Thursday, May 14, 2009

A different kind of cruiser

Kristen here – Today is Tuesday 5/12/09. I have posted one other old post below this one. I try to keep writing and then post when we get internet.

What a day! Today we pretended to be cruise ship passengers. At 9AM we reported to the horse area with all of the girls. The boys wanted nothing to do with riding horses. Casey said it was a “girl thing”. I won’t go into detail about the conversation that followed those words, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, the girls got to ride horses around a pen for a little bit while all of us took loads of pictures. It was really nice of the workers to let us do that. We talked to the boss of the horse area and he told us that most of the workers are polo players from Jamaica. Apparently polo is quite a big sport there. As we were leaving Ally from Ally Cat said that all of the women should report back at 2:00 to go riding. I was so excited and could then admit that I was more than a bit jealous of my daughter!

After the girls went riding, Angie from Side by Side and I went hiking around the island. We found some trails that led to “ruins”. The ruins were just like every other abandoned house we’ve seen all over these islands. We saw a dried up inland lake which looked cracked and dry as a bone. I went to step on it and sank three inches into mud. Apparently it only looked dry! We also found the stingray pen and the jet ski rental area. By now the passengers had started to come to the island, and we wanted to see if they carried anything that would separate them out as coming from the cruise ship. Most cruise ship passengers that I’ve seen wear identification on a lanyard around their neck. We weren’t sure if they would here because the only people on the island (other than us) were from the ship. Much to our pleasure we learned that there were no lanyards. There was no way to tell us from them.

We headed down the beach, now starting to crowd with people, back to our boats. When we got back to the horse area, everyone was sitting under a tree waiting for us. We reported what we found, and all headed off as a group to explore. First on the list was the stingray pen. I didn’t see it, but apparently some of our group got to swim and hang out in the water with the stingrays! I had gone back to get water for everyone. That was when I discovered lunch. There was a huge area with a buffet lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, FRESH fruit, GREEN salad, jerk chicken, and tons of other varied salads. When I met everyone back at the stingrays, I shared the good news.

We all headed along the paved asphalt path to lunch. It was more food than any of us had seen in quite a while. What did we all go for first? Fresh fruit….mmmmmm. No brown spots, dents, or mush. This was fresh and crispy pears, grapes, bananas, oranges, melon, and pineapple. After a pear, banana, and some grapes I was a bit full, so I went to look for a few from the group that had split off.

I found the rest swimming in the roped off section of the ocean. Ha ha…roped off, it’s just too funny. Apparently there was netting around the swim area under the buoys to keep the nasties out. Like any ocean creature was going to come remotely near that horde of people!

After telling everyone else about lunch, we all headed off for food. I was a bit hungrier by then and joined Casey in the lunch line. Casey was just beside himself with all the food. He heaped up his plate high. I got some of the fresh salads. On the way back to the table Casey said, “I feel really bad now”. “Why?” I asked. “I took way too much food” he replied. He all of a sudden realized that he would never be able to eat all the food he took, and felt insanely guilty at the waste. Then he started to see the waste all around him. Piles of food were being scraped off plates into bins. He was quite upset. He ate what he could and then the rest of us finished what he couldn’t.

After lunch we headed back to the horse area for our ride. We watched the ship passengers mount the horses and ride them through the water for a ways and then ride them back through the water. The guy Ally had talked to recognized us and told us to sit and wait. We didn’t want to cause any trouble, so we just sat tight until we were called. He called Ally over and we all watched her go for a ride through the water. I just hoped that he knew we all wanted to go! When Ally was done, he told us all to just sit tight and wait. When our time came, he told us what was going to happen. Apparently the last group of the day got to go on a whole trail ride! I couldn’t believe it! All of the adult women and Brian from MiaCota got to mount the horses and go for a 20 minute trail ride. When that was done, we took a short break and then mounted horses for the water ride. It was quite interesting riding horses through breaking surf. There was no saddle in the water, only a pad without stirrups. You had to hold on to a handle on the pad and the reigns for dear life each time a wave hit. The horses actually trotted through the water, so it was rushing pretty fast over your legs. What an experience!

When we were done we saw the rest of the men and all of the kids walking down the beach towards us. It was time to go back to our boats. While on the horses, we noticed that our dingys had been completely swamped by the waves. Lou from Ally Cat and I headed out to start bailing. Each dinghy was filled to the top with water, and all of their contents were spewed onto the beach. We all bailed and eventually freed each dinghy.

We had talked to the horse handlers earlier and asked about what kind of thank you gifts the guys would like. Each and every one of them would not offer any suggestions. They simply said, “Whatever you would like”. It made it seem even more as if they were just being nice to us, and not expecting any returns. They were happy yesterday about the Tequila, so we gathered up another bottle of tequila, a bottle of rum, and some cigarettes for the guys. Chris and I dingied in and saw the workers waiting on the beach for our goodies. We thanked them once again for their generosity, and gave them our gifts. They were quite happy and told us to be safe in our journeys.

It’s interesting. The workers were all very friendly. They were like every other Bahamian we have met. Not that they were from the Bahamas, but they were just as nice. They could have told us to go back to our boats and the activities were only for passengers, but they were happy to let us partake in the activities. They did however make it known that some appreciation was expected in return. The original guys Ally met yesterday said they would wait on the beach for her tequila before the kids could play on the trampoline. When I was done riding later today, the head of the crew said someone would meet me on the beach at 4:30. We had made it clear that we wanted to give the guys something, and they didn’t hide the fact that they wanted our goodies. At home we are taught to give without expecting a return. Here it seems like bartering is more often the way things happen. We bartered what we had to offer for what they had to offer, and all parties benefitted. By the end of the day, we all had so much fun that we were willing to give them half our liquor closet!

Tomorrow we be heading north to Eleuthera.


Anonymous said...

You burn up a fan and want to try and return it. Wow!!!!
You would have been better not posting that.

Chris said...

I think you were talking about this post...

It was more of a flippant comment than anything else. After spending over $40k with Defender we kind of felt that they wouldn't care if we returned a $50 fan. BTW - it turns out that the fan was wired correctly and was actually faulty - and could have caused a fire on our boat if it didn't blow up so spectacularly while we were around. Just saying :)