Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nuestra Luna de Miel: Our honeymoon in the Western Caribe (Part 2 of 3 Milestone celebration)

In the days after our wedding we did a lot of unpacking, organizing, shuffling, and most difficultly, tried to stay focused at work. With that being said, after a whirlwind wedding weekend and a super hectic year of planning, we were definitely in need of a vacay.

This trip was not only special because it was our honeymoon, but it was also a big deal because it was our first trip together as a couple. So after dropping off the munchkin at his grandparents we were ready!

On Sunday morning we left Cstat bright and early and headed to Galveston. For those of you not as familiar with Texas geography, Galveston is about 2 hours and 45 minutes ( 2 hours and a half-when I'm driving) from us, so when you're cruising, it's really convinient.

We ended up beating the rain that was coming as a result of the impending tropical storm on the horizon and arrived in Galveston two hours early. To pass the time we drove around admiring the awesome restored victorian houses, the improvements made since Katrina hit, and the brand new Boardwalk adventure.

Aside being $10 per person to just walk around, it's a great step in the right direction for this gulf city, so we're excited to see what's coming next.

After a quick trip to CVS, we headed to the pier to start the dreaded embarkation process. After about an hour we were on the boat and ready to go.

In the following days, we spent some time lying by the pool, relaxing on our private balcony, and exploring the boat. While the boat wasn't quite what we had expected, we were determined to have a great time. Some of the coolest features included the Swim up Cinema, where they turned the Lido deck into a huge movie theater. Our favorite movie of course was Harry Potter.
Lido during the day

Why Harry, what are you doing in the middle of the ocean?

After a few days at sea, our first stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica. Seeing as we were both newbies to Montego Bay we opted for an excursion through the boat that included touring a haunted estate and of course, shopping. Our tour guide was in one word, awesome! On the way to the estate she pointed out really interesting facts about the island, really cool facts about her family and friends, and some conversational creole.

A brief history of Rose Hall Great House and the legend...

The story states that the White Witch was Annie Palmer, who was born in England to an English mother and Irish father. She spent most of her life, however, in Haiti. After her parents died of yellow fever she was adopted by her nanny who regularly practiced voodoo and taught her witchcraft. She later moved to Jamaica, where she was married to John Palmer in 1820. John was the owner of Rose Hall Plantation, east of Montego Bay. Annie's husband (and two subsequent husbands as well) died suspiciously, and it is speculated that Annie herself brought about their demise. Annie became known as a mistress of voodoo, using it to terrorize the plantation, and taking male slaves into her bed at night and often murdering them. Annie supposedly murdered her lovers because she was bored of them. The legend has her being murdered in her bed during the slave uprisings of the 1830s by one of her slave lovers named Takoo, who also practiced voodoo and became one of Annie's lovers. Annie was said to be killed by Takoo because she was in love with the husband of Takoo's granddaughter. When Annie found she could not have him, she conjured a voodoo curse on Takoo's granddaughter who died a week later. When Takoo found this out, he killed Annie. Takoo ran into the forest to hide after murdering Annie, but was quickly caught by an overseer (another of Annie's lovers) and killed. It is said that a family who owned the property after the Palmers had a housekeeper who was "pushed" by Annie off of Annie's favorite balcony, subsequently breaking her neck and dying.

Rose Hall is a Georgian mansion with a stone base and a plastered upper story, high on the hillside, with a panorama view over the coast. It is considered to be a visually impressive house and one of the most famous of the great houses in Jamaica. Built in the 1770s, it was restored in the 1960s to its former splendor, with mahogany floors, interior windows and doorways, paneling and wooden ceilings. It is decorated with silk wallpaper printed with palms and birds, ornamented with chandeliers, furnished with mostly European antiques, and features a downstairs bar and restaurant.

