I enjoyed seeing the fort shrouded in darkness, the island at night from inside the van, and the cruise ship lit up in the harbor but I’m looking forward to seeing these things in the light. I drift off to sleep on the couch with the pillows on the floor and a red airline blanket over my feet.
I wake at 7:30 to a bright sunfilled room and the guys are still sleeping so I message the two girls that I contacted prior from Couchsurfing that I will try to meet up with here if Dean is too busy to keep me entertained (except the one who invites me forgets to send a location. I’m debating wandering off when my host invites me along on his morning walk to get some exercise on solid ground before spending a day under the sea.
We walked for about 45 minutes on part of the Railway Trail so I could admire the pastel-colored beach houses surrounded by grey or white stone walls and short leafy trees. We passed an abandoned farm field, some empty benches, and a rock formation of nature’s fortress so we wouldn’t fall from our location to the sea; which looking across its teal surface at the houses on the other side, like lost legos in a grass carpet, make me squeal with morning glee.
There’s Heydon Chapel, built in 1620, that we leave to take a wooded path that seems to be a short cut before being able to walk between the high stone walls with the street lights peeking out just above them. It’s here that I will learn more about the rail system and its pricing for first, second, and working-class passengers as well as special schedules for tourists, boats, freight, and maintenance.
Back to the house for a PBJ and cup of caffeine for breakfast and to grab Dane and Dustin to get to the morning “office” at 10:15 where they will start scrubbing the ocean off of boats with the help of their new employee. I would’ve gladly volunteered for the experience alone, but I am not sure I have the upper body strength to qualify for scrubbing salt and sea life off of fiberglass for two hours, so I will spend an hour walking through and around the Clock Tower Shopping Mall.
I like the ginger jams, but I don’t buy them — along with the purple-flowered hat that doesn’t fit, the cock-shaped bottle opener made with unpolished wood, and the bright blue Croc-looking shoes with more holes in them (their actual name is just as long: women’s slip-on open-back lace garden water clogs) that I wish I hadn’t left without. I also spend time staring at the unpurchasable — the cobbled floor and outdoor look inside, the food-ad screen over the automatic faucet, and the windowpane design that appears as if Superman stopped an incoming bullet.
I wander into the Dockyard Glassworks to see the art in its many stages, but all stations are busy and classes are later — of course they are, not that I would’ve taken one yet as I have procrastinated doing so in San Diego. I walk out of the Diamonds International shop and am lost standing in the middle of a lane when a scooter tells me to get off my phone (which I’m clearly not on) so he shouts ‘camera’ as he drives away.
I will spend another hour walking around to take pictures of the exteriors of the buildings I was just in, a peek into Snorkel Park (referred to as Fun Zone last night) which in the daytime fills with curious tourists or bored cruise ship passengers, and debating entering the National Museum (that as soon as I did the guys would be done with work). So I settle on a place with their walls and ceilings covered in flags, candles, bottles, books, and paintings to spend a few minutes glancing around.
I sample some beers at Frog & Onion but I’m not decided yet so I will try some colder treats at Alex + Pete’s Artisan Ice Cream with inspiration from fruit, alcohol, and Nutella before putting my feet in the water while talking to Dustin and the engineer working inside the boat Dean is scraping the bottom of to get an estimated time of completion, which is “not yet”.
There’s still plenty of exploring for me to do while peering at pedestrians, inspecting walkways, and staring at weathered ropes but I also don’t want to get too sunburned to enjoy the rest of the week. I imagine the stories the boats would tell to the aging architecture as I follow the giant green footsteps painted on the path leading me around parked cars and lots of bars. I’m enjoying the waves crashing and upon their retreat revealing different critters gripping the rocks and catching a meal, mostly the mollusks I’m sure, the West Indian top shell to be exact when a kid walks up.
He’s around eight to ten years old and on his seventh cruise. He lives in Virginia but drove up to New York to catch the ship. We talked a bit about crabs and tsunamis as his imagination went with what we were watching. Kids help offer such a different perspective on life, but that’s for a different post about changing the school systems and why I didn’t become a parent. I hope that kid can maintain some of his awesomeness as growing up has a way of taking that vulnerability and turning it into bitterness.
It’s 1:30 pm when I walk over to Calico Jack’s Floating Bar and watch a kid plunge in via plank into the marked off swimming area only to climb the ladder and jump the stairs to do it again. I sample some rum swizzle from a small stand that sells it by the bottle for $27 and I opt for the three-fruit popsicle instead before I trip on a brick. A guy passing by says I must play soccer with my fast feet (or I’m not that coordinated and still have my reflexes working efficiently).
I make it back to Frog & Onion for drinks with Mark who works in the education sector (guessing he didn’t want to bore us with the details on his vacation) and Will, our bartender. I receive a kiss on the cheek before Mark leaves at 3:30 and a picture of us for my Instagram, unknowingly, while Caleb poses for selfies on Josh’s boat and later in our car taking Fallon’s girls paddleboarding (so she can fit all the boards in her van).
I’m ready for a change of scenery so I walk back to the boat to check on the guys and meet Malcolm, the engineer from earlier, who offers to hang out when I need a ride in his busted car. I smile and thank him for the offer and walk back to Jack’s. Here I will meet Gus, the owner of Fun Golf, who buys me a margarita and a shot of Johnny Walker and gets me a slice of watermelon. It’s already after 5 pm so I decide to have another shot and a drink as I’m not driving.
Gus pays the bar tab equivalent to two months of my meager salary before accompanying me to Bone Fish Bar & Grill to have a drink and shot with Jason and his friend. We are just about to have fried avocado and a platter of seafood when Dean shows up to help himself to what he thinks is a free meal because he’s hosting me on the island. I back up as he begins to cause a scene and a girl, my new temporary friend Michelle, comes from the crowd to throw her beer on Dean and calm the issue.
We all step outside so the guys can cool their tempers, and I don’t know what came of the food, but we went back to Jack’s before returning to Bone Fish and finally leaving as the sun was setting, which enjoyably takes a long time here, for dinner at New Woody’s Restaurant where I would let the guys order while I crossed the street to get more pictures of the dimming pinks and blues as my toes dangle over the water from my stone wall seat.
I join Dean, Dane, and Dustin at the table and wonder how I managed throughout the day to get two free pairs of sunglasses as I make most of the giant fish sandwich in front of me disappear into my alcohol-lined digestive system. I pass out as soon as we get back to the house at 10 pm as I’ve had a full day of drinks and sunshine.