a fuller life

adventures… eats… laughs… life


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When the Universe Gives You a Mostly Free Cruise…

So back in September, at a Carnival Cruise Line event, I won a free cruise! So when the universe gives you a free cruise, and the window you have to use it in includes your birthday, you take it. So we did.

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A mostly uneventful travel day (can’t say I really enjoyed the chaos that is Air Canada pulling 5 flights worth of passengers out of security line, leaving us to stand there for an hour… but I’ve been on the receiving side of getting pulled out of that line, so I get it… I did enjoy the no-nonsense security person telling the Air Canada rep to piss off eventually though).. Got to Houston by noon… Uber to Galveston (complete with 90 minutes of the vocal stylings of Phil Collins and other terrible easy listening) and away we go.

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We stayed at Homewood Suites on the Seawall… nice place, super friendly staff, location is ok… right across from the beach, but there’s not a lot more nearby (there’s a Walgreens). They have a shuttle that will take you anywhere in a 5 mile radius and it was totally fine for one night.

We headed out to explore the Strand area (we Ubered, with an annoying driver asking for tips with a sob story about how it’s hard in Galveston to make money because everything is close together)… Stopped for some beer and eats at Brews Brothers… craft beer selection was good, food was OK. Had some more drinks at Yaga’s Cafe (they don’t skimp on the booze here… I tried for 2 hours and my drink never managed to become empty… because every time the bartenders made one of the same for someone else, they poured the leftovers in my glass) and their staff is outstanding (regardless of the refilling of my drink). Then we walked around for a bit and stumbled across Stuttgarten beer garden, so of course we had to check it out… and eat a giant pretzel to soak up some of the mass amounts of sugar drink I am not used to imbibing. Back to the hotel after that… since we’d been up a very long time already, even though it was early in Texas. I managed to make it to 9, half-watching Lego Batman.

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Had some breakfast at the hotel (Texas waffle!) and then we decided to go for a walk on the beach, since it was nice out, we had lots of time before we had to head to the ship, and it was across the street. This was an amazing beach for running! We walked, but the sand was all nice and packed down and flat… we walked for a couple of hours and enjoyed the views.

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We took the hotel shuttle to the port. They had said it would only be able to take us to the Starbucks across the street, which was totally fine – we travel with backpacks… but the mister ended up dropping us right at the port. We were out of the van and onto the ship in like 15 minutes probably. Check in was a breeze – very organized.

So, to the pub. (Check that, we went to our cabin first to get our key cards – because in Galveston, Carnival is doing that now… then pub). Because that’s pretty much where we hang at least part of the time. The Red Frog pub is pretty much my favourite addition to the Carnival ships. Had a few drinks, met a few people, and generally relaxed.

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Did all the usual stuff involved with the first day… got our luggage, unpacked it, drank some, muster drill, etc. etc. Day drinking may have prompted a nap, and all in all, it was a nice and uneventful day. (Get ready for this, because the only goal of this cruise was to relax.)

Monday was a sea day… we got up early so Greg could run and I could walk before the track was too busy… had some breakfast and wandered around the ship a bit. We’ve sailed this ship twice before (it’s our favourite) and we already knew where everything was, so we didn’t have to find it. Spent some time chilling in the adults only area (there was loads of free deck chairs all the time on this ship), found the beer for the week (Angel City IPA for the win), played a bit of trivia (people still take that shit way too seriously), spent some time on our balcony… yay, relaxing!

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Oh wait!!! Monday was my birthday! Our cabin steward Romel left me a big Happy Birthday message on our cabin mirror. It was also formal night, and we opted to skip those altogether this time around. We had some sushi for supper, cake from the cafe (because birthday), played pub trivia and won some beer (which we shared, because I hate the kind you win), and just generally wandered around and hung out (including listening to a violin trio who were AMAZING!). Romel also left me a $50 spa gift certificate, and while I don’t spa and nothing would be that cheap in the spa, it was an appreciated nice touch. Unfortunately I couldn’t just give it to someone who might use it.

