So… I realize that it has been like 3 weeks since I returned home from my Honeymoon cruise. But we did so many cool things, from zip lining, to cave tubing, to dirt biking. I seriously got so much more out of our cruise than I expected. It was my first time away from the kids. Like. EVER. I mean, I have spent ONE night away from them before… but that is WAY different than an entire week. Not to mention the COMPLETE seclusion that is being in international waters. Luckily, they had Kayla, “Wolfy,” their mom, and both Grandmas to hold down the fort – or I probably couldn’t have gone through with it. 😛
We left the Sunday after our (Friday) wedding. We left out of the Port or Miami, so that was a little drive. There was apparently some Miami Heat game going on that day so there was plenty of traffic to give us the full “Miami experience.:” 😉 We were scheduled for stops in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras.
I will have to apologize in advance for the fact that the only camera I brought with was my trusty iPhone… aaaaaaas some of the photo quality clearly displays. 😛
Our first stop was in Grand Cayman, where we boarded the tender boat with absolutely no plans as to what we were going to do that day. At first we strolled around a little bit, and made conversation about how weird it would be to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Haha! Then we made a deal with one of those crazy people that stand at the port gates and try to sell you things. Luckily there was a small group of others from our ship accompanying us, making things like .02% less sketchy. Whew, thank God for that, right? Some guy caught us all a little taxi bus that would take us to the boat. Josh and I were lucky enough to sit in the front seat together. Just us newlyweds and the sweaty taxi man. Score! Then we arrived at a dock on the other side of the island (maybe?) Let’s be real… I had no idea where we were. It’s not like my cell phone worked or anything so I wasn’t too concerned about being able to call home if things got too weird. 😉
We all jumped on a little boat and met our dread-headed “tour guide” man. He was actually really nice and sounded more Jamaican than anything to me. Something about his demeanor made everybody relax a little bit though… Not going to lie… I was a little afraid at first. The whole situation lacked the Americanized feel that you get from traditional tours. Which in hindsight… is one of the reasons I liked it so much. We were StingRay Bay bound. Which is a sandbar in the middle of the Gulf where wild sting rays like to hang. We held them, fed them, let them message (ahem, squirm) all over our backs, and kissed them. Which local legends say is good luck. We snorkeled, and took another taxi ride back to the port. No natives ate us, sold us into slavery, or left us in the middle of the ocean to die. All was well.
Next stop Cozumel! Cozumel was my favorite both time I’ve ever been on a cruise. I think I have a Mexican soul. 😉 You can’t go wrong in the native land of tacos. In Mexico, we rented a MOPED. lol. It was super cheap and we drove around the ENTIRE island of Cozumel with time to spare.
It cost us $3 in gas. THREE. I want a moped to drive to work everyday! We beached, cruised, shopped, and saw Mayan ruins. We went to Senior Frogs where the bartender pinched Josh’s nipples after each shot she fed him. haha! What can I say… the man has nice nipples?
Then we went on our merry way to Belize. Here, we had purchased an excursion though the cruise line. We were to cave tube and zip line! The country of Belize is absolutely beautiful. You pass mountains and beaches in the same one hour drive. And our tour guide in Belize was one to remember as well, and he promised us an “unBelizeable” time. You see what he did there…. HA! It was on the bus ride that we were all provided with a waiver to sign, letting us know that we couldn’t sue the tour company even if harm came to us by some negligence of theirs. Ooooookay…Noted. I don’t have any pictures of the cave tubing because I had to leave my phone in my locker, you know… the whole iPhones and water thing…real bummer. Anyways, the caves are pitch black, luckily you’re provided with one very stylish helmet equipped with a headlamp, sure to make all the boys swoon.
Yes there are bats inside the cave. Not in the disclaimer… Just kidding. They were pretty cool, and stayed up inside their cave holes like good little bats.
THEN we went zip lining. We climbed a super long stair case up this mountain where we zipped through the Central American forrest while dangling from cables. NO BIG DEAL. Yeah, right. It was awesome. And I’ve never seen so many grown men scream like little girls. hehe. I was scared the entire time, even after the fifth or sixth platform… still screamed. Josh was a champ. Apparently facing death by falling off a mountain doesn’t scare him. Whatever… Should a Palmetto Bug show up though… prepare for girly screaming.
