Friday, January 16, 2009

T&C Photos!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I am writing this from the ship still, and I am ecstatic that when I planned this trip I gave myself time to decompress. Just as when I sailed originally, Semester at Sea has ripped me open, shoved a painful light inside, and sealed me shut again. It takes time to absorb. I am vital again.

My day @ sea was lazy, footloose, and fancy-free. I stayed uncommitted to most of the Sea Olympics activities, and settled for judging one of the contests and playing some games with fellow passengers. I can't decide which was the best game though: Crainial Battle of the Sexes in Trivial Pursuit of Scattergories (a game I made up that was an instant hit) OR the Epic Scavenger Hunt of the Seven Hundred Swords (a game I played with 4 1/2 year-old Reya after the Captain's Reception).

The sophisticated Captain's Dinner was followed by a quick change and then another hot sweaty no-holds-barred Caribbean party on the swaying deck. The Caribean Crew, the ship's in-house band, is the ish, full stop. I'd love to see them play New Orleans, or even Essence Fest!

Yesterday was a wash. I spent most of it lollygagging and napping. The night, however is another story....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Turks Today!

I skipped writing about the day @ sea... so sue me. I basically spent it napping, sunning, and napping while sunning. That and marveling over my instantaneous transition from dazed and confused to (as Oprah says) "living my best life". After dinner, I spent the rest of the night trying to alternately sweat out my non-existent perm, and do a mean electric slide on a swaying deck. I was forced to go to bed by a combination of boredom and stern-faced conduct officers. Boo.

On to today. Got up early to the sight of the opulent, and more than slightly ostentacious gigantic cruiseship "The World", where bazillionaires not feeling the economic recession own condos and timeshares on a maritime vessel!!!!(Take that middle class Orlando timeshare!) I decided to put it on the list of completely unattainable wealth goals along with a black American Express and official US Mint dollar bill giftwrapping paper. E, LJ, and I went to the deck for breakfast with Turks & Caicos waiting, building anticipation by just being there in plain view!

We had an afternoon beachfront horseback riding excursion planned and paid for, but we spent the first part of the morning @ the Grand Turk Cruise Center, an impressive and pristine "little slice of America" just off the boardwalk of the ship's berth. I was more than slightly annoyed to travel so far and need my passport to visit places like Margaritaville and Ron Jon's Surf Shop, so 20 minutes later, we were on the beach again, the ship in plain view, grand conch shells littering the rocky, gravelly sand. The ocean was like a glimmering blue-green shield, and the world was my oyster.

The tour guide spent the entire ride to the beach and back giving a running commentary on the Hurricane-ravaged islands. Hurricane Ike left the island severly damaged, with rubble, wreckage, and blue tarps dotting the landscape as far as the eye could see. It was the least welcome feeling of recognition that I have ever experienced. I cannot escape the storms, no matter where I go. When will I accept?

The horseback riding was fun. The ride was easy, the horses docile, and I had more than one City Slickers flashback while riding, but the experience was all that. The beach and sea from horseback made me feel more majestic, more elevated. We even rode bareback into the sea, no saddle or stirrups, and raced the horses through near waist-deep water. I still can't believe I was surprised that floating horse apples were a part of that package! Good thing I ain't squeamish...

After the riding, it was back to Margaritaville. Um, how can I put this? We closed the place down. Half sophisticated pool bar networking, and half Spring Break re-lived. Boo, I know, but what can you do? Enjoy it! So.... that's what I did. But niggling in my brain all the time was the knowledge that I was dancing the pain away.

@ 8pm we sailed away....

And I spent the rest of the night locked in on one of those "champagne chronik nightcap" conversations (sans the weed, of course:)... We all know those convos, right? The ones that swing like a pendulum from the meaning of life to the smell of farts. It was deeply enjoyable.

And after that, good night moon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ocean Rock

I'm writing this from the MV Explorer's stellar FREE internet station! I can't believe that I'm here. Things went so smoothly and uneventfully for me to get here. Besides being gouged out of 40$ at the ticket counter for American Airline's baggage fee, I "sailed" through everything it took to get here, forgive the pun.

