For our last port of call, we went to Jamaica. I've never been to Jamaica before, so I didn't know what to expect.
I'm kind of weird when it comes to islands. I prefer the poorer, more under-developed islands, like Roatan as opposed to the developed, bursting with money islands like Cayman. I find the main difference is in attitude. It just seems that the people who inhabit more financially strapped places are more gracious. Their friendly demeanor more genuine, instead of Cayman where it seems they are nice to you if you buy something, and maybe just cordial when you decide not to. If you can see through the poverty, you can see the pride of life these people have.
Having said that, I fell in love with Jamaica in less than a day.
At any rate, we booked an excursion that would have us being driven to a remote village, a drop-off point by a river, where we were given personal tubes to float down the river on. Our group had about twenty or so for this river tubing tour. It was a short tour, to last only 1.5 hours, allowing for everyone to return to the ship to do with what they pleased. This is important to remember.
So, our group takes a little trip through the island, our tour guide giving us some interesting factoids about the island along the way. We arrive at our starting point, given our tubes, plopped into the river by the guys who ran the tour, and then everyone began their float all at once so we stayed in a group. We encountered some rapids, which were just scary enough to be fun. At one point, I ended up perched on a rock while the rest of my group passed by. One of the tour operators had to help extract me from the rock because it's almost impossible to do when you are sitting in a big inner tube (they had flat bottoms made of fiberglass so no one got ripped a new one).
One lady overturned and had to be assisted back into her tube, which consisted of the tour guide hoisting her up in a bear hug. It looked all kinds of wrong, and I'm sad I didn't get a picture.
At the halfway point, we stop and there is a plank you can jump off into deep water. I was standing around with everyone when I see Mom dart up the stairs to the plank, and leap off into the water. I sigh, take off my hat and sunglasses and walk up the plank. I can't be shown-up by my own mother. So, I jumped off the plank, screaming as I did so. Thankfully, I didn't lose my bathing suit.
After a brief rest, we plop back into our tubes. The tubes we assigned as such: small boobs=small tubes, big boobs=big tubes. Indy told the tour guide that I would probably need two tubes. Ass.
We float down river the rest of the way and board our buses. We're looking forward to going back to the ship to change into dry clothes, and venturing out on our own.
Remember that 1.5 hour timetable???
Well, apparently someone decided that immediate shopping was in order. Instead of returning those who wanted back to the ship, the bus takes us to a shopping plaza where half the van is puzzled and wondering what the hell is going on. The other half, belonging to some halfwit that grandly proclaimed herself to be El Presidente, happily charge off the van and scatter like roaches. Tour guide tells us that the bus will leave in forty minutes.
I don't know what El Presidente was president off. I decided it must be the Village Idiots. She was one of those John Public Vacation Assholes because she loudly announced that "no one tells El Presidente what to do". Apparently, this was in reference to the forty minute shopping window that she personally deemed insufficient.
An hour later, the unhappy people (including myself), are waiting in the van while El Presidente are her cabinet are meandering around the plaza, buying cheap souvenirs and t-shirts that shrink ten sizes after the first wash. Had our tour made mention of a shopping excursion, we would have come better prepared. As it stood, we hadn't known, and we each came with no more than $20 each, which in Jamaica, will buy you a bottle of water and a post card.
Mutiny afoot on the bus as we wait, and wait, and wait. We attract the attention of the bus driver and tour guide and tell them that if they don't take us back to the ship, we are going to hijack the bus and drive ourselves. They immediately went to find El Presidente.
From my experiences, when faced with an unhappy situation, most people will quietly grumble to themselves and then to each other, instead of a direct confrontation with the offending party.
None of those people were on my bus that day.
When El Presidente and Cabinet boarded the bus, they were met with loud hisses, boos, some profane name calling (from my mother), and general insults about ignorance, inconsideration, and overall retardedness.
El Presidente tells us that it's our fault for not shopping. From there, a bad situation get worse. One passenger announces that she's a psych patient and pissing her off is not a good idea. I think this could have been a precursor to an insanity defense. It was certainly heading in a direction where one would be needed.
So, El Presidente and her gang has officially pissed everyone off because BY GOD they are on vacation and BY GOD they are going to get their shopping done at the expense of everyone else who had made other plans!!!
Meanwhile, the tour guide is pondering how to make the Jamaican "No problems, Mon!" philosophy diffuse the situation. The only thing that would have helped would have been a big ganja doobie. Sadly, none were available on our bus.
After much yelling and name calling, the bus finally arrives back to the ship. A couple more insults cast. El Presidente makes a scathing remark about one passenger's size, which is completely irrelevant to the day's events and totally uncalled for. So, I tell her to go fuck herself as I get off the bus. I don't know if she heard me, but it certainly felt good to say. Up until that point, I hadn't said anything because I was too engaged in observation...
And planning an escape route.
Valuable time wasted, we haul as back to the ship long enough to grab dry clothes and money, and haul ass off the ship so we can get crappy souvenirs, too. We would have liked to have spent some time in Margaritaville, but El Presidente saw to that. Incidentally, we saw El Presidente there, and we had very colorful ideas that involved her ass and a parrot.
On a happy note, I got some Jamaican rum. My Rums of the Caribbean collection is looking rather healthy. Indy did not buy any rum, but he was offered some weed, which he declined. I spoke with a guy in my cruise group, and he mentioned that he spent the day sitting on the beach getting baked...in every sense of the word.
I'm fairly confident that his excursion (mental and physical) was a lot more relaxing than mine.
That night, because Mom and Co. were too tired from the days events to go to the group 70's party, I went by myself. I met up with some folks who read this blog, and after a couple glasses of Grey Goose and cranberry, I dubbed them my Blog Bitches. The one guy who kept my glass full of GG and cranberry, hadn't read my blog, but promised to become one of my bitches when he got back home.
Sadly, the rest of the night comes to me in fuzzy bits and pieces. At one point, I made the announcement to everyone in the martini bar that I sold sex toys.
Also sadly, I paid dearly the next morning. I'm very glad the cabin steward kept our toilet meticulously clean, and considering my cabin mate, that was no small feat.
Despite the bad things that happened, I still love Jamaica. I do plan on going back to stay for a week-long vacation. Maybe then I spend a couple days getting baked on the beach.
By the sun, of course.