2010 Recap

Wow, 2010 has been a crazy whirlwind year for us! We’ve traveled all over the United States including every state East and adjacent to the Mississippi River, the start (and almost the end) of the Mississippi River, four different countries (Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, & Belize), the geographic center of the United States, the Southernmost Point of the United States, and a ton of huge sculptures and monuments!!  Can’t wait to see what 2011 brings!!

And for the record, it was actually November 28th, 2011 before I actually took the time to figure out how to do this on my own and get this posted! Better late than never, right?

Previous Jones Family Video: Jones 2009 Video

New Years Eve 2010

After the fun, but busy day in Key West, James and I decided that a low key New Years Eve was in order.  We decided to dress up (or at least I did) for dinner and we talked about what we wanted to accomplish in 2011.

Most of James’ things had to do with helping me get things done that I wanted to accomplish (for example the new garden and berry patch), but he did throw in that he wanted to get the pond done this year!

After dinner we walked around the ship a little bit before we found a family we had gotten to know who was willing to take our picture!

New Years Eve 2010 on the Norwegian Sun

Afterwords we headed back to our cabin and watched a couple episodes of Castle before calling it an early night. Guess that means we’re getting old!

Key West

Friday we arrived in Key West at 7AM and only had until 1PM before we had to be back on the boat.  Because of the short amount of time, James and I decided to disembark as soon as possible and ended up making it through US customs on the ship and into Key West shortly after 7AM.  This was great, but nothing opened until 9AM at the earliest and it felt like a ghost town!  Even the roosters running loose all over the island were still crowing! I guess Key West residents aren’t early risers!

Since we had some time to spare, James and I decided to walk diagonally across the island on Whitehead St. to the southernmost point of the US.  The walk ended up being pretty enjoyable and it was nice to have the streets pretty much to ourselves.

It was also nice that there was basically no one at the southernmost point when we got there so we were able to take our pictures and enjoy the location in solitude!

We then took South St to Duval and followed it back to the port.  The entire walk I also couldn’t resist taking pictures of some of the flowers we saw!

By the time we made it back to the Malory Square area some of the businesses had started to open up and we managed to catch the first Trolley tour of the day shortly before 9AM.

James on the trolley

The trolley tour went all over old and new Key West and covered all of the main attractions and features.  It was an interesting tour for me since I hadn’t been to Key West since I was an infant, but James didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as our walk.

After the trolley tour, I stopped and got some Conch fritters from an outside stand before we headed to the Key West Shipwreck Museum.

Kona enjoying her fritters! Yum!

The Shipwreck Museum was pretty cool and we really learned a lot about the history and culture of salvaging shipwrecks off the coast of Key West.  We also really enjoyed the lookout tower that we were able to climb and take pictures from.  The view was absolutely amazing!

We next headed to the Key West Aquarium to check out the marine life as well follow along their guided tour.  The Aquarium was pretty small and rinky dink compared to most aquariums, but it had a certain charm and was overall a pretty fun experience.

By this time it was getting close to when we needed to head back to the ship, so we made a quick pit stop at a local Key Lime Pie shop so I could get my fix (I’d been craving Key Lime Pie the whole trip!).

Key lime pie and all its yumminess!

After enjoying my pie, we headed back through Mallory Square and walked along the pier to the ship.

James along the pier!

The line was pretty far back when we got there, but was moving pretty quickly.  Luckily it wasn’t moving too quickly because I was able to run into a store along the line that sold chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick!  Wow, this was just as good as the regular pie, but 3 times as messy!

We made it back onto the ship with time to spare and headed up to one of the top decks to check out the view of Key West.

At Sea

Thursday was another day at sea and luckily the waves and weather were much calmer than the last day at sea!

After our busy week visiting the different countries and doing the excursions, we were both ready to relax a little and spent most of the morning and early afternoon on the top sun deck.  The weather wasn’t perfect, but there was some sun and it was enough for both of us to get burnt a little.

Later in the afternoon I went back to the room for a nap and James went to get acupuncture done for the 2nd time.  It seemed to go pretty well and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing and planning for our visit to Key West the next day.

