Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Apples, Anaheim, and Celine

I went to visit my friend Lisa over Thanksgiving weekend. She and her husband Matt live in Anaheim Hills and recently had to evacuate due to the wildfires in CA. Luckily, their house is still in one piece and I still got to make the trip out!

Saturday morning we drove up to the Oak Glen Apple Orchard with some friends of Lisa & Matt's. We had a nice lunch while there (and yes, my salad had apples on it!) and we visited several little shops with food items and crafts.

Lisa and Kel

Matt, Lisa and Kel

Apple butter was definitely a popular purchase of the day. But none for me, as I didn't want to have to check my bag! Before we left, the guys insisted on buying these 5-pound apple pies. I mean, really...isn't this a little much?!

I have to say...I had a piece and there is definitely such a thing as too many apples. The apple-to-crust ratio was way out of whack, and I could have used a little more cinnamon and sugar and a little less apples. But, apples were their big thing, so I guess I understand. Mamaw, I'll take your apple pie any day!! wink

And then Saturday night, it was Celine. After waiting a full hour to go 0.5 tenths of a mile to get into the parking lot of the Honda Center, the Celine Dion concert was AMAZING. Lucky for us, she had an opening act, which we missed entirely, but we didn't care. The whole time we were creeping along in traffic we were really worried, as the ticket didn't state there would be an opening act...what it did say was the event started at 8:00....we parked at 8:20 and got to our seats inside at 8:30. However, she didn't come on stage until 8:50. Whew! And, we were so lucky she was even singing at all, as she had canceled approximately 12 shows before the Anaheim show due to illness...in fact, the Anaheim show was her first show back! Since all the stars had aligned for us, we were counting our blessings and were very excited for the show. I have to say, she is the best voice I have ever heard. You know how sometimes you go to a concert and are disappointed in the singing performance of the artist? Many times I have thought, "Wow, they sound so much better on their CD." Well, none of those thoughts even crossed my mind. She is absolutely phenomenal in person...even better than the CD version.

She went through seven outfit changes and definitely tried to pull off a more contemporary show with some creative dancers. But she seems to truly enjoy her job. She was very emotional and nervous, as it was her first show back... and she seems like a genuinely nice person. The only thing I found a bit cheesy were her fist pumps and her attempt to mug it up for the camera at points. However, she sang "The Prayer", which truly made my night, as it was one of the special songs I chose to be sung at our wedding. Her vocal range is just incredible and I am so glad I am able to say I've seen her sing in person. Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience and I would do it again...and again.

[Kelly Swift, OC Register]

[Kelly Swift, OC Register]


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Terminal

Our trip to the Tahiti airport took about 10 minutes. When we got there, we were amazed at the small size of the terminal. It was basically a counter to check-in, a bar, and a few benches.

I was a little concerned as they stated that luggage could not exceed 44 pounds and I knew mine, in fact, did. But, I quickly learned that they didn't really care much. Their method of weighing luggage was putting every piece of luggage they had on a scale at once. cool

While we waited, since we got there really early, we had a drink at the bar. We spoke to a nice guy from New York while at the bar, who was trying to figure out what converter he needed so he and his wife could charge their camera. He was a marine and he was a little frightened about riding in the small prop plane we were taking to Moorea. Maybe that in turn should concern us? Nah. wink

Once we were allowed to board, we took our pick of the 8, yes 8 exclaim, seats available on the plane. We had to duck to get in and there was definitely no room for any extra bags...or our legs for that matter!

Six of the eight seats were facing forward and the other two were facing backward. The pilots were completely visible to us, which was a different experience than we're used to.

The marine kindly snapped a picture of us during our adventure.

As we were flying along feeling every bit of turbulence and all the bumps, Nate took some aerial pictures.

Moorea is surrounded by a reef, which is evident from these pictures. So the waves crash way out at the reef, away from land. Nate thought it was super cool that we could see the pilots and the runway as we were landing. I think I like traveling on the big Boeing planes much better. razz

We ultimately landed and arrived safely. Quite the experience.

The most entertaining part was when we went to find our transportation to the resort. Our reservations were written down in the book below...a bit different from how we operate back home!

Next up, our gorgeous bungalow in Moorea...


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Professional Wedding Pictures

Our pro wedding pictures are now online! Visit our Pictage site at http://www.pictage.com/564974 and sign in to view the photos.

Let us know what you think! biggrin


Friday, November 21, 2008

Roll the tape...

