FROM the mirage of seemingly interminable school years, novels after novels were read for pleasure as well as for maintaining a summary cum review in the high school organ, The Seaside Echo. Page after page, Ernest Hemingway’s classic The Sun Also Rises comes up – beautifully loud and clear.
Why did The Sun Also Rises turn up in memory? Because the magnificence of the sunrise in Amber Cove, San Juan, and Grand Turk exceeded all other beauties of these Caribbean islands — at least for these 80+ oldster temporarily “unhinged” from the Carnival Breeze cruise ship, April 20-27, 2019 — to enjoy out of sea excursions. These three tourist favorites are veritable marketplaces for these islands best products, e.g. diamond jewelry.
Amber Cove, its very name a beauty by itself, was introduced by tourist guide Ysmael who, among other places, brought us to the famous rum house where we were served tiny cups of rum. A sip sent me shaking my head against alcohol and its allies. But what really pricked my interest was how Ysmael got his name. My inkling is that his parents must be Bible-inspired? Reminding me to look up for the origin of Ysmael.
St. Thomas was left out in the itinerary, at least for me, because touring there would involve a lot of walking for this senior citizn. Let the three youngsters in the company have fun, leaving me to browse in the Internet what I couldn’t get first hand.
San Juan was a different story. Billed as a Rainforest Drive, it was a must-see in Puerto Rico. To quote the ad: “Don’t miss the great opportunity to visit El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System.” And a lot more, thanks to Miguel, our very able Puerto Rican tour guide.
Attracted by one of the headlines, we bought a copy of the San Juan Daily Star, April 24, 2019: Sanders Backs Voting Rights for Jail Inmates — the gist of which I got from U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders: “I do believe that even if they are in jail they are paying their price to society but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.” I wonder if our own jailed fellow Filipinos are allowed to vote in government elections. What do you think?
Grand Turk was made more lovely and awesome by Troy, our guide, with his repetitious lovely and awesome in describing Grand Turk places and events. But what’s lovely and awesome, too, is the receptionist Analiza Fernandez, a Filipina, employed in Grand Turk, a far-away land from our country.
Back to the Carnival Breeze, I would be remiss if I fail to mention charming April and May, two of the many other fellow Filipinos employed in the cruise ship. And I say to them: You all lessen the unemployment problem in our country, at the same time enriching the government’s treasure chests. Photographer Edwin Garcia from Nueva Ecija has worked in the cruise ship for eleven years, and when he says “happy-happy” you break into an engaging smile before the shutter closes.
Many other Asians are employed, too, like Indonesian Ruli, our suite steward, assisted by Tun from Myanmar, the country that brings to mind his country’s heroine — the activist and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Aung San Suu Kyi.
Indonesian servers Inyoman and Aditya graciously wrote down our choices during the five dinner nights. Across the big round table were seated two ladies and two gentlemen engrossed in their own tete-a-tete. I was seated beside Lisa Hannah from New Jersey, and beside her was Yaminah from North Carolina. Lisa is a school teacher, a principal, that I was prone to introduce the “brilliant” company after showing Lisa my press card: daughter Randy, a best physician awardee, Honors granddaughter Danika, and son-in-law David, a CPA and a magna cum laude of West Virginia University.
Needless to say, the sun will rise with the labor of love of our fellow Filipinos and other Asians, not only in the Carnival Breeze but in other cruise ships as well. ([email protected]/PN)