Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Celtic Thunder Cruise 2013 - Day 4

November 4th, 2013
Ocho Rios (At Port)

Today has been amazing fun so far, although my mom hasn’t enjoyed it much today.

We went out to the buffet so I could get some hot chocolate, and then we came back to our room and watched TV. Then we went out and got breakfast... and then came back and watched TV again. We were basically just killing time until the ship landed in sunny Ocho Rios, in Jamaica.

I'm telling you, the hot chocolate on the Carnival Victory was AMAZING.

I was very excited, because I love Jamaican accents. *grins* I always have, since I was little—it was always the Jamaican, Irish, Scottish, and English accents that won my heart. Jamaican probably sounds rather strange grouped up with the United Kingdom accents, but it’s true.

But anyway, at around 10am, it was time to go. We waited for a while; we didn’t want to be crowded, so we decided to hold off until most of the other people had gotten off the ship.

Then we made our way out into Jamaica. It was humid, but not too hot; it had been hotter up on the ship’s deck. We had to show our key cards and IDs, and go through metal detectors, before we could leave. A person next to us said they do that to make sure we’re not smuggling contraband out of the ship. They do the same when we return to make sure we’re not smuggling it into the ship.

There was a woman outside taking pictures with each passenger; a Jamaican woman. She asked us to, but we said no—the photographer makes you buy the photos just to acquire them, so there was no point in that.

My family and I walked along the docks and up onto the shore. We planned to go and sit on the beach, but when we entered the town, there were a lot of shops. So we decided to look through them first.

(Added note: here are pictures of Jamaica that we took from on board the ship!)

Two birds; there were birds everywhere on the ship once we got closer to land - even one flying around one of the stateroom hallways!

Jamaica... and lots of random passengers who were with us on the ship. XD


So prettyyyy...

It was so /green/! o.o

Another snapshot of Ocho Rios.

Ocho Rios.

The water and the sky.

More of the water and the sky. XD

Ocho Rios again.

The very first thing we saw that caught my interest was a table under an awning. A young Jamaican man was making bracelets. There were a plethora of pre-made ones on the table, and looking at them, I could not believe the guy’s talent. I found myself very much wanting one.

We left to keep looking at what there was to see. I talked it over with my mom; I wanted to buy two bracelets—one for myself, and one for someone else. That would cost twelve dollars. I was willing to pay her for it; she said she would think about it.

Then the one event that kept happening to make my mom very annoyed came around.

There are a lot of men standing around out on the streets. They drive cars and take you on tours. Well, every single time we would walk past any of them, they would immediately start walking alongside us and tell us about how wonderful and cheap their taxi services were.

And the one-sided haggling was ridiculous. When my mom said we weren’t interested, and that we were planning to walk, every taxi driver would immediately say, “Oh, alright, you look like a nice person, I’ll lower it to fifty per person. Fifty dollars per person.” Mom would say ‘no’, and he would say, “Okay, okay, just for you, I’ll lower it to forty-five per person. Forty-five dollars.”

I don’t know whether I should admit it, but I didn’t mind them ‘hounding us’, as Mom said. I was willing to just stand there and keep saying ‘no, thank you’ until they left me alone. That was the first thing about Jamaica that caught my eye—everyone was so friendly, even though they were also very insistent. I even told Mom when we got on the island, “If it wasn’t so hot here, I wouldn’t mind living here—everyone is so friendly!”

Anyway, that happened on and off throughout our trip. My mom gave up on being polite and would just ignore whoever stopped her and walk off.

Me? Well, I’ve always been taught never to ignore people, so I couldn’t get into the habit of it. If someone talked to me, my immediate response was to turn to them and say, “No, thank you, sir.”

According to my mom, that was me being gullible and inviting them to come talk to us. I was completely confused and asked how being polite was me being gullible. I don’ remember what her response was; she probably didn’t say anything.

Most of the shops were similar, in that they sold pretty much the same stuff—most of the shops sold hats, bags, shirts, knick-knacks, and liquor. :P There were many jewelry stores as well.

Another thing people kept doing: women kept walking up to me and insisting that I let them braid my hair. My mom has wanted to braid my hair Jamaican-style for a while, but doesn’t have the ability to. But the amount they were charging—$2 for one row, which, with my hair, would end up $50 for the whole thing—was ridiculous, and Mom told about three women ‘no’.

But finally, a woman came to us in one of the stores and said she would braid the entire front and top of my head for fifteen dollars. Mom reluctantly agreed, and I was led into the back to sit on a stool.

