Posts Tagged ‘antigua’

Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day Two, 10.10.10

I have decided to consolidate all of my blogs, mostly because I can’t keep up with them. On one of my rarely updated Travel Blogs “The Window Seat,” I had some really nice posts about our honeymoon over a year and a half ago. I don’t want to lose those, so I am slowly migrating those posts here. This is the post for Day Two. You can read about Day One as well.

This is copied and pasted exactly as it was written in Antigua, back in October of 2010.

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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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Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day One, 10.9.10

I have come to the slow realization that, for me as a blogger, I do not do well to have several blogs scattered throughout the interwebs. I have had several blogs here at Stellar Path, one at Stellar Eats, and frankly, the one I update, by far, most frequently is here. I’m slowly phasing those out. However, I enjoy some of the content I have on those other blogs, and I am going to bring that content HERE to Stellar Path before I delete the other blogs. Even though this was over a year and a half ago, I’m going to begin posting the recap of our honeymoon that I had posted on my hardly-ever-updated-because-I-hardly-ever-travel travel blog The Window Seat. I hope you enjoy! (I will warn – this is VERY picture-heavy.)

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Please note – this was all written while in Antigua on my iPad on October 9, 2010. Also note – I took HUNDREDS of photos, more than I will probably post here. We were in Antigua from October 9th to October 16th. Some of the photos were just of the various sights around the resort and aren’t specific to any particular day, but I will still post those on that day’s post.

The first day of our honeymoon has already been incredible. Granted, we are dead tired and are going to crash hard very shortly, but we still got to do some awesome things today.

We had to leave our house at 2:45 in the morning to make it to the airport in time to catch our flight. Thankfully, our flight was on time, and we left Nashville at 6 a.m. and made it to Miami at a little after 9 Eastern time.

Me Cheesing in Nashville Airport pre-dawn…

Tina enjoying Burger King before our first flight of the day…

Our first plane of the day…

Miraculously, our next flight was on time, too. I’ve never had two flights in the same day that were both on time. I’m not sure I’ve ever had ANY flight that was exactly on time, but these were. It was two hours and forty-three minutes from Miami to Antigua (I remember that because I thought it was a touch peculiar that such an exact time was given).

A pink cart and the interesting airport floor in Miami…

Extreme close up of us in Miami on our fairly brief layover…

Our second (and last) plane of the day…

Somewhere en route to Antigua…

Me Cheesing on the Plane, en route to Antigua…

It was a sunny, warm, humid, tropical day when we landed on this tiny little island out in the middle of the ocean. The surprising thing was that we didn’t drive up to the airport; a truck with stairs on it drove up to the plane, and that was how we disembarked. Pretty neat and definitely something I had never done before.

As we entered the airport in Antigua, there was a lady with complementary drinks out front. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was pink and tasted guava mango-y. Not sure, but it was nice and definitely refreshing.

Customs went pretty quickly. We were on a Sandals van with three other couples on our way to Sandals within an hour.

I learned two things about Antigua during the trip. One, they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Not a big deal, and it was a new experience. But two, all vans here are equipped with a magic horn, that I am convinced keeps them from having horrible wrecks. Even though it was only a fifteen minute drive from the airport (thank God – I don’t know if I could have endured longer), there were at least three distinct occasions when I was sure we were about to have some type of fender bender (at best) or head-on collision (at worst). However, the driver kept honking his horn and just kept going, so the only logical conclusion I can draw is that the horn is a magical apparatus that keeps vans from wrecking.

When we got to the resort, we were absolutely pampered. We were given a chilled wet cloth to freshen up with, and then we were provided our own Sandals rep to give us the run-down of what we could expect. We were given a glass of champagne and a small plate of hors d’oeuvres while she discussed our options. We had a $250 spa credit, and we decided to use a little bit of our wedding money to get a bit extra and get a 1.5 hour couples massage, complete with some kind of fancy bath and champagne. Not sure exactly what it entails, but we thought it sounded like fun, and we signed up for it on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Tina and I were both still running on fumes, as we had been up for over thirty hours at this point (barring what tiny cat naps we were able to get on the plane), but we were starved, so we went to one of the restaurants called Barefoot by the Sea. It was an open-wall, open-air restaurant on the beach. Tina got burger and fries; I got chicken quesadillas, and we both had lemonade. Sorry, no photos of this. It didn’t even occur to me at the time, but I will do my best for the rest of the trip to get photos of our food. After the meal, we were still hungry, so Tina got a pina colada tart with ice cream, and I got flan with fresh cantaloupe. Both were delicious, but hers was better.

No photos of the food, but here is Tina and you can see her lemonade…

The birds that are EVERYWHERE (this is IN the beach-side restaurant)…

The ceiling of Barefoot…

The view from Barefoot…

A nearby Steel Drum band playing during our meal…

Just a few shots of paradise from our first day…

At this time, we were still hungry, so we stopped at a pizzeria and got a single-serving pepperoni pizza to share.

