Adventures at sea. And also islands.

Really it’s not that adventurous… We haven’t encountered any pirates, and our ship detoured to avoid a tropical storm, so we haven’t even had any weather other than heat and humidity. And a nice 20kt breeze as the ship sails along, all but imperceptibly motionless from the inside.

There are advantages to being on the world’s largest cruise ship.

Enjoying the breeze and the screaming from the water slides.
The deck was nice until the sun took it over.
“Central Park” was a bit cooler.
The upstairs suite lounge offers a great view, as well as great AC and all the ice water you need.
Not a ship in sight on any horizon.
Central Park at night is pretty lovely.

After a few days at sea we arrived at St. Maarten. Our room is on the 17th floor. That dock is waaaaay down there.

The view of the ship from the dock is impressive though.

We walked all the way around the bay to “downtown”. Unfortunately it’s really been devastated by weather damage from years back and the economic downturn more recently. Lots of closed shops and hotels, not very much rebuilding going on. Beautiful beach though, and a great view back to the ship.

We didn’t explore beyond the local city. On the way back though we stopped at the cheese shop, this being the Dutch half of the island, and bought some amazing Brie and Stroopwafles.

Arriving back to the ship we found our towel animal collection had grown.

A penguin doesn’t usually find himself in cacti, but he seems happy enough.

Went to the steakhouse for dinner, which was amazingly good. Bevin got a steak the size of her head, or perhaps larger.

A quick night’s sailing brought to St. Thomas. Back in the US!

Walked the mile or so to downtown and poked around. Very Pirates of the Caribbean in it’s architecture, and definitely in better shape that St. Maarten was, but lots of shops closed up as well. Hard when tourism is such a big part of your economy and it’s been gone so long.

They do have iguanas though. Do not anger them.

Everything has been great. Great food and entertainment on the ship, great weather, and a ship that’s just under 1/3rd full means everything is very comfortable and not crowded feeling.

We’re hanging out in the lounge drinking iced tea and rehydrating. Boat should be departing in an hour or so. Another day at sea tomorrow!

Arrival, Departure

The art seems indicative of something… I wonder if we’re there…

Sweet Suite!

Allegedly we’re on a boat… It really doesn’t feel like a boat…

It’s a boat! With a central park!

It’s a really BIG boat!

Goodbye Miami! To the sea!

Bevin and Brian were lounging in the chairs behind us.

Bevin has ruined a lobster. RUINED. She got every last bit of meat on that poor thing.

And we’re off! (Okay, so it’s just me that’s off)

Whirlwind work trip alert!

Went to Lenoir City, TN through the lovely Knoxville Airport. Funnily enough the airport, like the Burlington, VT airport, has rocking chairs throughout for your leisure.

Got lucky with this travel booking because while American Airlines is not where I have the fancy schmancy flight status, it apparently shares points with Alaska Airlines where I do have fancy schmancy flight status. Might be able to keep it after all.

One thing Tennessee has going for it I suppose is that it’s no less hot than Dallas. Okay maybe high 80s instead of low 90s but big whoop when hovering at these numbers. Portland me would have cared but Texas me does not.

One more serious good thing is that I went to Pho 99 and had delicious pho noodle soup. A great find. Speaking of food and beverage we’ve recently discovered the Starbucks Star Drink, which is their new kiwi-dragonfruit refresher. Very much a delicious thing.

Just landed in DFW. Out of the skyway and on to the freeway.

Handwichery!

We were recently linked to this YouTube video, describing re-creating a Disney menu item of the future past, The Handwich!

So when I came into the kitchen this morning and found this, I became extremely worried:

So, handwich. If you didn’t watch the video, I think you can guess. Sandwich, but in a cone shape, so it can be held in one hand. When this was discussed in our group chat, alternatives (such as our local Bread Zeppelin) were roundly poo-poo’d because they “weren’t Disney enough”. So Bevin decided to go all-in.

4 Handwiches on a plate
Of course 1 wasn’t enough.

So, for all your “oh my god we’re on vacation and I ate all that I’m going to dieeeeeee” pleasure, here we have 4 totally unique handwiches.

The bread is Japanese Hokkaido milk bread, so it’s quite soft and fluffy. As far as ingredients go, from left to right we have:

  • Egg, Bacon, Mushroom, Cheese
    A breakfast delight! Why have your scramble with toast when you could have it in the bread instead?
  • Mac’n’Cheese’n’Bacon
    The best Kraft has to offer, with delicious thick-cut bacon bits. Yes, it could be handmade mac’n’cheese, but the blue-box Kraft hits the nostalgia button better.
  • Garlic black-truffle Chicken Tika Masala
    Yeah, there’s no India exhibition in EPCOT. If there were, this would probably not be welcome there. It is, however, quite delicious.
  • Philly Cheese Steak (Roast Beef, green pepper, grilled onions, and cheese.)
    May not be quite as authentic as it possibly could be, since it uses American cheese instead of cheese whiz, but I outright refused to buy Cheese Whiz.

They all turned out quite good. Maybe not pure Disney, but definitely extravagant!

The method of construction could be optimized. Unfortunately wrapping from the bottom and lying them on a pan creates a flat side, as well as causes the dough to slump to the bottom of the cone, creating a rather large bready bit at the end of your sandwich experience. Because the bread is nice and fluffy and sweet it’s almost like a dessert bread at the end though. (Perhaps this could be incorporated into the design, hmmm..) Bevin’s already planning how to make a steel cone with the pointy end up to wrap the bread around and bake to prevent this problems though.

leftover bready bites
Sweet bread! No, actually it’s a sweet bread. Looks sweet too though!

In short, please be thoughtful when sending Bevin random crazy cooking YouTube videos, she just might be insane enough to do it.

The whirlwind continues

Yesterday we drove 5 hours from home to Houston to see an art exhibit Bev’s mom wanted to see, go to the fountain pen store Bev wanted to go to, and go to a play written by Bev’s mom’s friend Rob, who was in town to see the production.

Pretty fun to be out and about and doing real world things again! Play was really cool, only 4 people, and basically moving the props in the picture around to represent different rooms. Play was called Mama’s Boy, and is about the family life of the Oswald family is Dallas, in the years leading up to the Kennedy assassination. Really interesting historical information, especially if it’s not something you’ve ever really learned about!

And then we got up early and drove the 4 hours back to Dallas, straight to the airport. Off to Las Vegas again for 4 days to finish dealing with some family affairs remaining after our last trip. Cleaning out a storage unit specifically. Promises to be an exciting time… 😂

They’ve got my number

LEGO has a surprising understanding of my love for spaceships of various types.

It’s… not great… for our checking account.

On the other hand, the mechanism they use to move the foils to attack position on Luke’s X-Wing is REALLY cool. Probably one of the coolest I’ve seen in a standard ‘play’ level set, so that was super interesting to build. And I can’t wait to build the Discovery.

Also, it’s a REAL x-wing, not that janky ‘resistance’ weirdness. Thank goodness LEGO still cares about the classics. 😎