Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carnival Cold and Saints Ecstasy...

 

BAD LUCK...

I tried to run away to the Bahamas for a week of warm weather but it was almost colder there than it was in Louisiana. Go figure.

GOOD LUCK...

The Saints beat the Cardinals to clinch a spot for the possibility of the NFC Championship...and hopefully a win next Sunday for a trip to South Florida for the Super Bowl!!!

Oh, Louisiana is...electric! GO SAINTS!!!!

GOOD NEWS...get yourself some comfy clothes because you are coming along with me on my cruise too! Jump in and let's go!!!!!

We found ourselves New Orleans bound to catch the Carnival Triumph...did we pack enough for 7 days? ummm hmmmm three couples packed liked little sardines in my new Suburban! Fun Fun!

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We arrive in New Orleans early and what the heck...we stop in a local bar to get a few drinks...

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We arrive at the terminal, unload the luggage, park the Burb and we walk down the River Walk to eat at Drago's...yum!

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After stuffing our face and having more drinks, we finally arrive back at the cruise terminal. We go through security without any problems and soon arrive at our little private balcony room...our new home on the water for the next 7 days.

This was our view from our balcony upon leaving the port of New Orleans. Don't let that sunshine fool you, it was freakin' cold...like in the low 30's!!!! errrrr!!!!

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We made ourselves at home in our little room with a complete liquor bar that we ordered in advance...this is a cool tip for those who hate to buy one drink at a time and have a heart attack when they get their final bill!!!

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And this is what we woke up to most mornings...sunshine and blue water...the sound of the waves hitting the ship...aaaahhhh :)

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And on port days...we woke up to views like these of Key West, Freeport and Nassau...

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Our first port stop was Key West, Florida (my favorite stop of the three). The weather was in the low 50's, the coldest day on record in history for Key West...can you believe that? But it was still so beautiful and we just bundled up and enjoyed the sights anyway.

This beautiful home is called the Southernmost House. Built in 1896, it is a bed and breakfast and it is the most southern residential home in the continental U.S. (thus it's name) It serves as a beautiful Inn with many accommodations and amenities. If I were to ever come back to Key West...this would be first on my list to stay.

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There were many properties for sale here...I'm not sure why but it seemed like at least every third house on the block had a realtor's sign in the front. Just gorgeous homes, who would let these go???

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What's really sad is I couldn't even afford the corner lot that this old truck sat on...

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Conch is the island trademark. They fish it, eat it, decorate with it...you name it. Everywhere you look, you see conch in one shape or another. And no, I did not eat any. eeewww.

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We hopped aboard the Conch Tour Train which took us across the island and showed us the highlights of Key West.

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Even the Hard Rock Cafe (my fav) had an island flair about it. I had to run in and grab a t-shirt for my college kid ;)

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We walked the famous Duval Street and ate at the Hog's Breath Saloon, the popular spot of the islanders...

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And the boys took a break for an after dinner drink here...

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While us girls went shopping...

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and sight seeing...

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And took a few silly mug shots...

I know my Man loves him some chicken, but GAH!

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And we met up again to hop back on the ship...I love this photo below of my Man of wonder...I think he really had a good time!    ;)

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And best of all...even Key West loves the Saints too, enough to paint them on coconuts!!!!! That made me smile :)))

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This was a shot from me standing on the deck of the ship...Key West is just beautiful. See that light house on the other side of the island in the upper middle of the photo? (a little white speck)

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Here it is below with my new zoom lens that my sweet college kid got me for Christmas...

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Now go back to the photo of the pier...see those little yachts in a row? With my new lens, I feel like a private investigator now as I can read the names on the boats from way up there!!!!DSC_0089 (2)

Okay, back to the ship. We arrived to find our little towel turtle on the bed with our Caper for the next day's itinerary...Freeport.

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I just love Carnival Fun Ships...they are so fun!

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Freeport was nice but it was overcast and still chilly.

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It didn't stop us from jumping on another boat to see the coral reef and the surrounding beaches...

How ya like these three stooges? Well, it was early in the morning but it was 5 o'clock somewhere...

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And afterwards we did some shopping...

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And James and Barbara were lonesome enough to call home...