My immediate impression of Belize upon leaving the ship was one of sadness, due to how obvious the poverty was. It was dirty, and crowded, which always pulls at my heart strings to begin with. Our tour guide (David) left a lasting impression on me though because he flat out stated to a bus full of spoiled Americans that he knew his people must look poor to us, but he assured us that they were rich in other ways that we were not. The country of Belize boasts a 93% literacy rate – impressive no matter where you go. But he did mention that he had two little girls at home and that he accepted tips, which of course most of us left him.
Our final stop was to the beautiful island of Roatan, Honduras. A couple on the ship had warmed us that Isla Roatan was on a-whole-nother level of hardship. I found this hard to believe after leaving Belize. When we arrived to the island, we didn’t even have to take a tender boat, as they had just built a while new port for the ships to pull right up. Nice. We got off and walked through a beautiful port full of stores, bars, and restaurants. Everything was lovely. The island even lacked the usual bombardment of locals trying to sell you things or take you places. That couple on the boat had obviously been mistaken. There was a big parking lot of taxis and car rentals right outside. Also shiny, clean, and new.
We approached the guy offering rental car deals and talked him into a dirt bike rental (which are “street legal” there) as this was our cheapest option. We went into his fancy new store and payed the cashier at the window. They gave us a little card with the name “Jeffery” written on it and told us to walk up the hill to meet him. A little weird we thought… but okay. So we walked over the mountainous hill, where we met the gates. At which the officials (with guns) would like to make clear to you that you are now leaving the port and that there are not security officials on the outside.
Standing outside of those gates were lines and lines of local people. If Belize pulled at my heart strings Honduras broke it into a million pieces. They didn’t have signs with deals or excursions like usual, or handfuls of goodies to sell. Lucky for us “Jeffrey” (a maybe 17 year old kid) met us at the front of the crowd and led us through. Some woman even said “Oh, they’re with you Jeffrey?” So I never found out what they would have said had we not been “with” our now savior Jeffrey. He led us to his little tent with a dirt bike parked outside. He gave us the keys and my baseball helmet. Which is obviously your safest option on a dirt bike, since its always better to hold on to your helmet manually than to have straps. I ditched that helmet practically as soon as we were out of sight. The foamy padding was missing chunks and I kind of needed to hold on to Josh with two hands.
We drove through the streets and streets of broken down houses (although people still lived there) and pot holes. Oh, and dogs. TONS of mangey, patchy haired dogs. But once we reached the beach it was gorgeous. I didn’t haggle with the lady that walked up to my beach towel and asked me to buy one of the bracelets she had tied together with a plastic bag. I just gave her what she asked for it. I didn’t haggle with anybody. It’s a good thing Josh was holding all of our money because I think I would have just given it all away.
After a few hours of walking around and laying on the beach we made the long drive back to Jeffrey to return his dirt bike, where we saw his wife(?) and new born baby inside of his tent. Heart = shattered. Josh dropped me off inside the gates, then road back down to pick up Jeffrey, who then dropped off Josh. Jeffrey’s idea. You can actually see him on the back on the dirt bike with Josh in one of the pictures. I wish I had taken a real one. I know I will never forget him. The pit that punched me in the stomach when I saw his family… in a tent… with a baby. We left him a tip… and ALL of the Honduran money we acquired in change that day. Funny how someone you barely speak to can have such a profound influence on your life. My home will never seem too small again.
When we boarded the ship they were unloading hundreds of mattresses. When I asked what they were for they told me a donation. This made my heart a little happier. I’d like to think Jeffrey got one.
OKAY! Sorry to be such a downer, but I can’t lie… that’s what Isla Roatan was like for me. But for the most part… the cruise was great. Josh and I haven’t spent that much time together in 3 1/2 years. Josh had never been on a cruise, or left the country, and neither of us have EVER eaten that much. I have never missed my babies so much, and was so happy to get home to see them. But I DO take a mental cruise from time to time… you know… to forget about the dishes, diapers, and grilled cheese sandwiches that can be my daily life. 😉
For times sake (HA!) I left out some stories, like our room service attendant that we called Okra (because thats really what it sounded like) who obviously thought we were crazy… so we did what anybody would do and hoarded our towel animals in the closet and then left them all on the bed when we checked out. We tried new foods, saw new places, and knocked a few things off of my bucket list. It was really an awesome time. 🙂