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Vacation Journal
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Isla--Feb 27-March 6th

Date: 3/19/2007

Finally I'm going to take some time to write a trip report. I love to read other's so I figure I better do the same.

We loaded up in the plane, and although my husband and I had our own row, we were in the way back. (It's just been in the last few years that I've gotten over my fear of flying.) I had a bit of a panic attack and almost passed out. That freaked out my husband, so he's now really worried about me flying alone. He is not happy that I'm thinking about going back down to Isla alone in a month or so. Oh well, I'm still going.

Anyways, our flight was delayed 30 minutes. Normally that wouldn't bother me, but we were meeting Diane at the airport to share a Best Day shuttle. Luckily, her flight was delayed just as much, and we landed about the same time. Funny how things just work out on Isla.

We stayed at Casa Havana. Victor the owner is one of the most wonderful hosts. He also works, and I think, owns the new Cuban restaurant on Hidalgo. Our room at Casa Havana was basic, but clean. Great location, 4 houses south of La Lomita.

Most of our days were spent on Playa Sol, if it wasn't too windy. Otherwise, we parked ourselves in the bay by the Avalon. Ziggy at Segios was great, also Gabby, Antonio, and Luis gave us great service as well. We consumed mucho Sol and Dos Equis there, which contributed to my 7 lbs weight gain.

We did the golf cart thing, and stopped at Zamas which was packed so we left. I really wanted those lobster quesdillas. :cry: We then went to Playa Lancheros on Victor's advice, and it was terrific. I had Tix n Chix for one, and it was huge! My husband had his usual chicken tacos and loved them. Great limeade there as well. We also stopped at Punta Sur, and paid to walk in the statue garden. Normally I wouldn't have, but Brian wanted to look around there. I have to say that the $30 pesos per person was totally worth it. Not the to see the sculptures, but the paved trails along the side of the island are wonderful to watch the surf. There are even chairs and hammocks along the way. Brian and I sat in the hammocks about a half hour just watching the surf. It was so peaceful.

Just so you know, at the zoo, you are no longer allowed to feed the animals. They put a cord around the monkey cage. I know that it was probably not good for the monkeys for me to feed them grapes or pieces of bananas, but I loved their little hands. I was bummed because that was the best part of the zoo.

We tried to eat at El Publeto twice on golf cart day, once at about 1:00 pm and another at 5 pm. At 1 pm, they said they fryer wasn't on yet (tried to order onion rings) and they weren't technically open. No problem, we said we would come back later. So we went back at 5 pm, and then they said that they didn't have the ingredients to make onion rings. We ended up having the smallest portion ever of guac and 4 beers for $100 pesos. The waiter, a young guy, looked like we were really interrupting his life by making him work, but we saw him a number of times around Isla and he always waved and gave us a smile.

Memorable meals on Isla:

A y G’s is always wonderful. My husband doesn’t order anything but enchiladas suizas. I tried the shrimp soup (amazing), chili rellano, and the flautas.

Baseball Tacos: We went there as soon as they were open and ordered the pork tacos. They were so good. I really liked the beans, but not the weird textured ham in the beans. Of course, I ordered the ChocoMilk. Brian couldn’t believe how big it was!!

Tacos Medina: They were almost as good as Baseball Tacos. Loved the pineapple in the pork tacos.

Mininos: I had the whole fried red snapper, and Brian has the breaded fish filet. They were both terrific. Some of the best priced and best tasting fish on the island.

Ballyhoos: Best guac and chips we had this trip. We also loved the fish and chips and the ceviche.

French Bistro: Brian had the garlic snapper and I had the lobster & shrimp. It was really good and we had great service.

Bucaneros: I had the eggs with beans, they were ok. My husband had the poblano crepe which was fantastic!!

Mene Mene: Terrific crepes. I loved my ham and brie crepe which came with a small ceasar salad. My husband had the ham, spinach, and mozzarella crepe which was even better than mine. I also really liked their latte.

Bamboos: By far and away, the best meal and service we had on the island this time. We celebrated a friend’s birthday. I had the grilled lobster, Brian had the coconut shrimp, and our friend had the tempura grouper. It was all delicious, and it came with bread, fried rice, and a small salad. It was also the most expensive meal, but well worth it. We were so full we could barely walk.

For those of you who want to read about bringing a dog from Isla back into the US, please continue reading.

We met with Allison a few days into our trip. She is a wonderful woman, and cares very deeply about the treatment of the animals on Isla. While I acknowledge the fact there are many animals in the US that need to have homes, I felt compelled to help a stranger with a big heart to bring her family back the dog they fell in love with on Isla. Miley is a sweet dog, and I was so happy to bring her home.

Anyways, Allison arranged everything from the dog crate, the papers needed, the escort at the airport, and the transportation to the airport. It was quite easy. The only small problem is that the inspector was trying to get a “tip” from me. I was separated from my husband, and he was carrying all of the money. I thought US Customs would have been a little tougher, but it was even easier. They didn’t even inspect Miley. I just “translated” the papers for the US Customs guy.

Another wonderful trip…Isla is one of my favorite places in the world, and I can’t wait to get back…

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