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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guess the Towel Carcass and Win!*


See that there? That's the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. We just got back from a five day jaunt on that monstrosity and lived to tell the tale. I'll have you know it was our first cruise--I totally don't include the three days of humid hell aboard that Naval frigate that evacuated my family and me from the Phillipines a while back (that's another story entirely)--and despite some bumps and grinds and nausea, we had a great time.

For 40 year olds.

Oh yeah, it was one of those trips. Celebrating the year our social group turned a conjoined 40. Caroline, Kevin, Gina and I have known each other since high school and figured we'd do something special to commemorate the event. Initially, we wanted to do one of those villa vacations with our own pool and staff, but as other friends dropped out that option became more and more financially impossible, until finally we were left with cruising (not that kind).

We flew out to Ft. Lauderdale on Air Tran, which we all hoped was either the Vietnamese nail salon of airlines or at the very least outfitted with velvet curtain swags and trannie stewardesses. Neither of these wishes came true. Though it's not a bad airline as we came to find out. No frills, but aren't they all nowadays?

We got ass-raped by the Limo van driver at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, who got us to our hotel in ten minutes, for the low low price of 70 dollars! Does anyone smell brain cake? The Courtyard, at least, was a nice little boutique hotel overlooking a yacht club. By the way, everything in Ft. Lauderdale is overlooking some yacht. The 7-Eleven, the porta-potty, the welfare office. All have views of million dollar vanity toys. Here's our view...


That's Jo and Kevin lingering in the shadows like a couple of peeping toms. Creepy if you ask me, but that's their schtick. Anyway. We killed the rest of the evening eating at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, which is not nearly as much fun or as retarded as it should be--will someone tell me why the waiters aren't wearing leg braces, cuz that would be too awesome, maybe?--and walking on the beach where we intruded on some filthy couple doing dirty things to each other in the closed lifeguard stand. When will people learn that you're supposed to be ashamed of your body. It's like they grew up without parents.

Cruise ships, as it turns out take a long time to board. So ours, which was scheduled to leave port at 5:00, began boarding around noon...or was supposed to. We got all Floridian and had breakfast on the water at some outdoor nightclub that slings eggs in the A.M. Of course, by the time we were done, I was covered in a sheen of humidity that never really seemed to leave me. From there we were gouged again by another van driver, this one only charged 8 dollars per person for the 5 minute drive to the cruiseport, so our butts only bled a little bit. Though at this point, looking back, I could have killed a bitch.

What they don't tell you: there's a big ass line to get on the boat. I've yet to see this part of cruising on any travel channel show or commercial. And why is that, when the experience is so magical and not at all cattle-going-to-the-slaughter? Seriously, the line moved quickly. Into another line. And from there into another line. The Enchantment of the Seas holds 2500 guests and although I don't think the ship was sold out, the warehouse was pretty damn full of people mooing and shit.

Here's what else they don't show: everywhere you go after you check in is like a red carpet. Paparrazi snap your pictures like crazy. I'm serious. They come out of the woodwork with their cameras flashing. It's insane. I'm not gonna lie. I loved it. I miss it. The pictures show up the next day in the gallery on board and you can buy even the most hideous depictions of your drunk ass. The ones with your eyes closed. The ones where you're asleep on a deck chair, frying like bacon. Oh yeah. Us Weekly shit up in this bitch.

So we get to our cabin, which looks like this on the RC website...


Roomy, spacious even. And looks like this in real life...


Nearly as small as my New York hotel room (you may remember). The first night was a pretty great precursor. Casual dinner (which doesn't mean cut-off shorts and midriffs) was sorta swanky and the food was amazing and plentiful. Nearly bountiful. We left wishing for a bucket. There was a comedian who told poo jokes which, wonder of wonders, I laughed at. And hooch. Daily special hooch. We'll get back to that.

The next morning we woke up in Key West. Well just off the coast and around 5:30 A.M.. That's when the bow engine blasted to life like a battle scene from Platoon. What the? It's hard enough to sleep with some of the rocking but dayam, the noise. I took the opportunity of an early wake up call to cram my fat ass into the cabin's shower. Seriously like shoving spam back into the can. I'm not kidding.

Key West was pretty fun (I know you have a hard time believing it Stace!) and not the land of drunks, date rapes and dick bongs (see right)...or not just the land of drunks, date rapes and dick bongs, they also have drag queens! And conch. Whatever the hell that is. It seems to be best fried in some sort of fritter, though we didn't try one, rather opting for the less scary Key Limeade. We walked down steamy Duvall street and passed a shitload of cool architecture, smarmy bars and tee shirt shops geared toward infant pirates, on our way to the Ernest Hemingway House to see those damn 6 toed cats.

Here's a couple of buildings, just cuz I liked 'em...




The Hemingway House is actually a compound of several buildings and despite not actually believing that the cats would be lying around everywhere, they were. Lots of them. The guy told us they had like 50 and they all have celebrity names. One lady on the tour got bitchy about spay and neutering and the tour guide went crazy on her ass--which was no stretch for this guy who was seriously insane. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Here's Spencer Tracy gettin' pissy with a ho...


I'll leave you with two more shots. The first is the actual toilet that Hemingway shat his bowels into between writing sessions...


I had to reach my arm through some bars to get that one...

...and second, the obligatory towel animal that found its way into our cabin every night. We never could quite tell what each was, so they became known as towel carcasses...


Any guesses?

Next Port O' Call: Cozumel, Mexico, where we drank Mexicokes. Tune in for that shit.

*No actual prize will be awarded beyond the glow of your sinful pride.

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