Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, September 23, 2012

A surprise party for my sister Cheryl, started over 10 months ago. I was contacted by my sisters husband, Joe, who wanted to make her day very special. The planning and keeping this a surprise was a big event. I must admit that I almost slipped up a couple of times, but it remained a surprise to the very last minute.
We took off on the Carnival ship Paradise for a trip to Cozumel, Mexico, but most of the adventure was aboard the ship. The sunrise marked the first full day at sea and the real beginning of fun. With Dad as my room-mate and some of Cheryl's friends we had a group of 8. The first day at sea we spent most of the time lost, but met up at events. We played Bingo, we went to comedy shows, we danced on the deck with the stars above. We even put on a Hip-Hop show, where Dad and Joe spent most of their time laughing at us. I must admit that I couldn't remember the moves at all, which made it all the more fun.
Woke up to a rainbow and everyday I wished my sister a Happy Birthday. I wish I could do this more often, that is, spending time with family, where the only objective was to enjoy each other and have fun. No worries about getting anywhere or having to cook or clean. Everything was taken care of by the staff. All we had to do was enjoy ourselves from September 13th through the 17th.

Our shore excursion was to see a beach and the ruins of Tulum, where the Mayan people once lived. A step into a long lost history. Of course, we had to stop off at a Tequila factory for some samples first. My first step into history had to be the fall off the tour bus, I think it had something to do with Tequila. I landed hard on my knees and heard a clunk of my camera hitting the pavement. The only thing I thought about was my camera, not the fact that I was laying on the ground still. I got myself up only after checking my camera. I am still sporting the bruises from the miss-step.

The guide at the ruins was very verbose, so I began wandering off to see the ruins on my own. As I began exploring I noticed that my sister had the same idea. Cheryl tried to wave the others over but they stayed and listened to the guide go on and on. We began our adventure and completed the entire tour alone. The Mayan people do have a lot of alters for their sacrifices. We continued our walk through the jungle that seemed like miles and finally caught up with the others at the gift shops.
After the tour we headed to a beach marked with sticks, they were protruding out of the ground all along the shore. The sticks were marking turtle nests, according to our guide there were 7 different kinds of sea turtles that made this area their nesting grounds. All along the shore I could see tiny tracts leading to the sea, where some of the turtles had made their way to the ocean. The water was beautiful and blue almost matching the sky. I only wish that we had more time to enjoy and explore, because the water is where I find myself the happiest.
Back to the ship for our journey home. We enjoyed our last day and night at sea. What a celebration for my sister. Fun was had by all in spite of the crazy tourist now and then. The weather was just perfect and our time at sea was smooth. As I drove home from Tampa after the cruise, I couldn't help thinking about my family and how perfect they really are. So many different personalities that make dysfunction fun. All I know is that there really isn't anything in life more important!
Now is time to plan the next cruise, more than 10 months from now, but as we all know time flies when your having fun.

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