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Trying to get back to the ship was an excursion in itself. Sitting in the front seat of a chartered bus, riding on the wrong side of the road with no street signs or right of ways sure did make me some kind of queasy...but aren't the clouds just so fluffy???? I didn't even notice that before!   ;)

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I kissed the ship when I returned (just kidding) and rested for the evening. We went to dinner, to the casino and turned in early as we had to get up early for our last port of call...Nassau.

This was our view as we awoke in the morning. We were docked in beautiful Nassau, The Bahamas.

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After getting ready, I walk out to the balcony to let my Man know that I was ready to go and I see another cruise ship had pulled up beside us.

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It was just beautiful and upon further inspection, I see him feeding the sea gulls my cheese nip snacks and they are swarming around him making all kinds of noise. I think this was the most fun the Man had on the whole trip...feeding the birds!

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After playing with the sea gulls, we walk down the pier and we met the coolest taxi driver. His name was Sam and he was the epitome of a Bahamas man, (without the dread locks). Although we had an excursion planned for 1:15 that afternoon, we took him up on his offer for a 3 hour tour of Nassau and we surely did NOT regret it. It was awesome as he loaded us up in his little van...

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and took us all over Nassau and gave us a guided tour with lots of interesting information and landmarks.

He took us to the Queen's Staircase so that we could walk down the stairs...there is Roland and Janet braving it out as I just watched them go down and got very VERY queasy!

(view from the top)

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So I went back to the van and met Sam and we DROVE to the bottom to pick them up!   :)

(view from the bottom)

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There was no way in HELL that I would have climbed up or down those steps. I'm such a wiener when it comes to heights. (I guess because I'm top heavy and fear falling over! haha)

I didn't realize how much poverty Nassau has as I always hear how the stars live or stay there. Well, they do go there but they live on the "other" side of the island. Sam took us through the "real life" of Nassau and it was a learning experience indeed. He even took us to the meager cemetery where Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel were buried. Rumor has it that their bodies were moved to the states...who knows. We were not allowed to walk through the cemeteries, even the ones in Key West. I'm not sure what kind of laws they have but I was sad as I love to photograph cemeteries. That would have been the highlight of my trip.

(these are just shots from traveling inside of the van)

Mostly abandoned buildings on every block and the crime rate (murder) is at an all time high due to drugs...

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Many depend on tourists to buy their wares. This was certainly not as colorful as we saw on the streets of Key West and Freeport...

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This was a school yard filled with children at recess...

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And these signs were on the corner of the block, less than 100 feet of the front of the school...

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Sam took us everywhere and like I said, I loved the tour because it was REAL. He took us to the highest point in Nassau for us to get some beautiful photos.

See the lighthouse in the distance? (middle left)

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Gotta love my zoom lens...

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And I love this photo of our cruise ship, the Carnival Triumph on the left with the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the background...

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Speaking of Atlantis, that place is surely a sight to see. Sam took us over there and let us stay just long enough to put a dollar in the slot machine...for the record, I did NOT win!

Atlantis towers over everything on the island. If you are lost, just find Atlantis and you'll know which side of the island you are on. Actually, Atlantis is located on Paradise Island, the "other" side of the island where the wealthy stay.

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The fountain at the entrance is so grand...

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The details are so grand...

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The ceiling in the lobby is lined in 24 carat gold...

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And the lobby is surrounded by a huge aquarium...

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Like I said...everything is soooo grand. Just ask Janet as she looks like a happy little girl in the big Atlantis throne...

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The Casino...GRAND!

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All of these are HUGE bundles of blown glass way above our heads...isn't this just beautiful?????

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A little history about the Atlantis Resort & Casino...

Atlantis is located in the Bahamas and in Dubai. It is owned by a South African hotel magnate and is considered to host some of the most expensive rooms in the world, some starting out at $25,000 a night with a four night minimum. Michael Jackson was the first to stay here and have a live performance.  The cost of the hotel is well over 6 billion dollars, not including the many water parks and adventures that are on the property available to tourists. If you'd like to read more about it or make a reservation, you can click here. If you are planning a trip there, please notify me as soon as possible so I can put in my vacation days and get packed to travel with you!  You are paying, right????   ;)

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And that my friends, concludes my cruise to the Bahamas. It was fun but it's also nice to be home. I missed my little puppy Oreo and I think she's happy that things are back to normal also. 

