Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Been there Done that PART 2

Dressed in Kakai pants, a collared shirt, and those stereotypical yachting shoes (the ones with the thin piece of leather laced around the ankle, and of course white soled, so as not to scuff up the pretty, big boat.)

“Kevin!” I stood staring at the second level.
“Come on up.” He yelled back in a hurried tone.

I was nervous. Halfway up the gangway I tripped, only to catch myself on a thin roped railing. That thin rope separated "Brad the bartender” from "Brad the barnacle cleaner.”  Acting as though nothing happened I made my way around the stern and came to a small door on the other side.

“Brad this is Deoni, you will be working with her.”
“Ok, great, nice to meet you” I said with a wide smile.
“You as well.” Her tone suggested I best drop my shit-eating grin because she'd seen her share of happy-go-luckies like me burnout in this "professional servant" industry. It was clear she was committed to being cold.

Motioning to me, I followed her, slipping through another small door that led into a living room of sorts. Framed pictures of Greek gods, possibly suggesting the owner was a direct descendant of Zeus, Ares or Hades, hung on fancy dark wood walls.  We made our way up a tiny, narrow, spiral stair case to the 2nd floor which led to yet another elegant wood sitting room, until we reached a large sun deck. The deck included a cocktail bar, an afternoon tea area, and a large dinning table.

Deoni turned to me “Your bar will be outside here” pointing at the large table she continued “this is where they will be having dinner tonight.”
“ok cool, so what will I be serving at the bar?” I asked
"have a look" she said walking away.
I took full inventory of the bar. Five bottles of Cristal. Five bottles of Dom Perignon. A few bottles of Chardonnay. A couple of bottles of hard A and a large white fish cooler full of ice cold Heinekens.

Like bed bugs on a cruise ship, news quickly spread that the owner and his guests had returned from their afternoon outing.  A state of panic set in.  Everyone on board launched into a frenzy, turning down the music, lighting candles, wiping down seats and counters (that weren't dirty to begin with), and placing floral arrangements on tables.

Hearing footsteps walking up the tiny side staircase I assumed my role as bartender. 
“Good evening.” I said in a tone different from my usual voice.

Most of the party proceeded past me to the formal seating area under the shade from the third deck above them.  Two gentlemen held back from the group to get a drink. As they approached I heard one say to the other “This is my life, you know what I’m saying, f*cking- this is it!” finishing his proclamation with a sharp slap on the back of the other man, as if to punch the dot of an exclamation point on the man's back.

“Drinks this evening?” I braced for one of them to order some crazy cocktail like J.P. Morgan’s Alamagoozlum
“Yes, what will you have Thurman?” a very round man said to the other.
“What do you have for beer?  "I feel like a cold beer”
“I have Heineken on ice.”
“That'll be fine.”
“Make that two.” followed the other man.
Reaching down into the large white fish cooler I pulled out two bottles of Heineken.  

At that moment I felt the slight vibrations beneath Been there, Done that followed by a jolt of motion. The dinner cruise had commenced.

As we left the harbor a soft Bahamian breeze blew as the sun fell towards the far end of the Caribbean. Motoring out and around the island we passed close to a massive cruise ship. I noticed people gawking from their balconies and imagined the conversation. 
“Wow Bernie look! Look at that private yacht, who do you think it is?”
“Shit! Irene! Come and look at this boat.” 
“Stan, come here, some rich people are having dinner on a yacht."

As dinner was being served I walking over to take another round of drink orders.
“Let’s have some Champagne so we can make a toast” the owner said loudly “What to do we have for champagne.”
“I have Cristal and Dom Perignon sir.”
“Cristal will be fine.”

In that moment part of me wanted to break from reality so as to better hear Robin Leech’s voice from the cheesy 80's TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous  in my head “...and what does Brad serve when he's livin' large in the Bahamas, leave the Korbel at home for the kids, because nothing but Cristal will do for Brad's lavish parties on his luxury yacht Been there, Done that..."

After pouring evening cocktails I sat behind the bar eavesdropping on the aristocrats. They laughed at odd moments in strange conversations.

When the guests left an organized cleanup began. Helping with after dinner duties, I washed, dried, and put away fine china.  By the end of the night I still had my same smile, but Deoni was right, this so called dream job clearly had a super-sized level of servitude with it.

When the work was done the captain handed me a small Citibank envelope. Cramming the envelope in my pocket I gave a wave goodbye, thanking the crew then disappeared out the side door down the gangway.

The night was fresh with a sea breeze. I slipped my shoes off. I could feel they were blistered from my stiff yachting shoes. Walking barefoot, strolling past other yachts, I saw other dinner parties on these magnificent boats, people laughing and drinking.

Walking the length of the marina I slipped out the gate and reached one of the last intersections before the big bridge crossed over to Nassau. Just then a cab slowed to a stop.
“How much to Sandyport?” I asked
“17” he said quickly.

Accepting his offer I rounded the front of his cab and jumped in the passenger seat. This move was received with a look of surprise by the cabbie.  But I knew Bahamians have an incredibly welcoming personality, and I thought a chat with a local would help me unwind from a rather disenchanting dinner cruise.

(PART 3 to follow)

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