steamed veggies. I’ve only had lobster tail; this was a new experience, and it was excellent. I am definitely a fan of lobster, even if it is a bit tough to eat.

Our fourth course was dessert, which was bread pudding (just okay) and pineapple beignets served in a martini glass with vanilla ice cream (amazing!).

A lady singing in a band near the Caribbean bar…

A kitty friend that Tina made on our way back to the room…

Upon returning to the room, I made us a champagne-and-guava-pineapple-fruit drink. It may have a name; I don’t know, but we both liked it.

I think I’m finally full. We did lots of walking, some swimming, definitely some relaxing, and some sun. Neither of us burned, even though we got close. Tomorrow promises to be a great day of relaxing, lounging, reading, swimming, walking, and, of course, eating. I love Antigua!

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