Thursday, April 7, 2011

BABYMOON

Being young, doing youthful things has always been something I’ve clung to. I’ve always looked back on my childhood and the passing of the carefree years of my life with an over sentimentality for what was.  Some parts of my soul stopped growing at eight. and sixteen. and twenty. and there are days when I only want to see the world through the eyes of the girl I was at those ages.
But here I am, 33 and I am feeling sublimely peaceful about it. My teens and twenties were a helluva ride - some of the best years of my life - but when I look at what I have today and what I had 13 years ago - I wouldn’t trade places for even a minute. I spent the last ten years finding out who I wanted to be, how to be a mother, discovering who would be the love of my life, and learning what it meant to be a self sufficient adult.  My thirties trump all that once was.

Speaking of love, it occurred to Pete and me that we’d better take advantage of our wild, carefree, diaper-less days while we can.  And a few days in the Bahamas did the trick.  On behalf of my birthday, we opted to take this opportunity to also take our babymoon.  Babymoon is a funny word, yes?  One we both just discovered this year.  While a honeymoon is something that you take after the wedding with your honey, a babymoon is something that you take before the baby with your honey. It’s also just a fancy name for a trip taken during your second trimester, which is the best time for pregnant women to travel because any first trimester morning sickness should be over but you don’t yet have the physical discomfort of the third trimester.  The point is to relax.  A.m. hour feedings and sleep deprivation are soon on the horizon.






Pregnancy wasn’t going to stop me from adventuring off the beaten path. It wasn’t going to stop us from walking all over downtown Nassau to find the best happening bar. It wasn’t going to stop me from baring it all on the beach (relatively speaking). It wasn’t going to stop me from riding on the bow of a boat or jumping into the frigid early morning Caribbean waters. Vacation, for me, is an exploration -- an opportunity to learn about a different culture, to immerse myself in nature, to escape the day-in, day-out routine that can sometimes tie down even the most freedom seeking spirits.








Our introduction onto the Nassau island was nothing short of adventurous. Once we alerted the bystanders that we were in need of a taxi, the driver eagerly approached “yes mon” and assisted with our luggage towards a run-down, beat-up mechanism consisting of a steering wheel on the right. Next thing I knew, we were driving on the left side of the road…and following very close to the bumpers in front of us. The “oh shit” bars built into the vehicles here in the states don’t get nearly enough use as they do in the Bahamas…guaranteed!

We couldn’t toss our bags aside fast enough – we hit the beach immediately, frolicking in the water, sharing lots of laughs and enjoying the activities available to us at the Sheraton hotel.  (Feel good moment: For a pregnant chick, I don’t look half bad in a swimsuit.)  Later we ventured out of the tourist area, and definitely off the beaten path, to a place called Arawak Cay (aka Fish Fry).  I’d read it was the best place for authentic Bahamian seafood.  Personally, I prefer Long John Silver’s at 1/16th of the price we paid in the Bahamas, but it was fun just to experience that of the locals. Noticeably, Conch Fritters were most common amongst all the places we dined. Sure…if you like giant sea slugs…yep…big, squirming, snail-y mollusks.  Nuff said.












The snorkeling tour with Stuart Cove’s was even better than I had imagined. There were fish everywhere! Sergeant Majors & Yellowtail Snappers were in abundance, as well as, Needlefish and several other bright colorful ones I couldn’t name. And on top of that, the water was so crystal clear it felt like you were floating through the sky! The fish were the size of two dinner plates (or bigger) and kept running into us! The first dive was near a vast coral reef…with Parrot Fish…of course, this being my favorite stop. The second dive site consisted of more sandy bottom, but included a plane wreck -- apparently a film site for 007 and Into the Blue. I experienced my own Piranha 3D experience here -- the Yellowtail nearly sawed off my hand to get to the fish food I possessed.  Unfortunately, these cuts won’t be leaving scars that I’ll be able to brag about years from now.  All in all, the fish were not afraid of humans in the least!  Nor the sharks. Did I say sharks? Yep, sure did!  Due to mating season, we only encountered 3, but Pete swam amongst them with every hair on his body standing at attention. By this time, it was our 3rd stop and I was frozen…blue lips and all…so I opted to watch the sharks from above.  (I will have the photos from the underwater camera posted real soon -- it was the definite highlight of the trip.)










The commercials and internet advertisements for Atlantis give you the understanding that that place is quite awesome. But they simply don’t do this place justice! It’s this massive beautiful luxury resort & casino that sits like a crown on the horizon just off Nassau. It trumps the fanciest hotels and casinos in Vegas. Absolutely breathtaking!

The Dig is a series of aquariums beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers at Atlantis, and is the world’s largest open air marine habitat. Hundreds of different aquatic species can be seen in the many tanks (i.e. angelfish, sharks, manta rays, and various types of jellyfish). The goal of The Dig is to provide you with a taste of life in the legendary destroyed city of Atlantis. (And what’s even better…it’s free after 6pm!)  It was awesome – second best highlight of the trip. You enter dark tunnels, which wind around and open up to giant aquarium windows.  It was like walking through Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, but under the ocean.  One of the aquariums had the largest manta rays I’ve ever seen.  You can’t really tell how big it is from the photo, but I’m telling you… the wingspan of this thing was at least 15 feet!





Straw Market is definitely a tourist trap, unless you have fine negotiating skills like that of Pete.  Typically, you can walk away paying half (sometimes less) than what they originally quote you.  And for those of you purse addicts (aka Gina), it’s a haven for designer knock-offs (Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, & Coach purses lines the aisles from floor to ceiling).





And there you go!  That was our babymoon.  The Bahamas was absolutely gorgeous – high 80’s and a cool breeze – Mother Nature was good to us.  It’s hard to believe that the next time we visit, we’ll be a fabulous family of five!  Ahh!  Exciting, but scary.

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