Fresh (in a manner of speaking) off a week aboard the Crown Princess, I’ve just arrived at the Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys to rediscover my land legs, unwind in a gorgeous poolside room with dark woods and soft fabrics…and frolic with dolphins.
After the horrendous day of travel I’ve had, it’s a complete joy to be here.
I’ve been up today since 6am, having spent the day disembarking from the Crown Princess at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, bidding adieu to my friend/shipmate Samantha, then driving at a leisurely pace down the Overseas Highway. Some people might think a press trip followed by a press weekend is crazy talk, but so far I’m loving the chance to relax post-cruise and airplane-free.
Getting off the ship was a mildly epic contact sport involving 2000 some-odd people in a focused melee of luggage, passports, taxis and bus vouchers. Once on a bus bound for my rental car at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, though, the ride was only a few short minutes. However, while I found the airport in Ft. Lauderdale bright, clean, and full of kind people, an unfortunate incident there threw me for a loop.
Stepping down from the bus with a smile, I saw the luggage handler hoisting my suitcase onto a big cart and said not to worry, I’d be fine wheeling my own bags from there. At that moment, an elderly gentleman (who, it would soon become clear, suffers from dementia) wheeled up with his walker and announced loudly, “My God, you have a voice that could scratch glass! Shut the [bleep] up.”
The man’s much younger caretaker stopped in her tracks, frozen. The luggage handler from the bus turned his back and kept about his business. Two sweet, bubbly sixty-something women from the cruise stood on either side of me, poised for trouble. Surprised, I took a step back and begged this man’s pardon, to which he replied, “Hearing your voice hurts my ears and you just better stop using it.”
Now, I’ve been told my entire life that I have a lovely voice (and that I talk a heck of a lot, but at least in a mellifluous tone), but this is beside the point. Seeking to exit the scene with my dignity intact, I merely replied with a smile and said, “Sir, that’s just about the rudest thing anyone’s ever said to me. But you have a good day, now.”
Before I could turn to go, this man stepped forward and cuffed me on the jaw, hard, with a closed fist. That’s right, folks, for the implied crime of being within a stranger’s earshot, I was hit in the face by a mentally ill octogenarian outside a crowded airport.
My “assailant” had apparently been steeped in some ashy dirt, because he left a big smudge on my jawline; the two women beside me hissed at him to move off, and then, to my grateful surprise, one pulled out a kleenex to dust me off. The man’s caretaker moved towards me to apologize, but I assured her it wasn’t her fault..and wished her luck for a better day. (Can’t imagine her life’s a picnic.) The burly luggage guy had already moved well on ahead.
This, dear readers, would never have happened if Adam had been traveling with me. Ah, well…such are the bizarre adventures of the frequent traveler.
Flash forward to a long, straight drive beside turquoise water in a white PT Cruiser (very Florida-appropriate), a warm greeting at Hawks Cay, a tasty salad wrap and (nerves-calming) mojito at the Beachside Grill, and watching flashy cigarette boats putter by enroute to the nearby marina. It’s absolutely beautiful weather in the Keys today, a breezy and sunny 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tomorrow I’ll be swimming with dolphins at The Dolphin Connection, the resort’s on-site dolphin research facility, and indulging in a Key Lime Mojito Body Treatment (three of my favorite things strung all together) at the resort’s Calm Waters Spa. I feel a little like a kid just on the verge of going to Disneyland…albeit one with a slightly sore jaw.
Now ensconced in a terry robe on a big, comfy bed, the strains of Latin jazz wafting in from a poolside party as the golden sun sets through slowly waving palms, I can’t help feeling that I’d love to be both with my husband and here.
More to come next week on Hawks Cay, my week’s sail aboard the Crown Princess and my excursions ashore.