For Matt’s run-down of the 2012 Low Carb Cruise, read this post. This here post isn’t about all that; it’s about us, as a couple, enjoying our very first honeymoon – 10 years later. And if you missed the week of posting we did on our renewal ceremony from January, go check it out.
First of all, I had NO idea that the cruise people make weird things with towels and put them on your bed. But rumor is, I might be the only person in the world that didn’t know that. In case I’m not, did you know that each evening when you come back to your room after dinner (and in our case many drinks) to simultaneously cute and creepy towel animals to watch you while you undress? When we told the kids about this, they wanted to see these pictures first.
Then they wanted us to fold their towels this way for them!
Clearly, they are meant to make you uncomfortable as you peel off your swimsuit. I mean, why else did they have eyeballs? And, is it just me, or is that top bunny trying to seduce us? Just sayin’…
Alright, moving on. The first few days on the cruise were weird for us. We’re typical Generation Y-ers. We grew up pioneering an addiction to the internet. We are VERY connected to our electronic devices. We didn’t realize that we sincerely would be completely unconnected from the world, from the internet and even from each other on the boat!
Internet and phone cost like a million dollars, so we were in a bit of a frenzied paranoia by the time we landed in Montego Bay, Jamaica – our first port stop. We were thrilled to find a coffee shop that shared their wifi and let us enjoy some shaded outdoor time while we sorted through hundreds of e-mails and checked on the kids.
Once we realized the world hadn’t fallen apart without us for a few days, we were ready to venture out and explore the somewhat depressed but gorgeous and culture filled city. When we asked a local the best place to get some legit food (the last thing we wanted was more imported stale and processed American-type food), they pointed us to the Pork Pit for jerk chicken and pork.
Honestly, we spent our entire port time of Jamaica at Cafe Tease and The Pork Pit. And if we’d had more time, we still would have spent it there. Their rum punch was full of sugar and red food dye, but goodness was it delicious after walking the city in hot, humid weather! Paired with perfectly seasoned and open pit crisped meat, we sat and watched sites from the bird nest view of our picnic bench.
We saw coconuts being cut and drank, lizards a plenty, and even made friends with one of the men working the pit – who snuck us some ribs in exchange for a nice tip. This, however, spiraled our day into an uncomfortable tizzy as other locals saw us pass the guy a $20 and began to follow and beg us for money. We decided that marked the time for us to head out. A very light rain began to come in, so we caught a cab back to the boat.
Our cab driver told us the light rain was something they called a “drool” and helped us look for rainbows. We got to chatting about the highs and lows of living in the area (he drove over an hour each way on port days and said it was how he fed his family for the entire month). As uncomfortable as I had felt about the depressed city being exposed to so many people spending money they themselves didn’t have, the driver explained that without the cruise ships they wouldn’t be able to live.
His honesty touched us and will be something I remember forever. We were happy to also give him a nice tip and were left feeling like we could have done more. We were happy to get back on the ship, relax and talk through the emotions of what it all meant.
The next day was port at the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. I was shocked at how stunning the city was.
We’d scheduled an excursion to Sting Ray City with many other Low Carb Cruisers. Despite my whining about not wanting to go (I’d gotten glutened and was missing the kids at this point), Matt encouraged me and it ended up being a lot more fun and beautiful than I’d expected.
Our buds Jude (SmartSexyPaleo) and Caitlin (GrassFedGirl) were also on our boat – so that made it twice as fun! We got to snuggle in sunlight, hold and kiss a pregnant sting ray and pet a starfish. The best for me, however, was getting far away from the boat. The excursion wasn’t through Carnival, and despite being a tourist location felt very real and genuine.
The water was so stunning I questioned whether it was real. I ended up buying a few pieces of jewelry in the well known shops there to be able to remember the color and feeling of freshness. I felt refreshed and wonderful at the end of the day at shore. In fact, I’d love to go back to the Caribbean.
But when I stepped foot back on the boat, I realized we were only half-way through the trip and my mood turned sour again. I was over the cruise. Sincerely. I’d had enough. I wanted to go home and hold my boys. I wanted to eat something not cooked in vegetable oil and cross-contaminated with gluten. I wanted to just be done. But we’d signed up for a 7 day cruise, and there’s no swimming to shore half-way through.
So when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, Matt put an IV of coffee in my veins and got me mentally prepared for our day in Cozumel, Mexico. We’d signed up for an Amazing Race competition that would have us running all over the city for most of the day and my approach to the day was, “Do I have to wear my Vibrams or can I just wear a summer dress and flip flops?”
Seeing that I’m the most competitive person we know, my lack of enthusiasm for winning a scavenger hunt race was pathetic. My spirit was broken, until we met up with Vanessa (HealthyLivingHowTo) and Tom (LifetimeWeightloss), our race partners. They were PUMPED and I was clearly being a Debbie Downer.
So I literally bought a comfy sundress from a street vendor to put on over my bathing suit, and changed out of my hot maxidress right there. Talk about turning a frown upside down!
I really enjoyed the glass bottom boat ride and the clue Tom found on the sunken ship. I took the initiative to run places, lead the museum clue-finding mission and volunteered for the henna tattoo required by one of our clues (I can’t imagine what work thought when I returned with that thing!). I did the best I could to keep up with the super fit and healthy team whose heels I was chasing.
Much to my surprise, we pulled off a first place finish and were given quite a reception at the finish line!
After recovering from the drench of sweat we all had, we used our drink tickets for NorCal Margaritas and then scarfed down some great fajitas with extra guacamole instead of rice, beans or tortillas. Matt and I ended the day buying mass quantities of tequila in the duty-free shops before getting back on the boat for another 2 1/2 days at sea and traveling home before we’d see the kids.
It was a painful wait. I was depressed. But we had been asked to speak for the LCC, so I did my best to try to represent Paleo in a positive way. Matt ended up taking the lead on our 10 minute talk of our story and how Paleo can help kids. This and the entire trip was a huge accomplishment for him to get over his social anxiety, I was so proud!
But our buddy Jude gave us something to be excited for and look forward to despite the painful wait to hit land the next day.
The highlight of the entire cruise’s entertainment: a fabulous performance by paleo’s own SmartSexyPaleo as Gloria Gaynor!
We spent a lot of time with our Aussie friend, but the second we turned our back she was palling around with a group of handsome gay men who convinced her to sing I Will Survive. Little did she know, it was an audition for the big karaoke contest at the end of the cruise – which she won!
As we knew she would be, she was completely charming and awesome! We had a really great time watching the performance of the great music legends by guests. For sure, Jude was the best and wowed everyone!
But by the time we woke up, we were ready to see the boys. And they had a special plan to welcome us!
As you can imagine, when we arrived home at 7PM on Mother’s Day it was all I could do from not violently weeping in front of the kids. I wanted to tell them I’d NEVER leave them for that long again. However, after debriefing us about how much fun they had with their Uncle, Grandmother and Grandfather while we were gone – they asked if we could go on vacation without them again. I hated to disappoint them, but the answer was most certainly not anytime soon.