Friday, 2 May 2014

Grand Cay-mania

A delayed update but we've been trying (with some success) to master the Art of Spanish in Guatemala and so english (and therefore by extension this blog has taken a back seat!)

Looking back a week, We arrived in Grand Cayman after a short flight from Miami made slightly longer by CP getting stuck sitting next to an all knowing "big boned" American guy whose bad ankles were nothing to do with him being vastly overweight (he literally had to squeeze into the seat and got stuck getting out... Not cool for cp as she had to go to the bathroom and couldn't get out!) but back from when he played the tennis circuit in australia 30 years ago... then Rich managed to get next to him in the one hour passport control line... (Yes, you read write, one hour in passport control.... Compare this with guernsey...!). We'd both had enough of his wisdom on every possible topic by the time we were the last ones to be passport checked only to almost not be allowed into the Island because we didn't know Charlie and Jess's address! Similarly to big brother, passport control had all of Charlie and jess's details on file!  Anyways, we got in eventually and have never been so glad to see Jess, patiently waiting for us in the sunshine!

We have fallen in love with Cayman, particularly where Jess and Charlie live, almost literally on seven mile beach (but up the west end with no tourists)... It really is paradise! Our first glimpse of the beach from their place took our breathe away... Literally so heavenly!  We got ourselves a cayman driving licence and hooned around in jess's car...managed not to crash it which was a bonus! (Joking jess's...!).  We also managed to navigate the awesome local bus routes (there's no timetable, just little vans that toot at anyone walking by and give you door to door service for $2), spent way too much time on the beach and almost adopted some chickens - which are everywhere - since Hurricane Ivan in 2004 when their shelters were destroyed they have been roaming free living the good life, and the roosters are in heaven judging by the amount of baby chicks there are around! Clearly chickens have no concept of contraception.

With Charlie & Jess busy at work during the days (working too many hours if you ask us), we set off on a cruisy couple of days, our unofficial island tour, taking in the Seven Fathoms rum distillery (where the barrels of rum are aged for months chained to the ocean floor and for $10 you can literally drink as much straight rum as you please...which at 11am was a different breakfast), Caybrew brewery (which, after the rum distillery in the morning, for $5 was given 6 half pints to taste.... By the end of which we were in dire need of a sunbathe on the beach to relax), iguana spotting (cayman is famous for the blue iguana... We didn't spot a blue iguana but we found a road kill which kind of counted), Margaritaville (which is a bar in George Town complete with pool and slide), a brief tour of Georgetown, many hours on the beach, watching the Caribbean beach volleyball tournament (lots of eye candy for both CP and rich!) and so on, while the evenings mostly consisted of dining with C&J at a variety of excellent restaurants or eating in... CP squealed with delight when Jess walked in on the first night from work with a MASSIVE tray of sushi for about being spoilt! We must also mention jess's special breakfast of eggs benedict without the benedict...and Charlie's prawn and vegetable noodles... awesome!

On Saturday we met up with Stu & Juliet to go out on their boat (hopefully to be christened "TURTLE STU"?) - first stop Stingray City, wow! As we coasted in you could already see dozens of enormous stingrays in the crystal clear water. We dropped anchor and after some discussion (and another beer) we jumped in - the water was only 2-3 feet deep as we waded across the sand bar towards a small tour group that had squid to feed the stingrays, but even before we got there they were swimming right up to us, just begging for us to pet them as they glided past. Carly got more than her fair share of cuddles from the stingrays, pretty sure she tried to get one in to her backpack to take home. (Note from CP... I want a pet stingray!). 
Then it was on to lunch at Kaibo (a beautiful little place with a relaxed yet romantic atmosphere) and our first taste of the infamous mudslide cocktail (soooo good!), quickly followed by a second one at Rum Point. Consensus was the the rum point mudslide was better but CP was adamant the Kaibo one won the competition!  It was then back to St and Juliets where we ordered a $50 pizza for was good but not THAT good! 

Sunday (Rich's birthday) got off to a slow start (although not as slow as we had expected as we were down the beach by 830am), likely caused by the previous days consumptions, but we were quickly back on track with some kayaking, a "quick hoon about on jet skis" (a perfect description and a lovely birthday present from Charlie and Jess - thank you!), and an incredible brunch with bottomless bubbles (for those that haven't experienced the famous Cayman brunch, that means unlimited champagne) with C&J, Rocco & Reen, and Seb. When we eventually rolled out of there, there wasn't much left to do that afternoon other than a last trip to the beach... bliss!  

We had lots of plans for Monday (Harley tour around the island - which was meant to be a surprise present for rich from Cp), more beach, more wine tasting, and create a masterpiece in the kitchen to say thanks to Charlie & Jess for their superb hosting), until we got our check-in reminders on Sunday  and realised that our flight was Monday morning not Tuesday, oops.. so instead of all that we had a 5:30am wake up ready to be driven to the airport (thanks Charlie!) where upon we encountered our first flight chaos of the trip. Initially an hour delay, we were still hopeful of making our connection to Guatemala, but when this extended to 2 hours it wasn't looking good. A lot of to and fro with the airlines and our "travel butler" and whilst it was not 100% clear At the time, £200 later, we managed to finally change our flights out of Miami to leave at 730pm rather than 1230pm! Our flight from cayman eventually took off at midday, a mere 4.5 hours late... early wake up for nothing! At least we demanded our free lunch vouchers and got something for "free"!

Next chapter coming to you soon.... In the meantime, a few photos below...

We're having a bit of a shocker getting photos off the camera so here's George on a blue iguana:

and us with Charlie and Jess:

Carly the chicken whisperer:

Us playing with the stingrays!

Cayman sunset...

Next up, Guatemala!

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