Category Archives: Travel

Disney Day Last


Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four and Five
Day Six
Pics of Last day!

Epcot! When I went to Epcot back in the late 80s, I had the worst visit to Disney. Ever. Car broke down, had to wait for the replacement car in the parking lot. Got into the park to face huge lines. Spaceship Earth died on us half way through for 45 min and we got to hear how “Billy” couldn’t repair his “hoverbike” before his date. Wha? On the way home we ran over a possum.

This time SharkBoy made the day great. We got all the rides done with minimal drama. Well – Minimal meaning I left my $500 camera with the entire weeks worth of vacation photos behind after leaving Soarin’. When the ride attendant came through the ride door with my camera it was the greatest thrill we had that day. We spent the rest of the morning making jokes about what a sequel to Soarin’ would be called: “Hey if the ride flew over ice caps it could be called Cold Soarin’!”

Another thrill was being gouged at the Mexico pavilion. Lunch for two got us an $80USD bill. Wow. Two margaritas, a sample plate of Mexican dishes and a dessert. Not cheap.

We manage to make it all the way around the lake.

We zip home for a disco nap and hightail it over to Magic Kingdom just in time to see the SpectroMagic parade and then hoof it over to the front of Cinderalla’s Castle to see the fireworks.

I have to tell you at this point I was pretty emotional. A week of surreal landscapes, over stimulation and knowing we were going back to the real world the next day put me into a funk. As I looked up a the castle I thought about how much fun I had had all week and how much I loved SharkBoy for bringing me here and all that he did to make us have a flawless vacation.

And that’s when Tink flew out of the castle.

This woman, dressed in light-up Tinkerbell costume, zip-lines out of the castle, straight down Main Street, waving her legs and wand just like Tink would, at a height of about 150 feet off the ground. Even though she was moving pretty fast, it was dark and she was so high up, you could see her smile. Big. The kid beside me wails “TINKABEL!” and I choke up. It’s truly fucking magical.

We tried to stay on after the fireworks (the park was open to 2am for resort guests) but after seeing the Country Bear’s Jamboree and one last ride on Splash Mountain, we looked at each other and conceded that it was over. We were too tired to go on.

So that was it. So magical. Too short. I felt 33 years young. I spent way too much money on food and barely anything on souvenirs but it was worth it. We’re going back next year.

Disney Day Seven


Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four and Five
Day Six
Pics of Day Seven

I wake up and turn on the TV. 5 channels are showing evangelical preachers screaming about the evils of gayness. We must be in Florida. One show stops me cold. A ex-gay (perfect Anderson Cooper-esque hair, immaculate suit, gaydar pinging) is crying along with his preacher/mentor as they sell Miracle hankies. Seriously. The irony. It made me mad that this “traitor” was husking a cure for homosexuality and a veiled cure for HIV: “If you know someone with the AIDS, or if you yourself is suffering with the AIDS” the preacher rants while waving this hankie and the ex-gay lifts his teary face to the sky, “This will help you with your struggle!” No lie. I was sick to my stomach. I wanted to go to the studio and decapitate both of them.

But never mind kids! It was Gay Day! No homophobic (jealous much?) preacher with his coiffed lap dog were going to spoil this day.

My shirt (left) and SharkBoy’s shirt (right) caused quite the stir. We had people coming up to us all day long congratulating us, laughing (with us I hope) and smiling. Note to self: make the iron on smaller, I sweat around the design so bad!
Our Gay Day shirts

So. Many. Red. Shirts. At breakfast no less! Character brekkie at the Crystal Palace. Pooh, Piglet, Eyore and Tigger. So we found where the Bears were having breakfast!

I have to say that the whole day was surreal. I didn’t hear one disparaging remark, or see anything considered hateful, or one protest poster. In fact, the Cast Members seem to welcome the red shirts with extra smiles and we chatted with just as many straight couples/families as we did gay. I did see a couple groups with counter-shirt protest (?) like the group of 20 or so with green shirts plastered with a city skyline and (as god is my witness) the bat signal over the city replaced with the Catholic fish symbol. I wanted to ask but thought it rude. Ultimately I didn’t want Disney to become a political statement, but it was there, at the edges, like a drunk uncle at Christmas.

