Sunday, November 13, 2011

Doing Business

So Christmas, Hanukkah, and other gift-giving occasions will soon be upon us! Therefore, it is time for me to pimp out a couple of my friends who own businesses and make awesome stuff that would be perfect for gifts!

Bunnyfeet Boutique: Shoes, cloth diapers, diaper covers, and more! Check it out here:

Mermaid Bliss by Atlantis: Organic salt and sugar scrubs with wonderful scents! 
Basic Salt or Sugar Scrubs
8oz. = $10.00
16oz. = $20.00

Bath Salts
8oz. = $10.00
16oz. = $20.00

Sugar Scrubs made with Coconut Oil:
8 oz. = $15.00
16 oz. = $25.00

Holiday scents are Sugar Plum and Apple Cinnamon. There are a variety of scents available and Atlantis can make whatever scent you want!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Post-Vacation Blues

Feeling a bit of the post-vacation blues. I miss the calm pace and worry-free environment of Cozumel. This last trip marked my sixth time there and I never get tired of it. It's such a beautiful place and I always have fun there. I am already looking forward to our next trip.

In the meantime, I am catching up on life at home. I have some bills to pay and some errands to run. I did a good portion of those today so tomorrow I will just be getting a hair cut and doing some laundry. Pretty basic stuff. I did put our underwater disposable camera into development today and we should have it back by Wednesday. Can't wait to see those pictures. 

The most difficult task ahead of me right now is the job hunt. I continue to search for work in my new profession as a therapist. It's not easy, but I know that God has something out there just for me. I only need to keep looking and keep praying about it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cozumel - Day 6: Last Day in Paradise

Today was our last day in Cozumel. We made it a relatively easy one. We got up and had breakfast, sat at the table and enjoyed the scenery for awhile, and then went back to our rooms for a short nap before heading out.

Our first stop was the cruise ship terminal where several shops are located. We did a little window shopping mostly, but did not buy anything. Everything there is priced double, and sometimes triple, what it is in the downtown shopping area. The shopkeepers at the terminal assume everyone just got off the boat (in more ways than one), but since we've been here several times, we are pretty savvy about the best places to purchase souvenirs and such.

After the window shopping, we got a cab and headed to Chankanaab Park. We walked around looking at Mayan statues and then saw the seal show. That was a lot of fun. The seals are so cute!

We then relaxed in front of the beach for awhile before taking a cab to Palmeras for our last supper. I had a huge rib eye steak and Dad had the chicken. Both excellent meals! We did a little shopping and then headed back to the hotel where we napped again (love vacation naps!) before heading to the hotel restaurant for some dessert. We hung out there for awhile enjoying the scenery and chatting. Now we're back in our rooms getting things packed up in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We're already planning our next diving trip to Mexico to help with the post-vacation depression.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cozumel - Day 5: An Absolute Wreck

Dad and I were up early this morning so we could get a good breakfast in before we headed out to dive this afternoon. After breakfast, we came back to our rooms. I took a nap and then got ready to go under the sea!

We headed out on the boat to the first dive site, which was a ship wreck at about 70 feet down. I have a very hard time with equalization and it is extraordinarily painful for me during the initial descent so I went slow this time and just kept telling myself that it would stop hurting. And it did. 

In order to help me in my descent, the dive master had me grab on to a rope that was tied to the ship so I could inch my way down while still equalizing my ears. I got to where I wanted to be and let go of the rope, at the same time feeling a stinging sensation in my left hand. Something had caused an allergic reaction on my hand and a couple of welts appeared almost immediately. It was no problem though, I continued on with the dive and now, several hours later, the welts have disappeared.

The ship was very interesting! Dad and I explored the outside and then headed inside to see the different compartments. It was really fascinating. We saw a couple of huge crabs on this dive as well as some eels and other general sea life. 

After that dive, we headed back to the boat and to the dock at our hotel where we took a 15-minute break. We then headed out to the second dive site, which was just a short ride from our hotel dock. This was amazing because it was full of colorful sea sponges and fish. I really enjoyed it after once again going through the tremendous pain of equalization.

We finished up the dive and headed back to our hotel where we showered and changed clothes then grabbed some dinner at the hotel restaurant and just relaxed. I had filet mignon, which they served to me without cooking it in the middle so I had to send it back. That was OK though because once it was properly cooked, it was delicious! It was the largest filet mignon I have ever seen so I got a good meal. Plus, I had a banana split for dinner. This was a rather decadent food evening for me.

Dad and I will head out tomorrow to Chankanaab Park, where we will relax and explore the park, take some pictures, and do some shopping. It's our last day on the island so we are making it an easy one.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cozumel - Day 4: Being Tested

Dad and I slept in a bit this morning and then headed to breakfast. We were both feeling a little nervous since we had to take the respective exams for our Scuba Diving certification. Mine was for certification in general, Dad's was more advanced. He was taking a Nitrox course. We studied a little bit at the table and then headed over to take the tests. We both passed! I am officially certified as a scuba diver now!!

After the test, we hung out in our rooms for a bit and then headed over to swim with the dolphins! I had done it twice before, but Dad had never done it. We were the only two people signed up for that time slot so we got a lot of attention from the dolphin crew. So much fun! We got a DVD and some pictures of our swim. The photo to the right is Dad with one of the dolphins.

By the time we were done swimming with the dolphins, we were hungry so we walked to Palmeras, one of our favorite restaurants. We both had BBQ chicken and it was delicious! I splurged and had a brownie with ice cream and whipped cream on top. SO GOOD! We decided to take a cab back to the hotel because I still had my wet swimsuit on and I wasn't wearing shoes that were conducive to the long walk back. 

