Thursday, June 26, 2008

One year older and wiser too...

Happy Birthday to YOU! This morning as our alarm went off (at 9:00 am) I was giddy with excitement. It's my birthday and Jared has promised me that we can celebrate however I want to. Remember that excursion we had planned? Cancel that. After breakfast it was off to the spa for massages and facials (for some reason- Jared got pampered too even though it wasn't his birthday). Next up, back to the buffet for some "snacks" which really just means desserts. When we went back to our room, I was surprised to see that Jared had taken the initiative (praise sweet Jesus above it's about time!) and had Royal Caribbean Happy Birthday signs and decor all over the place. It's hard to surprise me usually, but somehow he did it! And I was sooo thankful. I had been worried that it wasn't going to feel like much of a birthday but hey- so far- so good. We did some packing (which means we are close to going home! yeah!) and headed off the ship for some local pizza and gelato. As we walked hand in swollen hand (it's humid here) I could not be happier. Granted, I was scared of the Italian men trying to get us to buy everything from porn to lap tops, I gave it a go and was glad I did.

As we were walking back on the boat, we saw Jareds family heading to their excursion and I am so glad we're not going. It's hot and humid and I just really didnt want to go. Instead I think we'll spend some time at the pool and then take a nap before dinner. How nice.

I am so over this cruise. I want to go home to my kiddos and my bed. My washer and dryer. My computer. My Hummer. My text messages. My Target. My world. It's hard to complain about this cruise without sounding ungrateful, but I just really really love my life back home.

Almost home Suey. I promise I wont ask you to watch Lennix anymore for the rest of the summer! (yea right!) I miss you guys.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You gotta rub me the right way

Egypt oh Egypt. How I love you so. Even though you have more trash than I've ever seen in my entire life covering every inch of you and your streets, you have changed my life forever. Seriously.

We wake up really early and head to the theater to gather with the rest of the people going on our excursion. Scope them out and they all seem like they are ready for a good time- And we're off. The lady holding the lollipop with the #1 calls to us and tells us our bus is ready. We walk down the gangway (I LOVE saying that word for some reason) and are greeted by Egyptian police checking for our Visas. We meet our Egyptian tour guide who's name is Amman. I think. Kind of ironic that her name is A-man and she's a Wo-man. :P Any ways, we are guided to our bus by our body guard who's carrying some serious gunnage and our 2 police escorts that will be surrounding our bus. This was the most frightening experience of my life. Guns everywhere and they aren't afraid to show them. We load up in the bus and head to Cairo which is 2 and 1/2 hours away from Alexandria where we ported. The whole time Amman kept talking and talking and talking about Egypt. She LOVES this place and wasnt shy about telling us. You know who invented the boom-a-rang? Egyptians. Altar worship? Egyptians were the first ones. Invented color? Egyptians did that too apparently! Basically, Amman thinks Egyptians are fantastic but I was too scared to have an open mind at this point. I can tell you one thing the Egyptians didn't invent Amman- TRASH CAN PICK UP! This place is literally the dirtiest place I have ever laid my eyes on. Trash was covering anything and everything. In the water, on the streets, and somehow- even IN the air!

So almost 2 and 1/2 hours exactly into our trip- BAM! There's a pyramid. In all of it's glory. For some reason I thought Amman would have a drum roll or some type of warning. Nope, just another day for her. I was in awe of it's size. The bus drops us off and we are free to wander about the pyramids for an hour in 100 degree weather. The place is crawling with vendors trying to sell you anything they have. They'll bargain with anyone for anything. At one point, they asked for Jareds hat in exchange for ...wait a second...nothing. They just asked for it. Oh well.

We get back in the bus and drive a minute (it was THAT hot) down the hill to the Sphynx. For some reason I thought it was all spread out but no- it's very close together and BEAUTIFUL! You can actually get a picture of yourself/2 of the pyramids/and the Sphynx all together. (I'll down load them when I get home)

Back to the bus and we are driven further into the desert and taken to a place where we loaded into 4x4 land cruisers and went off roading with a crazy (very competitive) Egyptian driver. These guys do this all day long so they weren't afraid to go very fast and over very tricky terrain. It was kind of like what we do in the Hummer at the top of Seqouia but on steroids. Serious steroids. We were driven into the desert where we arrive to find our camels waiting patiently for us to ride. I think it was a compliment when the camel helper dude said I was "good in the saddle." Thank you sir. Another dollar tip for you! At one point I looked around and could not believe where I was. I could hear the Muslim prayer they have blasting over the city all day and it brought me to tears. It was one of the most breath taking moments of my life. The camel helper dude kept asking me if I was happy. Yes, I said. Very happy.

