Sunday, January 02, 2011

Christmas Road Trip

Brad and Anette were staying in San Francisco this year because Brad had to work, so we went to their new home and celebrated Christmas a week early.  We had a fantastic four days with them, and had a blast doing and seeing things we hadn't done on previous trips.  San Francisco still remains my number 1 favorite city on the planet.

Even though it was late when we arrived, we decided to open our Christmas presents.  Here, Obi )Brad and Anette's Boston Terrier puppy) tried on her "boat coat".  I'm sure by the summer she will have grown into it!
We rented 2 GoCars for the day, and they were a hoot.  The weather cooperated for the most part, and we saw lots of San Francisco because of the GPS guided tour.  We had the flexibility to go off course (but couldn't go on freeways and bridges) but when we picked up one of the routes, the entertaining tour guide recording resumed. 

Going down Lombard Street in the GoCars was a riot --- Roger didn't know if the squealing was from the brakes....or from me!  
Never has it been so much fun to look like a geek....

Brad and Anette zipping through a tunnel ahead of us
Above:  Talented buskers singing Christmas carols on the street corner.

There is nothing our family likes better, than to spend time on a boat.  In the fall, Roger was surfing boat ads, and found the exact model of boat we had several years ago that we all loved.  Despite being 10 years old, it only had 69 hours on it, so we decided to take the plunge and buy it.  We will get it trucked to Idaho in the spring, so Roger can tinker on it, with the eventual plan to have it on the west coast. 

As one of Brad's Christmas presents, Roger titled half the boat to Brad and so we had a signing ceremony with Obi giving her "paw" of approval!

Toasting the deal with oysters!
The happy captain and co-captain!
Brad is working on the film, Transformers 3, at George Lucas' studio, Industrial Light & Magic, located in the Presidio area of San Francisco.  He was able to give us a behind the scenes tour of the studio, which was absolutely amazing.  Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures outside of the reception area, but the artifacts from movies like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and many more make this a unique work environment for Brad.  The cafeteria is even breathtaking with views of the Golden Gate bridge!
Brad received a very cool card from George Lucas

The iconic Yoda from Star Wars is at the entrance

A beautiful reception area

Proud parents -- who knew when Brad went to see all these movies
as a kid that he would one day be working at the same studio?
 Brad and Anette have tried out some great restaurants -- here we enjoyed fabulous Thai food.
On our last night, Brad and Anette took us to Hog Island Oyster restaurant in the Ferry Building where we feasted on dozens of fresh oysters and enjoyed watching boats in the harbour.
We were sad to leave Brad, Anette, and Obi, but we always know that we will find a way to see each other as often as possible.  To say we are proud of Brad and Anette is an understatement.  They have taken a page from our book of taking chances, following dreams and goals, and are creating their own story.

Bing Crosby may have been dreaming of a white Christmas, but we think it's over rated.  So, we flew to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize to spend 10 days in the sun and visit with friends we've made over the years.

We were invited to the annual Bowen Christmas Eve party, held at the home of the late Sir Barry Bowen, and his wife, Lady Dixie.  

Friends Renita and Cindy were there, and we enjoyed catching up with them.
Santa arrived in a cool golf cart and read to the children who were seated on the sand in front of him,
a Christmas poem before handing out gifts.
We made Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for our good friends
Sara and Bob Morris, and their son, Tim, and his wife, Janet. 
Sunday is usually spent at the Crazy Canuck's Bar down the beach from the condo we rented from friends at the Belize Yacht Club.  There is a weekly horseshoe tournament that Roger likes to participate in along with Frank, a long time employee of the Corona del Mar hotel where we first stayed several years ago.
 Roger was relieved and happy that Frank's 5 week win streak continued.  

The Belize Yacht Club

No bar epitomizes Belize, than the Palapa.  It sits on stilts over the water, and is a favorite spot to go for lunch. 
We had a great time the day we went with Sara, Bob, Tim and Janet.

Roger, Tim, Janet and I took the water taxi over the Caye Caulker for the day.  The island is a quieter version of Ambergris Caye and it wasn't that long ago that backpackers could rent hammocks on the beach for 25 cents a night.

A golf cart that clearly made a wrong turn.  I'd love to know THAT story!

I loved this sign -- the "hot dog" crossing as well as the Creole language on the bottom.

Fortunately Roger wasn't interested in buying this "fixer upper".
When it came time for us to board the water taxi back to Ambergris Caye, there wasn't any room for us (despite having a return ticket)!  So, we waited 3 hours at another water taxi company, and hoped there would be room for us, or we would have to spend the night.  A storm front came through so we were very happy to see the boat arrive and that it was covered so we were kept warm and dry.
Going to San Pedro is like going into the Cheers bar from TV.  While everyone might not remember our name (and God knows I don't remember all of theirs) we are recognized and welcomed wherever we go.  The island has undergone many changes over the years, but still retains it's charm and friendliness.
View of Ambergris Caye from our plane
The two weeks we were away flew by, and we are now back in Medellin.  What will 2011 hold? 

We have no idea but hope that it continues to: be safe with enough adventure to keep our adrenalin pumped; to be filled with new experiences to keep our eyes, minds and hearts wide open; and to be busy with visits from family and friends to keep us sustained during times we are apart.

"There is no greater gift at Christmas than to have everything you want before you open the gifts."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TWO weeks were not long enough!! RDD