Sunday, June 12, 2011

Notes on a Gay Cruise - Character sketches

While editing my pictures in the shade one morning a gentleman came up to me introduced himself and we began talking. He had a most interesting backstory. After entering the priesthood at 19 he had left the church and has worked for the last several years at a well known non-profit organization. We spoke at some length on a wide variety of subjects. Religion, life, personal histories and interests. At first glance as I observed him onboard I though he might be standoffish as several others on the cruise were. However, I soon discovered a warm, friendly, somewhat boyish personality crossed with a fierce, almost intimidating intellect. Whenever we saw one another after that he made a point of coming over and speaking with me. I only wish that I had met this unique man earlier in the voyage.

In a shop on the dock in Aruba I noticed a man I had seen on the boat a few times. He had beautiful, well cared for dreadlocks worn in a ponytail that reached the middle of his back. After introducing myself and commenting on them he told me that he had grown them on a bet. A friend had bet him that he would never grow dreads as he had always shaved his head bald. He took on the challenge. Soon afterward the friend was shot and died. For the past seven years he has grown them out in memory of his friend and their friendship. I thought it a lovely and fitting memorial.

She is a short heavyset woman that speaks in a charming Patois. She is the hostess in the buffet dining room. Loud and jovial, she greets you as you enter. "You come from Puerto Rico! Let me sing you a song about Puerto Rico" at which point she sings a short nonsensical tune. "Have you met my dog?" she queries as a mechanical dog scuttles across the floor. On several occasions she wore a bow in her hair or bright Mardi Gras beads as large and expansive as her personality.

He is  a musical director and became one of my best buddies during the cruise. He is bright, well educated on a wide array of subjects and I will always treasure our talks as he is well versed in the art of conversation, something sometimes rare in these times.

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