The camels took us to a country club and we had the most delicious lunch ever! Good stuff. Back into the bus where we went to see tombs and step pyramids. We actually got to go inside these ones and see the different writings on the wall. If Amman didn't know what she was talking about- she did a hell of a job pretending. I LOVED it! I would come back again for sure. With my police escort and body guard of course!

13 hours later and Jared and I were exauhsted. Took showers and went to bed. Apparently our bodies aren't used to "doing anything." If you haven't ever thought about coming to Egypt- reconsider. This place was AWESOME!

We are at sea today and then back to Greece, sea day, then Capri Italy. (my favorite) THEN HOME! Love you guys!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not a clue

I hung out with a guy one time that used to talk about his "cave room." It seemed really weird and creepy to me that he had blackened all the windows out and painted the walls black in a room in his "bachelor pad" just so he could get some good sleep whenever he felt like it. But, after this cruise- I'm starting to think he's onto something! Jared and I woke up around 9 in the morning (only because he left the bathroom light on) and got our first look at Limassol, Cyprus. Nothing to brag about that's for sure. I don't want to sound ungrateful for where I am, but seriously- this place sucked.

Jared and I decided to sit this excursion out (praise sweet Jesus) and hang out on the boat. We were surrounded by staff who had nothing better to do with their time than to wait on us hand and foot and 85 year olds who's oxygen tanks couldnt be taken of the boat for security reasons. When we were hungry- we ate. Tired- we slept. Hot- went in the pool. Bored- played mini golf. I'm racking my brain trying to think of what else we did but- nope- nothing. That was pretty much the extent of it.

Around 5 we made it back to our room for our "dinner nap" and then we joined Jareds family and listened to them complain endlessly about how much their day sucked. 97 degrees, no shade, and lots of walking around to no where special. My insides were smiling from ear to ear!

We have a sea day tomorrow and then Egypt. I am so so so excited for this stop. Camel rides to the Pyramids with Jared and then we get to see the Sphinx up close and personal. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be lucky enough to see any of this stuff! This cruise is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be despite our "plan" being thrown out the window on day 1. I'm a lucky girl and I know this. It's funny to me the things I miss about back home. Of course I miss my family, kids, animals, etc... But for some reason- Target is on the top of my list too. I really miss Target and all the luxuries it has to offer. Like for example- lip gloss and granola bars. Mmmm. You can't find those things here. I miss driving a car. My car. I miss Pinkberry and text messaging. I miss reading other peoples blogs and then calling Janelle to see if she's read them yet too. Simple things in my life- but those are the things I miss the most!!

P.S. Robbie- I hate to tell you this but- this trip has solidified my stand on never living in Europe. Never even owning a vacation home here. Sorry. God bless the USA!

P.P.S Keep the prayers for Sharalyn coming. PRAY HARDER! Maybe even fast.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greese or Greece?

Short post today because well, after our experience yesterday- nothings going to compare. We took a bus to some beach and played. I convinced 2 of my sister in laws to go with me on a "Ring-O" and be pulled across the Mediterranean Sea behind a boat. How many times is that going to happen in my life right? Lots of sun, lots of sun tan oil, and well of course- lots of boobies again. (It's been great research for the day I decide to upgrade from the current breasts that I have now)

Made it back to the boat and into our cave (no widow or balcony) and slept until dinner. Lovin the cruise life where time literally stands still. I asked Jared what day it was today and he had no clue. Asked around the people sitting next to us- no clue either. Waiter? Not even close. It's like the days are blending together and we're being sucked into naps in our bed every second we get!

Cyprus tomorrow. Not a clue what that's all about. Should be interesting.

Oh- and if you could- throw up an extra prayer for Shar and her family. The stories almost too good to write about and I don't want to spoil a good post for her so please, just pray. Sometimes that's all there is to do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Words: Bath House

Turkey. There aren't any words that are going to do this post justice. Probably one of the funniest moments of my life happened here. So remember how I told you we didn't have an excursion planned and we were just going to "wing it?" Last night, before we got up at 3:00 AM to watch our Lakers lose, we decided to go through the cruise Gazetter that tells you all about your next port of call. Normally we don't really pay much attention to these things, but we knew NOTHING about Turkey and needed all the help we could get. One of the articles is titled: 5 places you don't want to miss in Turkey. Perfect! We'll just do those 5 things. This is easy.

