Vacation ’09

After our ill-fated attempt at procreation back in ’07, Aaron and I found ourselves sitting in Red Lobster, facing a second chance at DINKness (dual income, no kids). Eventually, after some discussion, we decided to do something crazy, something we never thought we’d be able to swing: a week-long vacation to Japan.

It was the best vacation EVER.

It beat the crap out of our previous vacation to Amish Country, or the mix-n-match week of daytrips from the year before that. Despite the ass-long plane trip, our week in Tokyo was everything we’d hoped it would be. Culturally fascinating, with fantastic food and geeky shopping like you wouldn’t believe.

How to follow that up? How about the other vacation destination we never thought we’d be able to afford: Hawaii. Beautiful weather, outdoor activities like parasailing and snorkeling, bus tours, a Polynesian theme park, and Japanese food. Again, long-ass plane ride, but ultimately worth it.


Now we’ve done the two trips we really, really wanted to take in our lifetimes. We have another year to take another potentially over-the-top trip… but neither of us are wowed solely by breathtaking landscapes or fantastic weather. There needs to be places to go, things to do, and preferably some sort of nearby walkable civilized / metropolitan area. Since Aaron had to put in for his vacations so early this year, we’re locked into traveling in either May or August.

Our two awesome vacations were awesome for completely different reasons. Hawaii was more of an outdoor adventure, while Tokyo was a geeky paradise for lovers of the Japanese culture. Maybe it’s just because we’re at the beginning of winter, but I’m recalling how much I really enjoyed being in the tropics. Warm breezes, perfect temps, sunshine, beaches… not that Tokyo in May was unpleasant by any means. So, while there are plenty of places I’d like to check out in Europe (especially England and Ireland), I think they’re going to be pushed to the back burner, in favor of some fun in the sun.

I think I’m just jonesing for a getaway, and that’s putting me in vacation-planning mode. I’m trying to balance price and flight length with potential vacation awesomeness, and am coming up with either the Caribbean or Mexico / Central America. I mean, Hong Kong would be great, but that’s a loooong trip for more money than it cost to go to Tokyo. Fiji might be neat, too, but is it 20 hours and $3000 worth of neat? I highly doubt it.

San Jose, Costa Rica seems kind of far from the beach, although it looks like there’s some awesome white water rafting. Belize is a possibility, as English is the official language, and there’s interesting things to do like cave tubing and snorkeling. Puerto Vallarta might be fun — whale watching, swimming with dolphins, hot air ballooning, and jungle boogie-ing. One of the islands of the Caribbean might even be do-able: Aruba, or Jamaica, or St. Lucia.

I’m not entirely opposed to doing the touristy thing; in fact, I’ve enjoyed most of the touristy things we’ve done. I just like to have the option to just walk out of my hotel and find out where the locals go, or have an adventure I hadn’t planned.

I guess I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed. We’ve done the top two trips, right out of the gate. Now the rest of the world is waiting.

2 thoughts on Vacation ’09

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  1. how do you feel about cruises?

    food and drinks are covered, you get to visit MANY beaches and attractions, and you get to meet other people. and they’re usually pretty cheap!

    just do a Caribbean cruise or the tropics of your choice!

  2. If you are looking to rub elbows with the locals, St Lucia is the way to go. We never felt pressured or threatened. And the locals were by far the nicest of any country we’ve been in. Jamaica’s locals are far too dangerous to rub elbows with (on our excursions, we had an armed escort following behind in another car). Also, Oprah Winfrey named St. Lucia’s Pitons as the #1 place to visit in one’s lifetime (and she has done a lot of traveling in her life, so she is an authority on the subject). St Lucia’s has a snorkeling site that was named in the top 10 caribbean sites (it was amazing). In St. Lucia, you can vist a small fishing village (Anse La Raye) and Hike through the Rainforest, visit banana plantations, you can eat lunch at a mountainside eatery overlooking the breathtaking Pitons, and drink water from the coconut, you may also get to see some of the filming locations from ‘Romancing the Stone’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. I would recommend staying at the Sandals Grande St Lucian. The first thing they give you when you arrive at the hotel is a cold towel to cool yourself, and a cold glass of champagne. You and Aaron will eat romantic dinners every night. In fact, eating at ‘Barefoot by the Sea’ was one of the most romantic experiences of my life. Caribbean cuisine with the Caribbean tide coming in a few feet away. You have access (free shuttle rides) to two other Sandals locations for a total of 16 gormet restaurant choices – many serving local Caribbean cuisine. The entertainment at the resort was top notch (steel drums, Ronald “boo” hinkson, fire eaters, dancing, limbo). Also, the island has a ‘Volcano’, and botanical gardens, which are pretty cool. And you will likely get to sample the local fruits (fresh cut sugar cane, pineapple, banana, mango julie, guave, starfruit, etc). Each year, St Lucia hosts a Jazz festival which is just a short walk away from the resort we stayed at. They also host a ‘Carnival’ (similar to Mardi Gras) each year. You should check out our St. Lucia vacation video, if you are seriously considering the Caribbean.