Well…its been 4 months now that I’ve been married, and as usual I have completely failed to even start working on it, so today, you will get to read all about it.
Kathy and I decided that we would wait a little bit before we went on our honeymoon. Partly this was because we wanted to go on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and the sail date wasn’t until the week after. So, we stayed home and relaxed on Monday, and went back to work Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, we got up and went to the airport. Since our Eastern Caribbean cruise didn’t start until Sunday, we decided to enjoy a couple of days and nights down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to get the most out of our honeymoon. This was quite enjoyable, we got a hotel that was right across the street from the Fort Lauderdale beach (although to be honest, pretty much all of the hotels were this far away). It wasn’t the fanciest of hotels, but, it was nice. We spent the majority of the time walking around visiting the different souvenir shops, restaurants and such.
The one fun thing that we did do was walk a mile to Mass. There was a Catholic Church about a mile away from the hotel and we decided that we didn’t want to spend the money on a cab, so, we walked it…in about 95+ degree weather. It was ridiculously hot, but it was a fun experience. Mass couldn’t last long enough, mostly because we still hadn’t recuperated from the trek, and we were definitely not ready to walk the mile back. We had drank about a half of a liter of water on the way and didn’t see a water fountain for a refill. I made a comment to Kathy during the Mass that it’s too bad they didn’t have some kind of “tourist ministry” where they give rides to tourists who want to get to Mass. Sure enough, at the end of Mass, Father made an announcement that if anybody needed a ride back, to let them know…score!
We got to ride with a guy who apparently decided to retire down there. He was very pleasant, and as we were talking, it turned out that he was also from Minnesota, in fact, his town was in the Twin Cities, so, not very far from us at all. Talk about living in a small world.
The beach was amazing and so was the water. I’ll admit, I was terrified to go in at first because I was worried that I would be eaten by a shark…I watch too many movies.
Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel room and got a cab to drop us off at the Royal Caribbean Port. It was ridiculous, the ship was massive. It was about 16 stories high, and probably about 16 stories wide, if not wider. Going in to check in, it was incredibly similar to an airport terminal. You have your security check ins, baggage check ins, and such. The difference was though, that they take your picture and give you an ID badge. This badge gets you into your room, it acts as your credit card, it basically replaces everything. It is pretty cool, and as a software developer, I am questioning how come we have not implemented this system in regards to our every day lives. Perhaps, one day, we will.
Once we were allowed to board the ship, we weren’t allowed to check into our room just yet, so, since we were hungry, we went up to a restaurant called “Windjammer Cafe”. This was basically an all you can eat buffet restaurant, and the food was amazing. It wasn’t your typical, cheap buffet food, but it was gourmet. I believe that I had two plates of food, and was definitely ready for more. We walked around the ship and just admired the vastness of it all. It was quite the experience. There were so many activities and different rooms that you could go into. It was awesome to say the least.
We went to our room and we had managed to get an outside room with a balcony facing the ocean. It was quite the view. We locked up everything in our safe, unpacked a little and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Also, the bathrooms were incredibly tiny and the toilets were like little vacuums. It was kind of weird at first.
In the evening we went to the ball room where we were to have dinner each night. Dinner was always served in this room unless you wanted to go to one of the other restaurants.
We met our waiter who was from Jamaica, he was quite the character. We had a lot of fun with him throughout the cruise. We also had an amazing “house keeper” who was the nicest person I have ever met. Upon talking to them, we found out how hard of a job they have. They work 7 days a week, they get paid completely on tips, they are under constant review, and if they get any negative feedback, they get demoted. Their jobs are always on the line. On top of that, they work for 6 months straight, generally away from their families, and the most amazing part of it all, is how they are happy with what they have. Meanwhile, here in America, people demand a “livable salary”, plus full benefits, and they still are unhappy with their job. It gave me a new appreciation for my job, even though I am really happy with my current employer.
Our first port of call was in the Bahamas. We were lucky enough to wake up just as we were making port, and we could see the islands just outside our window. It was beautiful. We even ordered room service, and ate on the balcony. Once we were finished, we went out on a glass bottom boat tour and even saw Nicholas Cage’s house. We took pictures and believe that he might be in them…but we aren’t sure. Afterwards we went to the bazaar and bought souvenirs. The people were very pushy and wanted you to buy something from them before you left. They would keep haggling you until you got a price that you wanted to pay. No window shopping, you pretty much bought it. They were really desperate for the money.
Our second port of call was in St. Thomas. We went to a place called “Coral World” which is similar to a Sea World except much smaller. It was still really cool seeing all of the different types of sea life. We went shopping in the little kiosks that they had and it was a lot different. They’d ask you what you wanted, but everything had a set price. They weren’t as pushy, and didn’t want to haggle.
Our third port of call was in St. Maarten. This time we just went to the beach and relaxed. It was nice to just sit there and take it easy. The water was crystal clear and a pretty royal blue. The sand was also white. Very cool. On the way back to the ship we went to do more shopping and the difference in attitude was very noticeable. They were not pushy at all, everything had a set price, and on top of that, you had to pretty much go up to them if you were interested in purchasing anything. Not at all what we expected.
So, between the three different ports of call, it was obvious the difference in the economy. Clearly, the Bahamas was very poor and destitute, looking to make whatever money they possibly could. St. Thomas was much better off and wanted the business, but they also were not going to step aside on their price. St. Maarten must have been doing very well as they didn’t really seem up to making that much money. Now, I could be completely wrong, but this is just my observation.
The other big thing that I noticed was just the general laid back attitude of the Caribbean. People were not in a rush and were very easy going. It was almost a culture shock when we returned back home and how people are always in a rush and that it is clear that in the United States, time is every body’s master. One thing I learned is that even those who are less fortunate than I am, were generally happier due to their laid back attitude. This could just be an outward show, as in, they are suffering internally, but aren’t showing it, but generally you can see through that if that is the case. Time is a cruel master if you do that. How often do we realize that we are in a rush because we have to be somewhere by 4:30, or we have to be in bed by 10?
Overall, the honeymoon was amazing in general, but I feel that it also taught me that I need to be happy with what I have and to not be so uptight about everything as well. Don’t let time be my ruler, as I will not be very happy if I do. Also, I just need to be happier in general. So what if I’m stuck in traffic? I’m still alive, I have a good life and things could be much worse.
I’ll probably add more throughout as I remember, but seeing as the honeymoon was now 4 months ago, I figure I needed to put this out.