vacation elation: part 4 ~ off the ship and on the shore

hello, hello, hello my darlings!

i hope that i haven’t bored you all to tears with my detailed explanation of How To procrastinate, deny and eventually get to your vacation. and once i got you on the line, i took a four-week long hiatus, right? sad. my apologies, darlings! the perils of the working girl have revisited and pained me beyond belief. however! i am forging ahead and doing my best to keep all avenues open and alive. so, with that said, i have returned (after a hard day at work and picking up my son) to bore you with more about my beloved vacation (also after a fight with my mouthy four-year-old about WHY i get to use the computer and he doesn’t).

so, let’s go with a little quick review:

  1. this was my first vacation in ten years. it was required, needed, wanted and thoroughly enjoyed.
  2. it was a gift. yes, a gift. the whole thing: one giant gift.
  3. while on the cruise, tropical storms detoured us from our original itinerary and had us visiting other places sooner than we had intended, and skipping other places that we’d rather have seen (those places being St. Thomas and Puerto Rico).

and now that we are caught up, let’s get moving…

our first scheduled stop was to Nassau, Bahamas. i had a late night the night before (hahhaha… or every night) and didn’t get up in a timely manner. once we (me: the one who gets ready and them: the three that say they are getting ready) were all together, we headed out to shore. i think it was about a quarter-to-one in the afternoon and we had to be back on board the boat by two-ish… so, we went into the customs office slash tourist trap, bought a fan (omg it was so humid), a pina colada and took a few pictures, we got back into the almost-hour-long line to get back on the boat. it would suffice to say that we did not have the opportunity to enjoy very much of the Bahamas. but, while we were there, Makeni and I did enjoy a very real, very authentic Pina Colada. it was delicious. the only other thing i was able to do in the short time that we were there was COMPLETELY MELT. the humidity in these tropical places is what makes them tropical, beautiful, inviting and two blips to the left of completely miserable.

the official "Bahamas" sign with "How Many miles To" arrows posted on it and a line of people waiting to be photographed with it. i skipped the line, held the camera high and snagged this very impersonal shot.

our next stop was supposed to be St. Thomas but that tropical storm pushed us on to Grand Turk Island. we were going to stop there, on day six or so, but here we are! day three and to Grand Turk we will go!

Grand Turk island is approximately seven miles long by three miles wide. it has a beautiful white sand beach (with a buncha rocks) and there are beautiful white and blue chaises and umbrellas for rent. you can’t get far without hearing about Margaritaville. yup! you guessed it.. the Jimmy Buffet song inspired Margaritaville (~singing~ wastin’ awaaaay again in Margaritaville. lookin’ fer my lost shaker of salt). so i went to the beach with the “say they are’s” and the rocky beach really put a cramp in my style… mostly by just being under my foot. so i left! i left the beach, i left the girls and went off my own. and whaddya know, there was music playing…

that’s where i found:

the DJ on the ones and twos that had MVille on full tilt!

um, sorry, that’s BSB for “this is the man that played wonderful music and brought the party, kept it alive and made it the most memorable inebriated event to date”.

Margaritaville is huge. huge on a 21 square mile island? either way, there was a bar and restaurant, but what caught my eye was the twisty windy waist-high swimming pool that didn’t seem to end. and, and, AND!! it had a swim-up bar. holy sweet tea on ice!!! that’s not what i had to drink, but boy was i excited. i got there at the same time as the other girls at our dinner table: Li and Shantel.

Shantel(L), Liana(R) and myself(M). LIVIN' IT UP AT THE 'Ville (that's right, me and the Ville are on a nickname basis)

so i met up with these two ^ and we shed our outer layers, grabbed our oversized shades and headed off into the crowd:

yup, into THIS! crowd

the crowd actually got bigger and bigger and closer together. this is a photo from when we first got there. i refused to take my phone (that’s where my camera is) into the water and so, pictures of the Ville are limited. after we got in, got familiar and sauntered over to the bar, we found these folks:

where you from? the Bay areaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

i apologize to those whose names i do not know… however. in the back row, from left to right: Stretch, Norm, Vange and “OH! I shoulda bought me some Monster, can I buy one from you?” and in the front, also from left to right is: Jay, the Homie Romie and The Mystery Man. 🙂

they brought a party, bought a party and let us join their fun. jell-o shots by the tray with tequila on top. really? can you do that? i didn’t think so either, but they did and then we did and we all did and it was all good.

mmm hmmm.. J & N lovin' up on the jell-o

i don’t know why Nikki is not in those pictures. but she is also from the bay area and she introduced me to her very fun, very generous and entertaining friends.

