MITSUGIRLY'S birthday cruise on the JADE review/pictorial
Day 1: Flying to Houston and spending the night before our cruise
Hello. It's me again and time for another review. SURPRISE! :D It was an unplanned trip for my 50th birthday and only booked a week prior to cruising.
Now everyone knows what a planner I am. I research for months and months before picking the perfect place to go in port. A lot of time an effort goes into it. Whoops! Not this time. However, thank goodness for it being ports we have been to many times because you already know I have researched the heck out of these ports previously. Therefore, poof...just pick a place we haven't went to before that might have been #2 on the list the last time. :D
We had been trying to find something "special" to do for my 50th birthday. I wanted to get out of town somewhere for maybe an extended weekend. We had searched places like going to Vegas, Orlando and Disney, to a beach in Florida, Cancun and even searched San Juan. Right when I was ready to book something, hubby told me not to...he discovered the Jade had unbeatable prices for the day of my birthday and the hubby said "DO IT!!" and therefore I did. We did not even tell Sakari until she figured it out on the way to the airport. :D
I never dreamed this would happen, especially with us getting ready to leave the following month on a cruise already booked. I was so excited!! But yet nervous. I'm in school again, getting another degree, and this cruise week would fall right in the middle of my second week for this class I just started and I was also in another class in the 7th week. :eek: I completely busted my "rump" and tried to get as much research done, downloaded onto a flash drive to take with me, and crossed my fingers and toes that I would be able to complete my multiple APA papers, discussion board post/responses and research...all while sailing the seas. :o It would be interesting to say the least.
So...here it is Friday, the day we leave to fly to Houston, Texas. I still have patients to see and Sakari still had school. I raced around trying to see all of my patients and get done early and was lucky enough to have a few cancellations that day. Woo hoo! On the way home, I stopped to pick up Sakari. "But why are you picking me up early?" I told her "I have things to do." She said, with a puzzled look on her face, "But you are allowed to do things without me." LOL Geesh child.
Now we have been packing for our March cruise for about a week prior and Sakari new the luggage was out for that. She really didn't think anything about it when daddy started carrying them downstairs. She went off to her living room and started watching a movie. Daddy snuck them out to the car and we told her "Let's go". She headed outside and....disappeared! We found her out back playing with the neighbor kids. :eek: Are you serious??? Let's go!! She said she really didn't want to go and could she stay home. Oh my gosh child...get in the car! She reluctantly comes to the car to get in. "Wait, why are their suitcases in the car??? Wait, you can't fool me. We are going on a cruise aren't we?" :eek: She said "You fooled me once and I know what you are doing and you won't fool me again." She caught us. She was excited and ready to go now.
We made it to the airport and parked the car then shuttled over to the terminal. Someone was excited!
But wait, I feel as if I'm missing something...oh gosh, my "eye" phone is still on the charger in my car! Geesh. So, we went ahead and checked in our luggage and headed back out to catch the shuttle back to the car to get my phone. Blooper #1.
One good thing about owning a business (the hubby) is the awesome Southwest Business card we have. Everything gets charged from the business on there and we rack up the points so quickly that 1) He gets the companion pass and flies everywhere for free with me and 2) we have so many points that Sakari and I also get to fly for free using the points. Woo Hoo.
However, when you are a companion, your perks stop at the "flying for free" part. Sakari and I got to go in the "quick-don't-remove-your-shoes-or-anything-and-walk-on-in" line and they hubby had to wait in the "regular line". Oops. Oh well. We had to make a potty visit anyhow.
We started boarding at 4:30pm and Sakari and I had Business Select. We were the 4th & 5th ones on the plane and got prime real estate in the second row. The hubby didn't get to board until the "C" sections were called thanks to me thinking that since we all booked together that meant he gets to come with us and I didn't need to sign him in. Oops. I guess I'll know better next time.
Now some may think this is a bad thing, since you are actually not allowed to "save" seats on Southwest. HOWEVER, having a young child has it's advantages with that issue. I can guarantee that everyone looking for a seat on a booked full flight will pass up a mother with her young daughter sitting in a 3 row seat! Yep, I played that well. Hubby came along and his seat was still waiting for him.
Our plan was to take off at 5:00pm...but it was now 5:10pm and they made an announcement that they were waiting on 3 passengers that should be on the plane and haven't showed up???? Are you serious?? They never waited on us the time we missed our flight (due to Kendra, my daughter) and there were 8 of us that time!!!).
Anyhow...they waited and no one showed so we were off.
Sakari always insist on the window seat (but had an issue with us sitting up front because she likes the "wing" area). HA! Not when I (didn't) paid for business select seats. We're getting in the front!!
It was time for take off and she wanted to hold my hand. I have to admit, last month we did a Netflix marathon of watching some series of airplane crashes and what went wrong and she was really into the shows. Although this might have made her a little nervous, she didn't show it...other than wanting to hold my hand.
