Saturday, March 5, 2016

St. Thomas: Last Sail Before the Veil

After Miami, we headed to St. Thomas to meet up with Amanda and her ladies for the incredible weekend her maid of honor, Becca, had put together for us all.  There were so many quintessential bachelorette party moments, and some of them I'll tell you about here. 

Our villa for the weekend (casual) was incredible.  Up in the hills, it had at least 180 degree views  over the ocean, facing west.  The photo above is sunset from our deck!  Most of the rooms had balconies facing the water, and each had its own bathroom.  Most notably, there was an infinity pool!

Becca secured us transportation for the whole weekend with our main man Dawoop.  Dawoop drives a pickup truck that has both a backseat in the cab and three rows of covered benches in the bed.  We had never seen anything like this vehicle before, but they run rampant in the Virgin Islands!  Dawoop dropped lots of knowledge on us about the island's history, vegetation, and more, and in return we sang his name like a line from "Drop It Like It's Hot": DawooOOOooop!

Dawoop, his crazy tourist taxi truck, and the ladies

You can fit 12 people not just into Dawoop's truck,
but also into this selfie!

That first night, we went to get burgers and to check out the local scene. 

Amanda's second proposal

UCSD Freshman Suite 108!

After dinner, we headed to a bar by the water where there were some truth or dare shenanigans, and then the DJ came on and it started to get hyphy.  Before we knew it, there was a group of quite older people (I'm talking 65, not 40) that were integrating themselves into our dance group.  Getting down to trap music with the cruise ship circuit was definitely an unexpected turn of events!

The next day, Boat Day, was the peak of the weekend.  We had a boat, we had a captain, and we had one bottle of champagne per girl.  I made a playlist for the occasion, and we cruised around the British V.I. blasting Beyonce and twerking, making a ruckus everywhere we went.  You really couldn't miss us.  It was a blast.

Mimosa toasts in sippy goblets

Oh, Captain!  My Captain!

Monkeying around

A big highlight of the day was Sandy Spit, which is famous for being where the Corona commercials were filmed.  It's the tiniest island I've ever seen, and when you're swimming up to it you literally feel like Castaway, or an explorer coming upon the New World.  There's only one palm tree.  You can run around it in about a minute. 

Which we did.

"Corona Island"

Boat cam

We docked for lunch and spent a while filling our bellies and chilling in the sand.

Paradise lunch selfie

Rolling around like children in the sand

 Lovin' up on the bride

Next stop was Willie T's, which is a bar/restaurant on a two-story ship docked in a small, uninhabited bay.  Other boats basically pull up and attach themselves to it.  We came in hot, as usual, blasting music, dancing, and basically taking over the whole place.  And get this: there was a drone flying around filming our arrival.  This is the point where the bachelorette party started to feel like Girls Gone Wild. 

The big thing to do at Willy T's is jump off the top story into the water (preferably, we were told, in various levels of undress).  I'll leave it up to your imagination who in the group did what throughout the multiple jumps.

There are seriously about 1,000 more photos taken at this point in the afternoon, but I'm not at liberty to post them here under the strict non-disclosure agreement we all signed in blood.  I'm not even going to write about it.  These moments will stay burned into my memory!

However, the following three photos will give you a good look into the devolvement of the afternoon:

On the ride back, music still blasting, we had to more or less sit on some of the girls to keep them in the boat.  But to compensate for the challenge of securing wild ladies down for half of us, and the impending loss of dignity for the other half, at least this was our view on the way back to the harbor:

Back at the dock, there were various challenges ranging from tracking down passports to creative bathroom solutions, staying upright to actual flesh wounds.  It was a pretty surreal, hilarious push to get us all back home.  Don't worry, we made it!

In fact, here we all are the next morning, relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, having taken the ferry to St. John and filled our bellies with brunch!

Next up for our day in St. John, we hiked 20 minutes to Solomon Bay.

This spot was gorgeous and we just hung out in the water chatting most of the time we were there.  Here's Kristen, contemplating life, beauty, and probably how much she's enjoying her Chex Mix. 

One last group photo, for good measure:


The whole weekend was like an out of body experience.  It was a pleasure to celebrate Amanda, get to spend time with the wonderful ladies she's surrounded herself with, and to do all this in such a naturally stunning and relaxed place.

HUGE thanks to Becca, who has the pleasure of calling St. Thomas home, and who tirelessly planned this incredible getaway for us all.

And to Amanda, we wish you the best and can't wait to continue the wedding celebrations with you (and the boys this time) in Costa Rica!

Bienvenido a Miami

Over MLK weekend, Brittany, Kristen, and I stopped over in Miami on our way to St. Thomas for Amanda's Last Sail Before the Veil bachelorette party.  You can rest assured that all lyrics within Will Smith's ode to the city were quoted at some point during our 14-hour stay.

We dropped our bags at the Freehand, located on the isle that is Miami Beach, got a few solicited and a few unsolicited recommendations from people at the hostel, and headed straight to the boardwalk, a place, as you can see below, we were very excited to visit.

Now, when one usually thinks of Miami, a few particular things come to mind:
  1. Cubanos (the people yes, but I mean the sandwich)
  2. Will Smith (we've covered this already)
  3. The Birdcage (ok maybe not everyone)
  4. Beautiful weather
Now, this last one really did not come through for us.  There we were, walking around in our Miami threads, the wind whipping piercing rain drops at our exposed skin.  So, we bucked up, decided to cab everywhere, and made the most of it by just hopping from bar to restaurant to bar.  We had a handful of uber drivers while we were there and learned a lot about the city and its inhabitants from their experiences.

To be fair, that means what few pictures I have from those locales are dark and less than optimal, so I'll just summarize for you here what we did:
  1. Tapas at Bolivar- They were filming something while we were here which sounds cool, but was actually pretty awkward!
  2. Drinks at Ball and Chain- The hostel recommended this place and we loved it.  Great drinks, cool vibe.  Unfortunately, though, because of the rain, the salsa dancing lessons in the back were cancelled.
  3. Cuban food at Versailles- This place was a crack-up.   I saw recommendations up the wazoo, and a lot of actual Cubans eat here, but it still feels like a cheesy tourist cafeteria.  Great people watching, though!
  4. More drinks, at Bodega- Highlight!  This place fronts as a taqueria, but once you go through the freezer door in the back, the space opens up into a large speak-easy type tequila hipster bar.  It was seriously awesome.
  5. Exploring the bar at Freehand, Broken Shaker- turns out this is one of the best bars in Miami, complete with specialty cocktails, a pool, and Jesus candles.  Who would've thought?!
 The Broken Shaker

While driving through Little Havana, we turned onto the street Calle Ocho.  Now, I'm as big a Pitbull fan as the next person, and I was very excited to finally understand what the hell Mr. 305 has been talking about when he yells "Calle Ocho!!!" at least a dozen times in each song.

We went to bed at a pretty reasonable hour as we had early flights and a whole bachelorette weekend ahead of us.  In my uber to the airport at 5 the next morning, I shared with a French girl who had gone straight from the club to pick up her bag, shower, and head to the airport.  #goalsfornexttime (Not really, just the idea makes me groan.)

Next stop: St. Thomas!