Thankful to go. Grateful to be back.


By Scott Robertson

I hope you had the opportunity over the Thanksgiving holiday to watch some football, visit the family, eat some turkey and say a prayer. My wife and I had used more than half our vacation days this year attending family funerals, so we were as ready for actual time off as we have been in years.

My wife wanted to drive to New Orleans and cruise to Mexico. I wanted to take the inexpensive flight to Tampa from the TRI. The cost of transportation would be less. We’d spend less time in transit. We wouldn’t need passports. I made my stand. We would spend Thanksgiving in Tampa.

So we got to New Orleans Saturday around noon. We cruised to Cozumel, where we took a scuba expedition. We learned I have the natural buoyancy of a rock while my wife swims so well the fish were applauding.

We climbed the steps of a Mayan temple at Uxmal (pronounced OOsh-mal). We learned that the Mayan rain god was named Chaak (not Chak – if you didn’t make it two syllables, you were marked as a tourist – as if being a middle-aged white guy in a linen shirt at a Mayan temple hadn’t given that one away). Chaak gave us just enough scattered showers to make the temple stairs very slippery. We were told the Mayan civilization passed into history at the hands of Spanish invaders. I believe the Mayan civilization passed into history because the Mayans had no concept of “rise and run” when building stairs up their temples. We were told the average Mayan was only about 5’2”. Yet the stairs were a foot tall and only six inches from front to back. I believe the Mayan civilization died out from joint pain in the knees and hips, and from sliding down wet stone stairs.

We had stopped at a port called Progreso, which is, to be polite, not a traditional tourist town. It is a fishing/industrial city. The only reason cruise ships stop there is because it’s convenient to the Mayan ruins. One fellow cruiser, when looking for something nice to say about Progreso, allowed, “It’s better than Aleppo.”

When we arrived back in New Orleans, we had breakfast at a great restaurant called The Ruby Slipper. I highly recommend it. The food was fantastic, and the name of the place served as a welcome reminder: there’s no place like home.


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