Latitude 17N

Friday, December 30, 2005

Christmas Day

Christmas at the Marriott began around 7:00 a.m. We waited for Julian to wake up before starting our day. Santa had arrived and piled lots of presents under the tree. Papa and Grammy arrived with a bike that we had gotten Julian so that was exciting. One of the first things Julian did was read a letter from Santa. After that he got started ripping open the presents. He got lots of cool things. I think his favorites were the Bionicle 3 movie he asked Santa for and the X-Pods which are toys made by Lego that make different things and can be combined with other X-Pods to make bigger things. Each color comes in a convenient carrying case and he has been eyeing them for a while. He got the whole set! We spent most of the day at the pool and we had decided to have dinner at the Calypso Restaurant where they were having a Christmas Buffet. Jaime and my Dad were going to make a trip over to Nevis to bring some of our luggage but just as we suspected there were no ferries running. The Marriott has been wrong about it's ferry schedules for the whole vacation. EVERY time we called them it was wrong. This time they got all the way to the ferry terminal and found there were no ferries. They made the Marriott pay for their taxi since it was their mistake in the first place. So...we had a LOT of luggage to carry the next day. After our Christmas dinner my sister and I headed into the casino to try our holiday luck. WE settled down to the nickel slots and put in our money. She was doing well on her machine and I was down to my last 20 nickels on Money to Burn when I hit a jackpot. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding...I was up! At my high I had about 75.00 but I ended up walking out with 55.00 which left me with $30.00 in profit. Jen walked out ahead too but I can't remember how much. It was a lot of fun. The other picture of us is at the very top of the Marriott overlooking the resort.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was spent at the pool. My sister Jen was here and we were all just content to sit by the pool. Jaime and I ventured off into town for a bit to do some last minute shopping. It was very festive down there. We saw a great little band playing caribbean style Christmas carols. Then later on there was a group of people dancing in carnival costumes. It was really neat. There was a little boy there dancing and he was adorable. That night we went over to Ciao which is a new italian restaurant down the street from the Marriott. The people who run it came here from St. Maarten. They are quite the characters. The food there was excellent. We found it earlier in the week and my father would probably have eaten there every night if we had let him. We tried the italian place on the resort earlier in the week and did not like it much. The service from our waiter was good but we think they made a mistake in the kitchen and gave away one of our meals so we then had to wait extra long for our meal. There were people all around us getting served way ahead of us who had come in way after us. Then some of the meals were obviously re-heated and dried out a bit so we didn't go back there. Blu is excellent and the main restaurant is fine too but LaCucina is not so great. One night we had quesadillas out at the bar in the big building. They were one of the best meals we had and they were only 5.00 a piece. And they were full of chicken, and sauteed vegetables and stuff and came with guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos. Mmmmmmm. Back to where I left off...after dinner we came back and Santa was visiting in the lobby so Julian got to talk to him for a minute.

Life may not be fair but god is good

We had seen a sign on a car in Nevis that said 'Life may not be fair but god is good'. Julian started reciting this frequently. What made it funny is that he would say it with an english accent. It was really funny. We also got him to sing for us. He started out singing Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire which is one of his favorites and then surprisingly moved on to Shania Twain's Honey I'm home. The funny part about that is that the only time he has heard it is when we are in the car and I have on my mp3 player and sing out loud to the songs I'm hearing. It is really funny to hear him sing that song "Honey I'm home and I've had a hard day...pour me a cold one and oh by the way...get off the phone, give the dog a bone...hey...hey...honey I'm hooo-oome. And his voice goes up at the end really high. It is so funny.

Kids Club for the little kid and Casino night for the big kids

Julian was lucky to be treated by Grammy Jane and Papa John to the kids club. He spent a day there and created a pirate name and identity, had a treasure hunt, played pirate games and did activities and stuff like that. He had a great time networking with his own kind. It was time that he got out with some kids his own age and he had a great time. He got to go back the next night for a Christmas party the night before Christmas Eve. We took advantage of the time by going for a nice dinner and spending some time at the casino. My sister had arrived the night before so it was a lot of fun. She ended up making $.50 (that's fifty cents in case you were confused) and I lost $20.00. We were playing nickel slots. My dad was doing fairly well at the roulette table. He and Jaime were spending a small part of each day in the casino and having a good time.

