Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday on Antigua

I woke up a bit earlier than usual because we had some business to handle. I met up with Drew, Cazzie, Robb and Jim for a quick breakfast and headed for the town to find a cab.

We jumped in a van and headed to a golf course. We all rented clubs and carts and started off. This course was pretty fun or maybe it was the company, probably both.

We basically had the place to ourselves and that's always nice when you play in a 5-some, something I have never done before.

There was a lot of elevation on these holes which provided for some lovely views.

We joked and played and rode around the course without a care in the world, including our scores. I think I beat out Jim by one stroke to win the match...though weren't really playing against each other. We played 9 holes and decided to call it quits at that point so we could meet up with the others over at Darkwood Beach.

Darkwood is a beach I visited last time I was on this island with my family in 2006. Its a gorgeous white sand, calm watered beach. The best part about it is that there aren't any people there. Well, hardly any.
The water is warm, the sand is soft and there is a little place that serves food from hot dogs to ribs. This day was particularly interesting because a man named Timmy Love, a supposed reggae star was filming a video on the beach. It was a small production, not enough to ruin the peace and tranquility of the beach. It was just enough to keep you entertained as he repeated "I am the Greatest," about a million times. I found this link to give you an idea of what we are dealing with. The video isn't out yet but when it is you can bet I will post it so you can get a better idea of where we were.

We met up with our ride back to the ship. His name was Rough Neck. This was the same driver we had back in 2006. I had talked to the cabbie that took us to the golf course and to Darkwood whether he knew Rough Neck. He did and I arranged it so Mr. Neck would come pick us up. My friends were a little hard on me for making such a big deal but it was a fun little moment for me.

Sailing out of Antigua is a beautiful thing. The island claims to have a different beach for every day of the year. As you sail away you can see many of them. We drifted off into the sea. Ate another fabulous dinner. Our server Ali figured out at some point that he should just start bringing out a few extra main dishes and extra desserts. It was the beginning of the end.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Next Day

So I mentioned that we spent the day at Trunk bay on Easter Sunday. We spent that night at dinner talking about the good old days, rehashing stories we've told a hundred times but still tell because they are still funny and everyone has a different take on what exactly happened.

Monday we arrive in St. Maartin. This island has a French side and a Dutch side. Most people decided to go to the beach and hang out. I had different plans. I walked out the gate and found myself some suspect looking fellows that said they would take me to a place to rent a scooter. This of course is after they asked me several times if I had everything I needed to "party." So one guy yells at another guy and he runs off for a minute. He comes back in a little red car and tells me to get in. Why not? He drives me a few minutes away to a scooter/atv store where I get my rental on. I spent the day driving around the island taking in the sights and sounds and beaches that Maartin and Martin had to offer.

The first beach was right by the airport. It felt like you could jump and touch a plane that was landing. It was pretty cool. I came across a bus and while driving a scooter snapped this picture because I found it surprisingly enjoyable. (there are no train tracks on this island.)

I drove most the rest of the island at that point just checking the different roads and vistas. There were some gorgeous beaches.

I stopped at a beach on the French side called Orient Bay. It was a clothing optional beach. I found a little spot away from everyone and got into the water and shed my trunks. Let me tell you that skinny dipping in the ocean is quite liberating.

On my way back to return the scooter I crested this hill and if I had a camera other than my cell phone I would have been able to capture the beauty of this place. There was a little shack on the top of this hill right off the road where I relaxed for a few minutes and drank a Coke. This shack had 2 men "working" there. One was laying in a hammock and the other was just chilling out behind an old tattered ply wood counter top. Dudes just living with out a care.

I got back to the ship a little burned on the arms but all in all in good shape. We hit up dinner, went to a show and everyone followed me to the karaoke spot. I had expressed my intention and excitement to sing. So I submitted my song and got called up. I gave a rousing rendition of "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. The people on this cruise ship had no idea what I was bringing to the table. As the song, progressed the crowd swelled...and swelled. I put on a show the best I could. I sang an encore song. "That's What Friends Are For" by Dion Warwick and dedicated it to the 6 married couples I was cruising with. I got the crowd really excited and they sang the chorus with me the best they could. I loved every second of it.

More to Come!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Friends and Cruises

Friendship is a strange and glorious thing. When it is right and true and real, nothing can top it. I joined up with some old friends for a 7 Day cruise around the Caribbean last week. I spent grades 6-12 with most of these guys. The roots run deep. I haven't seen some of them for 10 years.

And Yet...

I can get on a boat, sit down with these dudes, whose lives have gone 6 different directions over the last 15 years, and its like we haven't missed a step. I find it fascinating that though we haven't spent more than a handful of days together in a decade or more its like nothing has changed in our love for each other. We're just good and its great. It is simply amazing and wonderful.

There were 13 of us on this Celebrity Cruise.

Six of my best friends and their wives and me! One of the great things about the group, besides the wives all somehow being great friends, we were all perfectly fine going out as a big group or individually. It was a great dynamic.

Besides the reminiscing with each other we had a great time. How can you not when there are perfect beaches, perfect weather and delicious dinners 2 entrees at a time.

The first day we cruised into St. Thomas. Most of us took a water taxi over to St. John and visited the lovely Trunk Bay.

A place full of beautiful water and snorkeling. It was gorgeous. This is a stock photo and it was at least this nice.

I'm gonna break this vacation into pieces so I can have a better reason to blog over the next few days. So come back soon and catch up with the next few days of the cruise.