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Tuesday we landed in Cozumel…. more walking/running to start the day… and food (because cruising), and then we headed off to our tacos, tequila, and chocolate tour. This was a fun one (and if you want me to use my mad skills as a travel agent to hook you up with this very tour, contact me any time). There was only four of us on our tour. We started with a bit of free time to explore and some tequila (I may have also found some delicious iced coffee). We toured through a bit of an art gallery and then outdoors through a bunch of replicas of famous Mexican structures. Then it was chocolate time… we had some hot chocolate, taste-tested some various chocolates, made our own chocolate circles to bring home, and had a frozen chocolate drink.

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Then it was off to taste some Jose Cuervo (though we stopped to watch some acrobatics on the way, danging from a high pole with ropes… in the rain). I’m not a tequila expert, but I learned a lot from this tasting… well, and we got to drink tequila. We tried three different styles of Jose Cuervo, and then a few others (same brand) for comparison. After the tasting, we had a delicious buffet of tacos and sides, and then they made some delicious star fruit margaritas for us.

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Back to the port after our tour, and we wandered off to find some more margaritas. And guacamole. We’re not shoppers, so after that, we headed back to the ship. There was another couple of ships in port with us that day, but Cozumel is well-appointed to handle many ships. The rest of the day was a blur – though I am quite sure we played and won pub trivia again.

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Next up, Belize. But first, walking/running and breakfast. I caved and booked a cruise-ship excursion for this one. We just wanted a lazy beach day and the area of Belize (near Belize City) isn’t a “beach near the pier” kind of place… and this cruise got planned pretty quickly. We’d both been here before and we’ve done tours and visited ruins and I just didn’t want to spend a lot of time sitting on a bus. So we spent the day at Starfish Island. The boat to the island picked us up at the ship (Belize is a tender port to protect the reef system) and the ride to the island was maybe 30 minutes. The island was nice – it’s at least partially man made and it’s not overly sandy in spots… but it has everything you need for a nice beach day – loungers, shade, equipment rentals, eats, a bar, facilities, etc.

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It’s a good place for water shoes if you have them for sure, and the sand is pretty sinky… water was nice, weather was great, food was fine, drinks were tasty. Greg getting sneak-attacked by a jelly fish wasn’t ideal, but it didn’t affect his beer consumption, so he must have been fine (they gave us some vinegar to pour on it… and there was a handful of others who had the same fate that day). Boat ride back to the ship was more fun (on the upper level for a dance party). Back on board, we spent some time chilling in the pub, etc. The adult Quest game was this night as well… it was fun/funny – not nearly as much naked as we’ve seen on other ships, and I’m ok with that.

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And onto Roatan (Honduras)… more running/walking/eating to start the day… we didn’t miss a day. And then off to Little French Key for the day. They picked us up from the port (outside of it because they aren’t cruise-ship approved) and took us to the barge that goes back and forth to the key. Our admission included lunch, 2 drinks each, use of all the facilities (though there was some stuff that cost extra and different admission packages you would purchase), as well as transportation back to the port whenever we wanted to go. So what I didn’t like about this place was that they have a bunch of animals in cages (and they tour you through them at the start while they show you were everything is)… they looked to be well cared for, their cages were spotless, but I’m just not into that kind of thing.

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Again, this place had everything you could need for a lazy day at the beach… and then some. Our waitress Kelly was outstanding and took great care of us all day. There was much relaxing, floating, drinking, and maybe even some napping. The food was fine, the drinks were tasty (and reasonably priced), and the facilities were clean. If you’re into shopping, there was a little gift shop… and then there was also options to go snorkel with them, take pictures with the animals, and that kind of thing. There’s even a spa. We headed back to the port mid afternoon, wandered around there for a bit, and then back to the ship for the rest of the week.