She said "Aww, mommy...make a heart with our hands for good luck".
We were up in the sky and on our way. The sun was out and the moon was too.
Since this was a last minute vacation, that meant we were not able to snag a non-stop flight. We had to change planes in Georgia. According to our wifi connection on the plane, there was going to be a short 10 minute delay on our next flight. However...not the case. We got there and just made it to the next gate and they were boarding. I was coming out of the restroom and they were already boarding and business select had already been called. Grrrr!
Once on the plane, we were still able to get prime real estate in the third row anyhow. The hubby had a "B" ticket this time. Sakari and I would sit in the seat and I would tell her to stand up so that everyone passing by could see her and pass our row up until daddy arrived. LOL! (When she was sitting down, it looked like there were an extra 2 seats in my row and we couldn't have that).
Since our flights were late, it was getting dark out. We don't get to fly in the dark often, but when we do, I actually enjoy it. I love to see the lights down below.
I could tell we were getting close when the amount of lights increased.
We booked our stay at the Drury and got a pretty decent price on it. We have stayed at the Drury many times before, in different locations, and always enjoy them. This time, we would get there too late for the free dinner snacks and would have to find a place to eat.
We called the hotel to let them know we had arrived and was waiting outside. The lady said she'd let the shuttle guy know and hung up the phone. UM....hello??? Where am I supposed to go to wait for him??? Hello??? Sigh.
We ask around and one of the airport workers told us the "area" that hotel shuttle pick-ups were located and off we went. The shuttle arrived within 15 minutes and off we went. He was super nice...and super old. He could not even lift our luggage into the van and my hubby did it. But a real nice guy that was loaded with information. He also stated this lady at the reception that answered the phone when we called (and hung up on me) was new and he would have a talk with her about letting guest know where to met for the shuttle before hanging up). This guy worked the 3rd shift until 7am and enjoyed his job. We ask him where to get food this late and said there was a taco place directly across the street from the hotel that he thought was pretty good. He said it was a Taco Bell on steroids type of place. Then were was a Mexican restaurant right next door as well. He said new management had taken over and although he hadn't been yet, he was told they played really loud music, the food was good, and they only spoke Spanish. Um ok...do we feel adventurous tonight? You bet we did!
We arrived at the hotel and checked in, got our key cards and headed to the room.
I'll show you around the hotel (note some pictures were taken the following day in the daylight obviously).
They did still have the free popcorn out. The hubby said he'd just take the entire thing because he was starved. However, I was looking for much more of a variety of food and I kinda wanted it to be hot.
They do have free pop (or soda for you southerners or Coke for those in Texas).
We made it to our room. It was nice and comfortable. They said they had recently remodeled the hotel and rooms.
We had a room with 2 queen sized beds (although they really didn't feel like they were a queen, they assured me that they were). Of course the first thing I do is start checking for bugs.... all good!
I would not discover until much later that it was actually a hidden door to the refrigerator. LOL Those sneaky little devils.
So our bellies were telling us we needed to head out for food before it got too late. As I said earlier, we decided to be adventurous and try the Mexican restaurant next door. It was time to get in the mood to visit Mexico and I LOVE Mexican food.
We walked in and was asked tres? Si. We were taken to our seats on the opposite side of the room. Along the "walk" we could see everyones eyes upon us. Who might these foreign people be in our local establishment?
Our waitress approached us with the menus. "que quieres beber?" Oh gosh, this is were I wished I would have taken Spanish more than 1 year back in High School. The only reply I could think of was "No hable Espanol" She pointed at the menu, did a hand to mouth sign and ahhhh, yea...what do we want to drink.
So, I ordered a diet coke, Sakari a Sprite and the hubby said "Mountain Dew"...which translated to them something totally different. LOL
Mount-an-dew = Mo-del-o "Ok, close enough" the hubby said.
I tried forever to try to ask the waitress about a "sampler platter" with a little of everything on it. Man-o-man did that provide to be a task. Everything...all of it? Most of it? Some of it? Um...todo? Ahhh, pictures are you best friend if you have them. I pointed, she pointed, I just agreed and hoped for the best. The hubby found a platter of chicken something or other and pointed.
My "platter of todo" came...WOW...there was a lot. I shared with Sakari and we were both EXTREMELY happy and fulfilled. Wow it was muy bien. (I remember that word).
Daddy's plate, which Sakari also needed to share some of his chicken, was also good according to both of them.
His plate was loaded and only $6!!! He said "just what I like. Great Mexican food for dirt cheap!"
Sakari's second plate:
Our shuttle driver was right, limited English and very loud music, but we enjoyed it, even though we couldn't understand a word of it. It was great food and a good night. We walked out with our bellies full and pleased. So if you stay at the Drury, definitely try this place if you want Mexican food.
We headed back to our room and got ready for bed. There was a time change from home to here ♪"deep in the heart of Texas"♪♫ clap clap clap clap and we were tired. So, off to bed we went.