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We are now back and recovered from 3 weeks of mayhem with our friends in the US and Caribbean. Wow! We visited a place we've had on our bucket list for some time, New Orleans, Louisiana. What a cool city! Can't wait to share stories and pics. Then we were off to Cancun for T&A's 10 year anniversary....can you believe it's been 10 years already?? It was so amazing to see everyone - we love all of our friends! And we met some amazing people this trip from all over the US and some new friends from the UK. Had a pretty wild excursion that we will tell you about while we were in Cancun. It was extra special to have two friends from our Saudi compound, Hayden and Christy, join us in Cancun and Miami. Miami was once again a great stop before heading back to Saudi. Stay tuned for stories, pics, and some pretty cool videos.
Bahrain Brunches in January
We did a couple brunches in January, both at an Irish pub we love called McGettigans. The first was a random "20BD ($53 US) all you can drink from 5-8PM" deal, and the second was for Hayden's birthday. There was a large group of his friends who were there for this one, and as you can imagine, it got a bit out of control! Mixed in these brunches were visits to a few other pubs with friends! Damn we wish our Canadians friends could experience these gong show parties!
We finally made our way to New Orleans. Also known as "The Big Easy" or "NOLA", this incredible city just celebrated it's 300 year birthday.
We stayed in the French Quarter right on Bourbon Street and had our first introduction to how wild the street is on our first night. 10:30PM, after travelling for over 30 hours, our cab suddenly stops and says Bourbon Street is under construction and he can't go any further. We will have to walk the next 3 blocks to our hotel. That doesn't sound too bad, but try rolling 2 suitcases each through a packed mob of drunks on Bourbon Street, all while trying to roll the luggage wheels over the empty glasses, bottles, and random beads lying on the streets. Jeff decides he wants to go experience the party but Lisa has other ideas, like sleep. Jeff submits as we try to fall asleep while the shit show is happening right outside our window.
We get up the next day to go experience the city, and quickly realize that a party of that stature leaves a hell of a mess on the streets - see some of the pics to see the carnage. Yes, every morning people were out moving all the garbage off the streets and pressure washing who knows what off the street and into the drains.
We did lots of walking and one day even took a tour of the city. Here are some highlights:
Loved NOLA and will be back. This time with friends. And for round 2 of the party...
We left left New Orleans and had a couple days in Cancun before the T&A gang showed up. Had a great couple days hanging out at the resort and enjoyed a fun catamaran with some wild people.
Saturday - time for the T&A gang to arrive. 10 years of shenanigans. It started in 2010 in Cabo and has wreaked havoc all over the Caribbean (and even Vegas & Nashville). See the pic of the coozie for locations.
The T&A crowd started arriving, starting with Dan & Marilyn from Chilliwack, BC.
Then Joe & Meghan arrived from Chicago, IL.
Mark & Gayle from Kansas City, MO.
Vern & Noreen from Humboldt, SK.
Hayden & Christy from South Africa, and now Saudi Arabia.
Anita and The Chart from Edmonton, AB.
Carl (The Chart's husband) from Cincinnati, OH.
Sara (Leduc, AB) and Nicole (Calgary, AB) arrived later in the week.
We also met some amazing people along the way. Hopefully, we didn't scare them away from future T&A trips. We even tattooed a little baby. She was very impressed by the group and wanted to join right away. She will most likely be leading the charge for T&A 2040.
The week went by so fast - tons of laughs along the way. Jeff was abandoned and had to eat Valentine's Day dinner by himself. Fuckers!
See below for stories, pics, videos on the foam parties, Coco Bongo, and the now infamous Isla Mujeres catamaran nightmare.
Enjoy....can't wait to see these awesome friends again soon! LOVE T&A!
Who doesn't love a foam party? There is absolutely nothing like seeing a bunch of grown adults play with balloons, throw water balloons, all while dancing and playing in foam to a bunch of music.
Catamaran Day to Isla Mujeres
We planned on a nice sunny catamaran excursion with snorkelling, an island shopping/bar trip, lunch on the island and then a cruise back to our hotel.
Unfortunately the weather gods had a different plan than us!
We all arrived at the lobby for the pre-arranged time and saw that it was drizzling and we couldn't tell if the sky was going to clear up or get worse.
Hmmm...what are our options?
a) stay inside and play games/drink and stay dry
b) go to the swim up bar - drink and get wet
c) go on the catamaran and see what happens - we're going to get wet anyway and the catamaran has unlimited drinks for us
The group decides to go for it and live life! Off to the boat we go. Rain gets stronger as we walk the pier to the boat. We all get on board and sit at the front out in the open so we're ready for the sun (when it shows up!)
We start sailing - we sail in between Cancun and the island Isla Mujeres - we can see both quite clearly, especially the massive hotels along the Cancun coastline. We can also clearly see an ominous black storm cloud straight ahead where we are going snorkelling.
No problem - the captain must know that all will be good & safe.
We quickly see heavy rain coming in the distance...so much that we can barely make out the large hotels in Cancun. Captain points and drives us straight ahead...straight into the black cloud and the rainfall.
Waves pick up, as we think about the movie "The Perfect Storm" and imagine Mark Wahlberg guiding his boat into the storm.
