the adventures of a girl, her dog, and two cats.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

sleep away camp

The past few weeks have been hectic. I was gifted a pass one day for the boat show, so I headed to the show to renew my unlimited towing policy with TowBoatUS. Renewing at the show got me a 10% discount, not much perhaps, but every little bit helps these days. I didn't look at boats at the show, and rarely do. Just doesn't interest me. I'm really only there to see the vendor tents. One interesting product I saw was SoftSand, rubber particles for mixing with paint for non-skid decks. The pup doesn't like walking on the decks so I've condsidered doing non-skid paint, but it is often done with sand, which holds heat and can make decks uncomfortably hot if you like to go barefoot. The rubber particles won't have that same effect, so I think they will be a great option. Other than that, the boat show was the same old thing and once you've seen one, you've sort of seen them all. I did buy a whopping two $2 sail ties to add to my small collection.

The following weekend the pup dog went to "sleep away camp," or really, went camping with a friend and his daughter, who had been missing the pup dog after having puppy-sat during my trip. I wasn't able to get away to go camping with them, but I packed Buttercup an overnight bag with bowls, toys, food, treats, leashes, a towel, and a snuggle blanket. Yep, I'm a smother-mother. I've been battling a sinus infection or cold off and on since that weekend, so I'm glad pup got to go have fun rather than just hang around with me sick in bed that whole weekend.

My professional face paint for my halloween makeup arrived. I ordered it from Mehron, which appears to be cruelty free. I'm running short of time to practice, so need to do another practice run tonight, but my first practice run with the face paint went well. I picked up a smaller brush to make the lines across my face for teeth finer, and it should also work well for small dots and other little details. I also have glitter and glue-on rhinestones, which I haven't experimented with yet. I had really hoped to go out in costume tonight to see John Brown's body, one of my fav bands, up in Baltimore. But with no car and little cash, it looks like that isn't happening.

When I did the practice run it was a Friday night and the face paint had arrived that afternoon. I decided to just stay in for the night with a bottle of wine and practice the make-up. I had finished it and was just hanging out on the boat when Max came zooming in and out. He was acting oddly and when I got a closer look I saw he had a mouse in his mouth. While he was on the deck with it I scurried out and closed the hatch so he couldn't take it back inside. While Hunter is a hella mouser, this was Max's first. My baby cat is all grown up!

While I was out on deck with a glass of wine and my face all painted some folks visiting town for the boat show walked by. We started chatting and they asked if I'd be willing to take them out for a day sail that Sunday or knew anyone who would. Apparently all the charters around town were already booked; there are surprisingly few out there, too. I explained that I really couldn't do it (my boat's too much of a wreck right now and I don't have a captain's license to be able to do it legally). But I suggested they wander down to Davis' and ask around. They convinced me to head there with them for a drink; thanks and cheers Mark and Kim! I guess they'll have a good boat show story about some goofy girl in her Halloween make-up, or maybe everyone will just think they had too many Painkillers!

So I rolled on over to the pub in my wild sugar skull make-up. People didn't even recognize me until they saw my insanely long hair. I tried to round up someone to take Mark and Kim sailing, but no luck. After they headed out I chatted for a long time with a guy with the most adorable dimples you've ever seen. No floppy hair and a good 10-15 years older than my usual, but he was fun to talk with and wasn't fazed by my ghoulish appearance. But one minute he was showing me photos of his daughters and the next he just disappeared.  

That left me sitting at the bar next to a creepy guy trying to pick me up. He asked me what I was doing later. I looked at the clock: 1:30AM; it is later I explained, and I would be heading home to get a good night's sleep. Then he just straight out propositioned me and said he'd "make love to my dead face." Eeeks. Check please! Drunk as he was I guess he felt that might have been awkward (ya think?) but I politely thanked him for the offer, and said no thanks, I'd pass. Everyone wants to be wanted. It's flattering. But there comes a point when it is pretty tiring to feel like all anyone, everyone, wants is to get in your pants. But I have to admit, that make-up is pretty sexy, right? Sigh.

It had been a year since I had had a haircut and I needed to find a new stylist since my beloved one recently passed away. I did lots of research about DevaCurl and found a stylist for a special curl-friendly DevaCut. Dawn at Morgan Gerard Salon in Annapolis was great. Before and after photos below. My hair feels so much healthier with all that old growth gone. I love the DevaCurl products, but will have to wait until next month for the cash to buy them. So, making due for now, and very happy with the cut.

