Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Return from the OC

RAMADAN KAREM! May you all have a blessed and wonderful Ramadan.

Well my girlfriends and I made it back from the OC, of which we had an absolute fabulous time.
Our flight was only about an hour and 15 minutes, which eliminated any time zone changes, any jetlag, or excuses to not have immediate fun.

We barely had to wait before our hotel shuttle appeared to transport us to our hotel for an early check-in. Literally, I think the hotel was 2 exits down from the freeway, which was right out the back door of the airport. We could have probably walked, but why bother when we had a shuttle ready and willing to transport us to our destination.

We checked in, ran to the room, unloaded our luggage and rushed back outside to go to something, anything. Up until this point everything was exactly as it was expected to be and then the moment came when we went to guest services to inquire about the transportation services to either Fashion Island or Balboa Island. According to our research they offered complimentary transportation service between these locations going to and from the hotel; however, we were ever so politely told they no longer offered this service on the weekends. This left us with catching a taxi, which was no big deal until our fare was $25 for less than a 7-mile trip. We decided then and there we would probably need to take out a loan for cab fare in order to make it through the weekend. =)
Our first stop was to Balboa Island where we meandered through the streets with all the cute little boutiques, restaurants and very expensive real estate (Small homes ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 million dollars). Balboa is also famous for their Balboa bars, which unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture of it, but I did get a picture of the stand where you can buy it….LOL

We took a small ferry over to the other side of the island, which gave us our "boat ride". Once we arrived at the other side of the island we walked through the "Fun Zone" filled with a carousel ride, game room, boutiques and of course more food. We made our way to the pier on the ocean and sat on a beach for about 45 minutes or so just enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean. Making our way back to the "Fun Zone" Mindy decided she wanted to get a henna tattoo, so we found a little shop that was able to henna her quickly.

A friend of mine that lives in the area was gracious enough to pick us up and show us around for the remainder of the day. He returned us to our hotel so we could freshen up to go out to dinner. He took us to a Brazilian BBQ buffet, which really turned out to be an endless serving of meat. They had this system with this little tool at the end of your table. When you were ready for the meat you stood this tool up with the green colored end facing upward, and then a waiter could come with every type of meat you can imagine. We ate at least 5 or 6 different types of beef, along with chicken, lamb, quail, and alligator. By time we finished and waddled out to the car, we all fell into the car moaning. (I felt like a Cheetah who had just finished off an Antelope for dinner.) We then zoomed off to go get hot tea with mint and smoke shesha but on the way my friend decided we needed something sweet to eat, so we whipped into a Middle-Eastern bakery that served both Middle-Eastern delights as well as European tasties. Oh my goodness – I don’t think the three of us ever moaned as much as we did this night – those desserts were FABULOUS. PH, I’m so sorry I never think to take pictures of food….maybe because I’m too busy devouring them. ;-)


After dessert we once again waddled out to the car, fell in moaning, and began our drive to the next destination. At once point Vicky asked if we should check the air pressure in the tires after all the meat and desserts we had consumed. We all laughed and just made one wise crack after another. We made it to a wonderful outdoor shesha place and drank hot tea with mint and smoked shesha. It was so relaxing and fun. More laughter, good conversation, and moments of feeling like real dizzy blonde as smoking will sometimes do that.

After food, dessert and smoking my friend decided to show us the most spectacular view of California in his opinion. We ended up driving to Laguna Beach and standing on the edge of a cliff over looking the ocean. The ocean was in front of us and the city lights behinds us---truly this was an incredible view. I can only imagine what it would look like in the daytime. He then drove us to the top of this mountain over looking the city of Laguna and the view of the ocean, what an awesome view from the mountaintop.

The next day we woke up, watched a little TV while we got ready to head out for another day of fun. We grabbed a cab and headed to South Coast Mall where we had lunch at the Rainforest CafĂ©. After lunch we grabbed another cab. This particular cab was operated by Andy the Cab Man who turned out to be the best fun. He had a DVD player in his cab as well as a karokee player, which unfortunately wasn’t working at the time, but nonetheless we had fun watching the video and laughing with Andy. He delivered us to Gaylee’s Day Spa for our scheduled massage appointment. WOW! What can one say about a massage besides "MMMMMMMMM"? That was the most incredible 80 minutes of my life. We each walked out of our rooms looking like limp noodles---so relaxed. Vicky then called our friend, Andy the Cab Man, to come pick us up and return us to our hotel. Upon his return he informed us that the karokee wasn’t working, but his DVD player was working, so we asked him to play Arabic music for us which he did and we watched belly dancing. Vicky, myself and Andy the Cab Man were dancing in the cab while poor Miss Mindy was just trying to enjoy the peace and relaxation from her recent massage.

My friend who had invited to take us to the Arab American festival was not able to take us because his uncle had just had a stroke the night before and was still in the hospital, so he had to understandably take care of his family obligations.

Upon arriving at the hotel we ran down to the pool and decided to put our feet in the hot tub. Oh my gosh, more moaning. The water just felt sooooooooooooooooooooooo good. We hung out there for a good couple of hours and met some nice people. We met Hector who is a U.S. Marshall as well as a reserve with the Air Force. Believe it or not we were starting to get hungry, which we never thought we’d eat again from the night before of all that meat, but we were, so Hector suggested we all go out for Mexican food. We were reluctant at first because of imaging the cab fare but to our good fortune Hector had transportation, so off we went for dinner. After dinner we went back to the hotel, put on our swimsuits, and went to the Jacuzzi. We also swam in the heated pool. However, at 11 p.m. some guy in a suit came along and announced we had to get out because it was now after hours for using the pool. Of course we were sad and disappointed because we were being quiet and saw no reason for us to be kicked out, but regardless we were.

The next morning we woke up, slowly got ready and packed our bags knowing we were going to get on a plane soon to return home. My friend called and offered to pick us up and take us to lunch and the airport, which we all thought was very thoughtful considering it was a Monday and Monday's are generally known for being the busiest day of the business week. He picked us up at 11:30 and took us to a wonderful Persian buffet that was unbelievably delicious. Eventually we made it to the airport where we said our good-byes and hoped on our plane back to home. Around 7:30 p.m. Monday night it finally hit me that I was tired. LOL

Even though it’s so hard to return from vacation and get back into the normal routine of life, I was delighted to come home merely to see Amira, alhamdullilah.


Anglo-Libyan said...

salam ibeebarbie
wow what a vacation :o)
you ate allegator?
you know we are fasting and we would appreciate any pictures of food, shame we didnt see the sweets :oS

very enjoyable post and im glad you had a good break, im sure Amira was delighted to have you back.
Ramadan Mubarak to you all

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Anglo-Libyan,
Shukran! I just can't bring myself to post pictures of food as that just seems like torture. :-) However, I did update this post with a link to the restaurant we ate at with the meat choices. lol

Ramadan Mubarak to you and your precious family.

a_akak said...

that seemed to be a nice trip and i am happy you enjoyed the company of ur friends and to top it off u had sheesha (which flavour?)

Ramdan Mubarik to u and amira and may allah bless all ur days and accpet ur prayers and fasting

fe aman allah

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Ahmed, Ramadan Kareem!
We had, of course, the most popular of shesha flavors the double apple. However, I am not picky and love them all. :-p

May Allah bless you and receive your prayers and fasting with his glorious greatness. May you experience the abundance of Allah's endless love he has for you.