Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Experiences

Thanks for the support ladies.  I think it's just been a bad beginning and I'm looking forward to it getting better soon.  

On another note, I just got my new drivers license back and Virginia completely changed it.  You're not allowed to smile in the picture, so you just look PO'd (I guess that's because when people get pulled over, they don't exactly smile)...and the whole license looks like a play-toy.  It's blue and purple and yellow and has all these fancy features, yet still looks like a play-toy.  Hey, Virginia:  I don't need any help looking like a 14 year old...thanks for the new toy, though.  

Also, Ben and I have just survived our first Virginia Beach thunderstorm.  I'm pretty sure it was a monsoon....  It was really fun driving back from Applebee's with our friends just an hour ago.  

Oh, Tidewater Area...there are so many new things I'm learning about you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A few more videos from our Honeymoon

View from the Villa (0:42)
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Flamands Beach (0:01)
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Driving alongside the ocean (0:48)
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Shell Beach (0:37)
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A plane flying into St. Maarten airport (0:18)
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Our Honeymoon in St. Barths

Believe what you read.  St. Barths is really one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen (granted, it was the first time I've ever been out of the U.S....but definitely one of the most beautiful of all the pictures I've seen of other places.)  Allow me to convince you.

Flying into St. Maarten

Pictures of our Villa  (Villa Poiriers)
living room

kitchen

View from our front doors--isn't that incredible?!

Some of the most amazing views from our villa over the week:

Front porch of the villa, overlooking the sea

Side view of the villa (that's our driveway, pool and hot-tub)

Hot-tub

Pool

And there's the cute little villa

View from the pool deck

The dining experience on St. Barths was incredible.  French chefs are flown in to create the most wonderful meals on earth.  They even made me like fish.  I don't like fish.  The Wall House was my favorite restaurant we went to all week.  

We liked it so much we went there twice!  Here's the meal we had:

Cucumbers w/ a ginger foam (starter)

Wahoo w/ a lobster foam (appetizer)

Homemade Gnocchi (1st course)

Ben's main course: some kind of fish--I'll have to ask him--with wasabi (green) & ginger (red) flavored mashed potatoes

My main course: some chicken dish I forgot the name of--but it was really good (wrapped in a pastry)

St. Barths has 14 beaches.  We went to 7 of them: Flamands, St. Jean, Lorient, Grande Cul de Sac, Saline, Gouvernor, and Shell Beach. (Ben, am I missing any?)

St. Jean beach:

One night that week we went to a restaurant called Eden Rock (very famous landmark on the island--restaurant was built by the first governor or something like that).  Eden Rock is actually a resort with a connected restaurant.  

Fancy light writing in the sand

The Newlyweds at dinner

My short ribs

Ben's rooster (his favorite meal of the week---if you haven't had rooster before it tastes like very, very tender chicken)

St. Barths has terrible roads.  The entire island is made up of a bunch of mountains--so the roads have insanely steep slopes

Exhibit A:
 
and they aren't paved with asphalt, but with a bunch of huge slabs of really uneven concrete.  Oh, and did I mention that the two-lane roads are the size of one American lane??  And that locals get mad if you're not going 50kmh (significantly over the speed limit) around every curve that drops off straight to the ocean??  Seriously crazy drivers there.  But it was fun.  I recorded a couple of videos of us driving along, so here's one of them:
video

Our stylish (and mountain-climbing) ride of the week (Suzuki Ignis):

Flamands beach

Gouvernor beach

Scenic public entrance to Gouvernor beach

Look how clear that water is!

Newlyweds on Gouvernor beach

We spent a day touring Gustavia, the biggest town in St. Barths.  They have some big-name stores on the island:

Me, posing next to Dior

(If you can't see this picture, there's Hermes, Chopard, and Cartier all next to each other on the strip.)

Ben walking around town:

Shops along the streets of Gustavia: 

Then we went down to the harbor, where there were a few million-dollar yachts.  We didn't see any celebrities that week, but St. Barths is apparently a very popular celeb spot (esp. during the winter) because of its seclusion.


We came across the St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, built in 1855 and went inside to take a peek.

Then went to lunch at La Creperie.

My "Popeye" Crepe (with egg, bacon & amazing spinach and a salad on the side.)

Ben's steak tartar --yucky yucky, but he says he didn't mind it.

A view of Gustavia and the surrounding islands.

St. Barths airport.  Because the island is so small (and St. Maarten, too) the airport is located right off of a public beach so that when planes land, they are very close to people.  St. Barths only allows private jets because it is significantly smaller than St. Maarten.  It also costs a ton of money to fly in to St. Barths, so Ben and I took the hour-long ferry ride from St. Maarten to St. Barths (and back).  

Typical graveyard in St. Barths.  We only saw 2, but there may be more.  

On Friday, we went Scuba Diving.  I was really hesitant to do this, so the entire week I was telling Ben "I will not go."  By Thursday I started to realize just how badly he wanted to go scuba diving, so Friday morning I caved and said we could do it.  Boy am I glad I did.  I was scared of seeing sharks (which we didn't) and breathing underwater, but eventually my fears subsided as we went underwater and I began to see the life at the bottom of the sea.  It seemed like I was watching TV, but much cooler because I could touch everything.  The colors were vibrant and beautiful, much better than our crappy (and overpriced!) underwater disposable camera turned out.  But it was still such a fun experience and I can't wait to do it again.  (But Ben, for the record, I will NEVER scuba dive where there are any big sharks.  Not gonna happen.)

Ben and me all geared up to go diving.

We saw lots of barracuda.  But they kept their distance.  I think they must be pretty used to divers.

Me swimming

Ben swimming

Ben running underwater.  He always manages to make me laugh.

Back on land at Saline beach on Saturday.

Just look at that water.


Newlyweds at Saline beach.

The last sunset of the week.

Us on our front porch on the last night.

We got up early Sunday morning to take the early ferry to St. Maarten so that we could spend a few hours of the day on that island before our flight left for Charlotte, NC.  Here's the last picture of Gustavia in St. Barths as our ferry was leaving the harbor.

Once we got to St. Maarten, we found a place to eat breakfast (good old sausage and eggs, toast and home fries.)  Typical American breakfast--except this was the view from the restaurant:


I mentioned before that the airport of St. Maarten (just like St. Barths) is located right off of a public beach.  That means that people can be 40-50 feet under a landing airplane.  Here's one arriving:


...But what I didn't tell you was that the airport at St. Maarten is significantly bigger, and therefore 757's can be 40-50 feet above people on the beach as they are landing.

A sign located right on the beach.

Here's Ben in the orange shirt.  Keep a lookout for him in the next photo.

Now THAT is a huge plane.  And there's little-bitty Ben in the orange shirt.  Isn't that so crazy?  It was SO loud when that (our) plane arrived.

Newlyweds on the beach at St. Maarten.

And that's a quick sum-up of our amazing Honeymoon.  It's been a little tough to get back to reality after all of that, but I think once we move on Saturday (2 days!) to our new apartment, things will start coming into place.