Economic Casualty – Weeks Four and Five

Sorry for the lack of update during the last couple of weeks – I’ve been on vacation since the end of February. My wife and I went on a West Carribean cruise for a week, to celebrate our friend’s wedding in Grand Cayman. Luckily, the biggest expenses had already been taken care of, so it was a good opportunity to soak up some sun and some culture.

Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti. Royal Carribean leases a small beach there from the local population, and hires all the staff from the nearby village. We had originally intended to do some snorkeling, but due to poor weather, that excursion was cancelled. Instead, we took a really interesting walking tour with a gentleman by the name of Lamy. He told us about different ruined buildings dating back to the days of pirates, as well as some of the more interesting plant life. We also learned about Haitian culture, which I admit I knew nothing about. The tour was cut short due to a major rainstorm that rolled in while we were out, so we wandered around the island. They have a bazaar there, where the locals can sell various trinkets and jewelery, as well as a market for some more up-scale and unusual items. While in the market, we sampled a hibiscus liqueur, as well as some local rum. The rum wasn’t great, but the liqueur was fantastic so we brought a bottle back with us.

For our second stop, we went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The weather was once again less-than-spectacular, but we decided to do the “Taste of Jamaica” tour as we had originally planned. The bus ride to the Walkerwood Jerk Spice factory took us through the Ferngully, which is a rainforest. Having never been to a rainforest, I was blown away by the sheer volume of plant life. It’s one thing to see pictures, but to actually look up and see these giant trees with roots growing out all over the place was just breathtaking. As I would discover later, so is Jamaican hot sauce!

The wedding of our friends was at our third stop in Grand Cayman. They were married in a beautiful ceremony on the beach, which I got to record (the groom’s brother had a rather nice videocamera, but was otherwise occupied in the ceremony itself). After the ceremony, we wandered around the town where we were docked (whose name escapes me at the moment). Luckily, the sun was out the entire day, and though it was a bit windy at the beach, it was still quite warm.

Our fourth and final stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. I had really been anticipating this stop, because we were scheduled to tour the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Back in High School, I was a bit of an ancient history nut, so to actually go to ancient ruins of any kind was a real thrill. While we did get to see the ruins, and they were spectacular, there was one hiccup in the whole thing – we weren’t told that we had to take a 30-minute ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen, on the mainland. In retrospect, I wish I had known for two reasons:

1) I would have skipped breakfast, since I didn’t get to keep it anyway
2) I would have sat in the back of the ferry on the way there

Overall, I would say that we would do a cruise again, but I think if we get a chance to do another vacation someplace warm in the near future, we might stick to an all-inclusive resort on land; the cruise was fun, but very busy.

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