Monday, March 16, 2009

vulnerability

GRENADA

Nauseated, as we rode up and down the rocky streets in the mountains of Grenada traveling 85 miles per hour at the very least.

Relieved yet discontent as we approach the Balthazar Estates, a destination for tubing through the flowing rivers high up in the mountains of the island. Instantly, a group of 5-6 young men approach, immediately instructing us to leave all of our personal items in the taxi cab and to strip down to our swimsuits.

“You will need your flipflops,” they said’ “The river is rocky.” They instructed me on how to connect my flipflops to the life jacket they asked me to wear.

We had to trust that after tubing a few hundred feet down the river, the cab driver would meet us at our final destination, where we will be served a Run Punch and recollect our items. Uneasiness flowed through our bodies, as we knew little about the cab driver that had approached us at the Port in town 30 minutes prior, soliciting work for the day, and bargaining a price.

Apprehensive, we crossed our fingers that we would see our wallets, jewelry, cash, and credit cards at the rivers end.

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DOMINICA

As we step off the ship in Dominca, we are instantly greeted by locals soliciting work for the day. “Hello ma’am, how are you? Would you like to visit a beautiful beach today?” “No Thank You,” we respond over and over and over again.

We had expected to be greeted by a guy holding a sign: eXteme doMinica. We would get in this strangers car and ride to the Cocoa Cottages which is home to a small guest house that sits deep in the rainforest. That is, prior to canyoning in an area of the island not many people get to see. He finally showed... 10 minutes late.

After being served fresh fruits and homemade juices at the guest house, we were sent to the outdoor changing area with wet suits, life jackets and harnesses. Again, we were asked to leave all of our belongings in a common room, there would be no room for them in the canyons.
Swimming through pools of fresh spring waters, rappelling down waterfalls, and jumping off 15 foot cliffs, we had put our lives and our safety into someone else’s hands.
For some reason, I had never felt more safe with these guys.

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HOTELS

Completely aware that the maid will spend time in your room... cleaning... changing towels.... turndown. Your jewelry, laptop, ipod, favorite clothing and belongings left vulnerable to her envy, want, and greed.

I have only discovered one item missing out of a hotel room. Straight off the docking station in my room at the W Hotel, my IPOD disappeared. Not only MY IPOD, but my roommates IPOD as well.
Often times, I wonder which (if any) items have come up missing that I have never found out.

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CABS

Often times, when flagging a cab, we do not look a cabbie straight in his eye and never bother asking his name. Ignorant to the color of the cab and the company name boldly written on the side of the car.

My first trip to New York City (alone) I found myself in a taxi cab whose driver decided he would not accept my credit card. He demanded cash that I did not have. We argued. He insisted that I take money out of any ATM in a convenience store while he wait across the street and around the corner with my bags, my belongings, all of my favorite items locked in his trunk. With the cab out of site, I bolted across the busy streets of Manhattan to withdrawal money I did not have.
After losing my iPhone in a cab in Vegas, I realized that I knew nothing about the person and the vehicle that had been responsible for getting me back to the hotel. I had no idea what color the vehicle was, whether it was a van or a car, or what the driver looked like. BUT my receipt did show what company the cab was with......

Needless to say, I never tracked that guy down.

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Naturally, I write this post while lodged at the Sheraton Gateway LAX, half of my life packed within a few pieces of luggage. I have not been home since Feb. 28. Vulnerable to the outside world. My life constantly put in to someone else's hands........

4 comments:

ceecee said...

It would be a tad bit difficult, for me, to enjoy the tubing, the swimming, while my belongings are with a stranger/are with strangers. Then I am left there hoping to see my belongings again.

Overall, did you enjoy yourself? I hope you did.

You look fab in those dresses by the way :)

Steve Morozumi said...

sounds like quite an adventure! did you get all your stuff back? did you have a blast? the outdoor adventures sound really fun!

-Steve @ fluxlife

Cheryl said...

Ah, things like this used to happen to me all the time. And then I learned.

Bird* said...

ceecee - It WAS hard to enjoy myself in those situations. But it made me a stronger person. I was forced to think about what the end result would be if all of that stuff came up missing. And quite honestly, those guys needed my things much more than I did. Here we are Prissy, materialistic Americans showing up to these poverty-stricken islands. I felt diva-ish and it didn't feel good. I got all of my stuff back. These islands ae full of amazing, genuinely nice & honest people.

Steve- nothing of mine ever came up missing. we did have a blast.... was stimulating.