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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

So…

Last week I experienced my first ever cruise. Hooray for cheap travel deals.

First, so as I don’t come off as a total and complete asshole, let’s start with the positives.

I mean, don’t get me wrong… I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity of a travel-filled, work-free, 4 days.

But you know me, right? or if you don’t… well, there’s always something, because, if there wasn’t, then that wouldn’t be me in my finest form.

So, take it or leave it… whatever floats your boat <— wow, how’s that for cliche, huh?

Nice.  Anyhoo, right… positives:

a) Got to spend time with the mama.

b) Caught up on my reading.  It’s been a while, and it was nice to escape into fictional dysfunction.

c) Loved visiting the islands we stopped at: St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts, San Juan.

d) Had the honour of borrowing a SLR Nikon digital camera with two superb lenses… which is something I’ve wanted for a very, very, long time.  It was  extremely difficult to return it to its rightful owner. The camera became a part of me on that trip… and… well, yes, I miss it.

e) Love the ocean. Loved being on the ocean.

f) As if I needed to state the obvious… no work, equals happy.

I suppose since I’m not much experienced with the term, ‘Fun Ship’, the Disney meets Vegas on water extravaganza was at first, ultimately overwhelming and surprising.  When they say “carnival” they really mean it.  Really.

It was literally as if the population of a small town, floated along, unaware of the rest of the world.

Over 3000+ passengers, excluding the crew.

Feeding time was definitely the most interesting and entertaining. Name your cuisine – it’s there.

In monstrous amounts. Literally.

Piles of it. Piles of it being shoveled onto the plates of pushy, obnoxious vultures passengers.

I mean, think about people.  It’s called ‘all-inclusive’ for a reason.  The food’s not going anywhere.  There’s enough to feed the entire boat, 3 times over.

No need to push.

No need to cut in line.

No need to shove someone aside to get to the eggs first.

There’s more.  Really. Piles, I tell you.

Piles.

Another amazing thing about feeding time, is the inclination that people have with the buffet.  I have never, in my entire lifetime, seen so many people wolf down so much food.  Yes, the option is there… but, is it necessary to try and eat as much as humanly possible?  Some people literally filled plates with enough to feed a small army… and continued to return for more.  Wowzers.

Blows my mind.

Rules are a must on a ship like this.  I mean, obviously.  How else could you control such a large amount of people? Surprisingly, the bulk of the passengers followed them quite effectively.

I, on the other hand, not always so much.  I’m not too fond of rules, you see.  Rules are made to be broken.

What if I don’t want to eat at 6pm sharp?

What if I don’t want to sit at table 583 with two women that apparently don’t understand the concept of ‘friendly chit-chat’?

Orientation? What orientation?

Tell me to be back at 3.30pm or the ship will leave? I’ll be back at 4pm. Wait for me.

What if I don’t want to pack at 9pm the night before and leave the luggage outside of my room for you to pick up only for you to neglect to leave the tags and therefore also our disembarking zone number so that I have to stand in a line of 50 people waiting to talk to a service agent that can’t help me and all I want to know is when I can get off the damn boat?

Every few hours we were greeted with the overly caffeinated voice of ‘Squishy’, announcing one rule or another, or promoting whichever event was planned.  I wish I had a soundbite of his voice. He was definitely cruisin’ for a bruisin’…

<ding, ding, ding>

6.30am

“Goooooood morning cruisers!!!! It’s your fave pal SQUISHY! Good, ya?! Hope you’re having a lovely day and just a reminder that…. (rule a, rule b, rule c, rule d, rule e, rule f, rule g, rule h)….. oh and…. <static> …… Ooops! Silly me… seems I’m not sure how to use this intercom-thing-a-mi-giggy. …. <Static>…. OOPS! okay… there we go… right.  So, RISE and SHINE cruisers… here’s what’s on for today…..”

I almost half expected Squishy to announce something to the effect of,

“Now remember, cruisers, one foot in front of the other.  Left… right… left… right….”

Mama and I had quite a laugh, while trying to avoid mass herds of people… everywhere.

And yes, I realize… cruise… boat… enclosed… people… what did I expect, right?

I know, I know.  But I believe the outcome would have been different if there were more like, 300 passengers, and less… spectacle.  We didn’t partake in much of the events or shows, although I did enjoy the piano bar… and the piano man… until he repeated the same set for the third time in the same night, and then, well, it got a little old.

I don’t know, I guess for me, I don’t need much to be entertained.  A little bit of dinner, a little bit of good company, a little bit of chit-chat, a little bit of live music, a little bit of wine, and a lot of nice scenery… meh… that’s enough for me.

The amount of options of things to do on this ship blew my mind.  Comedy night, magic show, trivia, casino, dance contests, spas, games, etc etc…  And ya, great for families.  I mean, brilliant idea… there’s no way the kids could be bored in that environment… well, unless the kid is like me, and I’m an oddity, so, well… right.  So really, thumbs up for that.

But you know, it’s interesting.  Here’s a however many day (we hopped on in the middle, thank god) Caribbean cruise.  You would think, maybe just a little, that maybe, just maybe…. some of the passengers might be interested in, oh, I don’t know, Caribbean culture?

I mean, on the rare occasion that I actually heard some Caribbean music on the boat (just once to be exact), I overheard about 3 people wishing they would, ‘turn that crap off’ and I assume, turn up the latest Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits Album.  And also, although there was an endless amount of food, there was not a drop of Caribbean cuisine.

