First: We stayed at a hotel that was a stone's throw away from the filming location of this movie. It was beautiful (the hotel). The filming location-not so beautiful, but still very intriguing. I love to go to very old places, and walk around all the history. So, we went. And it was all fenced off. A local told us that when the owner of the land passed away, it was sold, and someone turned it into a restaurant for awhile. Then it was closed down, and now it is in shambles and all fenced off. It is rather sad. I was hoping to do some exploring, but the best I got was a few pictures and a short walk up 3 or 4 of the steps.
Here's the movie location from my hotel. And here:
And here's the hotel from the movie set, after the hike along the shore, where we saw huge iguanas (imagine that), tons of black scary-looking crabs all over the 4.5million rocks along the shore:
Second: I mentioned that the beach was a huge disappointment. It was like kitty litter, and the undertow was unreal. So, we paid for 'a trip to the beach' on an island about 30 minutes from our hotel. The guy was really good at selling the damn 'excursion': big beaches, delicious lunch, free drinks, monkeys, maxin' and relaxin'. He failed to mention: we had to take a little boat from the shore (not a dock b/c they don't have one), with the unreal undertow and huge waves, with no life jackets....we had to take this boat to a big party-style-boat out in the middle of the ocean, and transfer from the little boat to the big boat. That might not sound like a big deal to you, but we are not the most in-shape bunch. My FIL had back surgery about 8 months ago, my MIL is as light as a feather, my mother is, well, a klutz, and HELLO??-My daughter is a toddler!!! To say the least, it was stressful.
So, we survive the transfer, and make the 30 minutes trip to the 'island'. It was beautiful, but I have no pictures of it. Don't ask.
We got to the island, which conveniently had a dock (Thank goodness), and we sought out some comfy chairs. The sand was much more like real sand,and even had shells! My girl played in the sand until her swim-diaper was so full of sand she could barely walk. The drinks were weak, and I was somehow voted 'designated parent' again, so no loss there, I guess.
It was pretty obvious that this was not a natural landscape, if you get what I mean. It's not like the monkeys, parrots, and sea lion all lived there on their own. People could go snorkeling with a sea lion that they pulled out of a cage, put on a small boat, and brought out to a group of snorkelers a couple of hundred yards off the shoreline. I was a bit miffed that they actually had it in a cage.
Then came the little 'whistling ducks'. They were cute, and we were able to hand feed them little meal worms. But were they in their natural habitat? No. The guy with them, the 'trainer', said he had raised them since birth, and they lived with him in his home. Cute, but again, not really authentic, ya know?:
Then, the monkeys. Or should I say monkey. On a leash. That they took out of a cage. Sigh. He was adorable, and had such beautiful colors, but it bothered me that he wasn't just hanging out in his own habitat. Here's the little guy, that chattered, and spent 5.2 seconds on my arm before smacking my girl's hand and jumping back to his 'trainer'.
(The look on my face comes from my noticing that he had a bright green butt).
There was also this beautiful owl named Frida (again, not in her natural habitat), but by then, my camera's batteries had bit the dust again. My mom has a picture of me with her. I love owls. Not enough to collect little owls or get an owl tattoo, but they are gorgeous, and I've got a Springtown story or two involving an owl (or two).
Here's the normal-looking crab that I pissed off because I followed him around trying to get a decent shot for my girl:
And here's the teeniest, tiniest little hermit crab ever, that my sister tried to pull out of his shell because 'his shell is pretty'. That went over well, let me tell you. :
(Sorry it's blurry. The little guy was smaller than my pinky nail, but he moved like a bat outta hell!)
So, that was the beach excursion.
Third: (I told you to get comfortable)
My mother, sister, my girl, and I decided we wanted to go horseback riding. We all love horses. The same dumbass that sold us the beach trip sold us this one. He told us several lies: a--we would go into the hills/mountains, and also along a beach; b--my girl could ride on the horse with me due to her age; c--my sister could ride on the horse with my mom, due to her nervousness; d--it would be fun.
So, we wake up early, and we go down to the lobby, where the bus is supposed to pick us up. No bus. So after about 30 minutes, they call a taxi for us, which will supposedly take us to the bus. We get there, have to pay the taxi (when all transportation was supposedly included in the price), and there is no bus. NO.BUS. So then we have to get in another taxi, to another bus station, where holy hell, the bus actually exists!