Suddenly the rain mist hits us. Then the heavy rain hits us. Then the rain gets harder and it feels like it's ripping our skin off. Luckily, some of us had the snorkel flippers to protect us (a bit!). The wind picks up and we all start getting cold. We now can not see anything but rain, crazy ass waves, and a bunch of cold people...all while the captain is pointing straight ahead and driving further into our death trap! We all move, single file from the front of the boat into the inside for shelter and what could very well be our last beers before dying.
Finally he says that we may not be able to snorkel. NO SHIT!
Then there is a bunch of yelling in Spanish as one of the ship mates jumps in the ocean with a bit machete and is swimming around. Turns out they dropped anchor to allow us to snorkel and the line is caught on something. We are stuck in the middle of the storm and can't leave. More beers please! Finally they cut the line and we are free to escape our imminent death!
We direct the ship mates to keep pouring the beers and direct the captain to get our wet asses to shore onto the island.
Relief! We make it to Isla Mujeres, walk through the flooded streets (see the video) and venture off to the first beach bar where we see that the sun is out. And it is warm! Awesome! Buckets of beer arrive before the clouds quickly roll in and we run inside for shelter from another downpour. Yes, we did rescue the lonely beer buckets so they didn't drown!
The excitement was not over. We met Katrina & Sean the day before in the pool and invited them. They joined the catamaran and while we were drinking in the shelter bar, nobody noticed that Katrina had wandered off to go buy her daughter a warm jacket. A while later she walks in, accompanied by Hayden & Christy, with her arm all bandaged up. She had slipped on the wet floor and fell on her arm. Poor girl - turns out it was broken in 4 places and she had to get it operated on once she returned home. What is it with T&A and broken arms? Well, nobody said it would be safe!
We boat over to another area on the island for lunch and then back to our hotel so we all can sober up, dry up, warm up, and so Katrina can go to the hospital to get some proper attention for her arm. I am sure the Riu hotel lost over 100 gallons of hot water with everyone rushing off to shower and warm up. Somehow, we passed out in our hot tub but luckily woke without drowning!
Yep, this day was way more memorable than a normal, shitty catamaran sunny day trip.
Who remembers those??? Just another great T&A story!
We finally visited the famous Coco Bongo bar in Cancun. $195US for the show and unlimited drinks and it was worth every single penny. Incredible atmosphere and music plus the show was amazing! So many flying acrobats and almost everyone of them had no safety harnesses to protect them.
Quite an experience - enjoy the videos below!
We spent a few days here with Hayden & Christy, staying in our old "stomping grounds" in South Beach. This is our 6th time and 3rd year in a row staying there - love the beach, shopping, restaurants, bars, and people watching here. If you're ever going to visit South Beach, reach out and we will share some "must do" places for drinks and food! We were happy to enjoy the breakfast from the Diner, the famous Cubano sandwich, and a great lunch at La Sandwicherie. As for drinks, I think the extra large mojitos, the bulldogs (margaritas/daiquiris with Coronas), and the Tropical Jungle Juice were crowd favorites! See the pics and video of the Tropical Jungle Juice. This was a beast of a drink!
We also took advantage of the NHL schedule to go see the Montreal Canadiens play the hometown Florida Panthers. The Habs got their asses kicked even though it felt like a home game with all the retirees from Canada in the area!
After a few weeks of 30 degree Celsius weather, we got ready to fly back to Saudi while H & Christy were off to Las Vegas. We checked the temperature in Vegas before leaving and lucky we did - they were flying into snowy weather with temperatures ranging from -2 to +7 Celsius. Poor guys quickly dug into their luggage to grab pants and jackets!
What a trip! Poor liver. Heading back to the sandpit.
Here are some of our upcoming travel plans - as always, please let us know if you'd like to join us on any of these adventures!
April 26 - Bahrain Tribfest - we love this great day out with friends and live music! Looks like another kick ass lineup. Really looking forward to seeing Pink again!
May 2019 - Greece - booked into Santorini for a few days (our hotel room is in a cave!), then over to Crete, then to Athens. First time in Santorini & Athens so we're looking forward to this.
June 2019 - Doing a fun adventure in Uganda - trekking with gorillas for one day, chimpanzees for one day, and lions for one day. See the video below for an example of the gorilla adventure. Should be awesome!
August 2019 - we're still planning these 3 weeks out but it looks like Lisa will visit her mom in Toronto and then fly to meet Jeff in Portugal, spend time there, then maybe to Morocco, and then off to Spain and south France.
September 2019 - we're going to Kiev, Ukraine for 6 days. Will probably do a day trip to Chernobyl.
November/December 2019 - Cape Town, South Africa - doing some wine tasting, shark cage diving, safaris, and enjoying the city. We haven't heard a bad word about Cape Town. Many people say it reminds them of a Mediterranean city. Looking forward to this one.
2020 - look out Australia...you're on our plans! T&A could be an option. Hoping to get to Calgary and the Montana cottage in the summer. Stay tuned.
We hope you enjoyed the stories and pics. We loved seeing all of our friends in Cancun and hope to see more of you on our future adventures.
Better get this uploaded and start packing. It's almost the weekend - another long weekend and we're off to Bahrain for a nice beach getaway.
Cheers and love from the sandpit...
Lisa & Jeff
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