Sunday, February 20, 2011

Viva La Mexico!

In an effort to escape the cold, snowy, barren, wasteland that is Utah in February, Phil and I decided to head south. Way south. I'm talking "Cruise Ship To Mexico" south, baby! We enjoyed our first real vacation of our marriage aboard the Norwegian Star and had an amazing time.

Here we are at 4:30 in the morning, waiting for our flight at the SLC airport.

This is us at 10:30 the same morning, after an hour and a half flight to Long Beach and three hours of sitting around waiting for time to pass so we could finally board the cruise ship. Notice the slight change in disposition.

This is just outside the Long Beach airport. I was so excited to see palm trees!

I began having second thoughts about the decision to live on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Just kidding!

I knew I was going to lose cell phone service as soon as we pulled out of the port, so I had to take the chance to talk to my kids one last time!

We saw many amazing sunsets throughout the cruise. This picture was taken on the evening of day 1 as we were leaving Los Angeles and were passing by a picturesque light house.

So I am sure you have heard that there is an endless supply of food available upon a cruise ship. This fact is indisputable. But I, personally, was completely unimpressed by the selection and quality of the food. By day 7 I could not eat another morsel of cruise ship food. Phil, on the other hand, didn't mind it too much.

Did you see that?? I promise a dolphin just flipped out of the water right there where that finger is pointing. We saw several dolphins and a few whales but failed to catch any appearances on camera. We also sailed through a school of huge jelly fish.

Just arriving in Cabo San Lucas!! It was a gorgeous area with beautiful beaches and rock formations.

When we arrived in Cabo, the cruise ship couldn't take us right up to the dock so we had to ride in these little "tenders" to get to shore. They packed 150 people in those bad boys.

Here we are, aboard a smaller boat that took us to begin our kayaking/snorkeling adventure!

Just a view of one of the resorts and beaches at Cabo. We were taken by boat over to this beach where we were issued snorkeling equipment and given a kayak and oars. Then we kayaked across the bay to another, more secluded beach. Kayaking was pretty awesome, but, unfortunately, requires two hands so I didn't get any pictures.

This is called Los Arcos and was part of the amazing rock formations at Cabo San Lucas.

Look really closely at this picture. It is not just a really bumpy rock. There is a colony of sea lions laying out in the sun. It was pretty cool, but surprisingly smelly.

We went snorkeling in Cabo and it was FREEZING! I actually can't believe I jumped in, knowing how cold the water was. But I am so glad I did. It was awesome to see such colorful fish so close up. I definitely want to do this again in warmer water. Plus, you just look so cute in your equipment :)

A view of our cruise ship from the beach. This beach was pretty cool because on one side you can dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean and then walk 150 feet to the other side and dip your feet in the Sea of Cortez.

On the beach in Cabo. This beach was beautiful. That rock formation on the left is called Neptune's Finger. Our guide told us we were free to decide which finger it was.

On to Mazatlan. We got a taxi driver to take us around and give us a tour of the City in this bad boy. We saw old and new Mazatlan, a cliff diver, the Golden Zone (poor excuse for a shopping area), and the beach. FYI - The drivers in Mexico are crazy. I think stop signs are just a suggestion not a hard fast rule because nobody really pays attention to them.

A view of the older part of Mazatlan. You can see a famous cathederal that we visited toward the top of the picture. That part of the city was pretty ghetto and I didn't feel entirely safe.

The cliff diver. This guy is freaking crazy.

It looks like he's going to crash right into the rocks, but I'm fairly certain he didn't. (I don't know for sure because I was busy haggling with a Mexican lady over a necklace.)

Hanging out on the beach in Mazatlan. I wish we had beaches in Utah. Although I could live without the peddlers trying to talk you into buying something every 8 1/2 seconds. How many times do I have to explain that I don't want a bracelet with my name on it?

We had just pulled in to Puerta Vallarta, which was beautiful! Much more green than the other two ports.

A lady was walking around encouraging people to take a picture with her bird. I could have sworn that before she put it on my shoulder it did not have a human face growing out of its back. But the camera doesn't lie, right?

At every port, there were guys dressed in camo, wielding machine guns. I'm not sure if they were there to protect us or to protect the Mexican people from us. I highly discouarged Phil from taking this picture because I wasn't sure if they would open fire.

This pirate ship was hanging out in the harbor at Porta Vallarta. I thought it looked pretty cool.

This pic was taken just before our camera battery died. Which totally sucked because we were about to take part in the best activity of the whole cruise. As part of the "Canopy Adventure" in Puerta Vallarta, we were able to do some hiking, climb rope ladders to 150 foot platforms in the trees, cross rope bridges 150 feet off the ground, ride ziplines overlooking the jungle below, and repel down trees. It was slightly terrifying and completely AMAZING!! But, sorry, no pics.

They had an art gallery on board the ship. It seemed kind of odd to me and most of the art was pretty much hideous. Especially these particularly atrocious works that they had on display one night. I told Phil to act like he was really interested in them to see if the gallery people would come try to talk him into buying one. Apparently he can't pull off "art enthusiast" because nobody came.

Confession: I spent a fair amount of time at the internet cafe checking the e-mail for updates on our kids. I missed them so much!

The staff surprised us with a new towel animal every night. They even held a class teaching you how to make your own towel animals at home. Sadly, we did not attend.

Phil ordered this dessert one night and he said it was delicious. It had these two candy stick things sticking out of it; he was in serious danger losing an eye.

I think this was taken while we were waiting for one of the shows to start. There was a different show every night - a hypnotist, a Vegas style show, an improv group, etc. - all of the entertainment was awesome.

Waiting for our flight home outside of the Long Beach airport. I was so excited to get home and see my kids!

The two reasons why I couldn't wait to come back to the cold and snow in Utah! (A huge THANK YOU to Grandma & Grandpa, Andrea & Josh, and Oma & Opa for taking care of Tate and Tori while we were gone!!)