Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

'Destin'ations old and new :)

Oh man, its been a month since the trip to Florida already and I still haven't put it up. Well, I did have to edit/filter out the photos (which was awaiting the month end), plus upload them before I wrote this post, so that I don't have to upload them twice :-p. Excuses, excuses. Per kya kare? I have so much to write and literally very little time. Wonder what would have happened had I actually been working?

Anyways, we went to Destin, Florida, the Gulf coast, on the Labour day weekend. We had been to the same place about 3 years back before Snugli was born and para-sailed there. Though it was cold when we went that time, we loved the clear waters and white sand beaches and wanted to go there again. Well, the time was now :-D.

Sri did suggest camping at a lake around 2.5 hours south of us and trying some adventures there, but Destin seemed more attractive. The only thing we were worried about was the much talked about oil spill and the impact there. But after much research it seemed like that was alright. And so we packed the 3rd September 2010 day and headed out afternoon on the drive. I'm not going to put up the route map again, its pretty much same as the previous one (except that we didn't go to Pensacola at all this time).

Driving with an almost 3-year old Snugli is much easier these days. I mean I hardly need to pack any food except for snacks, because she's not fussy about eating stuff on road - loves pizza, pasta and tacobell chalupas (and one of these can be found almost any place :-D). I did take some toys and books for her, but again she enjoys seeing stuff on road (points to every damn thing from water tanks to power lines). She recognizes hotel rooms, gas stations (petrol bunks) and various restaurants, points them out and shouts until we make a response. For eg:

"Amma McDonald's. McDonald's. McDonald's! Amma Kelsitha? McDonald's" (Kelsitha means "did you hear?")

That can be a bit frustrating, to say the least :-D. But it does have it uses ;-). Also she loves music of any kind - so basically its easy to keep her occupied on the road :-D. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is going to be so for a while :).

As we generally do, we drove halfway to a town in Alabama (having dinner on the way at Woodlands, Nashville, TN - vegetarian South Indian food, yummmmmm :-D) to stay for the night (the time from then onwards in central standard time, so an hour early compared to home). The view outside the hotel the next morn before we left:

We drove all morning and it was after lunch that we reached our hotel in Destin. The order of business for the day first? Jet-skiing!!

We were worried about Snugli's reaction to the entire thing. But well, at first she sat in the front and fiddled with the controls, wreaking havoc on an already bothered Sri (he wasn't really getting the hang of it, plus was worried about losing control and dunking all of us in the deep ocean :-p). After sometime we had to transfer her in between us (she switched the jet-ski off when it was moving pretty fast causing Sri to panic :-p). Sri, free of her, was able to be more confident and things had just started to get interesting when Snugli, safely cocooned by my arms, promptly fell asleep on the speeding jet-ski! I was amazed! We are brave, but she is the ultimate :-D. After that, we were able to speed to our heart's content for more than half an hour and the girl didn't stir an ounce :-p. I wanted to get in the driver's seat, but well, didn't want to go into that circus with her asleep :-p. Here's us after the "ordeal" :-D.

After that, since we were already drenched, we just went to stroll on a beach :).

Night after dinner, we again went to a beach to enjoy the waves and the breeze in the dark. I did take some night photos, but nothing worthy putting up (Damn! I really need a wide angle lens ;-) :-D).

The next morning, the agenda was to head to a beach and do some kayaking if possible. One thing about the area is that you just have a single lane road most places and the place can get crowded very easily. I mean, everyone wants to go somewhere, especially to the beach :-D. Is is any wonder when the beaches look like this?

We did ask about the oil spill (worried after seeing some dark stuff on the beach, which turned out to be algae :-D) and found out that the spill reached Pensacola, but not Destin and no, they weren't affected that much.

We took a chair and umbrella rental for the day and settled down to enjoy the water. People were swimming, tanning, kayaking and jet-skiing. I call this - "The hare and the tortoise" :-D.

I took some photos, then stashed away the DSLR safely and set out to enjoy the water :).

(the above snaps were taken from a cheap point and shoot)

Snugli had a wonderful time playing in the water (as you can see) and then playing with the sand.

She would gather the sand up and go to the edge of the water to generously donate it all to the ocean (Kereya neeranu kerege chelli :-D), hehehe. Later she even collaborated with a boy to build a tunnel :-D. Sri picked up lunch from a nearby tacobell and we made a picnic of it on the beach. Relaxing under an umbrella on a hot day at the beach is something else :).

Sometime later, we rented out a kayak and went kayaking for about 45 min.

It was a lot of fun (though rowing is a bit of a hard work), but the sun was pretty harsh. So we didn't linger a lot. Sri did do some solo kayaking later for about 10 min or so.

We stayed for some more time, but then had to get back to hotel for a shower and a cleanup. We had a sunset cruise planned for the evening, so after resting a while, we headed to the pier to catch the boat (named "Kokomo" of Destin Snorkel sunset, dolphin and fireworks cruises).

The cruise started out pretty fun. The sunset views were pretty fabulous plus there was a flight show bonus :).

Here's us :).

One more sunset view :).

Form then onwards it all started going bad :-\. The dolphin part of the cruise started after sunset, so you can imagine the disappointment. We did see a couple of dolphins, but they weren't really in the mood to play, they were on their way somewhere. So that whole part wasn't really as much fun as we hoped it to be. Plus after that there was a long wait (more than an hour) for the fireworks and guess what, there was no cruising. The owner simply took the boat around in a no-wake area (means idle speed) and showed buildings ("Hello, we can see those from the car" :-p) for about 15 min.

After that he halted at a place where fireworks were supposed to start and then nothing for an hour! He had drinks available for everyone, but the cruise is advertised as a family cruise and there was literally nothing for the children (we had taken some snacks but it was almost dinner time). Plus there were singles and couples on the boat who thought nothing of smoking around the children (had we known, we wouldn't even have booked the cruise). There were a couple more families like us, but I felt it was a singles/couples cruise rather than a family one. So yeah, if you are planning to go on one of these cruises, please make sure about these stuff :).

Finally got to see the fireworks at about 9PM..

Had dinner at a Pizza hut and called it a day :).

The next morning the plan was to go to another of the beaches, stay a while and then head back on our way. So thats what we did..

It was hotter and sultrier than the previous day and Snugli just wanted to get into the water (which we didn't really plan on :-D).

So yeah, taking photos turned out to be a struggle, because she just didn't want to :-D.

Anyways, soon we said our byes to the place and were on our way out. We took turns driving for more than 8 hours and got to Nashville for dinner (yeah woodlands again, yummmm :-D) and stay for the night. We had to get up at around 4 AM the next morn (since its 5 AM at Lexington) since Sri had to go to work and took turns driving back home :). Reached home by 8 AM, back to normal chores and life :).

This was a very nostalgic trip. Most of the places we recognized, even remembered our hotel from last time. Plus it was wayyyyyy better in September than April when it was chilly and uncomfortable. We'll probably go there again if we get a chance :-D. Sometimes it feels good to revisit memories and make a second version :).

1 Comment:

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

Love your travelogues !