Mom and Dad are actually really happy. Jet was a very content little guy. John, Dad and I didn't get in until 10:30, so we just all went to sleep and Dad stayed in the office for the one night, and Jet didn't get up at all.
In the morning, John and I slept as late as we could, given that we were still on Atlantic time, i.e. 3 hours 'early', and when I got up, showered, and went out to the livingroom and loomed over Jet while he was watching TV, he made a motion to push me away. So I went away. Then I heard this, "Hey!!" and Jet came zooming over to hug and hug and hug me and he's been clinging to me ever since, which has been nice.
I missed him. Lots. But I was glad not to have to chance him around the cruise ship.
They did good. Jet was actually sick with an intestinal bug while we were away, for most of the week. Worried the hell out of Mom and Dad and they took him to the doctor's and got a thorough examination, lots of explanations, and all the instructions they needed. So they were extra nice to Jet, and listened to him. From the stories they told us, for all of yesterday, they really love him and he liked being with them. So I'm happy with how it all worked out as they really got to interact with him day-in and day-out and really see him and listened to him as much as they could. That's good enough for me.
I remember, when John and I were in Cozamel, Mexico, we'd actually avoid town when the cruise ships were in. All the prices would go up, the locals would get all stony faced, and there would be no bargaining or friendly banter. And the cruisers all seemed like ugly Americans without any reason to even care about the local reality. Now I realize why it's really not the vacation for us. There are so many ways where it just felt like one giant money sucking vacuum with a smile and a hand held out for as much tip as they could get out of you.
The food, to start, was everything you'd ever seen on the menu for a good, expensive restaurant, but it was all made for 2500 people, so it had all the problems of steam tables, covered plates, and logistics for feeding a thousand plus people all at the same time. So none of it was as good as even a competent restaurant, but there were all the fancy names.
The islands all seemed so desperate for tourist dollars. The majority of our guides, bus folks, taxi drivers all said, "WE NEED YOUR TOURIST DOLLARS, as they're our economy's mainstay." with the sub-text of , "Pay up, you rich American pig." Made me heartsick, in so many ways.
The islands themselves were beautiful. The people were actually quite beautiful, too, and I'll never forget the angelic smile we got from one our tour guides with his rasta hair, skinny frame, and pot-smoke black eyes. The beaches were gorgeous, with the brilliant fish, coral reefs, and ocean everywhere. I miss the ocean so badly, that one of the best things was having the balcony off our cabin, where I could just sit, feel the rollers under the ship, and write, write, write.
The ship was kind of a booby trap for money. It was hard to figure out what they were going to charge you for and what they weren't going to charge you for. The meals were all ostensibly free. Room service was ostensibly free, but they'd zing you for a delivery charge and then also for a tip if you wanted to give it. There were some drinks that were free and others that they'd charge you for. My assistant waiter wrangled a minor miracle just to get me free club soda for my dinner drink every night. It took me most of the week to realize what was 'free', i.e. already paid for, or what they'd charge extra for. Every show had bartenders hovering around to get charged-for drinks. Every pool had waiters descending on you to get drinks and their attendant, built-in 'gratuities', charged on your card.
We did find one great place to eat, though. It was the kids' restaurant, the Seaview, with hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, Reubens and Cuban sandwiches with French fries, onion rings, and other kid food all made to order. So it was all hot, fresh, and nothing was steamed. The milk shakes were hand dipped, but the charges for it were clearly on a sign right there. It was great. No surprises, and good, freshly made food.
The climbing wall was worth doing. The balcony off our stateroom was nice. The room itself was compact but perfect. I got to wear all my J. Peterman clothing and I did, indeed, turn heads. That was fun. The ballgown, the Italian red silk pants, and the caftan were all fun to wear and entirely unique. My silver Zoot suit got broken out for the second formal dinner, and it was well worth getting over the fear of looking like a cross-dresser to see all the whiplash people were taking from double-takes. One lovely lady told me that she thought my little outfit was just wonderful. I thanked her, genuinely, from the bottom of my heart. It was odd, too, to realize that I could recognize the look from at least four women, when they saw me, as a look of, "I wish I could wear that." I'd been giving that look to a few of the teenagers in bikini's on the ship.
I am finally content with the fact that my form is no longer that of a maiden, but definitely that of a mother. It took a while. But with the nice clothing actually looking good on me, for once, it was an okay thing.
I really enjoyed St. Lucia and St. Martin/Maarten. The first was lush jungle with guides that had pride in their island besides the tourism. The second was mountainous with a split personality between the Dutch and French sides, and John and I rented a moped and went all around the island before finding a little local food. Real jerk chicken to bring tears to the eyes, and conch soup with long-cooked tender bite-sized chunks of conch in a curry based soup. Yum. I only got curry goat after we got back to Puerto Rico and we hit a restaurant recommended by the security guard by the Last Gate into Old Town San Juan. Yes, there's a tale there, too.
Lots of good stories. So it wasn't a complete loss of a vacation. And the sprint from one end of Houston's airport to the other to catch our connection with only fifteen minutes, was enough excitement for the whole.