That’s what it should be called. Cozu-Melissa. Because I love that place oh so much, if I could buy the whole island, I would in a heartbeat. I think Cozumel is an island…or a peninsula. Isn’t a peninsula just an island but it’s connected by a little natural land bridge? Maybe I should google that.
Pretty quickly after we first started dating he said, “hey, want to go on a cruise with me? I already paid for everything it’s all taken care of all you have to do is show up and bring a swim suit.” Hell Yeah! So that was pretty neat and I was very excited about it. I had never been on a cruise before and I Love to travel. I have been all over the states, but never out of the country unless you count lunch in Canada with my Granny when I was a little kid. She lived in Tacoma. We just drove there for lunch. Doesn’t count. So yay! A cruise! For seven days! We had a lot of fun shopping for it and anticipating it. The lines were very long and the check in process takes a couple hours….after that you are treated like a celebrity! I’m ready to book another, it was awesome. Except Belize. The first two days were “sail days” and we were just on the ship sailing to Roatan, Honduras. I was so excited the first night that I could not sleep much and woke up around 4 am and went to find coffee and check the ship out. Security followed me. It wasn’t quite what I expected, I thought the ship was like a 24/7 party! Nope, it pretty much shuts down late at night/really early in the morning. So I made friends with this elderly gentleman who was up waiting for the gym to open. He told me all about how he brought this lady who’s not really his girlfriend and she’s kinda crazy. I woke Ryan up at 6 because I was just too excited and I needed my best friend to hang out with me and share in the caffeine overload! The ship was Beautiful! It was huge and there was so much food, all the time. I gained ten pounds. We like to eat. Guys Burgers was on the ship, with that guy, Guy, from the food network, diners and drive in’s or something. I think I saw the show once, he has cool hair. Those burgers and fries were Awesome! They had really good Mexican food too, from a little place called Blue Iguana and we had tacos for breakfast once. Huevos Rancheros? What’s that mean? Steak and Eggs? The pizza was really good too. But the formal dining room was my unexpected favorite! I remember telling Ryan that I’d only pack mostly casual stuff because I didn’t want to get dressed up and eat in the formal dining area all the time. Wrong! Jeans and a nice top are acceptable most nights. They had the best food! Small portions so that you can order anything and everything you want. I remember the rye bread, we fell in love with rye on the cruise! I remember the shark balls, we called them shark testicles. They were fantastic! Lamb with green mint pepper jelly was delicious. The white chocolate bread pudding with dark chocolate was one of my favorites. I found a recipe to make it but it looks way too intense. I get down in the kitchen but that recipe is seriously complex. The melting chocolate cake….ohhhh……and the Kiss on The Lips drink was by far the best, all 15 of them were perfect! 🙂 What else did we eat? Everything! We had a bunch of other people with us as well and there’s little room service cards in each cabin…it was really tempting not to fill one out with all kinds of crazy stuff in the middle of the night so room service would bring them one bagel with 9 cream cheeses and cheerios with no milk and 14 cups of coffee. That would have been funny. Cozumelissa had the best nachos in the world and fish tacos….more about Cozumel later!
First we went to Roatan, it was gorgeous! You get off the ship and you’re in a big shopping area to the left and then a trail to the beach to the right, we took the trail and went to the end of the beach and got got a huge drink called the something monkey (?) it was kind of chocolaty and wonderful. We walked way out to the pier and the beach. I got my hair braided by some natives, they put some colored thread and a pink bead in a piece of my hair. We explored in the water for a long time and found beautiful coral and huge shells. It’s so clear you can see the bottom. We both stepped on fire coral, which has like little tiny shards of glass that are impossible to see or pull out of your feet and it burns So badly. For a couple hours and then it goes away. We ate chips and ceviche by the beach. Ceviche (not sure on the spelling) is the inside animal of those giant beautiful shells. It’s really chewy. I wasn’t a big fan of it, I liked the shrimp and tomatoes it was mixed with. We checked out all the shops and I got the cutest sunglasses there. Back to the ship for a nap and another fun night. I wore my favorite bikini in Honduras, my Mermaid bikini that we found at Charlotte Russe for less than $3! It was on clearance for $1 and some change a piece. Fits perfectly. Had it not been on sale, it would have been a $50 bikini. Score!
