Feeling a bit morose today, so it is a bittersweet trip down memory lane remembering the holidays that we took together. We always had the best time, a lot of fun, and would spoil ourselves, staying at the most wonderful places. Now that memories are all I have left, I'm so grateful that we did. I'd hate it if we'd been boring and spent it on the mortgage because I'd feel bad that he didn't experience the magical places that we visited, and I wouldn't be able to wrap myself up in the warm memories. It's probably because it's July and it's sunny outside, that I'm thinking about our trips away.
Oh, and the small matter of our impending wedding anniversary on the 21st. Oh sweet Jesus, WTF am I going to do on that day? Ignore it and go to work? Get shit-faced? Get deep, dark and sad? Ululate? Commemorate it by overcoming one of the hurdles on my "ought to try to do list"? Stay in bed? Watch lots of DVDs in the genre of P.S. I Love You? Go and see some friends? I have no idea. Clueless and lost on this one. But I do know that I have to have a game plan otherwise I will sink and fast.
Here are some of the places that we vacationed at:
Dominican Republic - http://www.vpapel.net/vpapel/catalogos/san_juan_en/index.htm
(Cliff proposed to me here) He convinced me to go white water rafting and we loved it, also went on a Monster Safari Truck drive ... the scenery is stunning, the people are beautiful and the island is still relatively unspoiled. This resort had the beach that you imagine the perfect Caribbean beach to be. Cliff confiscated any bills from me - I was only allowed coins, because I kept giving any money in my purse away to the children there. One magical memory is a catamaran trip where we saw a massive turtle (approx the size of a small car in surface area) and sitting on the beach in Sosua, enjoying a chilled tall drink, only the two of us on the actual beach, candles, a stray dog to feed, and the moon shining through the palm tree at us.
Jamaica - http://www.couples.com/00propTOUR/ct01.htm (got married here)
Jamaica - http://www.couples.com/00propTOUR/ct01.htm (honeymooned here)
Paris - he wouldn't let me book the Georges V and I can't remember the name of the hotel we stayed in, but we did go to the Moulin Rouge for our first wedding anniversary - http://www.moulinrouge.fr/Videos/popup_show.htm We were so close to the stage that if you smiled at the dancers, they smiled back at you. The show is fantastic and lives up to the movie of the same name. Cliff laughed till tears ran down his face because I freaked out ... I thought (and I still believe) that the snakes that the girl swims with in the aquarium (which comes out of the stage during the show) were REAL and were going to escape. I was SCREAMING. He said they were mechanical.
Hong Kong - http://www.harbour-plaza.com/en/fac_detail.aspx?hotel_id=hphk§ion_id=fac&subsection_id=recreation&fac_id=swimming_pool this had an amazing glass rooftop swimming pool that made you feel as though you were going to fall into Hong Kong Harbour. This whole place STINKS but is fascinating. And the food is NOTHING like Chinese food at home. We survived on room service and the good old Aussie restaurant chain "Outback". This is also where I introduced Cliff to some Triads which was interesting. I also insisted on going into a bar for a drink because I was thirsty and he was trying hard to convince me to walk a little farther ... to discover that it was a brothel (yes, he'd realized beforehand) but no matter ... they told me all the best shops and markets to visit for the best deals.
Gozo - http://www.vintagetravel.co.uk/gozo_area_information.cfm where we hired a beautiful villa with the prettiest pool near the famous temple of Ggantija. http://www.maltavista.net/en/list/photo/1029.html We also visited Malta for a day to see the hospital where Cliff was born.
Amsterdam - where we stayed in a fleapit of a hotel which was dirt cheap, but had fun taking in the nightlife, en route to stay with Cliff's sister
Western Caribbean Cruise - stopping in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Mexico: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/ships/class/ship/home.do?shipCode=NV to celebrate my 40th birthday. We disembarked in Ocho Rios to visit the resort where we'd got married two years previously and were greeted by the staff like long-lost family :-) We only saw around one fifth of this ship - it was unreal. Our suite had a balcony and it was pure heaven, incredibly relaxing. Every morning we'd bring back milk, cream, juice and fresh fruit so that Cliff could fix us both cocktails - yummy.
New Orleans - http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/NewOrleansRoyalOrleans.aspx I wanted to move here because every house had a rottweiler (and we had one then) ... till Cliff suggested that I question WHY every house there had a rottweiler! It's like Disneyland for adults, and I'm so happy now that I bought Cliff some confederate banknotes and a piece of eight for his coin and note collection. He'd dreamed of owning these banknotes since he was a little boy when he used to collect the bubblegum version of the same.
The one main common denominator in all of these holidays is this. We never argued. We smiled and laughed a LOT and we enjoyed each other and our surroundings, always managing to get down and dirty with the locals rather than simply experiencing the almost clinical image that especially the Caribbean tries to impose on you. It's a shame to miss the real side of life here. That said, I'm like a child in a drug dealing, gun-running, poverty-stricken den, and oblivious to all of the dangers. Cliff on the other hand actually looked like a Bolivian drug baron when he was tanned ... and he was always very aware of his surroundings, and incredibly street-wise. I think this enabled us to go just about anywhere, with this ying/yang view, that was our very own, on the world.
We had wanted to go to Australia for a month, but not till we could justify paying out for Business Class seats. So, I'm going next year, albeit flying economy ... and there'll be no more 5 star all inclusive beach resorts for me, nor further holidays in the Caribbean - it was "our magical place" and wouldn't feel right. The other place on our "wishlist" was Mexico ... with the highlight being a trip to see Chichen Itca - I've decided not to pursue this one because it would be too painful ... like self-imposed masochistic torture. But I AM going to travel - I always have, and he'd want me to ... it's just that I'll be staying with old boarding school friends now ... and let's face it, I need supervizing.