The woman was very rough with my hair. I have a very strong scalp—I can endure a lot. I tend to basically rip my brush through my hair when I brush it, because it’s always so tangled. It doesn’t bother me.

But she was rough, even for me. It hurt so bad at times, I was blinking back tears. Again, my mom tells me I have a very high pain tolerance in general (as far as physical pain goes), so if something hurts me... it hurts. :P

I kept quiet, though, and after about thirty minutes (she kept getting approached by her co-workers; she was apparently taking too long), it was finished. She led me over to a mirror so I could see.

I rather liked it; braids in my hair, with green beads. My brother spent the next twenty minutes telling me how horrible I looked, but I ignored him.

Oh, yes. Before this, I had run into my friend Sammi. She walked up to me and said something like, “Well, hello, Stranger!”

We chatted for a few minutes; she was on her way back to the ship, I think, because she has already been to Ocho Rios before. I wanted to talk longer, but she didn’t want her grandmother to have to wait for too long. So, with plans to talk later on the ship, she left.

We continued walking around, getting approached by Jamaicans begging us to buy their stuff or take their taxis. I still didn’t mind all that much, but my mom and brother have tempers that were beginning to heat up. :P

(Added note: here are pictures I took on Jamaica. XD)

A view of the ship from the Ocho Rios docks.

Pretty pink flowers on vines above the water.

... I honestly don't know who these people were, but they were dancing, and when I tried to get a video, they insisted I take a photograph with them. XD

The fancy clock that I was much too fascinated by. XD

Lovely yellow flowers.

Random fountains...

A random street musician. XD

Beautiful red flowers up in the trees. o.o

The souvenir store.

The street leading into the town square.

Palm tree. XD

Delicate red flowers.

A random purple plant. XD

More red flowers.

Orangey-pink flowers.

A lone red flower.

A skinny black feral cat. I wanted to take it home with me. :'(

Returning to our floating home...

Our floating home in all of its terrifyingly huge and swaying glory. XD

After one woman, who came and matched pace with me, chattering on about her flea market and her ID (and having a bit of a stand-off with my mom about how her ID meant she wasn’t a shady person, because she had to take police tests or something) before leaving, Mom commanded me to walk faster, and my brother told me to just ignore anyone who talked to me. I still couldn’t though.

(While that lady was telling me about her flea market, Mom outwardly went up to another woman and asked none too quietly, “How do you get them to stop harassing you?” I was absolutely embarrassed.)

Mom asked someone where we could find the beach. The man directed us down one road, and then left us be. But even though we searched, we couldn’t find it. By this time, Mom just gave up. Larry was complaining, she was fed-up with all the people ‘harassing’ her...

I kept my mouth shut; I figured it was best not to tell either of them that I wanted to stay and keep wandering around. We started the trek back to the entrance to the town, continuing to be approached by taxi drivers.

Finally, Mom spotted a few elderly women from our ship and walked up to them. She said something about harassment and asked if we could walk with them. The women amiably agreed, and we walked almost the rest of the way with them.

They had been to Ocho Rios before too, so Mom apparently decided to use that as her new excuse—when people approached her, she would say, “We’ve been here already!”

There was a sidewalk musician that I wanted to take a quick photo of, but when he saw me, he said I should take a picture with him. He took my arm, and I was about to tell Mom. She turned back and looked horrified—partly because he had my arm, and partly because I had yet again been ‘gullible’ and allowed someone to pull me aside.

She started to say, “No, we’ve been here already.” I said, “Mom?” She kept rambling, and I just started saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom...” until she went quiet and looked at me. I said, “It’s just a picture we want.”

Then she decided that was okay, and we got our photo taken with him. (Added note: two, actually. Here they be. Plus a few special photos of me with two policemen and a random animal guy that my mom wanted me to get. XD)

The street musician showing us how he wanted us to pose. I have a suspicion it was some sort of Rastafarian thing.

Me, the street musician, and my brother.

The animal guy showing me how to hold his bunny rabbit.

The animal guy, the donkey, me, and the bunny rabbit.

Me and the two policemen. XD

The elderly women stayed there so that they could catch their breath, so we moved on. We reached the stall where the bracelet-maker had been, and I asked Mom to let me get two bracelets; that I would pay her back.

She agreed, and I walked over to the man, telling him I would like two bracelets. He gave me a notepad and pen so that I could write the exact spellings of the names I wanted on the bracelets down.

