Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Vacation”

Off to the Caribbean!

CarnivalGlory-GrandTurk-1680x1050In a couple days, my girlfriend and I are heading to Miami for three days, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Then, we will board the Carnival Glory for a seven-day cruise, visiting Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cozumel. We have several excursions planned, including swimming with dolphins and stingrays, cave tubing, snorkeling, and renting a wave runner. I’ll make sure to share all of the great photos, videos and stories with you when I return. Happy New Year!

I’m Back From Mexico

My girlfriend and I are back from Mexico and it was a great trip. The weather was beautiful almost every day except for the last – but I’ll take a rainy day in the 60s over a chilly snowy day in Philly anytime. We went snorkeling with sea turtles and fish and visited Mayan ruins in Coba and Tulum. We also ate a ton of food, including a chocolate cake I couldn’t seem to get enough of at the “Cupcake Cafe” (i.e., Starbucks) on the resort. All in all, it was a great vacation and a fitting way to celebrate being in a relationship with my girlfriend for one year. For those interested, I highly recommend checking out Mexico; it’s a beautiful destination worth exploring.

We stayed at Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

We stayed at Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Our room was very nice and featured a jacuzzi.

Our room was very nice and featured a jacuzzi.

This was a great spot by the pool to relax, read or take a nap.

This was a great spot by the pool to relax, read or take a nap.

Here's a view of the beach from 5th Avenue in downtown Playa del Carmen.

Here’s a view of the beach from 5th Avenue in downtown Playa del Carmen.

I was convinced to partake in a Fish Spa treatment where small toothless fish remove dead skin from your feet. You could also refer to it as a nautical pedicure.

I was convinced to partake in a Fish Spa treatment where small toothless fish remove dead skin from your feet. You could also refer to it as a nautical pedicure.

Here's a closeup of the fish in action. It just tickled and felt like small vibrations. While the end result wasn't nearly as smooth as a pedicure, it wasn't bad for $10.

Here’s a closeup of the fish in action. It just tickled and felt like small vibrations. While the end result wasn’t nearly as smooth as a pedicure, it wasn’t bad for $10.

Here's a photo of us with a Shaman after he performed a ceremony asking the spirits to allow us to enter a Mayan cenote.

Here’s a photo of us with a Shaman after he performed a ceremony asking the spirits to allow us to enter a Mayan cenote.

And here's the cenote, which featured sea turtles and bats.

And here’s the cenote, which featured sea turtles and bats.

We had the opportunity to visit a Mayan family's home during our tour of Coba.

We had the opportunity to visit a Mayan family’s home during our tour of Coba.

Here's an inside shot of the home. They live very simply, and seeing this and learning how the community is economically and educationally deprived, made me more grateful for what I have here in the United States.

Here’s an inside shot of the home. Seeing this and learning how the community is economically and educationally deprived, made me more grateful for what I have here in the United States.

Here's that chocolate cake I mentioned earlier - it was amazing.

Here’s that chocolate cake I mentioned earlier – it was amazing.

There were several pools throughout the resort.

There were several pools throughout the resort.

There was also a mini-golf course that we took advantage of. While I lost to my girlfriend multiple times while playing air hockey in the game room, I won at this activity.

There was also a mini-golf course that we took advantage of. While I lost to my girlfriend multiple times at air hockey in the game room, I won at this activity.

In addition to monkeys, donkeys and lizards, the resort had approximately 10 cats that lived there. They had their own area called "Cat Cafe." One of these adorable felines became attached to us - we name her Rosa and she visited us a couple times in our room.

In addition to monkeys, donkeys and lizards, the resort had approximately 10 cats that lived there. They had their own outdoor area called “Cat Cafe.” One of these adorable felines became attached to us – we named her Rosa and she visited us a couple times in our room.

We climbed a massive ruin in Coba - I did it on all fours to avoid falling because it was so steep.

We climbed a massive ruin in Coba – I did it on all fours to avoid falling because it was so steep.

Here we are at the top of the ruin - it may not be obvious but I was frightened to go down.

Here we are at the top of the ruin – it may not be obvious but I was frightened to take this photo … and climb back down.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom of the ruin by sliding down, step by step, on my butt and clinging to the rope going down the middle.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom of the ruin by sliding down, step by step, on my butt and clinging to the rope going down the middle.

Here we are getting ready to snorkel for the first time.

Here we are getting ready to snorkel for the first time.

The best part of snorkeling was the cute sea turtles - they would pop their heads above water every few minutes to breath.

The best part of snorkeling was the cute sea turtles – they would pop their heads above water every few minutes to breathe.

We also saw a stingray. Thankfully these photos were taken by the instructor, not us.

We also saw a stingray. Thankfully these photos were taken by the instructor, not us.

And, of course, we were surrounded by fish, which was a surreal and somewhat scary experience.

