Oh, the Places You Will Go! Last week my inner child awakened at St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk on a family reunion cruise. Traveling with small children demands a sense of play, so Handsome and I enjoyed time with the grands with special glee because they were experiencing so many firsts. First cruise. First trip out of the country. First train ride in a foreign country. First time seeing donkeys roaming the streets (Grand Turk). First time seeing monkeys in the wild (St. Kitts). The oldest family members kept a brisk pace, exploring forts, snorkeling, and hiking rainforests along with the youngsters.
Of course we all gained weight thanks to the 24-hour ice cream dispenser on the Lido deck. And we joked among ourselves that the kid’s camp onboard was secretly a labor camp for generating the daily towel animals that appeared on our bed each night. On the last night of the cruise the Lido deck had herds of towel dogs, towel monkeys, towel alligators, and towel birds, strewn on the deck and the deck chairs.
We stayed up late and slept late, all except Handsome and my mother-in-law, who will rise automatically at 5:30 a.m. in any time zone. In St. Maarten, the airport runway begins about fifty feet from the beach, separated by a two-lane road and a fence. While enjoying lunch at Sunset Beach Grill with the family, I noticed Handsome was no longer at the table. I figured he’d gone to the men’s room, so I turned to watch the crazies on the beach. Well, it seems he decided to hang on the railing when the jets at the end of the runway throttle up for takeoff on the short runway. He had to retrieve his hat from the beach behind him. His idea of fun. Ignoring the warning signs and all…yeah. My daughter has the same concept of fun.
The kids tried new foods, new sports, and baby G had her long blonde hair corn-rowed and secured with beads. We played putt-putt in ten-knot winds and made up our own rules for shuffleboard. We learned that cousins Eli and Zachary cannot be beaten at foosball. We celebrated four birthdays that week with cake and time together in the Piano lounge.
We saw frigate birds, iguana, goats (tails up), and sheep (tails down) on our two-and-a-half mile hike on an animal trail along the edge of a cliff. We did not see mongoose. Amen. They had been brought in to make St. Maarten snake free.
In Puerto Rico we heard frogs whistle like birds, hidden amidst the red, yellow, and orange Heliconia flowers and the Poinciana trees. We hiked, we ate. We swam, we ate. We road trains, ducked planes, and road a big ship, and we ate, and ate, and ate. Here are more photos from our adventure on the Carnival Sunshine.
Thank you dear citizens of St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk, for making us feel welcome and safe on your exotic islands. My family will swap photos and stories about this trip for years to come.