Then he asked me what colors I wanted for the bracelets. I wanted the one for my friend to be blue, red, and yellow. He had to get new string for it (all he had out was red, green, yellow, and black), but was very nice about it. Then he asked what color I wanted; I went with the usual red, green, and yellow.

He had to make them right then and there, because he didn’t have pre-made bracelets with the names on it. I enjoyed watching him make the bracelets—I stood there the entire time.

This man was very calm and amiable—unlike most of the other people, he didn’t pull you aside and practically demand you buy something. He didn’t keep asking you. He didn’t talk a mile a minute. He was just very quiet, and waited for someone who was interested to approach him instead. I’d even venture to say that he was shy.

We were there for about a half-hour while he made the bracelets. Mom struck up conversation with him, and I sat there, enjoying hearing his accent. It reminded me of home.

Anyway, eventually he finished. We thanked him, and went to find Larry. He was on the other side of the awning, being chattered to by a man who apparently makes rings out of wire. Larry had rings on every finger of his right hand while the guy talked.

Mom walked up and said it was time to go. The ring man started chattering to her.

The bracelet maker came up with a red, green, yellow, and brown necklace and gave it to Larry. But this time, he wasn’t trying to be insistent—Mom had explained, when he asked her where Larry was, that he was bored and impatient. As a bit of a peace offering, I guess you could say, the bracelet maker gave him a free necklace (not a girly one) in an attempt to make up for taking so long on the bracelets.

While he did this, the ring man gave Mom a ring to give to me, saying something about a ‘free ring’ for his (Larry’s) sister—me.

Mom insisted to both of them that she didn’t have anymore money left, and couldn’t pay them. She said she didn’t want to waste their time if she couldn’t pay them, and to take their gifts back. The bracelet maker told her he was just trying to give Larry a necklace for being so nice about waiting.

I don’t know what the ring man’s excuse was. Eventually, though, we left with a free ring and necklace. I glanced back over my shoulder at the three men under the awning (the bracelet and ring guys, plus another guy) and waved, telling them all ‘thank you’. Then I ran to catch up with my family.

We boarded the ship again. After going back to our room, we went and had lunch. 

My yummylicious pastrami-on-rye sandwich and dill pickles. XD

Then we went back to our room. After a while, we decided that Mom and Larry would go walk around the deck, and I would go to Sammi’s room to see if she was there.

After I knocked, she answered the door. I walked into her room, and we chatted for a while.

It was so nice to meet a girl in person whom could go on silly rants with me about the Irish guys on the cruise, without being bored or teasing me. I’ve only run into two girls willing to rant with me—her, and my awesome lil sister Everly. *grins*

I was having so much fun chatting, I lost track of the time. She decided she had to take a shower, so I left. On my way up to the Lido Deck (the deck that’s on our floor of the ship), I ran into my mom and Larry.

I got an earful about giving my mom a heart attack (metaphorically). I had been gone for over thirty minutes, and she had been about to walk through every single corridor of rooms shouting my name.

After the lecture, I followed them out onto the deck. I sat with Mom up on a deck chair, asking her whether I could hang out with Sammi late tonight. We went back and forth; she didn’t want me to be alone, and I didn’t want to inconvenience her. In the end, we decided that I could go, but that I had to stay on the Lido Deck, and she would either sit on the deck or check on us every half-hour.

At about 3:30pm, she and I decided to go back to our room. We waved at Larry, but he wouldn’t move—we finally realized he was talking to a pretty blond girl. And he was smiling for probably the first time since we boarded the ship.

We motioned that we would be back in our room, and then left. I was giggling and grinning like crazy. Mom ordered me not to tease him, so I agreed.

But then, about a half-hour later, she went to go bring him back to the room to get ready for our next show. Lo and behold, she couldn’t find him. She came back in a panic, alternating between fear and extreme anger.

We couldn’t find him no matter where we searched, so she asked one of the waiters if there was a PA system she could call for Larry over. He directed her to Guest Services. On our way there, who should practically slam into us, but Larry.

I trailed behind as she began to quiet-yell (yelling in a way that keeps others from hearing you) at him. Eventually, she stopped, and we continued with our evening. We went to the comedian’s show. It was supposed to be family friendly, but... let’s just say it wasn’t, and we had to leave. :P

Shortly after, we went to watch Goitse, a traditional Irish band, play a sort of quiz game. One of the questions ended up inappropriate though, so Mom told us to leave. I knew the room would empty very quickly (because not many people were there to begin with), so I asked her if I could get the camera and ask Goitse for a photo. She said she would get it, but that I had to stay out in the hallway until the inappropriate question had been answered.