About 10 minutes into the trip, the AC on the bus stops working. No problem-it's like 86 degrees, and the bus has windows. Yipeee.
Then the exhaust starts backing up into the bus. So we all get high and light-headed. Weeee.
Here we are on the bus, getting high:
We are almost there when the 'guide' tells us to look to our right: 24 hour, all-inclusive hotel, ahem, PRISON. Did anyone watch Prison Break this past season? (Helllooooo, hot men on that show!) This prison was a spitting image of the one on the show....lots of guards, next to no roof, lots of sand, and no hope.
And guess where our 'horse ranch' was?? Yeah, you guessed it: next to the prison. Damn sure didn't see that in the brochure.
When we get there, we find that there is no beach, that my girl cannot ride with me, my sister cannot ride with my mom, we all must wear helmets (they actually gave a motorcycle helmet to one guy with a big head! WTF??), except my girl, because 'We don't have any small enough for her'. WTF?
The upsides: The food was awesome. The horses were sweet. The scenery was breath-taking.
The downsides: My horse didn't want to listen for shit. The 'walk along the river banks' was really a walk through small, muddy puddles. The 'hike through the mountains' contained climbing on rocks at a 45 degree angle. The fear that there was a prisoner on the loose, trying to hide in all the damn rock and dust and spindly trees.
(Oh, and my camera had to be shoved into a plastic bag with a water bottle, since there was nowhere else to store it on the horse. Let's chat about that a second: I had to hold the bag in the same hand that I was holding the rope. And it kept falling in my lap, between my woo-ha and the saddle. So, if you don't see where this is going, you haven't read enough about my lack of luck...with the constant trotting, the water bottles um, exploded, um, all over my woo-ha area, and um, I looked like I pissed myself. Oh, and um, the camera? It sorta stopped working for a bit. )
My girl got her 'very own cowboy' because she was so small. She had to ride with one of the ranch hands. Which, I was fine with, because I had watched him with the horses prior to us getting on, and it was obvious that he knew what he was doing. But, my girl was a bit uncomfortable at first. Thankfully, my sister got the dumbest horse ever, who was quite literally bringing up the rear, and my girl and her cowboy were right next to her. My mom's horse was a lazy ass (ha!), so she was back there too. Mine? She didn't give a shit what I wanted. She kept trying to get ahead of the same 2 horses, come hell or high water (or low water, in this case), so I didn't really get to ride next to my girl. She loved galloping. So, here's my view:
Notice the dust? Yeah, that's my horse's fault.
And my girl? On the way back to the 'camp' for lunch, she fell asleep on the horse. No, really. Proof:
She was OUT. Poor cowboy had to hold her for the last 20 minutes of the trip, because she was leaning. He got a good American dollar tip from me. Contrary to the look on his face, he was so kind-hearted about it.
So yeah. That was the horseback riding trip.
Fourth: The contest! Don't forget to enter my contest! It ends at 11:59pm, central time, on July 4th. And go to Swistle's site and enter everyone else's PiF contest.
Fifth: My lovely pre-eval for boot camp is next Saturday. Torture, I tell you, torture. I will be weighed, measured, pinched, prodded, and I'm sure I will leave feeling like a damn cow (with a cute haircut).
Sixth: Fourth of July plans, anyone? I will be sunning myself at my in-law's on Friday, watching fireworks with my girl and my dad Friday night, going to lunch with Kristie on Saturday, going to a neighborhood party Saturday (woohoo! Just what I need-alcohol and new neighbors who are my parents' ages and older! That oughta give me some blog material, huh???), and a girl's trip to the fabric store and maybe dessert on Sunday with Jill. I'll probably end up the designated parent at most of these things......
And SEVENTH: This is the best thing of all!!! I got my very own 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door, 4x4 this weekend!!! It's dark blue, it so pretty, and it only had 72 miles on it! I am soooo excited! And? I got a 4 inch lift on it today!! Woohoooooo! I have wanted one of these since I was like 17! Only took me 13 years. My girl? She loves it! She says she likes 'her' Jeep. I promise I'll have pictures soon. Yipeeee!
And on that note, I shall end this novel of a post, and take my lazy ass to bed. Happy Wednesday everyone!