When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers, Episode 3: The Ocean Ate My Wedding Ring
The husband and I got married many moons ago in mid-autumn. Pre-nuptials, when we decided on Belize as a honeymoon destination (the husband has a strange – some would say downright imperialistic – need to visit all of England’s former colonies), I pointed out that we would need to hold off until after hurricane season finished. (Two of the husband’s nicknames for me are Cautious Kitten and Head Safety – both of which were employed snidely when I made this announcement.) But I got my way (it was still relatively early in the relationship) and we left for Belize in early December, with two months of marriage under our belts.
We had a little trouble reaching our tropical destination. (I’m beginning to discern a pattern here. See … Blunders #1 and … Blunders #2.) While waiting for our connecting flight in Houston, we were told that our plane was circling overhead but couldn’t land because of bad weather. After a while it selfishly abandoned us, claiming a need to refuel in Austin. Eventually, though, the airline found another plane for us. We boarded full of excited anticipation, and then proceeded to sit on the runway for three hours, during which time they wouldn’t even feed us (per FAA regulations or some such nonsense). After what felt like a lifetime, the captain ordered the flight attendants to give us some food, we all cheered, and shortly after that the plane took off.
Unfortunately, we arrived in Belize City after dark, and the puddle jumper business that was supposed to fly us to the island of Ambergris Caye was closed for the evening. The airline put us up in a hotel that instantly brought to mind the Eagles’ hit, Hotel California, and by that I mean yes, it was creepy.
(On a side note, there were three connecting Houston-to-Belize Delta® flights that were weather-delayed that day. We learned that the people on the first flight received compensation for both hotel and meals in Belize City. The second group – ours – received compensation for the hotel only. Those on last flight to arrive got no compensation from the airline at all. Bastards!)
The next morning we finished what we’d started the day before, and arrived at our island resort at 9:00am.
After a brief orientation, we were shown our cabana. With all that pent up, frustrated travel energy flowing through our veins, the first thing we did was strip down (no, not that – get your mind out of the gutter), slather ourselves in sunscreen, and kayak our to the Barrier Reef for some snorkeling. (I now know that sunscreen contributes to coral death and I feel truly horrible about that. But don’t worry – the ocean got me back.)
Upon returning to shore, I looked down and noticed that my wedding ring was gone! I ran back to the room and turned it upside down. No ring. I retraced my steps to the beach. No ring. I inquired with the management. No ring. It began to dawn on me that my precious wedding ring was truly gone – it had slipped off my greasy, sun-protected finger either while kayaking or snorkeling. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. (And I also felt like punching our insurance agent in the gut, for he had not advised us to put our rings on a rider policy.) In a state of shock, I went back to our room, bawled my eyes out, and took a three-hour nap.
Upon waking, I had a stern talk with myself. I said, “Self, if you continue to let this bother you, it will completely ruin this honeymoon for both you and the husband.” And with that I adjusted my attitude and, with only an occasional attack of anxiety mixed with depression, had a lovely time for the remaining eight days of our trip.
When we returned stateside, we bought a new ring, had it blessed by our wedding officiant, and promptly put it on an insurance rider. Then I went to Target and bought a cheap $10 ring – and ever since, that’s what I wear when I travel.
And one day, probably in the very distant future – perhaps thousands of years from now – someone out for a stroll will happen upon my ring poking out of the sand, in temporary repose after being buffeted hither and yon by countless ocean tides. They will marvel at the date inscribed on the inside of the ring and wonder at its mysterious origins and the unknowable journey that brought it to rest in the sand. Heck, they may even blog about it.
The tragic tales in the When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers series: