Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Honeymoon - Part III

I wish I could remember specifically which restaurants we attended throughout the week, but time has allowed those details to escape me. I remember one night we ate at an Argentine restaurant inside one of the malls on the strip. It was absolutely amazing! The food was great. Jason’s favorite part was the breads they brought out before the meal. They had a basket full of a variety of breads with three different dipping sauces. Jason loves his breads (and I do too)!

Another night we ate at another Mexican restaurant. This one was a lot fancier than the first night and included a live Mexican band that would perform around the restaurant. I think we ordered fajitas with a combination of different meats, but the main thing I remember is the pig platter it came out on. It was like an oven, shaped and painted as a red pig. There were hot coals inside and the food was placed on top on a wire rack. That was a very memorable dinner.

The pig platter

Another memorable dinner was when we visited the restaurant in the hotel across the street. I believe it was called Mexican Steakhouse or something along those lines. It was a very nice restaurant and Jason and I had been looking forward to eating there. However, the waiter proved to be very annoying! When it came time to order, we explained to the guy that we wanted to share a specific steak. Jason says the waiter was trying to take advantage of his bad English because he kept suggesting different dishes and asking if we wanted to get that one too. When he was leaving to place our order he said, “Ok, so two of the (whatever) steak.” We quickly corrected him because we wished to share one dish, but he ended up doing the same thing when it came time to order for dessert. We told him we were not interested in getting dessert, but he continued to suggest each dessert, one-by-one, asking if we wanted that particular dessert. He understood that we didn’t actually want dessert, but was hoping he would frustrate us into just getting a dessert. He finally stopped when there weren’t any more desserts to offer. It was really starting to make me mad, and to this day I regret not telling him off!

One thing we were not prepared for was New Year’s Eve. We had planned to eat at the nice restaurant down the street, that we later visited (the one where we got our dinner on an oven pig). We got all dressed up nice and were very excited. However, when we got to the doors, they were closed and there was no music playing outside like it usually was whenever we passed by. We were very confused. We started walking a little further looking for an alternative restaurant; however, every restaurant we saw was closed. There were people working inside, but not people dining. We were so confused. We continued walking around, hoping to find anything open, we were getting very hungry at this point. We finally came to find out that on New Year’s Eve, all of the restaurants require reservations days in advance for their special buffets. All of the dinners are served late and are ridiculously priced. Most of the holiday buffet prices we saw were the equivalent of about $90 per person. Needless to say, we ended up going back to the hotel and ordering room service. I think I got a tortilla soup and Jason got a pizza. We ate the food and fell asleep watching a movie on TV. Our New Year’s celebration wasn’t the most exciting one ever (I even fell asleep before midnight) but it was definitely memorable and we still had a good time.

On the last night, we took the bus and walked a little ways down the strip and found a nice Argentine restaurant. We quickly realized that Argentine was our favorite style of food on the trip. This restaurant was neat because it was sitting on top of the water. Those who were sitting on the balcony were basically sitting on a dock and could look down and see the small alligators that were hanging out on the shore. The food was great; what a great way to finish off the honeymoon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Honeymoon - Part II

Putting the culture shock aside, we really did live like kings during our week in Cancun. Jason had chosen the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort as our hotel. Let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to visit Cancun, this is the place to stay! We lived in total luxury while staying at that hotel. It was so beautiful and clean, the service was great, and the view and beach were phenomenal. During the week we got a chance to walk around some of the other nice hotels and resorts; there were some amazing ones, but I would still re-visit Fiesta Americana first before considering any of the other ones. The room was very elegant. The bed had a white, full comforter with big white pillows and the bathroom had big mirrors and lots of counter space. The best part was our own private balcony that looked out onto the beach. I can’t describe the amazing feeling it was waking up every morning to the bright blue-green ocean just outside of our glass sliding doors. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Our hotel room

The view from our bed

View from hallway window

The beach itself at this resort was enough to get me to put it at number one on my list. They had their own glamorous pool area just outside of the hotel, which included water falls, eternity pools, and refreshment huts. There was even a fancy restaurant that sat above the water. Immediately after you step out of the pool area, you walk right onto the beach of soft white sand. On the beach they had countless padded beach chairs for the guests to use. Jason and I enjoyed lounging and reading on those chairs while looking out onto the beautiful ocean. The hotel services would walk around the beach offering drinks and pina coladas that we could have brought right to us without lifting a finger.

