After a restful night’s sleep we woke up to another beautiful sunrise. The air was clear and warm and the sun had already risen above the horizon. I stood on the balcony and knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
Randy ran up to the Diamond Club and returned with cups of cups of hot café lattes. We got comfortable on the balcony enjoying watching the sun continue to rise as the ship made its way to port.
Today was Valentine’s Day and we celebrated by exchanging lovely cards and Randy presented me with my very first little blue box from Tiffany’s. “I shall wear this beautiful pendant this evening,” I whispered in Randy’s ear. Lovely, just lovely.
Our port-of-call today is Royal Caribbean’s private resort Labadee on the northern tip of Haiti. We love coming here and have a favorite spot all the way at the end of the resort at a beach on the bay called Columbus Cove.
A quick breakfast and then off the ship for a fun day. Today, however, we would be going in two different directions. Randy would be going to Columbus Cove to set up our beach chairs while I participate in a “Labadee Historic Walking Tour”. The tour would be conducted by a local historian sharing the island’s 500-year history.
I and another couple met at the Information Center to wait for our guide. While inside I noticed several photos of early Haiti (Ayiti) and a statue commemorating the Haitian Revolution. The revolution led to the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army at the Battle of Vertieres. The sovereign nation of Haiti was established on January 1, 1804 and became the first independent nation of Latin American and the Caribbean.
Our guide, Lamy, was delightful and knowledgeable. He talked as we walked along stopping first at a map of the island where he told us that Taino people were the original inhabitants of the island. Eventually, a group of people called the Carib also inhabited the island. The Taino people were peacefull and passive while the Carib people were warlike.
He talked at length about Columbus arriving at the island on December 5, 1492 and claiming it for Spain calling the island La Española. During his stay the Santa Maria ran aground. Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could and build a structure for the 39 seaman of the Santa Maria as he could not take them back to Spain on the other two ships. This settlement was named La Navidad after the day the Santa Maria was destroyed. When Columbus returned the second time in 1493 he found the settlement burned to the ground and all the men either dead or missing. Throughout Lamy’s talk he used words like buccaneer, pirate, slave, revolution, freedom, and democracy as he explained Haiti’s long and turbulent history.
Our next stop was under a Neem tree where he extolled the benefits of this, in his words, a wonderful tree. According to Lamy all parts of the tree can be used to make a long list of medicines.
We then moved on to the remains of a structure called Nellie’s Towers. Nellie’s is named after an Englishwoman who arrived at the time of the buccaneers and set up a trading post and tavern to serve visiting ships and their crews.
Our last stop was at the Columbus Cove Café where Lamy talked a great deal about his hopes for his country and answered the few questions that we had. The walking tour was a very pleasant. We thanked Lamy and then went our separate ways.
The temperature was rising and I was anxious to join Randy at the beach. I found him lying under a wonderful palm tree just feet away from the water. I stripped down to my bathing suit and walked into the water. The water was a bit chill but very refreshing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather, a wonderful barbeque lunch and just relaxing in the sun. Eventually we caught a trolley back to the port. As we rolled along we passed the Haitian flea market with all its wonderful wares on display.
We ate quickly as we had reservations for the Oasis of Dreams aqua show. The show included synchronized swimming, acrobatic performances and jaw-dropping dives from a platform over 57 feet in the air. The stadium seating in the aqua theater is wonderful because it affords everyone a wonderful view of the show. This show is amazing!
It was still somewhat early so we decided to see if we could get in to the late night comedy show. We did not have tickets but we have found over time that if you can get to the line early outside the comedy club more than likely you can get seats; and we did!
Tonight’s comedians were Nery Saenz and John Caponera. Both gentlemen were very funny but I must admit I really enjoyed the humor of Nery Saenz. So much of his humor was based on personal stories that I could relate to. Very funny!
It was almost midnight by the time we arrived back at our cabin. It had been a wonderful day but it was time to turn in and get a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we will dock at Falmouth, Jamaica.
PS – Today I walked 6,124 steps and climbed 12 flights of stairs. Good day!