Then there was Belize…..oh God….that awful place. I don’t even want to think about it. I expected Belize to be the best place on the trip! It looks beautiful in the pics. It’s that place with the giant dark blue cave hole in a perfect circle in the ocean. Well, that’s because it’s the toilet bowl of the Caribbean. The ship can’t dock up near Belize, so you have to take a 20 minute boat ride to Belize. About 70 people per boat, so there’s a long wait to get off the ship with thousands of people. We get on this little speed boat, there’s signs saying “No Drugs, we fully cooperate with police and this boat and it’s occupants may be searched at any time.” oooookkkkk…not looking promising. We get off the boat onto this dock and there’s heavily armed guards all over the place with tee shirts that say Security on. Not like police officers here. Take a bum, write Security with a Sharpie on his white tee shirt, give him a crazy loaded gun 3 feet long that looks like it belongs in a video game. Not a shot gun. Some kind of missile/rocket launcher that will kill you in a second if pointed at you and the trigger pulled. Now picture 100 of those guards everywhere. That’s Belize. The excursion we had planned there was supposed to be awesome. Cave tour in water canyons, and zip-lining in the rain forest. It had to be better once we found our excursion guide and got away from all the security guys, right? Way wrong! We finally find our guide guy, we think. He brought us to this hut. Literally a large, empty plywood building with a straw roof. One computer and a desk in this hut. The lady takes the rest of the cash from everyone and says the cave tour has been cancelled because of all the rain they had. So we had to just wait for the zip lining guide to come. Now in Belize we could only be off the ship until about 3 pm, the ship Will leave without you. It was after noon, the tour was supposed to take two hours (just zip lining) and the guide wasn’t there. So this other guy who we originally thought was our guide tried to entertain us. We did not book this through Carnival. Someone wanted to save a few bucks and do it through a private company on the island. This man tried to sell us all kinds of strange things. Bracelets he made and hung up on this PVC pipe holder thing he made. Some ladies, I suspect his wife, came and tried to braid the girls hair, they got that done. he also informed us he’s a taxi driver and a real estate agent, he can get us a great deal on land there. He could tell we were all very uncomfortable and worried, so he would start playing these little drums to try to provide some music, it was really awful. His musical career was over at about age 5 I suspect and everyone was annoyed. After about another hour the guide shows up. It’s already like 1. We have to be checked back in and on the ship within two hours. Plus the 20 minute boat ride. I don’t feel so good about this, but lets go. The van was an old rickety van, it had American dollar signs spray painted on the windows…and a Miami Heat basketball game decal. That’s weird. We get in the van, Ryan and I are all the way at the back, he starts driving past more armed security….one of the guys in our group is talking to the driver to make sure we will make it back to the ship on time. Driver laughs and says he will try. he makes a Not Funny joke about how he doesn’t tell American tourists his real name, we can call him Bob. Or Fred, Or John, whatever his generic fake name was. That was all I needed to hear. I looked at Ryan and said, “baby, I can’t do this, I’m terrified, I want to get out of this van NOW tell him to pull over.” Ryan asked if I was serious. Do I look serious? I’m about to cry, I’m going to have an anxiety attack, I will jump out of this moving van and swim back to the ship and the guards can shoot at me if they want, get me the fuck out of this fucking nasty place with not funny, very late tour guides… right now. “Hey, pull over, we don’t want to go!” Driver asked if we were serious. Everyone else we were with asked if we were serious. Hell yes. He was nice enough to take us back to the area full of armed guards. Everyone with us was clearly wondering if they should also bail and say screw this excursion and Belize. But they were brave and decided to go! Back near the speed boats, we checked out the little tourist area. The excursion company was nice enough to refund our money, surprisingly. We bought some chocolate, I got chocolate with Lime, he tried chocolate with chili powder. Talking to the nice young lady in the chocolate shop (which had security cameras inside and outside) we asked her if the place was really that dangerous. She assured us it wasn’t too bad. All the police and security are there at the port, they don’t care about the residents. You only call if someone dies and they need to pick up a body. If the police don’t like you or if you call too much, they won’t come at all. Nice. On our way out we noticed that in between two of the shops in an empty lot, there was crime scene tape and and ambulance and a body. That was more than enough for me. We ran into our favorite