So farewell to the Carnival Triumph and I'm so glad YOU got to come along with me...for free!!!! ;)

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Above is a photo of us in the front of the ship. See the ship's bell in the left upper corner? NO ONE can ring it except the captain and he can only do it on certain occasions. Guests are not allowed on this part of the ship so I really felt special...sort of like Rose when she was on the Titanic...except we didn't sink   ;)

We took a 3 hour private tour of the ship on the last day of sail. This is a new tour that Carnival offers and is only available to 32 guests out of almost 3,000 guests. I was so excited to be a part of it.

It was an awesome tour as we were able to go to the crew decks and see how they lived during their 6-8 month voyage.

Also we were able to tour the Control Room with the Chief Engineer. Awesome. So many computers, so many gauges and SO many buttons to press!!!! How fun could that be???

We were able to tour the laundry...amazing how 16 (yes...16!) crew members can launder thousands of sheets, towels and napkins a day...let's just say...they have HUGE machines and they don't sleep!!!

We toured the galley and was amazed at how much food they can prepare for 5,000 (guests and crew) at least three times a day including the open buffets too!!!!  Let's just say...they have HUGE pots and the cooks don't sleep either!

We also toured the bridge and chatted with the captain of the ship. I'd show you the photo Thad and I took with the Captain but I looked horrible in that photo so you will NEVER see it! haha

Below is a snapshot of all of us in the bridge (the Captain's command center). I can show you this one since I looked half way decent in this photo...

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So THANK YOU for reading this whole post about my trip. I'm back now and I think I've lost my sea legs...for now at least as I'm ready to plan my next cruise!!! Trust me...I never thought I'd get my feet off land but once I took my first cruise (4 times ago)...I was hooked! They are so fun and very inexpensive too for all the fun, food and room and board that's provided for you.

But I will FINALLY end this post with a photo of New Orleans upon our return. I woke early and stood on my balcony for the last time to this beautiful but cold and rainy view...

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Cindy, if you are reading this...I have a little (and I mean little) surprise for you!!! I'll be dropping it in the mail to you sometime this week :)

And to all of you, let's continue the blog fun again!!!

Being gone for over a week is waaaay to long and I have been SO lonesome for all of you!

I have sooo much to catch up on with your blogs. I hope you didn't have too much fun without me! From what I hear, there are some great giveaways going on so I'm going to try and catch the action.

And although I had to miss out on some great swaps, I'll try and catch up on the next ones. I just need to catch up around here first and the first thing on my list is getting Sandy's birthday present out to her before this month is over. I was supposed to do that in NOVEMBER!  I'm such a terrible friend, right Sandy???

Gah! Where does the time go??? ;)

*****

Don't forget...if your football team has dropped out of the playoffs, feel free to become a SAINTS FAN and play with us. Louisiana would LOVE to adopt you!!!!

I'm sorry for all of you Dallas Cowboy fans out there...I still love all of my Texas gals, my heart goes out to you!!!!   ;)

37 comments:

Lori said...

i will keep my fingers crossed for your team Jodie...i haven't followed football since i lived in PA a looooong time ago...so it makes no difference to me who wins...but, i like you see you excited, so i will root for your guys...it sounds like you had a great trip...i hope it was wonderful and full of fun and relaxation!!!

Lori said...

"i like to see you"

should have read that over before i hit post...LOL...

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Looks like a great trip! Shame it was so chilly but it looks as though you had a wonderful time!

LiLi M. said...

What a journey! I was in Key West too, in May 2007 and that dog was there too at that time, or at least his sunglasses! Keep my fingers crossed for the Saints to win!!

The Victorian Parlor said...

Oh my gosh-I'm exhausted! Wow, what a great trip! I'm so glad I was able to come along:). I will have to call that Atlantis hotel and make my reservations (once I win the lottery. Of course, I hear you actually have to play the lotto before you can win it-lol). Anyway, it sounds like you guys had a great time and the pictures are wonderful (that new lense really takes some great shots)! I'm glad you're home and I hope the Saints win the Superbowl!