Belize

Wednesday morning we made it to Belize, but unlike the other ports there was nowhere to dock, so we had to take a tender (small boat) to Belize City.

James getting ready to disembark!

In Belize City we had an excursion planned with Cavetubing.bz to cavetube (surprise surprise right?) and go on the jungle zipline!  We quickly found the tour company and because there were only two of us they immediately put us in a van with 2 larger groups of people.  This was good because we didn’t have to wait around, but bad because we got really bad seats that weren’t even really seats.  James’ knees where in his chest and I my seat didn’t have any padding, which for both of us was great with all the potholes in the road for our 1:15 drive!

View of the mountain range we were heading towards!

When we got to the cavetubing and zipline site, our guide told us he was going to have to put us with a different group because everyone in this group was only doing the cavetubing.  So, we got put with our second group of the day and preceded to the zipline first!

The jungle zipline consisted of 8-10 ziplines (we couldn’t remember exactly how many there were) ranging in length and speed.  Since we had done the zipline in Florida the previous week, James and I both kind of knew what to expect, but this course was made up entirely of ziplines and they had workers at each stop to hook and unhook you from the lines.  This was kind of nice though because it meant you didn’t have worry about hooking and unhooking, and it sped things along.  We had a great time and I think ziplines are definitely on our list of favorite things to do.

Next we got geared up for the cavetubing and hiked to the cave that we’d be starting at.

Cavetubing in Belize!

The walk was about 30 minute and not that fun with the tube, but I was lucky and had a wonderful husband who offered to carry both of our tubes!

Once we got to the entrance to the cave, we got lined up in single file in our tubes with feet of the person behind us under our arm pits.  This formed a chain that allowed our guide to steer and keep us together in the cave.   I really enjoyed floating along in the cave and looking up at the ceiling and walls to check out the formations.  It was also fun once we exited the cave and got a chance to tube through the jungle for a little bit.

After the tubing we got into the van (this was a different van from the one we arrived in) and headed to the business headquarters where they offered us a lunch consisting of a small piece of chicken and some rice.  It was very good, but not nearly enough food after everything we did during the day! We were then placed with our third different group for the ride back to the ship because the tour guides didn’t think there was enough room in the 2nd van we had been in for us to ride comfortably.  The funny thing was that we had way more room in the 2nd van than we had in the 1st!  Yet, the 3rd van we rode in had even fewer people (only one group) and afforded us the most room, so it all worked out in the end!

We made it back to the dock with time to spare, and picked out a magnet and postcard from the local shops before heading back to the ship.

Plaza in Belize near the dock

Guatemala

Tuesday morning we arrived in our next port, Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala.

Welcome to Guatemala!

For this port we had also arranged an excursion, this time with “Go with Gus” guide service.  We originally tried to schedule the Las Escobas Waterfall and City Tour, but were told that due to a recent lack of waterfall the falls were dried out.  Instead, the tour company offered to take us into Honduras to visit the La Lenca Waterfalls.  We thought it would be cool to also visit Honduras, so we went ahead and scheduled the tour.

On Tuesday when we found Gus and the Go with Gus crew, we were informed that the road to Honduras was under construction and we wouldn’t be able to go on our scheduled tour (I guess delays due to the construction could last up to 4 hours!).  What Gus suggested was their Humanitarian tour that they claimed would include a hot spring, cave, views of lots of birds and animals, visits with some of the people, and the chance to visit one of the local towns.  This sounded pretty good, so we went ahead and agreed thinking we’d be leaving soon (they estimated it would take about 10-15 minutes).  Well, almost an hour later we finally got on a boat and headed off.

The boat ride itself wasn’t that bad, but overall the tour wasn’t exactly what they promised.  The river was surrounded by jungle on either side, but we really didn’t see that many birds and no other animals.  Also, both times we stopped it was at tiny places along the river where there were too many people and not enough space!  The first stop was to try some homemade tortillas and salsa. James wouldn’t try and after a couple of bites I ended up throwing it away even though I hated doing so.  Yet it was interesting to see the process of making and cooking them.

