Monday, March 23, 2009

Vacation Report Day Two : Beach, Beach and more Beach!

So our first real day started nice and easy. Kristin had already been training to run in the 8 Tough Miles race on neighboring St. John. She had to leave at 6:00 AM (That's 3:00 our time...) As much as we wanted to, we knew that we'd be a little worn out from the flights the day before and opted to sleep in a little. So we got up at 8:00, and were finally bright eyed and bushy tailed when she came in at 10:30. We packed to BBQ on the beach and left for the first beach.

Sapphire Beach was where we went snorkeling. Can I just say that if I had access to it, I'd lose a ton of weight like that, because I LOVE SNORKELING! That was the most exciting thing EVER! It took a little while to get my bearings, breathing through the tube and all, but once we got it we had a blast. We saw all sorts of things. Jeannette saw a cuttlefish, we all saw parrotfish and a butterfly fish. All sorts of fun stuff. Kristin thought we might take a shortcut back to the beach. "I'm pretty sure those rocks and stuff end so that we can go in." So we started back. I remember thinking, "I know that this mask makes things look a little closer, but those urchins look like I'm about to kick them... We're not supposed to touch the coral, but it seeems much closer than before... I think I just kicked something... My belly's getting awfully close... where did everyone else go..." By this time I was just barely keeping the panic down and trying to breathe the right way. Then I hear Jeannette yell, "Kristin! Help!" I look up and see that we're swimming in about 6 inches of water and there are sea urchins everywhere! Julie and I start laughing then as we realize that everyone on shore must think that we're total idiot tourists, and Kristin helps us make it out of the water without stepping on anything pokie. We had a good laugh about it that night.

After snorkeling, we went to Smith Bay Beach (formerly known as and still referred to by us as Lindquist Beach) for a BBQ. We just generally goofed around and hung out and played in the sand afterwards, including turning Julie into a Little Mermaid. After playing, we went over to Megen's Bay, which is the most popular and busiest beach, although we were there at the end of the day, so it wasn't so crowded. That's where we saw a stingray in the water, about 5 feet from the water's edge. It's also where we met some interesting locals about to have a fish fry. They teased us about asking if all their fish were real - to a bunch of AZ gals seeing a 25 gallon cooler full of silvery fish, we naievely asked if they were...:) Oh, and we also saw a mongoose, but he was quicker than my camera.

Dinner was at a nice place on the beach also, a part of one of the hotels next to the airport. There was excellent seafood and tiki torches - as well as a cat roaming around being friendly! Then back to Kristin's for bed and up early the next morning for church. Stay tuned for Vacation Report Day Three: Church and Downtown!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vacation Report: Day One - I Hate Airline Travel!

Our first day was spent strictly traveling. We left Globe at 6:00 AM - and it was a good thing too, because it was real gridlock from Mesa to the Airport. It would have been nice to say that everything went smoothly from there - but it didn't! We had planned for some hiccups. We checked our bags, knowing that they might not make it on time, we also took a carryon with the basics. We knew that delays might force a possible stayover or something like that. What I wasn't prepared for was a major glitch to happen before we even left Phoenix!!! While booking everything, we were flying US Air (Randall calls it US Scare...) to Tampa, then American the rest of the way - Tampa to Miami, Miami to St. Thomas. When booking, we selected all of our seats, with the exception of that first flight out of Phx, because there was no option to select them on that one. Every other time I've done this, no problem, they give us our seat assignment when we checked in. So while checking in, the guy says to us, "It looks like it's an overbooked flight, so they'll be asking for volunteers to give up their seats." We had a tight connection, so we knew that we couldn't give up our seats. Whatever, no problem. We get to the gate and they're calling for volunteers, and then start boarding. This is when I notice that we don't have a Boarding Group number. So we ask the gate agent, and she tells us that when you fly standby, you may not make that particular flight. "What do you mean, standby?! We got confirmation numbers and everything?!" Apparently, we didn't have seats to give up! That's right kids, WE were the ones on STANDBY!!! So with sinking, helpless feelings and knots in the pits of our stomachs, we watched as everyone boards the plane. In the meantime, the agent is looking up possible alternatives to help us make our connections, mumbling, "Nope, that's not going to work... maybe... no that's not going to... how about?... no..." and shaking her head. Jeannette has burst into tears of frustration at this point, I'm feeling more and more stupid and angry for not knowing that we'd booked standby - which I NEVER would have done knowingly, and she looks at us and says, "We've had one person give up their seat, and we're waiting for one more passenger to come... *pause for 3 seconds*... OK - GO!" YAY!!! So we sprint down the jetway and they close the doors and taxi away! *WHEW*

We make our connection to Tampa just fine, but the outgiong plane is 10 minutes late arriving there, and then 10 minutes late getting into Miami. We know that we had 50 minutes between flights, and start feeling a bit anxious again. They wait another 15 minutes to even get a gate (there was another plane still in the one we were supposed to be in) and it takes us 15 minutes more to even get out of the plane (never sit in the back when you have tight connections!). Julie texts us that they're boarding, so we call her and say "Tell them we're COMING!!!" We start power walking to the next gate (clear over in another terminal - and no quick train thingies between terminals like in the big airports) when we hear announced, "Last Call for American [whatever flight #] to St. Thomas!" ACK!! So we sprinted the rest of the way there (Think Hurley in the Season One Finale - only not quite as sweaty! Ha Ha!) and did another grand "jump on board just at they're closing the doors" move. We were pretty ramped up and giggled and laughed with Julie the rest of the way there - we felt somewhat sorry for the other people around us on the plane - but not that bad! Tee Hee!

All else went smoothly, with the exception of our bags not making it (no suprise there, right?) - but we had planned for that already, and they came just fine the next day. Check in again soon for more of "Amy's Vacation Report - Day Two: Beach, Beach, and more Beach!" Signing out for now!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Back!

And it was WONDERFUL! Stay tuned for a more detailed report and lots of pics!