Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Frend Family Cruise: Good Hope Estate, Falmouth, Jamaica

Going into our cruise, for a number of reasons, we hadn't planned on doing any excursions. However Chuancey's parents wanted to do something for us, so we sat down with the book of excursions offered by DCL and tried to decide. We knew that the day we were in Jamaica would work best with our schedule, so that narrowed it down.

Here's the thing with doing excursions while on a cruise, they can be a great way to experience the port you are visiting. Excursions aren't always necessary, a lot of the time you can get off at the port and wander and it's pretty safe. It'll be mostly shopping, but it does get you off the ship and interacting with the locals. Some ports are better than others for this, so do your research! If you do decide to do an excursion, it'll usually take you away from the port area and give you a more unique view of the country. Most cruise lines have the option of booking excursions before you leave on your cruise, usually online. So you can read up on the options and see which one fits your traveling group the best (some have age or disability restrictions). 

Many of these same excursions can be booked outside of the cruise line, directly with whomever the tour operator is. Sometimes this saves you money, or gets you extras that normally aren't included if you booked through the cruise line. HOWEVER, this sometimes means you have to arrange your own transportation. This also means if there is any delay in your returning to the ship, the ship will leave without you. Booking through the cruise line means your transportation is included (usually), it also means the cruise line knows you are off the ship, where you are, and if there is any delay, they will hold the ship and not leave until you return.

We finally settled upon the Good Hope Estate Tour & Carriage Ride. Good Hope Estate is a former sugar plantation, that now caters to tourists. The estate is HUGE, the original land owner was given the property courtesy of the King of England back in the 1700's, the King told him that whatever land he could see was his. So he climbed the top of the hill the house still sits upon, and acquired several hundred acres.

View from the top of the hill
view from the main house at Good Hope Estate

Among the amenities offered at Good Hope, you can zip-line, kayak down the river, swim in the pool, visit the bird aviary, and 4-wheel. There were several different excursions offered that allowed you to utilize some of these amenities, the Good Hope Estate Tour & Carriage Ride got us admission to the grounds including the bird aviary and the main house on the hill. 

After a short welcome and some explanations on how the tours take place, we got signed in for the carriage ride. While we waited for our turn, we explored the bird aviary, which included several types of exotic birds, chickens, ducks, lizards, butterflies, and flowers. The bird aviary is actually the remains of the hospital that used to exist on the grounds. The plantation owner made sure to take care of his workers (slaves) and built a hospital for them.

Iguana at Good Hope Estate

Pheasant at Good Hope Estate

Good Hope Estate bird aviary

Before long it was our turn to take the carriage ride. We had an amazing driver and guide, both very lively and it was obvious they enjoyed what they did. The grounds of the estate were just beautiful, amazing colors and lush plants.

Coconuts!
coconuts in a tree

Our ride
horse drawn carriage at Good Hope Estate

Remains of the sugar mill
remains of the sugar mill

The carriage took us to the bottom of the hill to the main house, where we transferred to a bus to take us to the top (easier on the horses). At the house we were given a guided tour through the entire house and its adjacent buildings. The house was built for the owner's wife as a wedding gift. She ended up dying at 24 due to illness, and because she loved the house so much, she was buried on the grounds.

Good Hope Estate house

The flooring in the entryway is original to the house (dates back to the 1700's) and is made from orange wood (which is now extinct). The floor has never been refinished.
entryway Good House Estate house

The "counting house" where business was conducted as it was considered bad luck to count your money inside your home. It's now a honeymoon suite.
Good Hope Estate counting house

The story of Elizabeth Williams Good Hope Estate

Elizabeth Williams' grave Good Hope Estate

Good Hope Estate Great House grounds

Good Hope Estate was just beautiful and I wish we had more time to explore. If we visit Falmouth again, I wouldn't hesitate to visit Good Hope again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#Deflategate is bursting my bubble....

the official game ball of the new england patriots meme

This whole ‪#‎deflategate thing is really making me mad. Going into Sunday's game, I knew the Colts were the underdog (and that was putting it mildly) and I honestly did not expect us to win (call me a pessimist if you like, I prefer to call myself a realist). We're still a young team, rebuilding after loosing our star QB. Andrew Luck is still wet behind the ears, although he has shown amazing talent in his 3 short years in the NFL.
That being said, I thought that we'd at least, MAYBE, give New England a run for their money and make them work harder for their win. Instead we got trampled. How much did the deflated balls play into NE winning, honestly I don't know. There were so many other factors in play including crowd noise, the weather, and we were playing against one of the elite teams and QBs in the league (yes I hate Tom Brady with a passion, but I can't deny the dude's got more talent in him than I have in my small toe).
But the fact that NE had the gall to cheat, knowing that they had the advantage irregardless of the equipment, just shows how little respect they have for the game, and I think that hurts more than anything. I was fine with loosing, IF everything was on the up-and-up. But this is almost unbelievable, to the point of absurd.

