Vacationing in Haiti???

I wasn’t able to make a post last week because we were off playing. My daughter, Brittany, just turned 21, so we decided to take her on a cruise for her spring break from Florida (yes, I get the irony there). Among the places our cruise visited was Haiti.

If you Google “travel to Haiti,” you will find concern expressed over the possibility of encountering both hepatitis A and B, as well as malaria, typhoid, rabies, and yellow fever. In fairness, you can find similar concerns regarding many places in the Caribbean and Central America. Also, the travel advisory for Haiti has been lifted, and kidnappings and muggings are reportedly down from previous years.

Nonetheless, what I have typically heard is that the other end of the landmass, Dominican Republic, is the place to visit. Also, there’s the necklacing.

I first learned of this practice years ago, and the place I heard about it taking place was Haiti. Evidently, necklacing is considered a “fun” spectator sport by some. It involves filling a tire with gasoline, placing it over the head of the “participant” in such a manner as to pin their arms against their body, and then setting it on fire.

So when I learned that Haiti was to be one of the ports our cruise ship would be visiting, I resolved to remain aboard the ship and spend that day grazing at the buffet tables. However, after I learned that our port would be Labadee, Haiti, billed as a beautiful and more importantly, secure place owned by Royal Caribbean, I reconsidered.

Though the Royal Caribbean marketing folks claimed Labadee was an island, I became immediately skeptical upon first seeing it. This was mainly due to the fact that it appeared to be joined to the rest of Haiti, which is sort of a deal-breaker for island status. I later confirmed that it is indeed a peninsula. (Ha, I was right.)

But I will admit that it was a first class resort-type area and we had a great time there. My only complaint was that every time I heard someone say the name, Labadee, I found it impossible not to hum that Beatles song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” written by Paul McCartney.

Britt and I in Labadee

Britt and me in Labadee

After surviving Haiti, Britt and I did a 100 foot deep wall dive in Grand Cayman, our first time to dive there. And Britt got to go to Senor Frog’s in Cozumel, one of her bucket list items.

While there, the Senor Frog resident clown made balloon hats for the ladies, which they proudly wore. It’s pretty hard to look cool in a balloon hat, but my girls looked a whole lot better than the rest of the tourists.

Dee Dee sporting the latest in balloon headwear

Dee Dee sporting the latest in balloon headwear

Since we made a last minute decision to take a cruise, my wife and family travel agent, Dee Dee, was able to score us a “royal family suite” at a great price. This two bedroom, two bath suite with living area was about twice the size of my first apartment. And that’s not counting the balcony that extended over about a third of the aft end of the ship.

It did take a while to adjust to seeing where we had been instead of where we were going. But I managed.

While aboard, we caught a few shows and hung out at the pool. We even played air hockey in the arcade.

I like people watching, and there were roughly 3500 to watch on this cruise. On one occasion, Britt and I were walking past the pool – on one of our MANY trips to the soft-serve machine – when I noticed a sun-bathing guy who appeared to have rather large boobs. As we got closer, I realized it was not a guy, but rather a topless woman. On our ship! It was an image I will spend the rest of my life trying to unsee.

One guy had bright blond hair with the sides shaved. He looked exactly like that television cartoon character, Max Headroom, who enjoyed about eleven seconds of fame.

As with any cruise, there was lots of food. Lots and lots of really great, high calorie things to eat. And I have to say we took full advantage of it. We kept a fork lift busy delivering pallets of room service food to our suite when we weren’t grazing at the buffet or seated in the dining room for dinner.

But in an amazing feat of restraint, I did manage to limit myself to around 24,000 calories per day. Thus, I had gained only 37 pounds by the time I waddled off the ship.

Oh, the joys of cruising!

Headed down to forage

Headed down to forage


Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.

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