“I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat, with my flippie-floppies!” This line repeated ten times in a sad, rhythmic attempt at a rap can be very bothersome. However, when you are in fact about to step onto a boat, a large cruise ship that holds 2,974 passengers, that line is rather gratifying. The sad excuse for a rapper would be my brother-in-law, Carlos; this would be his first Caribbean cruise. Not only was I travelling with the future Eminem, lined up ready to be ID’ was my sister, my mom, and my dad. It was June 26, 2011. This was the day we had been waiting for. It was also my Mom’s 50thbirthday. There were many failed attempts of the classic Happy Birthday song until we gave up and joined in on the rap. The three of us girls wore coordinating outfits; navy blue tops and white bottoms. We were ready to sail.
The Carnival Valor, a large ship, contained a plethora of accommodations as well as thrilling activities. When we first step foot on the ship we were thrust into the red, white and blue decor of the main deck. We found ourselves face to face with faces of past presidents and spacious glass elevators that we took the liberty of riding at least twice a day. The two cabins between the five of us were located on decks one and two; we practically saw the ‘fishes of the deep blue sea’ from our window. Rosie’s Lido Restaurant was where we could be found eating the 24/7 soft serve ice cream. I was holding two ice cream cones in my hand one day. The only reason I had two was because my left hand got jealous of my right. The best of the food was found in the Lincoln Dining Room’s dessert menu. A molten chocolate lava cake, need I say more? I, who am not a chocolate fan, found my mouth watering as Mat, the assistant waiter, brought it to me for six nights straight. I had never heard the angels sing so gloriously. I think you’d be happy to know that I only gained one pound.
Though I enjoyed the food immensely, I most appreciated the island of Roatan, Honduras. Roatan was not the only stop for this seven day cruise, there was Cozumel and Grand Cayman, yet, it was the stop that most impacted me. It is a breathtaking island that is laden with greenery, glistening water that shone like the sun itself, and the wind of 100 seas. I immediately realize that Roatan is hugely impacted by poverty. There were children walking the streets, so thin, so hungry. The children were beautiful, skin of ebony, yet, there was despair in the depth of their eyes. Many of the children were asking the tourist for money, many of the tourists were giving. I had not a cent on me that day. Tears were falling down my face, they burned and my heart ached. I’ve never had a better lesson. Then again, I’ve never had a better teacher. Those children taught me that life is a gift so precious and so pure. I have taken so many things for granted, so many things for myself. Their eyes told me that I was blessed by many great advantages, an advantage like being on a boat, while they were not.
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