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We did some activities on the ship this evening… which is not like us at all, but the Cruise Director on this one (Mike Pack, who is moving to the Horizon next) was AMAZING. He really has a knack for making what could be tired cruise activities very fun… and he’s incredibly funny. I think we checked out the Hasbro Game Show and the Love and Marriage show (and various other events around the ship throughout the week).

A couple of sea days rounded out the cruise… so more relaxing! We played some trivia (and won pub trivia a couple more times… because all this useless knowledge is my head sometimes equates to free drinks… and Greg’s knowledge too)… went to some more ship activities, chilled in the sun. Past guest party (translation, free drinks for an hour) was on the last night, and even that was a lot of fun with this CD. Greg won some shiny, plastic ships on sticks for playing sports trivia. We skipped another formal night and opted to eat at the deli. By the end of the week, all the usual pub trivia players just made a super team since we were sharing the beer anyways.

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General stuff. Service on the Breeze out of Galveston was outstanding. The best we’ve had on any ship, out of any port, in a long time. The food was hot and better than normal. The staff and crew were friendly. Apparently people on ships out of Texas are the least likely to remove their gratuities, so a lot of the staff really want to work on those ships. Our sailing was 95% Americans and 60% Texans. There were people on our sailing who have been on that ship 30 times and have spent more than 1000 days at sea – bonkers! The CD and entertainment staff were fun.

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Debarkation was smoother than last time we sailed from there (it helps not being fogged out and stuck at sea). Though all week it felt like there was a lot of new cruisers on the ship, our platinum area of self-debarkation was jam-packed. A staff member tried to organize it, but people were getting pretty fed up at some rude passengers sitting near the front of the waiting area yelling at people to go to the back. We’re all getting off… no need to be a dick. Customs was better – there was three lines for us to leave through as non-US passport holders, so that was an improvement from last time.

We grabbed an Uber back to Houston and were able to check in to our hotel (Fairfield Inn) at 9am, which was pretty amazing. Wandered around downtown (ghost town on a Sunday), got some breakfast at Mkt Bar, found some coffee, and came back to plot out our day. There was a street art festival (Via Colori) going on, so we checked that out for a couple of hours (tons of amazing artists, live music, some vendors, food trucks, beer) and then we found a BBQ place for supper (that took some doing – most of the BBQ places and breweries are closed on Sundays). Wandered around downtown to find a coffee (most of the coffee shops closed early or super early on Sunday) and found a Starbucks in the lobby of a Hilton. And then back to the hotel to watch football and call it a trip.

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Flights home were uneventful… had some tasty food at Breakfast Klub in the Houston airport (with the best waitress ever in the history of the universe), watched some movies on the flight (despite some people fighting across the aisle from me about putting their seats back), customs in Montreal was a breeze (they’ve made it WAYYYY easier for people with connections), walked around YUL for a bit since we had some time to kill (don’t get me started on the nice area flights to Halifax go to from YUL versus the ghetto flights to NB and PEI leave from), and back home by midnight. And that’s a wrap.

Ange out.

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Our week on the Oasis of the Seas

Last winter we took our first Royal Caribbean cruise. Carnival is starting to run out of Caribbean itineraries that aren’t full of repeats for us and RC had some new ports. If you’ve read the blog or talked to me about it at all, you’ll know it was not my favourite. We had a lot of fun – thanks to great friends and fun ports. But we had a hard time getting most things sorted in advance for our group. I didn’t love the ship, I didn’t love the food, and I wasn’t in a rush to try another one.

And then Greg won a cruise with them… and having paid entirely for all of our travelling ourselves, of course we wanted something free! We thought booking a cruise we were paying for was hard with them. Booking a cruise we won was a lot harder… but you’ll have to skip ahead to the end for that rant.

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40 is the new awesome…

Today I turn 39.

