Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saint Thomas - Day 1

It's vacation time! We're going to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. We had to get up first thing in the morning at 4am. I got like 3 hours of sleep the night before doing cost comparison for wedding items (so many things to order!).

The next morning we got up, surprising full of energy. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you tell yourself the next day is vacation day. I think it's all really psychological, like how you have to literally drag yourself out of bed on Monday mornings and then dose yourself with 10 cups of coffee.

What better way to start the day than...Mickey D's! This was at 7am at LaGuardia Airport.

Hubby got the sausage eggs McGriddle with a hash brown and iced coffee.

I got a cup of drip Joe's and banana from a popular coffee stand (forgot the same). It was micro-brewed and very rich. The banana costed $1.50 but very worth it.

We had a connecting flight in North Carolina. I fell asleep on our first plane ride, sleep/caffeine- deprived and all. 

Bagel Shop

On our layover was in North Carolina, we grabbed some lunch at the bagel shop beside our gate. They have a wide selection of freshly toasted bagels and baguette sandwiches.

Hubby got a club sandwich with ham, lettuce and onions on toasted hoagie bread.

I got a veggie tomatza, which is a grilled bagel dipped in tomato sauce and covered with mozzarella, green peppers, olive and onions.

Veggie Tomatza

True to its name, it really did taste like a veggie pizza, except without as much tomato sauce as normally found on a pizza. I still enjoyed it though, because the bagel (might have been water-boiled) was chewy and tasted pretty nice with the mild cheese. I did have to squirt some ketchup over it for extra flavor.

We only had 45 min before our next flight, which was when I discovered there's free wifi! Oh well. The next ride I dozed off again for a bit, and then for the rest of the time I admired the wonderful view outside the plane, awaiting for our touchdown.

Cloud Nine

During snack time, I gave hubby the last of my maple leaf cookies, which he had with his Sprite. I got some orange juice, and then mixed it with the ginger ale.

The mixture (around a 4:3 ratio of OJ:pop) was fruity and bubbly, like an orange-flavored Martinelli.


I got some work done on my ride (I know, I'm starting to become a workaholic again).


After our snacks, it was time for touchdown. I was kind of bummed that they didn't give out any free snacks like other airlines, but it was fine because I was awaiting island food!

Island sighting!

Around 20 min before touchdown we began to see land. It was beautiful, almost like watching the earth from space. Never thought mother nature could look so lovely. I wondered what it would be like to be a castaway on one of these islands.

The touchdown was a bit freaky because it looked like a water landing. The landing strip was right beside the waters, so from our view the plane almost landed in the waters! But thankfully we touched down on ground.

Their airport was a bit shabby, almost like a makeshift airport with a few airlines, baggage pickup and a cafe. We got a special shuttle over to our hotel, the Marriott Frenchman's Reef. It's a newly renovated hotel that is French/Grecian inspired, with a touch of island decor.

Hand-woven fans

Our room was located in the Harbor Wing of the hotel, and we had to carry our luggage down the stairs. There's about 5 or 6 individual buildings, because the resort is humongous with like 300 rooms, three pools, four restaurants, a spa...

Our room btw was uber spacious! It has a nicely furnished bathroom, bedroom and a balcony!

First thing we did after dropping our bags down was to hit the beach. You have to go down a long flight of stairs before reaching Morningside Beach. On our way day, we saw a couple of iguanas lazily lying around, soaking up the sun.

Like my tan?

Iguanas don't actually bite - they just eat mosquitoes and plants all day. Although they look intimidating, they're actual benign creatures who help get rid of annoying bugs.

I didn't except the waters to be so warm and salty. (You can imagine that it doesn't feel great at all having salt water up your nose). The waves were huge as well, crashing alongside the shores. Once I even got knocked over on my side by a giant wave.

After being batted around by the waves, we hit the pool to cool off. The pool is a lot more chill than the ocean water. There's a bar nearby the pool, so a lot of people sipped their pina coladas while swimming in the pool. A little boy came by and started playing water polo with us with a beach ball.

After swimming we grabbed some dinner at Sunset Grill, which is the in-house restaurant. It's a gorgeous view overlooking the bay.

The restaurant is outdoors with an overhead cover, and overlooks the bay. Luckily, we got to see the sunset as we dined.

We also spotted a giant cruise ship. There's apparently a lot of these around the area.

A giant cruise ship

While enjoying the view, Hubby got a ginger ale and I an iced tea.

Iced Tea

After a while, the waitress brought over some warmed bread rolls with butter.

Rolls with butter

Hubby ordere the catch of the day - mahi mahi.

Mahi-mahi with asparagus

I wasn't feeling all that hungry, so I got some milestone soup and a Caesar salad.

Milestrone Soup

After half an hour of waiting, our dishes finally came. By this time, three tables had already settled down and one had finished dining (they just got their food when we came in). I guess everything operates by island time here.

The soup was pretty good, except there were hardly any veggies in there at all. You almost have to eat this with your bread or else you'll go away hungry as you came in.

The mahi-mahi though was overrated. It came in a teensy-weensy little wedge, with a few pieces of grilled asparagus and half a tomato. The meat tasted fresh, but not much flavor except some lemon and salt. Everything must be uber expensive on this island, because for just that, it was $35.

Caesar Salad with Perciono shavings

The salad was surprisingly good. It was a bit on the salty side with the percionio shavings. But the lettuce was fresh and crunchy.

Everything was overpriced, especially given how small the portions were. The total bill came up to $70 or so, which of course could have got you a cartload of food at your local grocer's. Oh well, I guess you're paying for the view.

The night sky looked beautiful against the swinging palm trees. The houses across the from the hotel shimmered with night lights, like little candles shimmering in the night.

Night time harbor

On our way back, we spotted a marmalade kitty perched inside the tropical groves beside the hotel edge. It was pretty cute, although this picture makes it look kind of haunted.

Good kitty

All and all, a wonderful landing in the land of relaxation. A good night's rest, and a wonderful day awaits tomorrow.

Sunset Grill
** (2 out of 5 stars)

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