Back in black

August 20, 2006

I'm back from the cruise and probably as tan as I've been since high school (when I was on a lake every day wakeboarding and whatnot). Still debating whether I want to do a full-length write-up on the experience or just get to all the tech stuff I want to talk about.

Just in case I don't get around to doing a longer post about the trip, I'm going to try to quickly and nonsensically rifle through some of the 'highlights' without too much thought.

  • Itinerary: left out of Ft. Lauderdale, then headed to Princess Cays in the Bahamas, Ocho Rios in Jamaica, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, and Cozumel in Mexico.
  • While I had a great time and would probably do it again, it all felt a bit rushed when hopping from country to country.
  • I ate like a king and couldn't stop myself. It was kind of ridiculous. As ever, I didn't gain a pound.
  • Some of the ship activities were a bit too froufrou and snooty for my liking.
  • I feel somewhat heretical saying this, but I didn't miss the Internet as much as I thought I would, though once I stepped off the boat I was painfully thirsty for my data drip.
  • Airline officials can ask an entire plane full of people, with a straight face, for two volunteers to take a different flight because their collective body weight puts us over FAA regulations, and then expect us to feel comfortable at 35,000 feet knowing that rain water might be enough to bump us over the limit. I should note that this took over two hours to figure out. Yep, we sat on the tarmac for two hours while they debated whether the plane could keep us in the air. I'm telling you, the Flying Spaghetti Monster hates me.
  • Cruise lines don't employ funny comedians. I could have run circles around any of them. It was literally painful to watch.
  • Cruise lines do employ great jugglers.
  • Alcoholic drinks weren't as expensive as I had expected, and, ironically, I drank much less than I thought I would.
  • Due to the latest terrorist scare, if you buy a bottled beverage in an airport you now "surrender the cap at the time of purchase," lest you could pour out your orange juice and fill the bottle with the liquid you're currently somehow carrying without a bottle and which you already got past security. What a joke. Who's up for flying naked and buying new clothes on the other end? I'm afraid that's where all of this is headed.
  • I refuted my girlfriend's oft-made assertion that I'm a pessimist by stating that I'm a realist. She still didn't buy it, so I told her I'd meet her in the middle and dubbed myself a pessimistic realist.
  • There were 3700 passengers on our ship and the crew numbered over 1200. The massiveness of everything related to the ship cannot be overemphasized and I think I may write up a separate post wherein I discuss all the ship statistics I gathered over the week.
  • Every other person in Jamaica thought I was a drug addict and offered me everything under the sun. If they didn't think I was a drug addict they thought I needed a taxi. It was absolutely insane and all of the badgering and harassment actually made most of our time on the island pretty stressful.
  • I planned to get though the audiobooks of Charlie Wilson's War and Freakonomics, but it never happened; there was just too much to do on the ship and at the ports.
  • I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I think I got some pretty good stuff and can't wait to get it up here.
  • Everything everywhere was a bit too Americanized.
  • The stateroom stewards are magicians.
  • A homeless guy in Jamaica asked me to take his picture. I did, and gave him $5. He then spent the next five minutes digging through a plastic bag and eventually asked me to write his address down on a piece of paper so that I could send him guitar strings or something. The address as he gave it to me: Johnny Cool, Post Office, Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • It didn't matter how many times I went up and down the stairs of the "fiesta boat" I was on, as soon as I got near the top of the stairs the man selling t-shirts (who I passed at least 20 times) would simply say, "What size and how many?" He almost had me on his 33rd effort, but I just couldn't convince myself that I needed an "official" t-shirt to remind me of the boat.
  • I was probably in a bathing suit more than any other person on the ship.
  • Internet access on the ship worked great, but at $22/hr it was out of my anyone in their right mind's budget. It's almost laughable that they can get away with charging so much. I don't get it.
  • After going through the 9000+ posts that had built up in my aggregator over the last week+, I realized that I really didn't miss anything.
  • I learned that a lot serious art is sold on cruises (more than 300,000 pieces last year!). Went to a few art auctions and really enjoyed them, even though I had no intention of actually buying anything. OK, so the free champagne roped me into the first one, but I went to the others because I enjoyed them.
  • Despite the fact that I was on a cruise and having a good time, I still found it hard to relax. It's my lot in life I suppose.
  • It makes little difference where in the Caribbean you go -- the water is going to be beautiful and clear regardless.
  • Some people responded to the totally non-personal auto-response I setup for my e-mail as if I was writing them personally (even though the message clearly stated I was on a ship in the Caribbean).

Well, that ended up being longer than I would have liked. Anyway, if the longer post never comes, I'll try to give a few more details of the trip as they coincide with some of the shots I'll eventually post here.

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