Out On the Open Ocean?

Dearest Rachel –

It’s not quite seven in the morning, and I’m awake early again. It’s not exactly a complaint, but you think it wouldn’t be necessary, as there is nothing much to see when you’re out in the open ocean.

Except, apparently, we aren’t. I was actually woken up, in fact, by a text message I received from my cell phone provider, welcoming me to Jamaica (and, of course, telling me about the rules and charges of using the phone for texts an actual calling while in the country). It wasn’t even the first text I’d gotten overnight; I had another one from earlier welcoming me to Cuba, of all places, but it seems I slept through that one. Just as well; the charges to call or text from Cuba were, relatively speaking, ridiculous. That’s what you get from a communist country, I suppose.

Anyway, in case you’re curious, here’s where we are at this moment:

The blue dot is where the ship was at the moment the screenshot was taken, And I made a point of turning and facing the bow to show the direction we were going in. I’m not entirely certain how we got past the road leading into Port Royal, but maybe there’s a bridge there? I sort of skipped that part because I was still sleeping.
This is the view from my balcony…
And this is a zoom-in on Kingston, the capital. I should point out that the gray smoke is not coming from the town (as far as I know) but rather the ship. I mean, it has to burn fuel in order to get through here. Anyway, I don’t want to give the impression that Kingston is a polluted city when what you’re seeing here isn’t coming from there. I can’t comment on the town itself.
While I was out on the balcony, I heard some chatter from various people on other balconies around me as they took in the scenery, and encouraged others to do the same. Someone pointed out that there was a group of crewman on the lower deck taking pictures of the city, and it’s nice to think that, even for the people that work here, the wonder of travel doesn’t get subsumed by the workaday job they do. Granted, my shot catches them as they both realize they’ve been spotted, and determined that they need to get back to work, but the fact that they were there taking their own pictures remains.

It’s been 20 minutes since I took those photos, and an announcement has come over the PA from the captain. It turns out that this is not part of the original course as charted; we have ourselves a Bright Star operation. You’ll recall that Operation Bright Star is supposedly cruise ship code for an illness or injury onboard ship, with Operation Rising Star being the code for a fatality. I forget your reaction to it, but I have to admit the matter code as a certain poetic nature to it, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people (since cruise ships do tend to have an older and wealthier clientele as a rule) that have concluded that being the subject of such an operation would be a fine way to take their leave of the planet; to go our while they’re still enjoying themselves and all that. For all intents and purposes, honey, it’s kind of the way you went. Granted, your demise was due to accident, as opposed to age or illness, which I expect would be more common onboard ship, but still… these things happen.

Anyway, while the ship does have a medical facility on the second deck (and a morgue, too, I should point out), this situation presumably proved to be too much for their capabilities, and the unfortunate patient is having to be medivac’d to a hospital here in Kingston. Again, having been on the wrong side of one of these situations, I do feel sorry for those traveling with this person. Not only is their vacation ruined, there’s this added expense to the hospital, and the understandable stress that comes with worrying themselves about their traveling companion. I realize that seems selfish to say so, but this sort of thing probably affects more people than just the patient themselves.

Indeed, according to the captain, we will be staying here in Kingston for an hour or two while the whole situation is sorted out. I would assume the patient (and, most likely, their companions, if they have any) will be left behind, but the ship is staying at least long enough for them to be checked in and receiving sufficient medical care. You might suspect that this will delay our arrival in Aruba, and you would be right; the captain has actually said as much. For my part, I’m not too concerned with that; if nothing else, the folks running the various shore excursions will have to adjust rather than the other way around – if they insist on sticking to the schedule, they’ll have no customers, since we won’t be there yet, presumably.

Besides, this is a vacation; why try to hurry? I remember, back in the days when I was commuting to work, how there used to be a commercial on the radio for Aruba in particular, where the Carib-accented narrator would describe all the things one would find on the island (and I’ll touch on some of the more encyclopedic information at dinner time), but that one thing you wouldn’t find was “the ‘toot’ of the angry horn.” Basically, he had copy suggested that Aruba was ‘the happy island,’ where nobody got angry at each other. And what’s the point of blowing your horn, after all, when you’re already where you wanna be, on a tropical paradise?

Still, Paradise can wait, especially for our unfortunate patient. We’ll have eternity for that, after all.

So, for the time being, honey, if you would wish anyone luck, you can do so for this particular individual, whoever they may be. Clearly, they need it more than I do at the moment.

I’ll keep in touch, honey. Love you.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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