So I was eating this madeleine…

No, sadly, it’s not innuendo. It’s a Proust reference, which I’m probably getting wrong. (The improviser’s gift and curse: referencing things that we have a cursory knowledge of like we actually know them.) At any rate, it’s my way of saying I know these posts are crazy long, and thank you for indulging me. (The writer’s, or at least my, gift and curse: writing’s fun, editing’s work.)

I’ll start the week that was in Tortola. Usually a jumping-off point for trips to the beach, this time, Megan and I ended up exploring the city together. Which was very nice, because she’s delightful, and also because the way my social patterns have developed, things tend to be solo or in groups, so one-on-one was a pleasant break in the routine. And, as mentioned, delightful.

Which came in handy, because without our delightfulness, it could have been disappointing. It started off with a trip to the botanical garden. We found it really easy, which was a real coup. The botanical garden itself, less of a coup. Or maybe a coup if you were the one being overthrown. I was actually less disappointed than Megan (it had been her idea to go), who has since taken the group’s Frommers guide and put quotes around words like “nice” and “scenic.” There were actually prettier flowers on the walk there, and of the thirty some-odd things to see noted on the Xeroxed map, one of the trees was now a stump. Actually, the Banyan (?) tree was nifty, but not quite enough to justify the trip.

An aside for the family: There was a moment when one of the chickens which run wild in every city we visit passed in front of the tortoise at the botanical gardens, and knowing a certain uncle who would appreciate a picture of such a happening, I took out my camera, only to find out that my batteries were dead. (At least, I’m hoping it’s the batteries! We’ll find out when I replace them!) Disappointed at the missed opportunity, I decided to pay homage by signing the visitors’ book and putting as my comment “The tortoise was so demonstrative!” It wasn’t, really, and I can only hope this esoteric tribute doesn’t result in tortoise soup.

And we’re back. So Megan and I continued to wander Tortola, looking for the Sunny Caribbee Spice Shop. Which we found, and actually without going particularly out of our way. The only thing that made our route funny is that we were plagued by uncertainty the whole time and ended up coming through the back door, only to discover as we were leaving that if we’d come directly from the ship, there were signs every two feet. I will let you discover it for yourself, if you see fit: Personally, I was intrigued at the Caribbee Hot Sauce (I’m thinking it’s pretty hot) and amused by the fact that their hangover cure and love potion were sold in combination (Hey, sober up and find love already!).

Having accomplished something and nothing, we decided to cap off the day with some afternoon drinking, the height of sophistication. A very nice day.

The next day was Bridgetown, Barbados, and I finally opted to join the crowd for The Boatyard. It’s a crew hangout that had been described to me as “Spring Break”, and being a crusty old man and generally worn out from Tortola the day before, I had up until now taken it more easy. But not this time, darn it! We walked down as a group, which was nice, and gave me a chance to see more of Bridgetown than I previously had, and whet my appetite for future seeings. And a good time was had, though I stayed away from the more decadent events like drinking contests and bar-dancing contests (unless “Footloose” is playing, I tend to prefer my dancing on the floor.) But I did kick around a soccer ball some, throw a football some, and rode some waves with my floating body, so who parties harder than me? (And I drank! I mean, the drink was included in admission, but it got finished…with authority!)

And then St. Lucia, which was fairly uneventful, with me just meandering around. I got caught in the rain in Derek Walcott Square, Derek Walcott being, I believe, a Nobel Prize winner in Literature. I spent much of the time thinking that if I want to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, I really should get moving. But then the clouds went away, and I was content to make witty comments to myself (for instance, as I walked by the KFC (yes, the KFC), I thought “Wow, and I thought a plantation owner was a bad mascot in Canada!”) The highlight of my day was probably the most Caribbean-Canadian conversation in the history of the world, and it went something like this:

Me: (bumping into Caribbean Guy on the street) Sorry.

CG: (offering me what looked to be pistachios) Here, have some.

Me: Oh, no thank you.

CG: They’re fine, see. (opening his mouth so I could see he was eating them.)

Me: Oh, I’m sure they are. I’m just not hungry right now.

CG: They’ll make your dick hard.

Me: I think my dick’s hard enough for right now, but thank you.

CG: (hardy laugh)

Me: (polite chuckle, mini-wave, turning of the corner)

So that was land. At sea, the big event was the White Party (the party where everyone wears white), where I experienced a time warp and found myself dancing in public again. (Okay, it hadn’t been that long, but I think it was the first time the ship had seen a sustained effort on my part.) I was prodded on to the floor by Skinner, beat-box master of the Cat’s Pyjamas and an awesome fella, and while I’m fairly certain the soap which was occasionally spitting onto the floor was at least a little toxic, fun times were had.

And in conclusion, my entertainment reviews. (Yes, I know my book and TV reviews are less interesting than my dating details, but dammit, I’m trying to be Oprah here, not Maury! That said, I am planning a “Who’s my Baby’s Daddy?” post for Sweeps, so stay tuned.) The first season of Gilmore Girls was good, but I don’t know if I’ll go back to it. I do sort of want to see where things go, but the problem with those family and relationship shows is they almost by necessity have to be two steps forward, two steps back, because if anything really ever got resolved, you have nowhere to go. Oh, and I finally (FINALLY!) saw Sling Blade. A good flick, would make a great double bill with The Man Who Wasn’t There. Next up, I think I’ll be giving the first season of Friday Night Lights a go. If nothing else, I’m presuming it’s not girly.

The Crying of Lot 49 was good, though it took more concentration than was ideal for this particular week. It’s the kind of book where you can’t miss a sentence and have to read several of them over to catch their meaning. Think Tom Robbins for smart(er) people. That said, it had a pretty cool symbol at its core, so if there’s anyone out there who’s thinking of getting a pretentious tattoo, I can draw you a picture. (Be the first one on your block to have a pretentious tattoo that isn’t in Japanese!) The plan now is to have some quick fun with the Rick Mercer Report: The Book, and then finally take the plunge into The Source. (Which should somewhat dry up the book reportage, because while I may on occasion give progress updates, damn, that’s a lot of book!)

And lastly in entertainment news, I had completely forgotten that The Daily Show is shown on CNN! Which we get onboard! One less void to fill!

Which segues nicely to a preview for you all: my parents will be joining me onboard for the next nine day cruise! There will be stories, if only about the testing of my newfound eating restraint! (Plus it inspired me to learn about volunteering for excursions, so I’ll be doing that more from now on, so more crazy adventures, knock on wood.)

Shine on, you crazy stars.

5 Responses to “So I was eating this madeleine…”

  1. Fionna says:

    I think I may have actually been to The Boatyard… but there was no Footloose.

    Bridgetown kinda sucks but there are some beatiful places out side of it. Let me know if you want some day trip ideas.

  2. Fionna says:

    In related news, I cannot spell.

  3. Jo says:

    Give the rest of Gilmore Girls a shot…at the very least because Rory gets hotter as the seasons go on 😉
    Hey Dan! Glad things are going well 🙂

  4. Uncleany says:

    Have fun with your parents. You’re writing just like a Big Boy, with Big Boy Pants and everything.

    Love ya!

    Is this the Cohen Bar Mitzvah?
    I’ve still got it!!!!

  5. Dan Hershfield says:

    In order:

    -Always up for ideas!
    -Well, I can’t make toffee.
    -It occurred to me to keep watching the series to see if I could pinpoint the moment when Rory becomes hotter than Lorelai. But considering how much I love Lauren Graham, that could take awhile, and indeed might never happen! And how’s by you?!? (e-mail!)
    -Yes, you’ve still got it. But I hear they’re working on a cure.

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