Friday, April 10, 2009

Muy Bien

Our Home Away From Home

The Mariner of the Sea.
This boat was amazing. There were the expected swimming pools and hot tubs, but there was also an ice skating rink, miniature golf, climbing wall, basketball court, Main Street Promenade, salon, day spa, etc. etc. The service was exceptional. I dearly miss our stateroom attendant, Hassan. He was from Indonesia. Our waiter was from Jamaica, our assistant waitress from Brazil and our Head waiter from India. When Lyle spoke Portuguese to our waitress, she literally jumped, she was so surprised. He told her he was a missionary in Brazil and she said, "Oh yes. We have many Seventh Day Adventists."

Someone was thinking when they designed this ship. The playroom for Cholita's age group (3-5) is in a quiet corner of the boat, but to get to the rooms for 5 up through teens, you had to travel through the den of temptation--the video arcade. The girls played some pricey air hockey. For the adults, to get to the theatre, you had to pass through the casino. Same concept.

On our boat was the Harley Davidson "Hogs on the High Seas" convention. Interesting people. Very interesting take on formal wear. Lots of leather.

Here Lucy is checking out the rock climbing wall. Behind her is the basketball court where Lyle made us all proud by bringing home the bronze in the 3 on 3 basketball tournament. He met up with two other "mature" men and they smoked several younger teams. The gold went to Team BYU (what is it with Mormons and basketball?) even though Lyle's team beat them. It was a double elimination thing and Lyle said, "Team Tank Top just had our number."

The helper Lucy had for the rock wall was quite petite. Thankfully that freed up the hulking man on the next line for me.

Lucy was awesome and scampered up the wall and rang the bell.

With help from He Man on the rope, I also rang the bell.

And of course, Bruder couldn't be shown up by the girls. I didn't see it, but I heard Lyle ran up the wall like Spiderman and even little Rose rang the middle bell.

Yeah, we're good.
I experienced a "first" on the boat. My very first facial. I'd always wanted one and thought since I was in total pampering mode, it was a good time. Cecelia from South Africa surprised me when she said, "Alright, I'll just need you to remove your shirt and bra and we'll get started." Anyone who knows me, knows I like complete coverage. I reminded Cecelia that I was getting a facial. She looked shocked that obviously I was a facial virgin and said, "Of course we don't just do your face. We do your whole decolletage." With the South African accent, she made cleavage sound very high class, but I told her that since no one ever sees my decolletage, we were A-O.K. She waved me off and said, "Oh, don't be silly."

After my facial/decolletage work-over, I moved onto the hair salon. My beautician, also from South Africa, looked at my hair with a frown, lifted a few pieces here and there and said, "It has potential." That was encouraging. She wanted to do highlights and I told her my fear was that I'd look zebra-striped. Apparently it's a theme with these South African beauticians because she waved me off and said, "Oh, don't be silly." So, I left not only with a soft and silky decolletage, but also some funky stripes.

Cabo San Lucas

Lucy's always had a talent for making friends.

The shopping in Mexico was right up Rose's ally. Cheap little items that she could bargain for. She loved it.

While Lyle and the big kids went to snorkel and kayak, I took the little girls to the beach where Rose drank her lemonade and looked like she was posing for some Lifestyle Magazine. And then....We did it! Rose and I can both say that we've kissed a dolphin. And yes, Cholita cried. Thankfully she was "gratis". The picture above sure wasn't.

Mazatlan was beach day. It was perfectly glorious. Isn't Cholita adorable? Don't you wish everyone on the beach was so pleasant to behold?

The big girls had their hair braided and I experienced an Ah-Ha moment of sorts. Rose, our Screaming Banshee when it comes to hair combing, sat quiet as a mouse for what looked like some pretty violent braiding. I asked her afterward if it hurt. "Oh, yes!" she said. "It hurt so much." I asked her the obvious, why she didn't cry. "Well, " she said. "That would be rude." Hmmmm.

This style afforded me three days of no hair combing. Yes, it was indeed a vacation.

Bruder para-sailed! Here he is, ready for take-off.

Looking slightly concerned.
But probably not as concerned as his mother.

Who was very glad to have him return to Terra ferma.

Bruder had the best landing we saw all day.

Obviously he was pleased with the experience.

The little girls were just in Heaven.

And even when she tired out, Cholita just changed position and kept digging.

Bruder struck the pose men are supposed to strike while on the beach.

And Lyle, our honorary book club member read, "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency", which made me laugh. I made a serious mistake by bringing just one book on the cruise. I was desperately wishing for book number 2 in the series.
It was a perfect day.

Puerta Vallarta
Any exotic animals were put on Lucy. I don't know why.

The little girls stayed on the boat while Lyle and I took the big kids on the most amazing adventure. First, we left the boat and got onto this high-speed raft that took us to a charming little town at the base of a mountainous jungle.

It was beautiful. From there, we rode an open-air bus into the mountain. Then we got on mules where we climbed higher still. With rappelling gear and helmets, we zip-lined over the jungle and rappelled down waterfalls and hiked through streams. They allowed no cameras. They had their own photographer snapping away the whole time. I just couldn't bring myself to buy the $100 photo CD, but in my mind, oh, it was amazing.

Here is our darling Mexican Chinese-American, Cholita.
We headed home with fond memories of Mexico that we'll never forget.
A perfect vacation.


Terynn said...

How wonderful. Imagine me sighing the word 'wonderful'. It looks like the prefect mix of fun and relaxation, coupled with many firsts! Thanks for sharing the highlights...speaking of which?? Where was the photo of your new 'do? Please share!!

Fireball said...

Wow. What a great vacation!

Shirley said...

It sounds like the perfect vacation!

What great family memories you will have!

Whitney said...

how amazing!
where's a picture of your new hair do???

Troy said...

I was just thinking the same thing about your hairdo. I am glad you had a great vacation! Matzatlan and PV remind me of all the family trips I have taken there. Esp the parasailing that I never dared do. Or was it that my parents were too cheap? I don't recall.

We are in VA beach right now on vacation!

Have a great easter weekend!

Jen Bay said...

That's the same ship and the same cruise that Dave and I are taking in June with his family. No kids, but all eight siblings, spouses, and his parents. Thanks for the sneak peak. It looks like you had a great time.

Sue said...

I'm gathering that they had babysitters on the boat then that you felt comfortable leaving the younger children with? We are considering a cruise with our children and grandchildren, and I've been wondering about whether we would feel okay leaving the little ones on the boat for some of the excursions. I tend to be overprotective, which is why I was interested in your experience.