This is the sequel to It Started When I Chased a Pig, which I posted yesterday. You should probably read that one first. If you want.
So we checked out Zachary’s, a sort of Greek-American diner, and decided it would be a better option than the hotel buffet breakfast the next morning. And man, it was hopping when we walked over to feed. It was so busy we got seated next to this beam that separated us from the next table. Which turned out to be a good thing.
I’ll explain. I mentioned in Part 1 that, since we were in Cocoa Beach, I kept an eye out at the restaurant the night before for Major Nelson and Jeannie. No such luck, but my vigilance paid off during the Saturday morning trip to Zachary’s. Because in the booth next to us, there were four workers for SpaceX. The one we noticed was Gary (we knew his name and where he worked because it was sewn into his SpaceX uniform).
Here’s the thing, part 1: He looked a lot like Meep from American Horror Story Freakshow. A lot. Which is not good.
Here’s the thing, part 2: It was 8 o’clock and Gary was pounding beers. We hoped his shift had just ended …
Anyway, we had a great breakfast and hopped on the shuttle to Port Canaveral. And of course our driver was a character. He told us two seasickness cures. One was to get in a swimming pool for about 30 minutes – “It’ll equalize everything,” he said. His other method, which he says works for any nausea: Eat a green apple. Do they work? Can’t tell you. We didn’t get motion sickness on the Carnival Sunshine or any of the other cruise ships we’ve been on. But feel free to give these remedies a try.
Cuddy in the House
One of the first “things” we experienced was our cruise director, Jaime Dee. She looked like a younger Lisa Edelstein (the actress who plays Cuddy on House). A younger, prettier Lisa Edelstein. A younger, prettier Lisa Edelstein who could do a split on the lobby bar. I’d better stop right here. Anyway, she was full of energy and enthusiasm and danced whenever she could and I think it rubbed off on the staff, because they were all positive and enthusiastic about making the cruise a great experience. Even Karen liked her. We also liked her minions Chris from Connecticut and Darnell – he always seemed to get the shitty jobs, running My Little Pony trivia and dressing up like a Mardi Gras king. But Jaime really stood out. We ran into her both on and off the ship and she was always “on.”
One Saint was a sinner
I gotta be honest. I didn’t much like St. Maarten. We took a tour. One of the things about the resorts I’ve been to is they’re usually surrounded by extreme poverty, and it makes it tough to enjoy yourself if you think too much about it – and I typically think too much about EVERYTHING. In St. Maarten, the poverty initially wasn’t obvious – it seemed like every vehicle on the island was pretty late model. And I did like hearing the stories about how the Dutch and French portions of the island for the most part get along well. But many of the buildings were in disrepair, and I didn’t get a good feeling in the French city we stopped in. There just was nothing there to captivate me, to make me ever want to go back.
St. Kitts, on the other hand, is a place I could live. Our plan for the port. Get off the boat and take a 15-minute walk or a cab to Palms Court Gardens and Restaurant. I know what you’re thinking – sounds pretty boring. But once we got out of the cab (you didn’t seriously think we’d walk, did you) and walked through the gates, we absolutely loved it. There was a really nice swimming pool overlooking the ocean, lined with palm trees. We had a double pool couch, and we just relaxed and hung out all day. The staff was terrifically friendly – even bringing me an extra cocktail because they had one left over. The restaurant was good – I had the catch of the day in some sort of Caribbean sauce.
And we ran into people we knew – we’d met Dave and Amy at dinner – we pretty much alternated between eating with folks and being alone – early on during the cruise. She was a retired teacher, he’d worked at Lockheed – I got the idea he was a pretty big deal there. They were from New Jersey, and we hit it off pretty well. Which was a good thing, because it turned out we’d booked pretty much the same excursions throughout the cruise. We also ran into Jaime Dee there. Despite that, it was a really relaxing day. Until dinner that night. Read on …
There really were monkeys
We’d planned to eat alone that night. And we had a two-person table that overlooked the ocean. With our favorite waiter, Christopher. We settled in for a quiet night – one that wouldn’t happen. That’s because sitting at the table beside us were Ramon and Rebecca. They were younger – and prettier – than us. And among the warmest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. We started chatting and found out Ramon was from Puerto Rico and Rebecca was from Brazil. They lived in Florida now. We talked and talked and got on the subject of what we’d done that day.
That’s when the conversation took a monkey turn. While we’d been at Palm Court, they’d been downtown in Porte Zante, where a street vendor handed Ramon a monkey and took a photo, which Ramon then felt obligated to buy. At $20 a pop. It’s a typical play in ports, and many cruisers would get angry. Not Ramon. He fell in love with his monkey and decided he needed one. So he started questioning the vendor about how to make this happen – he was really serious about it. All of this had us in stitches. Or so we thought. Because the next part of the story had us really cracking up. We’ve talked about it at least 10 times since we got back to the Greater Indian Trail Metro.
The vendor told Ramon and Rebecca a story that she swore was true, about an aunt who lived in Barbados. The woman had thrown an outdoors party and as the night progressed, she and the guests got too tired (and likely too drunk) to clean up. So they went to bed inside and just left what they thought was a mess on the patio to clean up the next day. Only the next day, the mess was considerably worse. Because during the night, the monkeys came to the party. And they ate and drank and played like monkeys do. And I guess like people do, too, because they’d fallen asleep on the patio. So not only was the patio an even bigger mess, it was now populated by about 15 – give or take – monkeys. About 15 hungover monkeys …
We howled then and we’ve howled every time we’ve brought it up since – making up scenarios of drunk monkeys partying (and I know I REALLY shouldn’t laugh about animals drinking alcohol) and hungover monkeys and how angry they’d be. More than that, we truly enjoyed meeting Ramon and Rebecca – we ran into them a number of times after that and we exchanged goodbye hugs twice with them. I’ll truly never forget this terrific couple.
Crap, I haven’t even gotten to the donkeys in the title. I feel like Ted telling the kids how I met their mother. There’s still more to come – naughty comedians and virgin cruisers, the rain forest, rose creme brulee, donkeys (yes, really), Dristan, and huge pig parts (and get your minds out of the gutter), to say the least. But that’ll have to wait for next time (probably next weekend).