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April 23rd, 2008

We had a wake up call at 7:15, and seeing Grand Cayman Island approaching out our cabin window, we went down to breakfast first thing. Today we tried the omelet station, both getting ham and cheese omelets, and both being pretty satisfied with our selection.

We had to be in the Paris Lounge for our disembarkation time of 8:30, and at about 8:45, our group was called to proceed to Gangway 3, from which we took a tender boat into Grand Cayman.


Though our tour departure time on our excursion tickets said 9:15, we arrived in port at about 9:40, and we were taken on a short walk on a long pier (not that kind of short walk on a long pier) to a bus.

About 20 minutes later, we arrived at the pier at which the Allura was docked.


We boarded the 5-year-old, half-million dollar catamaran (which I learned later in the trip), and motored out for about 30 minutes to Stingray City. After a quick stingray education session, and donning a light life jacket and a snorkel mask (sans air tube), we all exited the boat into the "play area," in which we touched, rubbed, held, and even kissed the sting rays.

Joe being educated about the stingrays.


An affection-seeking stingray.


A closer shot.


The feeding frenzy.


Holding the stingrays.


Kissing the stingrays.

Disclaimer: The last two photos are not mine, but from the Internet. This same thing happened while we were there; I just didn't have my camera in the water, so I couldn't capture it.

I thought a lot about the stingrays that came so close to Robert and me on the Great Barrier Reef during my birthday trip to Australia last October. They just felt so smooth, smooth, smooth. It was all very cool.



We sailed, rather than motored, back in the catamaran and it seemed to take as long either way, which was interesting.

The last time I was on a catamaran (on the two-hour ferry out to the aforementioned Down Under location), I threw up five times, so I was ever-so-grateful to have had zero sea sickness on this 30-40-minute each way trip.



This Grand Cayman port call was very short—from 9:00-3:00, with the last tender boat back to the ship leaving at 2:00—so when we got back into town on the bus, we made a quick stop in one shop that sold liquor to see if there was a bottle I liked for my collection. There was one very cool bottle that said "Parrot Bay" on it, but the liquor was actually Captain Morgan, which just seemed lame to buy.

Right across from the pier, was this place, which was hopping.




We got back on the boat, beating the last tender boat, which was to leave at 2:00 PM, by plenty of time.



After lunch, I went up to the gym and worked out, while Joe took advantage of the steam room.

Today's workout statistics:
Exercise Type
Minute Duration
Calories Burned

Cardio (Elliptical)

62

666


Okay, I know these elliptical machines are off. Today, I worked out at an average target heart rate higher than yesterday's, and on the machine next to the one I was on yesterday, and my calorie burned count was lower.

My own estimation is that I burned about 1050-1100 calories today.



Once again we attended the Friends of Dorothy meeting in the library, which today was at 5:00 instead of 4:30. Only the president and vice president showed up, also known as Joe and myself. (We elected ourselves at the end of yesterday's meeting.)

We adjourned today's meeting after about 15 minutes, failing to reach a quorum—or, truth be told, to have even one non-officer member present.



We stopped in the endless eating area, where I tried the Pizzeria's calzone that I've been wanting to try since day one on board. It was pretty tasty. After that, I had a couple of slices from the Ham Carving Station, which I complemented with some fried rice.

Dessert was, as has become our standard now, a vanilla ice cream cone.



We drank for a couple of hours at the various bars around the ship—Violins, the Empress Deck Bar, but passed on the Chopin Lounge, as it's a smoking bar, and both cigarettes and cigars were stinking up the place.

We walked through the casino looking for drunk, desperate, weak married men, but it was to no avail. Joe set his gambling limit to $20, and after he spent that in the slots, we moved on.



We walked over to the Paris Lounge to check out the 8:00 Country Line Dance Lesson that was on today's agenda. Arriving early, we witnessed the tail end of the Battle of the Sexes contest, which was so sexist and lame that I had to walk out of there to wait for the dance lessons to start.

We meandered around one of the ship's gift shops right by the lounge, and by the time we went back in there, at one minute until eight, I might add, they were already well into the line dance lesson, and I would say the participants were about 80% kids.

It was to a dance I certainly didn't recognize, and I'm wondering if the teacher hadn't just made it up. In fact, he stuck the microphone in front of one of the kids taking the lesson and said, "What's the name of this dance?"

"I don't know," she said.

And he said, "I know you don't. Neither do I. Just make a name up."

I'm not quite sure I understood the logic of a Swede or a Norwegian guy or some other blond-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian guy teaching a line country line dance that he didn't know. I mean aren't cowboys an American phenomenon? I'm just saying...



We went back to the room intending to take a 1.5-hour nap, but it turned into a 2.5-hour one instead.

By the time we got it all together, and left the cabin, it was about 11:10 PM, so we went directly to the Candlelight Lounge, where karaoke was going again in full force.

There were some truly shit-faced people in there tonight, and we enjoyed the spectacle for about an hour and 50 minutes, when they closed at 1:00 AM.

We stopped by the Pizzeria and had "the fourth meal."

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