The Volley Ball Incident
Barbara and I, and our friends Gina and Mark were going on a cruise.
As is her routine, the General created a list a few weeks in advance, listing all the things to take along including Passports, medicines, etc. She packed the day before and was dressed and ready early the morning of our departure. I of course, being more spontaneous (she says disorganized) opted for that morning to pack.
We had arranged for a car service to take all of us to the port. We arrived at the port around 12 and proceeded to the boarding area.
We were on line waiting our turn to go through security when the guard told us to have our passports ready. Barbara confidently looked in her handbag for the passports. They were nowhere to be found.
Now Barbara’s handbag is always pretty big and filled with various items. Today was no exception. We stepped off the line to search the bag. We took out a fairly large pile of items, still no passports. We turned the bag upside down, unzipped everything we could see, still no passports. By this time, I am picturing having to leave the terminal get a cab and go home to look for the passports. The General is sure she had taken them and insists she has them. We spend about fifteen more minutes searching her bag, her pockets, etc. Now we fear she has put them in a bag we have checked through to the room.
We turn the bag inside out, and tucked away in the dim recesses of the bag is a “secret” zippered compartment. We can feel something in there, but when we open it up, we don’t see anything. Finally, we see a slit in the lining and find the passports inside a more “secret” area of the secret compartment.
Barbara is overjoyed and runs ahead to catch up with our friends.
Unfortunately I am left with a couple of carry on bags, two hats and the camera to go through security with. Of course I am pulled aside.
“Come with me,” the security guard says.
“What seems to be the problem?” I inquire.
“The x-ray machine has detected what appears to be round cylinders or bottles in one of your carry on bags,” she replies.
“Really,” I say, “round cylinders, what the hell could that be?”
I look around for Barbara; she’s gone on ahead, leaving me to my fate.
The guard and I approach a counter top with another guard. They take the offending bag and open it up. They discover the suspicious objects. It’s Barbara’s hair rollers.
Between the passport fiasco and the hair roller incident, I have spent a total of 20 minutes on line and I haven’t even approached check in yet.
I eventually catch up to Barbara, Mark and Gina, and we make it on board.
We are too early to get into our rooms so we go to lunch carrying our carry on bags. We finish lunch, drop off our bags and go around the ship looking it over and signing up for specialty restaurants and Mark and Gina for the Spa.
We have chosen late dinner seating and are placed at a table for 10. For the whole trip, two of the people are never present. The other 4 people are friends traveling together. They are friendly and funny.
We spend the first day at sea, the second at Cozumal. At this point my stomach is upset and I am being very careful to eat small portions and simple foods. I contact the nurse and she tells me if I want any medication they will isolate me until I feel better. I choose to tough it out. The next day is at Routan, Honduras. We have signed up for a shore excursion that includes a beach day and snorkeling. They take us to a great beach with a nice resort and we spend the day there. Barbara does not go snorkeling. She does go in water, never getting her hair wet (a family legend). I’m still not feeling well and stick with fruit and water. I survive without embarrassing myself.
We get back to the ship and discover the door to our cabin is covered with crepe paper ribbons and a large poster which says: “Happy 85th Birthday Shelly” It has various side messages such as “you look good for your age” and other things meant to emphasis an 85th Birthday. It is really funny. Barbara and I laugh about it.
We go into our room and Gina calls us. She managed to do this while we were off somewhere. She is getting me back for a joke I pulled on her a month before. I decide to leave the poster and crepe up for the remainder of the cruise.
People passing by when we are going in and out of the room comment on how well I look for “my age”. Gina and Mark’s stateroom neighbors on the other side of the ship tell them about the 85 year old on the floor. We all get a laugh out of it. I leave the poster up.
The cruise is great, we have a great time. We participate in many of the ship activities, we dance every night before dinner, and I get to dance with the singer in one of the bands as well as one of the activities directors. Barbara dances with the dance instructor during a theme party. I even wind up winning about $30 dollars at blackjack at the end of the cruise.
We love Costa Rica, taking a gondolier through the treetops of the rainforest, a boat through the Panama Canal, a tour of Cartagenia (Barbara manages to buy an emerald ring. I send an email to our Grandchildren asking them to get their parents to send money) and especially the Caymans. Mark and I have talked the girls into swimming with the Stingrays at Stingray City, something they are hesitant to do.
We get on board the boat, which takes us to Stingray City, a sandbar off the coast of Cayman Island. We anchor and step onto the sandbar. The water is warm and about 3 feet deep. The stingrays are all around. The crew is terrific. They grab hold of a stingray and show us how to feed the stingrays with the octopus they have brought along. We all get to hold the stingrays, get massaged by them and kiss them (its funnier than it sounds). The crew takes photos and videos of everything, which we buy. No one will believe Barbara has done this without proof. Mark says his family won’t believe Gina did this either without proof. Barbara has managed to do this without getting her hair wet. The legend grows.
I send another email to our grandchildren saying “Barbie Poppa has kissed a Stingray” We get an email back saying “There is shocked silence” This is definitely not the Barbie Poppa they know.
Barbara and Gina have a great time. They forgive us for making them come on this excursion.
The next day is a day at sea. The activities people have organized a pool volleyball tournament. I wander down to the pool and meet our table mates. One of them has signed up and I decide to sign up too. Barbara, Gina and Mark are on another deck reading and sunning themselves.
It’s my team’s turn. I jump in the pool and get in position. The ball comes my way. I jump up to hit it back. I rise up out of the water, my bathing suit does not.
My suit is not tight enough around the waist and has chosen this moment to make that evident.
I quickly pull up my suit. No one seems to have noticed. Not sure if I’m relieved or insulted.
Now, every time I jump, I try to hold my suit up. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. It makes for an interesting time.
We manage to lose our game, but since there are only 4 teams competing (have I mentioned I’m considered a “youngster” on this cruise, most of the fellow passengers are older), my team comes in 3rd and we are awarded a bronze medal.
I return to the side of the pool where my tablemates are. I casually mention my wardrobe malfunction, much to their delight and amusement (they didn’t notice either).
I go back to where Barbara, Mark and Gina are, wearing my medal which is bronze colored. I let them think it is gold. In the sun they can’t tell the difference.
During the cruise, something has happened to Mark. Gina blames me. She claims Mark is usually shy. He now appears to have become much more gregarious. He is introducing himself, talking to everyone (remind you of anyone?) and being very “unlike Mark”. I think this is a good thing, Gina’s not so sure.
The cruise is coming to an end. People are still commenting on the Birthday Poster. We have all had a great time.
Barbara and I would definitely go on a cruise somewhere else, not sure if it would be together.