Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Whale Watching

OK, strike dealing with day long flights, rough seas, and possible pirates, several months ago I planned a trip to Grand Cayman with some dear friends of mine. Little did I know at the time how I would need the trip. Another fact I did not know at the time was that the trip to the warm British West Indies would come during one of the coldest winters I can remember us having.

When I boarded the plane it was 37 degrees. I stepped off in balmy breezes, sunshine, and 80 degrees. Punish me, I may never return. Suddenly, I was beginning to truly understand the lore of being an ex-pat and I hadn't even gotten my luggage. There is something to be said about visiting two bars before lunch. (Hey, when life is slow, one doesn't want to rush a decision such as "Where do you want to eat?) And, we needed to take time to contemplate those poor souls still struggling in the cold. It was a very selfish way looking at the world, but humor me, how often am I on this side of that equation?

The ones I truly felt sorry for were the poor folks coming in off the cruise ships. Every day we would see two, three, sometimes four ships moored off shore. And, about ten o'clock the herds of passengers would start flooding the streets of George Town, ready to buy their tee shirts, beaded necklaces, and other trinkets. Mixed among the rubber snake emporiums are the high end stores featuring Cartier, Rolex, Lalique, to name a few, since the Cayman Islands are tax and duty free.

Never having been on a cruise ship before, I was not aware of the different levels of "cruising" . But after several days of observing the masses, it was not hard to figure this out. There was the lower level, which consists of those who go for the midnight buffets and the lure of Margaritaville. They were easy to recognize, usually they had to walk single file down the sidewalk. (It wasn't wide enough for two of their "biggie" sizes to waddle side by side.)

One day we were visiting the rum cake factory where you can sample different flavors of their baked goods, well that was unless the good ship of Bozos was not in town. I had to politely remind them that this was not the Captain's Buffet, as they snarfed down trays of the bite size samples. All I wanted was one taste, but I feared reaching for one less I lose part of a hand in the process. God forbid the establishment offer free liquor, then I realized they were offering samples of rum. It was all over now but the crying.

But that was OK, I had come for the weather, a little R&R, and maybe a few adult beverages - whale watching was never on my agenda.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

OK, good, Grand Cayman! I'm glad you're not fighting Somali pirates! One year when a group of us visited Cozumel the first year after they built a cruise ship dock, we would sit on our balcony at the other end of town, and watch to see when the cruise ship left. After they were gone, then we'd go into town! The dock was away from the town square, so a bunch of new shops had been built near the dock and the shops on the plaza were having a hard time (this was about 7 years ago, don't know what's happened since). The day we made the mistake of going into town with the cruise passengers, we sat down in a plaza restaurant for lunch and the owner almost kissed us, he was so happy to sell some food. All the cruise people go back on board to eat and don't buy food in town!