Monday, March 09, 2009

Ooh Heaven Is A Place On Earth


There is no way I can adequately explain the week I just had on the Cayamo cruise. Really, it is something you all need to experience first hand and I think you all should next year, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Friday I arrived in Miami, checked into my hotel and decided to stop by the cruise pre-party at the pool. After making a quick walk through, I was surprised by the large number of older couples but was excited and ready to go. Steph arrived later that night and we found it a little ironic the movie Titanic was the only decent thing on TV.

Saturday we jumped on the shuttle bus and were off. As someone that has planed large scale events I was extremely impressed with the efficiency of getting all 2,200 + people through customs, checked-in, and on the boat. Ran into Lyle Lovett as we were walking up to our room and spotted him numerous other times that day. We slowly made our way to the pool deck and were ready to set sail. Saturday night we caught the following performance: Emerson Hart, Kathleen Edwards, Ed Roland, Marc Broussard, Shawn Mullins.

On the bus heading to the port

Relaxing as we get ready to leave Miami

Spotting the twins and Josh as we leave Miami

Women and children first!

Kathleen Edwards - Love her!

Marc Broussard was by far my favorite performance. He was playing an acoustic set with his Dad. He did not have a set list and played songs people yelled out while throwing in a few of his “family” favorites. I even got his pick at the end of the show. The man can sing and his dad does things on the guitar I did not think were possible.

Marc and his dad making music

Each night there are 3 headliner shows. We signed up for the late show and had traded our Lyle Lovett tickets for tonight’s show (sorry Dad) for Brandi tickets so we could catch all 3 of her performances because that is what obsessed fans do.

Each night they would turn down your room and leave some type of towel animal. This was my favorite.

Sunday was a no-port day so we soaked up the sun while multiple bands played on the pool deck. It started with Brandi Carlile and the Indigo Girls and kept going from there. I must say it was the best Music Church Sunday ever. We also saw Webb Wilder, Over the Rhine, Girlyman, Katie Herzig, Aslyn, Shawn Colvin, Mindy Smith.

Brandi and Amy Ray

This pool deck is where we spent the majority of our day

Brandi and the Indigo Girls

Katie Herzig and Aslyn were great. New artists I will defiantly try to see again and would recommend to you. Check out Katie’s song “Forevermore” and Aslyn’s song “Wally.”

While laying at the pool, Brandi, Josh and the twins came walking by and we could not stop laughing at Tim in his tiny swim suite. During a show later in the week, Brandi explained they were lost and Tim walked all around the boat in his little shorts. Yikes.

We caught our first headline show with Shawn Colvin who always sounds beautiful. She did a great remix of Gnarls Barkley's song Crazy. Check it out:
I liked that the headline shows had assigned seats because it gave us a change to get to know our neighbors and turns out they were great people. Amy and Staci are from Seattle and Mike and Dwayne live in Chicago. We ended up hanging out with them quite a bit during the rest of the week.

Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett

After Shawn we went to see Mindy Smith. Brandi, the Indigo Girls, and quite a few other musicians were all there as well as the shows in this particular location were supposed to be the “bigger/better” artists then some that played in the other venues. Watching Mindy was extremely uncomfortable. She clearly was not prepared and does not do well on the stage. She literally could not tune her guitar and after starting one song three times she stopped halfway through and said she was done playing it. We had to leave, as we were embarrassed for her.

Enjoying our daily ice cream

Check out those sweet sunburns

Monday we woke up in Samana and were whisked away to a “privet island” otherwise known as a tourist crap hole. The beach was beautiful, but the food and other accommodations were trash. Big let down there. While lounging on the beach we met Jack and Amy from New York who are great people, but if we only knew then what we know now. More to come on Tuesday.

The private island in Samana

We headed back and I decided I had better get in a run if I wanted to meet my goal of 2 runs for the week. I could not have asked for a great running experience. So cool what happened. Read about it on my running blog.

Everyone got “twice as nice tickets” to an artist of their choice and you can guess who we picked. Saw Brandi Carlile at 8:30 and she rocked it again. My favorite part was when Marc Broussard and Vienna Tang joined her to sing a soulful version of “Let It Be.” Brandi and Marc also sang “Georgia” together and I left the show on a music high. Next it was off to our regular headline show to see the Indigo Girls and they did not disappoint. Brandi sang a few songs with them and for their famous closer song “Closer to Fine” they brought out a tone of other artists. During their set, they had David Ryan Harris perform one of his songs and wow. We quickly added him to our artist sets to catch.

