I didn’t want to be one of those people who started a blog only to eventually abandon it for no good reason. I got sidetracked by a few personal events. First I took a vaction. The wife and I went on a long-awaited cruise. I spent a couple of days on Miami Beach before we took off. Let me say, what passes for casual in Miami is different from Atlanta. A thong and a pair of sandals is OK. And that was just the hairy 50-year-old men.
Your body goes through changes while on a cruise. After the first day hunger ceases to be an issue. Meals are always available, including 24/7 room service that we never tried. My favorite was the pizza bar. They had exotic flavors like rusticana and marghareta, which actually were just pepperoni and cheese. There were dueling ice cream machines. One was yogurt and one ‘real’ ice cream. I heard that the yogurt was good.
You act differently on a cruise. We had the late ‘seating’ for our evening meal. I don’t really like the formal setting for dinner for a couple of reasons. You have to dress up. Every night. Actually you can get by with khaki pants, a short-sleeve shirt and sandals but it still doesn’t feel like a vacation. There’s one formal night. Yes, I got to dust off the suit. If you’re just in a couple the ship puts you at a table with other couples. We were nervous about this. On the first night none of the other couples showed up. Eventually we did and made friends, at least for the duration of the trip. The guy sitting next to me happened to be a Titans fan, so conversation went well after that discovery.
The ports of call are the highlight of any cruise. We stopped at Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. When going to these ports, it’s best to have a plan. At Grand Cayman we set up an excursion through the Internet. This is the way to go. The boat offers excursions but they’re expensive and crowded. We went to swim with the stingrays. While it took a while to get used to wearing a mask and breathing through my mouth, the reef we visited was beautiful. I can’t wait to see the results of our underwater pics. Our second stop was Stingray City. Dozens of boats gather in the clear teal water. The water itself was about chest high. The boat operator took a small white pail, anchored it down and left it floating. Inside were small pieces of squid that we were to feed to the stingrays. These cats of the ocean were pretty much domesticated. They’d swim right up to us. I grabbed a piece of squid and moved it to where I thought the mouth opening was. The guy just sucked it up. It was a fun experience.
Our second stop was in Jamaica, and no, I didn’t have anyone offer to sell me any illegal substances. We took a bus trip to Dunns River Falls. You walk down to the bottom on a path and hire a guide to bring you back up the falls. The waterfalls looked insanely steep but we made it up without any major accidents. Our tour guide was smart in taking us there first because the place got crowded as we walked up the waterfall. We also tubed down a river, which was all right. There was a group of Norwegian tourists and we had fun trying to figure out what language they spoke. In short Jamaica is another poor country that depends on tourism. Contrary to my understanding marijuana is illegal there, but I think it’s illegal like taping movies on your VCR is illegal here.
One downside to a week-long cruise is the lack of connection to the real world. There was shipboard Internet service but it was expensive ($24 per hour) and moved at dial-up speed. I lost one of my fantasy matchups because I didn’t find out that Joe Horn was injured until after the fact. I felt like I missed more than one week when I returned.
At least there were some sports on TV. I kept running back from dinner to a TV to check on the Sox in game three of the division series. I didn’t see the finish of the game but I saw the celebration.
On our travel day we woke up around 6 a.m. to get off the boat first. Instead of leaving our bags out we took them ourselves and got out with the first group. We made the airport early but Delta cancelled an earlier flight so we had to wait. I went back to work on Friday and had a nice restful weekend after that.