Regardless, the day was amazing. We scooted over to the Full Moon for one last beer and managed to make a friend.

At this point of our vacation, I’m dragging my ass, going on empty. The crappy fast food, the late nights, the long walks were starting to take their toll and I could barely keep my eyes open at the bar. But I wanted to be there so bad!

More tomorrow.

Disney Day Six


Day One ici
Day Two c’est la
Day Three be here
Day Four and Five toot toot
Photos of Day Six clickie.

When Disney says “Star Wars Day” they don’t mean fat kids with mop handles making geek porn for the internet. No, they mean friggin’ STAR WARS man! Stormtoopers at the gates! With audio of TIE fighters zipping by! I was in heaven! First ride: Star Tours. The main character robot voiced by someone who lovingly stole Pee Wee Herman’s voice. Time to update the tech on this ride, though. We didn’t get wet.

Some mild shopping ensued and alas and alack, they were out of white XL TK421 shirts so I had to settle for a Red Leader helmet one. Oh well.

Wandering out of the shop and we’re faced with a massive crowd. Usually the parks are fairly quiet first thing in the morning but this was incredible. Part of it was the photo op with Chewbacca, the other part was the massive souvenir/memorabilia sale going on in one of the pavilions. Speaking to one of the Cast Members, we heard rumour of a lightsaber going for about $500. Wow.

We see a Jawa character running around and I call out “Uteenie!” to get his attention. SharkBoy nearly dies of embarrassment.

The backlot tour revealed not much new but I did get to see the ship from Flight of the Navigator (again, Pee Wee’s legacy lives on), a couple Star Wars ships and the Presidential Escape Pod from Hitchhikers Guide (the movie). Weird combo, but fun to see nonetheless.

We lunch at the Sci Fi Cafe, which is brilliantly done up like a drive in theatre and it’s eerily quiet as a room full of diners all face the same way and watch the big screen show terrible B and C trailers. Fuuuuun!

The Force is fat with these onesAt one point, SharkBoy gets it into his head he wants a lightsabre. He’s freaking me out. He’s the least Sci Fi kind of guy I know but there he was wanting to wave one of these badges of nerd-dom like an honour roll kid bumper sticker. Of course we bought the retractable, zzooo zoooooo electronic ones (spring loaded, thank you) and had many a pose with them in front of rides, landmarks and… Jedi Mickey?! Bless SharkBoy to bits. When one of the FastPass ticket machines broke while we were waiting to use it, he jumps forward, extends his lightsabre and announces to the attendant “I’LL FIX IT!” and starts to poke the machine. At this point I had to take him aside and tell him that he was wielding a weapon, not a sonic screwdriver like from Doctor Who.



We digress into a Abbot and Costello skit.

At this point it started to get cloudy. Tropical Storm Barry was starting to come to Florida and the skies darkened. We left the park about 6pm (of course we re-rode Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster!) and headed over to Wet ‘N Wild for the bear party Tidal Wave.

And it started to rain as we walked in. Not hard, but enough to deter others from coming. I think they had about 100-200 people in attendance–

–which made riding the rides so much faster! We made the most of it and rode all the rides available. I felt bad for the staff who were on duty for such an empty park while it rained so hard. I didn’t see anyone I had been chatting online with prior to coming down to Florida. We did have a great time on DiscoH20: a big assed fast waterslide that dropped you into a huge plastic wet room. Too weird to describe, but very funky, man! We had a great time but I sort of wish there were more bears. We did find out that the “regular gays” were all at Typhoon Lagoon that night so that’s probably why attendance was so low too.

It started to get cold with the rain so we packed it in around 10pm and got a fast drink at the Full Moon Saloon. On to the next day!

Disney Day Four and Five


Day One is here
Day Two is here
Day Three is here
Pics of Day Four and Five are here.

The morning of Day Four we scooted over to Blizzard Beach for the advance opening. After a shocking entrance scuffle (apparently you can jump the entire queue by announcing to the staff that you have a stroller and bypass everyone who were waiting before you), we race to Summit Plummet. Via a nerve wracking chair lift.

(The story of the park is that a freak snow storm blanketed Orlando and seeing a cash cow, Disney created a ski resort, replete with chair lift and apres ski lodges. But surprise… everything melted into a water park! Kooky!)

