Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aruba, Jamica, ooooh I wanna take ya.....

As I previously hinted, I recently returned from an amazing one week vacation in Aruba!!  My mom and Allen gave Pam and I this trip as our Christmas present last year and we have very patiently been waiting for this week to come!!  Mom and Allen have had a timeshare in Aruba for many years now and this is the third time the four of us have gone there together.  The week was SO RELAXING - it was incredible just to be able to wake up at whatever time we pleased, have a cup of coffee on the balcony, go for a run, hit the beach, read a book, catch some rays, wine/happy hour while we watched the sun go down and then dinner (and sometimes dessert!)

Finally on our way!
Pam and I both flew into Miami and got to sit together on the flight from Miami to Aruba (which is really only 2 hours - not a bad flight!)  Luckily, there wasn't a full flight and there was an empty seat between the two of us so we could spread out.  We ended up being delayed a few hours - a little over an hour of it was sitting in the plane waiting for them to fix some mechanical problems.
While we waited Pam played on her phone and I downloaded Instagram!
We arrived in Aruba and caught a taxi to the hotel where Mom and Allen were waiting for us.

Pam made endless fun of me for taking this picture....Welcome to Aruba!

Then I made fun of her for taking this picture....

The next morning (Saturday), we slept in a bit then decided to go on a run.  I was so excited to unplug from work and then guess what the first thing I see across the street from our hotel is.....
PwC in Aruba!

The area is so beautiful...our route included beach, harbor, shops, and casinos!  The harbor is so interesting - there are tiny fishing boats next to massive yachts (which I always love looking at to see their names and where they are from).

After morning work-outs we usually would go get a bite to eat for lunch.  There was also a new addition this year - Starbucks!!  I can't believe I've somehow made it through life without having a frappacino...I tried the caramel light version - YUM!  They also had a caramel apple crumble version that was pretty delicious.  I always thought I didn't like cold coffee, but these were definitely more like milkshakes.  :)  There were several little restaurants in a center right by our hotel - a place we loved called Cilo (short for City Lounge), a sushi place, and a really good Italian place where we would get pizza.  We ate at each of those a couple of times.

Lunch at Cilo

I don't think we dined indoors but once all week!  Love the weather!

The girls
Another lunch at Cilo
See those green Starbucks straws!  Must have been a frappacino day!

After lunch, we would generally head to the pool/beach area for some sun and some reading/relaxing. 
Matching cover ups

Pool with swim up bar
Not a bad view from the pool!
More beach
Our hotel 
One of the fun things about Aruba is it really does feel like another country (duh, Lyndsay) - a lot of people speak Dutch, they use a different currency (although they also take US Dollars), and its very tropical.  One of the things I learned when we were there is its only 19 miles from the coast of Venezuela.  There are lots of iguanas that roam around - to give you an idea, I took this picture from the balcony of our 5th floor room (i.e. these babies aren't small!) 

 Mom got us matching headbands to wear.  We laughed because for some reason my big head looked weird in it (or at least I think so), but I'll show you the pics anyway because mom and Pam look cute!

Me and momma

They also had a ferry you could take to a smaller island.

Ferry pick-up area
The beach on the smaller island had flamingos which were BEAUTIFUL.  Such vibrant colors and they were bigger than I was expecting.  They had feeders and the flamingos would literally come and eat out of your hands.

Pam took this sitting from her beach chair on the island!

Because we didn't always get the earliest start on the beach, we would usually stay out until the sun went down.  Some days we would head back to the condo and watch the sun go down from our balcony.  I must say, I think sunset was absolutely my favorite time of the day.  Everything was so peaceful and so beautiful. 

Just chillin'

Look at that view!

Look, hardly anyone around...So relaxing
Trying for an artistic shot..

Haha, being goofy!
I'm telling you...amazing

After sunset, we'd head head out to dinner (sometimes dressed up, sometimes just in our cover-ups - everyone was pretty casual).  We didn't have a car, so we just walked wherever we wanted to go. 

The girls before dinner

Pretending we're annoyed with the paparazzi

Dinner at the pizza place - my mom's favorite

They had live music that we just sat and enjoyed after dinner

Our last night, Mom and Allen took us to a nice dinner at a steak house (I had the filet...yummm...)  We also walked over to the casino to play our free play cards - of course, Mom ended up winning like $40 bucks on the slot machine - she'd win about $0.30 cents at a time and cash out each time - hilarious!

We joked b/c Pam and I both like being on the same side in pictures - I caved pretty much every time (seriously, look, she's almost always on my left - the right side of the picture).  This time, we were seated that way for dinner, but she still managed to show her "good side"

Last day...headed to the airport  :(

Our matching white pants...which we wore with no shame after Labor Day!

Another pic on the plane - so sad to be leaving  :(

 And now, just because I have no shame - I leave you with our awkward montage of individual shots.  We laughed all week at the weird pictures couples would take of each other standing by themselves, so we decided to try our hand at a few....

Overall, it was an incredible trip - a rest we all needed, wonderful conversations, time to just "be."  Thanks so much, Mom and Allen for such an incredible gift!!

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