It took five years, but we finally took a vacation last week. The kids stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.
Who knew the waters of the Caribbean could be so crystal-clear blue? The skies were overcast, the waters were choppy, but the rest was much needed.
We tramped the same ground that the Mayans once did, ogling their structures. We saw handprints made on structures by artisans 500 years ago. We saw the impressive planning and astronomy put to work to create a city at Tulum, Mexico.
We splashed in the ocean. We swam with stingrays. We rafted the Martha Brae River in Jamaica. Ask for Danny to guide you if you go. He was amazing, a font of knowledge who is supporting his large family on what he makes as a nature guide/raft leader.
We saw damage from Hurricane Ivan from September 2004.
We also saw some ungrateful, racist fools who don't understand that an impoverished nation simply can't be held to their standards of the U.S. We saw others who felt it their right to berate our cruise ship staff for: Not having every NASCAR race on the satellite connection we had for TV, not having smoking rooms on board, and not accepting that it might be a fire hazard, not realizing that the staff can't make an exception to allow their family to join an on-shore excursion that is booked.
It is no wonder a good chunk of the world thinks Americans are ungrateful louts. I saw more than a few.
But then I also saw kindness and patience from other passengers.
The best part of the trip: The look of absolute happiness on my son's face when he turned to look at Grandpa and instead saw Mom and Dad turn into the driveway after we'd been gone for nine days.