Some hours later, we decided to go out for dinner. We went to Cricketers Pub, a British pub. Tina ordered fish and chips; I ordered a steak, served with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and blue cheese butter. We also got fried calamari for an appetizer. Sorry, no picture of that. It was so good, we had eaten it before I remembered I planned to photo-document all of our food. Tina was starting to crash, so we got our food to go. This time, I did take a photo of my food at least, albeit after I unwrapped my meal in my room. Still, is that not the most delicious looking steak?

I’ll be honest – there is going to be a LOT of food eaten here. I’m not even going to lie and claim otherwise. My plan is just to exercise so much that it doesn’t even matter that my calories will be a bit higher here than they are back home.

The weather has been beautiful. The resort is gorgeous and truly as nice as the photos.

Oh, and our room is amazing. Shower stall, king-size bed, and a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.

The king size bed…

Coolest ceiling fan ever…

In-room Bar…

Shower Stall…

Jacuzzi Tub…

Bathroom Twin Sinks…

We’re already in love with this place.

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Note from 2012 – More recaps to come! Hope you enjoyed this one!

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Our One Year Anniversary

This is going to be a very quick blog post, because my lovely wife Tina and I are celebrating our one year wedding anniversary!

One year ago today, we were married.

It has been the best year of my life.

This morning, I woke up to a honeymoon breakfast recreation of Sandals Antigua in our backyard.

We exchanged gifts. I made her a book on blurb.com. She got me a piece of artwork that represents what the night sky actually looked like above Lost River Cave last year on October 8, 2010. We didn’t plan our gifts in any way, shape, or form, but isn’t this eerie how similarly themed our gifts appear?

I’ll leave you with this post from last year where I describe the wedding and share tons of pictures.

It’s been the best year of my life. Tina, thank you for making me happier than I ever believed possible.

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We’re back!

We are back from the paradise known as Antigua. I am SO behind on everything, but it was so worth it. Tons of sun, pool, food (too much food – more on that later, but oy – definitely time to get back on the diet band wagon), drinks, heat, and tons of time with my new wife.

I’ll post tons later – I’ll have wedding pictures, lliterally hundreds of honeymoon pictures, and tons of stories.

But for now, just a quick picture. This is the only cloudy sky we saw there the entire time, and it happened on our very first day on the island. Good omen, don’t you think?

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A Where’s My Reset Button? Weigh-In

This is a Where’s My Reset Button Weigh-in.

Yeah, I’m really wishing I could redo the past week, because nothing bad happened and this gain is solely the result of eating food that today I don’t even remember the joy of eating it, just the pain of the gain.

September 27, 2010
Weight – 335.5
Previous Weigh-In – 334.0
Change of +1.5 from last week
All-Time High 402.8
Total Loss -67.3 pounds

As I said yesterday, I was not expecting a loss this week. I can blame it on nothing but poor food choices. Last week was by no means a binge, but I did indulge in a bit more celebrating than I should have, and the scale showed it.

I’m getting married in about eleven days. There will be food at the wedding.

I have a bachelor party in five days. There will be food at the bachelor party.

I am going to Antigua in twelve days. To an all-inclusive resort. There WILL be food at the resort.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a touch worried about weight gain over the next week weeks. I don’t want to come home from my honeymoon weighing 350 pounds, but I’ll be honest – I know that is an honest-to-goodness legitimate risk if I do not watch what I eat at least somewhat.

I do not plan to deprive myself on my honeymoon, but I also do not want to gorge myself just because food is there. I’m going to try and find a nice, simple in-between that I can do… But a part of me also reminds me, “If you were capable of in-betweens, you would never have weighed over 400 pounds.”

Until the morning of my wedding, I am weighing every single day. So every day, there will be at least a short post about my weight. I can’t let this get away from me, and right now, I need the public accountability of recording every single day’s weight. You’ll see how much I lose tomorrow. You’ll see how much I gain the morning after my bachelor party.

So from today, September 27th, thru the day of my wedding, October 8th, I’m going to post my weight. Every day. Without fail. And then I’ll resume weekly weigh-ins on October 18th when I return from my honeymoon.

I am losing this weight, and something as simple as food is not going to stop me.

The workouts will continue. Tonight, we are going to see our trainer for the last session until we return from Antigua. She is going to literally, physically murder me if I gain fifteen pounds on my honeymoon. That’s a bit of incentive.

We’re still training on Couch to 5K, even though we’re going to repeat Week Two for at least a few days.

We’re still going to the gym and lifting weights. Tina is trying to make her arms even more toned for the wedding. (She already has awesome arms.) Thank God I wear a tuxedo jacket.

I’m taking part in a campus “exercise” event on Friday called the Poker Walk. Tina’s doing it with me; we may even incorporate our C25K training into it.

I’m going to weigh less at my wedding than I do today. I’m going to weigh less when I return from Antigua than I do today, because even if I indulge a little, I can still exercise in Antigua. I’m sure there’s an innuendo in there somewhere, but regardless – I will weigh less coming home from Antigua than I do today.

I will weigh less on January 1st than I do today. I refuse to gain the holiday pounds.

I will weigh less on October 8, 2011, than I do today.

I will weigh less. I will be healthier.

I will. It’s either a promise or a threat. Not sure which yet.

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Randomness

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)