It’s not a conventional milestone birthday, but my 30s have been amazing and I think I need to show them out with some fanfare!  I’ve already achieved my original 40th birthday goal of visiting 40 countries by then (who knew I was such an overachiever?!)…

So here’s my new intention… Over the next year, I plan to try 40 new things. I’m being realistic (shocking, I know) – they don’t all have to be epic, life altering things… I mean like it or not, I do have to work sometimes and my funds are most certainly not unlimited. Just 40 things that are new to me… try a new food, visit a new place, or learn to do something new (banjos and crochet look fun, but I’m not committing on the first day).

I do have a few things in mind already… a 10K, a new tattoo, a new language, and visiting a new country or two. The rest of them I’ll discover along the way.

So here’s my 40 new things:

  1. Disneyland. Honestly, I’ve never really had any desire to visit anything Disney. We don’t have kids, I’m not big on standing in line for things, and it’s expensive… but when in Rome, right? We visited California again to celebrate the wedding of some friends, so we decided to check it out. It was actually a lot of fun spending the day there with Alice and Bill… (but still really expensive).IMG_8543
  2. Big ball bowling. Where we live in Canada, big ball bowling is just not a thing.  So we’ve never tried it before. Putting your fingers in holes in the balls is totally weird, but we got the hang of it and maybe even rocked it.IMG_8284
  3. Pop culturing. I’m not obsessed with any actor, band, or general “celebrity”… but I did love the show Ace of Cakes when it was on, and it was the reason why I decided to try cake decorating. So I was pretty stoked to have awesome friends come with me to decorate some cupcakes (with very, very limited tools) and peek through the windows at Charm City Cakes West in LA.IMG_8317
  4. Snowshoeing. I’ve lived in a country with significant winter my whole life, but it wasn’t until this year that we finally bought snowshoes. And that, of course, meant we got a winter with not that much snow. But that’s OK, we made good use of them when we could and enjoyed not having to dig out our cars as much.snowshoes
  5.  Crocheting. I attempted to teach myself how to crochet from YouTube… and that totally wasn’t for me. So a friend showed me some tricks and I crocheted an entire blanket. Greg is an excellent blanket model 🙂blanket
  6. Creating. If you read this blog or know me at all, it’s no surprise that travel is my thing. I am also totally a creative type and have been combining art and my love of travel for years. But I haven’t sketched in a very long time, and have gotten back into it with collection of travel sketches drawn on old maps.drawing
  7. Hibachi. I’ve never been to a hibachi restaurant and have always thought that they look like a lot of fun. We also don’t have one where we live. So on a recent trip, we visited one at sea with friends. Yum!hibachi
  8. Haiti. In April we spent a day relaxing on the beach and floating in the ocean in Haiti – visited country number 44 on my list.haiti
  9. Farming. I love being outside, and in my odds and sods of jobs so far this year, I’ve gotten to trim apple trees and feed a baby lamb (though I wasn’t really in a position to take pictures of either).
  10. Freelancing. I’m determined to not have to return to a full time IT office job. I don’t get our strange North American theories that working all the time and being crazy busy is the way life should be lived. So I’ve been freelancing outside my normal IT knowledge, recently working on interesting projects like data mining for a 3D furniture imaging app, transcribing letters from the late 1880s by English missionaries in China, and transcribing interviews for someone’s thesis on how clothing relates to gender identity.
  11. Tempeh. I’ve been in varying stages of vegetarianism or veganism since high school, but I had never tried tempeh… so after I managed to find some locally, we decided to give it a go in taco form. It was delicious (though a lot of that credit has to go to my amazing cook of a husband).IMG_8738
  12. 10K. We signed up for the 10K of the Fredericton Marathon last year, and I had the best of intentions of training properly for it. But I have a super hard time staying motivated in winter and I didn’t. So I completed my first 10K, but I did have to walk some of it. I’ll get it next time.m
  13. Hays Falls. There’s a lot of great outdoors to explore where we live (a benefit of having only a few small cities and a small population) and I haven’t been to nearly enough of them. So we took advantage of a beautiful, sunny afternoon in May to hike in to Hays Falls and climb around for a while. Cause waterfalls are awesome.IMG_9067[1]
  14. Beach trekking. I grew up in Saint John and I’ve spent a fair amount of time at both McLaren’s Beach and Bay Shore. But, I’ve never been there when the tide was low enough to walk (and rock climb) between them. So we spent this morning (our 12th anniversary) doing just that and it was awesome. I do really miss living close to the ocean.

