Sunday, March 21, 2010

Negril, Jamaica March 6-15, 2010
Wow, is it really that time??? Time to say goodbye to Asia? So sad, but so happy at the same time! As we were planning the last course of our journey my little sister Shannon emailed me with a suggestion. . . " Why don't you finish the trip in Jamaica?" My sister and her amazing husband Adam were going there for their vacation and suggested that we join them. . .OK, but, Jamaica?
Jamaica is certainly a different pace and completely different price bracket that we have become accustomed to, but we thought, what the hell? It wasn't long after we received confirmation that my Mother Cindy and her beaux Dwayne would be joining us. Now this should be a party!!!!!

After six long months abroad, there is nothing better than seeing your family's smiling faces. It was the most surreal experience when I was reunited with my Mom and sister. . . in Jamaica!!! How awesome is that?! "Come to Jamaica and feel alright"
This was a new experience for Brad and myself. We have never been to an "All Inclusive" resort. We were just so excited that we would be sleeping somewhere that didn't have bed bugs, cockroaches, filthy linen, leaking or not working toilets, hot showers, and we would be able to stay in the same place for 7 days. The "All Inclusive" part was just an added bonus. A bonus our liver will always hate us for, but a bonus nonetheless. When we arrived at The RIU Tropical Bay in Negril we were shown our alluring ocean view room, a room that came fully stocked with it's own self- dispensing bar! Are you kidding me??? This is when I realized that this could get crazy. . .and crazy is exactly what it got!!
Mommy, Brad Shanskies, and me!! Soaking up the warm Jamaican sun :) What an amazing first day we had!
Our first night we deemed gift night. While on our trip we tried to purchase little gifts for all of  or friends and family and we were itching to give them to everyone. The slippers we bought Adam in Laos were the hit of the night!
 View of The RIU
 It seems that everyone in the world knows that you need to wear sunscreen on the first day of your holiday, but. . . no one ever really thinks they will get burned. Oh, you will burn my friends, you will burn. Just take a look at Adam's back if you need any evidence.
 Ouchy Mcoucherson and the Ouch Hounds!
 One of our favorite cultural treats in Jamaica. . . The Steel Drum. These locals were having a blast while entertaining all of us overfed tourists!
 Pool time!
 Mommy and Dwayne :)
Let's get wet, tipsy, and try to remember NOT to pee in the pool!
According to the boys, who were somehow always hungry ( I wonder why. . . oh, wait this is Jamaica), there is nothing better than a huge disgusting looking burger after a hard day of boozing and relaxing. . . I'll take a veggie burger please. This reminds me of a sick Carl's Jr. commercial.
If you can't fit it in. . . force it! ( I'm talking about burgers here people, get your minds out of the gutter!)
 Soooo cute!
 Pappa Dwayne was lovely enough to treat us to a day of climbing Dunn's River Falls and ATV riding in Ochos Rios. At the sight of the perfidious falls I was ready to climb, but thought, there is no way that my mother is going to climb this! See, I thought I was being coy by evading the annoying attempts of the local people claiming that I must rent water shoes, but in the end, I suffered. It was slippery and treacherous at times but completely rewarding when we ALL finished the climb in tact. What a blast! My sister charged it!!! Go Shanskies! After the falls it was off to the ATV riding park.
 Me and my Baby
  Wow, Mommy is sure being brave. I wonder if Dwayne has anything to do with it? he he
At the end of the ATV trip we had the option of jumping off the cliffs. . . you know we were in!!!! I'm coming! Look out below!!!
Go Brad Go!!!
Our gracious tour guides :)
As everyone can see. . .my sister is gorgeous, and the local men were sure to take notice. Well local men and . . . babies. he he he This guys name is Gerber!
Tan time!
 One foot left stomp?
Hanky and Ducky. Friends forever.

Ok Mon, just stop calling me Bumble Clot!
Ducky and Hanky went out for a few cocktails and this is what we saw when he came home. I'm scared. Ducky, is that you? Why do you look like one of those creepy Mexican Wrestlers?? Luche Libre style. Oh, I almost forgot, Ducky would like to give a "shot out" to his buddy "The El Salvadorian Chorizo"!
Me, Mommy and Dwayne on their last night in Negril. They could only stay for a few days. Bon Voyage! We will miss you!
Every trip to Negril must include a visit to Rick's Cafe. It claims to be the most famous bar in the world, but I would have to disagree. Trader Todd's in Chicago is way more popular!!
However, it is known for the astounding cliffs and the insane people who leap off of them. There are three different levels to jump from. 10 ft, 35 ft, and 80 ft. Yeahhhhh,. . . NO. I would gladly bounce off a cliff at 35 ft, but 80ft???? Are you crazy?? It's rather entertaining and you get served cocktails while you watch!
Just please don't have any orgies in the cabanas. . .OK?
