vacation wrap-up: part 1

first, i’ve got to tell you we loved the cayman islands.  it’s a different country, but doesn’t really feel like it.  there are so many americans and europeans, both vacationing and working there.  english is the language, and pretty much every place will take us dollars (but will give you change in cayman dollars), so no worries about exchanging money.  it’s super easy to get around – we took cabs, buses (which are minivans!), and even rented a car.  and we felt safe the entire time.  it’s not a destination where you have to stay on the hotel property or be scared for your life.  it gets two big thumbs up from us.

we arrived on grand cayman island on a thursday in the late afternoon.  we hit it off with our cabbie and got some recommendations – we always like to try something a little local yocal.  he brought us to the westin, where our room got upgraded – thank you very much front-desk-guy.  i think he thought jared was cute.  we didn’t care about the why – we were just happy to see this…

we spent the rest of that day getting our bearings and trying to plan what we wanted to do while we were there.  we woke up the next day bright and early and headed to the beach.  oh my goodness, that water.  seriously, how can it be so blue!?!

after a few hours by the ocean (even with loads of sunblock), we decided not to press our luck and to get out of the sun.  off we went to a brand new development called camana bay.  it’s a big outdoor shopping area with restaurants, a movie theatre, and retail shops.  there were only about 10 shops open, but it won’t be long before this is a booming area.  the restaurants along the water were really nice, and it sounds like there are more to come.  first stop was the observation tower.  beautiful shutters on the outside, and an unbelievable mosaic that ran up the entire five-story building.

there are a couple of hammocks in the area, of which we happily took advantage.

it was really windy – the petals on the top of my dress are going crazy here…

it appears we took advantage of all the seating there.  it was vacation after all!  i felt like a little kid in this gigantic chair.

we decided to kill some time so we wouldn’t eat dinner at 4.00 – hey, we had skipped lunch! – so we poked around a few of the shops.  bedside manor was a cute place with lots of linens and some unique little gifts.

next stop – books & books.  i don’t know what it is about a book store, but i could stay in one for hours.  this one didn’t disappoint, and we each left with a book – the help, which i mentioned earlier this week.  (i did forget to tell you that i saw the movie last weekend too.  it was really good, but the book (as usual) is better.  it’s just hard to squeeze all the details into a 2 hour movie.)

then it was off to michael’s genuine food & drink for our early dinner at 5.oo – oh boy, are we old.  we were the only ones in in the restaurant for like an hour.  they had these really cool light fixtures – like little planets that hung over each table.

the next few days were filled with the beach,

a birthday (thanks mom and dad for the late night birthday cake!),

and watching this guy run up and down the beach every day.  think he’s been out in the sun much?

are you still with me?  this is a long one, so kudos if you made it through.  more to come on the second half of our little vacay.

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