There was only one way to write this post. Sitting curled up in bed listening to tropical house at 11PM at night with the hopes that the site of every photo would inspire dreams of beaches and rum punch drinks. I dreamt of rabbits instead – damn pinot noir.
If you had told me last year’s adventures would foreshadow 2016, I would have been in the doing heel clicks (like at the 4:07 mark of this video) around my apartment, office, in the middle of Time Square if the moment struck. For a little refresher, last month I went on a 6-day Royal Caribbean cruise, with work. (I love my job!) We embarked from NYC on their newest ship Anthem of the Seas down the U.S. coast for some island hopping. If you recall we shared our full itinerary a few weeks back but now we’re going to break it down stop by stop. For me a walk down memory lane, for you some serious photo envy and a trip to Expedia – stat! Today…
I was most excited about visiting Haiti. It was a country I had never been to (aside from our other ports of call) and there was this epic zip line over the cove that I was determined to conquer. Arriving in Haiti, I knew exactly how Jack Sparrow felt. Only upgrade my ship to a stateroom with a view and 10 restaurants instead of turkey legs. But nonetheless it was, “Land ho!” After three days of feeling like a drunk baby I was ready to GTFO.
Now the thing about Labadee, is that it is a private port for Royal Caribbean passengers only. A small cove of real estate, commercialized and resort like. So while you get time to wiggle your toes in the sand, zip line and play on a few slides (more to come on the slide tale) – it’s not really Haiti. But then again given the state of the country, I don’t know if letting us roam around in a developing country would have been that great either.
So to get a shot of (rum and) culture we did take a small trip over to Paradise Cove thanks to Shore Excursions for a taste of “Haitian Life.” Now while also commercialized with local artisans, the view and the beach was one of the most gorgeous areas I had ever seen Caribbean side – cue the vacation pain killers.
Thanks to our tour guide Rosie, we had a history lesson on the beach. The Haitian story is one of triumph and resilience over the colonizing French. As the island of Hispaniola was split into sections – (oh hey DR!) Haiti took over the western three-eighths of the land. As the slaves revolted the sovereign republic of Haiti was formed becoming the first independent nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and moreover the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt. Now that’s kicking some French a$$.
After story time, it was back to the rum punch and a make shift limbo bar. I still got it!
After a walk amongst the make shift village literally eating the freshest peanut butter EVER, nom nom, we headed back to the “resort.” Cue the zip line. Now while I wish I had great video and photos from this death defying stunt (I kid!) my go pro’s battery died LITERALLY as we were climbing the ladder to the platform. Cue me begging some other guy with a goPro helmet for his shots – (“hey dude here’s my number! No I don’t want a date, just your goPro footage. Mwah!”) So here I was without my “chest-cam” which led me to successfully completing the 500ft drop/mile long zip line undocumented. So this is what it was like pre-tech days. Major throwback mental memory style.
Now comes the story of the waterslide. One of my “travel buddies” had been on exactly 1 other waterslide in his life. So to make his 30-something dreams come true, we added the water slide to our agenda as the final pit stop before re-boarding the ship and leaving for our next port of call. As we headed over to the “water-park” aka. a few rafts and water bikes, we were approached by a Haitian man who was summoning us to the base of the slide like a drug dealer. Considering our posse included three guys, we thought sure let’s hear him out. I appreciate good negotiating skills.
What we thought was going to be a tale of “the time the Haitian guy tried to sell us hash” was really a water slide scam. Apparently Tiny here wanted to be paid under the table. $40 American dollars to “ride his slide.” Yep he apparently owned the slide and the sexual innuendo that came right along with it. #classy. So the boys – living on the edge slipped him two twenties. We hiked to the top of the slide, only to get stuck ½ way down, major let down. Then again – tiny made no guarantees… touché, Tiny touché.
So from one of the prettiest beaches to a water slide side scam, it was a stop worth the zip line drop. Care to watch the footage? Check out (1:45 – 2:15) in the video below! I’ll be back next week with adventures in Jamaica and a little more about my travel buddies Oscar, Kevin, Brian, AnnaMarie and of course my favorite (sorry guys!) Ellen of The Perennial Style!
p.s. the water slide guy – not named tiny. It just seemed a fitting name for a tiny man hustlin’ for the monay!
Photo creds: Some me, some the lovely Perennial Style (photos: 1,2, & 4 – 15)