Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cruise Part Two

Sorry for the long delay, it's been busy! But here we are at our first stop on our cruise, Samana in the Dominican Republic. We weren't allowed to actually dock there so we had to be "tendered" to shore by getting in a little boat and being ferried over. It was kind of a hassle, but luckily this was the only place where we had to do that. This was what greeted us as we got off the little boat.

There had been a shore excursion we wanted to do that involved riding horses up to a waterfall and swimming at the waterfall, but the one through the ship was kind of expensive (and would be crowded), so we wanted to avoid that, and the one through a different company left before we got to the island. So we just played it by ear, assuming there would be a bunch of locals there trying to give us tours. And sure enough, there were! We managed to find a guy who would take us to the waterfall. This is the town of Samana right near the dock (about a block looks like this).

...And this is what the rest of Samana looks like. Actually, this is relatively nice for what we saw driving to the spot where we got the horses. It was kind of awful. If you can see in this picture (it's kind of small) they have something about God written in that yellow scroll painted on the house. I'd say at least half, if not more, of the homes in Samana had something God-related written on them, which I found interesting.

Anyway, we finally made it to the horse place and we got relatively decent horses for the half-hour (ish?) ride to the waterfall. It's very interesting, they have kids (high school maybe?) who literally walk along side you the entire way, keeping the horse moving. At first I thought, maybe we're just really close? Or maybe they're just getting started? But nope, they go the whole way. The girl who was with me was very nice though, once she figured out I understood spanish she was chatty with me. However, I could barely say anything back to her because I couldn't remember the words in spanish, just italian, so it was kind of embarrassing. Here we are atop our horses, making this vacation number three involving horseback riding.

And this is the waterfall we went to! Cascada Limon. You swim at the base. There were a bunch of locals there too, and some of the kids (again, probably high school-ish age) would climb up the waterfall partway and jump into the water. No thanks!

Here we are after our swim.

Theoretically after this we were supposed to go to a beach to swim, but we ran out of time so we just called it a day and headed back to the ship.

The next day we were going to Tortola, and there didn't seem to be a lot to do there so we decided to just make it a beach day. Tortola was much nicer than Samana, in standard of living if not in natural beauty. Here is the beach we went to.

Unfortunately it started raining (not downpour, but enough that it was hard to just sit out on the beach) so we finished up early and went back to the ship, where at least we could hide from the rain on the ship. Here is another shot of the island, from the vehicle taking us back to the ship.

When we got back to the ship, though, we had a special surprise! The housekeeping guy that did our hallway somehow knew who we were, because every time we passed him by in the hall he'd say to us "Hello ladies. Christopher." (You have to imagine that with a Filipino accent, too). Anyway, we got back that night and look what he left us in our room!

We weren't *quite* sure what he was (duck? swan?) but I welcomed him to the room regardless.

I forgot, I promised to tell you about the worst magician ever. The ship had a "theater" where every night they had a different sort of show. I don't remember precisely what night it was, but it was either after Samana or Tortola, they had a magician named Richard Burr (not the senator, mind you) performing. He was stupendously awful. Like, you could see the trick behind every damn thing he did. He told very weird stories, and then as he finished every trick he would shout out "Yessss!", as if he wasn't sure if it would work. The best part is, they kept touting him as this magician with five Guinness World Records. However, when we got back home Bri looked him up and it turns out that all five records are for rolling silver dollar coins around his fingers. That's not even magic!! He was truly terrible. Mystic Marty would have been way better. But he gave us something to laugh about, so I guess it was worth it.

Next time: Antigua, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Or maybe some subset thereof.

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