Anyway. The chair lift was the only time I actually got scared on any rides in Florida, for some reason. I was fine with all the other roller coasters and height rides but this simple chair lift had me spooked. Summit Plummet was high up. After the chair lift we still had to climb about 15 storeys to get to the top. The ride was a (near) straight down drop to a gentle curve ’til you were horizontal, skimming along the top of the water at 60 miles per hour (radar guns proved it!). At the top, there was a chubby Scandinavian father and sun duo in front of us and the little kid was chickening out. I wanted to say to him “Kid. Do it. I’m over fourty and I have regrets. You don’t want any. Just go.” But he went with all three of us, plus the life guard, encouraging him. Zippo. Later I saw him going again.

The other speed slide, Slusher Gusher, was frightening because at the second hump, you actually get some air and expect to land hard on your back, but due to the slope and brilliant engineering, you just go bloody faster. SharkBoy went first. As I was getting into position, the Life Guard muttered “Wow. That’s a big wake,” as SharkBoy hit the bottom. Ha!

The rest of the park was fun. Not as beautiful as Typhoon Lagoon, but just as fun. Again we were done by 1pm and we hopped in the car to zip over to Magic Kingdom for lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Think Italian stereotypes from Lady and the Tramp). Delish Butternut Squash soup. Yummah!

Arrr!It wasn’t our official “Magic Kingdom” day but we managed to get 90% of Adventureland done. My childhood dream of going on The Jungle Cruise (funny Japanese tour guide fresh from Tokyo Disney!) and Pirates of the Caribbean were off my list!

That night we went to Full Moon Saloon and met a great couple of guys Bruce and George from NYC. Unfortunately we didn’t get their email – stupid – because we were certain we’d be seeing them the next night at Downtown Disney for the opening party of Gay Days. How naive we were!

Day Five was our first “full” day at a park – Animal Kingdom – and the first official Gay Day. Red shirts started to show up all around. We race like kids over to Dinosaur The Ride and get that out of the way. Then zippo over to Expedition Everest – where after one ride, I got sick. Like “Oh lord. No pukey please! Hold it in… hold it in…” kind of sick. We had fast passes to go back in an hour so we wandered around a bit and I was ok enough to go back on, but make myself just as sick again. Thing is, you go backwards fast for a few hundred feet, stop suddenly and are forced to look up and to your right to watch a video. Which makes your head spin a bit. Anyway. I was ok after I had a nice sit down and spritzing from It’s Tough To Be A Bug show. And we were already wet from Kali River Rapids so I had my daily tourist wetting by then.

Us and StitchThen. We. Saw. STITCH! He shook my hand and I was googley eyed and couldn’t speak. He’s a lot smaller than I remember from his movie. But I noticed that he was able to sign his name while holding kid’s autograph book up to his “eyes”, not his mouth, where the actor inside would look out from. I snuck a peek at one of his signatures and it was amazingly clear and well printed. Wow. They must practice that for hours…

A couple more rides, a refreshing lunch and then suddenly we were caught street-side while a parade went by. Across from us were muscular red-shirted gays in the same unmovable predicament. Oh well. Watch the parade. At one point, right in front of us, a Cast Member dressed up in comical Safari garb and Pluto, in similar garb, were dancing between us and the red shirts across from us. The Cast Member shimmied up to Pluto and with one finger pressed to Pluto’s snout, directed his head over to the attractive gays. Pluto goes mental and dances over to them like a circuit queen who just spied his supplier. The good looking red shirts instantly knew there was a homo in Pluto and responded by dancing with him. Yay Gays!

More rides. More pictures. We waited a long time to get pics with us and the top 4 (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald). The people behind us were jealous of our pose with Minnie. By this time the day had steam rolled over me (hell the week was starting to catch up with me) and we went back to the hotel for a disco nap. We then drove over to Downtown Disney to see if we could find Bruce and George but Mannequins had a line up out the door and around the block. Packed. Instead we made our way into 8Tracks where they played the best of the 80s. After there, we stood outside and watched the straights mingle with the ever increasing crowd of gays. It was like a mini, well controlled Toronto Gay Pride.