20160626_105029 15. New food – bibimbap. We were watching Masterchef and they made this. Neither of us had had it before, and both immediately knew we needed to. So we made it. It might not have been totally authentic, but it was delicious.IMG_9251[1].JPG 16. Away 10K. When our fall race was moved to a date that didn’t work for us, we decided to try Saint John’s Marathon by the Sea races. And this equals more new things – running on the Harbour Bridge (which is totally closed to pedestrian traffic always), running a 10K in another city, a new 10K personal best, finishing a race before my husband (ok, well, he did run over double my distance), and cheering for my husband at his first half marathon.IMG_9272[1]17. New food – Ntakos. It’s a tradional Greek salad of bread covered in tomatoes, feta, and herbs and I decided to give it a try in Athens – it’s delish (minus the olives, because olives are poison).img_932918. Beer sampling. Wait, read the whole thing! The Carnival Vista has a brewery on it, and we sampled all of their beer and took a peek at the operations. Their IPA is quite delish.brewery20. Sky Ride. Another fun feature on our latest cruise was the Sky Ride – a pedal bike type thinger hanging from a track on the top deck of the ship, with great views of the ocean. Super fun!
21. Malta. We only spent one day in the stunningly beautiful city of Valletta, but I would definitely return to explore the rest of this country – number 45 on my list.img_959122. IMAX at Sea. We don’t have IMAX where we live, so it’s not something we do… but I’ve never been to one in the middle of the ocean before. Had a lovely date with my friend Melissa to see Suicide Squad.
23. New food – pasta. I’ve had lots of different kinds of pasta, but never cheese and pear with pistachio sauce like we had in Tuscany at Castello di Monteriggioni. Amazing!
20160921_13314924. France. After a previous failed attempt, I have now finally set foot on France (country number 46). We spent a great day in Marseille exploring Notre Dame de la Garde, Chateau d’If, and other sites with friends.
20160922_10350025. Singing in public. On more than one occasion on our latest cruise, I sang in public (for a chance at winning beer). I’m a total team player 🙂
26. Writing something different. I write a lot, but I rarely share anything that isn’t about traveling, beer, or a shameless self promotion of one of my (or a family member/friend’s) business ventures. You can read about my adventures in running here.
27. Pursuing a goal. For quite a long time, I’ve wanted to find something in the travel industry that I would enjoy and could actually get paid for. Travel is my thing. I love everything about it. And now it’s part of the master plan. Check out my travel agency – Those Who Wander by Go Travel.
wander-logo 28. New restaurant:  A Taste of Egypt. Had been trying to find time to have supper with my good friend Sue… so I decided to combine it with a new thing (getting down to the wire with 11 more new things required in the next week)… so we checked out A Taste of Egypt in Saint John. Not too shabby!
29. Winning something. In my new adventures as a travel agent, there’s so many learning opportunities… including lots of webinars. And apparently some of them give away prizes. And I won a Visa gift card learning about a cruise supplier. Yay me! (This is new because I NEVER win stuff)
30. Valley of Fire State Park. Spending the day here was AMAZING! Can’t go wrong spending the day climbing and hiking around somewhere beautiful with great friends and great weather. img_981031. Love. Adding a new Cirque du Soleil show to my list – checked out Love (based on the music of the Beatles) while we were in Vegas.
img_010232. Celebrity chefs. We had decided that while we were in Vegas, we would at least check out one celebrity chef restaurant… but we ended up with four. Border Grill (Top Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger), Buddy V’s Ristorante (Cake Boss Buddy Valastro – hate his show, but my pizza was good), Burgr (Gordon Ramsay), and Sprinkles Cupcakes (Candace Nelson).
img_008433. Away 5K. While I have now run numerous 5K races, this was the first one in Las Vegas at night with 9000 of my closest friends!
34. Rock ‘N’ Noodles. This place was my favourite place we ate at in Vegas… we showed up 10 minutes before close and their chef David welcomed us in and fed us delicious food and beer. Highly recommend.
20161112_21221235. Hip-hop concert. I’m not a hip-hop fan, but this was the included concert for our Rock N Roll Half (and neither rock nor roll in my world)… but I went. I still don’t like Snoop.20161113_15214336. Sports book gambling. I am admittedly not a huge gambler because I work too hard for my moolah to be OK with just throwing it away. I do normally bet small amounts on football though, so on my birthday I thought I would give sports book gambling a try instead of Fanduel. And with Greg’s help, I even won!
img_994637. Birthday party away. For at least the last decade, I’ve barely had time to even acknowledge my birthday, let alone go away for it. But being in Vegas for my 40th birthday was pretty damn fun… and having awesome friends and my awesome husband surprise me with cake and prezzies and beer and dinner and brunch and decorations was amazing! Thank you all!
img_993838. Vegan ice cream. I’ve had vegan ice cream before – because I make it and sell it in my bakery. But I’ve never been able to go out somewhere and try it. So when we walked by a Ben & Jerry’s in Vegas that had it, it had to be tried… even though I was already dying of full. It was good (but mine is better).
39. High roller. Great way to get a view of the strip from up high… so we gave it a try (this actually happened 2 days after my birthday, but I’m counting it because it was planned in advance and part of my birthday trip :))
img_012040. Half marathon! It’s been my intention to finish my list off with this for a very long time… and I did it. On the evening of my 40th birthday, I ran my first half marathon, on the Las Vegas strip, with many thousands of other people. And it was hard. And awesome. And I did it.
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And so, 40 new things were achieved this year, and a lot of fun was had achieving them. What to do next?