I'm not going to be super boring and catalogue every little move I made to get here, but I will log some higlights. The cab driver on from the airport turned out to be a spunky Cuban guy named Danny. I knew that I was in good hands when he told me "if don't want to think, just become Republican!" We spent the drive chatting about the system, the man, an extortionist veterenarian he was taking his dog to see, and the ridiculousness of blind patriotism. Please note that these were his choice of topics. This cab ride comes in 2nd only to the midnight Jack in the Box Run in Hawaii where the Chinese driver told us the entire saga of Bruce Lee's confrontation with his master that led to his death, complete with sound effects and random spates of Chinese.

The lifeboat drill today was another high point. It's the first time I felt again the familiar community that SAS builds and fosters in people. The friends that I am with are cool, but the new people I meet are just as exciting. I'll never forget the "lifeboat shuffle" and the ex-navy safety officer charging up and down the line mean-mugging everyone with a stern "Be quiet, please!" I had to suppress every juvenile high school instinct in me not to make faces at his back.

Lastly, there was the opening presentation tonight, where the steel drum band kicked off the ceremony (and I danced and shook on stage -- I was pulled up, it was out of my hands!), Les McCabe made nice remarks, Dean Lewan (yay) made some more, and a guy (whose name I didn't catch) put on the slideshow of a lifetime! I learned so much about the history of the program. What a story.

Well, that's it for tonight. I feel like I haven't done a thing to capture all that's taken place in my heart and in my head, but there is a life to be led. More going on tonight, thinking of rising with the sun tomorrow to watch it happen over the water....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Turks Tomorrow, Turks Tomorrow, Turks Tomorrow...

I've been neglecting this blog lately to take care of this one. Surely that can be forgiven?

I'm packing tonight to hot salsa, dancing around the room, and I can feel my spirits lifting... on my way tomorrow to Miami, and then cruising roundtrip to Turks & Caicos for a Semester at Sea All-Voyage Reunion! Fall2000 forever! These islands are technically in the Atlantic, but I can't wait to feel the Caribbean breeze and sip on something intoxicating. I've been so deeply oppressed by my circumstances that the very thought of this weekend is like a pressure valve steam release!!!

Things I plan to do:

1) Meet old friends/make new ones.
2) Stay up late and laugh.
3) Catch the sunrise over ocean either going or coming.
4) Tequila shots & all manner of drinking.
5) Flirt like the coquette I am... and maybe find some island action (?) I am NOT a slut, I am NOT a slut, I am NOT a slut.
6) Dance (dancehall, salsa, club) until I've sweated more than I've cried this year.
7) Take lots of pics and vids.
8) Go for a beach horseback ride
9) Not think about what's waiting for me @ home.
10) Stay if I find a new home.

Goodbye, cruel world!

Post Theme: Letting Go by Janelle Monae

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year?

My, my... look at the date. It's 2009 already. We've arrived. I should have put up a post @ 12:01 am on January 1st. I didn't. I should be writing with a boundless spirit of enthusiasm. I'm not. Am I the only feeling like the year hasn't really started yet? I mean, what's really changed here?

I guess I should record this year's goals for posterity. These are NOT to be confused with "New Year's Resolutions", which by rote are categorically doomed to failure in my life. In fact, far from feeling a sense of airy hope, I am feeling the blunt pressure to complete my task, full stop. I CANNOT AFFORD TO FAIL. I CANNOT AFFORD TO FALTER. I MUST NOT and WILL NOT.

1) Push toward weight loss goal unceasingly. I am dedicated the entire year to this.
2) Run Crescent City Classic this year. That means training from now until April.
3) Get certified to teach Zumba.
4) Finish novel. Revise/edit novel. Shop novel.
5) Find job. Get out of debt (except for student loans).
6) Grow out my hair napturally. Mix homemade products. Keep up hair blog. I have a separate, more detailed list of goals there.

Whoop there it is.