Friday, August 18, 2017

Escaping Insanity: A Cruising Trip Report. Day 4: Swimming in (the) Trunk (of the) Bay, Part 2

The first part of the day can be read HERE.

Okay…I lied.  I’m taking over when we got back to Cruz Bay.  We decided to hit Woody’s Seafood Saloon for lunch, since we had over an hour before we planned on taking the ferry back to Red Hook.  This place has a small capacity, but it has a big reputation…especially later in the afternoon with its Happy Hour.  Before then, however, it was completely fine for the entire family.  I took a “When in Rome” mantra for this meal: I started with a painkiller to drink (2 oz Pusser’s dark rum, 1 oz cream of coconut, 4 oz pineapple juice, and 1 oz of OJ).  We ordered conch fritters for the first time (when in Rome, right?).  They were okay, but I consider them more of a “right of passage” for the islands than anything else.  The Drunken Shellfish…THAT was good!  I also drank a Virgin Islands “Island-Hoppin’ IPA (When in Ro…okay, it’s getting old), which was pretty decent.

I love their menu!

Conch Fritters

Drunken Shellfish and a good IPA...Life is Good!

While we were there, we struck up a conversation with a couple from Texas who were also enjoying their vacation in the islands.  We talked for quite a while about getting down to St. John, the national park, and Trunk Bay.

Eventually, we did have to leave, though I could have stayed there and people watched (and drank) for another hour or so.  We wanted to make it back to St. Thomas with plenty of time, though, so we headed to the ferry terminal and hopped on the 2:00 ride back to Red Hook.  After we got off the ferry, we were directed to a van with air conditioning for the ride over to Charlotte Amalie.  For the same price as an open-air taxi, you know we took hold of the opportunity and got in!  We shared the ride with another couple that we saw at Trunk Bay as well as on the taxi ride to Trunk.  The driver stopped for us to get a really good shot of the Havensight Docks where the Escape and Carnival Magic where tied up.  He dropped us off near the shops (Garden and Main…or Dronningens Gade, if you are a local).  As soon as we crossed the street, we found ourselves in the middle of a number of jewelry stores.

Now is probably the right time to tell you that I had an ulterior motive for going this way.  Our 20-year anniversary was the next day.  Again, with huge THANK YOU to my friend Karen (see pre-trip report), I was on the lookout for a popular Crucian Hook bracelet to see if Sheri thought they were neat or not.

Sheri immediately smelled something, because I didn’t do my typical routine of whining, sitting down in the middle of the store, and asking if she was done yet when it comes to shopping.  I poked my head into one store and quickly inquired (out of earshot from Sheri) about hooks (they didn’t have any), and she looked at me quizzingly.  She then popped her head into a linen store, and we all entered to look around.  Aaron and Eric immediately started whining, sitting down in the middle of the store, and asking if we were done shopping.

I noticed that the back of the linen store had a small jewelry area, so I followed Sheri into there.  She started browsing around, while I told her that I was going to sit down and rest for a while…

…and talk to the guy about the hook bracelets he had on display.

She was definitely on to me, and she did like one of the bracelets she tried on.  I told her that Karen had already helped me out with this and that it was an anniversary present a day early.  The price was good, and she didn’t put up much of an argument.

We found out after the picture that the hook faces toward the heart if it's taken and away from the heart if searching.

After we bought the bracelet, we grabbed a couple of waters and picked up boys, who were still wailing on the floor of the linen shop.  We walked through an arcade down to the waterfront and shooed away the dozens of taxi drivers offering us a lift to the ship (“it’s three miles over there…you don’t want to have your lady walk all that way, do you?”…hint…it’s about a mile, and she wanted to walk).

As we approached Havensight, we grabbed a picture or two in the Shoppes at Yacht Haven Grande:

....and, finally, we're on the dock.

Yep...definitely a tech nerd on vacation...

When we got to Havensight, we first had to go through a mild security stop.  We showed our passports and were cleared.  I asked if pictures of the passports worked, and the guard we had said, “Yep!”

We then got to experience our first boarding event that Norwegian puts on.  We were offered water/lemonade, had lavender-infused washcloths being handed out…it was a nice touch!  A few minutes later (with the typical metal detectors upon getting back on the ship), we were clear and walking on the Escape.  It was around 3:30, and the ship was really quiet, since there were still a couple of hours left before we were scheduled to leave St. Thomas.  We were all a little thirsty, so I suggested we head up to another bar that we had not yet tried…5 o’Clock Somewhere!

Now, having researched the heck out this trip, I knew that everyone’s favorite bartender, Clarense, was usually seen there.  As we walked up, we saw the man…the myth…the legend.  It was the Chocolate Cowboy!

There was only one other couple there, and, after making sure the boys were okay sitting at (near) the bar, we sat down nearby and introduced ourselves.  I mentioned to Clarense that he had a huge following and was widely regarded as the best bartender on the ship.  The couple next to us played it up and considered him royalty.

We perused the drink menu, and the boys asked for their go-to drinks (Pepsi and Cherry Pepsi).  Cowboy got the glasses and opened up the ice tray…only to realize he forgot to fill the ice!

“And here you are calling me the best bartender on the ship…”

We all had a good time with that one for a while.

I honestly can’t remember what it was that I ordered…maybe you can figure it out from the pic below:

Sheri asked for a frozen margarita, but the machine wasn’t quite ready yet – he said he’d make sure she had a frozen one in front of her in 15 minutes and then made her one on the rocks.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and just talk with Clarense, DO IT!  This guy tells it like he sees it with nothing held back, and his stories are epic!  Speaking of epic stories, the couple next to us asked if we got off the ship, and we regaled them with our journey to Trunk Bay.  We then returned the favor and asked them what they did.

“Well…we were SUPPOSED to go to Trunk Bay, too…”

Everyone stopped to listen to this one.

They were newlyweds and were enjoying themselves a lot the night before (drinking…not what you typically expect on a honeymoon).  They were so hung over that morning that they just stayed in their stateroom to try sleeping it off!

Right at 15 minutes, without Sheri even realizing it, a frozen margarita was placed in front of her.

Chocolate Cowboy = Awesomeness

The thing that really got me, though, with Cowboy, is that, as people walked by, he’d call them by name and start making their drink.  He probably had several hundred patrons at the bar so far during the cruise, yet he was able to remember the majority of their names and what they liked to drink.  Being from Honduras, he is happy that the Escape is doing the western itineraries so he can occasionally see his family.  There is a rumor that he might be headed to the Bliss when it starts its sailings; while it would be a loss for the Escape, you definitely want some of your best employees on the newest ship.

We stayed there talking with him and the other cruisers bellying up for about 45 minutes before sending the boys up to start getting ready for supper.  We stuck around for another 10-15 minutes before bidding him adieu and heading back up to our stateroom to get ready too.

We finish up our day HERE.

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