The most fun reason for the blogging hiatus was a vacation Scott and I took in the middle of December…to a place where the sun was (mostly) shining, the waves were (mostly) rolling, and the Internet was $0.75 a minute.
Nope, I didn’t time-travel back to 1993. Scott and I spent a week sailing the Caribbean with his family and…oh…about 2,000 other friends aboard the Norwegian Pearl. I will admit that part of the reason I approved this ship was because of its striking similarity to the Black Pearl of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. Stop laughing. Ok, keep laughing. It is a little funny.
Our first day was “at sea” as we made our way from Miami to the Dominican Republic. Much of the first day was taken up with figuring out how to get around the ship and mastering various nautical terms. “Ok, so to get to the buffet we have to go down to 7 and then back up to 12? I’m confused.” “Starboard!” “Aft!” “Forward!” “I say, ol’ chap, we must be traveling at least 7 knots, don’t you agree?” Good fun. We eventually figured it all out and still had time to enjoy the bowling alley. So much fun. When the sea is rough, bowling combines with golf as you try to analyze the break and hope for the best. Lesser people would have settled for putting up the bumpers, but I settled for a score of 58 on the first game. (I later redeemed myself with a 107…that’s better than I do most of the time!)
The second day, we stopped in Samana, DR. Scott, his sister, and I explored Los Haitices National Park by boat and got some neat pictures of beaches, mangroves, and such. During the tour, the guy in front of me made some joke about feeling like Indiana Jones, so I told him that he’d better hope there weren’t any snakes. He asked our captain if there were any “culebras” in the park and was answered with an immediate and resounding “si.” Ah, so comforting. Turns out there are also “cocodrillos” and some sort of predatory cat that I think may have been made up to scare me. Regardless, the only wildlife we saw were some crabs, lots of birds, and some live starfish that one of the other tour guides temporarily displaced from the ocean floor to show us. As the Chinese woman next to me posed with the starfish, it leaked something on my leg. I hope it was just water.
The third day was spent on St. Thomas. If you’re terrible at geography like me, you’ll be happy to know that St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you visited St. Thomas, this fact would become immediately apparent as you passed the USPS, Wendy’s, and Hooter’s all conveniently located near the pier. Everyone in our group really liked St. Thomas. We spent the morning shopping and the afternoon at the beach…my beach, specifically. (On the Norwegian site, one of the shore excursions describes a trip to Megan’s Bay. It turns out that the correct spelling is Magen’s Bay, but it’s still close enough to make me feel possessive.)
The fourth day, we went to a British Virgin Island–Tortola. On Tortola, we’d opted for a beach day on a private resort, which was amazing and completely worth the money. We shared at least a mile of gorgeous beach with a few dozen instead of a few thousand. I spent most of the day reading and sipping fruit punch. It was amazing. Scott took a picture. Ahhhh…as Liz Lemon says in 30 Rock, “I want to go to there.”
The fifth day was “at sea” as we made our way towards the Bahamas. This was the only day on the boat–when it was moving–that was relatively calm. I’m not sure if it was the time of year, some freak weather pattern, or just our rotten luck, but it was not a very good week to be aboard the Pearl if you were prone to sea sickness. Poor Scott.
The sixth day, we went to Norwegian’s “private island” for “the best beach day ever.” Derisive snort. After spending a day being completely spoiled at Long Bay Resort, it was with cynical eyes that I viewed the four lines of lounge chairs stacked upon the 400m of unnatural sand beach. The weather certainly didn’t help matters–as soon as we debarked the tender (Scott calls them “chicken tenders,” which amuses me greatly), the sky turned gloomy. It was going to rain eventually…it was only a matter of time. After staking out some chairs in row four, we watched as more and more unwitting travelers joined us on the already crowded beach. I began complaining. Someone was taken back to the boat on a stretcher (possible snorkeling incident?). I kept complaining. Scott attempted to take me for a walk to see the lighthouse that had been advertised, only to discover that the trail was closed. And the complaining continued. Finally, it was decided that we should head back for the boat and as soon as we boarded our chicken tender, it started to rain. And the “best beach day ever” was over. Whew.
After a final rough night at sea (Scott heard some of the crew tossing around the phrase “tropical depression”), we returned to Miami. I managed to stay up long enough to see “The Second City’s” last improv show, and by talking to the actors afterwards forever cemented my “crazy fan” status. I must have sounded like such a dork, but they were hilarious.
Lastly, it is not to be imagined that just because I was spending my days hobknobbing with future Hollywood stars and lounging on beautiful beaches, I allowed my marathon training to slip. Although I didn’t get all of my mileage in, I did log 23 glorious treadmill miles from the first Saturday of our trip to the last. I even have photographic evidence.
And before you say, “that could be you on a treadmill anywhere,” take a gander at the view I had during my last five miles on the boat. Boo-yah.
Having nothing more pressing to do besides eat, sightsee, and go to shows was actually terrific for my marathon training. The gym was a mere floor above our room, so it was surprisingly easy to hop on the treadmill (nearly) every day. I even managed to carry the momentum back to my landlubber self, when I ran 17 miles all by my lonesome the day after we got back. I don’t have any pictures of that, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was painful.
There are a million other little pictures I could show you…like the one of Scott’s mom singing karaoke, or of Scott himself eating broccoli, but all of this uploading and whatnot is wearing me out…or perhaps that’s the 18 miles from earlier today.