I got back in town last night, and so will be blogging regularly again.
It was definitely a nice, relaxing vacation. I'd never been on a cruise before, and it's certainly different from the way I'm used to traveling. You're only in a port for 7 hours or so, so you don't get a chance to immerse yourself in the culture, get to know the area, etc. You end up spending most of your time being whisked to a particularly attraction or activity, or in the sheltered tourist ghetto. While this clearly has its downsides, it also forces you to relax, to not try to do much except chill on the beach or on the deck.
So it's not how I'd pick to go on most vacations, but it's great for when you need to be forced to relax and unwind. So it's good on occasion for people like me, who try to seize every opportunity (particularly opportunities for an interesting experience), and who consequently come back from vacation just as worn out as they left.
That being said, I did have some very memorable experiences:
- Going scuba diving in Cozumel, Belize, and Grand Cayman -- including Stingray City, where stingrays swim all around you as you feed and play with them
- Visiting the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, deep in the jungle
- Getting the backstage tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston from a friend of the family who works there. I had to get out of the shuttle training simulator when a group of astronauts came in and asked if they could take over to train for their mission :-P
- Hanging out with one of the ship's security officers, listening to his stories from his days in the Indian military and intelligence services, from interrogating militants in Kashmir to being a bodyguard for Rajiv Ghandi, as well as fascinating stories from his personal life. I can't wait to try out his recipe for an excellent Goan masala
But now I'm back, so expect more regular blogging