See SharkBoy attract rug rats outside Kali River Rapids:

Disney Day Three


Day One is here.
Day Two is here.
Day Three pictures are here.

Early morning risers we are. Into the car and off to Typhoon Lagoon, quite possibly the best water park I have ever experienced. Plus since we were Resort residents, we got in an hour before the regular riff raff showed up so it was like getting the park to ourselves. The wait time was under 10 minutes, that’s for sure.

The park was beautiful: well laid out and thoughtfully designed. The deck chairs were numerous and grouped into small intimate groves that overlooked the wave pool. While Typhoon is a high capacity park, I never got that feeling (except by the change rooms. A bit cramped there). It was so well landscaped, honestly thought I was in the Caribbean again. If you have to do one water park in your life, this is the one. No I mean it. Go!

But we were done by 1pm. All the rides were rode and we were itching to see something else. We climb into the car and drive to Epcot for lunch. First, however, the line for Mission: Space (More Intense) was quite small so we decide to ride that before filling our bellies. They kept on drilling home the fact that you might get sick on this ride (or die, like that poor chap did last year) and to further edge my nerves, my flight “ticket” had a bite out of it. Ew. But in the end, we were fine. It actually made us hungrier!

The Germany pavilion came highly recommended and we weren’t disappointed. Big buffet. Big check. Drunk frat boys in the corner loving the “ZIGGY! ZIGGY! ZIGGY! OI! OI! OI!” chants from the Om Pah Pah band. We sat with a nice family of three from Edmonton and a couple from near Chicago. Funny thing was, we all didn’t start chatting until after our first visit to the buffet and half a glass of beer each. Funny how alcohol does that.

The greatest ride EVERWhat do you do after a nice German lunch and a whole stein of beer in your belly? Go on the fiercest ride at Epcot: The MAELSTROM! Oooo! I wet myself! Actually I did get a bit wet, in keeping with Orlando’s Theme Park laws: at least 4-10 oz of water must be sprayed into a tourists’ face per day.

We wandered a bit more and then headed over to MGM Studios for a quick lookee see. And what did I see? Mickey dress up as STAR WARS characters (Jedi Knight, Rebel pilot) and I began to notice that the Disney company has started to allow Mickey to be depicted as “angry” and “aggressive”. Something Walt would never allow. I was a bit dismayed at this warping of Mickey’s character. Stitch, I could understand. Mickey? Shoot down TIE Fighters? Nope.

Anyhoo we rode the Tower of Terror (which had no water sprays at all) and that was amazing. I use to have a fear of elevators as a small child and the thought of being tossed around in one didn’t sit well but I’d come this far. And was really happy I went on it. The set up for the ride is terrific!

After, we stayed for Fantasmic! A live action, special effect riddled stage show that got me a bit wet when they projected video onto a wall of mist. Too cool!

Plus, I got to be in my first audience “wave”. The size of the crowd would probably make Evil Panda curl up into a ball:

After, the crush out of the park was incredible. I was amazed that Sharkboy showed so much patience.

Disney Day Two


Day One is here.

Day Two pics are here.

Up early with the dawn, we pass by Baloo to get to the big cafeteria style restaurant for a big old fatty breakfast with a big old fatty price tag. Tip: If you go to Disney, expect to pay nearly double to what you’re use to for moderately to small sized portions. Croissantwich with potato wedge style homefries came to just over $9US. Owch!

Baloo from BehindOur first full day was spent at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks. Really no difference between the two, both dedicated to action movies. Rides of note:

The Hulk: Surprisingly no wet. High. Fast. Worth the wait for the front car.

The Mummy: a must do ride. I won’t spoil it but it’s all indoors, there’s fire, mist and shouty dead people. Much better than I expected. We rode it twice. The first time the sound got out of sync with the animatronics, which was actually side splittingly funny. Imagine a menacing mummy waving it’s flaky arms, boasting your death, suddenly stopping dead while staring lifelessly at your roller coaster car. It was almost Simpsons-esque.

Twister: still seemed fun to me, ten years after the fact. Cool demo (far too short) of a trailer park getting devastated. Expect to get wet.

ET, The Ride: so lame it’s funny. When asked, give your name as Gaiman. Trust me. Wet factor = fine mist.