It was eventually. Mom and Larry hadn’t returned, but I timidly went back into the room. I walked to the corner where the band was and shyly tapped Conal O’Kane, the guitarist, on the shoulder.

He turned around and gave me this wonderfully friendly smile, inviting me to speak. I asked hesitantly if he and the rest of the band would mind taking a picture with me, when my mom returned with the camera. He said that was perfectly fine.

Conal told the rest of the band why I was standing there, and then introduced them. There was Colm Phelan, the bodhrán player and sort-of band leader. Then there was James Harvey, the youngest and the banjo and mandolin player. There was Áine McGeeney, the singer and fiddle-player. And last but certainly not least, Tadhg O’Meachair, the accordion player and pianist.

They were absolutely friendly, especially Tadhg. He chattered away to me, at some point telling me exactly how to pronounce and spell his name. I spoke up a moment later and and said I already knew how to pronounce and spell it (I did, too). Curiously, he asked how I pronounced it. I said, “Tadhg”. (It’s pronounced ‘tyg’, just like ‘tiger’ but without the ‘r’ sound, by the way.)

He said, “Right!” I said I knew that because it was the name of a character from one of my favorite Irish films.

Tadhg asked what film. All eyes were on me, but I didn’t feel scared or nervous—a bit shy, but not afraid. They were simply too friendly. I responded, “The Field.”

When I said that, Tadhg enthusiastically said that he loved that movie, as well as the play. I grinned, and he grinned back.

We talked for a while. I asked James how old he was, out of curiosity. (To the certain sisters of mine I know are reading this—yes, it was because he was very sweet and kind and gentlemanly, and he looked to be only a little older than me. Hey, it was completely innocent curiosity, I promise! *cheeky grin*)

He gave me a challenging smile and said, “Why don’t you guess?”

I tilted my head to one side and said what my initial guess had been. “Eighteen?”

He shook his head with a bigger smile and said, “Higher.”

I responded with a giggle, “Twenty?” Again, he shook his head and told me to try higher.

Shocked, I said hesitantly, “Twenty-one?” Again, I was wrong, and he shook his head and told me to go even higher.

Even more surprised now, I doubtfully asked if he was twenty-two. He grinned back and said, “Yep.”

We shared a laugh, and I found myself surprised. He really doesn’t look older than eighteen or twenty. Oh well. *grins at Everly* ;)

Colm had disappeared for a moment, and then returned. The workers had informed him that the doors to that area of the ship were being shut, and that we had to go. Colm then looked at me and said, “Your friend is probably locked out.”

I didn’t correct him that it was my mom and brother. Instead, I just followed them out of the room. One of them—I think it was Colm—opened the door and waited for me to walk out first. I felt all special and like a princess. *sheepish grin* Hey, I don’t get chivalry around here often, not in person. So when I do, it makes me feel nice.

Sure enough, Mom and Larry came running up as soon as we exited the lounge. Mom apologized, saying that she had been walking as fast as she could. I said it was fine, and glanced over my shoulder at the four handsome Irishmen and the beautiful Irish lady behind me.

We got into a position. I had the biggest grin on my face when Tadhg pulled us all close together in order to get all of us in view of the camera—and he put his arm around my shoulder. *grins* Áine was standing on my other side, and the other three stood around us.

Mom took two pictures (added note: I'm only showing the one that came out the best); I thanked them all for taking the picture, and then happily trotted off after Mom and Larry.

From left to right - James, Áine, me, Tadhg, Conal, and Colm.

At some point—I think it was soon after dinner—I went to go and watch the Celtic Thunder Karaoke. It was fun to listen to the people sing Celtic Thunder songs (that’s what it was; karaoke where only Celtic Thunder songs were sang).

There were a few really nice guys in the crowd. I didn’t recognize them, but one tall, young guy with dark hair and a beard approached me from behind. I had no idea he was there until he amiably placed his hand on my shoulder, leaned down so that tiny me could hear him, and asked, “Are you going to sing?”

As much as I liked that idea, I still shook my head with a laugh and replied (he also leaned down again so he could hear me), “No, I can’t sing. I’m horrible at it.”

He laughed and patted my shoulder. “Me either. I can’t ever sing on key.” I said I couldn’t either.

We kept watching the karaoke; he wandered the crowd a bit, but always returned to his position  either behind me or beside me. His friends also stayed close-by.

At one point, the dark-haired man did a dance up front during one of the karaoke songs. He looked very similar to one of the dancers from Gaelic Rhythm, the dance team onboard the ship, and danced similarly... so I thought they were the dancers.

