Thursday May 2, 2013
Isn’t he just the cutest little thing ever?
(Photo courtesy of Rode Trip)
I’ve mentioned that I like to be girly, right? I think this sprouts from the days back in my youth when I was a tomboy with braces and frizzy hair and only wearing hand-me-down clothes from my older brother, which eventually let to me being the outcast in junior high and the realization that the girly girls were being treated much better than I. It took years of training and practice, but I eventually morphed into one of those girly girls myself. Don’t worry, I still kept the tomboy attitude. And although I realize that being a girly girl isn’t important on the high seas, it’s not going to make sure the main sail gets reefed during a storm or give you the extra muscles to haul in lines (wait….I’m still missing those…), it is unfortunately a part of my life that I could not completely leave behind on land. Yes, I still crave dresses and my hair dryer, and, oh how I miss them, high heels. The Bahamas held lots of athletic gear: sports bras; lycra tops; quick dry shorts;..but my inner girl was clawing to get out. Introduce….Fancy Cocktail Hour. An excuse for all of us girls to put on our best dresses, straighten our hair, and wear eyeliner. Stephanie and Ashley were just as excited about the prospect as me and we basically just told all the men what was happening since we were not even going to give them the option to say no. They were encouraged to dress up as well but it wasn’t required as long as they showed up. There may have been a little more enticing them with the promise of Dominoes, but I think that was more for me as well.
The earlier part of the day was a hot sweaty mess. Matt and I finally dragged our laundry to shore since it hadn’t been done since we were in Black Point, Exumas which was five weeks ago! While it was running we tried to find some relief from the sun under a shady tree which also happened to be just in front of the office and it’s internet connection. Joining us as we chilled were Ashley and Jimmy and we all sat around talking. Jimmy told us about their visit to Cuba and how it was full of ‘all time lows’ according to him and the guys. Something he’s glad he’s done once but he would never go back. Both Matt and I have been just a little more than excited to go there (it’s our next stop after Jamaica), so we were just a tad disappointed to hear that it might be a total let down for us when we get there. Way to kill my dreams Jimmy, way to kill my dreams…. In picking up the mood though, Ashley told us about a great roti place just up the road here in Port Antonio and after doing the best she could to give us directions (there’s so many unmarked buildings all over the place here, it’s a wonder anyone finds anything), Matt and Jimmy and I decided to head there once laundry was finished.
Getting out of the shade and into the street the sun was merciless and beat down on us without a whiff of breeze in the air. We went through the normal routine of turning down ten taxi rides out on the main drag, something I’m starting to become accustomed to now, and hooked a right on the street Ashley had told us to go down. She said it would be a big yellow building with the restaurant on the second floor and we shouldn’t be able to miss it. Having started in the middle we walked west until the street came to an end and saw a kind of yellowish-orange building that we weren’t sure was it. Normally I’m not the one to randomly walk into a building hoping it would be a restaurant but thinking it could also be someone’s private residence, but I was frantic to get out of the heat for even just a moment and was willing to take that chance. The guys followed me up and while we did find that it was a restaurant we also learned that they did not sell rotis. Back on to the hot street it was. We wandered up and down aimlessly until the sweat was pouring down our heads and blinding our eyes. The simple thing would have been to ask for directions, but even that can be tricky in a place like this. Depending on who you ask they may give you a straight answer or they may send you down the street to their cousin’s chicken shack telling you it will be the best roti you’ve ever had, although it obviously won’t exist there. We did try to ask a few business people roaming the streets, a secretary out to lunch with her friend, the security guard at the local bank, but unfortunately none of them knew what a roti was or where we could find it. Ultimately we ended up back at the restaurant we had originally entered by mistake, eating fried chicken and rice and just happy to have a cold Ting in our hands.