Although I loved having really long hair it was too much. The ends were dry and frazzled from having been colored (currently it is totally natural), blown dry, and flat-ironed for years. It would get caught on the Velcro on my foulies (probably still will, but not quite as much). My arms would get tired doing my beautiful french braids. It was time to let go. I liked the long mermaid hair, but the length and weight were weighing the curls down and I was finally ready to embrace them!

Out being silly. Raawwrr!
I was out with a friend Saturday night, after having gotten up early to tend bar at an event all day. I was exhausted and figured it'd be an early night so I could get up in the morning and knock out a needed long run. But just when my friend was heading out, I ended up running into the guy with the cute dimples. Let's just remember that my life has been a series of tragically bad decisions, generally about men and career. Thus, I have no guy and no career. (But more importantly, I have me, my pack, and my freedom.) 

Not that this was a bad decision on that level. But I really have to remember that no guy, absolutely no guy, is worth missing a long run for or being a bad mom to my furry kids over. But I left the hatch open and the cats running loose for around 11 hours because I didn't get back to my boat until almost 5:00AM. Which is when I needed to be waking up to knock out a 14 mile run that has been pushed back and pushed back on my schedule to the point of being seriously behind on my training for a 50K that is just over 7 weeks away.  I really consider my body a VIP room and not just everyone gets in, but every once in a while curiosity gets the better of me and I can't help myself. I knew at the time that I should have headed home, but we all have moments of weakness and it was nice to hang out with a smart guy for a change. (The boy toy who fell overboard was painfully dumb.) But if it's going to be meaningless, then I'd rather they were young and dumb. Maybe it won't end up having been totally meaningless, I enjoyed his smile and his company, but I'm not holding my breath.

I make a point of not getting involved with anyone I meet at my local pub because it's my place that I just want to feel at ease. I did meet the floppy-haired sailor there two years ago, but he was the only one, and I knew from the outset that he was just passing through and wouldn't be a fixture there. I should have followed my own advice because running into the guy with the dimples at the pub was exactly that uncomfortable situation I wanted to avoid in my local watering hole. Instead of picking up where we left off after a long night and a beautiful dinghy ride under the stars at 4:30AM, there was that awkward distance that seems to nullify and debase the intimacy and closeness I felt, reveals that they were just an illusion in a passing moment of passion. That feeling is also so sad, knowing that I sell myself short. Any Homeland fans out there? Saul has a great line telling Carrie "You're the smartest and the dumbest person I know." Yep, that's me. 

I deserve someone who is crazy about me. I definitely don't want a guy whose world revolves around me; I've been there, done that, and can't handle the pressure to be responsible for someone else's happiness. But I do deserve someone whose eyes light up when he sees me. Someone who appreciates that I am bat-shit crazy, because it may be a wild ride, but it will never be dull. Someone who doesn't need me to lift him up, and who doesn't pull me down. Two whole, independent people who are just better together. Someday I will find that. 

A special shout out to fellow mermaid, Julia. Thanks for reading and thanks for your kind words. Don't let them get you down!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

winter is coming

Yes, I'm missing Game of Thrones. When I grow up I want to be Khalesi. Fierce, fearless, and all about freedom. But even if you're not a Game of Thrones fan and the reference is meaningless to you, winter really is coming here in Annapolis.

This will be my third winter aboard, so I've figured out tricks for getting through it and know to brace myself for low tides and slippery docks. One of the suckiest things is the water from the tap being so cold your fingers hurt to the bone when doing dishes. This winter I may try putting dirty dishes in a bucket and taking them daily to the bathhouse to wash with the piping hot water there, like several other folks in the marina do. The past couple of days have been lovely and kissing the 70s again, but a couple of nights before required sleeping in flannel pajamas. I officially declared it "winter aboard" when it was only 55 degrees inside when I got up and cold enough out that I walked the dog wearing my flannels. The other sure sign it's winter aboard: the cats are all about snuggling up with me on the bed. Yep, they think of me as their space heater just like I joke that they are mine. 

All of a sudden I'm having to think about when dock water will be turned off. I'll need to link hoses to reach the winter water line that is sunk in the mud so it doesn't freeze. The day before yesterday I had a massive laundry day, and when I was making the bed I realized it was probably time to put the heated mattress pad back on the v-berth mattress. Yesterday I went to my storage unit and got my oil-filled radiator just to be ready, as well as a down puffer coat. I can't find my three pairs of winter boots, so that has me a little freaked out. I'll end up finding them shoved far behind and under something and coated in mold, no doubt.