As I realized later on... they weren't. XD Fortunately for me, they were Irish performers as well (okay, drink mixologists or something, but how could I have known that?! :P), so they didn't find it weird when I asked for a photograph later on.

I was surprised to see them mingling with the crowd rather than hiding out, but I wasn’t complaining, especially since they were all standing near me. XD

One young man - Kyle - who sang karaoke was a boy with Down Syndrome. He had a very hard time of it, but the crowd, including myself, applauded and cheered thunderously. Two of the dancers (not the one who had spoken to me) jumped up on the small stage and sang with him. Then Seamus, the person controlling the sound, joined in.

At the end, the boy was congratulated by many people. I went up and said, “Good job!”, and offered my hand for him to shake. He took it for a split second, and then stepped forward and gave me a huge hug.

I couldn’t help saying, “Aww...” before hugging him back tight. Then I returned to my position next to the Irish guys whom I thought were dancers. XD

The dark-haired man was so friendly, I even felt comfortable enough to tap his shoulder at one point and say teasingly, “You should sing!”

He had been getting that a lot, but always adamantly refused, especially when Seamus—the sound man—placed a microphone near his mouth (Seamus did that to members of the crowd so that they could sing along).

He refused again. But then, one or so songs later... when Michael Londra, another Irish singer who is on the ship, sang I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For... one or two of the dancers, along with none other than the dark-haired one, jumped up on the stage and sang along. I cheered very loudly, happy to see my (or so I consider him) newfound friend singing.

It's a bad picture (I kept getting jostled), but there are the two Irish guys on the left (the one in the middle is my friend), Michael Londra, and then a very blurred Irish performer making his way off the stage. XD

I asked him if I could get my picture taken with him and his friends—at the time, I thought he was a member of Gaelic Rhythm. Ciaran Keating, to be exact. They do look quite similar, and dance in the same way. Apparently, he was part of some other performer group (added note: *cough* the mixologists... I will never stop being embarrassed about this XD)... but hey, he agreed to take a photo with me.

After my mom had taken about three photographs (the two best ones are shown after this paragraph), I shook the man’s hand. He held it for several seconds longer than normal and smiled. Then I headed off with my mom and my brother.

One of the Irish performers, my friend, and me. XD

The entire team and I. XD

We went to the Celtic Thunder Mythology show later on, and it was a whole lot of fun. I sang along... until my brother snapped at me to knock it off. I loved all the songs that were playing, and it was amusing to see my mom’s face when old 80s and 90s songs that she recognized would play.

Here is the stage on which all of the big shows played.

Afterwards, I headed out onto the Lido Deck to hang out with Sammi. Mom checked on us once or twice, and then went to bed. Sammi and I walked around the ship chatting; she cursed once or twice, as is inevitable with most public schoolers. But for the most part she was very polite and well-behaved.

We went down on the deck and listened to Goitse, a traditional Irish band, play music. It was such great music to dance to, I couldn’t help it. Me and Sammi kept performing impromptu dances that were absolutely horrible but fun—and that’s the important thing, right?

There are these cameras on deck, and a big screen right at the top of the deck. And that screen shows up on the TVs in the rooms at all times, right?

Well, since tonight was Costume Night, people were dressed in crazy costumes. Sammi was wearing a dress she made herself out of duct tape (it’s amazing, by the way). Anyway, at some point, she let out an exclamation of excitement and pointed at the screen.

I frowned, and glanced up. For a second, I didn’t realize what was showing up. Then, upon closer glance...

It was us. No doubt the cameramen meant to point the camera at Sammi, but since I was standing right next to her, I was up there on this huge screen. People in their rooms probably saw it.

My immediate reaction was to clap a hand over my mouth with an embarrassed and shocked laugh and exclaim quietly, “Oh my goodness gracious—oh my days, that is horrifying.” Sammi giggled at that.

At 11:25pm, I reluctantly returned to my room. I donned my pajamas, turned on my MP3 player, and climbed into bed. I sat there daydreaming about various fantasies, making plans for the Ceilidh dance at the end of the cruise, and feeling very happy. It had been a wonderful day.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7


  1. I am that way about being polite to people too... :/ I don't think it's so much gullible as it's impractical. But being impractical is just nicer and funner sometimes.... :P

    You looked so pretty with your hair braided like that. ^_^

    1. Exactly! My mom and brother already think I'm gullible though. XD

      D'ohhh... thanks, sis. ^_^

  2. :P Well...too bad for them.

    You is welcome. ^_^