Gee I hope no one notices what we did to the balls....

And what can the NFL do? There is absolutely no way to know how much of an impact these tampered balls had on the outcome of the game. Would we have won? Maybe. Maybe the score would have been closer. I know that it certainly looked like we had a hard time catching any sort of pass, and at the time I had chalked it up to nerves and the weather....but now, I'm not so sure. But we can never know.
And the fact that this happened during the AFC championship game makes it even more complicated. If this had been a regular season game, some fines, some suspensions, and the take away of draft picks might be a fair punishment. But the fact that NE will probably still get to play in the Superbowl, and might even WIN.....that makes me ill.
I don't know what a fair punishment might be (although I think suspending Belichick from the Superbowl is a start), it's way too complicated for my little brain to try and figure out. I know in the end, there are going to be a lot of angry and hurt people, and I'm glad I'm not the NFL

Something doesn't seem right....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Exciting news! I'm published....on iTunes!

Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast logo

First, I hope that if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that last summer I started a podcast with four of my friends called The Five(ish) Fangirls. If you don't know about us, where have you been? (Just kidding.....kind of.....)

Anyways, we started this podcast with a dream and zero budget. That being said, we've been posting the last 26 episodes up on YouTube with the ability to download the mp3 file from Google Drive. We've had lots of people ask when we were going to be on iTunes, and we can finally say NOW! For now, we will only be posting from our most recent episode forward due to upload constraints on the server. With time we hope that we can upload our older episodes, but for now if you wish to listen to older episodes you'll have to do via our blog or our YouTube page.

We look forward to seeing where this step take us, and hope that you'll join us for the ride.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Frend Family Cruise: The Food!

I know, I know, you've been anxiously awaiting for me to get to this part of the cruise report. It was one of the things I was most looking forward to when we arrived, the FOOD! Despite having my gallbladder removed just six weeks prior and my appetite not being up to it's usual snuff, I still managed to eat like royalty. Sure there's the usual pizza, burgers, and chicken nuggets available when the mood strikes you (and it does!), but if you want to expand your culinary horizons, a cruise is a great way to do it.

Just like most things Disney, the menus do change and vary from ship to ship, even if two ships have the same restaurant on board. So while you can find some menus on sites like All Ears and the Disney Cruise Line Blog, keep in mind that they may be different when you set sail. That being said, be prepared to get hungry!

Disney Fantasy Flo's Cafe Luigi's Pizza
Luigi's Pizza

Disney Fantasy Enchanted Garden Spinach and Raspberry Salad
Spinach and Raspberry Salad

Disney Fantasy Animator's Palate Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes
Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes

Disney Fantasy Enchanted Garden Slow Roasted Prime Rib
Slow Roasted Prime Rib

Disney Fantasy Royal Court Oven-Baked Salmon Royal
Oven-Baked Salmon Royal

Disney Fantasy Enchanted Garden Chocolate Lava Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake

Disney Fantasy Pirate Night Dessert Buffet
Pirate Night Dessert Buffet

Our amazing waiter, Diogo, and waitress, Lumi. 

I love that Disney does their dining so that although you rotate between the different restaurants throughout your cruise, your wait staff stays with you. That way you get to know one another, and it makes dining much more personable. Within a few days we were cracking jokes and making friends with Diogo and Lumi. It was sad to say good-bye at the end, but I'm sure we made enough of impression that neither will forget us anytime soon!



Friday, December 19, 2014

4 x 11 (or another "get to know me" post)

4 names people like to call you other than your real name:
-Rachie
-Monkey Butt
-Fungus
-Rachie-Wachie

4 jobs you've had:
-cashier
-plumbing sales associate
-car porter
-dog show photographer

4 movies you've seen more than once:
-The Avengers: "Puny god....."
-Love Actually: "Aren't you the Prime Minister?"
-Clue: "He threatened to kill me in public."
-The Lord of the Rings trilogy: "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

Hulk throwing Loki around GIF


4 books you'd recommend:
-The Harry Potter series
-The Devil Wears Prada
-The Hobbit
-The Kingdom Keepers series

4 places you've lived:
-Indiana
-Indiana
-Indiana
-Indiana

4 places you've visited:
-Las Vegas
-Los Angeles
-The Caribbean
-Walt Disney World

4 places you'd rather be right now:
-Walt Disney World
-On a Disney cruise
-Disneyland
-London, England

Magic Kingdom fireworks GIF


4 things you don't eat:
-Tomatoes
-Onions
-Fish/Seafood
-Broccoli

4 of your favorite foods:
-Bacon
-Doughnuts
-French Fries
-Pasta

4 TV shows you watch:
-Agents of SHIELD
-Doctor Who
-Once Upon A Time
-The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon in the ball pit saying Bazinga GIF


4 things you're always saying:
-"Yay!"
-"Okie dokie!"
-"Honey, honey, honey"
-"Alrighty then!"

Thanks to Michelle over at Mich Mash for letting me steal her idea