Grand Cayman, Part 1

A year ago, I stood waving goodbye as Rob left for Grand Cayman, realizing I already missed him. Two long weeks and a pricey phone bill later Rob picked me up for our first date. After an exciting and busy year we took our first vacation as a married couple to GRAND CAYMAN... WOOHOO!

I LOVED the view from the condo, we could see the beach and the pool. The pool bar lights up at night and the colors glowing in the water are really cool. Rob and I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how people at the bar knew each other "Wife?" "No way! Definitely girlfriend or mistress!".

I'd been to the island before on a cruise but forgotten how bright and clear the water is, in some areas it's such a bright aqua it seems impossible. On the cruise I had one day to take it all in, so it felt amazing to be lazy and explore for two entire weeks.

There were gorgeous flowers EVERYWHERE! And wild chickens, SO MANY CHICKENS! I chased one around the condo for fifteen minutes with the camera until he started squawking so hysterically I felt guilty and gave up.

Rob and I decided in the airport on the way to Cayman we would take naps, walk on the beach, swim in the ocean, and take pictures of the sunset every day of vacation. The sunsets were beautiful every night. They made me think about sunsets at home. I'm sure they're beautiful every night, but I can hardly spot them through all the buildings. The world outside my window just gets lighter and darker every day and I hardly ever notice how beautiful the sky is. Maybe I will now.

When I was little I would catch and release lizards in my Grandparents' backyard for hours. The tiny green anoles from back then have nothing on the massive iguanas hanging out in Grand Cayman. The first thing we spotted getting off the plane was a foot long iguana sunbathing in the grass. We hadn't even made it through customs! I quickly realized he was a baby. They sunbath on the beach, by the pool, in the road, even on the wall in the stairwell of our condo... three levels up! We spotted orange and back ones at least four feet long.

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Early in the morning cruise ships sailed in, then we'd watch them sail off into the distance while we swam and waited for sunset.

A mile walk from our condo were a few tables on the side of the road (close to the pier where cruises offload) where we bought fresh fish for dinner. It was fun to watch the guys unload the boats, lay out the fish, and clean them so efficiently. Their boats have cute names like "Miss Adventure" and "Show Me Your Money". The Jamaican guys working were really loud and funny, joking that they wouldn't be allowed in US since Jamaicans sell all the ganja. When I asked them if I could take pictures they said I could take pictures of WHATEVER I WANTED and that I should wave at the guy on the boat so I could watch him dance (I think they thought I was cute... Rob jokes that I have cute white girl syndrome).

Every time I took a walk I'd notice something new. Most of the hotels and condos are lined up on Seven Mile Beach. We started measuring our walks in hotels "We walked down to the Ritz, where'd you guys go?". Each hotel maintains their section of beach differently. The Marriott has reef pods -- big concrete domes with holes to promote wildlife. They also put these big pads in the water where  we spent many hours sun bathing. Some sections of beach have chunks of smooth coral in the sand and others have been cleared so it's nicer on your feet. The Ritz (or the sandcastle hotel as Rob calls it) was way far down but had comfy cushioned beach chairs with personal umbrellas and a ten foot deep pool. Rob and I talked with the pool guys and waitstaff pretending we were staying there so we could play in the pool. I felt pretty fancy lounging in their pool chairs in my big sun hat!

For the first six days or so I was sick (must have picked up a bug in the airport or something) so I was sleeping less at night than everyone else. I'm really glad though because I definitely wouldn't have seen the sunrise otherwise. There were these cute tiny bunches of birds waiting for the waves to wash up on the sand, then running away over and over again. I wonder what they eat.

I wish I was more of a morning person, these sunrise pictures are my favorite from the entire trip.

Food in Cayman is a lot more expensive than we're used to, we figured out pretty quickly local food is much less pricey. The farmer's market at Camana Bay was packed with people. Camana Bay is a big open air shopping center with restaurants and shops with apartments above. There are fountains that all kids seemed to be magnetically pulled to, lights strung between rows of palm trees, and rocking chairs by the water. I loved watching all the kids yell and play in the fountains, some in swimsuits, some in regular clothes having a blast. Rob and I climbed the stairs up to the top of the watch tower to take pictures... I was releived when Rob asked if I wanted to take the elevator down.

By the end of our first week we started to have favorite places, we ate this gelato six days in row (sometimes more than once a day).

There are TONS of great restaurants on the island, I even read about a bunch of vegan restaurants in a magazine (Edible - Grand Cayman I think) on the last day, of course... maybe next time. Rob's Dad's friends were in Cayman too and took us out to Pappagallo (the best date spot in town) to celebrate our wedding. I had tons of fun stalking the parrots with my camera, watching them harass each other like little kids during a long car trip. I love times when we're not in a hurry, we have time to do silly stuff like film a jumping contest in front of the restaurant since Rob and I both think we can jump higher than we actually can. For the record he can jump MUCH higher but I can definitely jump more than four inches!

Rob and his dad discussing wether the markers were geographically correct.

Rob and his dad discussing wether the markers were geographically correct.

Macabuca was definitely my favorite place we ate. They have a big deck right on the rocks where we were hoping to snorkel there but the current was too strong. Half way through lunch the waves were crashing against the rocks hard and I was really grateful we weren't in the water. They have a 'whatever the boats bring in' special and I'd been listening to Rob rave about the ceviche for a year. I'd never had ceviche before but I thought their conch and tuna ceviches were AWESOME! Darn it, now I'm hungry.

I have so many pictures from the trip I'm splitting them into multiple posts, these were all from the first week. I was honestly a little nervous about my first vacation with Rob and especially my first vacation with my new in-laws but I had a great time and can't imagine an easier person to travel with than Rob. I love listening to audio books and people watching in the airport, getting there early, and eating lots of snacks. Rob loves watching movies, reading manga, and eating Lara Bars. We share the travel pillow.