Jaws: still fun after 32 years after the fact. Too bad the ride operator wasn’t so enthused. Expect to get really wet.

Terminator 2: 3D: Wet? Yup. Fun? Sort of. Too long a wait spoiled it.

Earthquake: Nice little fun preshow about how effects are made. Kind of dated, but the subway ride to the 8.5 Richter scale earthquake was …wet.

Shrek 4D: Some character sneezed. We got wet. Corny jokes as expected. Bitter ride operator at the beginning bad mouthed Disney. What’s the matter? Your application to Splash Mountain was turned down?

Spiderman: Rode it twice. The first time it kaked out half way through it and we were staring a blank screens while the audio of the villains getting vanquished played on. I lost my hat the first time around and luckily found it again after a second successful, glitch free run. Luuucky! Some watery bad guy gets punched and you get a blast of water in your face.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls: Wet. Very wet. The only really Canadian representation in all the parks other than Epcot. Great animatronic of Dudley with his horse crammed up his ass.

Dueling Dragons. WE DID NOT GET WET. We did, however, go upside down a lot.

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges: Much like any big raft water ride. But wetter. Took me hours to get dry after that one.

Jurassic Park: Nice music. Wet ending. Lame animatronics.

Poseidon’s Fury: stay away! This ride had no real correlation to any pop culture event or movie. Long set up, ironically hardly any wet, considering it’s name. They changed the amazing special effect to a mildly interesting event half way through the ride, for some unknown reason. According to SharkBoy, you use to walk through a waterfall and not get wet! But now the waterfall is circling around you in a tunnel and you get a bit wet. Dumb storyline with awkward narration.

You can see a running theme here. Wet wet wet. I’m going out on a limb here but I think all the rides at Universal were designed by someone who wore a yellow hankie in their back left pocket.

Invader Zim cut outOnly one poster for Invader Zim. Absolutely no stock in the gift shops. What the hell? One of my favorite characters from their stable and no swag? But yet there’s gobs of Jimmy Neutron crap. Sheesh!

It was interesting to see that Universal took all of Disney’s innovations in marketing and crowd control and improved upon it. That is, except for their Disney-like “Fast Pass” option, called “Express Pass” which you had to pay for at Universal but got you priority pre-booked seating for rides. Which made for a lot of angry people because they would honour these people first, making wait times for standard riders unpredictable. And basically created an elitist attitude all round.

Back to the hotel way too tired to care about anything else. My feet cursed me to sleep.

Disney Day One


I’m “back to reality” as many people joked with us the day we left Florida. Truer words have not been spoken.

What can I say about Disney that hasn’t already been said? Clean? Yup. Surreal? Oh yeah. Saccharine? Sickly so. Embarrassing heart melting moments that make you pretend you’re fixing your glasses? Check. Kiddie melt downs while waiting in line for the Dumbo ride? Bingo.

I’m not going to bore you with minute details (that’s what the 500+ pictures we took are for) but I will pull out moments of notability and relate them here. So without further ado, here, ladies and gentlemen, is day one!

The “value” resort we stayed in was massive. 2100 rooms across 5 “themed” buildings set beside a lake on reclaimed swamp. Surprisingly a great marvel in engineering. We stayed in The 60s and had a view that looked out upon the back service entrance to our building. Which was a godsend, because it didn’t face the pool – the pool that was nearly running 24 hrs with screaming kids. Our travel agent knew his stuff and put us into a “handicapped room” with one king sized bed and no tub in the water closet. We could pee anywhere in the bathroom! Every day, I nearly had to walk through Baloo’s legs to get to breakfast. Heaven! Seriously, not a bad deal if you are looking to stay on Disney property and not pay an arm and a leg.

Of course, even after our flight down, the heat and the moderately ugly looking hotel, I was super excited…

We dump the bags and head over to The Magic Kingdom to do some exploring. While waiting first in line at the monorail station, we chatted nicely with the attendant (who was rather candid about her getting off work in 20 minutes) when a man from the back of our 20 person queue came forward and asked to be in the front of the monorail. Wha? I could see SharkBoy kicking himself for not remembering this park tip: If you ask, you can ride up front with the “pilot”, in the nose of the monorail. We did this every time we went on the monorail and usually got the front row seats.

