Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Traveling is very important to me. Most of my favorite childhood memories are from adventures I took with my family. That’s why I jumped at the chance to take a cruise with my sister, Elizabeth, and two of her childhood friends. Nicole is one of those girls that everyone loves – she’s very kind hearted and fun to be around. Erica is always up for a good time – she had a wild streak to her and is absolutely hilarious. This particular trip holds an important significance in my life. We spent most of the day at the pool – soaking up rays and enjoying a cold beverage or two. At night, we would go to the various clubs the ship had, gamble at the casino, people watched, or attended most of the photo shoots spread out on each floor. Then, we would run to the photo room to see if we approved of their work. The ship made three port stops – Freeport, Nassau, and the Bahamas. It was beautiful and a total blast. When we were on land, we went to the market where you would find things like knock off designer purses for hardly nothing of cost, children would approach you asking for money – which was heart breaking, women wanted to braid our hair, the street was a little hard core, yet the next street would be filled with very upscale stores. It was a lot to take in and wasn’t anything like I pictured island life to be. On one excursion, we took this “booze cruise” to a secluded island – every palm tree had a hammock, the water was crystal clear, and the weather was perfect. I think that very moment I experienced paradise – now that’s what I pictured everyday island living was about. A tall and very handsome man walked into my life. He was such a gentleman and enjoyed teasing us about our frequent photo opportunities. We had the best conversations. He was in the Army Intelligence and was about to be shipped off to Iraq following the September 11th attacks. The last night we were at sea, we entered a tropical storm. It was the scariest thing ever! Elizabeth and Nicole got sea sick and ended up going to the room. Erica and I wanted to see what the hell was going on. The elevators were shut down, barf bags were literally every two feet and people were in pure panic, the sound of glass falling from the bar crashed as the boat rocked away. We tried asking some of the cruise ship officials what the deal was, but conveniently no one spoke English. As we passed the door that led to the sun deck, there was a hand written note that read “Enter at your own risk”. We couldn’t stand it and had to see for ourselves. The darkness was blinding. At a very far distance we saw another ship light appearing and then disappearing. All of a sudden, lightening struck and we saw the waves we were up against. It felt like some real “Perfect Storm” shit. We screamed and ran back inside. Life flashed before us and we figured if we got drunk – death wouldn’t be that bad. So, off to the bar we headed. I’m not sure if you are familiar with cruise lines, but the actual cruise itself is very reasonably priced and includes your food. It does not include your alcohol. Basically, as you bored the ship they swipe your debit card and as for anything you purchase you swipe your key card. At the end of the trip, they take your grand total and deduct it from your bank account. Apparently, we felt we were near death and drank until we passed out – leaving our bank accounts nearing the negative side. The next day, I exchanged information with Cory, whom we nick named “Soldier Boy”, dropped Nicole off at the Orlando airport, and the remainder of the group started the drive back to Louisville. Thank goodness the gas prices were 89 cents a gallon because after we sobered up we realized there was barely enough to make it. Eventually, we made it. Starving, but we made it. Elizabeth must have kept Josh informed of our whereabouts because when we pulled up, Eric was parked out front. I was excited to see him. The details of the trip were boiling over and I was dying to tell someone. However, the tension was strange and it was not feeling like my buddy who I became so close to. It was weird and we both knew it. Although, it was never discussed, that was the last time we hung out – just the two of us.