Friday, June 12, 2009

Days One and Two at Sea

by Pa Rock
Sailor Man

Day One: Thursday, June 11th, 2009

We boarded the Disney Wonder around 3 p.m., Florida time, whereupon we had a fine lunch and spent a couple of hours exploring our floating community. Not long after boarding we had to take part in a lifeboat drill where every passenger donned a life vest and went to the lifeboats on the 4th floor to be counted. Boone and his Dad shot hoops with some of our fellow travelers. We were supposed to set sail at 5 p.m., but storms in Dallas kept a plane loaded with Disney passengers on the ground in Texas longer than expected, and our ship waited for those anxious Texas tourists to be rushed aboard.

We were enjoying our evening meal when the Wonder finally left port. Our table included another family of three – from San Antonio. Nick used to live in San Antonio and I have been there for numerous military – social work trainings, so that gave us plenty to visit about with our table partners. After dinner we were all to full to move, but we managed to make it up to the top of the ship where Nick ran on the treadmill and Boone and I did a mile-and-a-half walking around the ship. That was a big digestive aid!

The Wonder is ten stories high, and our stateroom is on seven. It is very nice, complete with a veranda that seats two comfortably with a third standing. The ocean is so serene. I sat out on the veranda after our walk and became so at peace with the world that it was nearly impossible to get up and come back inside.

Tonight Nick and Boone are up on nine watching the Lakers – Magic game on an outdoor, really big television. I sat with them for awhile and read my book. Boone is learning to play basketball, and his Dad was very carefully explaining the finer points of the game, and some of the plays of that game in particular. It was a great father – son bonding activity. I have said this many times, but it bears repeating: Nick is a wonderful dad!

Second Day Out:

It was on this date, June 12, 2009, that Boone Macy set foot in his first foreign country, The Bahamas, and also visited his first Hard Rock CafĂ©. He wasn’t overly eager to stop in the Nassau Hard rock, but once inside it took a concentrated effort to get him to leave. He liked all of the memorabilia on the walls and was familiar with many of the artists.

This morning we took a taxi tour of the island with several stops along the way. The Disney Shore Excursion equivalent was $300 per person, but our locally procured tour guide and his air-conditioned mini-van did over two hours for just $20 each. Our trip included a trip to a local conch restaurant where we were treated to an exhibition of a conch being slaughtered in preparation for soup or a sandwich, a trip past the island’s old fort, and an hour or so at the famous Atlantis resort. The aquarium at the Atlantis is amazing, and it is home to the world’s only manta rays living in captivity. The lobby alone at the Atlantis cost $65 million to construct, and the bridge suite (a unit that spans the hotel’s two towers, rents for an amazing $25,000 per night – but that comes with breakfast! Well-heeled riffraff can rent a room there starting at $300 per night in the summer and $500 per night in the winter.

Our taxi driver also made conversation by quoting home prices in the various parts of the island that we drove through. A three-bedroom, two-bath in a nice part of town would be in the $200,000-$250,000 range. There are no income taxes on the island. A doctor’s visit is $10 and a night at the hospital (the one where Anna Nicole Smith’s baby was born and where her son died) is $35 per night. Apparently a one-day stay at the hospital includes three meals. Our driver said that if we found ourselves in the Bahamas on a budget, to claim sickness and stay at the hospital for $35 a night!

One interesting Bahama’s factoid that I acquired today was that the island achieved independence from Great Britain on 10 July 1973 – two weeks to the day before Nick was born!

The waiter responsible for maintaining our table at lunch today was a young man from Chile by the name of Christian. I now know a total of three individuals from Chile – all are male and all are named Christian! This one said that he is from a small village seven hours from Santiago, which he referred to as “the end of the world.”

This afternoon we took a taxi to Cabbage Beach where Nick and Boone played in the ocean while I sat in the shade at the beach bar. The beach was so h-o-t! It was on the way back to the ship that we stopped by the Hark Rock for soft drinks. Nice day in an island sort of way!

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