Cruisers Unite

Before I get into the recap of the cruise I'd like to throw out some old pics for our viewers and some side stories.

As you know, LMA had some weird thing with her leg. She's fine now, mysterious ailment that it was, was probably nothing more than a muscle pull. However, she did feel pain and had enough toddler sense to figure that stickers made her feel good, so they should make her leg feel good. We left out all thought of a bath, seeing as she'd had a traumatic day as it was, so we let her fall asleep on the couch and moved her to her bed later, leaving her "sticker-cast" in place.

We can rebuild her, we have the stickers.

Next on the agenda is the Moon Tower Christmas Tree in Zilker Park. At one point, in the late 1800's, there were several dozen of these Moon Towers; over sized street lights about 5 stories tall. There are only a few left standing in Austin. To commemorate the holiday season, the Zilker Park Moon Tower is strung with lights like a big tree and people gather around and under the lights and have a little party. Nearby, but not open when we went, is the Zilker Park Trail of Lights. It's a big deal and having been here just over 3 years we've only now decided to go. We probably won't hit the trail of lights again this year, we gave it the one shot and they had the nerve not to be open. Well, we'll show 'em.

A Rave does not seperate generations.
The experience was one of medium size city trying to be a small town. There was funnel cake and hot chocolate and some music. There were your token christian school kids singing all the carols that had God and Jesus and Angels in them, which was nice background music. There were a lot of little kids and young at hearts looking up at the spiral of lights from under the "tree" and spinning around making the spiral optical illusion complete, then falling on their butts. LMA made a friend in a little girl and her unusually young mom and they did several rounds of Ring Around the Rosie. A short carraige rider later and we were off.

And finally, LMA has figured out how to take pictures. She can also take them of herself. Yes, we take so many pictures of her and the family that you only have to point a camera at her to get a well rehearsed "Cheese!" The fact that she's taken several pictures that have turned out is shocking and frightening and a little hilarious. As an experiment we gave her a camera and told her to take a picture of the Christmas tree, which she did, after a few dozen takes. Turns out, the self portrait on your right must have been a fluke, but how amazing that she was able to recognize a camera, know where the shutter button was and have the vainity of a supermodel to be drawn to it in the first place. Did I mention she did this when we were sleeping? I'm glad she didn't have the camera pointed elsewhere, morning dude issues and all. Yoiks!


Okay, don't forget where we parked.

Now onto the reason why you're all here. To find out how soused I got on our cruise to lovely Cozumel. That is why you're all here right? Ok, well for those who haven't left already after your weekly LMA fix, Mrs. A and I dropped Mrs. Squiggles off at Grandma's house and hit the Gulf. We left Galveston at 5pm Thursday and we in open waters by that evening. The ship was the M/S Celebration on the Carnival cruise lines. M/S stands for Mother Ship, apparently. I would have preferred Flag Ship or The Honorable Vessel or Dingy Extraordinare, actually. Anything but Mother Ship. Trust me, once you see some of the fine folks partaking in this activity, you'll understand why a cultish icon generally uttered in the same breath as Heaven's Gate is not far off.

I digress. The trip was amazing and expected at the same time. There was very little glamour involved, as I thought there might be. I mean, it's a cruise for Pete's Sake, aren't they supposed to be fabulous and full of intrigue and midnight rendevous and tuxes and ball gowns? Ours had some of that. We looked pretty fabulous going to dinner one night, I was intrigued at the amount of liquor I drank, there was a midnight buffet and I do believe the maitre di wore a tux. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but it wasn't the cream of the crop that I was bumping elbows with as the sea cast us fore and aft, it was the people I just left at HEB.

So with our expectations dropped from Breakfast at Tiffany's to Slingblade, we proceded to go with the flow and mix it up with the rest of the cruisers. We learned the Cha Cha, played trivia, bought Carnival imprinted souveniers that labeled us severe tools and ate as much buffet as possible. The 24 hour pizza stand was top notch to have around after a day of slamming Long Island Iced Teas. We did get to dress to the 9's and attend an evening dinner. Our waiter was outstanding, even while he and the other staff of varied nations did their best show routine in the middle of the dining hall. At our table was a couple from Oklahoma (boo hiss) and a family from about 10 minutes from our house. No fooling. We're 400 miles in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and we're sitting with basically neighbors.

So we make it to Cozumel, which is an island off the Yucitan Penninsula, near Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It's only 3% developed and that's almost entirely for tourism. There's a small bit that's an ecology park, but you can tour it so let's say it's ALL tourism. So a big ass boat full of drunk American's pulls up and it's go time for these purveyors of all things tour. First thing we do is find out that while you're pregnant, the only thing you can do on this island is shop and snorkle. Mrs. A was crushed that all the activities didn't have child carrying members in mind, and if you don't like haggling over jewelry and trinkets, you might as well stay on the ship and play Bingo. We did get to snorkle a lot and I did a Sea Trek Helmet Diving thing (which Mrs. A thinks sounds like a gay porn movie.) Afterwards we hit, of all things, a Carlos 'n' Charlies (yeah we have those in Austin) and I drank a YARD of Long Island Iced Tea. Man, after that Mrs. A could have bought the island and I wouldn't have cared.

Head back to the boat and the rest of the day and a half until returning home is a blur of buffet eating, semi interest in ship's events, being a little sea/home/child sick and having our day interrupted by the Saddam thing. Nothing brings you back into reality like a little news from the front. If it wasn't for the fact that the "local" stations were from Nashville and New York, I would have been able to believe I was truly out to sea.

Heck yeah I'd do this again. I'd like to do it when Mrs. A's not preggers so we can both drink and scuba and ride horses and drive jeeps and drink and play with dolphins and drink. Reason I mention drinking so much is that when you're sense are heighted due to child carrying, a sip of alcohol turns into "You're OOZING with BOOZE! Go take a shower!" But we got back safely. LMA missed us but had a good time with her cousins and Grandma.

She's not mad, that's her prepared face.

Had to keep the hat on.

We're both happy there were plenty of lifeboats...and booze.

Mrs. Onasis relaxes in the warm Caribbean winds.

First of many with me and a drink.

Mrs. Ausitn auditioning for the latest Gap ad. Her motivation, "THERE'S NO LAND OUT HERE!!"

Nothing says classy and sassy like a cruise ship robe.

And nothing says truly odd like a towel animal in your room.

"Take the red pill, and I show you just how deep the waters are out here."

We looked this good on The Chairman's birthday, only fitting.

New in time for Christmas from JC Penny.

Beach ball bingo, I lost.

They had vegetarian food on the swank menu. Mrs. A was all smiles.

The answer is 42. (Those of you who know may laugh now.)

Mr. Austin holding a...hmm...sea...thing. Looked like a mini german chocolate cake.

Holding a sea horse. Yes, the water level in my helmet was rising.

I think I saw this scene at the beginning of Perfect Strangers.

I'm tempted to put a shot of NYC in the background and photoshop out the bubbles and mask.

Mrs. Austin has found weapons of mass destruction.

She's got an anchor there, hopefully it wasn't to our ship.

Pancho suddenly realized the gringo sheriff was piss drunk.

Probably because I drank THIS!

Hello? (hello?) Echo! (echo!)

No Beard, the Terror of the Touristy Shops, and that pirate standing next to her.

New thing, pics of me with fruity drinks and that fly shirt. Line up ladies.

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