 


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Beer, beaches, and turnips! turnips! turnips!

More super fun hijinks in the Caribbean with friends on board the Carnival Breeze.20150927_112458

Day 1 – Heading south and breaking cameras…

Adventure time!  And I can even omit the part where I whine about how we have to drive for ages to be able to get to flights with a reasonable cost associated with them… we flew from home for a price we could live with. We this time is Greg and I, and our friends Nicole and Lloyd. Arrived in Florida by noon, straight to the hotel by way of a shuttle service that looped around a bit because we were nice enough to let them wait for the other group of people (who were trashed already and obnoxious… of course.. not that we haven’t also been that group at some time or another). We stayed in downtown Miami (Courtyard Downtown), went and found some cheap eats, got some beer to have our own tasting at the hotel, and mostly chilled out for a bit. Then we walked around some, headed to the Beer and Burger joint for the obvious 20150928_082322choices in a restaurant with this name (I may have also found cupcakes and Starbucks), and then back to the hotel for the night. Crazy party animals. We were tired (we had to be at the airport for our first flight at a time you should only ever reach by staying up all night) and it was humid as fuck!  About 2 minutes before we got back to the hotel, I stopped to take a picture and my camera died. Like unfixable died. Not no more battery died. Hooray!

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Kickin’ it in the Caribbean with Cool Cats – 2015 Edition

This blog has been brought to you from the back seat of Sue’s car while she and Greg listen to the Bruins game…

st_thomasDay 1 – The Philadelphia Beer Vortex

Adventure time!  With snow up to my neck in the yard, you have no idea how desperate we were to get the hell out of dodge…

Wee hour of the morning departure, as per usual. Stop for harvest nut and grain pancakes and Starbucks en route (holy shit, in America they have coconut milk as an option!), got to Manchester early… killed some time at the mall (very out of character for us, but essentially this stop was just for stretching our legs), dropped the car at the hotel (Homewood Suites Manchester Airport – highly recommend… park & fly, free shuttle, free breaky and ninnernet) and off to the airport. Tasty beers to start off the trip, while watching the gang (whoever wasn’t already in PR) check in stop to stop online (that part of FB is super fun). Flight was short and completely uneventful. Time to kill in Newark, so there may have been beer, food, and more Starbucks.