Rose Hall was bought in 1977 by former Miss USA Michele Rollins and her entrepreneur husband John Rollins. They refurbished it at great personal expense and conceptualised a tour and museum that showcase Rose Hall's slave history, antique splendor and original fittings. Rose Hall also offers night tours that focus on the "Annie Palmer" legend: supposed locations of underground tunnels, bloodstains,hauntings and murders. Seances are also held on the property in an attempt to conjure Annie's spirit.

We personally felt some definite chills and goosebumps walking around but we weren't necessarily convinced that it was from Annie's spirit, but more so from those who had died in the house. Regardless of if it is truth or fiction it is a beautiful house and the countryside is breathtaking.

Our tour finished up with some "touristy" shopping after which I asked our new friend and tour guide to take us to the "real shopping." Hey-my grandparents taught me well. You always shop, eat, and beach where the locals go. She took us down to the Hip Strip to do some shopping and walk around in the 150 degree heat. After picking up some great souvenirs and Brad being offered weed twice-they didn't offer it to me, I guess they assumed he had the money ;) we headed back to the ship and spent some more time with our new friend Phyll Darling.

Looking back we really wish that we had gotten a picture with her but we will definitely get one the next time we visit her in Montego Bay. Since leaving, we've been e-mailing back and forth and making plans to come back and visit in the future. If you're planning on taking a trip to Montego Bay let me know and I'll send you her contact information.

Every night we dined in the dining room and spent some quality "us" time at our own table.

One night they even serenaded us with "Happy Honeymoon to You."

Our next excursion took us to the beautiful Grand Cayman where we took in the sights at the pier and jumped on an amphibious bus ride through the city and snorkeled in the bay.

 The water was absolutely stunning and we saw more tropical fish than we could count. After wrapping up the tour, we stopped at Bikini Beach and took some pics.

Yes please!!!

Our last excursion was in Conzumel, Mexico. Where I was totally in my element! I took over as tour guide and grabbed us a taxi to Playa San Francisco. Unfortunately I don't have any pics to post of Mexico because I forgot my camera on the boat. We did however have an intersting adventure...

I took over most of the conversation and guiding because although Brad understands Spanish, he doesn't speak. After visiting Cozumel before I had initially thought about Playa del Carmen, however because we had limited time we wanted to make the most of the time we had. I then asked for suggestions and was pointed toward Playa San Francisco.

The beach itself is part of several beach clubs along the coast that offer swimming, food, water sports, and shopping. Since we didn't want to do anything touristy it was the best place for us. The water was relatively clear and the temperature was amazing. And...we were treated like royalty because we were on our Luna de Miel (Honeymoon). I also made friends with some of the merchants and got a killer deal on a silver and turquoise bracelet, a silver chain for Brad, and a calavera (decorative skull) for our house. Plus we walked away with an engraved shot glass for Brad and an evil eye bracelet for me.

We spent the day lounging and swimming and ate some delicious pescado al mojo (fish with garlic sauce).

Another highlight were the super cute towel formations we came back to in our room, not to be outdone, Miguel and Mel even got in on the action:

Overall, we had a great time, we were just ready to be back with our munchkin.


About Mariam

Life is sweet

Life is sweet

And they lived happily ever after

And they lived happily ever after

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

About Me

For those of you who know me, writing has always been one of my passions, with the exception of my Masters or any ridiculously long testament within the wide world of Academia. I've only had the pleasure of blogging a couple of times, mostly for a few classes in graduate school, but figured it was time to organize my numerous thoughts and musings with all of you out there in cyber land. I created this page because my mind is always running and often times my thoughts get lost in the hubub. Plus, my friends have always said that I'm a great storyteller, so I'd love to share them now with you. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this... Throughout the past 33 years of my life I've seen, heard, and experienced so many different things as well as had many adventures and dream of so many possibilities. But in short, what it comes down to is this..I'm just a little Jubana trying to make a difference in the world. Everyday I live my life to the fullest and have fun doing it. Life can't always be about work or how much money you make. There's so much more to life than that.