Thursday, June 26, 2014

Travel Flashback: Grad Students Hit the Travel Jackpot

- "Where are the free water sports? We're here for the free water sports!"

In 2006, three girlfriends and I embarked on a trip to the Bahamas. Carmen, who was pursuing a PhD in Caribbean Literature, was presenting at a conference in Nassau, and our university was paying for her hotel room. Two double beds = room for four, so off we went to achieve what no starving grad student had achieved before -- a four-day trip to the Bahamas for $23. Our expenses broke down as follows:

Round-trip flight from South Florida

+ Fancy hotel room

 Money made at hotel casino on $50 worth of chips we were given after listening to a timeshare presentation that we attended for the sake of the free breakfast
$33 (per person)

= Grand total of
$23 spent

For $23, we got to do this.

And, of course, this.

And more of this.

As well as this.

All thanks to this.

Then there were the free water sports, which consisted of snorkeling with barely sanitized goggles, narrowly avoiding a run-in with a school of angry barracuda, and me audibly whacking my skull against the tiny boat. (Carmen: "Did you break it?" Me: "No." Carmen: "Are you sure?").

Carmen is now a Spanish teacher and mother of three (THREE!) in D.C., Jen is a college English professor in Norfolk, Reishma is a high school English teacher in Miami, and I run a writing center at a South Florida university. English majors for the win!

Last summer, I reunited with Carmen and Jen in D.C., where we reminisced, called Reishma over cupcakes, and decided we should all get together for a long weekend in a new city soon. I doubt we'll ever be as lucky at blackjack again, but anything's possible.

Thanks for the good times, ladies! Till we meet again.

P.S. A special thanks goes to Reishma for 1) letting me steal some of her photos for this post, 2) volunteering to check her luggage so that we could all stow our too-big-for-TSA-approval toiletries, and 3) regaling us with the following unforgettable one-liners:

Jen: I still need to put my fluids in your thing.
Reish: Everybody does.

Jen: Can I keep my fluids out?
Reish: Everyone else has given me their fluids!

Mel: You have a big hole right there.
Reish: That's for fluids.  

For more pictures of my dirt-cheap trip to the Bahamas, visit my photo gallery.

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