Thursday, August 17, 2006

Vacations, Honeymoons and Us!

Greetings all. I think it's time for a quick update, else I risk disappointing my loyal readership of at least 2 persons.

In a nutshell, we're back from Vegas where we had a fun time, lost money, drank cocktails and generally just wandered about. I enjoy Vegas, but I have about a 3 day max time there before I'm ready to come home to the California trees. Because of this, I continue to find curiosity in all of the people who are relocating there. It's booming. Not like there aren't nice houses and sure, there's nightlife and the taxes are nill, but it just is not my cup of tea. Wen and I did manage to have a great time for our limited stay, however, which included show tickets to see "O" at the Bellagio. I'd highly recommend it!

The hard part about vacations - and even mini vacations - is that you're expected to snap out of them just as fast as you're lured in. And suddenly the realities of life hit... work, family, chores, home repairs, money. They're life's 84 problems. They'll always be there. One will resolve only to be replaced by another, so really, vacations are just a tool to help me cope with "the big 84". I guess the point I'm making is that vacations are not so much life altaring as they are enriching and delightful. It's hard sometimes to come back and it can feel pretty overwhelming when work is piled high, but vacation reminds me that I still have a sense of wonder.

Now that we are back home, Wen is sick, I'm training a new assistant, we don't have further information about Wen's dad yet (only that he's back home now and feeling better), we're both working way too hard and my house is still torn up (missing ceilings and walls). And still, it just doesn't seem so bad. The obstacles feel smaller.

This is why, amidst life, I am eager to plan our next vacation. My next salvation from the big 84... and what bigger vacation to plan than a honeymoon?! But where to start? There are sooooo many possibilities. Well, I began thinking about planning a trip that includes many of the things that Wen and I enjoy doing together (and things that would be important or memorable to each of us). What I narrowed it down to is this: Wen has been talking for nearly a year about wanting to go and see her grandma in New York. She hasn't seen her in awhile and as we know from recent happenings with her dad, sometimes life is unpredictable and it's really important to cease opportunities when they present. Add grandma to the list. Secondly, we both love to dance! - no secret. Other likes? Well, we are both fans of history... we both enjoy museums and things of a different era; fancy vintage clothing, old music and radio broadcasts, photos and historic homes (like mine! yes, it needs some TLC, but it's so cool to take a bath in an old cast iron tub surrounded by original 1930's tile floor) .

Other things that could inspire our honeymoon: Wen did her Master's degree in French and hasn't had an opportunity to speak it in quite some time. She's been talking of France and though we've found a couple of good French restaurants, I don't think it's quite the same. So... perhaps someplace French speaking would be good.

Another of our more recent discoveries is the absolute joy of taking a cruise. Well, the right cruise anyway. Repeat - "good cruise". We sailed to Alaska in 2005 and combined the pampering with long hikes, kayaking and whale watching. In 2006, we saw parts of the eastern carribean where we snorkeled, explored a remote island, learned the history of San Juan, Puerto Rico and walked through sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic. Many of our explorations were off the beaten path and some were in areas we wouldn't normally travel were it not for the ease of a cruise ship. It's very cool to hike all day long, eat an amazing meal in the evening, dance the night away and then fall asleep so that you can wake up the next morning in another country. C'est romantique! (I think that means, "it is romantic". Either that or, "I find your pig romantic". Come to think of it, it could be either. Bear with me.)

Okay... so back to the honeymoon. I may have found the ideal trip. We fly to New York on a Friday afternoon, arriving late. We spend Saturday and part of the day on Sunday visiting with Wen's grandma before boarding the Queen Mary 2 for a 6 night transatlantic crossing. For those of you who aren't familiar with the QM2, it's described as the classic oceanliner experience for those who missed it the first time around. It has the biggest ballroom at sea and yes, people still do get all dressed up in tuxedos for dinner. Oh, and did I mention that they have "dance camp?"... hee hee. Yes, on the June 10th crossing you can take your choice of lessons, offered 5 hours per day by championship ballroom dancers. Okay, so it might be hosted by the geriadancers (as in geriatric), but I've checked in with the fiance and she doesn't seem to care anymore than I do. Anyway, the geriatric part is only speculation on my part. I hear that the QM2 attracts a rather affluent sort of crowd, and my guess, based on my own pocketbook, is that they most likely aren't all in my age category.

The ship would arrive in London the following Saturday where we would spend at least a couple of days before heading off to Paris where we would stay for as long as we can arrange time off of work!

Ahhh... yes, it does sound dreamy. Wen and I went to Logos lastnight and thumbed through all of the books on historic oceanliners. They're so beautiful (unless you stayed in steerage). And although the QM2 is new (christened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004), she is the first oceanliner built specifically for transatlantic voyages in nearly 40 years and is customed after her predecessors in the same British fleet (Cunard). Now sure... do we want to eat sheppard's pie for lunch? Maybe not. But would we enjoy taking afternoon tea in the main ballroom, learning all of the names for the finger sandwiches, appreciating the old patterns of china and dancing to a full orchestra everynight? You betcha. One person's nightmare is another girl's dream.

And in France, we could stroll the cobblestone streets, eat lots of cheese and baguettes, drink champagne and then make love (not in the cobblestone streets). We might buy a painting from a local artist and wander down the river... Wen would speak amazing French, communicating my heart's every desire to those who stop long enough to listen. They might think she is just a crazy woman with a strong accent, but I will know that she is speaking "Z internationale language ov love".

We could see 2 statues of liberty on the trip. One in NY on the way, and it's sister in Paris. Cool. Which is prettier?... IMHO, they are both beautiful in their own way. Nobody makes a big deal of seeing the statue in Paris like they do in NY and if you didn't know that it was a black statue (and much smaller in stature), you could mistake it for something else entirely. Still, I don't think I'd go to Paris without trying to see Lady Liberty.

So what's the downside to this grande plan? Well, cost, I suppose. We have been talking of planning our wedding and had decided that we would really love to have a formal dance reception... a jolly opportunity for some of our favourite folks to come out in their good clothes, toast a couple of glasses and kick up their heels with wild abandon. And while that sounds so lovely, the QM2 isn't cheap and neither is the additional dance camp, London or Paris. So folks, we are at a point of decision-making in this grande plan and we will need to sleep on it for a bit. We may actually need to "economize", albeit sad. Well, whatever we choose, it'll be a great time and it will be something that is forever in our hearts.


Blogger heather said...

that does sound fun. i hope you can work it out!

12:01 AM  
Blogger gs said...

I take it you are the planner of the pair. :)

Your honeymoon sounds fabulous. This past Spring I took an Atlantic crossing cruise. Honestly, I came to it with a little trepidation. Six days with nothing to do? I knew the North Atlantic would be too cold to lay out in the sun or use the pool (tip: Don't waste your money on a balconey -- it will probably be too cold to sit out), there were obviously no ports of call, and on my cruise there was no big ballroom dancing gig. I don't know how to dance, anyway. So what would I do with six days with nothing to do?

The answer was, I did nothing. Glorious nothing. Six days of relaxing nothing. It was wonderful. Brings books (if you like to read), sleep late, eat and drink, and of course you will dance.

And even better, when you get to Europe, not only will you be relaxed and recharged and ready to go, but you won't have any jet lag. You'll have adjusted to the time change an hour a day, spread out over the whole crossing. I tell you, this is the way to cross the Atlantic! I wish I could have crossed back the same way, but alas, I had to return on a ten-hour flight from Venice to Philadelphia.

You will have a wonderful time! I really, really hope it happens for you. And I'm jealous. :)

4:55 AM  

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