Then came hard reality, dream crushing fact #1: The monorail is not as glide-y as it looks. It’s bumpier than it looks. As a kid I always thought it was smooth as glass and as elegant as it’s slick 70’s design. Nope. The monorail shakes harder than Michael J Fox at a congressional hearing. Video Artifact:

After getting to the park just in time to see the tail end of a parade (A parade!!) and SharkBoy allowing me to get all gooey faced in the town square looking up at that damned castle (I was finally there after 40 years!!), we board the train to Fantasyland and weirdly enough, my first ever ride within the World was The Teacups… We laugh hysterically as we try to take bored faced pictures of each other while the ride is running.

We take in a couple more minor rides (don’t want to spoil the actual park day we have scheduled, but it was great getting the little ones out of the way) and then head on over to a boat launch that takes us to Downtown Disney. Make no mistake, Downtown Disney is a mall designed by a capitalistic mad genius. Stores stores stores and beer beer beer. All out in the Florida open. I was a bit taken aback that there were people wandering around with drinks but not once the entire time I was there did we see any overt bad drunken behaviour. We grab a snack and by the time we wandered through the adult themed “Pleasure Island” (that makes me think of Wendy getting it on with Peter Pan for some reason), we head back to the hotel.

In a king sized bed with the AC blasting, (bless you Disney designers for making intensely sound proof rooms in a resort built for kids) sleep came fast.

Cruisin’ Part IV – Ocho Rios and Cayman Islands


Ocho Rios

The morning comes and we are in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The cattle call off the boat led us past barbwire into the tourist loading zone onto our bus to Runaway Caves. In the bus our guide showed us three James Bond sets (the mini sub scene from Thunderball was one) and taught us a few slang terms used widely in Jamaica, such as “Trash”. Its used like:

“You look TRASH!”

Meaning: You look good. Not sure why, but if you add “like” in front of “trash” then it reverts back to the insult we’re use to. Go figure.

We arrive at the cave and don our protective sweaty head things and enter into the cave. It was very interesting. I was once inside a mine in Kentucky that must have been 100 ft high and wide for as far as I could see into the mountain.


Runaway Caves looked like a movie set, it was so surreal. This was the place where slaves escaping plantations would come as well as a Spanish general escaping the English. Dark, wet and smelling of bat guano, I think I picked up some lung infection there. It was worth it.


At the end, we were treated to Jamaican rum at 150 proof. A headache set in quickly after and I fell asleep in the bus to Dunns River Falls. Seems like you couldn’t visit Ocho Rios without being dragged to this place. It was fun and we got to use our Labadee water shoes (mine fell apart half way up the climb). The tour description was ambiguous about getting wet but when we got there, we got wet. Oh so wet. We even did a flip off one of the falls.

Dunns River Falls

This is where Souvenir Tragedy #1 happened. Our tourguide had a friend with a video camera follow us up the falls recording our reactions to climbing the falls and sold us a tape at the top for $30. It never made it back to the boat in time, I guess. More souvenir tragedies happened…keep your eyes peeled!

We went back to the Tourist Compound and shopped a bit and managed to send off a quick Blog entry. While watching Sharkboy troll through his email, a guy across the street from the internet cafe we were in tried to sell me pot. Ah Jamaica.

Back to the boat and the usual dinner, dessert and walk about. I decided that we were going to take a midnight hot tub while they set up a midnight buffet around us. It was so extravagant. So much food… We didn’t indulge and were in bed soon after the hot tub.

ice scultures

The next day was Caymen Islands, shopping mall of the Caribbean. Whisked to a small port for our “intimate” stingray petting tour, Sharkboy was visibly nervous as our boat hit the choppy seas. To make things worse for him, the boat listed to one side as 15 out of the 25 of us onboard sat on one side, accentuating the bigger waves, making the waterline near the back rise close to the lip of the boat. We chugged on out to the sand bar.

Grand Cayman

Our guide, a rather good looking young woman of 20something, wearing not much more than a bikini and wrap, taught us that stingrays were a mix of housecat and vacuum cleaner and would only sting if cornered and stressed. We were asked not to step on them. Our guide was a blonde knockout born in South Africa, educated in Toronto and living in GC with her parents (I thought she was an American ex-pat with her accent) and she took instant liking to me for some reason and we chatted about tattoos and Toronto. I noticed that the four English men (two woofy dads repleat with yobbo tats and no necks) were giving me jealous glances as we laughed and talked animatedly about stuff.


