we be cruisin' - day 1

June 03, 2003

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eat, sleep, drink, sun, swim. repeat. for 4 freakin days. if this all sounds familiar then you’ve been on a cruise. congratulations, me too. :) i’m actually fresh off the boat (the m/s carnival “what’s your” fantasy to be exact) and back in the scary scary real world…

consider this a thrown-together and after-the-fact journal if you like, although it’s really more of an in-depth look at the political and cultural ramifications of the tourism industry on the islands of the bahamas. whatever, that’s all bullshit. i really wrote all this for the sole purpose of being able to remember it in 20 years…

saturday, may 24, 2003 it all started with an innocent L ride to o’hare. the ipod helped keep me right on the edge of consciousness, which was much appreciated considering it was 8am on a saturday and i was somehow out of bed… after getting off the train, i fought the urge to walk to the united terminal and instead forced myself to head over to the ghetto side of the airport (a.k.a terminal 3). you see, since i wanted to guarantee kelly and me seats on the way down/back, i bought RT tickets on spirit air. you saw it here first: flying spirit = big mistake. in fact, you can read more about the true “spirit” of spirit right here, so i won’t go into any more detail now…

our cruise was leaving from port canaveral on sunday morning the 25th, so the plan was to fly down to orlando a day early and spend the afternoon and evening in cocoa beach. that way, all we needed was a quick ride over to the port in the morning and we’d be set. after we got down to the orlando airport, we needed to find our ride to cocoa beach. i had hooked us up with art’s transportation for $25/ea each way, which isn’t bad for a 1hr drive. we managed to find the driver (jill, of “think jack and jill, but i’m not jack” fame) pretty easily since she was holding a sign w/ my name on it. the drive was on. jill got us to the best western in cocoa beach all safe and sound, and i went to check in. i had talked colleen in corporate sales at the hotel, and had gotten a good deal on a room for saturday night. or at least it was a good deal for memorial day weekend… i also had made a reservation for thursday afternoon, when our cruise got back into port. thursday’s accommodations were to give us someplace to crash and shower before our flight back that night. however, when checking in on saturday, they could only find the reservation for thursday night! bastards! they checked around for a few minutes, then called the days inn across the street. turns out the best western and the days inn share reservations, and our room for the night was actually over at the days. so after a little scare (and a grueling walk back across the parking lot) we were set.

not that we spent much time in the room, though. 10 minutes later we were suited up and heading to the beach. it wasn’t even noon yet: plenty of time left in the day to catch some sun and of course grab some drinks. luckily for us beach fest 2003 was underway, and the beach and the pier were packed. (there’s even a surf cam!) kelly and i spent some quality tan time on the sand and in the water, where we mastered the art of getting salt water in our eyes and sand in our asses… i even lost a pair of sunglasses in the surf thanks to one frantic kelly arm-flail, so you know it was a successful day.

ron jon surf shop cocoa beach was only a mile south of the pier, so we took a walk. i picked up a great billabong shirt (white polo w/ brown and yellow stripes) for $20, and then we hit a couple smaller surf stores nearby. kelly even got a nice bikini on the cheap.

on the way back from our shopping excursion, we decided to grab some food. and where else would we eat in cocoa beach on a beautiful afternoon except outside?!?! a basket of spicy chicken balls, a 1/2 pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, a few margaritas, and we were set. there was even an awesome cover band (two guys w/ guitars and drum tracks) pimpin everything from the eagles to jimmy buffett to dave matthews. great way to waste an afternoon…

at this point (we just finished eating, catch up…) it was nearly sunset, so a stroll back to the pier via the beach seemed in order… and of course, that meant that there was still plenty of time to get our drink on. we hit another outdoor bar right at the start of the pier, heard another cover band, and got another couple drinks. queestion: what goes better with drinking than trampolines? you guessed it: trampolines with phat bungee cords and harnesses. we paid our $10/ea, suited up, and started bouncing. the backflips were cake, but the frontflips required some muscle to make it all the way over. at least i know it wasn’t just the tequila talkin when the world started spinning upside down…

at the very end of the pier (i mean way way out there) we found about 10 people fishing, which for some reason fascinated kelly. no one caught anything huge while we were there, but it was pretty fun to watch them anyway. add on the view back to the beach from a few hundred feet out and the pier wins my vote for coolest thing to do in cocoa beach. ok, so besides ron jon’s it happens to be the only thing to do in cocoa beach… whatever.

since we had to get up bright and early (ya know, like 9am) we needed something to soak up the alcohol. dunkin (or should i say “drunkin”) doughnuts to the rescue. even at 3am, i’m impressed that sandwiches are still on the menu not to mention pretty damn good at DD. the doughnut-artist-become-sandwich-artist even tossed in a couple iced teas to help us out. with that, we were set, and all ready for sunday…

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