photographer that we had made friends with, Ivan, and I gave him a hug and said we hate this place, going back to the ship. He agreed and said it’s pretty awful, Carnival only stops there because it’s the cheapest port. Got back, took a nap, thanked Ryan 8 million times for letting me chicken out and not go, if we had gone we surely would have been kidnapped and traded for 6 goats and $17 American dollars. Everyone else survived and said it was a lot of fun and they made it back to the ship with plenty of time left. Although Ryan’s friend asked the driver to hand over the keys to the van during the excursion so the driver couldn’t leave or mess with the bags they left in it, the driver obliged. Still, I’m glad they all went and had fun and I’m glad I got the hell out of there and didn’t go. Belize is seriously disgusting and scary.
I read an article not long ago that said Belize is a bad spot for cruise ship tourists. The people of Belize know that the tourists have to be back to the ship by a certain time and obviously carry a good bit of cash on them. So the police there often pull over or detain a tourist for no valid reason other than looking suspicious and will plant drugs on them and say pay me X amount of dollars or I put you in jail and you won’t get back to the ship. The police take whatever cash the person has. I believe that definitely happens pretty often there. Don’t ever go there.
They saved the best for last. We get to Cozumel and instantly once you get off the ship, it’s just Beautiful. Breathtaking and amazing. Big giant area to shop, tons of awesome stores. We had a coupon for black pearl earring from a diamond store for $15 and so I got those and they are really perfect little pearls that I love. I got a few other cool earrings there too. Turquoise skulls that were handmade. Black coral earrings with hot pink coral too. I forgot the story behind the black coral, but it was really neat. I know you can tell if it’s actually black coral because the inside has rings in it, similar to tree rings. The black coral looks like sticks. Tons of handmade items for sale for great prices. We checked out all the shops and then had a couple hours before our Mayan ruins excursion (booked Through Carnival this time!) We talked to a taxi driver and asked him where we could go, who has the best nachos and is there a place we can play on the beach for free. He said he would take us to Mr. Sanchos. I don’t know who Mr. Sanchos is, but if he makes good nachos, let’s go! See, I’m brave and adventurous….just not in Belize. This cab ride was crazy! he was going about 100 miles an hour and apparently they don’t really have rules for the roads, you just go as fast as you want and try to get out of the way at the last second when oncoming vehicles are about to smash you. They obviously issue drivers licenses based on how far you can get in Grand Theft Auto. So we get dropped off at this place. People try to sell us stuff, more pictures, beach all day and food and drink packages for one low price, no thanks, can we just go to the beach for free? Sure, right this way! Stop for a minute….just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. It was The most beautiful beach I have ever seen. This is Heaven on Earth. Nobody else was there yet, just Ryan and I. We could not believe it. Crystal clear water, the whitest softest sand, coconut trees with coconuts falling everywhere, it could not have been more perfect and serene. Waiter lets us know anything we need, just ask. Yeah, we need to stay at your house, buddy! Can we move in and work here with you? We played in the water for a while, it was amazing. We ordered nachos and margaritas. I had a mango margarita, Ryan had the same with chili powder around the rim. In the Caribbean chili powder seems to be about as popular as salt here in the US. These nachos. Best thing I ever put in my mouth. Besides Ryan. Ok… best thing I ever ate, that’s better. These weren’t any ordinary nachos. We got half steak and and half shrimp. The chips are like their handmade tortillas cut into pieces and baked. Not exactly sure what kind of white cheese that was, it was more like mozzarella than queso Mexican cheese. I don’t remember what else was on them, but I’m telling you, they were made from God himself. God lives in Cozumel and works at Mr. Sanchos. That’s the only way to explain it. And the people of Cozumel….first of all they ALL spoke English! Every single person spoke English, and spoke it well! Every menu, every everything was in English. Spanish wasn’t even an option. Same on the cruise ship, English only. I thought that was interesting. We take another terrifying cab ride back to the tourist area. Was our cab driver listening to Backstreet Boys on the radio? I remember looking at Ryan and we were thinking, well that’s funny. (Same brain. We joke that we share a brain because we say the same things and finish each others sentences and even thoughts often times, that’s how I know he was thinking that’s funny) It may have been N’Sync, but it was an American boy band from my pop tart days. A little more looking around the shops and