Blessings,

Kim (Kramer says 'hi' and that he missed his auntie Jodie).

vintagesusie said...

Welcome home Miss Jodie!!!!
Oh my how I loved being able to come along on your cruise with you! Your photos are fabulous {as always} & it looks like you had such a wonderful time...I have always wanted to spend some real time discovering the keys, to go & hang out for a month & soak it all in like a native. I can feel the sun on my face even now. Thanks for the mini vacation!!!
Smiles Friend,

Susie

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

What a fabulous post - I feel as if I took the cruise right along with you!

Lovely travelogue and photos - thanks!

Jane Jeffress Thomas said...

Thanks for the trip, Jodie. I enjoyed seeing what all you got to do. Love that lens you have too. You could name your service, Jodie's Vintage Detections. Glad you are back safe and sound.

Geralyn Gray said...

She'ssss back......missed you......loved all your pics from your vacation. My husband and I just booked a cruise like this leaving from FLA.....can't wait! It will be in a few weeks....yea!!!!! Sorry to hear how cold it was but I am sure you enjoyed the fresh air of the ocean...there is nothing like it!

Claudia said...

Jodie,

Thanks for all the wonderful photos of your cruise! Sounds like you had a fantastic time!

xo
Claudia

Sue said...

Welcome back! It sounds like you had a wonderful time, but just know that you were VERY MUCH missed!

Hugs,

Sue E.

Lou Cinda said...

So glad you had such a good time! This looks like it was a BLAST! Glad you are home safe and sound!

Girl I followed your tutorial and now I have LiveWriter AND Picaso! And it is all because of you!! Thank you so much for your GREAT tutorial!

Welcome home!!

Lou Cinda

Payton said...

Aunt Jodie!!!! I miss you SO much. Looks like y'all had some...I mean A LOTTT of fun!! :) I was so lonesome from your blog. Glad you're back:)

And I still haven't used, or opened, my Somerset calendar you gave me...I'm too scared to open it; it's so pretty. HeHe

I love you,
Payton:)

A Fanciful Life said...

Wow, I need a vacation from your vacation! I feel like I need to rest, that was a big journey! What a wonderful time we, oops, I mean you had. :-) Gorgeous photos, they really make me want to go there. And to think, you didn't even need to get on a plane. I love that you got to see the "real" island and not just what they expect a tourist to see. The buildings are so quaint and beautiful. I've never been on a cruise but your ship makes me want to take one. Hey, how did you get to be one of 31 out of 3,000 people to see the secret parts of the ship?! Lucky you! Well, welcome home and back to the blogosphere. So glad to have you back, girl!
Sharon :-)

CarLe Etc. said...

So glad your back all safe and snug...lovely trip,great pictures...I would of been upset too, I love cemeteries...taking pics and walking in them ...Key West is such a great place,isn't it...just love everything about it....and Whoow-Whoo!!! Hurray for those Saints...I'm root'in for them too,girl...GO Saints !!!

Sares said...

Everything looks so amazing! My favorites are the colorful houses, so beautiful! And the turquoise waters! It looks like you had a truly magical trip, it must have been so fun for you. Thank you for sharing your pictures, I ALMOST felt like I was there!

Wizard of Was said...

Jodie, Jodie, Jodie...I missed you! So glad you (we) had that great cruise! I did get a little sea-sick though..ha. My son lived for 2 years in Key West on Duval street. Everyone ther knew his dog, Blackjack (a white Bulldog) The Great Escaper! Fun to see your pics of Key West and of course all the other places we went. Go Saints!
Gale

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back! Looks like you had a wonderful time, even if it was a little cool. I have been to Key West and the Atlantis and both are so nice to visit. Thanks for sharing all of your great photos!

kana said...

Above comment is from Kana! Welcome back!

Linda said...

This is so much fun to read ~ you're hysterial! Love the photos, the commentary - EVERYTHING!

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Glad you had a wonderful time despite the strange cool temperatures.

♥ Linda

GWENDOLYN said...

