Some Stuff About Me ......

I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Tuesday 20 December 2011

A Brief Synopsis of Events ...

It's just over a week since I returned from my much-anticipated Caribbean cruise and, to be honest, in hindsight I have reservations about the whole thing. Now please don't misunderstand me, it would be a bit petty to complain about a couple of weeks in a high-class hotel (ie. the ship), being fed delicious food every minute and having murky characters sidle up to me and press a rum punch into my sticky mitt on the thinnest pretense, so I'm not gonna. However, I think I can state confidently that this sort of holiday is just not me; there's a lot of really fat people on these cruises, people who think nothing of adding 10lb to their bodyweight every day and after a while it becomes a little bit sickening to watch this gruesome spectacle, it really does. Maybe it's because I try to eschew a healthy lifestyle (of sorts) and this sort of opulent indulgence makes me feel like I'm losing control of my personal ruleset, does that make sense or am I talking my usual bo****cks?

The ship itself (the Caribbean Princess) was very nice and we had a terrific stateroom with a big balcony (stbd side) and it was lovely to wake up to a new view every morning. Having boarded at San Juan, Puerto Rico, our itinerary was as follows:

St Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands)
Tortorla (British Virgin Islands)
Puerto Rico
St Lucia
St Maarten

I have no doubt that all these places are absolutely lovely, however the problem with a cruise is that you have very limited time to see them and that gets a bit frustrating. The best islands were the ones where we found a quiet beach and just soaked up the sun and ambience, I love that sort of thing. Also, diving/snorkelling was great fun and we went diving on a wreck off the coast of Aruba and off a coral reef in Bonair, which I loved. It was like being in a Jacques Cousteau movie only more colourful. Still can't believe that I swam with all those incredible fish (and turtles), it really was special.

Trying to keep fit onboard was a challenge .... I probably logged about 35 miles on treadmills over the course of the cruise and it wasn't particularly exciting, I dislike treadmills at the best of times. On the other hand, people-watching in the very well-equipped gym was highly entertaining, there were some real wobble-bottoms who came in there for some *very* limited workouts and in actual fact it was sobering to realise what poor condition some people are in. On the subject of people-watching, I did a lot of that while onboard this vessel. It's always interesting to see different social groups thrust together and there was lot to see. I would say the bulk of the passengers were American (a lot were quite elderly) with a smattering of Brits, Candadians, Germans and Scandanavians. There was also a very big hispanic contingent, mainly from Puerto Rico. I know it's wrong to generalise, but I think the following facts are unequivocal:

1. Geriatric old bags from Puerto Rico are possibly the rudest people
on the planet
2. It's wrong to drink Coke at breakfast time
3. Young hispanic youths are practically paralysed by their machismo and ego
4. When Americans say "excuse me" they don't mean it
5. If my muttered incantations have worked, at least a dozen
ex-passengers from that ship have been hit by lightening bolts

A lot of the above is in marked contrast to my experience with the Caribbean Islanders, the ones I met were invariably very polite, tolerant and well-educated. Anyhow, I'm back in the fold now and trying to shake off the lethargy and extra pounds I accumulated. Have a couple of injury niggles (no idea where they came from) so am not training full-bore, but I expect it won't surprise anyone to learn that I spent a good deal of my sun-lounger time dreaming about the Lakeland Fells and BGR training.

And Christmas is nearly here! Of course, we've done nopreperation for this and are both frantically scrabbling around trying to buy presents, placate relatives, write Christmas cards etc etc.

I'd better get back to my emergency shopping on Amazon.