And, of course, we were surrounded by fish, which was a surreal and somewhat scary experience.

We also visited Tulum where there are Mayan ruins and a beautiful beach.

We also visited Tulum where there are Mayan ruins and a beautiful beach.

The gorgeous beach in Tulum.

The gorgeous beach in Tulum.

In between holes on the mini-golf course, we got to see a monkey up close.

In between holes on the mini-golf course, we got to see a monkey up close.

And here's an iguana named Poncho - he lives on the resort in a tree.

And here’s an iguana named Poncho blending in with the bottom left root of his tree house.

I’m Off To Mexico!

MexicoThis Saturday my girlfriend and I are flying to Mexico. We’re staying at an all-inclusive resort for a week, which should be great for a variety of reasons – one of which is it’s supposed to snow (again) here in Philly. During this trip I plan on eating a lot, snorkeling, exploring Mayan ruins as well as cenotes, and of course, lounging on the beach and by the pool while reading a great book. I won’t be posting anything until I return, but I’m sure I’ll have great photos and stories to share when I come back. Talk to you soon!

KISS Kruise III – I’ll Be There!

KISS Kruise III

This October I’ll be boarding my first cruise, but it won’t be just any cruise. It’ll be KISS Kruise III. What is a KISS Kruise, you ask? It’s a five-day luxury cruise with the “Hottest Band in the World,” KISS. This is the third year the band is setting off on this rock and roll¬†sea¬†voyage, and I felt the need to experience it at least once in my lifetime.

KISS Kruise III - What You GetThe cruise itself is a round trip from the Port of Miami to Key West and Great Stirrup Cay. It includes admission to two KISS concerts, one of which is an acoustic sail-away show without makeup. Everyone also gets a photo with the band and a pre-autographed commemorative item. Members of the “KISS Navy” also get to participate in a KISS Q&A and engage in group activities with the band members in between concerts.

KISS Kruise III - DestinationsIn addition to KISS, other bands will be providing a steady supply of rock and roll concerts for people to enjoy. As of right now, three bands are scheduled to join KISS on this year’s cruise: Night Ranger, Leogun and Big Rock Show.

And just like regular cruises, all meals and non-carbonated beverages are included in the ticket price. Of course, certain activities and items come at an additional cost, like gambling, spa services and various off-board activities in Key West and Great Stirrup Cay.

Considering all the great music, activities and food that’s covered by the price of admission – not to mention the vacation itself – I think this is a great deal. It’s going to be an amazing trip filled with wild stories and crazy experiences that I look forward to sharing with you on my blog.

Until then, check out the acoustic sail-away show and Q&A with KISS’ Manager, Doc McGhee, from KISS Kruise II in 2012:

Book Review: Now You See Her

James Patterson is arguably America’s most popular author. He’s sold 260 million books worldwide and holds the record for most hardcover fiction titles to appear on The New York Times Bestseller list: 76. Needless to say, he’s everywhere – even my shore house.

During my trip to Ocean City last week, I found a copy of Now You See Her in the living room. This title caught my eye last summer when it was first released, so I was determined to finish it before coming back to Philadelphia. Like many of Patterson’s books, it was a gripping adventure filled with unpredictable twists and turns.

Here’s the book’s official description from James Patterson’s website:

The perfect life
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she’s built in New York–including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can’t let him pay for the real killer’s crimes.

The perfect lie
Nina’s secret life began 18 years ago. She had looks to die for, a handsome police-officer husband, and a carefree life in Key West. When she learned she was pregnant with their first child, her happiness was almost overwhelming. But Nina’s world is shattered when she unearths a terrible secret that causes her to run for her life and change her identity.

The perfect way to die
Now, years later, Nina risks everything she’s earned to return to Florida and confront the murderous evil she fled. In a story of wrenching suspense, James Patterson gives us his most head-spinning, action-filled story yet–a Hitchcock-like blend of unquenchable drama and pleasure.

Similar to his previous works, Now You See Her started off with a bang and didn’t let go until the last page. It moved at a break-neck pace and featured over-the-top action. Moreover, the characters were believable and the villains’ dialogue was delicious. While Patterson’s prose would never be confused with Stephen King’s, if you suspend your disbelief and give Now You See Her a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Below is an interview with James Patterson about Now You See Her:

Summer In The City

Reading “Now You See Her” by James Patterson while on the beach in Ocean City, NJ.

Many of you may not know this, but I work two jobs (one part-time and one full-time) and I’m in graduate school at Temple University. I also just started a novel, produce this blog and contribute to Examiner.com. Needless to say, I needed a vacation, which is why I’m writing this from Ocean City, NJ.

I hope all of you take some time this summer to relax, unwind and do something you enjoy. Whether you decide to go camping, rock climbing or to the beach, have fun. Life is about balance. It may be hard to find, but we all need it.

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