Friday, April 16, 2010

The time i cruised with my dad. Part VI

Cruise Day Six

Today was a tour of St. Johns, Antigua. For the past three months, I've been pronouncing it [AN-TEEG-WA] but the taxi driver who gave us our tour today (and everyone else on the island) pronounced it [ANTIGUH].

AntigaAntigaAntiga. Got it.

A Note for Nessa: I had a sneaking suspicion, after asking our driver about Trunk Bay Beach and noticing the confused look on his face, that it wasn't the same St. John's island that Nessa got married on. St. John's is the capital of Antigua. Antigua being the island. That bummed me out for a bit. Then I got to Darkwood Beach and all was well.

As I said before, there is no shortage of taxi drivers who are dying to take you around the island. Dad and I planned on doing another guided tour, but only after we had a look around the shops at port. That way, when we returned, we could go straight to the stores we knew we wanted to check out. I don't think we got a half a kilometer from the ship before we were bombarded by no less than ten drivers and one lady, Shawna, who wanted to braid my hair into dreads. “Maybe when I'm done shopping.” I told her. All of them were very persistent. Persistent like Peter Griffin and the forbidden red button. Each one made the next one more difficult to be friendly towards. After nine “We're not ready for a taxi yet.” attempts at staving them off, we caved in to Samyel.

(Samyel's Taxi)

$35 for two, afforded us an air conditioned tour (this was a huge selling point as it was like Hades on the island) by a very knowledgeable local. He would also take us to a beach for a few hours before returning to the ship. If we wanted it to be just the two of us, it would have cost $70, but we're social butterflies who like to save money. We were delighted to share our taxi with Monique (an attorney) and Judea (pharmaceutical sales) who were from Arizona and with a Norwegian lady, Emma, and her friend, Jackie, who was from London.

(That's Jackie below, with the blonde braid.)

Samyel took us to a church that had been there for 150 years.

We stopped at a roadside shopping strip and a beautiful lookout point. We went all around the island and when we got to Darkwood Beach, Emma sternly expressed her extreme displeasure with the tour. “I didn't want to wait two hours and twenty minutes to get to the beach. You told me we would go directly to the beach.” Samyel looked offended and swore to her that he was very clear about giving the tour beforehand. The Norwegian lady insisted that he hadn't indicated towards any tour, "especially not a two hour tour." She had come here for the sun and Samyel had ruined her day. At this, Samyel looked flabbergasted. He was clearly taken aback. The Norwegian lady looked at me and asked if I knew there was going to be an island tour. I said yes. “Yes, of course I knew.” I hated to see her so bent out of shape. She was pleasant to converse with in the taxi but it was clear to me that between both of their broken english and accents, there was a lot of miscommunication. It didn't matter though. She begrudgingly walked two hours back to the ship. Walked. She was that pissed. I couldn't believe it.

Jackie apologized for her friend. She too, was surprised at her reaction and in her English accent she added. “I knew she was getting rattled but I didn't know she was going to turn on him like that.” Monique, Judea, Dad and myself were simply shocked. None of us saw that one coming.

The five of us headed felt bad for the both them, but were totally over it as soon as we were in the crystal blue water.

After three sunkissed and salty-sea hours, we paid Samyel and thanked him for such a lovely day.

As dad and I were heading back towards the ship, Shawna appeared out of thin air, in my face with all but her hands in my hair. “You ready to bread your hair, yet!?” My gawd. I know I'm branded. I'm hard to forget. But damn. That was jarring.

It was a lovely, exhausting day. The sun is an energy drainer. I didn't get a nap before dinner. I'm out.

*Sidenote: While at the Ben & Jerry's counter this evening, i saw Jackie walking by. I waved to her and she came over. She tried to apologize for her friend again and assured me that Emma was doing well at the Blackjack table and her mood was better. "How about your dad! He's brilliant, isn't he? Gettin' in the water like that. Good for him."

Indeed, Jackie. Indeed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The time i cruised with my dad. Part V

Cruise Vacation Day Five

St Lucia, today. Our Pigeon Point excursion was canceled due to lack of participation, so dad and I got to the port and just “winged it”....”Wung it?” “Swung it?” Immediately we were bombarded by taxi drivers. Just like in Barbados. There is no shortage of them. The first offer was a pretty good one; a two hour tour of the island that took us to a market, Morne Fortune, a banana plantation and past the governor's mansion in an air conditioned taxi with local narration for only $25 each. Excursions via RC that offered all of this was at least $30 each. Plus, this was a taxi with a few others and not a bus with thirty others. That makes mingling and socializing a lot more enjoyable. Other than our dinner companions, dad and I really hadn't conversed with a lot of other people. (This includes the older lady that we swam in the Barbados with and the Ben&Jerry's staff that have seen me every night.) Here, we met some lovely ladies, Julie and Chris. They are “work associates.” On a cruise together. Their vibe was a pleasure to encounter. They seem like the eternally optimistic type, comical and witty. I like witty.

I took pictures and video of the island of St. Lucia. I was quite a bit pleased with the tour and especially the island. I spied a few houses I could bare to live in upon the hillside. I wonder if their community college will need any philosophy professors.

The rest of the day was uneventful. It went something like this;

Came back to shop, eat and tan on the top deck. Showered. Dad and I had a lovely dinner with Ann and Mike My phone had no service all effing day. When i finally talked to my BF, my day was complete. I went to Ben&Jerry's to chat with Parnil, Karrey and Carmelito. Parnil made my requested banana drink and I went to bed.

Best compliment of the day (grammatical errors and all); “You very pretty girl. You beautiful. I mean, we see beautiful girls a lot but you different. You a different kind of beautiful.”

Good at schmoozing, they are.

Please forgive my horrible job at formatting these photos. But they are from top to bottom;

The Island of St. Lucia as seen the morning we arrived.
A peak of the island from the top of Morne Fortune.
My very happy papa atop of Morne Fortune.
Cul-de-Sac Beach.
An amazing view that you won't find near Iowa.
The pathway leading to Morne Fortune.
And a very happy me.

Side story: Behind me is Frederik. He was our guide on Morne Fortune. In the middle of explaining to us that the double peaks out in the distance were called "Dolly Parton", i felt a few droplets on my arm. "It's sprinkling!" I exclaimed. Frederik said, "Nah. Das jus liquid sunshine."

I stood corrected.