Vacations are fun, getting back to the reality of snow, grey skies and the frozen tundra, not so much. The Virgin cruise we took was my wife’s idea, something she’s wanted to do for years, and I finally, begrudgingly gave in. Once I figured out how we would pay for it, we made the commitment. If you’re thinking I did this for my wife, you’re right. My idea of a vacation has nothing to do with airports, sandy beaches and crystal blue water.
I had more fun than my wife. Once we got on our ship, I was impressed, and when we left port and I was standing on deck watching the Florida coastline drift by, I was a 17 year old kid again. A freshly minted 17-year-old Machinist Mate on board the USS Grand Canyon amazed at the beautiful Florida coastline. That’s what I did, sail from Norfolk to Jacksonville, the all of the east coast, my duty while serving. There were differences of course, between my Naval adventures and my cruise. Some fifty years of a difference to start with, and I wasn’t pampered in luxury and service while plying those waters all those years ago.
Our first stop, the Dominican Republic tended to even older memories, of my youth growing up in Carysburg, Liberia. A third world country where people drove on the side of the road where there were no potholes, maneuvering their Toyota Celica’s over ill maintained roads as they threaded past and around cluttered, knitted shanties whose exteriors were painted in bright, exhilarating swaths of yellows, reds, blues and oranges. As soon as our little carry all started off, into the heart of Puerto Plata, I was drug back to the days of my youth.
Then on to Bimini where our tour guide was non other then Morgan Freeman. Leastways, the dude could have fooled me, he was about the same age, sounded like Morgan, and dammit, looked like the old guy as well. His name, Billy and he used to play ball with Atlanta. Bimini was the one source of contention between my wife and I. I had wanted to dive the Bimini road, you now, the one that once led to Atlantis and she, wanted a cultural heritage tour. So now I’m completely aware of Martin Luther Kings history in Bimini, along with the dolphin house, and the water, the color of the water. It really is as blue as the pictures.
After five nights it was back to Miami, a four-hour flight where the cold and snow welcomed us home.
Funny how it worked out, this cruise. I bought into the idea only because my wife had her heart set on doing so. Yet I’m the one who walked away with something special, an experience that bought my youth back, if only for a couple of days.
Yeah, I’ll do it again.