She told us that on every boat she’s guided, one person would be a screamer. That is, if a ‘ray brushed up agains this certain person, they’d panic. One of the humpy English dads turns to his nervous looking son and said “You hear that? Nothing to be worried about so no yelling, ok?” He looked up and caught me watching him calm his son. We instantly knew that we’d both be the ones screaming, not the kids. We laughed as this was telepathically sent between us.

Arriving at the bar, we joined 10 other boats and loads of screaming people.

sharkboy robot and ray

It was fantastic. Sharkboy and I were the first ones to touch, kiss and hold a rather large specimin caught for us by our boat captain. The sexy guide took pictures for $20 the first one and $10 every one after (Souvenir Tragedy #2 coming up, thankfully we only bought one). We frolicked for about an hour and it was at that moment, the highlight of the trip for me. They were so graceful and beautiful. I managed to kick one in the head and expected to be stung but it just flapped it’s “wings” and glided away into the ocean.


On our way back our captain stopped the boat in the middle of nowhere and one of the crew jumped over the side and started to haul out Conch shells for his dinner. He poked a hole in the top and stabbed the snail inside and yanked out the meat. He gave us the shells and instantly Sharkboy and I stared into a long debate as to weather or not we could actually bring this shell (which I decided to name “Shelly”) back to Canada. The sexy guide, who sussed me out in seconds, sidled up to me and wispered “You have the best one of the lot. The colours are deep and there’s very little white in the inside. Very valuable…” and she smiled. I was hooked. The English dads were jealous. I bought a disk from her and it turned out less than what I thought the picture was when I viewed it on her laptop (ST #2, folks)

We decided to do some no-pressure shopping in GC and wandered the touristy area near the docks. We found a place called Black Dick Liquor and I should have got a t-shirt (ST #3). Cayman is known for its jewelry and Sharkboy managed to find a nice watch for $3000 which made us run from the shop in seconds. We were having a great time and suddenly Sharkboy decides that we’re going to get rings.


Rings. We start to wander in and out of jewellers trying on masculine gold rings. No gemstones. Thankfully we share the same taste in men’s rings. Plain. Symbolic. Masculine. All the time we’re doing this I am thinking “Is he going to propose? He said in the past he didn’t believe in marriage? But this trip has been so perfect and wonderful…bla bla bla” To quote The Pet Shop Boys: “Now… my head is spinning.” We enter “Diamond Marquise” and find a nice pair of brushed titanium rings that fit. $500 each, the clerk says. $200 total for both, Sharkboy says. $300! $200! $275! $200! $250! $200! You get the gist. She was coming down, Sharkboy wasn’t budging. The rings were beautiful, especially in their symbolism, and I was worried that the clerk would kill Sharkboy’s patience and we’d be leaving the store soon. The clerk wanders off to ask the Manager if Sharkboy’s offer is ok. It is. Right up to the pen to credit card, the clerk tried to squeeze more out of Sharkboy. “$210?” she asked finally as she handed over the credit card slip. No.

We walk out of the store and I wasnt sure what was going to happen. Was Sharkboy going to go down on one knee right there in the street? Was he going to hang on to the rings until we walked the deck of the ship in the moonlight and then ask me there to be his other half? Was he going to bake a cake–

“Here,” he says, handing me my ring.

Oh. Well. Uh. Thanks! I take the ring happily as a gift. A memento of our trip and yet we both wear them on our left hands, to make people talk or speculate. I see the rings as a symbol of what we got. Call it an engagement. Call it “married in the eyes of God”. Call it what you want. I’m happy!

The rest of Grand Caymen was a bit of a blur. We went back to the boat and did something and ate food and wandered the ship and maybe even played the slots. I can’t remember. I just remember playing with my ring halfway through dinner and looking up at Sharkboy’s face thinking I was the luckiest guy in the world.

PS: Shelly started to smell up the cabin and was exiled out to the balcony where she was rinsed repeatedly by torrential Tropical Storm Gamma rain. More on Shelly later.

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