Last week I went on my very first cruise. About six weeks earlier one of my friends had spotted an unbelievably good deal on a five night Royal Caribbean Cruise with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. At only $275 a ticket – it was too good to pass up. So, after a mad scramble to get my passport and time off at work, I left on my trip.
I wasn’t expecting much for that price. I figured it was going to be small, cramped and dingy. But what I got was the “Navigator of the Seas” – a massive 14 level ship sporting an incredible variety of entertainments. Think pools, spas, sports courts, rock climbing walls, a casino, mini golf course, inline skating course, theaters, shops, lounges, night clubs, etc. There was even an ice skating rink. An ice skating rink!
And the food! I’m used to a living on a newspaper diet – which consists of a lot of fast food and ramen noodles. This was the ritziest dining experience of my life. All the food was included in the cost of the ticket so I stuffed myself silly.
The temperatures were consistently in the high seventies or low eighties (Fahrenheit, of course). First full day out we were at sea the whole time. Second day was the trip to Cayman where I got to swim with the stingrays and get a sunburn. Third day was in Cozumel where we went snorkeling, shopping and I put the finishing touches on that sunburn I had going. Fourth day was another day at sea.
By far one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.
Then of course I came back to Minnesota. And the morning I got back was -31 degrees (still Fahrenheit). That’s cruel and unusual punishment right there. The first day home I refused to go back outside. But I knew I wasn’t going to be so lucky the next day. Nope. Saturday meant I was back on the job and my job was the Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
So, first thing in the morning, I go follow the governor of Minnesota around for a bit. I was in charge of getting any shots of him buying minnows or other ice fishing accoutrements and pictures of the tourism roundtable. Then it was back to the ‘spatch for a quick upload of pics to the AP site and onto the next part of the day – the March for Life. Once that was done I was to head back to the Extravaganza where I would wander around in the sub zero temperatures taking photos of anything that needed its picture taken.
This event is a big one so Steve Kohls and I were tag teaming. He got pictures of the governor actually fishing while I got the helicopter ride for the overhead shots. I adore helicopter rides so, despite the inhumane wind chill, I had a blast hanging out the side of the chopper. (They took the doors off to help the photographers have an unimpeded view – wasn’t that sweet?)
What with the huge day Saturday and the fire I had to cover Sunday, I ended up with nearly 20 hours of work in that one weekend – most of it outdoors. So much for easing slowly back into work.