Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baja Tuesday's...A Journey Through Hilarity

'I Think We Might Be On The Wrong Boat...'

Obviously this was a photo op that could not be missed. We came across this little piece of irony as we were strolling the boardwalk on our way to dinner. Ah. FedEx. The World On Time..., apparently employing any and all means of transport to provide the world with L.L.Bean shirts and Harry and David Gift Baskets. We raised our hands in salute as we passed, thanking the company that offers such discounted travel to such impoverished souls as ourselves.
We were on our way to our boat, strolling in an unhurried fashion among the small fishing boats along the western docks. The middle of the marina and the north shore where our hotel was located, were reserved for yachts and other large ships that were actually sea worthy. I hoped as we walked that our cruise ship would be among them. I could see the scene now- sitting in the lap of an over-seventy total stranger while eating undercooked kabobs of unknown meat served semi warm in a tiny over-crowded dinghy like the one pictured above, the ocean spray splashing my face as the large woman next to me spews said kabobs in a bout of either sea sickness or food poisoning. My own stomach telling me it probably isn't sea sickness... In spite of all Mexico's charms and relaxed atmosphere, I was still a skeptic. I'm an American. I can't help it.
In spite of my vivid imagination and nauseating fantasies, we arrive at the dock and join a line of individuals who are also waiting to enjoy the dinner cruise. To my amazement, and if possible, further skepticism, we are escorted to a lovely cruise ship, small but comfortable, where a BBQ is fully cooking what appears to be chicken. It smells wonderful and my feet have barely touched the deck before a waiter is asking what I'd like to drink. Well, alright then. Now we're talkin'.

Upstairs or down? We debate and fully hold up the line of would be cruisers as we discuss the pro's and con's of indoor dining versus the open air, al fresco, wind in your face and bugs in your food experience. Up, we finally decide. Definitely up.
We ascend the steep staircase to the upper level and are pleased to see semi-comfortable looking benches around the deck. The captain is at the wheel, his back to us. Dave and Eileen seat themselves on the port side and breathe in the sea air. The deck fills with a surprising number of people and soon we're crammed between several golden agers, once again festooned in palm tree shirts and straw hats. I'm not kidding. Just wait, I'll show you. I have pictures.

See? I have no idea who these people are, I just took pictures of the shirts for proof.
As I mentioned once before, I LOVE boats, so I'm sitting there, totally happy, or almost...if it weren't for the fact that now I'm remembering all the boating trips we took as kids and all the many hours I spent driving my dads boat around the lake or river or wherever we were that particular day. I would rather be on a boat than just about anywhere and have never suffered even a brief moment of sea sickness in my life. Perhaps I was a sea captain in a former life, if I believed in former lives, which I don't think I do but haven't decided yet.
Anyway- The engine roars and the propellers begin to churn and our ship moves slowly out of the marina. The captain is standing a mere 10 feet away, the instrument panel calling my name, the wheel mocking me with each turn.
We are brought our drinks and I notice immediately that I've NEVER in my life had a beverage this STRONG. Interesting. You'd think a bartender on a ship like this would know how to mix a drink. I shrug and drink anyway thinking the next one, if there would be a next one, would not be as strong and would balance this one out. Makes sense, right?? Apparently alcohol doesn't work like that, but I didn't figure that out until later. And that doesn't really have anything to do with this story anyway.
We leave the harbor and are smoothly making our way out to the arch, the sun sinking low in the sky. Dinner is announced and we opt to wait a few minutes until the crowd thins a bit before trying to maneuver down the killer staircase. Meanwhile, El Capitano hasn't turned around and I decide to once again, test my psychic prowess by forcing my eyes to bore into the back of the captains neatly ironed shirt. In this fantasy, he turns in a proud captain-ish way, singles me out of the crowd of fifty people, offers me his hand and says, "Would you like to drive the boat?"
I am in the middle of this 'scorch him with my willpower' technique when, no kidding, he turns around, singles me out of the crowd, offers me his hand and says, "Would you like to drive the boat??"
I am shocked. What now? I hadn't gotten any further in the daydream but I figure the only thing to do is say yes. This is quickly becoming the best moment of my life and the memories of my dad and the lake are flooding back, simple times of childhood with no complications or regrets. Just happiness. Also- Pepe's kind of a hunk and hanging out with him aint such a bad deal either. I look at Ryan who see's exactly what I'm thinking. He smiles and nods his head. Giddy, I jump from my seat and head towards our captain who relinquishes the wheel.

"She's like a woman. Very sensitive." He says. And suddenly I'm the captain. I don't take my eyes off of the horizon. He shows me a space in the distant blue and tells me to point towards that. It takes several minutes but soon I have the boat under control and am steering gently, without overcorrection. Pepe and I talk while we cruise along. He asks about the states and I learn that he has a teenage daughter. I completely miss dinner and Pepe orders me another drink over his radio. This scene has been pulled directly from a Danielle Steele novel, I'm pretty sure. I'm questioning reality only slightly and would have thought I was losing it if I hadn't turned around a few times and seen Dave and Eileen and Ryan smile at me.

Pepe points over the bow of the boat to where a family of porpoises play in the harbor. A stingray floats to the surface and lays it's wings across the warm water, a nautical angel. We talk about the whales. Their migratory season is from November to February, in those months the waters near Cabo are full of them.
I actually thought I was doing pretty well as La capitana until an older gentleman came forward to announce that several passengers were sea sick. Pepe shrugged him off and said, "It's a boat." in his thick spanish accent and kindly, did not take the wheel from me.

It wasn't until the sun had set and we were heading back towards the marina that he escorted me back to my seat, told me how brilliant, beautiful and amazing I was, and ordered the waiter to bring me my dinner. No, I'm not kidding. That's exactly how it happened.