The other thing I haven't been able to find since my return from New Zealand: my fav purple Prada sunglasses I wore throughout the trip. I didn't have room for them in my carry-on so I popped them in the middle of my checked bag. Someone seems to have stolen them from the duffel somewhere between Auckland International and Baltimore-Washington International. Rats. I keep hoping to find them among the craziness aboard, but I think they really were swiped. [Update: I was putting away my favorite lavender Keens and there was something stuck in one. Huh? Oh, joy! Oh, lucky day! Yes, I stuffed my beautiful sunglasses inside one of the Keens for protection! No thieves, after all. Faith in humanity not as diminished as had been thought. Yay!]

Boat show starts tomorrow (OK, today now that it's past midnight) but I'm too broke to go. Just the admission cost would be half the cash I have left and I won't be able to even buy a sail tie at the show (I only bought some sail ties at the show last year and at the Spring show I didn't buy a thing). I couldn't care less about looking at boats there, honestly, it makes no sense to me other than to make fun of how ridiculous and un-boatlike the interiors usually are. I only go to the show to walk the tents and see all the gadgets, ask vendors questions. But the reality is the "boat show deals" are rarely much of a deal and for most gear you are better off just buying from Defender. I guess the boat show made sense before the Internet, but now, it's really just spending $20 to walk around and buy $12 Painkillers. I have orange juice, cream of coconut, and rum aboard, so perhaps I'll just make my own painkillers and watch the show from the cockpit...I'm right across the creek from the insanity of it all. (A really strong Painkiller #4 is 4 oz rum, 4 oz pineapple juice, 1 oz OJ, and 1 oz cream of coconut. Oh, and a whopping 487 calories, which won't hurt quite as bad as the hangover all that sweet stuff will give you.)

I'm really stressing about having fallen behind on my running. I had kept it up very well until my last hectic week in New Zealand and since I got back it has been hard getting back in the groove, especially the two weeks that I schlepped into DC. Now I'm under the gun to get my mileage up in time for the 50K in December. Gratefully, I had an awesome base before I left on my trip, but I didn't want to have to claw my way back to it or be trying to lose weight while actually training for the race, but I need to get down at least 10 pounds to really run it well. So, we'll see. I just have to get back to my mental state where I knew down to my core that getting in my run was the single most important thing I do any day and it can't be set aside. That can be hard, even for someone like me who can really put her head down and tough it out. Sometimes, lately too often, I give in to the temptation to sleep in, have an extra beer or glass of wine, and let myself eat too much junk. So I have to buckle down and get back in my groove before I lose any more ground. I knocked out 5 miles today, but I wish I'd have gotten up at dawn and run 10. But the 5 matters, and I do feel better having gone out for a good run.

I'm often thinking I'm going very slow, worried about the pace, but look at my watch and see I'm running a minute per mile faster than I thought. So my body has adjusted to a quicker pace. (Still not fast for most runners, but I'm usually running about a 10:15 average, i.e., 10 minutes and 15 seconds per mile. But in New Zealand I was running around a 9:30 consistently, so something about the air or whatever there really gave me an amazing boost.) Most of my runs in the past few months are somewhere between a 9:45 and 10:30 average per mile, (usually closer to 10:00), which is just fine for me. My personal record for a marathon is an average pace of 10:17 per mile. I'd love to run one at a 10 minute mile, but we'll see. Right now I'm focused on my 50K, which at just five more miles is a different animal. It's always good at any race to have three finish times to target: something you can live with, something you will be happy with, and the out-of-the-ballpark time. I definitely want to beat my last time of 6:40 (6 hours and 40 minutes) overall, so I can live with anything at or under that time. I'd be really happy with anything between 6 and 6.5 hours. And the out-of-the-ballpark would be a 5:30 finish, but I think that's a stretch. But stretching, pushing your limits, that's what it's all about, right? Always looking for that place, that line in the sand, "oh, this is my limit." But if you're one to just "embrace the suck" and find the adventure in every challenge, it's hard to find that thing that breaks you, that line you can't make it across. I guess that's why I keep looking for it, and I only hope I never, ever find it.

