Day 21: The Best Vacation

Stingray City, Grand Cayman http://beetlebug.o...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Miniature Golf Day! More importantly, it is also World Gratitude Day.

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Our mom took all 11 of us (kids and families) to the Caymans a few years ago, and that trip is one of my fondest vacation memories.

All of us were coming from different parts of the country: California, Illinois, and Nebraska. My husband and I arrived in Miami with a few minutes to spare before the “puddle-jumper” to the islands. We’re walking down the concourse to find our gate, and I see my mom and my sister-in-law! Their flight had gotten messed up in Chicago or they would have been on Grand Cayman way before us. So we were all able to fly that last leg together. Pretty fun, but it was about 9:00 p.m. before we arrived at the resort. My sis and her family had been there since early afternoon and were wondering what in the world happened to us. The complimentary champagne at check-in didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings!

As we gathered for a wind-down time our first night on the island, we discovered our American money wasn’t going to go very far. The impromptu cocktail party cost a very pretty penny. :/

Next morning everyone wanted to hit the beach. When we asked for directions, we were told “It’s just 5 minutes away.” Everything is “just 5 minutes away” on Grand Cayman, including the closest grocery store that was about 20 minutes away on foot. Let me clue you: you have never had HOT AND HUMID until you visit the Caymans in June. Twenty minutes seemed like 10 miles. The sweat was literally running into my eyes. Air conditioning never felt so good!

Dinners were fabulous as we tried a different restaurant every night. The kids swam everyday, either at the beach or in one of the numerous resort pools. The guys had a jet ski/snorkel day, and I got my mom up tandem parasailing! What a breathtaking experience! We got rigged up on the boat, all settled in snug in our harnesses. Then as the boat took off, we were simply lifted into the air. At our highest point, the boat was a toy below us on the indescribably beautiful ocean. I honestly can not describe the colors of the water adequately; a combination of mint-green, aquamarine, pale crystal blue, and quiet lavender. We were floating so high in the air that there was virtually no sound. It was eerie but very calming in a weird way.

I would strap that harness on again in a New York City minute! Never had such a fantastic experience. Great fun!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include our “swimming with sting rays adventure”  the first morning on the island. It was already hot at 7 a.m. when the boat headed out to Rum Point loaded with all of us tourists. Again, gorgeous water as far as the eye could see. The more adventurous of us took off to see the sting rays. Yes. I got in the water with them. It was shallow enough that you could stand, and the rays came in swarms! They brushed up against your legs like cats, their “wings” soft and leathery. After I got over the initial shock of having these creatures so close to me, the captain showed me how to hold one. Amazing. Their skin is so soft and smooth, not slimy like a fish. They are extremely beautiful to watch as they fly languidly through the water.

Our typical vacation day: morning coffee on the veranda, swimming, lunch, swimming, cocktails, dinner. The only way to spend a vacation on the islands. Wonderful family memories! Celebrate yours. C

This entry was posted in September 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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