From Heaven to Hell

Author’s Note: I recently returned from the voyage of a lifetime. Along with my good friend and colleague Galina, we sailed with the Winter Enrichment Voyage through Semester at Sea. This combines travel, adventure, workshop speakers, relaxation, and more. Enrichment Voyages are billed as “Trips for intelligent people who like to have fun.” We traveled to eight countries, two oceans, two continents, experienced Christmas and New Year’s Eve with the Pacific breeze in our hair, and basically had the time of our lives! I blogged along the way while on board, but due to limited Internet connection, I’m posting them now so follow along and enjoy!

December 20, 2013

Galina and I decided to explore Nassau on Wednesday. Since we got there a day early, we were still waiting on most of the passengers to board, which basically meant we had until 3pm to be tourists. We walked through the old, colonial part of the city, but at this point, it resembled more of a tourist attraction than historic monuments. It had kind of a Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco or Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles feel to it.

We eventually found a spot of beach (Junkaroo Beach, to be exact) and were awestruck by the sand, surf, and sea. The sand was the consistency of brown sugar, but nearly white in color. The ocean was such an intense, aquamarine hue that it was hard to describe, and much less take in. G and I walked until we couldn’t walk any more. Walking with your toes in the sand as the waves lap at your heels was quite a difference, compared to the high 40s of NorCal! On our way back, G decided to have her hair braided. She has the thickest, most gorgeous hair in the world, but it also requires an incredible amount of care and upkeep. She had it braided while sitting on the beach, and I was happy to sit next to her, dig my toes into the sand, and simply take it all in with a sense of purpose and gratitude. You don’t need any music or Internet or conversation when this was your view!

IMG_0137Not a care in the world! 

After her hair was done and I had had my fill of the slow life, we made our way back to town and realized we needed food ASAP and a drink wouldn’t hurt either. We ducked into a little bar and grill, had a sufficient meal, a great rum punch, and for the first time in days, WiFi! We quickly updated Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, texted our families (with a fabulous service the operates on WiFi instead of your cell plan; perfect for international travel!) and then made our way back to the ship.

IMG_0142No better way to spend the day in the Bahamas! 

We went up to the top deck to watch the ship leave Nassau, and soon after that the seasickness started. Let me preface this with saying that I know what seasickness is all about. My family had a cottage on Lake Erie, and I spent more of my summers on a boat that on land. However, Lake Erie has NOTHING on the open sea. Throughout the night and the next morning, I was violently ill and any plans I had of attending workshops, speakers, seminars, or keynotes went quickly out the window. I spent pretty much all day either asleep in bed, or trying to get fresh air on one of the decks and focusing on not hurling overboard. I won’t get into too many details, but it was not pretty. My meals of the day consisted of two small bags of Goldfish crackers and a package of peanut butter crackers. I’m sure some of it had to do with only getting two hours sleep in the 24 preceding hours, plus being four hours ahead of California time, but I was regretting my decision to come on this trip for most of Thursday.

IMG_0164Our first sunset from Deck 7 (before the sickness set in!) 

Friday was our second full day at sea, and I still wasn’t feeling great, but felt a little more adjusted. I spent a few hours getting too much sun (and a wicked sunburn) and attended a fascinating session on what it took to create the Panama Canal, was able to eat my first full dinner, and then Galina and I “enjoyed” a magician/comedian. Let’s just say he was past his prime and it was clear he didn’t want to be there any more than we did. We opted for an early night since tomorrow brings our second port and first excursion in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!!

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