All aboard! March 30, 2008, I boarded the Carnival Legend for a seven day cruise to Mexico. I always said I would never step foot on a ship after watching the movie Titanic. My family, thank God, convinced me by saying, “It is a once in a life-time opportunity.” This made it hard for me to chicken out, but for the first hour I would not look over the railing. When the passengers were told to meet on deck for the life jacket safety lesson, I was the first in line. I knew our trip to paradise had begun when the ship’s horn blew and the engine roared as passengers cheered and waved goodbye to their loved ones on solid ground.
Our first destination was the Grand Cayman Islands, which was a two day journey. During those days I grasped how lucky I was and soon was able to look toward the endless sea. As we ported in Grand Cayman, we were driven to the beach; on the way we passed a gas station which had no gas prices. I was curious and asked a local how much the gas was. He said, “$4.52.” At that time gas prices in Florida were around three dollars! The funny thing was not many locals drove; only tour vans flooded the streets.
Next stop…Cozumel. This is where I experienced interacting with dolphins. I always thought dolphins only responded to a whistle or hand gestures, but not these dolphins. They responded to a Spanish instructor, which was interesting. We were able to meet a particular dolphin, Isabella. We rode her and even kissed her on snout. I was nervous to kiss Isabella and only gave her a peck, but she was not leaving until she received a full on kiss! The dolphins ended our visit by showing off their amazing talents of high flips and jumps.
Our next family excursion was cave tubing in Belize. On the hour drive to the rainforest, Rosa, our tour guide, taught me a lot. For instance, Belize suffers from severe poverty and most people only get paid $1.50 an hour. She later explained what we would witness during our hike through the rainforest to the cave, and emphasized, “If I start running do not ask questions; just run!” Rosa mentioned this rainforest contained jaguars that did not like us trailing through their habitat. I already had a nervous condition, and this made it even worse.
After receiving our equipment, we ventured through small caves containing bats, and I spotted meter high termite hills. Thank goodness there were no signs of any jaguars! Once we reached the cave, I realized that we would be floating through total darkness; therefore, my family conjoined hands. All of a sudden the current stopped, and we had to use our hands to paddle. We began losing sight of each other in the darkness, and I screamed, “I want out of here!” The fear of not knowing what swam next to me or beneath me was too much! Not soon enough, I saw sunlight and paddled for my life. This excursion definitely was not my cup of tea, and I doubt I will ever do it again unless I have a giant flashlight.
My trip to Mexico was an opportunity of a life time. While I learned facts about a different country, its people, and their ways of life, I also conquered my fears of cruises, caves, and kissing a dolphin. From overcoming these challenges I learned more about myself. I can not wait for another chance like this!
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