it was time for our excursion. Oh God it was hot. and humid. This was on November 1st I think. We left October 27th and came back the 3rd. It was about a 40 minute drive to the Mayan Ruins site, which was really cool. We were on a big tour bus and got to see a lot of Cozumel and our tour guide was wonderful. A short little lady named MiMi who spoke “perfect broken English”. She was hilarious. Cozumel seems very poor. Lots of shacks and huts, places we would never dream of raising our families in. But the people are So nice and So happy and generous and gracious and just awesome. There was a Walmart there, a McDonald’s, lots of things we are used to seeing. She explained that The Fair Trade Act that was signed (I think in the 90’s by Bill Clinton) really did great things for Cozumel and it’s improved the lives of all the people there because they are now able to get goods and services they didn’t have before. Such as products Walmart carries. Plus it provides jobs, they have an option sometimes to sell their products to stores like Walmart like we do here…good stuff. Think about that next time you are standing in line and the old lady in front of you has 76 items in the 20 items or less lane and you are despising Walmart a little extra. We complain about it here so much, but other countries are so grateful to have it, and that’s kind of cool. There were signs for Tacos everywhere. Outside huts where people lived. “tacos!” Painted on plywood. MiMi did tell us there is oone thing they don’t have and never will have in Cozumel. “No offense to anyone, but we will not have Taco Bell here. No way!” Lol! I don’t blame her. Who needs Taco Bell when you can get God to make you nachos? I suppose when people are taught English…it’s very hard to teach some things. Such as a pause or a break in talking. Or little things, like “you know”, “just saying”…things of that nature. So MiMi would say, “Is that okay?” often in place of a break. At the funniest times. For example, “We will get to the Mayan Ruins site and we will stay together and I show you around and tell you everything I know, is that okay?” sure MiMi, that’s fine by us! The ruins were beautiful. They worshiped women and had some odd rituals back then. They sacrificed the most beautiful and smartest woman when they had a drought and needed rain. When the rains came and it flooded they sacrificed another beautiful woman to make it stop. There was a sacrifice to get pregnant, all kinds of interesting history. Good thing I wasn’t alive back then! I’d have been killed in the name of rain. 😉 It was an honor to be chosen for a sacrifice. The steps were small because all of the people had much smaller feet and they walked up the steps going diagonally instead of straight up in a line like you’d normally take stairs. I don’t remember everything about it, but I really enjoyed it a lot and MiMi was awesome. On the way back from the tour we took a different route around the island or peninsula or whatever Cozumel is. We saw all the beaches and ocean…..so amazing. The other side of Cozumel is virtually empty. Nobody lives there and they don’t put businesses or anything there because of the weather. Hurricanes come in on that side and the floods would constantly wipe out the homes and buildings, so they leave that side vacant and let the beaches be and the wildlife flourish. There is one two story restaurant, open air style on the top half, shops below. We ordered fish tacos. I got a margarita. A real one. I’m not much of a tequila fan at all….but something about being across from the beach, with a mariachi band playing, in Cozumel says have a margarita! It was Huge and made with silver tequila. I liked it a lot. Best margarita I’ve ever had and I have tried a few. Ryan didn’t like it. I was secretly glad because I didn’t want to share. The tour was running behind schedule and we had to pee soooo bad and we still wanted to get a few things at the shops for our boys. We got back to the tourist area and literally ran to the shops. Picked up marble chess sets for the older boys. Luchidorete or whatever his name is masks for the little boys. You know, the Spanish wrestler masks that are all colorful and wild? A few other things. We did not buy a huge marble penis although there were tons and it was tempting. Or a penis candle. No penis souvenirs. They have a lot of penis memorabilia in Cozumelissa. Weird. To the bathroom, back to the ship, this was a mad dash. We weren’t the only ones who thoroughly enjoyed Cozumel. On the way back to the ship you have to walk this long cement dock. Some hot and wasted chick grabbed my cleavage and loudly announced that she loved my boobs and Ryan is a luck man because he gets to play with them. Thanks drunk lady! Then it was nap time again. The water in Cozumel made my hair so perfect. It’s super curly and the wind and the salt in the ocean and all the things were the perfect combination for my hair. I think it was about 4 days until I washed it after that, I wanted to keep Cozumel in my hair as long as possible. Because I’m gross like that. Ohhhh…Cozumel, I miss you. Can not wait to go back!
