LGN 111: Blue Summer

Inside: Broken things; So that wasn’t a stripper convention?; Snorkeling; Look at that water

I. Have been gaining weight since Spring. Damn it. On one hand, how could that have possibly happened?  On the other hand, I haven’t been doing much and I haven’t been mindful of what I’m eating. So that’s how that happened.

Symbolically, I’ve been losing and breaking things all year: equipment, gear, money, etc. It’s crazy. Socially, folks are busy doing their respective thangs. Friends have moved into their relationships, figuratively and literally.

I somehow effed up my knee. It’s much better than it was but it’s just enough for me to think, “Can I or should I be doing this?” It’s background noise 90% of the time. Haven’t tried running but it doesn’t seem like a good idea. Rucking is generally okay, though. Training at the gym is okay with an asterisk but when I don’t listen to my knee I’ll hear about it later.

What’s up with all of this relapse/regression? What the hell happened?

I’ve acquired plenty of gear, for real. Plus new skills and hobbies. There’s so much potential. There’s just … no traction. There’s no traction.

CRUISIN’

The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise was amazing and epic. Unreal. I’d love to tell you all about it but that’s the equivalent of showing people vacation photos. It was life-changing, and not just because I developed an addiction for Johnny Rocket’s tuna melts.

But I’ve got a renewed passport now. All of those gorgeous, storied places are about a two hour flight away from the Mid-Atlantic. Hell. Florida is right there and not without its charms.

The photography opportunities were almost overwhelming. Looking back through my photos, though, I was disappointed with myself because I didn’t capture the feel of the streets. I got views/scenes and family and the ship. But the spirit of the streets and the people? It’s just not there in my photos. Granted, they would have been shopping/tourist districts but still. I wish I could show you the streets of Fort Lauderdale. The alleyway malls in St. Thomas. Slavery is, of course, a common theme but they honor the people there. All of that colonialism and imperialism. Make sure to learn and appreciate the history of these places, as opposed to exploiting them as adult playgrounds.

The women working in the restaurants in downtown Fort Lauderdale could all have been models, for one thing. It’s always awkward wandering into those beautiful people kind of towns. Plus the rich, beautiful people part of town. Like, oh I don’t belong here and I can’t afford to be here. Just passing through, people.

Oh! And also the concert/festival (which almost messed us up). That would have been an amazing street photography opportunity if we hadn’t been on the verge of missing an appointment with our luggage. Heck of a time to find out that:


I’m not trying to be ignorant and I’m not judging, but I seriously thought it was a stripper convention. Turns out it was an outdoor EDM concert. The women were — it was a sight. They were basically wearing shiny underwear, making their way to the show or whatever. Bras and drawers but with minimal materials. They looked good but it was a bit of culture shock.

It was like, what am I witnessing? What is this gathering? Who are these people?

It was a great family cruise and vacation. My first cruise. I highly recommend it but it is a FAMILY cruise. Throngs of kids and teenagers and parents and grandparents. I loved the international crew and passengers.

What’s a single middle aged dude to do besides eat, chill, lounge, luxuriate, and sleep? And go on excursions with the fam. I was sharing a room with my three nephews, which is cool because they’re great, fun people, but you know me. I need my space. That wore me out. I need some peace and quiet to recharge. It was hard to find at times.

The trip was amazing, epic, life changing, gorgeous, awesome, view-changing, crowded, hectic, relaxing, lonely, inspiring, fun, educational, etc.

Maybe I’ll do one of those music cruises some day. Or maybe there’s some kind of photography cruise. Activity cruise? Holy fish! I just looked up theme cruises and they are mega-pricey. That may have to wait.

I still want to paddle a “glass” bottom kayak. And kayak a bio-luminescent bay.

SNORKELING

I had to get some action in there so I did the kayaking and snorkeling adventure at St. Maarten. In that clear blue water. Phenomenal. The first few minutes of the snorkeling was not comfortable. I can’t swim and I’ve never snorkeled before. (We were wearing flotation devices, of course.) It’s kind of like rapelling in that once you make the decision to trust your gear, you’re good.

It took me a while. We went about 350 ft. out to the reefs. It was so good. It’s also tiring as hell. Then the waves started to get to me. Started getting a little motion sick bobbing around. Is there a German word for snorkelburp?

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