Saturday, August 21, 2010

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs! (have we been at sea too long?)

Today we decided to order (complimentary) Room Service Breakfast…just because we could. Coffee, juice, cereal, danish—all delivered to your door at the exact hour of your choosing—is this a great vacation, or what? Then we commenced our Routine Beach Drill of sunscreening ourselves out the wazoo (as a matter of fact, I’ll bet we covered the wazoo as well) with environmentally-sensitive, health-conscious anti-sun-goop. Followed by swimsuits and rashguard shirts. And hats. Now we’re ready, let us out there!

“Out there” meant Freeport, Grand Bahama Island today.  I will admit, right up front, that this was not my favorite port. Immediately upon leaving the ship, you had to catch a taxi to get to the beach area. That’ll be $5 a person, one way, please. Our driver, Clayton, was amusing, though, as he narrated the trip: “those are the gasoline tanks, gas costs $4.29  a gallon right now”; “that’s a grocery store, where everything is expensive, as it must be imported from the U.S.”; “those beautiful houses over there cost about $40,000”. Do you get the feeling this island runs on dollars and cents? This will become clearer…

When we reached the actual Sand and Surf, it was…nice enough. Nothing like the exquisite, mostly unspoiled landscape of Half-Moon Cay. Here you practically tripped over the spirit of Rampant Commercialism and the packs of aggressive hard-selling vendors the minute you stepped out onto the beach. “Lady, you want your hair braided? How about a shark-tooth necklace for the boys? Take home a lovely conch shell?” After about 5 minutes I wanted to throw seaweed at someone. Then there were the Fun Fees—you’d like to jump off the giant inflatable raft floating in the swimming area? You must pay. You want to put your towels (or your rear end) on a beach chair? Certainly…for $10.  Are you KIDDING me? Riley picked up on my disdain for this ridiculous system and jumped right into it: “How much to stand here under the palm tree? Is breathing even free?” (I was so proud…that kid is developing into quite a first-rate Junior Ranter!) But Derek came up with the zinger of the day: “Freeport? More like “Expensiveport!”

So back to the ship we went (another $5/person taxi ride later, of course) to clean up and eat (the food we already paid for, so it seemed free, anyway). I know that the kids are wearing out with all this fabulous fresh air and frolicking…how do I know? Today Derek--get ready for a stunner--Didn’t. Want. Dessert! He preferred to go back to the cabin and…REST!!  I know! I’m still in shock, too! But we have one more Fun Day at Sea to enjoy relaxing to the max before we become Land Lubbers once more. Here’s to making the most of Life on the High Seas for a little while longer…

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