Island life. I was healthy enough (grateful for prayers) to head off the ship today for our planned kayaking/snorkeling tour. I was so thankful as it was terrific to see another country (St. Maarten – the Dutch half) since I am, after all, floating around the Caribbean. As so many of these small islands are, it is diverse. One can easily see the ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’ coexisting. As a cruise ship passenger, I was a bit uncomfortable with my role as a ‘have.’ I took it upon myself to be cheerful and pleasant and to pay prices that help the locals earn a living rather than trying to get the best ‘deal’ by haggling. Not that it mattered much as I hardly shopped at all and I haven’t spent a penny on food outside of the ship. Why bother when the ship food is excellent and abundant.
The nationals are used to the rhythms. Mid morning flocks of tourists disembark to either find their tour or pay the stated price for “Chair, Umbrella and 2 Beers.” Not being a beach sitting type, the allure escapes me. I did find the whole scene fascinating, though. We are on a huge ship and the one in port next to us was a great deal larger. It seems like madness on the sea to continue to build bigger ships. May as well create a floating island with settlements that get pushed around by barges. (My billion dollar idea?)
I’d have to brush up on the history of St. Maarten to understand the very moving sculpture in the middle of one roundabout of a man (a slave I presume?) with his hands spread in freedom, chains dangling from his arms. More sculptures presented themselves on our slow drive from the cruise pier to kayaking cove. There was one of salt mine workers and one of a famous traffic director. Wikipedia, here I come once I don’t have to pay far too much for internet connection! Nice public art in the midst of poverty.
The weather? Picture perfect with the azure sea at every turn and hot breezes messing up everyone’s hair. Lots of sunscreen for me and my daughter as we headed out to the water. I have not kayaked on the sea before. And, the guides would hardly call our little kayaking ‘adventure’ sea kayaking. Poor guys have to make a living being clever and teaching the same basic paddling skills to underskilled and overfed cruise ship patrons day after day after day. The seemed patient enough and their British accents would surely cover up any irritation if they had any at all. We had fun in the sun paddling nonetheless. That’s the idea. We snorkeled after a short paddle. It was unspectacular, but fun to see a little bit of coral and some colorful fish in the murky water. I got a tad seasick after a while from floating on all the swells, but being out there with my daughter for her first time snorkeling was worth it.
I’d put up some photos of the water, but I have no idea how to get them from camera onto computer, so stop holding your breath. (I’ve been told Apples are user friendly. Hmm…. Not when it comes to THIS Apple and finding the illusive iPhoto. Nothing pops up that is of any help in getting my photos transferred from the camera. In the very least I expected Apple to send me a note: “HEY CHICK, YOU’VE CONNECTED A CAMERA TO YOUR COMPUTER. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE IMAGES?” but, nooo, nothing!)
Maybe one of the kind guys from Honduras or Hong Kong in the iLounge on Level 6 can help me figure it out when they are open tomorrow. We are at sea for the next two days. Since I’m not a big partier, my introvert self can enjoy some reading time and figuring out how to deal with my photos as the calming sway of the ship carries us back to the USA.