The Perfect Storm: A Vacation Travelogue (Part 10)

It’s Thursday, I think. We’ve docked in Roatan, Honduras, and the weather is ultra-warm. Gosh, I love cruise vacations in December.

We pack up all our gear into our oversized tote bag. Wayne packs three cans of Diet Coke, two bottles of water, and one bottle of “water” (meaning, of course, the cheap rum he bought in Mexico and has kept in the wall safe in our stateroom). We’ve eaten another leisurely breakfast on the ship, so now we walk the long, winding sidewalk from the pier to the beach, which seems about a hundred miles away, possibly two. Wayne decides not to spend $14 per person to use the sky chair lift, which carries you right onto the beach. After all, he’s carrying cheap rum and cheap Diet Coke and he bought himself a cheap straw hat. The man has to keep up appearances of being a skinflint. (Note: they ain’t just appearances.)

About halfway between the ship and the beach, as we trudge along the never-ending sidewalk watching the chair lift overhead, twenty-eight bucks starts to seem like a bargain, but we soldier on.

DSCN1953Even with my fear of heights, this starts to seem like a good idea.

 

On the beach, we find two empty deck chairs under a palm tree—but the palm tree has very few branches and only about two or three square inches of our chairs are shaded from the sun.

DSCN1954If only our palm tree had that many branches…

We slather on the SPF 2000+ sun block. (We use a lot of this stuff. The man is blond and bald and carries around a lot of surface area.)

I settle into a deck chair to read on my Kindle. As I glance around at the crowded beach, I’m relieved that I am, by far, NOT the fattest person in a swimsuit, which is really saying something. And frankly, some of these people clearly did not know what size they really are when they bought these swimsuits.

The beach is packed because there are two full ships here today: ours and the Rotterdam from Holland America (which is owned by Carnival).

DSCN1948Don’t get back on the wrong ship later!

 

So, up to 4,000 people are crammed onto this beach today. No wonder we’re sitting under a palm twig. We could have rented a canvas clam shell to shield us from the sun, but, again… skinflint.

Wayne heads to the bar to get a drink, but he just wants the plastic cup they’ll give him so he can be his own mixologist of Diet Coke and “water” for the rest of the day. He gulps the beverage he paid good money for and then pours Diet Coke into the cup, followed by some “water.” The woman watching him from the neighboring deck chair wonders briefly why this man is pouring water into his Diet Coke, but then smiles and says, “I take it that is NOT water.”

Wayne says slyly, “What do you mean?” We all just laugh.

It is the last time I’ll laugh for the rest of the day.

Wayne takes his drink (which now his second if you’re keeping count, and you should be keeping count) and heads into the water for a while. I’m sweating on my beach chair but still enjoying it, reminding myself that it’s five days till Christmas and I am on a beach in the Caribbean. I read and sweat.

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At some point Wayne comes back, drips water everywhere, and mixes another drink or two. By this point, I’ve lost count and the “water” is disappearing fast. Later I will regret not keeping count. He heads back out into the water again. This time he is in the water for more than an hour. I’ve moved our things from the exposed deck chairs to a little wooden “boat” with a thatched roof just behind where we were. This is shaded, at least, though the bench seats with no backs aren’t all that comfortable.

After about 1.5 hours (give or take ten minutes), I decide it’s time to call it a day. We’re supposed to be back on the ship no later than 2:30 anyway and it is now 1:45. Plus, I have to use a restroom, and, as any woman who’s worn a one-piece swimsuit knows, that gets complicated. I’d rather be back in our stateroom for that little presto-change-o act.

I can’t go back to the ship alone, though, because I have Wayne’s ID and room key, and he can’t get back on the ship without them. So I pack up all our gear and head down to the beach to the edge of the water to get his attention. Unfortunately, he is waaaaay out near the rope… and he’s facing out to sea, gabbing and gesturing with a younger couple, who are just nodding a lot. He’s never this chatty when he’s sober. I start counting the drinks he’s had with my fingers, but I run out of fingers.

I can’t get his attention, despite waving his large hat in my hands. I start trying to will him with my mind to turn around. He stubbornly just won’t turn around. I’ll never have a career as a psychic at this rate.

A woman who is here with the couple he’s serenading offers to go into the water to get his attention. I hang onto our several tons of gear and Wayne’s straw hat, thank her, and wait on shore.

She returns and says, “He’s three sheets to the wind.” Tell me something I didn’t know. She also says that his response when she told him I was waiting on shore was twofold: “My wife gets nervous” and “She’s just a woman.” Apparently he then looked at her and added, “Oh, so are you.”

Nice way to make friends, Wayne, you sexist.

He takes his time getting out of the water—well, he was probably going as fast as he could, given his state of inebriation—and I tersely remind him that I was stuck with all our stuff until he decided to come back on shore.

When I tell him what time it is, it’s clear he had no idea he’d been in the water that long. I hand him his hat and his T-shirt, and as he’s dressing he’s talking too loudly and making jokes about how much the ship is rocking. (Note: we’re standing on the beach.)

He’s hit that point where he thinks everything he says is hilarious… and where I think nothing he says is hilarious. We’re like a bad family sitcom from this point on.