We get off the boat with our Gazetter in hand and head to places #1 and #2. Sadly, a lot like down town LA but with really well dressed sales people. Like they could work at Nordstroms but really they are screwing tourists over in some alley in Turkey. Onto #3. Turkish Bath house. We can't find the darn place. Some guy sees Jared and I twisting and turning the map hoping to figure out where we are and asks if we need help. Totally dude!!! We tell him where we are wanting to go and he smiles and tells us he'll personally walk us there. Nicest guy ever. Or so we think. We walk up and down, up and down, tiny alley after tiny alley until we get to a door with the words Bath House on the outside. To be honest, just one look at the place, scared us. A lot. But we decide to not be those lame tourists we see walking about and give it a chance.

We walk in and the heat hits us like a ton of bricks! There is a smell I seriously cant describe. Somewhere between cigarettes and soap. Not bad, just different. The helper man tells Jared "he's gonna LOVE this place" in a too creepy of voice and he offers us a tour. We walk through a tiny (we had to literally crouch down to get inside!) wooden door and see a room with a giant marble slab with two giant Turkish men scrubbing what we think are two other men with suds flying everywhere.

A few seconds of deliberation and 17 Euro later and we're in. He shows us to the changing room upstairs and hands us the "cloth" we will be wearing. Big enough to cover the important parts, but small enough to show everything in between. We change, walk down stairs and are told to sit in the "marble room" for 20 minutes. It is by far the hottest room I have ever set foot in. Like, should be illegal it's so hot. We sit there for what feels like an eternity and then some man walks in with an oven looking mitt on his hand. Tells Jared to lay down (sunny side up first thank you very much) and begins to scrub him from head to toe. Literally. Not like the gentle exfoliation we have back in the States but like a "Brillo pad/I'm going to hurt you" kind of way. Scrub Scrub, time to flip over. It's onto the back and then sit up and scrub your neck and face.

After this, he asks Jared for a shampoo and Jared says yes without hesitation. The giant Turkish man grabs a bottle of their version of Suave and squirts it on top of his head. Lathers Jared up like its nobodys business! Not just his head either. But his face, chest, arms, etc...He then grabs a bucket of water and begins to pour it over Jared. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. There was a minute there that I thought Jared might drown. All I could do was lay on my marble bench and laugh until I cried.

Next up: me. Same sort of thing except he lingered on my boobies unlike with Jared. Jared sort of sat there helpless as his wife was being man handled with soap suds by this Turkish freak. Whew- we thought. Almost outta here.

But wait...another guy walks in and he's ready for the "massage" part of our bath. Who knew?? He had us lie on the marble and covered us in suds that he magically made appear by blowing into some type of pillow case. By far the weirdest thing I have ever seen. I'll tell you one thing though- this dude knew how to give a massage! It was hands down the best massage I have ever had. No candles or soft music playing in the back ground. This guy meant business!!

When we were done, they threw buckets of cold water on us, on them, on the marble...everywhere. We walked out of the room and they covered us in towels like we were part of the Taliban and we were done. We politely declined the hot oil massage they offer after the bath partly beacuse we were just grateful we were still alive and thought we should just quite while we were ahead!

This had to be one of the funniest moments of my life. Seeing Jared being tossed around like a fish on that marble still makes me giggle as I type this. He's promised the rest of this cruise will be rated PG. At the rate we're headed- it's turning into some type of porno cruise. My mom would be so proud!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Super size, Super Man, Super Paradise

I would love to write about all the wonderful things I did yesterday while we were at sea. But, truth be told- Jared and I slept until 5:00pm!! How lucky is our cleaning room guy? Seriously, I think all that Xanax caught up to me (not sure why Jared was so tired though... hmmmmm) I made it to dinner in some sort of haze. It was "wear matching dresses night" for the Miles family girls. Except me. No one told me about the theme. Nor would I really care. So they all got dressed up in black and blue and I wandered in wearing the cutest white and black pin stripe dress and red patent leather red heels you've ever seen. While standing in line to take the ever famous family photo- 3 different women gave me a compliment on my dress. TAKE THAT! Matching my .... (censored for my mom)

