Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bryan Family Christmas Cruise, Part 3: ¡Viva México!

Dang, I need to get these cruise adventures wrapped up and blogged so I can get back into a D.C. frame of mind!  Here I am, twiddling away my weekends and generally being lazy (which is delightful, by the way) when I should be exploring this fine city.  I mean, I'm very close to the one year down, one year to go mark, and there are so many things left to be done...but in the meantime, let's think about Mexico.

Our first shore excursion!  And first things first...I was up in time to see the sun rise. 

Normally I wouldn't be too excited about this, but Dad and I had big plans to hop on board our "reef semi-sub explorer" excursion to check out the cool coral reefs and adorable fishies, so I bounded out of bed with some degree of enthusiasm to greet the morning.  After snapping a few balcony pictures and hitting up the feeding trough...errr, Windjammer Cafe...for breakfast, Dad and I set foot in Mexico.  We actually managed to do all of this a little earlier than needed, so we spent a few minutes perusing the shops around the pier and encountering enthusiastic salesmen hawking their cowboy boots and green diamonds.  Green diamonds, really?  Yes, totally authentic.  I'm sure.  I'll let you guess what caught Dad's attention the most.

Yup, that'll generally do it.

We met up with the rest of our tour group and were placed in the capable hands of Carlos, who gave us his safety and information spiel in both Spanish and English and then escorted us over to our vessel.  It looked deceptively like any other decent-size boat in the area, but once you walked down a little staircase into the submerged portion it was so cool - padded benches with all of these viewing windows along the side so we could take in the reefs and fish.  Fortunately, the tour wasn't 100% booked, so Dad and I were able to find a seat away from the boisterous kiddos AND with no one on the other side of us so we could shift back and forth and see both sides.  Nice.  Each seat also had a card to help identify the fish, but I don't think it said anything about the Dad fish (thanks for cooperating on silly faces, Dad - you're the best).

I thought this was a great way to see the coral reefs and all the different fish without actually putting on a swimsuit and dealing with snorkel gear.  The reefs had so many different kinds of coral - wavy fans and a million different formations.  They weren't quite as bright as I was expecting, but I suppose my Disney impression of coral (please see Little Mermaid) may have had something to do with misguided expectations.  We saw all kinds of fish, including a barracuda (yipes!), and some of our favorites were the "speedracer" fish (I don't remember what these actually were, but they sure were fast and that's the name Dad and I gave them) and the sergeant major fish (named for their stripes):

Human fishies!

Sergeant major fishies!

Dad capturing fish and reef video moments for the girls.

Also of note - an old woman got sick on the very gentle boat ride (totally disgusting), and an old dude fell asleep.  Old people, maybe just stay on the big boat next time.  Or seriously, just stay home.  You're incredibly slow and a little bit dangerous.  We're always afraid you're going to fall or something.  Anywho...

Back to the big boat to pick up Amanda and Mom and continue on our Mexico explorations.  Which included plenty of shopping...

...a little exploring...

...and some very quality time in the form of dancing, margaritas, and nachos at Margaritaville, complete with sweet pirate hats.  It was really kinda awesome.  We were exceptionally festive, especially compared to several of the other dragging families - we had actual dancing on stage AND singing along with basically every song they played AND sombrero action.  Rock it, Bryans.

Of course we needed a little more shopping, so now we actually purchased things like Mexican Cheetos (which are amazing, by the way...a little spicy, a whole lotta delicious) and REAL Coke.  Give me some more delicious, and yes, we're still rocking the pirate hats.

Amanda and I also both purchased some Mexican vanilla, which I'm very much looking forward to applying in baking applications, and some maracas.  Purely decorative unless I need to jazz up a living room dance party or something.

We headed back to the big boat, stepping our way around the drunken revelers supported by friends, and stopped by the feed trough to gather supplies for our own private sailaway party, congregating on Mom and Dad's balcony (veranda?  deck?  what should I be calling this thing?) to enjoy some snacks and wave goodbye to Cozumel.

The rest of the night was fairly low-key as Dad and I took in the Broadway-style show in the theater (dang, those Royal Caribbean singers and dancers are enthusiastic!) followed by some chill time on the big boat.  You know, it's a little weird to dock somewhere, hang out for 1/3 of a day, and then sail away again.  This cruising thing, I don't know.  Zoom zoom!

Also, I realize this may be a little heavy on pictures and light on commentary...but that's all I got.  Otherwise it would take me hours and hours to blog about each day.  Which, honestly, I would love to do, but I don't know if anyone would love to read.  That and the minor detail that I have an actual job that prevents from doing things like blogging for 12 hours a day.  Oops.

Check out a photo tour of the Mexican adventures here, and get set for Grand Cayman.  It's definitely coming.

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