Vange, me and BabyCakes, havin' more fun than is legal for mothers away from their children (not really)

can you see the tequila in my eyes? hahahahah.. it was such a fun day. we had such a good time. i haven’t been that water logged since i was half the age i am now.

Stretch and Rome kickin' with the PrettyGirls

you see those smiles? look again. from the first “bay area” photo: not so much in the smile department, then Jay and Norm ensuring that a good time was going to be had, and the next two photos ain’t nothin’ but TEETH. good times, people. good times.

after the jell-o, the tequila, a mai tai (naturally), the push-up contest and the beginning of the “shake whatcha mama gave ya” contest, i was shriveling like a prune. i slowly made my way back to the boat. i got held up by security/customs/Turk-Island-Naitve who told me that i was not allowed to leave. it was his way of flirting. he was nice. i waved and kept it moving. i think it was that night that we saw Charlie Wilson. (i just consulted the itinerary and i was right, see my previous post for the goods on Mr. Wilson).

the next morning, i stumbled upon the bay area, having breakfast and perusing the photos from the day before (all taken by Vange on her fabulous evidence catching iPhone):

breakfast! with the bay. (sorry for the bright spot)

this day we spent at sea and BabyCakes (that’s Nikki) and i spent the entire day on the upper deck soakin’ up the sun and sharin’ a few laughs. we were donned “cruise celebrities” later that day and all we could was laugh and smile. we certainly made our fair share of friends and acquaintances. Rome came to hang with us later in the day and the three of us shared some of the buffets afternoon yumminess: nachos, chicken strips, french fries and as many cups of ice water that would fit on a tray. the only thing that made us depart was needing a nap before dinner.

the next day was thursday and our destination was key west. i think i gave you the low down on my aunt spraining her ankle on wednesday night. getting off shore on this day was difficult due to needing a wheelchair and all that other nonsense. it was just shy of painful. also, i know that i have complained about the tropical climate and the humidity but hear me now: key west florida is no less than four minutes from hell. apparently we made it ashore just after a little thunder storm. it was beautiful outside and very inviting but just beyond the threshold of the air condiditoned boat was air so thick with water that you could hold out a glass and quench your thirst. again, i was soaked from head to toe. we went ashore in search of key lime pie which seemed to be in every store, including the jewelry store.

“engagement ring? sure right here. and while you browse, here’s a piece of pie.”

Makeni wanted to find a key lime meringue and i was just done. i had hit my limit on the little shuttle. it was awful! awfuuuuullll! and then! my aunt said:

“look neesh, they sell Monster.”

holy smokes and artichokes! i honestly left my aunt, in her borrowed wheelchair, while i crossed the street and entered the smallest little store i have ever been in and found that sweet-glowing-jazzy-energy-in-a-can:

yessssssssss!

i walked out, Monster in hand and she said:

“i know you didn’t buy ONLY ONE. you’ve been complaining about Monster since we got on the boat and you only bought ONE?”

yeah, huh? so i went back in. spent everything i had and came out with an armful! we piddled around a little bit and then i had to protest:

“it’s just too damned hot for me, we gotta go back, i can’t take it anymore!!!”

i got on the boat buzzin’ from the charge of being Monster-sober for a week and then getting my first gulp. mmmmm mmmm. but before we go, let’s look at the few pictures i took before i melted on the sidewalk.

