On Wednesday morning we docked at Grand Turk, the capital island of the Caicos and Turks cluster.
It was a gorgeous day! The beach was kind of crowded, but there were plenty of sunchairs and sandy feet washer-offers and nice Jamaican music floating over the palm trees. Well, the music was floating. Not the chairs or washer-offers.
CK and I decided not to do any excursions because we just wanted to relax, save money, and take it slow. We had a great time puddling around in the water (“It’s weird that it’s so SALTY!” lake-water-only sportsman CK kept saying), catching some rays (CK — remember I was already toasty), and digging for seashells even though the super-busy beach had already been picked clean of pretty much everything but goofy-shaped sandstone and eroded beer bottle glass (me). I took some of both.
When we’d had our fill of swimming, we decide to venture around the tourist-trappy areas to seek out the obligatory overpriced souvenirs.
Of course we had to visit Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, where we got some nerdy key chains. Mine had a bottle-opener, which was awesome since the only thing I’ll likely ever use it for is virgin Sangria and maybe the occasional creme soda. The totes-not-thrilled-to-be-there fifteen-year-old employee threw in a couple free Ron Jon’s bumper stickers for us, which was happy.
Jeez, looking at the Ron Jon website to get those images made me sad, because they showcase much cuter souvies that weren’t available where we were. Bah, humbug.
If there’s one thing I didn’t know about cruises before we came out there, it’s that everyone in the Caribbean NEEDS TO SELL YOU JEWELRY. I don’t know; it was just weird to me. CK and I are walking along and it’s like, palm tree, palm tree, Diamonds International Co., palm tree, super-old man with way long dreds, Indigo Pearls, palm tree, handwoven basket stand, bathroom, Silver Emporium, Goldsmith, palm tree, sandy rock, Effy Jewelers, palm tree, cabana rentals…
… et cetera.
Maybe it’s just me, but those teensy little swamp-cooled shacks with wide-open doors didn’t look very secure to me. Just sayin. Those employees sure are enthusiastic, though.
We didn’t buy any jewelry, but we did investigate watch prices to see how the ones we liked on the ship compared. They were about the same. Clever. I also kept a sharp eye out for an elephant figurine. It was one hundred percent essential that I find an elephant figurine on this trip. Capital-E-ssential. Collecting elephant figurines is a thing I do. No big deal. (Although, Fraulein, I knew your gorgeous gift from Israel would be hard to beat.)
No animal carvings were on site (unless you count the gem-encrusted beauties at Diamonds International), so we made our way back to the ship.
Back on board, CK and I decided to put the money we otherwise would’ve spent on excursions to good use and buy those watches. The awesome Canadian girl was back again. As she was fitting me for band length she all of a sudden flinched back and made a weird face. ”Uh, sorry,” she said, “your skin just … doesn’t feel like skin.” It caught me off guard and I kind of laughed, but then I looked down and saw that she had a point. Not only was my poor arm burned, greasy from cheap aloe vera, and practically served on a platter with orange sauce and tagliatelle … it was starting to break out in itchy pink hives. Just like the rest of my body was. Jeeeeeez.
With new blang on and feeling fabulous (and itchy), CK and I next decided to hit the slots. Though we’re well past age, the closest either of us had ever gotten to gambling was buying one of those scratch lottery tickets from the Quickie Mart in Soda Springs, Idaho. Ergo, taking this important rite of passage was, we agreed, a sociological imperative.
We split five bones two ways and pinky-promised to not “donate” a penny more than that. The old fashioned crank-slots looked fun, and besides, they were located on the perimeter of the casino and therefore furthest from the acrid tobacco-smoke cloud intent on destroying my lungs, so we had a seat.
My $2.50 was gone in 17 seconds flat. For my pride’s sake, I waited a full two minutes before leaning over to see how my husband had fared. He was only on his second dollar (freaking methodologist), so I scrambled out of my seat to watch more money disappear. He placed his bet, pulled the crank, and…
DING DING DING DING DING DING!!
“Uh, that’s good, right?!” I squawked over the noise.
“Yeah! Check it out!” CK yelled back, pointing to the monitor.
The machine kept ringing and ringing, and I looked around like, why aren’t more people excited about this? why aren’t people hoisting us up on their shoulders and carrying us for a victory lap around the deck? but then I realized that the only people who were gambling this early in the day were scotch-soggy old women with smoker’s breath and melanoma spots.
A very happy eternity later, the machine stopped ringing and we walked away with $26.65! Take away the original five (CK’s last 50 cents were fruitless, too) and we had cab fare for the way home! Woot!!
We were greeted in our cabin by this little fellow, who’d fetched pillow mints and the next day’s agenda for us. How thoughtful.
I was getting really itchy by this point, so to distract me CK escorted me to another fabulous dinner (fruit-free!) then the Lido deck for more fro-yo and the beginning of Harry Potter eleventeen, and then to the Palladium Lounge to watch a hilarious live-action Newlywed Game-style show. I really really really really wanted to enter the game, but CK and I were sitting in the balcony and wouldn’t have been chosen anyway. The show got over pretty late so we watched The Invention of Lying for a little bit on our in-cabin TV and called it a night.
One last tidbit. Now, I understood that this ship was run nearly entirely by foreigners, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the obscene amount of grammatical errors I found around the ship. Really, Carnival?! I know your employees no hablar ingles so good but honestly. Case in point:
The only bit of sunshine I gather from these pictures is the event at 9:45pm — “Friends of Dorothy”. If it isn’t immediately apparent what that means, go Google it. 6:30pm — “Friends of Bill W and Jimmy K” is there, too.
Currently listening to: They Call Me October by Breanne Düren