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Drink Rum Punch Before Racing A Goat

We are contributing to global warming

overcast 32 °C

Cruising on a ship can be dangerous for your health. I appreciate that statement is a generalization and, if one were to stay locked in a cabin for the duration, apart from being offered psychiatric assessment, little can go wrong. Venture out and almost certainly your life will be shortened. The remaining duration could as short as minutes – for example, you may throw yourself overboard. It could be days as you fall into a stupor often accelerated by listening to conversations with fellow passengers. Some lead me to wonder how they found the ship or even how they escaped from the asylum. So great was this concern I asked a senior crewmember who had earned several shiny rings on his sleeve, if this was in fact a disguised mobile asylum. He assured me it was only the ships officers who were crazy, but like me, other ratings were slipping into a stupor. Even the staunchest will have their life affected from over-eating or involving ones’ self in every ship board activity.
Each evening, when the housekeeping staff sneak into the staterooms to turn down ones’ bed, arrange subtle lighting, close curtains and check under the bed for stowaways or food hoards, they leave behind a Newsletter describing the following days program. This is a document detailing every available option. Today as I write, (a ‘sea day’ with no onshore excursions) we have 19 options. Add meals to this (5 a day plus snacks), some sleep periods and adequate time to take medications, leaves zero time to contemplate other issues. Given the reality of inadequate time for mobility impairs passengers to navigate between venues, only a few actually take advantage of every option. This rankles and in some instances, infuriates some passengers enough to complain. Their reasoning is, “We’ve paid for these so why not add additional time each day to receive satisfaction”. (A 26 hour day sounds reasonable) I’m happy to give up some opportunities and will not be demanding a refund. For example, today I’ve decided to give up the ‘Artic Detox, the Martini Tasting and the Dancing Under the Stars. The detox was a reluctant decision as it involves being beaten with a damp Birch branch by a Scandinavian maiden all the way from the sauna to the ice plunge pool.
The food and beverage selection on board is magnificent. Unlimited quantities 24 hours each day. Sadly for some, given it’s a small ship, we have only 4 restaurants and 8 bars. However, standards are high. Unlimited food, wine, beer & coffee is included in the fare – exotic cocktails and spirits are additional (added to your room account so it seems free until time to check out). At the start of the voyage passengers were offered a ‘beverage option’. For $2,200 absolutely everything including premium wines is ‘free’. Given my ongoing need for a functioning liver and a reluctance to spend long periods in the restrooms (14 in public spaces), we did not take this option. Never-the-less, Flypaper has looked a bit seedy some mornings and its only the need to tidy our cabin ready for housekeeping (who tidies it again) that inspires her to rise each day. I regularly remind her she’s missing the thrashing with the Birch branch or may be late depositing towels and surplus clothing on the more desirable deck chairs to reserve them for later in the day. This tradition galls me. If it wasn’t for signage all around the ship saying, “Do not throw anything overboard”, I would consider doing a bit of tidying up myself. A common sight is passengers weaving around the decks and corridors declaring, “The sea must be rough today”. On many occasions I advise them we are still firmly tied to the dock and perhaps their equilibrium has been damaged by multiple crossings of the Equator. The ships doctor has asked me to stop giving medical advice of this nature as they are already overworked. As an aside, the ocean has been remarkably calm. Only once did a few carpeted areas require shampooing.
With unlimited food, wine and beer offered to a ‘mature’ and appreciative assemblage, there is one certain outcome … abundant flatulence. My own experience suggests exhaust emissions rise significantly as a result of the ‘onboard’ lifestyle. I suspect 14 people in a lift can result in higher levels of flammable emissions than recommended in the ‘Safe Ships Manual’. This leads me to speculate regarding the possibility of a terrorist attack that results in the sinking of a cruise liner from nothing more than striking a match in the theatre one evening after dinner. I see a need to screen for spark and flame generating devices at each boarding of the vessel.
It also adds another dimension to the question, “Does ‘cruising’ add significantly to global warming? Carbon dioxide and methane are credited as seriously damaging the natural ecosystems. Flatus production is mostly CO2 and methane. Some quick research indicates average human beings collectively release about 73 metric tons of methane and 1000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day through flatulent emissions. Shipboard emissions are greater than average. I wouldn’t like this weight to fall on me so I conclude it’s a worrying matter. Maybe I’ll plant a couple of trees when I return home.
