I'll be totally honest with you when I say that Joe and I feel like we don't spend enough time with our kids as it is, and the last thing we want when we're on a hard-won family vacation is to spend a lot of time away from them. So when we were planning our summer vacation this year, we deliberately looked for a place that was low-key, a little more free-form, and allowed for a lot of family time and activities that we could do together. And after some extensive research (OK, I'll admit, when it comes to vacation planning I usually do most of the research and Joe's job is to vote yay or nay--usually yay by the time I'm done making my case because as a writer I can be very persuasive) we found Bluefields Bay.
I'm telling you all this partially to give you a little more information about the Blogging from Bluefields program, which I had mentioned in a few earlier entries but had not gone into too much granular detail about because, to be totally honest, it's the kind of thing that can kind of make people write mean anonymous messages to you. But I was making the reservation for our annual summer vacation, talking with the owners, when I mentioned to them (they are very friendly, and the entire resort is family run) that it was going to be a perfect time for a vacation, because it was going to come about a month and a half after my book release, so we'd probably be due for a little quality family time right around then. Talk of the book begat talk of the blog, which ultimately led to a collaboration with the Blogging from Bluefields program, meaning Bluefields is absorbing a portion of the cost of our trip here. I know. I know. I HATE ME TOO, GUYS. But let's be clear about this also: they don't dictate content, and they don't edit what I write. Probably the only thing that's appreciably different is the immediacy and extent of my writing--I'm blogging while on vacation, in other words, instead of putting up one big entry after I get home. Otherwise, it's just a matter of sharing our experiences, which, lord knows, I do more than enough in our normal lives anyway. Anyway, I just wanted to make that all transparent.
OK. So. The food.
Joe and I don't take big trips all that often, but when do make travel plans, I find that although part of us would prefer to stay at smaller, independent hotels or B&Bs, taking kids along for the ride makes us lean towards staying at, like, Le Gigantic Chain Hotel because if all else fails (exhaustion-provoked self-destruct sequence or similar), there's always the hotel restaurant in the lobby, or in case of absolute implosion, room service to save the day. When we visited Atlanta during our pre-residency graduation blitzkrieg during the February of 2008, we made the mistake of staying at a hotel without any kind of food situation save a vending machine, thinking, perhaps, that we could always find food off-site. But traveling with a two and-a-half year-old and having to plot every single day where and when and how we were to find meals for a whole week (between daily job interviews, meetings with realtors, and preschool tours) was, to put it simply, THE WORST.
Let's cut to the chase. You don't have to worry about food at Bluefields. Ever. All meals are included. All snacks are included. All drinks are included, and yes, that includes booze drinks. (I'm no lush, but despite the limitations of being an Asian lady, I will occasionally partake in a booze.) Not being a food blogger or anything even remotely close, I'm a little out of my element when it comes to talking about cuisine (though, for a better food blog, may I recommend Ginger and Scotch, the new and frankly fabulous food blog launched by an old high school friends), but look, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let me just show you what we've been eating the past few days.
Breakfast: saltfish and ackee for the adults; french toast with bacon and scrambled eggs for the kids. (Not pictured, the mound of fresh tropical fruit at the table. Very nice.)
Lunch yesterday and today: spicy beef crepes with fries; a local spicy fried fish with rice and veggies. What kind of fish? I don't remember. WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE, AN ICTHYOLOGIST? On second though--don't answer that. (It tasted good.)
Dinner last night and the night before: don't ask me to remember what it all was. Though I do remember eating it all.
Each house has its own chef, who plans your meals with you in advance. They told us when we arrived that they could make special food for the kids if we wanted--of the mac and cheese, chicken fingers genus--but I told them I usually preferred Mack and Cal to eat what we were eating, so that's exactly what they've been getting. Of my two kids, Cal is the pickier one--he's far more likely than Mack to eschew a dish just because of the consistency or the sauce or some kind of specific spice that he deems "weird"--but I think he's been so hungry from all the activity and the food has been so good that he's basically been clearing his plate at every meal. And Mack...well, when it comes to eating, I don't much worry about Mack.
All meals are served in your accommodations, by the way, so no schlepping around. So special and wonderfully intimate, particularly for a family that rarely gets to eat its meals tout ensemble. Our cottage is a little smaller that some of the others so there's no formal dining area, but this is remedied by the fact there's actually a separate oceanside pavilion in which all our meals are served, just one short flight down from the main house. It's steps from the pool and steps from the beach, and that, as my kids will tell you, is alllllll right.
So, there you are. Food? Diagnosis: DELICIOUS. And now I will leave you with a picture of some local island drinks, and Cal's oceanside toast to his new favorite beverage, Ting.
Tomorrow I'm going to talk about some family-friendly activities, both locally and off-site. For example, tomorrow we're planning to take a short day trip to hike to a waterfall, where we will swim and have a picnic lunch. AQUAROBICS. Don't forget to follow along with my Twitter feed or look to the Flickr set for my iPhone photos, and I hope you're all having a good week.