Always Be Proud

Ever heard of the expression, “be loud and proud“? Well this applies to every aspect of the phrase including your heredity. There was a moment I wasn’t

Ever since then, I’ve learned to always be proud of who you are, no matter.


In the summer of 1994, I was enjoying being a high school graduate, yet preparing to be a collegiate freshman at Western Washington University. I wanted a vehicle instead I received a mountain bike from my parents (which led to my crash and tattoo inspiration for another time)

I also requested from them a microwave and/or a hot plate for my dorm room when cafeteria wasn’t open since I would be working at the Payless Drug Store in Bellingham.

I received a Tiger Rice Cooker, model JNP-0720, in the classic color of pink. You know, as in the choice color of popped collar wearing douchebags of the world. Wearing an actual dick costume makes you look like less of a dick than this. Still, the preppy set of the 90s never met a collar they didn’t want to pop. Some men even dared to sport popped collars in layers, like the world’s most unappealing onions – and of all the colors it was pink.

I digress

No other present was more emasculating than this pink rice cooker, at least to me. My mother can sense this, feel this, so she quipped, <insert Filipino accent here> “If you have rice, you have food. If you have food, you have everything.”

So that’s a “no” on returning this abomination for a microwave?


Be proud

Laramie was my roommate at the Omega Ridge Dormitory at WWU. He could’ve care less about judging me, I was still not proud of this gift. At work one night, I brought home a cardboard box big enough to place on top of it and use black color duct tape to disguise it further.

As always, your proud parents will visit their son’s dorm room after awhile … my mother quickly scanned the room but didn’t find my rice cooker. She casually walked over to the desk, lifted up the black duct taped box and yelped, “Why are you hiding your rice cooker like this?”

SHIT.

Like the gaudy looking picture frame a mother-in-law gave you as a wedding gift that you crammed into a junk drawer … I had done the same, much to my mother’s dismay.

She put it back, pursed her lips, and mumbled, “You should be proud to have a rice cooker, and that you’re Filipino.” Then strolled out of the room, leaving the emptiness of the words and disappointment drench you every second you remained in there.

I apologized profusely and immediately. I walked over, removed the cover and used it as a carrying bin for my mountain bike until it eventually was destroyed. There it sat on my college desk in all it’s pink colored glory for the remaining time at Western.

I am proud I am a Filipino American. Over the years, I’ve learned to love the rice cooker, especially ever since Mom died. Now the obvious question is: So, Los, do you still have it? I mean it’s 27 years old.

Damn right! I used it the other day to make delicious rice.

‘los; out

Which Papa Again?

Recently, my friend asked me to order Papa Murphy’s pizza to be prepared for pick up with the words: Don’t confuse it with Papa John’s!


July 14, 2016 – I blame the Sounders for this fine mess. In the end, I’ll accept responsibility, but hear me out first! It’s no secret that the Sounders season thus far has been sub-par. So last night’s thrashing of FC Dallas was a welcomed event.

Sidebar: The FC Dallas Head Coach is an arrogant bastard for not loading up his 5 best players to ‘rest’ them. He figured he could win in our house with his 2nd rate assclowns. Glad to send them packing with an embarrassing 5-nil loss.

I digress

Several corporate sponsors offer fans great promotions when the Sounders win. If the Sounders score three goals, Great Clips offers a free haircut. If the Sounders shut out an opponent at a home match, Papa Murphy’s will offer a free a large, one-topping pizza.

As soon as the neon lights of the large screen flashed “Sounders Win!”, I was dead-set on redeeming that pizza. In fact, it was MY DAMN PIZZA. I even told WCP, my seatmates, and a couple of coworkers I was gonna collect it after work today because the offer expires after one day of the match.

In my mind, Papa John’s was the pizza place that could deliver to my new home, Bastion of Bayne. I even looked up the nearest Papa John’s in Lake Stevens. There’s one located a mere mile away.

Perfect, I thought. I’ll bomb home, order the pizza, and I can continue the computer work I need to do. So I bomb home, and take a look at the Sounders app for the promotional details. “Redemption must be done in-person, not online or the phone.” Aiight, I thought, small setback. I’ll just get the pie, and return home.

I drive to the Papa John’s. I practically strut into the open store. A young lady attended to me. She asked if I called in, or ordering…

Me: “Yes, I’d like to redeem a coupon.”
Girl: “Ok, what kinda coupon.”
Me: “The app states that the Papa Murphy’s employee inputs …” I let the words trail off as we both realize I’m at the wrong company. I interrupt myself, “Have a good night, miss!”

Google Maps gets me to the nearest Papa Murphy’s which is less than a mile away. The store closes at 9:00 p.m. My car clock has 8:55 p.m. on it. Fantastic! I zip into there, redeem my coupon, and walk out triumphantly with my pepperoni pizza. I call WCP right away.

Who’s Your Daddy?

WCP answered: “Yo, big bro.”
I grit: “I got my damn pizza. You home? You eat dinner, yet?”
WCP is amused: “I was wondering with G-Money when you were gonna work out that it’s Papa Murphy’s, not Papa Johns, and exactly HOW you were gonna cook up that pizza without a stove in your new house.”
I huff: “Real funny, WCP. Just warm up the damn oven at the Crash Pad [current apartment], and I’ll be there in a few.”

After I smashed on a couple pieces of pizza, WCP asks, “So? How’s your free pizza?”
I swallow another bite, “Fucking fantastic. Free pizza tastes magical!”

Life lesson learned? Read the damn fine print for terms and conditions. Always!

‘los; out.