Wow, looks like quite a trip, you are always so sharing with the pictures. What a great view to wake up to every morning on your trip! Glad you had such a good time.
Blessings!
Gwen

Teacup Mosaics said...

Thanks for taking us on the cruise! Hmmmm I'm still a little hungry, where are the pics of the food? Happy you had a great time, I do think you know how to party my girl. Welcome home!
OXOX, Kelley

Anonymous said...

Hey there cute girl! Loved our cruise together, thanks so much for being so accomodating! Can't believe they wouldn't let you take pictures in the Key West Cemetery! I've been there three times and have always gotten away with it; maybe they think I'm a local! What kind of camera are you using and how big is that zoom that your son gifted you? Sounds like you are having a happy new year; I'm glad! Take care,

Julie B.

Frippery said...

Thanks for the vicarious cruise trip Jodie. It looks wonderful. Since the Bengals are out I guess the Saints are my team!

sew revived said...

GO SAINTS!!
I figured if I said that you'll actually finish sooner?!?! haha
Glad you had so much fun!
LU&MU
MORE!

chantal johnson said...

Loved the pictures of you and your man...Looked beautiful and fun!! Glad you are back..I guess I am a Saint fan for now...but I'll cheer for Peyton, too....Love ya!

icandy... said...

Swwet Jodie!
Heyyy! I feel like I just stepped off of that cruise ship! :) Thank you soooo much for the virtual tour~ you took some FAB photos, girl! So glad to have you back, too!
Vacations certainly are wonderful, but it's always nice to tuck yourself into your own cozy bed after it all!
Welcome home! :)
Love and hugs!
OXOX
Christina

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

Oh Jodie thanks for bringing us along. The water sure seems like a nice view to wake up to. Yes I put "seems" cause I'm afraid I'll get seasick LOL The house are beautiful too - some really have intricate designs in them. And then that long stairs. I think it would be great to atleast try to walk right to the top. That would be an accomplishment :-) And then Atlantis . . . .:-)

Mizpah,
Li

Mollye said...

Hey Jodie, Glad you're back home and WOW what a truly one in a lifetime adventure and get-away. The camera worked well for yall and your pics look right up there with what you see in the mags. Fun, Fun, Fun, and so glad you shared. I tell ya girl I'm still up here in Arkansas and you can't see a fluer-de-lis anywhere around here, but I did watch the game last Sat. from a little Pizza joint and all I can say is Cha ching and I had to keep eating to stay so long! My fam at home is going nutz as they have been die-hards since they drew their first breath, at least the kids that is. Oh I don't want to say too much before this week end but after that if we get our wish, get back Jack. xxMollye'who dat

Gypsy Mermaid said...

Hey chickadee! What a trip! I know yall had a blast! Wish it would of been warmer for yall. Made me want to go on a cruise! haha I want to go and live at that hotel with fish swimming around it!?! Thats a land mermaid dream! hehe well anywho! I missed you and I cant say Im not excited about you being back home ;)
Big hugs

toodles-
sarah

Cozy Little House said...

I am so glad fun was had by all. Even the birds!
Brenda

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Jodie,

What a wonderful time you had on your cruise ~ have been thinking of you.

I enjoyed seeing the photos and what lovely places you visited.
Thanks for sharing.

Glad to see you back safely dear friend.
Have a happy weekend
Hugs
Carolyn

jodeeluna said...

I love the photos! Your post gave me itchy feet once again! The urge emerged to pull out last summer's travel photos in preparation for planning this year's trips. So nice to have you back!

GRAÇA said...

Olá vim conhecer teu blog e vi que tinhas feito uma linda viagens que fotos muito bonitas e apetecer estar nos sitios
Bjs
Graça

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'll never recognize you in that new burb!! Great trip! Sonny and I stayed at Paradise Island a few years ago. Can't wait to go back. Beautiful resort. Miss u!

Donna O.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'll never recognize you in that new burb!! Great trip! Sonny and I stayed at Paradise Island a few years ago. Can't wait to go back. Beautiful resort. Miss u!

Donna O.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'll never recognize you in that new burb!! Great trip! Sonny and I stayed at Paradise Island a few years ago. Can't wait to go back. Beautiful resort. Miss u!

Donna O.