Excited to see our first official Brandi show

Brandi and Marc singing Georgia

Brand, Phil and Tim
After grabbing our nightly 12:30 ice cream cone, we caught a bit of the Zack Brown band. They were rocking the house but these two sober girls were tired and did not last long. Turns out they played until 6:00 am. I remember lying in bed thinking life does not get any better then this and hoping that this is what Heaven is like.

Tuesday we ported in St. Thomas, which sad to say was an even bigger dump then Samana. The islands always looked so beautiful from the boat, but once we tendered to them it was a different story. I’m sure there are beautiful parts of both these islands, but we apparently never made it there.
St. Thomas

Walked through downtown shopping area and got back on the boat. You should be proud of me because 99% of the items for sale were jewelry and you know how I have a weak spot for that. I did not buy a single bracelet, got a great deal on a ring and did not buy the beautiful $350 necklace I’m still thinking about.

Ran into Jack while sitting on the pool deck. He ordered a bucked of beers to help with his hangover. He kept trying to offer us one when I finally told him we do not drink. He asked why and before I knew it I was telling him the Joseph Smith story and how he obtained the plates. Jack could not believe we did not have sex and started asking us direct and personal questions that not even my closest friends know about me. He was not rude and we were actually laughing hysterically. I think it’s a little funny that Jack knows more about me then any of you reading this and yet I still don’t know his last name. From this point on, I was wife #1 and Steph was wife #2 otherwise know as the “slutty one.” Amy, Jack’s girlfriend, later heard about our conversation and was so embarrassed and from that point on, every time we saw she told us about her crazy Mormon cousins that believe in sleeping with anyone to procreate.

Me, Amy, Jack and Steph

Marc and his Dad performing out by the pool

Enjoyed Marc and his dad by the pool and discovered his cute sound guy was actually his brother. Who knew my new boyfriend was brothers with Marc. ☺ Caught Brandi Carlile again for our normally scheduled headline show. Sadly no Marc Broussard duets, but still a fun show. We also saw Girlyman, Katie Herzig again and a bit of Glen Phillips.

Wednesday we skipped our beach excursion after our bad experiences the previous days and due to the dark clouds moving in. Ended up taking a bus ride around Tortola, which was beautiful. Even made a new friend with the tour guide.

Us on the tour bus

It was cloudy, but those the Virgin Islands behind me

Steph and one of her many boyfriends
The view from Tortola

Got in another quick run before heading off to see David Ryan Harris and our last official Brandi show. We to see Katie Herzig's set again and since Buddy Miller suffered a heart attack a few weeks back and was not able to make the cruise, Ed Robertson filled in and he was great. Very funny. It was then onto our headline show to see John Hiatt. He was very old and very loud, but I was so tired by this point. Mike and I both fell asleep for the last 1/2 of the show. I felt bad since we were so close and I'm sure he could see us sleeping, but what ever.

Old man John Hiatt

After John, we grabbed our nightly ice cream and headed into the Casio. Brandi, Josh and the twins were there playing the nickle push and black jack. Chatted it up with Phil as we saved him from a crazy fan. Met a few new friends and headed off to bed around 2:30.

Thursday was another full day on the boat. Laid by the pool while Bonepony played. Had pictures taken with Brandi in the afternoon and caught Vienna Teng, Beth Wood, dinner, and Patty Griffin. Patty is so classy and has an amazing voice. She makes it look so easy.

I heart Patty

Enjoying the sunset
Brandi performing with Vienna

Headed to the casino again with our friends to watch them gable and drink diet cokes while my hair marinated in the cigarette smoke. Rumors were flying around the "LUG" that Brandi was going to play later that night in one of the lounges. (The LUG is the lesbian underground. Mike and Dwayne almost blew our cover, but don't worry, we are still in.)

Around 2:30 I had given up on Brandi and headed up to my room. As I was about to crawl into bed the LUG called my room and told me to get down to the lounge. Brandi played the piano and sang for about an hour. AMAZING.

Friday we ported in Nassau and hit the beach with our friends. Had a great time soaking up the sun, getting attacked by the sticky sand and Steph and I got sweet tats.

Staci, Amy, Mike, Dwayne, Lett, Steph and Me

Just a quick shot for Em and Chelsea
Dwayne and I at lunch

Lett, Mike and Steph at lunch

Last chance to work on our tan

Nothing quite says RSP like a sweet tattoo

Tommy need sleepy

Heading back to the boat after the boys had a literal bucket of alcohol

The sunset on Nassau
Someone left this outside of the room for housekeeping to pick up. Who throws away an entire cake
Back on the boat to shower and meet up with Brandi and the band for one last photo. Hit the Katie Herzig show again and Brandi and Vienna Teng sang with her. Went to the closing headline show where each of the main artist still on the boat sang a few songs. Grabbed dinner with Dwayne and Mike before running off to see Aslyn and Greencard.