Just keep running (sailing) (cruising) (living) (smiling) (singing) (laughing) (living). and leave the naysayers in your dust (wake).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

two year liveaboardaversary (and postscript on sleazy captains)

Thursday marked two years since the pets and I moved aboard. I've heard most liveaboards only last a year and a half before they give up, frustrated, and move back ashore. I feel like I should be so much farther along on all the projects, but nonetheless it doesn't occur to me at all to move ashore. Ambrosia is the only home I've ever owned, the only place that has been truly mine.

practicing my sugar skull makeup for halloween
So, what next? I am somewhat loathe to state any plans because people relish pointing out when one doesn't achieve the deadline or follow the stated plan. But I'm just drawing really broad brush strokes right now and I don't owe anyone apologies or explanations if they change. In the most general sense my plan is that of most every liveaboard I've met: to sail off to that mythical destination called South. For some that's the Carolinas. Or St. Augustine. Perhaps it means Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, or the Keys. For many it also means the Bahamas and the Caribbean. In my case I can see myself heading home to Miami for a bit, on to Key West to look for work fishing or slinging drinks. Ideally, taking a few months to hop around the Bahamas; if I find remote work, perhaps the island-hopping is indefinite.

While I have a few close friends in Annapolis there is nothing to hold me here. I don't know that the prospects for work are any better anywhere else, but they are very meager here, so "career," whatever that is supposed to be, certainly doesn't tie me down. In the end, I'd like to leave the US entirely and for good. I think it will take some time to find a job overseas and secure a visa that lets me emigrate, but this is no longer a land of opportunity and I need to find someplace else to get a chance to start over and build a life. In the meantime, I may as well take advantage of having a slip that includes electricity until Spring. I have work to do on the hard, but don't expect to have the funds to get hauled before winter sets in here. Thus, my thinking is that I'll leave Annapolis and initially head for an area where yard rates are more reasonable and spend a bit of time on the hard making repairs and upgrades before continuing down the ditch, heading South, wherever that is. 

I had thought I'd have contract work in DC for the next few months and while it's a terrible grind commuting four hours round-trip, I would just try to keep my head down and save money. I need to save up a lot for the repairs and upgrades I need aboard, and more urgently the pup dog needs an $800 surgery to remove a rotten tooth. But of course the project I was working on that was slated to last two to four months instead lasted just seven working days. It gets tiring being down to the last penny all the time, but at least I'm not trapped in a horrible marriage or slaving away in an evil law firm. Though I'm poor and have little hope of that ever changing, I'll take the strain of poverty any day over the life I was trapped in before.

As the situation quickly deteriorated on my trip to the Cooks, I didn't dish all the details in real time. So, here's the postscript on sleazy captains and the sordid tale of my brief visit to beautiful Aitutaki.

Regrettably, I doubt I will be willing to crew for any single guys for quite a while. I have been too trusting and too generous in thinking guys who are wildly outside of my age-range and/or seriously not my type understand that and won't be sleazy. And even if a guy is of an age I might consider, that doesn't mean I'd have any interest in sleeping with him. What part of the 30-second rule is so hard to understand? I guess I just have to be rude and tell guys bluntly as soon as I meet them, "Dude, I am never going to sleep with you. If you still want to have a drink, hang out, sail, fine, but you have been friend-zoned, period." Perhaps I'd be willing to crew with a couple making a passage, but I've even had bad experiences (though not yet when sailing) with what appear to be swinger couples with an agenda just like the creepy solo guys. Maybe I have to find a nice gay couple to crew with so I know the guys really don't have any agenda with me. I still want to be able to work on a fishing charter, but after the last charter gig I will definitely have to bluntly tell the captain that he'll lose a hand if he lays a finger on me. I know there are decent guys out there, but the sleazebags sure do give all guys a bad rap.

As for the recent trip, I absolutely never thought the captain had any expectations since he's plainly too old for me, so incredibly not my type (which I also explicitly told our mutual friend), and he knew I quit the fishing boat because of the handsy old captain. I wasn't sure if he was either trying to or did hook up with our mutual friend, but he referred to her as an "ex" to someone in conversation, which surprised me. In the Cooks he was constantly trashing her and her boyfriend, saying how jealous the guy was that he was there, and how it was a nightmare staying with her, what a disaster it was staying on her boat. This from a guy with zero personal hygiene and no working head on his boat; ugh. But he'd definitely like to get his hands on some of her boyfriend's money since the captain is broke, in debt, and living off credit cards. He was scheming how to get the boyfriend to invest in his daysail / fishing charter in the Cooks; hopefully the guy will steer well clear of the captain and not get scammed. 

So, how did the trip unfold?

