Day 5      We ordered room service and got up early because the ship anchored at Georgetown at 7 a.m. and we were on the first tour.  We missed the tour and had to reschedule for 10 a.m. There were six ships at anchor.  It was the first time that Rhapsody had stopped there since Ivan had nearly devastated the island last August.  We took one of Rhapsody's tender boats to the dock and a small van to the marina.  From there we took a fishing boat out to Stingray City one half hour from the marina.  They tied me in the sun and I quickly got sunburned.  Many boats were parked around the sandbar.  The water there was from three to five feet deep so that people could stand chest deep in its cool blue-green color.  There were many 5-foot wide female stingrays and 2-foot wide male stingrays willing to play with the people who jumped off the boats and joined them.  

Leaving the Rhapsody in a tender for Georgetown, Grand Cayman

Leaving the Ship for Georgetown
     Beh wasn't wearing a swimsuit and was reluctant to go in at first.  Finally, her curiosity got the best of her and she jumped in.  A guy carried her to where the guide was feeding stingrays and his wife helped her play with one.  Beh had her picture taken kissing a male stingray.  Unfortunately, she didn't know that she had to get the picture while we were still on the boat.  Fortunately, I was in the shade on the way back to the marina. Everywhere, workers were putting on new tile roofs.  While many new business buildings were being constructed, I saw several that were shut down.  The palm trees only had one or two fronds -- grown since  hurricane.  Other trees were badly mangled by the force of the 120-mile an hour winds that struck the island.  Only one life was lost.  I took the tender back to the Rhapsody while Beh shopped.  Beh bought some souvenirs and returned to the ship because the prices were too high.  We didn't attend the show that night because she said it was "country and western".  Mom said it was the best show she had seen so far.

Beh returns to our tour boat

Beh Returns to Boat

Beh climbs ladder back into the boat

Climbs the Ladder

Happy with her stingray encounter.

