Friday, November 02, 2007

Caribbean Interlude

After all of the months of preparation spent on weddings, they sure go by fast! I get a guilty pleasure out of watching Bridezillas on TV, and I never understand how you could get so worked up about 4 hours of your life. Oh well. Everything went perfectly - I'll post some pictures of the actual event soon.

For our honeymoon we spent 7 days in the Caribbean. It was an interesting experience, not at all what I had expected. For instance, I never saw any of those pristine white beaches you see on the travel channel. I did see beaches where you were harassed constantly by people wanted to braid your hair (I think my longest piece of hair is about 4 inches), sell you jewelry, and take you on jet skis. I even saw a guy selling maps that I saw for free at the tourist office, and another guy offering foot massages, who ran away as soon as the police approached him.

I'm not really a beach person anyway, so I was more in awe of the rainforests. We went on a hike in St. Lucia (in my opinion, one of the most beautiful islands), and the amount of produce growing freely is amazing: mangoes, starfruit, avocados, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, coffee, bananas, etc. I would like to issue a public service announcement that hiking in a bathing suit, towel, and watershoes through a wet, steep rainforest is not a good idea. (Hear that, girl in front of me the whole time?)

Our cruise ship was ridiculously huge. (It was bigger than the Titanic - I looked it up.) Despite my discontentment with the constant stream of black smoke and generally wastefulness going on on the ship, it was a fun experience. Good food whenever you want it, plentiful hot tubs, gym/sauna/steam room, ice rink!, and many, many deck chairs. (Our ship is the giant one, next to a "normal" sized cruise ship.)

And best of all, a new towel animal every night in your room.

I had a good time, and not to be down on cruising, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. You have to be around a large group of people wherever you go, and as I mentioned before, the whole thing seemed sort of wasteful. There was food left on everyone's plate, and we had to use paper cups for most beverages - I probably threw away 15 cups during the week, so multiply that by 3,000 or so. It's also difficult to get around on shore, and as a walking/explorer type of person, it was hard to deal with $20-one-way cab rides. If I had to do it again, I'd probably spend more time in one place, since its hard to see anything during short times at port. St. Lucia was probably the most visually stunning, and also one of the poorest countries. Barbados seemed to just be developing its tourist industry. Antigua was one of my favorites - once we passed the usual tourist shops, it seemed like a relaxed kind of place. St.Maarten is overrun with jewelry stores, and seemed the most international of all the islands we visited. We didn't see much of St.Thomas, but it seemed quite Americanized.

All in all, I like seeing as many places as possible, even if they don't end up being my favorite. So for my next vacation, maybe a lake? Rest of the pictures are here.
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