View from our balcony

View from the beach to our balcony

Reading on the beach...Oh yeah, Harry Potter...

One of my favorite aspects of the pool/beach area was the refreshment hut. I believe there were two large huts located at opposite lengths of the pool and at these huts they serviced a variety of fun, tropical drinks as well as lunch platters. These huts were connected to land as well, so if you wanted to order from the side of the pool and eat at the tables you could do that; or, my favorite was the stools that sat below the water. These stools were the perfect height so you could sit in the water while leaning on the countertop of the bar. I remember ordering some delicious quesadillas one day, and another day ordering something with fries. Their fries were top-notch! I remember just ordering a couple plates of fries once because they were so good! We would also order some fruit smoothies from the bar whenever we felt like it.

We were really lucky, because at the time, the hotel was having a special promotion of some sort which allowed us to get a $200 credit at the hotel, just for putting a credit card on file. This hotel credit is what allowed us to take advantage of the refreshment huts and the great room service.

The Honeymoon - Part I

Sadly, we have let months go by without writing about our amazing honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico. I am afraid the finer details have drifted into the realm of Things Forgotten, but the overall feeling definitely lives on. The honeymoon can only be described as something from a dream; it was absolutely perfect. We lived in nothing less than paradise for a whole week.

Before we get swept away into the bliss of sandy beaches and radiant sun, we cannot forget the excitement that occurred between the time of the reception and our arrival in Cancun. To my complete surprise, Jason became sick sometime between the luncheon and the reception. A nasty flu bug had been traveling through the Gruber family over the Christmas holiday, and it was Jason’s turn to catch it. I had no idea that Jason was feeling ill until he finally told me about two hours into the reception. We still had a bit of a line of guests left to see when the sickness really started to show in his face. He looked ghostly white and was feeling very nauseous.

Somehow he was able to hold off until most of the people had been greeted before rushing to the men’s room. After that, we kept the activities short; we quickly cut the cake, pulled off the garter, and threw the bouquet. All of Jason’s siblings contributed in giving a special gift to prepare us for our trip: a framed picture of the Cancun strip (including our soon-to-be-home-for-a week) and a nice amount of cash that could be used for our Cancun adventures. It was a great way to get excited for the coming week (not that we needed any encouragement or anything). In consideration of Jason’s present state, we skipped over the dancing plans and quickly changed out of our wedding clothes. We had a grand exit of friends and sparklers. Reflecting back on it, it seemed to have all happened so fast. The exit and drive to Salt Lake was just a blur of excitement.

The first and second nights were spent at Little America. We had the most elegant suite (room number 1028, I believe). It was the perfect place to lay back and relax. They had the bed turned down for us and equipped it with a comfortable robe and slippers. The room service was excellent and was just what we needed to cure an upset stomach. We spent the next day relaxing and watching Kung Fu Panda and The Incredible Hulk.

Of course, one of my favorite parts of the Little America stay was the luxurious dinner at the restaurant there in the hotel. I had the most delicious steak I think I have ever had. The only sad part was that I couldn’t share it with Jason, he was too sick to try more than a tiny bite. Poor Jason and his shrimp-in-a-cup!

Thanks to some miracle, Jason was feeling much better by the next morning. We left bright and early for the airport Monday morning. We took a plane to Texas and then made our connection to Cancun. Stepping off the plane into Mexico was such an interesting experience. It was the first time that I had ever been out of the country and I was instantly reminded of that fact; going through customs, having to deal with the money exchange, and trying to understand all the Spanish that was being yelled at me was all new to me. Luckily, Jason can speak Portuguese, so that was very helpful in getting some of the information we needed. I was also introduced to a world where everyone thrives on tips. We stepped out of the airport and there was a swarm of Mexican workers wanting us to take THEIR shuttle onto the strip. It was almost to the point of being overwhelming with all of the yelling and the signs. Most were not afraid to confront you and try to persuade you to take their shuttle. Thankfully, Jason already had a reservation with a shuttle company and we were directed to him. Now, here comes the hard part. If you’re not careful or quick enough, the worker will start loading or unloading things himself and will expect a nice size tip for it. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but for young newly weds like ourselves, we would rather do a little extra work ourselves if that meant we could keep a little extra cash in our pockets for dinner or something else like that. If you’re not careful, you can end up paying $5 for the loading of bags, $5 for the unloading of bags, and then $5 for the bags being brought up to the hotel room. Before you know it, you’re paying $15 on top of the fee for the shuttle ride itself just for carrying the bags, which we could do ourselves; and that’s just with a small tip. This was a lesson that we had to keep learning throughout the trip.