Happy With Stingray Encounter

Day 6      We arrived at Cozumel Island at 8:30 a.m.  We had tickets for the Exeret Archaeological Eco Park.  When we arrived at the tour I was told that I couldn't go, even with my folding wheelchair.  Beh wanted to go alone, so I let her.  After she left, I found out that some cabs on the island had lifts.  I decided to go to the national park.  I had too much cash, so went back to the ship, found Dad, and gave him most of my cash.  I had to wait about a half-hour, and then caught a cab to the national park.  Once there, I found that the way was either paved with rough stone or dirt with underlying rough stone.  It made for a very bumpy, rough ride.  Still I got around.  The first thing I saw was a two and a half foot iguana crossing the road.  I tried to make friends with him but he rushed off into the jungle.  Then, I went down to the dolphin enclosure and watched a lot of happy people and dolphins having a great time.  The dolphins didn't seem to mind picking up fat ladies and carrying them 30 or 40 feet.
     I continued on to explore the park and soon came upon a huge stone archway with ramps leading up through and down to a trail that led to representative replicas of the ancient Mexican cultures.  There were huge statues and stellae everywhere.  Shortly, I came to a Mayan village with round wood stick walled huts with grass covered roofs.  The first hut appeared to be a ceremonial meeting place.  In the next hut, a small woman with big ears and very Mayan features was making tortillas over an open wood fire.  There was a little finch inside flitting about, eating corn meal.  The woman put some beans on a tortilla with a little hot sauce and offered to me.  I hadn't had anything to drink and was pretty dry by this time, but I ate it anyway.  Just after I left her hut there was a little bridge over a stream.  My wheelchair E-Z Lock pin got caught between two rocks and I couldn't proceed.  A landscape worker rushed to my aid and I was soon on the way again.  As I wound through the archaeological replicas I was amazed at their variety and that section, I headed for the museum and lagoon.  The quick way was by the sandy beach.  However, my wheelchair bogged down and wouldn't go in the sand.  I took a winding trail instead.  At one point, my E-Z Lock pin caught between two rocks again and I couldn't go forward or backward.  A circular sprayer of water reached my left side on every cycle.  I called to two men in that I saw in the distance.  They came closer, looked at me and then continued on.  Ten minutes later I saw another two men and called for them.  These two men, speaking Spanish, rocked me out of my predicament.
     I worked my way over to the museum.  The last 30 feet or so to the museum entrance was beach sand, so I gunned it and got through.  Half of the small museum was raised two steps higher, so I was confined to a very small area.  I bought a book on Cozumel and started back to the trail.  Halfway there, I bogged down in the sand.  The museum clerk in stocking feet and the boy came out and brushed sand away from my wheels.  An American tourist got behind me and pushed.  I gunned it again and made it to the trail.  Though the own was surrounded by a plank walkway that was quite rough.  It was a beautiful blue-green but had no fish in it.  There was a natural outlet to the sea on the north side.  I returned to the dolphin enclosure.  On my way I passed an American carrying a macaw.  Young man said, "Would you like a kiss?  He is very sweet."  I hesitated, but the macaw first kissed him, and then turned to kiss me.  He gave me a rough tongue kiss right on the lips.  Will let you know if I get parrot disease later.  While I waited for a cab ride back, Angel Solis, the park PR man came by to talk to me.  He told me about remains of pirate activity that he had found on the island.
     By now I was quite dehydrated and rushed back to the ship.  As I passed the stands by the entrance the guys tending them all yelled "beep, beep!"  Just like I had coming through earlier.  I looked for dad and mom but couldn't find them.  I did find Jamica Hooks and she got me two glasses of water.  Knowing that Beh would be very late I went back out to the shops on the pier to look for something to buy for her.  About three o'clock I came back and was surprised to find Mom, Dad and Beh all sitting together on level 5.  When I asked if Beh gone on the tour she said she had tried to follow the tour guide but didn't see anyone when she left the ship.  She asked people how to get to the mainland, and they told her to take the cab to town and take the ferry to the mainland.  She ended up taking the ferry to Playa de Carmen.  She shopped a bit, took some film, and returned.  I was upset because she wanted to go and couldn't and didn't get any film of the Archaeological Park.  The frustration of it all put me in the state of autonomic dysreflexia.  I started having full body spasms, coughing and got pretty sick.  We rushed off to the bathroom.  Later, I felt well enough again to dress up and go to the formal dinner that night.

Ron on boat at Stingray City

Ron at Stingray City

Dolphin enclosure at Cozumel's National Park

Dolphin Enclosure Cozumel's National Park

Four cruise ships docked at Cozumel

Four Cruise Ships Cozumel

Mardi Gras Clown at the Cozumel Seawall

Mardi Gras Clown
Cozumel Seawall

Cozumel Boulevard

Cozumel Boulevard
Playa Del Carmen Pier

Playa Del Carmen Pier
  Day 7  The ship's Compass had scheduled my talk about How to Set up Your Own Web Site at 10 a.m. When I arrived, I found 12 people waiting to hear what I had to say.  It took just about an hour for me answer everyone's questions.  Later, we set up my books again and I sold my last book of the trip.  That evening we took video of everyone at the table and of the waiters singing and dancing around the room.  We went to the wrap-up show that featured a movie of our cruise.  We were not in it, so I was glad that we had our own video.  When we return to the room, the ship had given me a bottle of champagne for giving my talk.


Ron and Beh Dressed Up

Dressed for Dinner

 Day 8

     We reached Galveston at 6:30 a.m. Because I'm disabled, we were the first ones off the ship.  After a short tour of Galveston, we arrived home about 10:30 a.m. Mom e-mailed later that they arrived home about 6:30 p.m. mom called the cruise, "a trip of a lifetime."  By Wednesday both Mom and I had a little bug, but we recovered quickly from it.

Ron's Lecture


Ron's Seminar


Ron's Class


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