When I arrived in Aitutaki on Monday and we got to the house, the captain showed me a little twin bed, which he said I could use, then showed me the big bed where he sleeps, and said I'm also welcome to sleep there. I actually laughed out loud at that suggestion and made it clear I'd be on the twin alone. That was such a ridiculous proposition that I mostly took it as a joke but that was the first indication that he might have expectations beyond the crew and cook role I had signed on for. It was cool at night in Aitutaki and I asked about a blanket. The captain said there was only one blanket so if I wanted to use it I had to sleep in the bed with him. I said that's nonsense and took the blanket. He bitched and moaned the next evening about how cold he was and wanted the blanket back. I argued that there couldn't seriously be only one blanket in the whole house and to find something. He took the good blanket and gave me a light bedspread he found in another room. Fine. Being old and highly unattractive is unfortunate, but not a character flaw. Being a manipulative sleazebag is a serious character flaw and pretty much sums that captain up.

Tuesday we had to run all over the island with a borrowed pick-up buying groceries and hauling things to the boat. He was supposed to return the truck the night before and when we ran into the owner of the truck the guy was pretty pissed off and told the captain to move all his stuff out of a house where he was storing things. The captain ended up just bad-mouthing the guy the rest of the day and decided to keep the truck all day and not move out his stuff. How he would have ever fit all the junk he has onto that catamaran anyway is a mystery and he certainly was no where near being ready to sail to Tonga. 

The captain only appeared to have three "friends" on the island after some six months: (1) the American ex-pat guy he borrowed the truck from, who didn't exactly seem to like the captain; (2) a Samoan guy married to a local but who was out of town for an extended trip; and (3) a local auto mechanic who always looked very annoyed by the captain any time we went by there to borrow things or use his shop. The captain would put on a front of being buddies to anyone we came across and as soon as they were gone he'd be bad-mouthing them or gossiping about them. The actual locals never seemed genuinely friendly to him and likely the only people who really tolerated him were outsiders who had happened to marry a local.

It must have been Wednesday morning when the Samoan guy's son told the captain that they had a plan to get the island council to approve him to stay. The plan was for the captain to sign half his boat over to the Samoan and/or the son and be partners in the business so the council would consider the application to be made by a local. Personally, I'd think that was a steep price, giving up half your business and boat to be able to stay. But I guess if it's the place you really love and want to be, it'd be worth it. Ah, but it turns out the captain has a different plan. He said that whatever paperwork they did in the Cooks saying he'd signed anything over would be irrelevant because he wouldn't be changing the ownership documentation with the US Coast Guard, so after a few years he'd just sail away and the locals wouldn't get anything. So, one of the few people he was supposedly friends with and he'd happily screw him over once he got what he wanted. Maybe they were both planning on screwing each other over, but it was pretty clear the captain had no moral compass whatsoever. I feel so sorry for Aitutaki if the island council approved him for a business. He'll just milk the place and the tourists for everything he can and then move on. 

On Wednesday the captain was being pissy and I suspected perhaps he was mad that I wasn't sleeping with him. He would constantly be in my personal space and trying to touch me, which I really hate. When he came back from lunch on Wednesday he left me on the dock when he took the dink to the boat, and that was just the beginning of the snippy, petulant behavior. It was Wednesday or Thursday evening that he cornered me, put his arm around my waist, and said he "wasn't opposed to some female companionship." Eewwww. I pushed him away and told him he was totally in the friend-zone, which definitely pissed him off. Thursday evening I was going to try to watch the traditional dance at the Tamanu resort, but the captain's inability to ever stop talking or invading my personal space was too annoying and I called it a night by 9:00pm. 

It was pretty clear by Friday that the captain planned to stay in Aitutaki so I had been trying to find another boat to join to sail on to Niue and Tonga, or even Auckland if possible. Unfortunately, not having a cell phone and very limited Internet access made it too difficult to connect and coordinate with the few other boats in the harbor. Friday night we went to a local bar, Crushers, with a little dance floor inside and picnic tables in the sand outside. As obnoxious as the captain was, I had just been trying to slide away from him whenever he got in my space and just bit my tongue for the sake of being peaceable. Walking to Crushers, however, I had had it. He kept touching me, goofing off, rambling on, and doing anything he could to get attention. I finally told him that being around him is like babysitting an 8-year-old, to please just shut the fuck up and walk. 