The second stop was at the hot springs. The hot springs were literally right on the river, very small, and had a bunch of locals and tourists crawling all over it.  It was so crazy, I got a look at it and decided it just wasn’t worth it to even take pictures (i.e., it wasn’t even scenic or pretty).  And the cave?  The cave was actually right by the hot springs (so it was also overly crowded), was an extra cost, and we didn’t even have time because you had to go with a guide that wasn’t associated with our tour.  I started to get rather frustrated with the tour, but decided I was going to make the best out of it.

So, what did I do?  I took pictures of flowers and did my best to try and find a way to enjoy the experience, even if it wasn’t what I wanted or expected.

After the river, they took us to the small town of Livingston where they dropped us off and let us wander through the city.

Standing along the dock in Livingston

This was probably my favorite part because I had decided to have fun no matter what and I enjoyed taking pictures of all sorts of random interesting things!

When we made it back to the dock where the ship was, we went back to the bazar area to look for magnets and postcards.  The bazar was pretty interesting with a band playing live music and lots of local wares laid out all over.  I found my magnet and some postcards, and we headed back to the ship.

Cozumel

After the absolutely awful day before, I was ready to be on dry land and enjoy our time in Cozumel!  We easy made it off the ship around 9AM and proceeded to the Mayan monument pyramid along the seafront, where we were to meet our tour guide.

Along the shore in Cozumel

Our planned excursion for Cozumel was a photo tour, which involved a trained photographer taking us around Cozumel and showing us some of the sites and teaching us how to use our camera to take better pictures!

Looking out to the Ocean

At each site she had a different lesson and she often used a piece of chalk to draw examples out on the sidewalk.

It was very interesting to not only get to see the sites and hear about them, but also learn more about how to take good pictures.  I also really enjoyed taking pictures of some of the flowers and wildlife I saw during the tour.

Unfortunately, while the tour was going well, I hadn’t quite gotten over my sea sickness from the day before and even walking on dry land I was feeling pretty nauseous. I decided to let the tour go on without me for a while and I sat down in the lobby of the museum we were at to try and feel better.  Luckily after sitting for a while and getting some fresh air I started to feel better for the last part of the tour, the plaza and downtown market area.

The market and plaza area was very colorful and had some interesting architectural features that we enjoyed viewing and photographing.

After the tour finished up, our tour guide directed us to a good place for lunch that served local food as well as something James would eat (i.e., American and non-ethnic).  It was the first time I had really eaten anything in a day and a half and I chowed down on my skillet served chicken fajita and fresh tortillas!  When we finished eating, we shopped around a little for the perfect magnet and postcards before heading back to the ship well before our departure time.

Since we had a little time before we left, we went up to one of the top decks and got a snack and looked out over Cozumel.  The water was beautiful and was neat to look out over the city from the ship.

Overall we had a good time on the tour and thankfully I was finally feeling better! Later in the afternoon, I laid down to rest and James went to get acupuncture.  The day before when he scheduled my appointment, he also scheduled an appointment for himself for his tennis elbow which has been giving him problems for a while.

It seemed like he had been gone a while when our room phone rang, it was the acupuncturist who told me she had a little time and she wanted me to come up and get a second treatment for my sea sickness.  I guess James had told her about me still feeling pretty bad this morning (and all of yesterday) and she wanted to make sure I really was doing better!  The second treatment went much better than the first (no feeling like I was going to throw up!) and wonderfully enjoy, I didn’t experience any other sickness the rest of our trip!  James enjoyed his treatment so much that he went ahead and scheduled two more appointments for later in the week!

That evening we went to the Four Seasons and had an excellent meal before going to the comedian show for the evening.  The show wasn’t too bad, but definitely not as funny as some of the other shows we’ve seen.

Quick death

I had high hopes for our first full day on the ship.  There were a lot of activities and a bunch of different seminars going on, as well as a “not-so newlywed” game in the evening.  Unfortunately these high hopes didn’t turn out so well and it actually ended up being one of the worst days ever for me.

I hardly ever get sick (haven’t thrown up in over 2 years) and almost never get nauseous (I go on pretty much all of the roller coasters and feel fine on trains and airplanes), but the whole first day on the ship I felt like my stomach was trying to turn itself inside out.

