First, let me say how much easier it is to chronicle a vacation when you’re sitting in a hotel room alone, rocking and sucking your thumb, than it is when you’re attached at the hip with your husband-like-boyfriend who is deathly afraid you’re going to fall off your balcony when he looks away for two seconds.
Wow. Okay…where to begin.
We’ll begin with The Mc being allergic to all medicine, including the nail sized sticker that promised to be 10x more effective than Dramamine at inhibiting motion sickness but instead made him as droopy and void of energy as Sleeping Beauty. Which brings us to…
Day 1ish – May 10
…was a loss, with him laying in bed feeling like dookie and me looking on helpless while my pity for him fought a savage battle with my desire to GO! SEE! DO! This is also where my “aunt” shows up a week early. Thanks for that.
The ship was massive, the website and pictures had no means of adequately prepping me. Tell me there’s an ice rink. Tell me there’s a show every night. Tell me there is non-stop food. Tell me there’s a jogging track. Tell me there are two specialty restaurants, an MG parked outside of a pub, a Ben & Jerry’s, a cigar lounge, and a bijillion other things I’ll never remember to tell you about but this: nothing – and I mean nothing – will prepare you for the financial hemorrhaging you’ll endure for the likes of a “water package” ($36 for 10 bottles of Evian delivered to your room), the excursion costs ($14pp for floating mats in Haiti and the like) or the bar tab at the end (um. I don’t even want to tell you. It was more than I used to pay in rent…but I’m getting ahead of myself). The pictures also didn’t feature shots of the bathrooms I was warned about, or the round shower that had me bracing myself mentally to be sucked out of it and into a drive through teller window somewhere in South Dakota.
Day 3 – May 12
When we woke, the ship was pulling into port in Labadee, Haiti. I was so damn excited to see Haiti I can’t even tell you – especially after my grand plan to make friends with Little Dude were foiled by the swine flu and subsequent Mexican port closures.
I’ll grant you that it was beautiful, but what we saw was a sanitized version of what I wanted. A private stretch of the island that belonged to the cruise line, with miles of gorgeous crystal blue waters but no native inhabitants – save the ones with badges that had been sanctioned to hawk their wares in the “market”.
A specialized disappointment, but/and great hours on the shore, an interesting guided walk with a Haitian who educated us about how they (Hatians) have one day a month where the Dominicans allow them on “their” side of the island to pick up the necessities – like you know – rice. To eat and live on. Now THAT is the Haiti I wanted to see.
Day 4 – May 13
I caught a cold somewhere along the way, but a woman cold is a fascinating state of being. No whining was had (what was that? SILENCE): I mountain biked down 2,000 foot of a Jamaican mountain, ate a mango straight from a tree, and cliff jumped. I went snorkeling and gambling and left the blackjack table with a profit in hand. I’m just sayin’. I’m pretty much a stud, and you’re lucky to know me.
Day 5 – May 14
We woke again by some small miracle because I had too much in the casino the night before ifyouknowwhatImean and found ourselves already in port in George Town, Grand Cayman.
This port looked more promising, with even prettier, bluer water in the bay that our behemoth was parked in…and a pirate ship to boot! Traa la and arrrrrrr. From the ship we could see the line of shops on the main drag and we were anxious to embark on our two adventures: a trolley ride with a pirate named Steve from Canada who tugged us along in his Jeep while we kept our appendages in the trailer. Again, we were educated about the island we were invading as part of a swarm of tourists.
The good: Tortouga Rum Cake (hellz yes we brought one home and devoured it) which I fully expected to be a boozy version of a fruit cake and found much to my delight – was nothing like a fruit cake. It was more like an angel food cake soaked in the nectar of the gods…of rum. Also good: the snorkeling.
Days 6 and 7 – May 15 and May 16
Day 6 was supposed to be when I’d make friendly with the turtles, when they’d accept me as one of their own and sweep me off into the big blue ocean and I’d grow flippers and a shell and forget my human ways and live happily ever after.
As we know, the damn swine flu was out to get me…and it got me. This is also where The Mc starts showing symptoms of my cold and where we should have called a Whaaaaaaaaaamblulance for said man cold.
Instead of turtles and perfect health we spent a day at sea, doing a float-by of what should have been our port and keepin’ on, keepin’ on. Interestingly, we also floated by Cuba, and were close enough for me to goob out and take some shots of the skyline we could make out from our balcony. You’d never make it out from the shots I took.
Coming full circle and landing squarely in the same spot we vacated a week prior in Port Canaveral, we opted for the earlier and more laborious of our two exit options: the glamorous carryallyourcrapyourowndamnselfsoyoucangetontheroadat7am.
It was worth the bruises and muscle burn I’d endure to get off the ship and back home to the kitties four hours earlier than planned. One small deviation from our path at customs where a very kind officer (who would later hand us a survey) inspected a wood mask we bought in Haiti for boring (or boooooring – ZING!) parasites let us on our way.
One very tiny last thing I have to add to this boring chronology is this: people prepared us for being seasick – but not LAND sick. For the first four days we were back in Atlanta and attempting to acclimate ourselves to work and checking the mail and caring about bills and doing our hair, we were both woozy as all get out. You’d have thought our eardrums had ruptured for the equilibrium issues we had.
Good GRAVY. Did you actually read all this drivel? Leave a comment so I can send you a gold star via collect mail.
Oh and PS? I did kinda get to see some turtles.
The full set of snaps from the trip can be viewed here.