Butt-Pirates of the Caribbean ARRRR!

Day III, 6:30am

[Love. Exciting and new. Come aboard. We're expecting yewww…]

We are parking (is that the word?) in Cozumel. Diane, the woman in the cripplecart next door and consequently one of our dinner partners, who, it might be mentioned, showed up to the Captain's formal dinner last night wearing a sweatshirt and opined vociferously, "I don't care if I look like crap," (waiter, check please) — anyway, yes, Diane is shouting to everyone with a balcony on this side of the ship that, "All I want from Mexico is a bamboo cane." I've heard this story before. Last night. At dinner. Several times. How her husband lost his bamboo cane and she wants to get him a new one.

I'm going to find her a bamboo cane in Cozumel today.

And I'm going to beat her over the head with it.

Still Day III, 3:45pm

[Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new roh-maaance…]

Despite the fact that I was wide-tailed and bushy-eyed at 6:30 this morning, we still somehow managed to dawdle around long enough to miss the commencement of our biking expedition of Cozumel at 8:00. Ahoy, lethargy!

We ventured off the boat onto third world soil and were attacked by a small battalion of pigmy Mexicans badgering us to rent a car or scooter.

"You rent car!" came the imperative from a particularly pushy little fella. "You rent scooter!"

"No and no," I said trying to wade to the taxi queue.

"¡Chupa mi verga!"


My Spanish may be rusty, but I seem to recall that doesn't exactly translate to, "Welcome to Mexico."

We taxi'd to Playa Mia some ten minutes away, a long, beautiful expanse of white beach and crystal blue waters. Playa Mia had a number of happy-fun-time activity-thingies set up, and while I'm usually not much of a joiner, I wouldn't kick an aquatic trampoline out of bed for eating crackers.

There was also a large, inflatable, white, puffy thing way out in the water. We swam to it and discovered it was a synthetic rock-climbing facility. And if you toppled off the "mountain," you'd just splash in the water. Fun! Until I noticed all the lower rungs and handles had come off, making it virtually impossible for anyone to even begin an ascent to the peak of the marshmallow-looking thing. I made a tactical retreat back to the aquatic trampoline and thought long and hard about what was wrong with the lyrics, "And love … won't hurt anymore…" I'm sure that wasn't actually in the Love Boat theme song, but my mind is stuck on it.

Ben fought with the white puffy-pooh monster for another twenty minutes, fell off, drank a few gallons of seawater, then made it back to shore, barely alive, feeling nauseous and out of sorts. [Silently, I felt vindicated for his annoyingly good health yesterday.]

This is the way to spend a day in November. My legs are two shades darker for the tanning. I spent an hour lounging on a blue floaty thing in the water playing with the rough, clean sand and coral and shells on the sea floor.

We saw the good dancers on the beach, and Ben's hypothesis of their being employed by the ship wavered a bit. Okay, maybe hired dancing partners would take some time off in Cozumel on such a gorgeous day and go to the beach, but would they kiss? Isn't that a little too chummy to be professional? We played 'are they or aren't they?' for a while, and came to no conclusion, which was even more maddening that coming to the wrong conclusion the night before.

We lunched on salsa, quesadillas, and that old Mexican traditional drink, Coke Light. I bought an Aztec'ky looking sun carved out of fish bone for Ben and a creepy, emaciated, anguished Jesus carved of same for some lucky person when I get home. (Ben won't have it in the house, the heretic!)

As we were leaving for the taxi stand, we saw a little zoo with Mexican monkeys so made a stop there to watch a baby monkey be just about the cutest darned thing you could ever hope to see, climbing the fence, dangling by coiled tail, latching onto momma's belly.

I began whining like a spoiled child, "Ben, can we pleeeeze get a baby monkeeeey? I waaant one sewww baaad! I want to call it 'Monkey-Ee'."

"No, his name is 'Spank'."

"Okay but can we just have one pleeeeze?"

"We'll talk about it later."

The good dancers were also cooing at the monkeys. I suggested we split a cab back, not only for the pecuniary advantages, but to get to the bottom of this baffling Nancy Drew mystery: The Clue of the Suspiciously Talented Tango Dancers.

In the backseat, I was pressed up against the woman, Joanna, who claimed with a thick Hungarian accent to be from Alberta. She introduced us to her husband in the front seat, Michael, who eyed us coolly and turned back to the front without a word, jaw set tightly.

"So. Do you dance professionally?" I asked.

"Oh no. Eet ees just zumzink my 'uzband and I do for pleazhoor," she said in her anything-but-Canadian accent.

"I don't believe it," I said honestly. "You're too good."

Ben cut right to the chase: "We thought you were hired by the boat to look good on the dance floor. So, are you?"

Michael got tense, eyed Joanna ominously and pounded one fist into the other hand denoting, I presumed, that if she said anything he'd beat her within an inch of her life. Joanna beamed brightly at me and refrained from an answer.

Although the conversation was technically inconclusive, I'm now beginning to think they're really just on their first cruise, as she told me. But she could be perjuring.

After some duty free shopping that amounted to two cartons of cigs and a big ole bottle of Grand Marnier totaling US$56 (I believe a single carton of cigarettes in New York is that much) we got back on our ship which has just now de-docked.

Now if you'll excuse me, they just announced bingo will be starting in fifteen minutes, and I desire to see the frothy blue sea through the portal windows complimented across a room of frothy blue hair on old women named 'Fanny', 'Myrtle' and 'Flossie'.

P.S. Rod Stewart: call me! Suite 7550. Only four days left, my little fagalupagus!

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Damn, that's a big boat
So's her neighbor
Aquatic trampolines and puffy rock climbing thingies on Cozumel Island, México
Playa Mia, Cozumel
Ben at the Playa Mia pool. Remember, it's November. And 87°
Duty free drug store in Cozumel. Viagra was $20. That's the price for a hit of E