One of my favorite memories about the tip-suckers happened on our first night. After walking around the block near our hotel, we decided to have dinner at a real authentic looking Mexican restaurant. The name of it has escaped me sense, but it was a cute restaurant that sat you outside in the front under strings of hung lights and lanterns. They had curved chairs topped with poncho looking blankets. It was a very enjoyable dining experience under the clear, starry sky. The food was very authentic (meaning it wasn’t too appetizing for me; I’m used to a very Americanized-Mexican taste. CafĂ©-Rio anyone?). All-in-all, however, I did enjoy it and was able to eat/try all of it. Adding to the ambiance of the restaurant, there was short Mexican man walking around all of the tables and serenading the customers with his guitar and his beautiful tenor voice. It felt like a magical moment, sitting there in the nice breeze and dark sky. He came to our table and offered to play a romantic song for the two of us, and I didn’t think the night could be more perfect. After he finished the song, we thanked him and continued to enjoy our dinner. However, we couldn’t help but notice that he wasn’t moving on to the other customers. He just stood there tuning his guitar in front of us, looking at us with an expecting smile. At this point, it was getting kind of awkward. All of a sudden, he spoke in a small voice, “Tip?” We looked up at him and he said it again, a little louder this time, “Tip?” We began to realize that he wasn’t just a nice addition to the restaurant ambiance. Jason quickly reached into his pocket and gave him some money, and then he went on his way. From then on, we decided before hand that we would not welcome any little services like that.

The cute Mexican restaurant

Not five minutes later, we noticed another man walking around offering roses to the other tables. Eventually, he got to our table and offered a rose “for your lovely wife.” Of course, this makes Jason look like a jerk if he doesn’t want to get his “lovely” wife a rose; but I was sure to make it clear to both of them that I did not want a rose. The man finally gave up and walked away. Some of them can be down-right shameless!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wedding Day

Jason and I got married on December 27, 2008 in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It was literally freezing outside, but besides that, it was a picture perfect day.

Here we are, just coming out of the temple

It may not look that cold out, but let me assure was freezing!

That afternoon we had a delicious luncheon at Thanksgiving Point in the Golf Clubhouse. Our reception was also held there later that evening. It was beautiful!

I'm so happy to be married to Jason for time and all eternity. I love him so much! I am so blessed to have him in my life! This first year has been wonderful, and I look forward to the years to come!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Grubers - A True Story

After much persuasion, I've finally started a blog! Just to put this out there, I have no idea what I am doing on this it's going to be trial and error for the first little while.

I'm just going to start off by describing what we're up to now, and then hopefully get caught up with what's been happening since we've been married (December 27, 2008!)

Jason and I are both attending BYU this semester. This is my last semester and I will be graduating in Sociology. Jason will be graduating in April 2010, with a degree in Business Finance. We are trudging through these last few months, anxiously awaiting the end of our school career! At the same time, we are both working part time. I'm still working at APX Alarm in the Scheduling Department (I've been there for almost a year and a half now) and Jason is doing remodeling with a family friend.

In the little free time Jason has, he likes to spend it fishing on various rivers. He has become quite the fisherman (to say the least) and has even started making his own jigs. It's kind of cute arts and crafts for boys :)

Jason fishing on Middle Provo River

Fish caught with first homemade jig

I even got a private lesson on Hobble Creek

Jason is also on an intramural soccer team at BYU. His team is called Zach Attack (ha) and their next game is this Saturday morning. Cross your fingers for them!

Well, that's kind of where we're at right now. Hopefully, over the next little while I'll fill in the blanks from our first 8 months of marriage.