Before I knew it the clock was ticking after three, and if I was going to make this sweaty mess into something pretty by 5:30 I had to get back to the marina because there was a lot of work to do. Getting ready for the evening I showered, shaved, plucked, lotioned, and pulled out my wet-to-dry flat iron that is terrible for my hair, and luckily only gets used about once or twice a month. My make-up was applied, dress was ironed, and the closest thing I had to heels were pulled out. Since I might just have the best husband in the world, Matt spruced himself up for fancy cocktail hour even though I told him (honestly) he was free to go in board shorts if he felt like it. But knowing that a fancy date would mean a lot to me, he ironed his khakis and a button down shirt and even threw on a palm tree tie that we had brought on the trip just for fun. Gathering once again at EZ since Lance definitely has the best cockpit of all of us (although he’s out of town at the moment), we had a pre-beer there before claiming our spot once more by the pool. It turns out that if it’s not happy hour Monday, the rum punches are actually cheaper to order than Red Stripe and the little frill of a pineapple slice on the side of my drink fit perfectly into the theme of the night. I pulled out my easy-to-use color coded set of dominoes and since a surprisingly few number of people knew how to play, started with a few demonstration rounds for everyone to get the hang of it. We also ended up throwing a little twist in, kind of treating it like Uno, and each time a person was down to their last domino they had to cry out “Jamaica, Jamaica, I love you….!”.
We had only been about one drink and two rounds into dominoes when we all realized that while prepping for fancy cocktail hour, no one had bothered to make dinner. Looking as good as we all did, we didn’t want to shuffle back to our boats and cook in the stuffy galleys so it was time to take this party on the road. Gathering our things up we walked across the street from the marina to a three story concrete building that is supposed to be some kind of mall, housing a nice restaurant on it’s top floor. Taking an initial few wrong turns on the stairs we stumbled into Ambiance and found it to be a much better place that we ever expected. There were wide leather couches positioned against the windows, modern tables placed in the center, and tv screens pumping out top hits from back in the States. As we’re getting so good at doing now, we pushed a few tables together and looked through the multi-option menu that had a multitude of mouthwatering items. While waiting for our food we started back up our dominoes game but this time with Ashley’s set. Which is not color coded. And as much as I teased people at first, I also succumbed to not being able to tell the difference between nine and twelve dots and placing down the wrong piece of porcelain only to quickly have to snatch it back up. Then there was Brian who’s turn was just before mine and even though he was brand new to the game, had the expertise to play each open train I had my eye on just before I was given the chance. I may have gotten frustrated and yelled out “I am going to burn down your boat!”, but fear not, Rode Trip is safe. I just needed a little Red Stripe and sweet and sour chicken to calm my nerves.
With Ren and Ashley departing the next morning for an eventual arrival to the Bay Islands of Honduras, they excused themselves a bit earlier than the rest of us and I attacked them with hugs in case I didn’t get to see them off in the morning. Brian and Stephanie were shortly behind them but the rest of us were not quite ready to go. Jason, Jimmy, Matt, and myself stayed until close to midnight while we waited for Piers to come back from his trip to Kingston, a pilgrimage to find necessary parts for Tamarisk. Eventually he walked in with his friend Kewah the Messiah, a local rasta from the area that has made traveling around Jamaica so much easier for them, and we stayed a little longer as they ate before figuring out the rest of our tab and heading back to the marina. But do you know what I got that morning? Sleep. So I was not ready to go to bed yet. Playing sort of bumper boats in our dinghies, we followed Jason back to Tamarisk where the six of us climbed on board and raided what was left of the almost empty fridge. Pulling out a bottle of chilled Havana Club rum we also mixed some fruit flavored Tang and tried to get as close to the rum punches we were drinking by the pool as we could. Making our way back out to the cushy cockpit we set up some mood lights and Piers brought out his guitar again. Matt and Jason busied themselves with boat bits and electrical issues below, but the rest of us hung out in the cool breeze under stars and listened to the strumming of the guitar. When Matt and I finally pulled ourselves away to go back to Serendipity we were surprised to find out our clock was reading after 2:30 am. Not only were we way past cruiser’s midnight, we were only a few hours away from cruisers rise time. Did I not say these guys were trouble?
Recipe for the perfect evening: rum punch and dominoes.
Ren and Ashley, the cutest little couple (and soon to be family!).
Brian and Stephanie looking all dapper.
Can anyone tell me why I always look so damn surprised in these photos?
NF, Jimmy, and Nick, opting out of ‘fancy’.
Ahhh, a normal face. That’s better.
(Photo courtesy of Rode Trip)