Entries Tagged as 'presidents day'

Feliz Cumpleaños, Kristin!

February 21st, 2015 · 1 Comment

Over Valentines/President’s Day weekend I went to the BlueBay Grand Esmeralda in Mexico with Kristin, Jen, and Allison to celebrate Kristin’s birthday. It was a big one! 21 is big, right? I can’t tell you we did much, as far as activities go, but I had a great time relaxing and soaking in the tropical sun rays. I experienced Montezuma’s Revenge for much of the trip, but still had a good time. I don’t think I’ve gone on a girls trip….. ever? And it was so good to see Allison, who we miss so much and haven’t seen for a couple years!

My first drink in Mexico: Margarita. And much deserved after a looooong travel day! My cab had arrived in the morning at 3 a.m.! Also, we get really spoiled in Chicago with direct flights everywhere. I had to stop over in Miami, which had no complications, but did add several hours on to my travel time. When I arrived in Cancun, I waited for Jen and Kristin to arrive and then we had to find our driver and then we had to go 45 minutes south, and then we had to check in and then go the kilometer from our lobby to our room (literally a kilometer away!) and then …… yeh…. finally…. a drink and a rest.

Next up? A rest by the pool. The main pool area was a very short walk from our rooms and was actually two pools. There was one other pool up by the lobby. .. but it was literally a kilometer away. Speaking of which… this was the biggest resort as far as real estate that I’ve ever stayed on. Very big and spread out. To get over it they had a bunch of golf carts that did circuits around the property. You could jump on any cart and it would take you wherever you needed to go. There were designated spots to wait, like bus stops, and you just catch the next one that comes by. Very efficient. Or .. you could walk. If you’re into that. We were trying to minimize any form of exercise!

As far as food goes, everything as included. And all the drinks too. Anything you wanted! For breakfast and lunch, there were certain restaurants on the property that had buffets set up. For dinner there was an “International Buffet” that did not require a reservation, but all of the other restaurants did. You reserved a day in advance and could pick from many options – Seafood, Steak, “Oriental,” French, Mexican (of course), etc. On the first day, we arrived in the afternoon and there weren’t many dinner options left so they talked us into this dinner show. The food was actually really good, as it was every night of our stay, and though we thought we were not going to be interested in the show at all, when it came on we could not look away. So much energetic and non-stop traditional Mexican music and dancing, with crazy costumes to match.

This mysterious creature is a coati. Coatis, plural for more than one. I saw some on the first day of the trip and every day after that. At first I called them “those weird lemur things” but thanks Drunk Girl #1 for looking that shit up on Wikipedia and letting everyone know that they’re called Coatis. Not coitus, but coatis.

On our first full day at the resort we had appointment for morning massages. This was probably the best massage I ever had in my whole life. So nice. And then we got to stay in the spa area with their private pool and hang out all day, which was fantastic because there were not very many people in there and it was very tranquil.

Jen visited an all-inclusive resort last year and so she was the experienced one who turned us on to The Bubba. The drinks at the pool and the beach and really all over the resort were all included. With the exception of dinner, where you’d get a proper wine glass or whatver, the drinks were all served in small plastic glasses. Enter: The Bubba. For one, it’s a larger serving. Everyone on the resort was more than happy to fill that whole dang thing full of pina colada or beer or our new favorite drink: Mango Tango. And by the way, the booze options were endless, but if you wanted beer, there was just one choice: Beer. I have no idea what it was, but it was not good. The only good thing about the beer is that there’s no water or ice in it (and my tummy was not good for some of the time!). Another good thing about The Bubba is that it keeps your drink cold. Whenever I got a drink in the plastic cup it would melt very quickly. Finally, The Bubba keeps the sand out of your drink, which was very important one day when we were on the beach and it was really windy. Regarding the name: The Bubba. That’s what it literally says on the cup. I don’t know where this brand came from or why it’s popular on the Mexican all-inclusive resorts.

Some days we switched it up and laid out on the beach instead of the pool. CRAY-ZAY!!!!

There was a bar near the beach that had swings instead of barstools.

One day it was really windy on the beach so Allison and I ditched it and headed into Playa del Carmen, which was about a 20 minute cab ride away. We walked around Quinta Avineda, a cute street with lots of foot traffic, but no car traffic. There were a ton of shops and bars and restaurants. We stopped in one called Las Delicias to sit for a bit, have a drink and a snack. Cute place. One weird thing was that when we were first seated a guy took a photo of us and then when we were paying the bill he brought out a bottle of tequila with our photo pasted on it and tried to sell it to us as a souvenir. WEIRD! And, yes, I did get Makai a Mexican wrestling mask!