More cruise food. More family time. Lots of naps and snuggles and privacy for Ryan and I. Lots of shopping. He got an awesome $500 watch for $150 or so I think. He bought me a Beautiful charm bracelet. It’s just like the Pandora bracelets, but even prettier. It’s dark blue and has a tiny cruise ship and anchor and a few little charms. I also got the cupcake charm that has little colored stones for sprinkles and color changing beads too for it. Love that bracelet. The Del Sol stores were really cool too. They sell all kinds of color changing stuff. I got some polish that changes from glittery and silver to dark pink in the sunshine. We got a lot of cool little things. We ate so much good stuff. There were cool shows, great musicians on the ship. We made friends with Larry, a really talented singer/guitar player/harmonica player. He was our favorite. There was Martin AuCoin, he was a talented piano player we liked a lot. The comedy shows were funny. Brunch in the formal dining room was cool. Ryan got french toast covered in Cheerios and macaroni. Goofball. french toast and macaroni for brunch? Only on a cruise. I need to make the boys french toast like that but with fruit loops instead. They would like that. In fact, Ryan and I are both sick now. If he comes to visit within the next few days I’ll surprise him with french toast and macaroni, he will get a kick out of that.
We had tons of amazing sex. We got to get really dressed up a few times, got beautiful pictures. The photographers are funny. They are set up with their backdrops all over the ship and try to get you to take pictures every time you walk by. You get tired of posing for pics after the first couple days. We loved Ivan, he was the funniest photographer. We were like Really Ivan, pics Again? Fine. We did ridiculous pics, like Ryan pretending to strangle me, we made Ivan get In the pics with us and have another photographer take our pics. We brought my youngest sons Teddy Bear with us and took pics Got lots of rest….oh Halloween! For Halloween we all wore tutus! There were ten of us total on the cruise. He and I. His parents. His best friends who are a married couple.Their two kids, and his two teenage nieces. My friend Sarah made us all tutus, even the guys and we all wore them. Ryan looks very pretty in tights and a tutu by the way. They were all purple and gold for LSU. During the cruise there was a night where I had too much wine and too much ocean sickness (I was really uncomfortable about 1/3 of the time on the ship, it’s a very wavy feeling constantly) and was a bit overwhelmed by his friend drinking too much and being a butt head. I told Ryan that I really appreciated and loved the cruise, it was cool, but I never want to do another with a large group of people (I would do it again actually, that’s just how I felt at that time) and I said my perfect vacation would be just me and you and all the boys somewhere secluded, like in the mountains in a cabin in Tennessee or something. I didn’t even think this through or really suggest we do that. I meant one day in a few years or whenever. After we had been back home from the cruise for a few days he said he had a surprise for me and was coming over to spend the night and we would pick and book a cabin in the mountains.
Next post is about our vacation to the cabin in Tennessee with just he and I and all the boys.