Flight to San Juan leaves late after a gate change so I check in with Alice to let her know that we’d be arriving at the hotel we’re sharing late…. only to discover they’ve decided to take the scenic route to PR and we won’t see them until we’re on the ship. And when you don’t sit anywhere near your husband on the plane, the best method to communicate this information is by secret_harborwriting it really big on a piece of paper and waiting for him to look in your direction. Using a doodle app on a tablet later on also works. We flew United for this trek of the trip, and while the plane was nice and we had lots of leg room in the emergency rows, they still get a fail for their stupid fucking DirectTV. I paid to  get on the plane, I paid for my luggage to come on the plane, I have to pay if I want to eat anything on the plane, but I draw the fucking line at paying to watch TV or movies on the plane. Plus, a lot of it only works in US airspace. Get bent you bunch of corporate pigs!  So I watched some Doctor Who on my tablet and dozed off and on (since we had been in transit for 20 hours or so by then). Continue reading


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Our Meeting with the Carnival Destiny

miami_beachOnce upon a time, a girl with chronic wanderlust and a boy who hates the snow decided to go on a little adventure (er, another adventure). With a dirty look or two for the snow that started to fall as they headed to the airport, the adventure begins…

Cheapest flights out of our province were out of Moncton this time (this was a proper holiday for relaxing, so we didn’t want to drive to and from the US before/after flying), so off we went on a 2 hour drive to the airport. It started to snow about the last 30 minutes of the drive, but I think somehow that just makes leaving the snow more rewarding. Checked in in Moncton and waited for a bit at the gate before getting called up to see the agent – without any prompting, asking, begging, threatening, or even attempts at mind control on our part, they had switched our seats on the first flight so that we could sit together. Hooray for Air Canada (and I can’t believe I said that). Flight to Toronto was uneventful, and we hit the US customs line there at a perfect time (i.e. no line up of people who can’t figure out how to queue, even with ropes guiding them). Grabbed some status quo airport food, waited a bit, and then on to the plane for Miami. Continue reading


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7 Day Western Caribbean on the Carnival Magic – Oh La La!

magicThanks to a wonderful holiday surprise from my awesome husband, we’re just back from our latest adventure…. another cruise (this time on the Carnival Magic), great for exploring AND relaxing… here we go.

Day 1 – As per usual, a flight out of here in the wee hours of the morning. F’ton to Montreal uneventful, fast-tracked through Montreal because we had a tight connection, and get to the gate for flight #2 to find it missing a plane. Oh well, time for breakfast and coffee! Late leaving Montreal, but we make up most of the time in the air. Arrive in Houston around noon their time, but Mich (our wonderful chauffeur, tour guide, and hostess for our brief time in Houston – thanks Mich!) is trapped in traffic on the interstate. I’m sure this is the only reason there wasn’t a marching band, parade, and/or giant banner there to announce our arrival 🙂 She gets there about an hour later (while I disappointingly note the complete lack of cowboy boots and hats in the airport and we get our fill of country music), and we’re off to find some lunch. Tex Mex at a place called Canyon Cafe – it was fine, titansbut nothing exciting. Back to her place, where we all veg/nap/watch football playoffs for the afternoon. Good Company Texas BBQ for supper (mmm brisket, jalapeno bread etc), and then off to Ginger Man (pub with oodles and oodles of beer) to meet some peeps Mich knows (some transplanted Canadians and a couple from Colombia – they all seemed really nice) for beer – which we drank outside, in January. Hooray! I tried some Wells Banana Bread beer (not great, but I had to give it a go… it has an awful aftertaste of those faux banana candies that look like packing peanuts) and then I tried a pecan porter, which wasn’t that great either. Oh well. Back to Mich’s and to bed around midnight – pretty tired from travelling all day. Continue reading