We begin the long walk back to the ship, and he mentions more than once that we’ll have to walk uphill the whole way. I keep saying, “No shit, Sherlock.” I try to say it nicely, but there is really no way to say “No shit, Sherlock” nicely. Besides, he’s not really listening to me anyway.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking the walk may sober him up a little. Instead, he walks erratically and keeps mentioning how much he’s had to drink. The walk back seems twice as long as the walk down. With the way he’s walking back and forth, it probably is twice as long for him.

As we’re finally boarding the ship and showing our ID cards, Wayne loudly asks the crew, “Will you guys let me back on board if I’m drunk?”

I answer: “I’m pretty sure it’s ME you have to ask, not THEM.” Everyone laughs. Except Wayne, because my jokes aren’t funny and he’s still not listening to me anyway.

Somehow we get back to our stateroom intact, and Wayne heads to the bathroom first. Meanwhile, I’m calculating how long it’s going to take me to get out of this swimsuit once I’m in the bathroom. You have to be Houdini to know how to get out of this thing.

Just as I’m wishing Wayne would hurry up in there, I hear the shower running. Now I’m stuck here in my sweaty swimsuit waiting for a drunk man to shower on a moving ship.

Eventually I get my turn. By the time I come out of the shower, Wayne is nodding off on the bed.

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It’s 3 p.m. It’s our second formal night for dinner, and tonight is the blackjack tournament at 8:00, so I need to wake him up by 5:30 so we can head to the dining room around 5:45… so he can make it to the blackjack tournament by 8:00.

This cruise involves too much math.

I awaken Wayne at 5:30 and get dressed myself. I’m done and ready to go, and he’s barely getting up off the bed. I nudge him some more, reminding him about the blackjack tournament and dinner. He stumbles into the bathroom and is in there a little too long for someone who has already showered.

Eventually he appears and announces that he feels better now and that he threw up while he was in there. Now, I’ve seen him slightly tipsy before but I have never seen him get sick. That’s been my territory in years past.

Nothing says good decision-making skills during a card tournament like a hangover. He can kiss his chances at winning goodbye. I wonder if he’ll make it through the tournament without getting sick. Or even through a formal dinner with rich food. (Tonight is filet mignon. I swear if that makes a reappearance on his plate, I’m going to ask for a different stateroom.)

We leave for dinner around 6:30 instead of 5:45. There’s a note tucked into our mailbox in the hallway saying something about our stingray excursion tomorrow being canceled due to “inclement weather.” Figures. The ONE port for which we’ve booked an excursion.

Wayne looks tidier in dressy clothes (without the hat), and we have a lovely dinner that doesn’t involve vomiting. Win-win.

Last night, when the waiter asked what flavor of ice cream Wayne wanted with his dessert, he said, “Surprise me!” And, the waiter did not disappoint. He came back with two scoops of every single flavor of ice cream and sherbet they had. (I counted: that was 16 scoops. Wayne ate them all.)

48391253_10157248193277214_8962206869565210624_nI couldn’t fit them all in the picture…

Tonight Wayne shows a little more restraint and does not order ice cream. This is a wise choice.

While we’re still at dinner, Wayne checks shore excursions online and finds that only OUR excursion has been canceled but that others are still available. I really wanted to do the stingray tour, so he finds a similar one that is still open—and it’s actually $20 cheaper per person. We book it. They’ll deliver the tickets to our stateroom, probably sometime overnight.

We get back to our stateroom around 7:30. Wayne stays dressed up but dons the straw hat and heads to the casino for the tournament. He’s a lot quieter than he was this afternoon on the beach. Gee, I wonder why. I haven’t a clue how he’ll do in the tournament in his current state. Is that math-brain functioning at 100%?

I head to the balcony with my Kindle to read. I’ve finished Howards End so I pick up The River Widow where I left off back home.

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At about 9:15 Wayne comes back to the stateroom. Miraculously, he didn’t throw up on the blackjack table, so that’s good. He did, in fact, come in first place on the leaderboard and needs to dash back to the casino in a few minutes for the final round. I wish him well and go back to my reading.

Wayne comes back about 10:30 with a winners T-shirt and a second “Ship on a Stick” trophy.

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He won the tournament! This nets him $500 cash and a spot in the grand tournament next May on another cruise. So, his cash winnings mean that the bathroom puddle has now cost us only $100 in theory. This brief foray into math doesn’t make me feel as good as I would have hoped.

First place in the grand tournament in May is $50,000. I can tell he’s already plotting out another cruise in six months. I can almost hear the wheels turning in his head. But at least he’s no longer sick. Once the math-brain kicks back in, I know all is well.

We have a lengthy, animated discussion about how to set alarms on our phones. Mine is still showing two separate times (ship’s time and Central Time, where we currently are). We do everything by ship’s time but my alarm app is showing Central Time so I have to adjust the alarm to make sure it goes off at the right time to get up, get fed, and get in place to meet our excursion in the morning. I can’t figure out if that means I set the alarm an hour earlier or an hour later. This quickly turns into a philosophical discussion.

I’m stifled by the amount of math on this vacation.

We responsibly go to bed early, which is easier for Wayne since he’s still under the semi-lingering influence of today’s rum. I mean, “water.”

Next installment: And they call the wind Mariah… but I call it inconvenient.