This was the “Oriental Restaurant.” We had to call it that. I don’t think they know what “Asian Restaurant” meant! The restaurant was situated poolside and was all open air. As you can see, it was gorgeous.

We were away for Valentine’s Day. Allison and I were splitting a room and somehow got upgraded to a suite. It was nice and one of us took the bed and one the pullout. They made the bed really romantic on Valentine’s day, complete with fresh rose petals. Maybe they thought we were a couple. I was missing my Valentine, so I sat on this guy’s lap and told him he was my Valentine.

Jen and Kristin taught us how to play this card game called Shithead. We played a lot in the evenings. We played in our suite, on Jen and Kristin’s patio that overlooked the beach, and we played here:

Black and White was the name of the 24-hour sports bar on the resort. It had a huge, creepy black and white cat behind the bar. See you in my nightmares, black and white cat! Also, can you image how sloppy a 24-hour bar at an all-you-can-drink resort gets?

Because all you can eat and drink in the bars and restaurants isn’t enough, each day we had a mini fridge that was filled with soda and a few beers and two very large bottles of water. The beer was called Superior. It was slightly better than the beer served everywhere else on the resort.

Us at the fancy Mexican restaurant.

My new hat!

Mexican Diet Coke = Coca Cola Light

I think these are hurricane evacuation instructions.

Last glimpse of warmth, then off to the airport…..

…. where I had breakfast at the same place where I had breakfast last time I was leaving Cancun.

Back to reality.

[Read more →]

Tags:··························

We Got Our Marriage License at Pono Market

March 12th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Bright and early (and still dark!) Monday morning we headed to drop off the Jetta rental car and to the Honolulu airport. We had to take an alternate route because of the Great Aloha Run beginning early that day.

On Kauai we got our new rental, a Dodge Nitro SUV that we were sharing with Dallas’s brother Jordan and his girlfriend Liz.

From there we went right to our appointment to get our marriage license. Since it was a goverment holiday, Presidents’ Day, we went to a marriage license agent instead of the government office in Lihue. At first I was leary about this, and you’ll see why, but in hindsight I realize it’s a much better story than if we’d gone to a plain, old, boring government office!


Pono Market is in this strip of stores in Kapa’a


Pono Market

Our appointment was in Kapa’a at Pono Market. When you put the address into Google Maps, it’s off.. so we drove past it a few times before we spotted the small store. It’s located in a quaint strip of small stores and sort of just blends in if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Once we found it, though, we were able to get a parking spot on the street right outside the store.

We walked inside and Pono Market is like a fish market. One side of the store had a long counter where you can order plate lunches and local food. On the other side had a cooler with beverages and a small counter to order coffee or ice cream. Then there was a table and a few chairs and a bunch of older local guys talking story. Um. Ok.

So, I walk up to the counter, thinking I must be a fool to think this is right, and stammer out that we’re there for our marriage license. The guy at the counter immediately says “Yes, you are in the right place!” and points us over to the smaller counter to his brother Ken. The old guys get up, we’re seated at a small table covered in a blue cloth right next to the front windows (see this photo I found online of Ken and another couple getting their marriage license).


Ken

Dallas and I filled out a PDF form at home and printed it, so I got it out and Ken reviewed it. He had us double, triple check everything and we had to make a few edits. Also, under “Race” there was no doubt that I should put “Caucasian” but for Dallas, it could be a few things. He chose to put in “Hawaiian” but Ken made him change it to “Hawaiian-Korean,” since his mom was born in South Korea, as stated on the paperwork. He could have put “Hawaiian-Japanese-Korean” if he wanted to since his grandma is Japanese, but we left it at “Hawaiian-Korean.”

Ken took our corrections up to his office, which is on the second floor of Pono Market and accessed by a spiral staircase in the front corner of the market. Who ever heard of a spiral staircase in a small fish market!? Ha. He needed to retype the whole application with all of the updated information.

While he was away we ordered plate lunches, but the guys at the counter said we couldn’t have them until we finished our business with Ken. Something about getting the forms messy or something. Since we had time, I snuck out to use the restroom, which was located down the street near Ono Family Restaurant.


We asked Ken to take a photo with my iPhone too. This is what will be on the “wedding wall.”

When he came back, he told us “Everyone on the East Side already knows you’re getting married because this is where people sit to get marriage licenses and now people have been passing by the window looking at you this whole time,” or something along those lines. Ahh.. the coconut wireless! He had us double and triple check everything again and then we had to sign the form. After that we were done. Ken gave us a bumper sticker that said “I got my marriage license at Pono Market” and took our photo for their “wedding wall.” If you stop in, look for us!