The next morning we were up quite early, as we were still adjusting to the time change. We grabbed breakfast at the hotel, which was rather impressive. A huge buffet with fruits and meats, eggs, sausage, veggies, potatoes, and items made to order as well.

I wandered around the resort and snapped some pictures, as we were leaving that morning for Moorea. There were two beautiful pools on the resort. This is the first--it was above or below the lagoon, depending on your vantage point. In this case, above.

And the second, which was just picture perfect.

As well as some beautiful scenery...and bungalows!

Once we got all packed up, we headed to the lobby to wait for our transportation to the airport. We had seen one of the hotel workers wandering around taking care of all the baggage, and he was such an interesting man I just had to get a photo with him.

We were sitting in the lobby chatting when out of the blue a local journalist and cameraman came up to us and asked if they could interview us regarding American's traveling to their country. As I tried to blend into the couch we were sitting on, Nate agreed to do the interview and just like that he was on camera:

The lady journalist asked him questions about why he believed American's traveled to Tahiti and why he believed the amount of American travel to Tahiti was decreasing. Nate was very eloquent and gave great answers and it was quickly over. We were joking about wondering which channel he would be on and how he would probably be dubbed over in French. The funny part is that after we arrived at Moorea the ladies at the reception desk actually recognized him from TV! He HAD been on TV and we missed it!! I'd love to have a tape of that. biggrin


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Once we arrived back at our hotel, we changed into swimwear and hung out at the bar for happy hour. We tried a couple of tropical drinks and quickly realized they weren't that great, In fact, we never really found one we loved the whole trip. Beer was the safest (and cheapest!) bet. While we were relaxing, we saw our first Tahiti sunset and it was superb. I wandered back to our room and got these shots as the sun was going down...

And this was our view from our perch at the bar, overlooking the pool.

While in Papetee earlier that day, we had thought we'd taxi back into town that evening for dinner. However, as we were sitting at the bar we both decided we were really tired and had no desire to go anywhere. We ended up ordering room service that evening, the most expensive room service ever smile and hitting the hay at 9 p.m. We did have a little fun with the tiki man first, though.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Papetee was about a 10 minute drive from our hotel. Our driver dropped us off at a boat dock area, where we immediately snapped some photos.

The Vaima shopping center, which we later checked out, was home to the islands more "upscale" shopping. In my travel book, it mentioned that a lot of the French vacationers shop here. The most popular item for purchase on all the islands of French Polynesia were black pearls. Throughout the trip, we overheard people talking about scoping out the best deals and spending thousands of dollars on them. Fortunately, I am not a big fan of pearls, so this was not at all tempting for me. Although it was still fun to look.

As were were out and about walking, we came upon this beautiful church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The inside has gorgeous stained glass and was very big and open. From the church, we made our way to the municipal market, Tahiti's open air shopping market. One can buy many different things there: flowers, fish, fruit, jewelry, clothing, many handmade items, and lucky for us...lunch! An early one, in our case."Snacks" are what many Polynesians feast on for lunch and there were snack bars all throughout the municipal market. What kind of snacks do they eat? Well, mostly sandwiches. They make sandwiches out of crusty french baguettes and put a variety of different meats on them. You see people just walking around munching on a big, long, crusty sandwich. Nate and I chose a poisson cru sandwich, which simply means "fish". Our sandwich was filled with rich crab meat. Yum!
After lunch we browsed around in the market for quite awhile. We were on the hunt for some "fun" wedding rings, as we had leftour real, valuable rings at home. Mine wasn't so hard to come by, but finding a ring to fit a man's finger was another thing entirely. I think we looked in every little shop selling jewelry twice before we found something that would work. In addition to a ring, Nate bought a shark's tooth necklace...very islandy.

The shopping took it out of us, so we stopped in at a snack bar along the street to have a nice, cold beer. We decided to try Hinano, Tahiti's local beer. I'm no beer conoseur, but it tasted good to me! :) While we were hanging out, we got the inspiration to take a picture of our newly purchased wedding rings atop our cold beers.
We also did a walking tour of the city, as outlined by our Frommer's book. All in all, it wasn't that impressive. By that point my feet hurt and I was really tired, so maybe that had a bit to do with my opinion, but the destinations it took us to were just okay. We were trying to burn some time, as our shuttle wasn't picking us up until later in the afternoon. We decided to grab another bite to eat, as our shared sandwich had worn off. We stopped at a little restaurant and split a very tasty salad. Honestly, most of the things we ate on the honeymoon were relatively fresh and healthy. Well, besides the desserts. :) But more on that later...


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