Let's get decked out and have a sisterly beer drinking competition. Yeah, sounds classy huh. Shannon won. She claims "I do that shit like it's my job". No wonder why she won??!!
 My husband shaved off his beard and only left the mustache. He looked like a 70's Porn Star (not that I would know what a porn star looks like, of course).
After Mommy and Dwayne left, it got a lil' out of control. Well, while the cat's are away. . . the mice will play!!!!!
After several days on the wagon it can be hard to get that first drink down. Brad and Adam were struggling so we made them order Cadillac Margarita's to get them going! They were super strong and I think there was some gagging involved.
Shannon and I trying to look sexy. . . OK, OK, I said trying!!!!
 We saw this catamaran with the waterslide pull up to the beach and we knew it was a sign. . . We must get on that boat!!!!! I used my bargaining skills, a few winks, and we were on!!! Only there was a catch. . . all four of us had to hide in the bathroom while we drove past the marina, so the boss wouldn't see us!! Hehehehe. . We are so sneaky! Shannon and Adam liked the bathroom so much they stayed in there even longer than necessary. . .um no funny business, this is a family boat!!! I kid, I kid. . .
 Once we were in the clear we jumped on deck, grabbed a rum punch, and set sail for the caves!
 Who's who?
Dr. J, Adam, and Brad living it up! Thanks for sneaking us on Dr. J, it was sensational!
 Just taking it all in and trying not to remember that we only have one day left.
 Words really can't describe. . .
After the boat we went back to the room to "freshen up" and get ready for a night out on the town. By town, I mean a nightclub called "The Jungle". Just follow these simple rules and you're in!
These guys didn't seem to care about the rules.
Last day!!!
We had a magnificent time in Jamaica with our family! Thank you so much for making it the perfect ending to the perfect trip. You guys rock. Only, this isn't really the end is it? Those of you that know us realize that we truly are nomads. . .that being said, stay tuned for our road trip to Chicago! Next posting will be in a few days. Stopping first in Grand Canyon, then we will be in Aspen, Colorado in a week!
 FPK (Fist Pumping Kitty), Ducky, and a few Jamaican Dollars.
FPK is very special. He has traveled with us since Thailand and will continue to be part of the ever-growing Savvy Nomad Family!
Love from the Bumble Clot capital of the world, SammyJoe, Brad (Dirk Diggler), FPK, and Ducky

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Vang Vieng, Laos February 22-26, 2010
OK folks, strap yourselves in. . . it's going to be one heck of a ride!!!
This is going to be a very different blog entry than you have become accustomed to. . . I'm not even going to try to be reserved. . . no holding back. . . no restraint for the benefit of the readers, if it becomes just too wild for your taste, go read another blog. he he he. Throughout the blog I will post links to youtube, where I posted the videos we took from that day. It is in your best interest to watch them all, to get a better idea. . .
There is only one way to describe our tubing adventure in Vang Vieng. . . INDESCRIBABLE!!!! I'm not going to bore you with semantics, nor will I even attempt to recreate one of the best days of my life, all I can offer you is some barbaric details and allow your imagination to run rampant with them. . . believe me, whatever you are able to imagine will not even come close to what actually transpired that hot and sticky February day in Vang Vieng, Laos. So, let's skip all of this bull shit, and to quote our beloved Brit friend Rave the Dave. . . "Here we fu*king go!!!"
The air was heavy and the sweat was continiously  dripping down our bodies as we waited in anxious anticipation for the Tuk Tuk to take "The Crew"  to the river. To refresh your memory there are 10 members of "The Crew" that we formed in Laos. We all became close rather quickly and shared some of the most amazing times together! "The Crew" consits of Sambo "Laos dancer", B-Rad "Crazy Mofo", James "Monkey Boy", Sat "Cradle robbing kissing bandit minx", Fanny "Sexbomb", "Rave the Dave", Mika "Broom Man", Mario "Teetotaller", Francie"Scotslover", and Pedro"The Boss". What an amazing group of people!!!! We love all of you guys!
When we arrived at the tube rental shop a grumpy man promtly grabbed my arm, wrote the number 57 on it, and asked me to sign my name and number in his paperwork. I figured this was for them to be able to identify what innertube goes with whom, but when I cheerfully asked him he replied" The number is so we can identify you in case something happens to you, or if you don't come back." Um, wow, that really creeped me out. I have heard stories about how insanely out of control this "tubing" is, but nothing, I repeat, nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience. . .
Our first glimpse of the river is in this video
My first impression of the river was complete and total awe. I sat there with my mouth open for about one full minute before I screamed "Holy F-ing Shizer" this place is nuts! It was as if we entered Peter Pan's "Never Never Land". This adult only playground was more sinful than Vegas, more dangerous than eating raw meat in Thaliand, and more fun than anything I have ever done!