Mallory Square, where the shuttle dropped us off and picked us up.

the Shipwreck Historeum. doesn't it look like the ultimate treehouse or the lost extension for the Swiss Family Robinson monstrosity?

between the car and foot traffic and the unbearable humidity, this is the only picture that came out worth a hoot.. 😐

the intersection of humidity and hell... or somewhere in key west florida

shortly after staring at these two street signs i had myself-induced heat attack and went off ranting like a melting lunatic. seriously. i was just so darned hot. we went to the shuttle pick-up point which was next to a little indoor mall… WITH AIR CONDITIONING. lord love a duck.. i took my time walking in, walking around and just breathing. and then the horrible reality hit that i had to go back outside to get on the trolley and then stand in a line OUTSIDE to get back on the boat. geez. i’m not made for this. i’m a city girl, with country girl swagger. i’m not an outdoorsy camping type. i’m a hotel girl. i don’t mind being poolside, but i need less humidity and more beverage. yes, more beverage please!

out of the mall, melted. on the trolley, melted multiplied by melted as we waited for others and the loading of the wheelchair. off the trolley, melted. in the line to get on the boat, MELTED. up the ramp, through the metal detector, bag search and finally, into some air that was mostly void of moisture. sweet beans and histamines!! i hate to be so redundant about the humidity but just thinking of it makes me feel sticky.

on our last day we went to Freeport on the Grand Island of the Bahamas. there was much confusion over where to go and what to do. as one fellow shuttle-mate stated “it’s crunch time” and if you hadn’t done anything, now was the time to try and do it. i think the boat was empty that day. we went ashore and after another taxi cab squabble and a short ride we were far from where we actually wanted to be. i was with all of the girls when the day started, but once we got disparaged by the confused location, i split from them and joined up with another group of Cruise Crew members. Coincidentally, we all ended up at the same beach.

the groups merged and formed volleyball teams and a few amateur jet skiiers.

baby pine trees that were actually perfectly straight, but with the momentum of the craziest taxi ride ever, they appear bent

willie and torie. too cute. married forever and so in love.

volleyball at Taino Beach, Freeport, Grand Island of the Bahamas

me and torie. the non-volleyball players. enjoying the music, the sunlight and the company.

the winning team engaged in a group high-five!

Ruben. the best taxi driver ever.

the gang. the last outing of the last day of the cruise. that's Hank Sr. on the left and that's Hank Jr.'s on the right in the second row.

we had a lot of fun on this last day. we all tried to go to some other beach that was not what it was supposed to be. it was too far away, tiny, laden with rocks and generally lacking in all areas. we all ended up at Taino Beach. a picture perfect landscape with a little bit of everything: a bar/conch restaurant, jet ski rental, banana boat rental, sun bathing spot and impromptu gift shop. there was a group there before us that had most of the rentals tied up. so our groups split and played volleyball.

shortly there after, dwayne and i went jet skiing. whooo hooo! what fun. the water was choppy and it made for a less than smooth ride, but that had nothing to do with our fun. we fell off the jet ski twice and laughed so hard that i had a hard time getting back on. we skiied down a private channel and saw some very impressive homes. i told him “this makes me want to work twenty four hours in a day so that i can enjoy this life in the future”. it was inspirational, to say the least. we returned to the beach, to the taxi and to the boat. that last night i procrastinated and pondered on whether or not to actually go to the captain’s dinner, but i had to show my favorite server Tatiana some love and appreciation.

me and dwayne.

a good time was had by all. friends were made, experiences shared and memories forged to last a lifetime. i have relived the experience over and over again, always finding a new reason to smile. in the future i would do these things:

  1. take more pictures: you can never have enough pictures. i am going to look into the waterproof camera as suggested to me by Erika or “little miss ‘where’s my husband'” and her husband Chris.
  2. budget a little better: a few extra dollars would have given me a cushion of comfort.
  3. prepare to be solo: there’s nothing wrong with a group trip, with a group outing, with a group anything. but sometimes, it’s good to separate and take time to oneself. now, i can’t say that i didn’t enjoy a fair amount of time on my own, but i felt bad about it (at first). as if i had let the group down.
  4. get up and get out: when the boat docks, no matter where, get off the boat and see what’s going on. there’s no reason getting on a boat and taking a cruise with destinations if you’re only going to stay on the boat. don’t waste the experience.
  5. do not waiver: vacation is not the time to be timid or shy. if you want something, want to try something, want to do something, do it. it’s as simple as that. again, don’t waste the experience. like my early morning run in miami. when would i see the sun rise in miami again? i didn’t know then and i still don’t know now, but i’m so glad i got up and did it and snapped a picture to remind me.
  6. enjoy yourself. on every level.

