Tropical Meltdown

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One man’s cautionary tale about mixing matrimony and margaritas with the Caribbean climate

In my never-ending quest to bring you news that matter, I put myself in harm’s way and went on a cruise through the Caribbean, which most scientific studies have proven is hot. As if that wasn’t enough to stop the presses, it was also very watery, sandy and packed with enough street and beach vendors for the entire Hilton family – even former jailbird Paris!

Tropical Meltdown

How hot was it? I’m glad you asked. It was so hot that I felt like I was going to die. Seriously. The big reason for the cruise, which was on the fun ship Carnival Liberty, was to get married to Ally, who has somehow managed to live with me for more than two years now (my dad has said that she must have a great sense of humour on numerous occasions). Her two kids, Alysa and Jordon, came along, too, and didn’t even try to talk her out of it. I think.

It’s important to note here that Ally is a nurse. She’s now involved with cardiology research at the Heart Institute, but she can – and has – saved lives thanks to her extensive training in medicine.

For our wedding ceremony I had lined up a marriage officer on Grand Cayman Island, who met us the morning we docked at the lush Caribbean isle. The good Rev. Joe Crawford is a gentleman of understated graciousness – someone who would’ve been perfectly at home on The Cosby Show as Cliff’s wise and warm uncle. Old Joe Crawford, as we named him, helped us fill out the paperwork in the church he preached in before retiring, then took it all to city hall, where he did whatever it is they do there.

The quaint island church was a little balmy, much like your oven is balmy when cooking a turkey, and outdoors was even worse. In fact, I’m perspiring just writing this, but I may be a little out of shape, too. After about an hour, we met Joe back at the church. He drove us to a semi-secluded beach, where he set up a table for the ceremony and advised us to approach strangers to ask if they would be our witnesses.

By this time, the temperature was somewhere around 386 degrees with 100 per cent humidity. I looked like I had gone swimming in my clothes, but ever the trooper I forged ahead with the wedding. The ceremony was simple and touching, as if Old Joe Crawford could do it any other way.

About halfway through it, my head began to feel a little funny, in the way that Jim Belushi is funny, which is to say there was nothing funny about it at all. I didn’t know it at the time, but heatstroke was setting in.

After we were officially joined together in wedded bliss, Joe drove us back to the church. We then caught a bus for Seven-Mile Beach, where most of the ship’s passengers had already gone to soak up the rays.

That’s when it hit. My throat constricted, my face went purple, I became very dizzy and my heart rate spiked to 160 beats per minute, about the same as a hummingbird on speed. I felt like I was dying, and it’s at this moment that you need to remember that Ally is a nurse.

We arrived at the beach, me barely able to walk, and Ally quickly took charge by crying, “I don’t want to be a widow yet!”

Yet??

She proceeded to drag me to a bar to get some fluids in me as quickly as possible – and this is where you discover that at the very least I have found my soulmate. Instead of pouring cold water over my head to cool me down (I was now almost passing out), she got me a . . . margarita.

I am not making this up. So, in short order I was not only dying from heatstroke, but I had a severe ice cream headache from downing the margarita so quickly.

Somehow, alcohol didn’t do the trick. With the last of my strength, I crawled towards the ocean on all fours like a dizzy tortoise before plunging into the cool water, which almost immediately fixed me right up.

Happily, I survived long enough to lose more money in the casino, get on a first-name basis with Tommy the bartender, and keep Ally from becoming a widow. Yet.

As for the cruise itself? Man, you gotta see it to believe it. In a single week, I nearly lost all hope of ever seeing my toes again thanks to the smorgasbord of food. I can’t wait to go back, though next time I think I’ll pack a hat. And an emergency margarita, of course. -- Scott Taylor

Organizations: Heart Institute

Geographic location: Caribbean

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