It was very windy with high waves and I was more than a little queasy, I was full blown sea sick.  It started first thing in the morning when I got up and only got worse as the day went on, which also coincided with the waves getting higher!  James did fine and the rolling and pitching of the ship didn’t seem to bother him at all.

After finally making it out of our room (the first time I only lasted about 15 minutes and had to run – yes run – back to the room to get sick), James and I went to a seminar on Acupuncture.  Even though I felt awful the whole time, I perked up once she started talking about how acupuncture can help with sea sickness.  When the seminar was finished, James went up to the woman and asked when she could get me in for a treatment.   Once she found out how bad I was doing she offered to get me in for treatment in 20 minutes!

I had never had acupuncture and actively HATE needles, but the sea sickness was really bad and with no hope of getting off the ship anytime soon, the needles seemed like the best option.  When the treatment started she asked me a few preliminary questions, looked at the medical sheet I had filled out, and took my pulse.  She then had me lay down and started putting needles in, which was actually not bad and I could hardly feel until she started putting in the ones in the middle of my wrists. I instantly started getting really nauseous and told her I was going to throw up.  She told me that no I wasn’t and took a slightly bigger needle and put it in the side of my wrist and the nausea went away almost immediately!  Once she got the rest of the needles in, she let me rest for 30 minutes before coming back to take them out.

Afterwords I felt better, but very very weak since I hadn’t eaten anything all day.  James had gone for lunch and then back down to our room for a nap while I was getting my treatment, but I didn’t know this and didn’t have the energy to try and find him (and felt worse when I moved too much). Thus I found some crackers and a covered place up on deck to sit and look out toward the horizon.  This helped for a little bit, but with the combination of the crackers and the waves getting worse, I once again got sick.  Fortunately by this time James had come to find me and was able to help me find a lounge chair by the pool so I could lay down (the only position that made me feel even slightly better).

We laid out by the pool for a while, but it was overcast, very windy, and in the low 60’s.  Also by this point a few of the waves were starting to come over the bow of the ship soaking the pool area, so we took this as a cue to move back inside to our room.

I barely made it to our room and thought for sure I was going to get sick again, but somehow managed not to.  Laying down on the bed helped a lot and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening laying down and not eating anything!  I also took this time to count down the minutes and hours until we made it to our next port and the ship would stop rocking!

So, the first day of our cruise (and for me to ever be on a cruise) and I spent it unable to eat anything and wishing for a quick death.  Not quite the way I planned it in my mind!

NCL Sun

We easily made it to Port Canaveral and onto our ship (the Norwegian Sun) with time to spare Christmas afternoon.

Norwegian Sun (picture actually taken while in Guatemala)

The first thing we did was check out the room and then the ship itself.  Our room was pretty small, but had two twin beds shoved together, a closet, bathroom w/ shower, refrigerator, TV, and a window.  The ship itself had 13 decks, 11 restaurants (and room service 24/7), and all the extra fun stuff you could want (pools, hot tubs, spa, fitness center, jogging/walking track, basketball & volleyball courts, shuffle board, casino, art gallery, library, game room, video arcade, ice cream parlor, golf driving nets, and much much more).

After wandering around and enjoying the food they were grilling and serving outside by the pool, we went back to the room and crashed before getting dressed up (yes, James even wore pants) and going to one of the nicer restaurants for dinner.

James crashed after a full morning and afternoon!

Christmas in Vero

For Christmas morning, Uncle Thad (who also lives in Vero Beach) invited us to his house for a small Davis family brunch.  Even though it was only Thad, Elle (his daughter), Ty, Austin, James, and me, it was great to be with family I’m not normally with on Christmas.  This was the first Christmas in probably 15 years that I was able to celebrate with Thad and Elle, and the first in four years with Ty and Austin!

The food was great and we had a good time catching up and sharing the holiday spirit!

Christmas morning at Thad's house

Unfortunately, James and I needed to get to the ship in Port Canaveral, so we had to leave well before we were ready.  Regardless, it was great to spend time with family before taking off for our cruise!