the cruise

SO. A few weeks ago I was able to forget about car troubles long enough to go on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas! Here are a few things that happened:

- Considering that I was so concerned about breaking any TSA rules, it figures that I would break pretty much all of the rules regarding toiletries. I sort of remembered that there was something about toiletries, but I couldn't find anything on the websites (probably because I was looking in the wrong place). I went ahead and packed a bunch of full-sized toiletries in my carry-on, like an idiot. The agent who pulled me out of line to scold me at the Buffalo airport could have thrown away almost everything I brought, but instead she only threw away my toothpaste, likely the cheapest item I had in there. Thanks, scolding TSA agent.

We spent some time in Florida

- The first thing Julia and her mom and I saw/heard when we went to the port was a crowd of Woo Girls with their bridal party shirts: "I'm the sassy one!" "I'm the loud one!" "I'm the dumb one who will probably get drunk and fall over the side!" Since they were screaming and filling up the whole building with their obnoxious noise, we figured that we would not be able to get away from them for the ENTIRE CRUISE. We thought that they would be everywhere we went, and sitting next to us at dinner, because we had assigned tables. They were that annoying. Surprisingly, after that first day, we didn't see them at all! WOO!

There were animals in our room.

- After we stowed our bags in our tiny room (I liked the room, but had to get used to the diagonal toilet), we headed up to the Lido deck to watch ourselves float away from Miami. We climbed to one of the higher decks to check out the view and the mini-golf course - which OMIGOD WE FORGOT TO PLAY!  Anyway, we noticed a middle-aged man and his younger, foreign wife who were standing nearby. He seemed really attentive and kept asking what she wanted to do. She was giving suggestions, but he suddenly got creepily happy and started saying, "It's sunscreen time! It's sunscreen time!" as he hustled her off to their cabin. For the rest of the cruise, Julia and I would turn to each other at random moments and say, "It's sunscreen time!"

- I didn't do anything the first night, since I was tired and already a bit anxious about being on a cruise ship with 3000+ people that I couldn't get away from. But Julia cavorted around, and the next day she was telling me about some Bros who were being dumb as fuck the night before. They were standing in front of us while we waited in line for breakfast, bro-ing out and being general douchecopters, and again we had the feeling that we would be assaulted with their stupidity for the rest of the cruise. But, other than some hilarious drunken dancing, which I recorded, we didn't see much of them either! And dudes: if complete strangers are coming up to you while you are in line for breakfast, asking how you can be standing after the night before, you might want to pull up the reins on the drinking. Just a bit.

I responsibly enjoyed a Jack Julep
- The food on the cruise ship was amazing. People were rhapsodizing about the chicken fingers, which were delicious, and the dinner service was also very, very good. As was our wait staff. Seriously, for four nights I had chilled fruit soup, which was AWESOME.


- There was a dude wearing boxer briefs on the cruise ship pool. He was acting like they're swimwear. They are NOT. I took pictures.
Not swimwear!

- We went to Grand Turk and were going to take a nature walk and try to see some wild donkeys and flamingos. But there was nowhere to walk, so we hung out at giant pool that was blasting Jimmy Buffett.

This makes up for the Buffett
- On another day, we went to Half Moon Cay, which is a private island owned by Carnival. It was all beach, very relaxing. Julia and I went on the Nature Walk path, and when I heard a noise and saw a little blue-striped chameleon running around in the brush, I got all excited. "Hey, we found the nature! On the Nature Walk!" But then we found out that the chameleons were loud as fuck and not that hard to find. They were cute, though.

Loud as fuck.
- On our last full day, we went to Nassau, which was ...uh, scary, and not for people who can't stand being super-enclosed with other people. Especially when the other people are very aggressively trying to sell you crap. I wasn't into it. I think that we should have gone to Nassau first, and then to the smaller, quieter islands, and then sailed back to Miami. If I planned the cruise, that's what we would have done.

- The cruise director was named NOONAN, and he was kind of a jerk. We picked on him the entire time.

Fucking NOONAN

- Ew, I almost forgot about the talent show. Most of it was pretty good, but then some country dude got up and sang "Proud To Be An American," which I confidently count among my list of worst songs EVER. So fucking awful. I mean, the guy's voice was fine, but his obvious pandering to "patriotism," among a multinational crowd, was gross. I AM proud to be an American, but that song is hideous, melodramatic schlock! It's the kind of shit that "patriots" sing along to, and then they crush a beer can on their foreheads and yell, "I'm an AMURKIN!" And then they don't have to think about anything, or question anything. Lazy patriotism. I was so disgusted that I didn't take any pictures.

- After we disembarked in Miami (SO much quicker than embarking), we rented a car and drove to Fort Lauderdale. First, the rental car company gave our car away, so we had to wait for them to fix their snafu, but I actually found it kind of pleasant to just stand on the sidewalk and wait. Once we had our car, we set off for Fort Lauderdale. I didn't see much of Miami, but it seemed too big for me. Fort Lauderdale was more my speed, and our hotel (TropiRocks? I think) was small and charming, with a small and charming owner, and a dog, and a cat.
tiny and adorable
- We fortified ourselves at the ever-wonderful Outback Steakhouse, and then checked into our awesome hotel. Then Julia and I went off to find the Everglades. We found Markham Park, which had a dog park called "Barkham Park" AND a nature trail that takes you up on the edge of the Everglades and the river of grass. I quite liked the river of grass, and the white herons, and the way the weather was so changeable. The sun was out, and then we saw a rainbow all the way across the sky, and then it was dark as dusk, and then the sun was out again. Even better, there were edges to every weather change, so you could see them coming. Someday I would like to see the cypress swamps of the Everglades (protected by a boat), but the river of grass was enough on this trip.

sunny, yet ominous

the same, but different


a white heron

the river of grass

- Coming home, we ran into a guy who was flying with a cat in a carrier. The cat was so calm and not even drugged! The guy got worried because the TSA agent made him take the cat out of the carrier, and he wasn't expecting that. But the cat handled it beautifully. I tried to imagine flying somewhere with Floyd, since you're allowed to bring a pet on the plane if their carrier isn't too big, but then I remembered how Floyd is a giant freak who doesn't like to travel, and NO.

- OF COURSE I was "randomly selected" by the metal-detector machine and was whisked away by two TSA agents, who also grabbed my carry-ons. I had nightmarish visions of a tiny room, me with absolutely nothing to confess, but being pressured to confess anyway. Embarrassing strip searches. Airport prison. By the time my brain had gotten to the part of the scenario where I was all steel-jawed and stoic while being threatened with torture, we were standing at a small kiosk, where one of the agents swabbed my hands to see if I'd had contact with drugs recently. They found nothing. And that was it. I'm not gonna lie, it was a bit of a letdown, considering what was going on in my head.  

- A week later, I was still swaying like I was on a boat. Even now, if I get up in the middle of the night, I'm swaying a little.

So. This whole cruise thing - I am glad I tried it, but it's not for me. Being on a boat with so many other people, nowhere to really escape and be quiet... I was just drained and drained and drained, with no recharging. Too many announcements, too much running around. But I'm glad I went, and the Bahamas were beautiful. In the future, I would like to go to one of the tiny islands and just stay in one place for a while, eating and reading and swimming and sleeping whenever I want. Without NOONAN coming over the loudspeaker, mangling the text that he's supposed to read in his annoying David Schwimmer-esque voice.



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