Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
First of all, thanks for all of the e-mails, phone calls to home, worries, prayers, and everything else! You´ll never really know how much those mean to me! haha...some of them even quite surprised me! And I laughed at several of them, too! Good times.
And thanks to mis amigos for offering to come over and help out. I´m still contemplating buying tickets for you to come on over...there is no sense in leaving a job undone, right?
Forgiveness, Andy...forgiveness...but what about the stories where justice and good living is even more sought after. The thought of a sword through a couple of bodies comes to mind. If that means nothing to you, then ask around.
Well, it´s a somewhat bitter ending for me. It´s hard to believe that I have been traveling for nearly three months already. It just doesn´t seem possible. And the ending has been...well, not what I had expected!
A couple of blogs ago I wrote that I was taking a pretty big gamble. Well, I did the gamble. And it just didn´t pay off.
Let´s back up a few weeks...ok, I am coming home for a wedding in Chicago (not mine, friends, not mine!). But I am the Best Man in a wedding, and I figured I should probably show up. And so I started looking at flights. Very expensive flights, mind you.
I didn't so much care for that (I have flown quite a bit already!). I mean, I love it, but I wanted something more exciting. So I looked into ships. Big ones. Cruise ships. But all of the Transatlantic cruises were already booked full...yeah, FULL! Or they had penthouse suites available for $3500. Probably not for me.
So I looked into other ships. Big ones! As in cargo ships. And wouldn´t ya know it, freighters DO carry passengers. Granted, you don´t get a towel animal every morning on your bed, you might not have fancy lights and music, and you may only ride with eight other passengers, but it got me from Europe to America. Sounded great!
Until I learned that these were even more expensive than cruise ships! Yeah, because of the rarity and adventure of it all, the Captains bumped up the price...around 100 Euros a day. Easily over $1000 to ride on a ship with hundreds of tons of cargo.
Not so much.
But I kept looking. And lo and behold, once every year, a whole regatta of yachts take off from a certain place on the east side of the Atlantic. Over 200 sailing vessels will ¨take the march¨from the east side of the Atlantic to the west side. And they leave in October and November.
The location? Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. So a few weeks ago, I did all the research, I posted my resume on a couple of websites, I made the phone calls, and I lined up a boat. We would be leaving Las Palmas November 1 with landfall in the Caribbean.
So I flew from Spain down to Las Palmas (very much on the west side of Africa! Find a map, and check it out!). I have been here for the past two weeks. And the day I got here, I hopped on the boat, talked to the Captain...and everything was going sooo smoothly. And I was excited. Until I asked the question...
And we´re still leaving November 1, right?
Oh, no, no...we moved it back a few weeks until November 25.
Just like that, my plan had bombed. With no warning. Hmm.
But I still had a place to stay on the boat. In exchange for four hours of work a day, I would have free food and lodging. Sounded good to me.
So that is where I have been the past couple of weeks. Sanding, painting, sanding some more, painting some more. It feels like slave work! haha...seriously! And it´s a rough and tough crew. I am going to need a few weeks of ¨cleaning time¨to erase the stories I have heard, the jokes I have been told, and the language I have been surrounded with (did you notice my langugage when I was attacked?! Strictly from hanging with these guys!).
But it has been somewhat enjoyable, too. We are completely taking an old boat and trying to make it look nice. It´s heading over to the Caribbean for a party boat for scuba divers...And I rarely wear a shirt. In November. The sun shines brilliantly every day...a good 80-85 degrees. So that´s hard to beat.
But I was pretty stranded way down south...far from Europe...and right next to Africa. Very far from Chicago.
So I asked cargo ships, freighters, cruise ships, sailing yachts, private yachts, travel agencies, people at the sailors´ hangouts, companies, employees...I seriously ousted everything I had.
And I came up short.
So I had to opt for a plane ticket. The flights to Chicago were quite expensive from here, too...even moreso than mainland Europe! But I did some looking around, and I decided to fly to Boston instead...I mean, it is closer to Europe, I have friends there, and it would be cheaper.
And guess what I found? A flight to Boston cheaper than a flight to Chicago. The only catch? It was a connecting flight...with a stop in Chicago. So I am flying to Boston...but not so much. I´m hoppin´off in Chicago. Airlines are crazy. It is cheaper to fly to Chicago and then to Boston than it is to fly to Chicago. Hmm.
But yeah, a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. For you all and for me. The trip as a whole has been great. Really. I have learned so much about myself, about the world, about people...but here in the last week or so, it has been tainted a bit! Traveling took a turn for the worse, I lost trust in people, and my dream fizzled rather quickly! And I don´t want it to be that way...for you, either! I have really enjoyed the trip!
Of course, I would very much love to be coming back on the high seas!
But such is life. As the sailors say...no, I´ll spare you that. Um, let´s just say life isn´t always a bed of roses. There, that´s better.
So I´m coming to the end of my three months. I´ve got a wedding in Chicago to get to.
And rather than pay for mis amigos to come over to Las Palmas with me and take care of some business, I´m going to ask for something else. Meet me at the airport, and protect me from those who love me most. As in my mom. And those crazy ladies at church that think the world of me.
I´m afraid that their hugs and all might suffocate me and choke me out anyway. So can we just start with...handshakes? High fives? Smiles? And homemade ice cream? Lambert´s hot rolls? And honey BBQ chicken wings?!
2007-11-06 15:13:32 GMT