We got our plate lunches (lau lau for me and kalua pig for Dallas) and went outside to a small table they had on the sidewalk. We also got Spam musubi. Believe it or not, this was my first Spam musubi, but not the last on this trip! The plate lunches were delicious and I liked the Spam musubi, too. I can see how they are a kind of grab-and-go snack or light lunch on the islands.


Lau Lau Plate Lunch with white rice, poke and mac salad.

SO, Pono Market. One stop shopping. Marriage license, plate lunch and Spam musubi, all in one place!

Sidenote: Check out this article about Pono Market that was in The Garden Island newspaper.

– – –

A while later we went to meet with Marlene Mira, our wedding planner, and Julie Wirtz, our officiant at our venue, Joe’s on the Green. I’d corresponded with everyone over email and phone, but this was our first time meeting in person. Everything went great. We reviewed the plan, where things would happen, when, etc. Dallas and I passed off supplies to Marlene and that was about it. These ladies had it down. My biggest concern was 1) a box I shipped weeks before that never showed up and 2) the weather and 3) all the welts on my legs.

It was pouring when we all met. And had been raining on Kauai for days while we were on Oahu. Both Marlene and Julie swore that the rain was stopping and the weather would be fine. They were so positive about it, we never even talked about a Plan B, a Rain Plan. Turns out they were right. The rest of the week the weather was awesome. It rained sometimes, but mostly at night. The days were gorgeous. And the box that the USPS lost? It miraculously showed up 2 days before the wedding! As for my legs, the sores did diminish, but you could still see them. We did a quick coating of makeup and honestly? I didn’t really care that much. I had one short minute-long cry about my legs and then I just let it go. As Julie said, it could be worse. They could be on my face! And there was nothing I could do about it. So.. let it go.

I’m going to write a bit more on Julie and Marlene in separate posts, but for now we were just happy to have all of our wedding-related meetings done on our first day on Kauai. So for the rest of the week, up until the wedding, we could just enjoy or vacation.

[Read more →]

Tags:··································

Coney Island + Las Vegas = Atlantic City

February 17th, 2004 · 11 Comments

With nothing better to do on our President’s Day off, Mark and I hopped in the car and drove down to Atlantic City and found it to be so much like Coney Island with Las Vegas casinos. I had a lot of fun but found it to be a little sad knowing that this was one of our last adventures together for quite a while.. Mark has a new baby on the way and I’ll be moving off to Chicago.


We have arrived.


We parked the car at Bally’s and then made our way towards the boardwalk that all the casinos face out towards. On the way there we passed by the New Jersey Korean War Memorial which felt terribly out of place.


Another statue in the war memorial. No disrespect, but he reminded me of Paul Bunyan.


Along one side of the Coney Island-style boardwalk are entrances to the casinos (like Trump Plaza), stores, and restaurants. Along the other side is the beach.


Some parts of the beach were getting worked on. I think they were dredging and adding more sand, but I’m not exactly sure what all was going on.


Most of the shells on the beach were clam shells.


Strolling along the beach for a bit. I miss living by a beach a lot.


“Comfort Station” must have been the polite way to say “Restroom” in the old days. This Comfort Station didn’t look nearly as inviting as the Women’s Comfort Station I saw in Central Park a couple years ago. That was the first Comfort Station I’d ever seen.


We ate at the Virginia City Buffet inside Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, of course. Atlantic City is all the cheesiness from Coney Island and Las Vegas and is missing any of the grittiness from either place. It’s filled with elderly people and Jersey/Long Island types.


A fake tree strung with lights inside the buffet. A couple from Long Island chatted us up in the buffet. Especially the wife. She would not stop talking about Vegas vs. Atlantic City vs. Reno vs. Tahoe. Even when we said “thanks” and turned completely around about 5 times.


Next we hit up some slot machines. Mark & I both agreed that we would spend no more than $20. While I quickly lost all of my money, Mark won $40.


Back out on the boardwalk. It’s time to go home but we walk down to see Trump’s Taj Mahal casino before leaving. The boardwalk is filled with these guys with pushcars that you can hire to take you back to your hotel/casino.


The super cheesy Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino is on the left of the boardwalk here.


Sunset on the 99 Cents Or Less store.


Amusement rides out on a pier that extends from Trump’s Taj Mahal.


Trump’s Taj Mahal was less tacky than some of the other casinos we were in… but it’s still basically the same thing.


Lights overhead as we walk back towards the car. It should be noted that Mark art directed this shot!


One last sunset shot. It seems like I havent seen the sun set for so long.

[Read more →]

Tags:·················