March 04, 2009

Lady Sings the Cruise

Note: I’m sure you’re all aware that what happens on vacation stays on vacation. Therefore, in the interest of protecting our reputations, everyone in the party will be referred to by her drag name.

We arrived in San Juan as hot and bedraggled as ten combined hours on planes would suggest. Certain members of the entourage had spent the previous night drinking, and nearly all had not slept more than four hours. After much cranking, whining and standing in lines, bags were dropped in cabins and the six of us sat at a casual dinner, toasting in agreement that the idea posed by Miss Gilda de Lily had been a good one.

Our first day was spent parasailing. The novelty of eighty-degree weather in January was not lost on these sad, tundra-weary Midwesterners; we slipped easily back into flip-flops and bathing suits like the intervening six months never happened. After a boat ride on the bluest water on earth, two-by-two we were clipped into stirrups and, for three stunning, silent minutes, became a human kite.



The rest of our day in St. Thomas did not disappoint. At the top of Hotel 1829, a tour guide offered us cut-rate prices to tour the grounds and climb up Blackbeard’s Tower. Once we were assured this was not a euphemism, we took him up on the offer. On the way back down, we toured Haagensen House, a property so beautiful you could almost, for a minute, make a case for colonialism. It is now a museum, housing antiquities, clothing and draperies from the turn of the century. I may have left teeth marks on the wall.

The next level of the property was the distillery, where Miss Louisiana Purchase came away with a litre of freshly-made pineapple rum for less than the cost of a movie ticket. After a brief refresher at the amber fountain, we were stumbling back to the boat—a trend we would continue for the next six days.



Barbados remains a bit of a blur. Every lady found herself sufficiently toasty; so much so that Mme. Luna Eclipse’s foray onto a jet ski was written off as a mild hallucination. The sail homeward was overcast, and presently it began to rain. We were already soaked from the snorkeling; I daresay none of us noticed. Of course, that might have been because the crew, being masters of their profession, had plied us with bottomless cups of rum punch and dancing hits to please all ages. Very little can be recalled, so it is a mixed blessing that our videographer, Heather, had gotten footage of the whole illicit voyage.



On the third day, we ran out of words for ‘beautiful.’ Miss Louisiana succumbed to the pressure and got a few traditional braids, and a pink hat with skull and crossbones (recommended by yours truly). The tilting and pitching of the boat was a challenge at the soberest of times; after a few Sea Breezes and in high heels, it was like letting marbles loose down a hallway (and so it was that our most enthusiastic crewmember earned her name). Upon Miss Vera Sideways’ suggestion, we spent the night at the piano bar, where the charismatic pianist made an impression upon our youngest. The rest of the evening, thanks to many open tabs, became a total Barbados. I fear we shall never recall it in its entirety.*

On Thursday, we all receive sidelong glances from fellow passengers. One comments that he saw us on TV. We are confused, until I am running on the treadmill and am confronted with an image of myself on the television screen, dancing wetly in a bikini with four ladies I barely recognize. On the way back to the room, our porter waves and congratulates us. We are now famous.



It was in Antigua that we finally achieved nirvana: the actual lying on the beach in the Caribbean. Four hours of white sand, blue sky, and waves. Eventually, one by one, we become overheated, and do turns taking dips in the water. The night was spent winding down; occasionally the body needs to process something other than liquor. It was meant to be an early night, but the spry, saucier half of the group got our second wind after dinner; at Miss Holly A. Ivy’s insistence, we opted to check out the midnight movie on the big screen. Skirts flying, we snuck up to the Lido deck for some fresh air and simultaneous ovulation, because, seriously, that Robert Downey Jr. cleans up nice.

I expected a sad denouement on our last evening together, but I was disappointed. We were seated at dinner as usual, and perused our menus, as usual. After about a week, I looked up and noticed a bottle of champagne on the table… with my name on it. Apparently, the ladies had decided to celebrate my birthday early with champagne and strawberries. After a serious ration of dinner including molten chocolate cake and a full cheese plate, I decided I would never have a nicer birthday party and also never be eating again. We wrapped up the voyage with another sing-along evening, wherein I sat upon the piano for a tribute, Holly took some incriminating photos with the pianist, and sundry such memories that would keep us warm not only on the way back to the mitten, but for as long as our well-worn bodies would allow.



Hoping to repeat the experience very soon indeed,
Miss Pepper Mâché

* Unless Heather popped her head in, in which case it will be looped on Channel 19.

Click Here for the entire sordid thing on Flickr

3 comments:

Joy said...

Ok, so the weird layout thing is not just my computer. I'm at EMU's library and your blog content is right up against the left side of the screen. :(

crdrue said...

Great stories (and great writing!), makes me wish I was on vacation!
Hope you are well, maybe i'll ring the office sometime this spring.

Sarah Beedoo said...

@Joy: Fixed. At least in Firefox. IE can suck it.

@Druester: Thank you! Derm awaits your call.