Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cruise: Day 4 - Cozumel

With three long, deep blasts of the ship’s thunderous horn, we are officially done with Cozumel. To be perfectly honest, I was done with Cozumel just before noon. Not surprisingly, the pier area was just a glossed-up, more mature version of the area around the docks in Grand Cayman. I am starting to see the appeal of shore excursions for people that have been here before; once the shopping is done, there’s nothing much left to do. I’m fine with that, of course, since my idea of vacationing is simply to not be at work. And, quite frankly, the ship’s amenities are far more enjoyable when the preponderance of other passengers are off snorkeling with the dolphins or piranhas or whatever.

Breakfast in the dining room was interesting. We’ve been enjoying different table partners each day, but today was the first time we’ve had eight at the table. The conversation invariably comes around to where everyone is from, and just as inevitably someone will comment that they meet a lot of people from Ohio. My standard response has become “Yes, it’s a great state to get away from.”

Today’s conversation also came around to talking about THE Ohio $tate University, I think because I was making one of my standard jokes about the Cruise Director’s girl-crush on one Kirk Herbstreit. I tell people that I’ve been trying to find Rogaine for Unibrows so I can grow a competing eyebrow, the two that I have apparently being one too many for her taste. That one always gets a laugh; I really ought to develop this stuff into a stand-up routine.

Anyway, talk about O$U often involves a discussion about my father-in-law, a former professor and director of the world-renowned Concert Band. I was mentioning to a guy across the table that my father-in-law was the first and only member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra to sit First Chair on two different instruments, clarinet and flute. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the older woman sitting next to me nudge her husband and whisper something to him. He looked over at me and asked if I was talking about Donald McGinnis.

“Why, yes. Yes I was. You know of him?”

Indeed he did. He was a former student and had played first chair in the Concert Band when it was being directed by my father-in-law.

Small world, even smaller ship.

After breakfast we went ashore to do a little shopping. As I was strolling along taking a few pictures of the tropical flowers and palm trees, I noticed that the cruise director was looking at a pair of leather sandals.

“How much?” she asked the proprietor of the open air shop.

“Thirty-eight dollars.”

“No, thanks.”

As we started to walk away, we received a better offer: “Cash? Yes? Twenty-five dollars. They’re leather!”

I got involved. “Leather? Why so expensive? We have cows too and can get leather at home.”

This is why I don’t haggle - I go straight for the jugular.

“I’ll take twenty dollars. Are you trying to kill me?”

“No, I’m not trying to kill you. How about fifteen?”

“You are killing me! Twenty!”


“Ok, Amigo. Eighteen.”

They probably cost him a couple of bucks at most. It was fun, though.

Once back on the ship I spent the day lounging around the nearly deserted pool. There are three pools, but the one on the very aft end of the ship is adults only. That apparently means age 79 and up, at least as understood by the ship’s population. I was the only person there not attached to an oxygen tank. More’s the pity, though, as it is also the only pool that’s downwind of the ship’s exhaust stacks. A little canned air would have been nice on the rare occasions when the exhaust drifted over us.

That aside, it was quite nice relaxing in the sun while reading a book. If I got too hot, I’d take a dip in the pool to cool off and return to my deck lounger for another stint in the sun. I’m not big on tanning in general, but one simply cannot return to work after a Caribbean cruise as pallid and pale as one left. It would be rude to those that had to enjoy our trip vicariously.

Returning from the pool dripping wet can be damaging to a book, so I typically won’t bring a library book due the risk of damaging or losing it. Books are expensive, though, besides which I don’t like paper backs. The print is too small and the book doesn’t ‘hold’ as well. What I do instead is buy one of the retired books from the library for a dollar and, if it survives, donate it back again for resale. At a buck apiece, it’s cheap enough to buy a couple in case one of the stinks and still be well under the price of a paperback.

As we were relaxing by the pool, dinner time was sneaking up on us. Neither of us were really ready to eat and I wasn’t keen on missing the sailing from Cozumel while being tied up in the dining room, so we decided to skip the scheduled dinner and hunt down the sushi bar instead. Doing that allowed us to catch the early show, which tonight was a very funny juggling act. All of the shows have been entertaining in one way or the other, but this one was my favorite thus far.

After the show we stopped by at the casino. We’ve been playing penny slots because it’s pretty hard to lose your life’s savings no matter how bad you are at it. The way it works is that you take a $10 at a time charge against your ship credit card and use that as your betting money. The problem is that I have failed to lose all of my money. I still had $14.28 left to my credit. Where’s the problem with that? Well, we don’t know how to get it back as real money. The cruise director suggested that I just sit down at a slot machine and lose it all. Easier said than done, that. I finally walked away with almost $16.00 of credit.

I can’t lose for winning, sometimes. A lesser woman would have berated me for just not being able to do anything right.

A bigger man would have refrained from gloating about it.

After the gambling, the buffet was still open so we went to the (finally quiet since the drunks had all passed out in their cabins) Lido deck for dinner. I hate the Lido during the day when it’s crowded with smokers and drinkers that believe to their very cores that the way to tell a singer that you appreciate his or her work is to yell over the top of it as loudly and screechingly as possible. But when it gets quiet in the evenings, it’s a great place to be. The buffet food is not quite as good as it is in the dining room, but only because it has been sitting in a warming tray for a few minutes. And it’s hard to beat for convenience, too.

As we settle in for the evening, we’re making 20 knots down the coast of Mexico on our way to Roatan Island, Honduras. I’m about to repair to the veranda, quite possibly with a glass of vodka for company. If I can hear any music from there, I’ll be sure to pass along a appreciative screech now and then.

There’s no shopping at Roatan, as far as I know. In fact, I don’t know if there’s anything there at all, but it’s enough for me just to know that there’s no shopping. (Update: Wow! Was that naive!) The pool will be quite enough for me.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good pictures. I know this is just one part of the cruise, but I tells me that you must have had a fun trip. I really wish I could go on a cruise myself soon. That would be the ultimate vacation for me.