and this concludes part four. also belated, but worth it just the same. i have one more part and that will be about the food. i hope i’ve convinced you all to think about a vacation, save for it and actually start planning it. you won’t regret it. we all take time off, we rest, we chill, we relax… on the couch, out in the yard or wherever we happen to power down at. but this! this was a vacation. a complete disconnect on every level from everything. it was needed, it was worth it and i can’t wait to do it again. so, until the next time my darlings… stay sweet.

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awkward bar behavior

i don’t go out that much. not for any one reason over another, i just don’t. but occasionally i suffer a build-up of boogie and i gotta go dance. last night was one of those nights. i met up with a new found friend and after the identification scan and size-up by security i gained access to the sounds that would make me shake a tail feather. but to be honest, upon entering, i was so caught up in the behaviors of the crowd that i almost forgot to dance. people watching is an all time favorite past time, but intoxicated dancing folk of all ages is far beyond what the mind can conceive. in bad form, i spent the majority of the evening typing notes into my cell phone. my fellow boogie-r told me

“i’m going to take that phone away from you, get off facebook.”

to which i responded;

” i am not on facebook, i’m taking notes! this is waaaaaay better than facebook.”

and it was. it really was.

as i drove into the parking lot, i found myself apprehensive. i instantly felt overdressed and too old. but i parked, primped and headed for the door. my sweet friend awaiting my arrival. once i got to the door i found other gals dressed to the same tune as me. the young boys that i had seen in the parking lot were not representative of the bar/club male population as a whole. there were all ages, shapes, sizes, races and hair-dos. my mind was wishing that i had a laptop and a video camera so that this post would be complete with audio and visual and provide for you an entire experience. alas, what i have are my memories, my notes and my words.

so let’s get started. the title sums it up. awkward bar behavior. now, far be it for me to say what should and shouldn’t be done. i can only tell you what i like and don’t like and what MY definition of awkward is. everyone likes something different. everyone finds something else attractive and alluring. and then there are a few things that are across the board. i think these are some of those. they are in the order in which they came to my attention.

