Sometimes, but not often, a vacation can seem like it's more trouble than it's worth. Such was definitely not the case last week, although I did come home to a lot of catching up to do.
My wife and I slipped off to the Caribbean for a cruise stopping in several ports we had not been to before. These are always interesting learning opportunities.
Our first stop in was Nassau, Bahamas. We didn't go to Atlantis, the resort with the big waterslide everyone sees on the television commercials. However, we did talk to a couple of women who did -- it's part of a tour package because you can't just walk into the resort -- who shared some of the details with us.
The big bridge-looking thing also prominently shown in the ads that spans two sections of the resort is known as the Michael Jackson Suite. It is available for $25,000 per night with a minimum four night rental. And, per our new friends, there is a two year waiting list. Prior to 2008 there was a five year waiting list.
We also stopped in the Dominican Republic port of La Romana. There we took a tour of a cigar factory. Very labor intensive -- hence the "handmade" part of what makes a good cigar. The factory employs something like 4,700 people and it's giant sized humidor where they store and age cigars can hold up to a million cigars. Employees are paid a base salary and bonused on production. According to our guide many of those folks have worked there close to 40 years.
We went downtown and ended up on the courtsquare where it looked like a flea market was doing a lively business. I was interested to see statues of all the Dominican ballplayers displayed around the square, including Minnie Minoso, Dave Concepcion, Roberto Alomar and Manny Sanguillen to name but a few. Adjacent to the port where our ship was docked were three baseball fields. At 9 o'clock in the morning there were kids (they looked like kids from where we were anyway) playing on two of them and the third was being prepped for a ballgame later that day.
We sailed into Aruba, referred to as the crown jewel of the Dutch Caribbean. We met two couples from the U.S. who have vacation properties there. One couple from Connecticut goes there for a month every year. The others were retired teachers from Detroit.
Despite all the bad publicity surrounding the tragic events of Natalie Holloway's disappearance and the drowning several months ago, both couples told us they have always felt very safe on the island.
Our last port of call was the Dutch island of Curacao, probably my favorite stop. A beautiful island that features an area, known as Riffort, at the entrance to the city moving from the pier that was literally a fort until early in the last century. The interior of the fort has been renovated and has several boutiques and restaurants inside and a plaza where it appears they hold concerts.
Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, has a famous floating bridge that spans the river running through the middle of town. We saw the bridge swing to the side while we were there to allow water traffic in and out of the river leading to St. Anna Bay.
The cruise was a relaxing time and a lot of fun. In addition to learning about the islands and residents on them, I also learned how much my wife likes ice cream. Every time I looked up she had an ice cream cone in her hand. She tried to tell me it was yogurt, but I'm not so sure.
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GQ-ing us up
Ken James, head honcho at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, has joined our regular weekend golf group. It was readily apparent he has issued a challenge and I'm not just talking about the golf either.
Ken showed up on the first tee looking better than most of the pro golfers we see every week on television. Looked like he had stepped right from the pages of GQ. We're gonna have to step up our game, uh, appearance or get Ken to start dressing down a bit.
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Couple of weeks ago I ran into Christy Chandler having lunch with Debra Whitlock at one of the local restaurants. Christy was on crutches but getting around pretty good with a little assistance from Debra.
For instance, I noticed Debra fixed Christy a plate at the buffet. Then it dawned on me that Freddie was probably doing the same thing at home -- waiting on Christy hand and foot. If that gal is as smart as I think she is there is probably going to be an extended rehab period. I'll be she can drag this thing out for a while.
Can you say, "Breakfast in bed?"
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One political note
The presidential candidates have pretty well been narrowed down. Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has formed a search committee to advise him on his selection of a running mate. If you believe some of the blogs President Barack Obama is also looking at another running mate, but most think dumping Joe Biden is doubtful.
Whenever the subject of vice presidents comes up a lot of folks recall the words of John Nance Garner, President Franklin Roosevelt's first vice president, who was said the job, "wasn't worth a bucket of warm piss." Some change that to "spit" in an effort to be polite.
The ironic part of that is Roosevelt's third vice president (Henry A. Wallace was second) went on to make what may have been the most important decision of the 20th century. As president after Roosevelt's death Harry Truman likely saved the lives of many U.S. armed forces by authorizing the use of the atomic bombs on Japan.
Bud Hunt is regional vice
president, publisher of the
Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and
North Stoddard Countian.