Josh, Me, Brandi, Tim and Phil.

BCB performing with Katie Herzig

LUG was reporting that Brandi might play again late at night. Hug out in the lounge while The August (who are a great band) and a few others sang. Around 3:00 I was done and figured if I missed one Brandi show I would survive. After all, we say her perform every day except the first day and we will see here again.

On my way back to the cabin, I ran into Josh (BCB band member) watching a band that just so happened to have a guy in it that looked exactly like him. All week Steph and I would see him and have a hard time figuring out if it was Josh or "Josh Jr." Josh walked over, check him out and started laughing. I told him I did not want him to fell left out of the twin thing and he hugged me and said thanks.

Each night we enjoyed beautiful sunsets even if it was so windy the doors would not open to the deck

Saturday morning we were up and at em and off the boat by 9:00. Saw a bunch of Cayamo folks at the airport and lots of artists heading home. Sadly came back to Seattle and snow, but sweet Pamela and Max left us a welcome home surprise.

I heart you Norwegian Dawn

Overall, it was so fun hearing nonstop amazing music while running into the artist all over the boat. My only 2 complains would be the food and that it was only 1 week.

Just a few highlights I want to remember, but may not mean much to you:
Chatting it up with Phil, sitting next to Cathleen Edwards at dinner, running into Marc Broussard at the bar with his wife, watching Aslyn with the Indigo Girls, saying hi to John Hiatt and not knowing it was him, seeing all of the artist with their families, chatting with Katie Herzig and her band members, telling Josh about his twin, seeing BCB everywhere, artists playing with each others, BCB late night sing along, bands playing all night long, making great new friends, amazing overall people on the boat, very well organized, feeling a part of a great community, tendering with Asly and Ed Roberts, laughing with Mike and Dwayne, Mike and his 12 minute power tan, Dwayne and his tamborine.
I can't wait to go again next year and think if any of you have the slightest interest you need to go. I PROMISE you will not regret it.


Annie said...

love your post!!!! It sounds like you had so much fun. And love that you ran into marc :)

Jill said...

I have to say that is one of the most thorough posts ever, and I loved it all! I can't believe how much you fit in. That cruise is so YOU! I am glad you guys had so much fun!

Tom Tamrack said...

So sorry that you had a bad experience in Samana's all inclusive resort...the real story is that this is a wonderful place once you get away from the tourist traps...I have lived in the Dominican Republic for off and on since 2002 and also have lived in Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico...and I find the DR is my favorite!!!

Goldsmith Family said...

Sounds like a blast! Good job on the running!

Anonymous said...

What great photos. I just watched Shawn Colvin's video. WOW! What a voice!

I LOVE the towel monkey! HA! Did you ever see the DVD I have on towel folding?
There isn't a monkey on it though. :(

Thanks again for posting the cool photos. I wish I could have went!


Amy & Stacey said...

We won't blow your cover either although we are members of the LUG ourselves. We had a great time meeting you two and hanging out...can't wait for Cayamo 2010!!!!

Amy & Stacey

clay crew said...

It's fun to see your pictures! Looks like such a great time. I'm feeling very envious of all the sun you soaked up! We are experiencing some major vitamin D depletion!
Don't forget to post on the lymanite blog!

lynsey said...

i know i'm out of the music scene when 75% of that post was in a foreign language to me. :)

you look fabulous & it sounds like it was an amazing cruise.

again, so jealous! if i send you a picture of me dilated to a 10 with the baby crowning, could it compare?

hmmm. let's give it a try.

Anonymous said...

You write a really nice piece, but it's unfortunate the only really negative thing you have to say is uneducated and sounds somewhat ignorant in comparison to the rest of your review. One could chalk it up to being too young to know any better, but there are Hiatt fans of all ages ACROSS THE WORLD -so it can't be that issue. You may want to take a few minutes to research "Old Man Hiatt". Most of the people you rave about on the cruise are familiar with him - and either tour with him, record songs he's written, or just enjoy his music. Glad you had a good time, honey - but bashing is unnecessary, un-Mormon and just plain unkind.

Marina said...

Hahaha...the LUG-love it ;-)

Was great meeting you, hopefully I'll see you again for Cayamo 2010 :)

Lindsay Jane said...

Dear Anonymous

I would hardly call what I wrote about John as bashing. I never said he was not a good musician or did not do a good job or did not sound good. I was just really tired at his show. Sorry if that was offensive.

I'm also confused at what you mean as "un-Mormon?" What does that mean? Do you mean un Christ like? Jesus said love everyone and I sure do. Thanks for not calling me uneducated, ignorant, or reading to much into two sentences in my blog.

Aren't we lucky to have freedom of speech.

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