Sunday, February 02, 2014

The rest (of the Caribbean)

Surprise of surprises, school is not letting up like I'd hoped.  (Yup, I have "naive" written on my forehead).
So many tiny, fleeting, visceral thoughts dance in then out of my head with nobody taking time to make sense of them.  It's plenty depressing.

But I did promise to make a record of our trip, and an abbreviated one will have to do.

Mr. Renn, blessed man that he is, got all goal-oriented about doing something "big" to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  When we first discussed this idea, well before grad-school landed in my lap, I was totally on-board.  But when it came time to actually plan something I was up to my neck in navigating strange waters, and had no space in my brain for tackling extra stress.  So I told Mr Renn, "Sure, we can go.  But you'll have to plan every last bit of it. I simply cannot."

He opted for a cruise in mid-January.  Optimizing bang-for-buck is a priority for this man.  I have mixed emotions about cruises on-principle, as they offer only a glossy peripheral sense of a space.  One cannot really say they've "been" to a place after only a 4 hour excursion there.  So that's the fault of it.  But the culture going on in the space of the cruise ship was its own anthropological wonder.  There were crew members on our ship from more than 100 different countries, and it was fun (and rather proletariat of us) to visit with them.  And frankly, having housekeeping and room service and dining out every night was a delightful diversion.  Watching the systems in place to keep that vessel running was crazy impressive.  Everything was always so clean, even though we were constantly watching messes get made.  The speed with which everything from spills to fingerprints were eviscerated was just awe inspiring (For this lady who can't keep up with 4 kids' messes).

So - the trip.

Day 1 - We flew to Florida and stayed a night there.

Day 2 - Boarded our Ship, spent a Day at Sea.

Day 3 - Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  We toured the Coyaba Gardens, then hiked Dunn's River Falls.  We missed the "wear a swimsuit" memo and looked pretty silly, also Renn's phone died a watery death.

Day 4 - Grand Cayman.  Because snorkeling on a sandbar out in the ocean holds absolutely 0% attraction for Mr Renn we visited the world's only sea-turtle farm.  We played with baby sea-turtles, and birds (I was supposed to be feeding colorful little birds, and instead got attacked by this lone ugly pigeon), and we snorkeled in an enormous salt-water tank.  (Controlled environment = only way Mr Renn's ever going to snorkel.)

Day 5 - The ship docked at Cozumel, Mexico.  We took a taxi, ferry, and then a Perrault to Tulum, Mexico where we got a private tour of the ruins.  Easily the most gorgeous place I've been in years.

Day 6 - Day at sea.

Day 7 - Spent sitting on the floor at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.  Then retreated in poor spirits to a 1-star hotel where the bathroom door wouldn't even close and the floors were all TILE.  Imagine the implications.  Pretty well cried myself to sleep.

Day 8 - Finally made it home, with no time to recoup anything, as real life had to start the next morning.  I think, 2 weeks later, that I've finally got everything unpacked, caught up, and even most thank-you's distributed.

So ultimately, the trip, the break from reality, was lovely.  The transitions out of and then back into reality were painful.  Vacations are double-edged swords.  But I maintain that the vitamin D was unequivocally beneficial.  I can totally understand why some people regularly vacation in the Caribbean in the middle of Winter.  Being comfortable outside just feels so healthy when one has just spent a month in freezing temperatures.  

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