Naturally, he was all piss and vinegar but once we were at Crushers he was acting nice because he wanted people to think we were together. I did whatever I could to not have to sit next to him and was relieved when Mary and Patrick, a couple from another boat in the harbor, arrived and I could chat with them. Mary clearly felt bad for me being stuck with the captain. Mary and I were on the dance floor and a local guy came up and asked if I "was the girl running on the island [that] morning." Yes, indeed, the one and only runner on the island, that was me. When I was dancing the captain came up and was trying to dance with me and I kept evading him and finally had to just yell at him to get the fuck away from me. The owner of the bar invited Mary, Patrick, and I up to a rooftop deck where a few other people joined us and we hung out for hours having an impromptu jam session. Thankfully, the captain didn't know where I was and went home. I ended up crashing at a friend's, a few houses down the road from the captain's rented house. How nice to have indoor facilities and a good night's sleep!

Saturday morning I strolled in and said good morning, but the captain was chilly. He left to work on the boat shortly after I arrived. I took some time to actually enjoy the beach a bit and then investigated the Internet access at the nearby resort, (where I met Carol and Nikki, both of whom ended up generously opening their homes to me in Aitutaki and Papamoa Beach, respectively). I figured it was going to be very difficult logistically to find another boat to join and researched flights to get to Auckland. It's much pricier to get from Aitutaki to Auckland than to get there from Niue or Tonga. Even though the captain was a scumbag, I would most likely have suffered through a passage if it looked like he was actually going to relocate. I wouldn't travel half-way around the world and leave someone hanging. But it was pretty clear at that point he planned to stay in Aitutaki. And while I wouldn't want to leave anyone short-handed, I don't know that I'd have felt safe trapped aboard with him for any length of time. 

When I got back to the house Saturday afternoon the captain had a total hissy fit. He said that it wasn't working out and he didn't think I was ready for 1000 miles of open ocean sailing. Complete bullshit, of course, which I told him. I've got more mental and physical aptitude in my pinkie than he'll ever have. (And it'd be 800 nm consisting of one day sail plus two 36-hour passages, but whatever.) But I agreed that we should definitely part ways as soon as possible. He said he thought I should fly out on Monday. He lied about the cost for a ticket to Auckland and belly-ached about it, trying to push it off on me. He said I should just make something up to qualify for the travel insurance to fly back to the States early. He explicitly told me to commit insurance fraud. Wow. I told him I'm obviously not going to do that.

I headed back to the nearby resort for happy hour and some more Internet access. Nikki asked if I'd found a boat and when I said I hadn't, she generously invited me to stay at their house in the Bay of Plenty when they got back to New Zealand. The locals were insistent that the captain had to pay for my ticket to Auckland and seemed pretty disgusted that he was trying to push it off on me. I asked about a cheap hotel for the following night, but Carol invited me to stay at her home instead. I dreaded going back to that house with the captain, but thankfully it was the last night I had to put up with him.

On Sunday morning the captain was under the gun to move out of the little house and onto his boat. I told him that I just needed my plane tickets to Auckland and I had a place to stay that night, so we could just part ways as soon as he handed me the tickets. He was clearly pissed off at me, and then the real reason he wanted me gone came out. He went into a tirade about how it was totally "disrespectful for me to be sleeping with someone else when I was living under his roof." I burst out laughing. How completely ridiculous. We were roommates, period, sharing a little rented shack. I'm an adult American woman, no one makes rules for me and no one owns me. Even a really stupid American guy should know that. He was acting as if we were married and I'd had an affair. This guy is seriously disconnected from reality. There's not a universe in which I would have ever dated him but somehow he created that little fantasy world in his head. He went on about how all the locals are laughing at him and talking behind his back about it, blah, blah, blah. And the really funny thing about it: I didn't actually sleep with anyone there, though I certainly could have. He stormed off on his little scooter to get online and find plane tickets.

I packed all my things up and hid out at the resort. I obviously wanted to minimize the amount of time I had to be around him. I managed to just pop back to the house and get the flight confirmation numbers from him and when I returned later to get my bag he had left. Naturally, he got me the very most inconvenient flights possible just to be a jerk. Oh, well. The girl who arrived to clean the house said that last time he left it was "very messy," but I told her I had cleaned the kitchen and swept the floors, so it shouldn't be too bad. Carol picked me up and her family welcomed and spoiled me and made sure I got to the airport the next morning. 

Hopefully karma will deal the captain the hand he deserves. Although one very ugly American did his best to ruin my trip, I met countless amazing people, saw great sites, and enjoyed the adventure that presented itself, even if it wasn't the one I had planned. And in the end, I still think the world is my oyster. But perhaps it's best if I'm "the captain of my own ship," as my friend Mike likes to say, so I don't have to worry about any more sleazy captains.