So, now I'm in Greece. Nothing like I had imagined but beautiful in it's own right. We didn't have that much time here or an excursion planned for that matter so we thought we would just ask around and see what people recommend. Everyone kept telling us the same place to go. A beach called Paradise. 10 minute taxi ride to the south side of the island. We won't be disappointed. We wait in line for a taxi and start talking to some locals. We tell them about our plan for "Paradise" and they tell us how there is a beach just 10 minutes further away called "Super Paradise." Well, who wants to settle for just paradise when there is a "Super" to be had? No us. We take Jesse (Jareds 18 year old brother) along with us and head to "Super Paradise." 12 Euros later the taxi cab driver tells us to walk down this tiny walk way and we'll be there. Little did we know what we were walking into. Apparently in Greek "Super" means "nude." It was Jesse's dream come true. We (Jesse and Jared) decide we should stay so we set up camp as close to the water as possible. Less scenery to look at. Or so I thought. It's hot here, so all the nude women and men decide to play in the water. The locals here where the tiniest bikinis you could imagine and still roll them up to make them even smaller! At one point I tell Jared and Jesse that they better control themselves or I am going to throw down. Sickos! I tell both of them to lay on their stomachs and NOT GET UP! That is until the huge breasted (Robbie- you'd be in HEAVEN) woman lays down in one beach chair together with her speedo wearing boyfriend and they both undress and begin to ... whats the word???.... Neck? I dont know. It wasnt making out and it wasnt sex. Some where in between. We were so close to them I seriously could have touched them. Ewww!! I had had enough. I need a Diet Coke and a taxi. Stat.

We made our way back to the boat and Jared and Jesse are both resting peacefully after their cold showers. It's onto Turkey tomorrow and we have high hopes!! Wish us luck and keep those prayers coming. I've made it through 2 family dinners and no one's gone over board!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

And we're off...

That's right- it's time for our European Vacation as planned. First stop- my doctors office for a new RX of the good stuff. I sit in her office and explain to her my situation and to make a long story short- it ends with her writing me the script and leaving me with these words "I'll pray for you!" Nice. I leave with the script in hand. Smiles.

We leave for the airport at 3:0o in the morning. to catch our 6 o'clock flight. Did I mention it was an international flight? Apparently you are supposed to be there a couple hours ahead of time. Who knew. It was a mad dash at the ticket counter with the wonderful Delta employees giving all 11 of us a lengthy lecture on time management. We make it to the gate just in time to board. Perfect. Smooth sailing (pardon the pun) from here right?

Well, it would have been without the 10 year old who sat behind me and bounced his seat back table (which is actually part of MY CHAIR) for a few hours as I tried to sleep. I gave him the stink eye a few times hoping he would pick up on my annoyance. No such luck. He finally stopped when I yelled at him to stop. Hey- if his parents aren't going to say something- I am. He finally fell asleep and I got to watch Mr. Woodcock in peace. (which by the way, is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time! I will be quoting it for a long time to come I'm sure!)

We land in NYC for our 3 hour layover. No big right? WRONG! 3 hours is a long time to sit around and do nothing. I mean, how much Duty Free perfume and weird looking chocolates can one purchase? Then the time comes for our flight to board. I hear a faint pitter patter out the window. What could that be? Rain? How could that be- It's 80 degrees outside for heavens sake! They let us board any ways and the rain starts to pour creating huge puddles everywhere. I look out my window and watch it come down and then FLASH! Lighting. Every where! Captain comes on and announces the worst. Category 5 thunderstorm. We could be here all night. And we were. Somewhere in my Unisom/Xanax/Vicodin haze, I remember looking at the clock and realized we had been sitting on the tarmac for over 5 hours now! This has got to be hell I thought. We wait for the storm to pass and get the green light from God and we're good to go. Praise Sweet Jesus!

We land in Rome and we literally have 2 hours exactly to get on the boat before they leave without us. Buckle up and hold on cuz it's gonna be a quick trip. We made it through customs, managed to get all 11 people and our 22 large bags and 22 carryons stuffed into 2 Mini Vans. God bless Italy for not having speed limits. We pulled into the port with 1 minute to spare.

So we made it. My body doesn't know what time it is, or what day it is for that matter. (I can always just look in the elevator to find out right?) I made it through one meal with the family and no one got hurt. Next stop is Mykonos, Greece. I'm so excited to see that place. I hope it is what I picture in my mind. Lots of white buildings, perfect beaches, get the point.