As I may have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of cruises. Although I haven't gone on one yet this year, I usually go on at least one or two every year. Where the cruise actually goes is wholly unimportant to me. Half the time I sleep through the stops anyway, and just stay on the boat. I just like having no cell phone, having great food available 24/7, and sitting on the back of the boat watching the waves.
It takes a certain type of person to enjoy a cruise. Usually that person is an old person. My friend Jonah and I are the two exceptions. I think we've gone on two cruises together, and each time we were the only people remotely close to our age. So much for meeting the hot ladies pirate-style.
On one such cruise we woke up at our usual time - 3pm. The boat was docked in Mexico, and was leaving at 5:30, meaning that everyone had to be on the boat at 5.
We strolled up to the dining room to get some food. We'd been to Mexico a few times prior, and unless you're willing to wake up early and go for a long drive, there's not much to see.
We sat down with an older couple named Rita and Willis for lunch. Rita and Willis are two of my favorite people ever. They're an old black couple who have more personality than ten honkies combined. For some reason, be it weight, medical condition, or simply because of the style, Rita drives around the ship in a Rascal, an old person scooter.
Willis would order every single item on the menu during every dinner. Don't get me wrong - Jonah and I would do the same exact thing. One day we ordered (and ate) 31 plates of food between the two of us. Due to voodoo magic (and the convenience of a gym upstairs) I have lost weight every cruise despite the high caloric intake.
The first entree that Willis ordered would arrive. He'd eat a good portion of it, but was usually full from the 3 soups, salad, bread, and 3 appetizers.
Then the second entree would arrive. He might peck at it.
When the third entree arrived, he would inevitably snap at the waiter.
"No, no, no, no, no no!"
I don't think he meant to be rude about it, but it came off that way. He'd resume telling us a story, punctuated by Rita exclaiming "yes you did!" amongst self-satisfied laughter.
Inevitably I'd see the waiter approaching with the fourth entree, obviously pondering whether or not he should try serving Willis another dish. Every time he would wince as he offered it, only to be rebuffed by a second "no, no no!"
Every day this pattern continued. By the end I felt bad for the waiter.
We sat down with Rita and Willis while they regaled us with tales of their adventures in Mexico. We told them that we were about to go walk around in Mexica, but they laughed. It seemed odd.
We finished our food by 4:00. Plenty of time to walk around the shore for an hour and get back onto the ship.
As we exited the ship we couldn't help but notice a large line of people snaking from the end of the pier to the ship. Why were they getting back on the boat so early? It was hot, so I assumed they had enough sun.
Jonah and I leisurely strolled down the sidewalk next to the ocean. We marveled at the strange trees, half finished buildings, and took pictures. By 4:25 or so we decided to head back.
We arrived at the pier at 4:45 and lesuirely handed our passports and ship IDs to the guard. He told us to hurry up.
We started walking towards the boat when he yelled,
"No, you need to run!"
We looked at the boat and then at each other. Something wasn't right.
We started running.
The boat was parallel with the shore, at the end of a T shaped pier. By the time we ran up to the head of the T, our mistake was clear. The boat was 25 feet away from the concrete.
We both doubled over laughing. We had wondered earlier what happens when you miss the boat, and now we had done it. The Mexican guards on the pier looked at us and laughed. They'd seen this before.
With big smiles on our faces we sheepishly walked back to the entrance to the pier. There was nothing we could do about it now.
We were wrong, according to the guard. He could get us a boat to take us out to the ship. He wanted $50, but we only had $30. In my mediocre Spanish I brokered the deal.
A small boat pulled up to the dock and we jumped onto the roof. We were led into the cabin and were given two orange life jackets. The boat sped off towards the cruise ship.
Jonah was sitting closer to the person in charge of the boat than I was. The hum of the engine was overpowering, so I let him listen to the instructions. I picked up bits and pieces. Something about going on the roof of the boat and taking off the lifejacket.
What I didn't know at the time was that Jonah thought that I was figuring out what we had to do since I was speaking spanish earlier.
Before we knew it, we were right next to the ship. It towered over the small boat. How were we supposed to get up there?
The answer came to us suddenly. A hatch 20 feet above the water opened up in the ship and someone dropped down a rope ladder.
A ROPE LADDER.
Both ships are still moving.
I take off my lifejacket. The Mexicans in the boat start screaming at me. That wasn't the plan. I fumble to put it back on as I climb onto the roof of the little boat.
With waves crashing below I lean towards the ship and grab the ladder. I climbed up to safety and watched as Jonah did the same thing.
For the rest of the cruise, we were the heroes of the ship. Everyone asked us about our adventure. Apparently they had been calling our names on the intercom for quite a while, and a good portion of the passengers had watched the debacle from the upper decks.
We were still confused about how we missed the ship until we returned to our cabin. The unread newsletter that had been slipped under the door that morning had a large headline across the top :
BE SURE TO SET YOUR WATCHES FORWARD ONE HOUR TO ACCOMODATE THE TIME CHANGE
Here are some pictures :
Yeah, so I forgot to mention that I'm on a cruise so there won't be any posts for a week. The upside is that I have a criminal amount of free time, so I'm going to whip out a few posts for posting later.
Highlights so far :
We arrived at our cabin and the default arrangement is the worst possible. I would break out MS Paint and show you, but it's really not that important. We skipped the "mandatory safety drill" to pass beds over each other in the tiny room and totally rearranged the room. I may have found my passion - I'm totally awesome at rearranging cruise cabins.
Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in an event that I will remember for my entire lifetime... Last week, a 22 year old from Hudsonville killed himself. He was a wrestler when he was in high school, but he also has a little brother who is a senior this year. His brother's name is Jonah and to the wrestling community around Grand Rapids, he is a great friend. Last night, at about 10:00pm almost 100 wrestlers made there way over to a local high school. A freshman from the school made sure to keep it unlocked and the team of that school had the mats already set up. We came together as a community and ran a late-night tournament. Each wrestler paid $5 to enter the tournament and the winner of each "weight class" won about $40 dollars. We decided on having only 8 weight classes because some of our 140 pounders were much better wrestlers than our 152s and they wanted to see if weight was more important than skill. The left over money was donated anonymously to Jonah and his family. I obviously, am not a wrestler, but I was helping to officiate and keep score of the matches. It was so much fun. We really came together when we needed to and I couldn't be more proud to have been a part of it all. As I was talking to my friend Kyle last night he said "Wrestling is a tough sport. We beat each other, and hate each other at times, but when things get real we'll always be here for one another. As wrestlers, we have a bond that no one else can ever comprehend."
Oh, and P.S. guys, I got a piggy back ride from a state champion last night.(; Be. Jealous.