  1. don’t sit and stare. this is self-explanatory and to the point. don’t sit and stare. it’s creepy, it makes you look creepy and in a few more seconds you’re going to look like a registered sex offender. so, simply stated, don’t sit and stare. if you like something about someone, tell them. be a grown up and deal with the little bit of rejection and/or possibility that will come with verbal contact. sitting and staring is creepy, don’t do it.
  2. any pants/underwear/bra adjustment, at all, is not acceptable. again. very simple. we all have situations, but personal adjustments of the body are just strange. for people that are watching you, it can border on disgusting, so be wary of taking place in something so personal in so public. you don’t have to go hide, but turn towards the wall or turn down a hallway or something. don’t just stand there and move things about as if you’re not TOUCHING YOURSELF. we have eyes! we can see you.
  3. the “i work too hard for my look”. not everyone has style, but those that do flaunt it. i’m good with that. i have no problem with that. but your look, no matter how fan-tab-u-lous and wonderful shouldn’t look like it took you seventeen hours and a set of cliff’s notes to do it. be gorgeous, feel great and work it! but try to make it look a little less like work and more like you.
  4. the “where ya been giiiiiiiiirl?”. this one was particularly entertaining. it seemed to be a one-sided situation with men walking up to women, attempting to hug them and saying “where ya been giiiiiiiiirl?” most of the girls seemed to be caught off guard and their eyes were squinted with inquiry as to “hmm. do i know him? where do i know him from? how long has it been since i’ve seen him? and why is he acting like we’re bff’s who haven’t seen each other in months? hmm. weird.”
  5. the shadow dancer. you know this person. they walk up behind some unsuspecting solo dancer and proceed to dance with them without invitation or prompting. they usually tend to do this for their friends and often throw glances, winks, smirks and hi-fives in that direction. i think they deserve a throat-punch, but that’s just me. if you’re a shadow dancer, shame on you, ya freak. ask. if you get rejected, deal with it. otherwise you had better guard your throat!
  6. bikini clad 1/4 sasquatch girls. mmm hmm. that’s what i saw. beautiful young shapely girls with their make-up done “just so”. dancing upon their tiny stages with a sour look on their faces. one of them was smiling, the other looked like someone farted in her face. it wasn’t until they took a little water break that i saw they were both one-quarter sasquatch. from the knees down, both of them wore long, furry boots. wth? where is this a trend? where is this fashionable and why are they not there instead of here? funny.
  7. say it don’t spray it. inside a bar/club the music is loud. for obvious reasons. this forces people to speak loudly, bringing their outside voice inside. but, for some, projecting their voice forces them to basically shout. long story short, speak loudly, but do not fling spit on the poor person who is trying to listen to you. this is obviously not only the case in the club, but if it’s the case for you, be aware dammit! the fastest way to get your feelings hurt mid-syllable is to spit on someone. fix it.
  8. don’t wear your eighty dollar suede Calvin Kleins. you guessed it. i wore my suede Calvin Kleins. outside of the entertainment of people watching, i spent an insane amount of time keeping my toes pointed in and way from traffic and trying to be conscious of the sloppy drunk who would undoubtedly bump into me spilling their drink on me and my shoes. i could care less about the dress or my skin, considering i’m waterproof and all, but my shoes! lord love a duck, don’t touch, step-on, or spill $h!t on my shoes!
  9. mr. sit-in-the-way. this guy. placed his bar stool into the lane of foot traffic so that he can push his knee, elbow or arm into the lovely passers by. stop it. creep. the next time you try to rub against me, i’m going to donkey-kick you right in the biz-ness! i can’t do anything about you looking, but if you attempt to touch me one more time… well.. it will be your last conscious decision of the day. and i mean that. creep.
  10. shave, deodorize, and be clean. um.. yeah, it’s that simple. i don’t care if you know you’re going to sweat like a pig in heat. TAKE A SHOWER AND PUT ON DEODORANT. you will not impress anyone with your funk. this includes brushing your teeth. and for the love of pete, if you have something to shave, do it. i don’t want to hear it, just do it.
  11. do not, don’t and do not touch. i know there are a lot of people in the world considered “touchy feely” people”. i think i’m one. i don’t flinch at a hand shake, hug or kiss on the cheek. i often touch a shoulder or hand when i am talking to someone about something personal or emotional. however, the club is NOT the place to be touchy feely. at all. before you decide to reach out; answer these questions: do you know that person? are you friends? are you friends on any physical level? if the answer to any one of them is NO, don’t touch. just don’t. i know it’s tempting, but don’t. just don’t. it’s comparable to sitting and staring. for me, it’s taken as a total lack of respect for personal space. if you touch me before ever speaking to me.. your voice falls on deaf ears. you have rendered yourself useless. introduce yourself, get a feeling– a vibe and even then… don’t touch without invitation.
  12. security in mittens? since when did security start wearing mittens? not gloves, i know what gloves look like. mittens. black mittens. ??? is this a security measure? so that when mr. sit-in-the-way gets a little too zealous and he has to be escorted out that they don’t leave fingerprints? too much CSI. mittened hands are creepy in a club. go outside and throw some snowballs, weirdo.
  13. jack in the box. ok. this is just for the laugh, but i went to jack in the box on my way home. it was about fifty minutes before they closed. they are the only place open at this time in my area and it was obvious. there were at least five cars in front of and also behind me. now, i know there are a few exceptions, but come on people! this is not your first time at jack in the crack. the menu is simple. make up your drunk @$$ mind before you get to the speaker. order. pull forward. pay and get the hell outta the way. the drive-thru worker and i had one helluva hoot and holler over this. i made him laugh something fierce. a good time was had by the both of us. you get the picture. it’s a drive-thru. driiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive-thru.

and with that said, i have concluded my list of club do’s and don’ts. in the event that i should feel pressured to release the boogie again, i’m sure i’ll return with “awkward bar behavior ii”. until then: live, love and laugh. especially laugh.