There are a few things I should explain to you about Tubing in Vang Vieng. . . First, they sell alcohol in large buckets, then fill it with Red Bull ( the really really strong kind), and pop a handfull of staws in it, and away you go. They also offer FREE whiskey shots at every bar, and one bar even had a 20 foot "Whiskey Bong". Um, yeah, OK. There are about 40 bars along the river and as you float, swim, or scream by, there is always someone ready to throw you a line to pull you into there bar. Next, there are ziplines, swings, and trapeze's tempting you at every corner. There are no safety regulations in Laos, and I could not believe how freaking crazy it all was. People were literally swinging 30, 40, and even 50 feet in the air only to be projectiled into the river waitng below. And doing back flips off of platforms that were at least 60 feet high!  You have to see it to believe it! Mika decided to go first. . . watch him go in this video
Of course Brad and I were safe and responsible. No, really, we were! I wasn't about to get hurt, or hurt someone else, so we limited our drinking a wee bit. I can't say the same for the rest of "The Crew". But we had so much fun people watching I could have stayed there for days. . .
Me, Francie and Fanny partying it up at the first bar!
Yes, we brought Ducky, He was out of control. Drinking buckets, ziplining with a naked baby. . . Wow.
Oh, Dave, we miss you so. Rave the Dave is one of the most spirited and hilarious people we have ever encountered. Every minute spent with him was filled with laughter. . . especially when his alter ego "Rave the Dave" comes out. Look out, this Brit is Loco!!!! "Here we fu*king go!!!"
After watching Mika try the trapeze I felt it was time for me to release my inner adventure child and give it a go. It. Was. Awesome. Watch me if you dare. . .
Brad and James deemed it necessary to show their devotion to their new-found friendship by taking the plunge together!!! Crazy boys. . . tricks are for kids!
I love Ducky and Ducky loves me, especially when I share my bucket with him!
Tube, drink, swing, jump, dance. . .  repeat.
Ok, sure.
Sat and I have a great love and respect for one another. . . that's why I am posting this video of her
You really, really must watch it.
James "Monkey Boy" got his nickname because he will climb up anything and jump off. Not just jump. . .  flip, twist, dive, whatever. He's a freaking lunatic, but he's an Aussie,. . . what did you expect :) Watch this video and you'll understand. . . and another crazy one. . .
Best time in my life!
The Boss, Rave, and Crazy Mofo.
OK, I think I finally reached heaven. Tubing, cocktails, great friends, and what??? What???? A microphone that was handed to us when we got to the bar? I was in pure heaven. Just give me a microphone and I turn into a rock star. Cauz I'm T N T, . . . Dynamite!!!!
The last video is just a taste. . .watch Sat and I perform "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night" to a live crowd!
Me and my honey . . . Laughing our arses the entire day!
Pedro "The Boss" and Brad became instant buds and devolped a great friendship over the course of a few days. He is such an amazing guy and we are both so honored to meet him and truly hope that the friendship lasts forever. . . Who are we kidding, we know it will!! We are already planning a trip to England to see all of "The Crew" . . . Look out UK, "Here we fu*king go!!"
We hope you all take the time to watch the videos, we really feel they will enhance your blogging experience!
However, the party soon became an intense reality (I'm not even going to go into detail about me walking upstream, slightly intoxicated, looking for my husband). Everything was fun and games until we realized that we were the only people on the river. It was getting dark and we still had 3 km's (1.86 miles) to float. The river suddenly became silent. The karst formations were quiescent and became super sexy in the twilight. . . However, I thought how are we going to get back?
It was getting darker by the minute. The Boss, Rave, Brad, and I were starting to get concerned. Then all of a sudden. . . it was dark. Like, dark dark. Can't see in front of your face dark. I was scared. The water was cold, I was in an innertube, floating down a river in a foriegn country, and I was instantly. . .  SOBER. What the hell are we going to do? Then, out of the mystic darkness, a voice called to us. . ." You guys need to get the hell out of the river!!!. . . We have a boat, come to the boat and we will drive you to the city." We were desperate and were so thankful for the angel that called to us in the darkness. We all piled on to the longtail boat (7 people), and cruised away, only. . . it wasn't that easy.
The water was shallow, we were too heavy, and alas. . . the boat sank. Yup, sank. We all had to get out and bail out all of the water. I mean, it was crazy, but it just added to the ludicracy of the entire situation. Eventually (we sank twice), we made it to our destination. . . kind of. He abruptly stopped in the middle of the river and told us to get out. We had to wade in the river to get ashore. It was icky and mucky and our feet were sinking in the yuckiness (I lost my sandles, sunglasses, and other vaious items throughout the day). It was the best day ever!!!! Hope you enjoyed the ride, I know we did.
Love from the most fun place on Earth, Sambo" Laos Dancer", and Brad " Crazy Mofo"