As you may or may not be aware (if you read my blog regularly then you WILL know this), I just got back from a cruise. I’d never been on a cruise before, and last week, I wrote a bit about the two things I was most excited about: my butler, and swimming with my own dolphin. I was worried that my expectations might have been too high, but I was wrong on both counts. My butler was an awesome guy, and although he wasn’t called Johnson, he WAS named Cristopher (the lack of the “h” made him even more sophisticated). He was always dressed in a tuxedo outfit minus the topcoat, but his outfit seemed very bespoke, which is one of my new favourite words, the other being “iguana” for reasons which I will explain later. The best thing about Cristopher was that he looked, talked, and acted like a young George Takei, so every time he came in the room, it was like hanging out with Mr. Sulu. Only instead of navigating a starship, he called me “Miss Suzanne” and made hot chocolate for me. He also referred to the dock workers as “stevedores”, which is what they actually are, but I’ve never heard anyone call them that aside from me, so I felt like we were kindred, “butler-and-lady” spirits. Then there was my dolphin, also, unfortunately, NOT named Johnson. Her name was Atlas, because apparently Mexicans are unfamiliar with the genders of the Greek gods, but she was amazing. When she offered me her fins and torpedoed across the lagoon, I hung on for dear life, but laughed like a lunatic the whole way. I have nothing snarky or sarcastic to say about Atlas because she was gorgeous and obviously smarter than me. And DEFINITELY smarter than this guy:
Man (with thick southern drawl): So when I get to swim around with that fish, will someone take a picture of it?
Mexican Trainer: Sir, she’s not a fish, she’s a mammal. But yes, we have a photographer.
Man: That’s good. I want to show everyone at home that I actually did this thing.
Other Highlights of the Trip
1) Kasi, our Mayan tour guide: Kasi spoke English with an American accent, but she also spoke fluent Spanish and Mayan, having been raised in Chacchoben by an American father, Mexican mother, and Mayan grandmother. She treated the seven of us like we were her class and she was our teacher—she even had a little whiteboard so that she could draw us pictures to illustrate her points.
Kasi: OK, you guys. People think the Mayans just disappeared or were abducted by aliens, but that’s not true. Does anyone know what REALLY happened to the Mayans? Anyone?
Me: They were all killed…?
Kasi: No, but good try! If I told you it had something to do with chewing gum, the “chiclata”, what would you say? Anyone?…
The chewing gum story is true, but very complicated, so you all can look it up–but it’s true. Thanks, Adams Gum Company, for destroying the Mayan civilization.
2) Iguanas: When I was initially told that it was going to cost me $10 US to gain entry to an “iguana sanctuary”, my first thought was “Why the f*ck would I pay to see iguanas?” OK, it’s technically not a sanctuary, and they’re not technically “rescue” iguanas, but they were still extremely cool. I never knew that a) iguanas could be the size of small dogs and that b) they also act quite a lot like dogs. We were given leaves to feed them with, and as soon as they saw us with food, they all came galloping over, staring at us with their excited little iguana eyes, mobbing us and following us around like puppies. You could pet them, and they snuggled into your hand. I texted Ken that I wanted my own iguana, since I don’t have a lagoon for my own dolphin, and he replied “Do you think an iguana would like Toronto?” which seems to me a pretty passive-aggressive way of vetoing my desire for an iguana puppy. The only downside to an iguana is that they like to climb up high and then poop, but I think it would be a fun party game for our friends—we could call it “Look Out Below!” and have prizes for anyone who managed to avoid getting shat on. I think vigilance is the key when it comes to iguanas.
3) Francisco’s No Name Restaurant: On Roatan, which is off the coast of Honduras, we toured the island with a local taxi driver named Franciso. He drove us all over the place, and when we asked about authentic Roatan cuisine and where we could go for lunch, he said, “Don’t worry—I know a place.” This initially sounded a little sketchy, but you have to trust, so we arrived at a building where there were maybe four tables under an awning. He told us what to order, and I was initially somewhat worried, but then I realized that he was going to eat too, and I figured that if the food was good enough for him, then I could feel relatively assured that I wouldn’t be getting food poisoning. Sure enough, the lunch (rice, beans, stewed beef, fried plantains, hot sauce–was delicious. When I asked him what the restaurant was called, he said, “It doesn’t have a name—it’s just a place we go. The owner and I grew up together. It’s much better than the restaurants the cruise ships recommend.” And he was right. Trust.
Of course, there are some weird things about being on cruise ship. First of all, the demographic is a TINY bit older than me. The average age of the passengers was about 75, and an overwhelming majority of them were seasoned cruisers who woke up at the crack of dawn, snagged the best lounge chairs, and stayed there all day unless it was time to hobble to the buffet and eat. Or play trivia. Seriously, there is nothing more hardcore and badass than senior citizens playing trivia for keychains and mugs. They would google answers, argue with the cruise director, and refuse to give part marks for ANYTHING, those f*ckers. But aside from the restaurant dash and the trivia frenzy, they were mostly completely immobile. On the first day, my dad and I went into the “disco lounge” to discover about 60 people just sitting there, staring into space. The silence was absolute. I turned to my dad and said, “This is exactly what I imagined the waiting room for DEATH to look like.” Then we both laughed really loudly but no one noticed, because their hearing aids were all turned off.
I also realized that there are people on cruise ships that you never want to be—you know the people I mean. They are sometimes referred to as “That Guy” or “That Woman”, and after a particular dancing misadventure in the disco lounge one late night, I resolved to never again be “the middle-aged woman who drinks a bit then thinks she can dance like she did when she was a teenager”. I also made a vow to never be any of the following people:
The Guy Who Gets Drunk and Falls Asleep at the Edge of the Pool – After the first day of all-you-can-swallow alcohol consumption, I discovered that it could be very easy to become THAT guy. I actually saw him on the second last day of the cruise, beer bottle precariously perched on the edge of the deck, sprawled out unconscious like a homeless person on a Toronto subway grate. Not a pretty picture, and one I was happy to avoid.
The Woman Whose Ass is Hanging Out of Her String Bikini – Seriously, can you NOT feel the draft? My ass crack is perfectly capable of differentiating between fresh air and the safety of my skirt-ini.
The Person Who is Late Coming Back From an Excursion, Forcing the Ship to Stay in Port and Causing the Passengers to Stand at the Handrails and Boo – I was almost that person after the dolphin swim, when I and my lovely sister-in-law discovered we had come all the way back with the key to our storage locker, which meant her photo ID was still with the dolphin people. After a mad dash in a taxi, we made it back just in time. No boos for us, because we may be forgetful, but we are f*cking efficient.
Bisexual Sexy Dancer – This is the person in every disco who has had a little too much to drink and suddenly becomes open to ANYONE, and will jiggle up to men and women alike, trying to “get me some”. This person is second only to INCESTUOUS Sexy Dancer, the elderly man who has choreographed several pre-set dance sequences which must be performed to either disco or mamba music with women young enough to be his daughters, both of whom hang around with him like he’s their sugar daddy. Only he’s too cheap to buy their drinks. Why, ladies—why?
The Cougar Who Thinks the Male Dancers in the Review Show Are SOOOO Hot – They’re all gay. Yes, even Dmitri. And yes, it’s heartbreaking.
Overall, it was a great experience. Thanks, Mom and Dad, John and Orchid, Cameron and Enayat. If only Ken and K had been there, it would have been perfect. And if either the butler or the dolphin had ACTUALLY been named Johnson, I would never have come home.