One would think the story would end here... Oh, no. Everyone knows the real fun happens after the sun goes down. Well, everyone knew that but us. As I mentioned in last weeks post, this was Dave and Eileens 36th anniversary, a special occasion certainly. Dave was whispering sweet nothings in her ear and she was wearing the silver necklace he'd bought her the day she and I were having our massages. They were generally being a cute little couple and we were all (Ryan and Dave and Eileen and I) preparing for the sad, yet timely, trip back through the marina when all of a sudden the deck of the boat starts vibrating with a funk-ay rhythm. Dave looks at Ryan, Ryan looks at Dave. What's happening here?
Eileen and I raise our eyebrows and glance at one another. We're not immediately alerted to the situation for some reason that even now escapes understanding. You'd think that as the first few bars of aforementioned funk-ay beat begins to rumble across the water that we'd say, "Hey, this isn't romantic. What have we done here?" But no. We wait. Which is, I suppose, all we could do since we were still a few hundred yards from the marina and stopped dead in the water. What are we going to do, swim for it?
And then we hear the infamous Sir Mix A Lot pronounce those now famous words,
"I Like Big Butt's and I cannot lie...You other brothers can't deny..." Well, you know the rest. Dave and Eileen, turning seven shades of red, are wearing the looks of the proverbial deer in the headlights. Ryan's grinning from ear to ear, reliving his vacation bible school escapades in which he would sneak from class to repeatedly play this song with his buddies and laugh themselves blue at the horrifying and not at all Bible related lyrics. I can see that it is only sheer will that is keeping him from jumping to his feet and doing The Stir in the middle of the deck. I too, I must admit, am grinning ferociously. But I'm in my twenties and can handle Sir Mix. I'm young enough to think it's funny. Or perhaps just perverse enough to think it's funny. At any rate, our romantic dinner cruise morphs at that moment from romantic bliss to a par-tay. Surprisingly enough- even the golden agers are up dancing and the waiters are paid well to make sure the now-tipsy travelers have the time of their lives. This explains the curiously strong beverages we'd been served all evening. Here's a few pictures for your viewing pleasure...

Yes, you're right- that's the YMCA

Not sure what he's reaching for here...
And no, that old guy beside her is NOT her husband. Her husband was the glaring, livid gentleman hidden behind her inebriated, jolly self. As you can imagine if you've ever been on a booze cruise, the games definitely become more intense as the evening progresses. The YMCA was only the beginning. Tequila shots, games heavy with sexual innuendo and some obscene dance moves performed by the staff were only a part of the lively fare offered up for entertainment that particular evening. Eileen spent the whole night hidden behind her brochure laughing hysterically, Dave tolerated the display with a good natured grin that also said, 'I might have to eat one of these Mexicans if he comes near my wife', and Ryan and I laughed heartily through the whole thing while also praying that none of the waiters decided to try their moves on us. It became a vicious cycle. Eileen would giggle, Dave would growl, Ryan and I would look at each other and start to laugh which would make Eileen peek up over the edge of her tattered brochure and she would start the giggles all over again.
We ended the cruise much later and I thanked Pepe heartily as we stepped back onto the boardwalk. I added, See the Whales in Cabo, to my list of things to do before I die, and we headed back to our hotel, strolling slowly in the evening heat. Tomorrow is our last full day in Cabo San Lucas. Ryan and I have planned to spend the day shopping in town and laying by the pool, something I haven't done at all since our arrival several days ago. I breathe in the night air, heavily scented with salt water and tobacco, the scents of grilling meat at the little cantina near the Tesoro. Eileen is still giggling about the cruise and Dave keeps looking at her out of the corner of his eye. We laugh at them, wish them a happy anniversary and head to bed.
I hear Eileen yell down their flight of steps before their door closes, "What happens in Cabo Stays in Cabo!!!!!" then SLAM. They are gone. Tomorrow we will absorb every moment since they will be our last here. The party continues beyond our balcony, but we leave the sliding doors open so that we can hear it all. I mentally resolve to NOT get back on the Portland bound plane and am contemplating the logistics of this maneuver when, unbidden, sleep comes.

Please stay tuned for next weeks episode of Baja Tuesday's...'The Long Road Home' or 'Burning up at Re-entry'.


klyn said...

I just spent 11 days in 7 different states and I do not have anything remotely funny to share...I really must try harder!
Tense moments of annoyance, why yes, but no humorous experiences...
maybe I need you to put a spin on my story like the one car insurance company's ads.
You looked awesome driving the boat!! Very cool!

Anonymous said...

wow, i'm going to have to try using my powers for good instead of eee-ville ... the last psychic demand i made was to put a *really* bad indoor soccer referee out of commission. (it worked.) your way is more fun, tho.

and heck, you can come down and steer our boat any time. if i get my way, we'll start spending our winters in la paz on matsu. but it's probably easier (for now) just to come to newport! ;)

meliken said...

My Father in law is getting behind, I see! In his version, we haven't even gotten to Mexico. He's going to have to do some serious catch up work!
Kelly, so glad you're keeping up with the blog! Nice to see your comments. And, yes, it's all in how you spin it ;)
Hal- I'll absolutely do it! Don't tempt me!!!!

meliken said...

ps Hal- Ryan has 3 weeks of vacation every year... just thought I'd mention it ;o)

Laura said...

Too funny!!! What a fun read!
Open Skies (laura)

meliken said...

Laura! So glad you're reading ;) Nothing like a travel agent to appreciate something like Baja Tuesday's!

i8acarrot said...

I LOVE reading your stuff!
More, more!