Monday, January 17, 2011

Just Another January...

So I guess we’ve been pretty busy since we last wrote. Still, we don’t have much to report. Funny how that works sometimes.  

Two weeks ago we visited Jamaica. The cruise port is in Ocho Rios which is very dependant on tourist money, so we were smack in the middle of your run of the mill tourist traps such as Margaritaville (of course we stopped by just to check it out), shops, local craft (junk) markets, resorts, and beaches. We asked around and were told to try out The Jerk Center for traditional jerk chicken and pork. We did just that and were not disappointed. I think we will both crave jerk pork and Festival (a fried knot of dough that was soaked in vanilla and cinnamon) anytime we think about Jamaica. 

Ron is really not a drunk but we do get the local beer when we're in a new port.

Get out of here you idle drug users!


Then we wandered into a local casino that needed a special card just to get in the double doors with two bouncers. I think they let us in because we were tourists and they thought we’d dump a bunch of money in there. We were the only non-locals in the place. As it was, we sampled a bottle of Red Stripe beer and spent $5 each on penny slots, chatted with some of the regulars and then left in search of somewhere to hang out for a bit.
Kelly on Main Street in Ocho Rios


We ended up at a small restaurant on a pier where we got sodas and watched a man in cut off shorts try to peddle seashell necklaces to diners while he was standing knee deep in the tides. He wasn’t the funniest though. The piece de resistance was the guy who had swam out to the dock alongside the ship and was begging for people to throw money to him as they boarded. We wonder how many coins are at the bottom of the ocean in that spot now.

Grand Cayman was another place we stopped the week before last; however it was not new to us. We were there on our honeymoon a few years ago and enjoyed seeing it again from a different perspective. It all seemed so much more exotic when we were there before. Now that we’ve been living the cruise ship way of life for a few months, it seemed like every other cruise port in the Caribbean. That’s not to say everywhere is exactly the same – just the cruise port area is very similar to any other and since we aren’t on vacation, we aren’t able to venture out too far in many ports or we’d never be able to pay our bills. So in Grand Cayman we ran into one of Ron’s techs and had lunch at a little beachfront restaurant where we sampled turtle burger. Ron says turtle tastes like meatloaf but Kelly thought it had a very distinct and spicy flavor. Then we walked around for a little bit and tossed around the idea of visiting Hell or 7 Mile Beach but ultimately opted to take a free tour of a local rum company, chat with a few co-workers on the street to the sound of peddlers blowing low notes on conch shells in the background, and then we headed back to the ship. 

Caybrew

Even Pirates need Jesus


 Local Rum-maker


Last week we started our regular route (Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay). It may seem a little mundane to continually visit the same vacation spots over and over and over again, but it gives us a semblance of normalcy and stability. Kelly was especially grateful to be back to “normal” since she thrives on familiarity and having and idea of what’s next. (the girl loves a plan) In Grand Turk we enjoyed hanging out at Jack’s Shack and saying hello to Topher (the dog) while sipping sodas and catching up on FaceBook.

 In San Juan we ran some errands and then had dinner at El Jibarito which is a little hole in the wall a few blocks off the beaten path. We asked our server to suggest the best items on the menu and we ended up with an outstanding meal. Kelly had shrimp in garlic butter with a trifongo made of mashed plantain, yucca, and something else that we can't recall. Ron had pork in a pocket of something yellow and mashed and a mofongo that was probably the best we’ve had to date. The meals were just the right size and priced accordingly which is always nice for us since we tend not to be huge eaters and can’t take leftovers home with us. So that nice sized dinner and Madella Light in little plastic cups was perfect for our one dinner out this week. As usual we strolled the blue brick streets on our way back to the ship and sailed away for the night.

We stayed on the ship in St. Thomas this week. St Thomas is so populated by tourist traffic that we can get tired of it pretty easily. If you’ve never been there, the gazillion shops downtown are fun and novel but once you’ve seen it and if you have no need for shopping, downtown is just crowded and a lot of the same. There are a few things we plan to explore in the next few months though. In fact this upcoming week we plan to ride our bikes to Magen’s Bay which has been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Being Southern Californian’s and Kelly beign a water baby, we consider ourselves pretty well versed in beaches, so we’ll let you know what we think. That night was very windy so the promenade deck where Kelly walks laps most days was closed.

The next day we could not drop anchor at Half Moon Cay so we had an extra sea day and went straight back to Fort Lauderdale where we spent the day using public transportation (we learned about the trials and tribulations of managing a halfway house and about one man’s belief that all adults should be allowed to beat other people’s children if the situation warrants it) to get to Old Navy and the book store.

That night we dined at the Eurodam’s version of a 5-star restaurant – The Pinnacle Grille. While the ambiance and service was outstanding, neither of us was that impressed with food (filet mingnon for Kelly and surf & turf for Ron). We might try it one more time (we get the officer’s perk of dining at one of the two additional charge restaurants on the ship for free once per month) for the lobster macaroni and cheese and if we’re still not impressed we’ll stick to Tamarind for Asian fare. We’ll never complain about decent sushi.

And that’s about all we have to report for now. We’ll try to live slightly more interesting lives this week so we can entertain you with a better blog next time! Upcoming for us is the Blues Cruise which is going to keep Ron very very busy. He does, however, get to be Stage Manager for Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Joan Osborne to name a few.

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