My roommate sped off to an early lead, while I lagged behind, pacing myself and breathing deeply.
The ship loomed in the distance, gigantic against the pier. I tuned out the sounds of the Puerto-Rican rush-hour traffic, focusing on the task at hand.
The wooden boards stretched endlessly and I fought against my doubts.
Keep going; breathe.
Ahead my roommate startled a cart of parrots, causing one to fall with a thud. I gave the birds more room as I passed, avoiding the glare of the bird’s owner.
I could see the dock, deserted as it should be twenty minutes after the scheduled departure. My roommate began to slow down and as I passed, I could hear her breathlessly repeating, “Keep going. You can do it.”
The boat was close, and I focused on it – a prize if I pushed through the exhaustion and kept running. Onlookers crowded the main deck and balcony. Faces peered from portholes, curious to see those responsible for the delay.
Ihad no room in my mind for embarrassment. I kept running and didn’t stop until the Port Authority guards raised their hands and asked me for identification.
Three Hours Earlier
We had five hours at our cruise stop in Puerto Rico.
When we decided on to attend the Bacardi tour, we had three hours left. It was Plenty of time for someone who’d researched and planned to attend the tour. Unfortunately, we’d decided to attend on a whim – after seeing a building banner.
We asked for directions to the ferry and purchased tickets to go to the other side of the island. Our inquiries continued, as we made the amateur mistake of thinking the Bacardi factory was a reasonable distance on foot. Not so.
The walk took an hour and once we arrived, I wanted to take pictures and make our way back to the ferry.
My roommate didn’t agree for good reasons – after walking for an hour, we had to see the tour. If not, we’d wasted our entire time in Puerto Rico.
As fate would have it, we’d just missed the English-language tour. Fine. We were adventurous and agreed to take the next tour, in Spanish.
This was a mistake for several reasons:
1) We couldn’t understand a thing and
2) the tour was scheduled to last 45 minutes.
That meant that if everything went perfectly, we would have an hour to get back to the ship before departure.
Fast-forward to the end of the tour, which we cut short. The tour had lasted an hour and suddenly, reality struck me.
What the heck were we doing?! We hopped in a cab and arrived at the ferry terminal in ten minutes. The waiting room was empty and before even asking, I got the feeling that we were in trouble.
After confirming that we’d just missed the ferry, that the next ferry was due in thirty minutes, and that any other way to the cruise ship would take longer, we realized that we weren’t adventurers in a foreign country, allowed to explore at our whim.
We were two females who couldn’t speak Spanish, and we were about to be stranded, while our passports sailed away – safely locked in our room’s safe.