As a lad I read the book “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe. The setting for the classic written in 1719 was believed to be the Caribbean Island of Tobago. Little did I know that one day I would visit the very same. I don’t believe Daniel would recognize it today. For one thing, while he struggled to find a footprint, today it’s full of tourists. Another notable difference is the Carib Indians who inhabited the place back in those days have given up and moved on. It can’t the result of running out of people to eat as some very delicious looking main courses are roaming about – some even carrying their own herbs, spices and sauces. There’s even meals on wheels.
The biggest issue when arriving at Tobago is to be sure you are not wearing camouflage clothing or even some item that could be considered an attempt to merge with the background. This was even mentioned in documentation prior to leaving home so those with only a military style wardrobe could make arrangements to visit somewhere else. I became quite concerned when I walked ashore through immigration and realised I was wearing a beige shirt that matched exactly with the painted wall colour. It was obviously effective as I wasn’t questioned by the military guys wearing camouflage uniforms that were the most outstanding colours visible. Further confusion later when the ‘bird watchers’ were instructed to wear camouflage to enable closer contact with their feathered targets; only to be reminded they left their hats decorated with twigs and leaves at home. Tobago and St Lucia have the same law. I suspect the army commanders hate it when tourists arrive looking more military than their own troops.
Goat racing is one of Trinidad & Tobago’s most popular sports. Jockeys run alongside goats, guiding them with a nine-foot leash and whip. (I suspect the whip is for encouragement rather than guidance) The sport started in 1925, at Buccoo be where an enormous Goat Racing Stadium has been built. To defray costs and further entertain the huge crowds attending, Crab racing is also featured. While not so spectacular or indeed, as fast, the crabs generate their own fans and huge betting revenue. There is no doubt however, which of the losers is the tastier that night.Goat-Racing-Tobago.jpg
I was fascinated to read a sign in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands to the effect; “The XXX Electricity Commission wishes to remind the public that pursuant to (blah blah) … tampering with electricity installations or making illegal use of electricity connections are criminal offences”. This warning obviously falls on deaf ears and equally obvious is the fact nobody polices the blatant stealing of electricity. Throughout the towns hundreds of amateur connections sprout from poles in the most astonishing display of electricity theft. How they achieve it is beyond my understanding. I looked carefully at the base of many poles to see if fried remains of cheeky robbers were visible. Seems they are quickly cleaned up by those who receive the new energy supply. Perhaps it’s the first job for the new vacuum cleaner. 90_Electricity_theft.jpg Crab_racing.jpg
The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean Lesser Antilles covers 442 sqkm (much of which is water) which is about the size of the Coromandel Peninsular. While Coromandel Peninsular has a population of around 26,000, A & B boasts 93,000. More impressive, A & B have more cars than people. With few roads, rush hours are bedlam. Perhaps this is why the prison population of A & B is 360 … of which 16 are women. My first thought was, “This is obviously unjust. The courts are prejudiced against males.” However, it turns out females commit just about as many crimes as men – but the naughty girls have figured out how to convince the police (and judges) they don’t deserve incarceration. At this point, my information source clammed up. (So I’m unable to confirm what you are thinking)
A number of islands in the Lesser Antilles have a tradition. When a baby is born, the parents plant a coconut tree together with the umbilical cord. If the tree grows straight the child will be a goody. If however, the tree grows on a lean then the offspring is likely to be wayward. Random observation suggests the leaners are far more prolific.
The US Virgin Islands Roads are mountainous, narrow and curvy, often unpaved and definitely challenging. Add the fact they are the only US governed territory where you drive on the left … but most vehicles are US sourced LHD. Many US visitors find this confusing. When hiring a rental vehicle (not always a car) they are given the tip … “Wind down the window and keep your elbow pointing at the trees” The locals drive weird open-air taxi’s converted from old US trucks. They disregard all road rules and seem to be trying to win a race. Herds of goats can be encountered around any corner – as can cherubic looking school children hitching a ride. (Don’t stop for a child. 5 or 6 will rush out of the bushes and pile into your car. Few are going to the same destination). Driving visitors are plied with lots of free Rum Punch. Beware – this is not the sort of Punch your grandmother would serve up at Christmas. The combination of these facts is sufficient to scare the crap out of all visitors whether drivers or passengers.
Its time we returned home to NZ.

Posted by Wheelspin 10:00 Archived in Antigua and Barbuda Tagged islands us warming trinidad st virgin global antigua equator antilles crab goat racing rum thomas tobago crusoe detox barbuda punch lesser flatulence asylum carib Comments (1)

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