Here are my vacation highlights:
Lots of travel time in the car with Murray. I love spending time with him and we don't actually get bored with talking to each other in the car for hours on end. Some of our discussions during the trip were... questionable and insightful. We'll leave it at that. We both love that we're married to someone who we can discuss absolutely any taboo subject with. We didn't actually listen to much music; we listened to a lot of The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts, which were great. A few of our discussions centered around whether Karl Pilkington was really for real (Murray insisted that he was and I insisted that he couldn't be) but we eventually reached a mutual understanding that some of the show absolutely is set up, but in general, the ideas and thoughts that Karl Pilkington shares are genuine.
Spending time on the beach. Murray and I got to the beach a little late on Saturday but we enjoyed meandering over there and taking our time. Once we were on the beach, we were able to enjoy ourselves quite a bit. We had assumed that we'd have one more beach visit during the trip, but we didn't, so I'm glad that we made the first one count. And as a pregnant woman, it was nice (really nice) not to have to worry about sucking in my gut the whole time we were there. Phew! My gut is my pride and glory right now!! I let it all hang out. I started rubbing my tummy during the vacation, and I think that helped it to grow some. It also helped other people to know that it was a pregnant gut, not a fat gut.
Spending an evening in Little Italy with Murray and Switchback. We went to an art gallery where both Switchback and Murray impressed the owner with their knowledge (Murray with his art history, and Switchback with her history-history, which gave insight into one of the pieces). We ate at a good restaurant and enjoyed one another's company. Afterwards, Switchback took us to the pier where we looked at street art and almost got run over by rickshaw bicycles. Several times. Switchback is the greatest hostess and tour guide. Unfortunately on this trip, she didn't ever bust out her metal pointer. Next year? Also, I got a restaurant to let us use their bathroom even though we weren't paying customers because I stuck out my tummy, rubbed it, and waddled into the lobby. Perks! Perks!
(I complained that the menu of the restaurant where we ate used Papyrus as its font. After the restaurant, we passed this unique plant that we really liked and seems to be a common graphic design inspiration lately. When we were wondering out loud what it was, a passerby told us it was Papyrus. Who knew?)
Going to the single's ward with Switchback. It was the quietest church I've been to since November 2007. So lovely! But of course then I was reminded, when they announced the FHE wiffleball tournament that silence in Sacrament meeting comes with a very, very high price.
Going to a big band concert in a park where we got to spend more time visiting with Switchback, Switchback's sister and brother-in-law, and Kelly Roxanne. Switchback made a great salad and peach pie for dessert. I took a second piece of pie because I'm pregnant. Perks! Perks! Murray was still in his church clothes because we didn't have time between church, our afternoon activities, and the concert to go home to change. Except I remembered to ask Switchback to bring me some pants, but forgot to have her grab clothes for Murray. So everyone who met us will have just assumed that Murray is a really really righteous person.
Going to Sea World. I kept calling it Marine Land and the Marine Land jingle was in my head all day long. I can get behind a theme park based on aquatic life. I got to feed and pet sting rays and dolphins. It was absolutely worth every penny. Then I had to question whether I made the right decision to become a graphic designer and not a marine biologist, but I wouldn't have found Murray if I'd become a marine biologist, so I know I made the right choice. Marine Land was a great place to go (see? I didn't actually call it Marine Land on purpose just then---proof that advertising works, because the only place I ever heard of as a kid in lots and lots of commercials was Marine Land) as far as theme parks are concerned because I got to sit a lot. We did lots of shows, and the weather was ideal except for during the dolphin show when the sun scorched one side of my neck. Switchback joined us in the evening in time for the sea lion and otter show that makes fun of the other shows. It was really funny and entertaining, and when the otter came running across the stage pushing a cart, acting like a human, I actually had tears well up in my eyes because I could not handle the cuteness. I might be tearing up again just thinking about it.
I could go on and on about Sea World. Lots of it was cheesy, and it's a good thing that I was with Murray who could join me in making fun of all the cheesiness. For the final show, there was no one sitting beside me or Murray on our whole bench. Then a family of a culture that has different personal space perceptions came to sit beside us and the mother literally sat with her whole arm and shoulder pressed up against me. I inched over, and she inched over. So I moved a couple feet over and put my purse on the bench next to me. And then Murray and I laughed a lot.
(This guy was lurking right behind Murray's head and he turned around and jumped---Murray, not the fish.)
Also, Murray and I did something really smart. You know when you agonize over a decision, and in the end you make the wrong decision and then you just keep being bothered by the fact that you made the wrong decision? Well, on Monday Murray and I made the RIGHT decision. Sea World was offering Meal Passes, where you can eat for "free" all day at select Sea World restaurants if you pay $28. I knew that the food prices were going to be high, so we kept debating if this was what we should do. We carefully read the rules of the pass, and it stated that the wrist-band wearer would get one meal for every time he or she went through the line. There was no other limitations. So we bought one meal pass that Murray used. Then we shared every meal that we bought. And it was plenty of food for both of us. So for $28, we ate three meals at an amusement park. It's more expensive than sneaking in your own sandwiches, but I figure we made out pretty well for an amusement park. Plus, we got to split this Shamu cookie.
All in all, it was a great trip, like it always is. And Switchback is the greatest hostess. Of course, having her married, pregnant friend and husband come to stay with her for several days in a house that she shares with roommates could definitely... push her roommates' patience. Next year, we realize that with a baby we definitely can't do the same thing. So we'll go to San Francisco instead and stay with Switchback's mom, Truth. Mothers always love babies, so I'm sure that we'll be welcome when we invite ourselves.