Fun pictures of Julian

Julian has really missed taking a nice warm bath and while we were at the Marriott we had a whirlpool tub in our room so he was in heaven. He wasn't happy about getting his picture taken while naked but I assured him that nothing was showing. Haha. There is another picture of him playing with a monkey on the beach and a snorkel picture. Julian snorkeled around in the pool one day and played shark with a couple of other kids that he pal'd up with.

It's a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!

What would Christmas be without a tree? Even though we were at the Marriott we had a tree, complete with lights and decorations. Don't be too jealous!

Tour of St Kitts

We decided to rent a car and do the full circle tour of St Kitts. We headed out bright and early and embarked on a journey to the Brimstone Hill Fortress. My parents really enjoyed that. In the picture of my parents you can see Saba in the background.

A trip to Nevis

We took a trip over to Nevis to show my parents around our island. I felt bad because my Mom's foot kept her from doing the things that I know she would have enjoyed but she still liked the quiet pace of our island compared to St. Kitts. We toured the Newcastle pottery where she spent a few bucks buying souvenirs for people. We hung out at our house enjoying some fresh coconut and did a full circle tour of the island ending at Sunshines for lunch. We gave my parents the true Nevisian experience by riding around in our jeep with the top off. No we didn't ride around with our tops off but the top of the jeep! Haha. We encountered wind, rain and goats during our visit which is the reason my mom is wearing my very attractive hat.


Our dinner on the second night was at Blu which is the seafood restaurant on the resort. It was an excellent meal for all of us. Julian was on his best behavior and ate a good meal. He impressed my parents with his reading ability during dinner which helped him pass the time. My meal was really good. It was a mahi mahi with an island jerk sauce. The sauce had a kick to it. A different kind of heat that numbed parts of my tongue and lips. Very weird but good. My mother had a creole shrimp dish that was very good and I don't remember what everyone else had but we were all happy with our meals.

Day one of our Christmas vacation

Day one of our vacation was spent at the pool, going back and forth to the airport to find the luggage and shopping for a curling iron for my mother. Jaime and I were supposed to go to Nevis for a mini-training tri but we didn't get up on time and I didn't really want to leave my parents with no luggage. We had breakfast bright and early and then got a taxi into town to shop for the curling iron. We went to a couple of places before finding one in Courts. That was a funny experience for them. They were already getting a kick out of the leisurly pace of the natives. We found the curling iron and the lady wrote up a sales slip and told us to go over to the cashier to pay. So we go over there and wait behind people making payments on larger items and setting up accounts and buying furniture. Finally we paid the cashier and had to go back to the counter to pick up our purchase. At that time there was a group of people around the counter and we figured for sure it would take a month to get out of there but the clerk recognized our pale faces and gave us the bag. After that we headed back to the Marriott so we could relax by the pool. Jaime and my Dad went to the airport to check out the luggage. My mother went to buy a bathing suit and shortly after that Jaime and my dad came back with the luggage. Of course.

Jane and John arrive in St. Kitts

My parents arrived in St. Kitts on the 16th with no luggage. Their flight into Miami from Boston was a bit late but they still had time to spare. Then they sat on the runway due to an unknown problem and by the time they got off the plane they had 20 minutes to get to their connector which was in a different terminal. They were told by the airline employees that it was impossible to make it especially given the fact that my mothers foot is broken. Well, my parents don't know the word impossible so they set off and made it to their gate just as they were calling their name. Of course the first thing on their minds was their luggage. They had made it on the plane but would their luggage make it? Of course not! As they say in St. Kitts, there is always a lot of lost luggage during the holidays. So long story short they ended up getting their luggage 24 hours later. There were lots of trips to the airport to comb through the luggage in the customs area during that first 24 hours. We think the Marriott and the airline have something going on together. Some money making scheme. There were countless people there without luggage or luggage arriving late. So after the luggage made it a big weight was lifted off their shoulders and they were able to relax finally. My Mom felt bad because all of Julian's Christmas presents were in there. So anyway, they got it and everything was accounted for. Night number one we spent at the Calypso Restaurant in the main building. By the time they got here my parents were starving. They were not served any food on their flights and didn't have time to get anything between as they had planned. So we did the buffet which our waiter, Dustin, told us was discounted 20% for our early bird status. We dug in and ate heartily. We all turned in early that night to the comforts of our cushy beds and got a good nights rest.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Countdown Continues...