Tomorrow, we will sleep late and then have a leisurely breakfast before heading out on two dives. We will be seeing a reef and an airplane wreck site. I am so excited as these will be my first outings as a certified scuba diver. I've been on dives before as part of my training, but now I don't have to worry about the training, I can just enjoy it. Can't wait!

This time with my father in Cozumel has been wonderful. I cannot express how blessed I feel to have a father who parents me when I need it, but is always my friend too. Love my Dad!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cozumel - Day 3: Scuba Girl

Today, Dad and I rose bright and early to have breakfast at 7 a.m. After breakfast, we headed upstairs to suit up for the morning of diving we had planned. Wet suits and gear ready, we headed downstairs to the dive shop where we waited for the dive master and boat crew to arrive. I laid in the hammock on the beach for a few minutes, which was very relaxing.

Once the crew arrived, things kicked into high gear and we got on the boat along with 9 other people who were also diving. We rode in the boat out to the dive site. The ride took a long time and I closed my eyes, feeling the breeze, and enjoying the moment. Finally, we were at the dive site. I am completing my scuba diving certification so the dive master gave me instructions for the two tests I would need to do in the water and then it was time to go under the waves! 

We began descending. This is not my favorite part of the dive because it is incredibly painful for me. My ears have a hard time with the pressure and the pain is incredible. It literally makes me want to cry. That lasts for about a minute or so and then my ears equalize and I am OK. I got through the pain and completed my two training exercises. Then, it was time to just enjoy the dive. Dad and I took some pictures with a disposable underwater camera. I will get those developed when I return to Houston. We are hoping they come out well because we took some fun shots. We were about 60 feet down. It is so neat to be under the water, looking at the fish, seeing the coral and the life within the ocean. We saw a turtle floating and it was an amazing site!

After that dive, we headed back to the boat. I rubbed my eye to get the water out of my face and my contact lens popped out of my eye. I put it back in right there in the water. It's a talent, what can I say? LOL! I got on the boat and we collected the other divers and then headed to our second dive sight. I spent a good portion of that ride talking to a woman from Yakima, Washington. Since I am originally from Oregon, I always like to chat with the Pacific Northwesterners. There was also a guy on the boat who was from Eugene, Oregon, home to University of Oregon, my alma mater. You just never know who you're going to meet in foreign countries!

At the second dive site, I put on my BCD and it kept inflating and deflating on its own. Very mysterious. It was squeezing the life out of me on the boat. Once I was in the water, it was no problem. Not sure what was going on there as that should not happen. Anyway, the second dive was all about enjoying the scenery because I was done with my training tasks. It was a fun dive with more interesting ocean life to view.

The second dive was the last one of the day. Dad and I were dropped off at our hotel dock and we rinsed our equipment then headed to our rooms for much needed showers and a small nap. We then headed out to Casa Denis, where the best fajitas in the world are served! Dinner was excellent. We walked around the town square, did a little shopping, and then headed to a wonderful little ice cream shop. We went back to the square from there and enjoyed the Sunday night festival the town holds. Some nice music was playing and a gentle breeze was blowing. The perfect ending to a perfect day! Now back at the hotel and getting ready for tomorrow, which will include the scuba diving test I have to take and swimming with the dolphins! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cozumel - Day 1/2: Arrival

Hello from Cozumel, Mexico! Dad and I arrived here on Friday morning. We settled in our rooms and then headed to the dive shop (Babieca Dive Center) at the El Cid, where we always stay. We got my scuba diving certification class scheduled and Dad's Nitrox class scheduled and then we headed to the hotel restaurant for a leisurely lunch. We spent the rest of the day/evening at the hotel just hanging out and reading our manuals for our classes.

We started the day early with breakfast at 7 a.m. We hung around and chatted until 8:30 or so and then I got ready for my first scuba diving class at 9. I was the only student in the class and I learned about the equipment and how to make sure it's put together and in working order. Then, we moved to the swimming pool to practice some of the things I needed to know. I had a hard time clearing my mask and took in a lot of chlorine as well as did a lot of coughing. But, the instructor was patient and I finally got the hang of it. 

We then moved to the ocean. Cozumel water is so incredibly beautiful, it's a blue color that I cannot do justice to with words. I practiced some of the things I had learned in the pool and swam around looking at stuff. It was interesting and fun! Dad showed up and we sat with the instructor on the beach and learned to use the dive tables. Then Dad did a shore dive while I snorkeled.

After that, we took a walk into town and had Subway sandwiches. We walked back to our hotel from town. The walk to/from town took about 35-40 minutes each way. It was a nice walk with a cool breeze blowing. Dad and I chatted about this and that. Upon our return to the hotel, we had a fruit plate for dessert in the hotel restaurant. The fruit plates are AMAZING! They have all kinds of different fruit - banana, watermelon, mango, plums and they come with a scoop of lime sherbet ice cream. A perfect after dinner treat. 

We headed up to our rooms and Dad hung out with me for awhile looking at different things on the computer. Then the chocolate lady showed up. This woman works for the hotel and delivers chocolate around 7 p.m. every night. Yesterday, it was Hershey's Almond Kisses. Tonight it was not chocolate, but rather peanut butter circles. They were good, but when you're expecting chocolate, it's a disappointment not to get it. SO...we headed to the hotel shop and bought some chocolate. There's just no substitute people!

Tomorrow, Dad and I will continue with our classes in the morning and will go out on two deeper dives. We will likely be diving about 60 feet. My ears really, really dislike the water pressure. It's extraordinarily painful, but I keep working at equalizing and of course, that helps.

More reports from the vacation front tomorrow. Have a great night everyone!