Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Houston, Texas

Our really good friends Caleb and Nicole lived in Houston, TX and were great enough to drive us to and from the port.  We also stayed with them for a couple of nights.  It was wonderful to see them!  Their kids were so excited to have people staying with them.  It was great to catch up on old times with them since we all dated together in College and got married a month apart from each other.

their kids  Tayce & Cosette!  it made us miss ours so much!

We drove by some stadiums:
This is Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros play

The Toyata Center where the Houston Rockets play

not sure exactly the reason behind this picture
We also got to go see the Temple!  It was a Sunday so we couldn't go to a session, but luckily we got to walk around the grounds.

Tayce (one of their kids).

And then in the airport on the way home!

Caribbean some more

The first stop on our cruise was in Falmouth, Jamaica.  We went on a zipline tour in jungle.  It was one of the highlights of our trip.  First, we get there and we ride thie old rickety bus up this rough and bumpy road to where the zipline started.  Our tour guides were all a little crazy and Brian compared them to a bunch of teenage boy scouts.  But we still survived.  We weren't supposed to take our camera on the trip...but we managed to sneak it and get a shot at the end.  One of the best parts was the free repel straight down off this  "floating" platform at the end.  I (Amanda) was the first screamer (its fun to scream, right?)

The straight repel off the platform (they stopped it for you)

Eating our Jerk Chicken
We had a little while after we got back from the zipline tour so we decided to explore the port area and then braved it outside the port to find some lunch.  It was a little scary outside the port area (which is just a bunch of tourist shops).  Lets just say the conditions in the city were not the greatest, and we felt a little out of place being white Americans.  We wanted to find a place that sold jerk chicken, which is the specialty of Jamiace.  We found this hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ordered some (even though it wasn't on the menu).  The cook probably charged us double, but it was all good.  It probably wasn't the most sanitary of places, but the food was really good!

In the port area (our ship behind us)

Grand Cayman
the view from the ship in Jamaica
Our next stop was in the Grand Cayman Islands.  We had scheduled a boat trip to go snorkeling and see the stingrays.  That was really neat!   The water was so blue on the ocean here!
When we got to the spot where the stingray were, we all got out (there were a bunch of people and boats) and the stingray came swimming by (mostly because our guide had food).  We each got a turn to "hold" the stingray and give it a "kiss."   It was so cool!  They would swim between your legs, and that was a little creepy because you need to be careful not to step on the stingers (the tails).

This is the place where we ate the BEST FISH EVER!  It was at a "bar" on the shoreline and the fish market was literally right next to it.  (You could see it on the way into the place).  The main reason we decided to eat there was because there was free wifi to customers.  We both shared the special of the day, which we can't quite remember the exact fish.  It was Wahoo (we think) and it was AMAZING!  It was probably the best thing we ate on the entire cruise.  
At the restaurant we were able to Skype our kids- which was wonderful!  They were having a great time with Grandma Turpin.  It sure made us miss them though.

Our next stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.  It is an island off the shore of Mexico, at Playa Del Carmen.  We rode the ferry across and met up with a LDS Alma Tour guide.  We got to to explore the ruins at Tulum.  It was quite fun, but felt super rushed, since we had to make sure to get back before the ferry at 4 to make our ship departure time.  We made it in time, but it was super stressful, especially when we showed up for the ferry and there was a HUGE line. 
At Tulum:
We went with an LDS guide so we could see the Book of Mormon connections.  It was really neat, seeing all the symbols and things that corresponded with the Nephites and the Lamanites.  Tulum was on a cliff by the sea which was also cool. 

A few more shots from the cruise:

After Mexico, we headed home.  It got colder the closer we got to Texas.  It was also rougher seas.  The last day or two, the ship was really rocking!  Luckily, we didn't get sick, but by the time we made it to land, we definitely had sea legs (we felt like we still on the boat, swaying back and forth)
Being Crazy!

So there were a million of these lizards at the Mayan Ruins.  The boy in our group was constantly trying to get one.  

in Mexico

in Mexico

Sunset in Mexico

Talking to Avery before and during our cruise, he kept wanting to know how much the boat was under water.  It is the draught or draft of the boat.  We asked alot of the crew members but no one knew the answer.  Then there was a question and answer session with the Captain and he answered it for us.  28 feet?  I will have to double check on that.

One of the fun shows

And we are off the boat!