There are only 2 days left until my parents arrive for the Christmas holiday. They are flying into St. Kitts on Friday afternoon and we will then head over to the Marriott for some relaxation. Their early flight will most likely have them wanting a nap and what better place for that then the posh comfy beds of the fine hotel. I just might park myself on a beach chair but Julian will probably want to show Grammy and Papa around the place and maybe play his favorite game, shuffleboard. My Mom has broken her foot so she will be a little slow but if I know her it won't slow her down much. She has a walking cast which she can take off if she gets sand in it which will surely happen unless we stay off the beaches. I don't think she wants that to happen. sister Jen will arrive on the 22nd for a week also. She'll stay 3 nights with us at the Marriott and then we'll journey back to Nevis so she can take in all the sights here. I have been busy doing a winter spring cleaning here and Jaime has been busy studying for finals. He has his neuro final today and the other two tomorrow so wish him luck! Then tomorrow night we will have our farewell chinese dinner with Janet and Brian. She doesn't know but I have written her and each of the kids a poem and even created a powerpoint presentation with tons of pictures from the last year and a half. So it is sure to be a tear jerker. We'll miss her a lot! OK then, it's beach day for us so I'm off to start school. Can't wait til Friday!!! Ta-ta

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Our Nevis Christmas Tree

We wanted to show some Christmas spirit in our neighborhood so we decorated this tree the other day. At that time we noticed a small nest in the branches of the tree. You might be able to see a little bit of it near the 5th set of branches down. Julian was out there playing today and came in all excited and told me he had something for me to see. He took my hand and pulled me outside and showed me what he found. The nest has a baby bird in it. He was walking around out there like he was the proud father. It was so cute. I told him we should keep the lights off so as not to disturb the baby and the mothers efforts to feed her baby. I told him to keep an eye on it to see if the mother was still coming back into the nest. I was afraid that we might have scared her off for good with the lights and everything. But she is still coming in and feeding the little bird. Julian then came in and built his own little nest in his bed out of his blankets and pillows. Very creative!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Humble Pie is coming to Nevis

We had a farewell party tonight for Janet and family compliments of the SOS (Spouses of Students). The person now in charge of SOS had it catered. The woman who catered it is an Irish woman who has been here for years. I think around 14 years. She and her husband own a landscaping business and also sell herbs and salad greens to the local grocery stores. They are also building a deli about a 12 minute drive from my house which I am very happy about. They are going to have meats and cheeses and prepared meals and salads and sandwiches. They will be doing meal boxes also where you can go and pick up a box for a complete weekend of meals. This will be so nice for students who don't have much time to cook for themselves. And also nice for families who don't want to cook!!! Haha. I am so excited! They are hoping to open in January. They will also have a coffee shop where you can have a cup or buy coffee beans. The food that they had tonight was phenomenal. I told Wendy (the caterer) that it was the best food I have had in Nevis so far. She was very excited and surprised to hear this news. Tonight we had marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, fresh mixed greens with balsamic dressing with fresh herbs or ranch dressing, cheesy garlic bread, marinated chicken shishkebab with zucchini and papaya, pesto pasta salad and barbecue ribs. The barbecue sauce is her own recipe which has local honey, banana and tamarind in it. It is out of this world. The ribs fell of the bone and the sauce is so tasty. We all ate plenty and got to bring home leftovers!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Julian's new hairdo

Julian is looking all grown up with his new haircut. He wanted to grow it out until Christmas but we just couldn't take it anymore. He was looking pretty ratty before this. Now he is all clean cut and Handsome!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cows on the beach

Julian and I were at Herbert's beach the other day making a sand card for Paige for her birthday when a bunch of cows came over and started sniffing my backpack. We had to scare them off. A little while later they came back and I got this picture of them hanging out at the beach. What a sight! Imagine pulling up to Hampton Beach and seeing a bunch of cows out there! Glad they didn't leave anything behind! If you catch my drift.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oualie Beach

These are some really cool pictures that Janet took during our last beach outing at Oualie Beach.

Windward Beach

On Friday we went over to Windward beach with the LaPray's for their farewell visit to our favorite beach. As you can see the waves were quite large that day. I kept having to reel Julian in because he wanted to be right out there in them. It was a bit scary that day. As a matter of fact...Lexi got stuck in a hole out there and had a hard time getting back in. Janet got over there to help her and I was close to lend a hand if she couldn't get her in. The problem was that each time she tried to swim a wave would come and crash on top of her. And then on top of Janet too. They were getting pummeled. We were going to make a human chain to get them in because they really weren't out far they just couldn't get out of this one hole. If we hadn't been watching her and if she didn't have the boogy board she might have been in some trouble out there. So we pretty much called it a day after that. As you can see where Julian is standing the water is not very deep where he is.