So, basically, you choose to travel to see new places and experience new things, so long as you are still traveling in America, the boat version.  Then only to get off the boat and shop at the exact same duty free shops you saw at the airport, and every other docking port.

I don’t know.  To each his own, I guess.  But my favourite part of the trip was wandering far, far, away from the port, getting lost in search for the bus station, talking to strangers, exploring historical sites, taking tons of pictures, and drinking beer illegally in a paper coffee cup on good Friday… but you know, that’s just me.

emergencyexitcruise

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Although I am now living in my most favourite place on earth thus far, I am still in the process of adjusting, which I suppose happens with everything.  Some of my current adjustments include, but are not limited to:

1.  Driving on the other side of the road.

I pretty much have this down pat as I’ve been here so often… but I still have issues with maneuvering myself around parking lots, and reversing. The fact that the roads are tiny and not made for American and/or Asian and/or European cars does not help the matter much. I still almost always try to get in the car on the passenger side, and also grab the air for the seatbelt.

What I have no problem adjusting to re: driving, is the incredible amount of courtesy on the road. I’ve always said this about Barbados, and I absolutely love it.  There are many horns being honked, but almost never in vein, instead, to say ‘hello’, ‘go ahead’, or ‘thank you.’  People stop, even though they have the right of way, to let someone else in.  It’s fabulous, I tell you.

2. The fact that I’m working mostly from home, alone, which makes for some very lonely times.  I don’t even have my cats to talk to (yes, I do that).  Although, here is a pic from before I left.  Echo was not impressed with my leaving:

echo
3. Sometimes it’s hard to meet people here that don’t have alternative intentions.

4. The crazy rocket launcher in the neighbour’s yard.  I’m still laughing, you know.  As promised, here is a pic:

Rocket Launcher

I know it’s hard to tell, but the angle of the tower is pointed directly at me, like so:

10-4

It’s hard to see all the wires, but these are the best shots I could get, as I am not in the business of pissing off the unknown neighbour.  Especially since they have a massive dog, who: a) is scary, and b) looks out for random burglars.

5. On the topic of random burglars… this is not yet something I am willing to discuss as I don’t want to jinx the situation.  I also have an ongoing entry about it that I have not yet posted, and in fact I may never be comfortable posting it.  All I can say about the situation is that I’ve never felt unsafe here in 11 years, I do now in this spot – after dark, and we’re moving.

6. Everything takes forever.  Going to the bank, supermarket, getting a cell phone, lunch, dinner, whatever. This is not so challenging for me though, as I have quite a laid back demeanor.  To tell you the truth, I enjoy it. Still, it’s an adjustment from big city life and expecting everything to be done, pronto.

Somethings that I have no problem adjusting to:

1. The amazing weather.

2. Yummy drinks, including beer, rum, Frutee and mango juice.

3. Fresh mangos, fish, plantains and all other island food in general…. including hot pepper sauce. Yummers.

4. The sound of the tree frogs.  One Canadian friend of mine thinks they sound like the noise they have for the visually impaired at large intersections.  I promised her that she will miss the sound when she leaves.

5. The beach, oh, the beach…. including the fact that the island is coral and therefore there is a lack of vegetation in the water.  It’s all about white sands and clear water.  Niceness.

6. The radio stations.  So funny and so awesome.

7. The fact that everyone says ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’, or ‘good evening’… even to strangers.  Wow, what a concept.  I tried that once in Toronto and just about got my ass kicked.

8. Last but definitely not least, is the beauty of the island.  I don’t have many pics yet, but here’s a couple snippets to give you an idea:

Naniki view

View from NanikiRendezvous sunsetSunset

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So the day has finally come.  And what a sweet day, indeed.  My countdown is complete, and I have finally made it to my favourite destination.  

Ahhh… Barbados.  

My flight etc was rather uneventful, which is a plus, since generally I travel on Air Canada, US Airways or American Airlines and it’s always hell.  West Jet, however, you are my saviour.  So much so, that you even got us there early.  

Please pause, as I bow down to West Jet….

….

….

Alrighty.  

It really didn’t hit me until I got off the plane.  I walked down the steps onto the runway and felt the warm breeze through my hair.  

Warm. Breeze.  

Wow.  Those two words are so much sexier than wind chill.  

As I tried to gather my carry on luggage and winter coat in an acceptable fashion, I wondered why my face was twitching.  

Then it hit me.  That twitch, my friends, was a smile.  

What?!  She’s actually happy?  

Yes indeedy.  I forgot what happiness felt like.  And this is it.  Seriously.  I am absolutely in love with this island.  Like how you feel when you’re in a relationship.   That kind of love.

I forgot about that feeling… the last time I had it was July, which was the last time I was here.  It’s like a switch goes off and all the stress and negativity disappears.  The feeling increases even more when I realize I’m not just here for a few weeks, but four months.  

Four.

Weeeee!

Is it crazy that I have a human being relationship with an entire geographical land mass?  

Maybe.

But I don’t care.  It’s full blown true love.  Heaven.  

Now please excuse me as slip into my flip flops and sit my ass on the wrap around porch filled with palm trees, aloe plants and birds of paradise.  It’s time to suck back my third Banks Beer, feel the warm breeze on my face and watch the planes take off overhead.  

Bliss.

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