Carlos Warehouse Chronicles: Oil of Olay

One of my responsibilities of a FE (Front End) Supervisors at Woodinville Costco is to answer radio requests from the Membership Desk. It’s usually one of three types: key flick, approval, or Merchandise Pick-Up aka MPU.

It’s been almost 4 years now since the Oil of Olay Incident of 2017.


Oil of Olay

There was a call from the Membership Desk for a MPU. I looked around and realized I was the closest, and most available FE Supervisor, so I answered the radio request with, “Copy that, Carlos en route.”

It was yet another busy day at Woodinville Costco, so when I arrived at the Membership Desk it was teeming with activity.

I searched around for the MPU in the area I usually find it. I spied a LONE bottle of Oil of Olay.

I furrowed my brow as this is not a typical item that requires to be locked up in the Return To Vendor (RTV) Cage – yes, we use tons of acronyms to save time communicating. So I called out to confirm, while holding up the bottle.

“Is this really the MPU?” I stated loudly but to no one in particular. That was a mistake.
I heard, “Yes, Los. That’s it.”

I shrugged my shoulders, and sauntered off to the RTV Cage. I placed it in there, and logged it’s placement.

About an hour later, the returns auditor, the newly promoted, Tim C, approached me.

Tim: “Los, did you do a MPU?”
Me: “Sure did, it’s in the cage and logged.”
Tim: “By chance, was it a bottle of Oil of Olay that was Unsaleable?”
Me: “Yup.”
Tim: “Is it there now?”
Me: “Yes sir. Why?”
Tim: (practically exploded from frustration) “We’ve been looking for that for the last 45-minutes. We opened every box and searched every square inch.” He walks towards the cage.
Me: (thinking) Oh my. I’ve only ever seen a smile on that guy’s face. And boy, was it twisted about that. MEH. Of course, it didn’t belong in the cage, but mistakes happen. 

Then it happened. RevengeSweet, sweet revenge.

THE NEXT DAY …

The radio chatter started as it usually does.
“Carlos? Copy,” the radio blared.
“Go for Los,” my reply.
“There’s a MPU for you here. It’s a bottle of Oil of Olay,” I can practically hear them busting up laughing in the department.

Great! I usually don’t make public mistakes like that so this incident simply makes me delicious cannon fodder.

An hour passes without further incident. My co-supervisor, Jorge, calls. “Carlos? Copy?”
“Go for Los.” This outta be good, I mentally groaned.

“Can you please lock up this Oil of Olay in the RTV Cage?” I can hear his impish grin over the radio transmission.

Oh, for the love of … “Copy that. I’m en route now.”

Now I can’t live this down until someone else does something equally silly or worse.

At the end of my work shift, I had to walk by the fully staffed Membership Desk to which they were all cracking up as they were waving in their hands some Olay products.


Finally? Outside in the parking lot from his parked Civic, the maintenance guy, Michael, innocently asked, “Hey Los, what was all that chatter about Oil of Olay?”

I grumbled, “Forget about it – it’s an uber expensive bottle of Olay that removes years from your face. It was bottled by the one and only Ponce de Leon with water from the Fountain of Youth.”

Frenemy of Mine: Icy Hot

Thank you Urban Dictionary for providing the perfect word for me to use. Frenemy is an enemy disguised as a friend. We all have one, if not more, and I’m no exception. The frenemy of mine is Icy Hot Cream.

That’s right, you read that right.


On my 29th birthday, I chucked a spaz because once I compared myself to others in the same and even older age group, I realized I wasn’t psychically fit at all. As I was barreling into my 30’s, I was overweigh, and not active.

So I found a personal trainer (PT), and decided to do the necessary work. Unfortunately, the transition was brutal. My PT, Big Kenny, recommended Icy Hot for my achy muscles. They were so sore I could barely move without grunting but I wasn’t complaining. I applied so much on a daily basis the office co-workers joked it was my new cologne. They knew when I worked out with my PT because the smell was so pungent that as I passed even the plastic office plants would wilt.

One of the days of this routine was “leg day”, a day most people dread. This day’s regime was particularly rough. After my shower, and musking up for the day, I applied Icy Hot all over my legs as usual. Then I donned my Costco Travel uniform: khaki pants, brown shoes, matching belt, and light blue shirt.

I felt the Icy Hot warming up my muscles to my relief. Then?

Suddenly, a thousand razor sharp kitten claws were stabbing my genitals! Sweet Jeezus, there’s molten lava on my boys!! Thankfully I was still in the locker room, so I immediately strip down and raced back into the shower.

Rinse, rinse, repeat. Rinse, rinse, repeat.

SIGH. Crisis contained. I redressed.

What the fuck happened, I thought? I looked at the warning label as most men do after a disaster and unfavorable results (read that as the instructions too)

I reviewed what I did only to realize when it went all wrong. I applied Icy Hot on the inside of my thighs first then slipped on my clothing which meant a grip of the applied Icy Hot got on my boxer briefs therefore were in contact with my family jewels.

It was the scene out of Revenge of the Nerds all over again. Medicine FAIL! UGH, thanks frenemy of mine: Icy Hot Cream. Use with caution!

This has been my C Note.
‘los; out

NOT A Black Horse And A Cherry Tree

Yesterday’s horseback riding tour in Long Beach, Washington reminded me of a horse called: Crazy Gus.

My travel companion requested we rock some horseback riding down at the beach. After some quick Goo-diligence the company that fit best was Long Beach Horse Rides. The first horse I was paired with was named Roxette or Roxy for short. However, there was a change with the number of double-riders therefore they asked for me to be reassigned to another horse named, Amigo. No, seriously … that the was name of the horse!

Without a doubt, horses are majestic creatures with an individual personality. Horse wranglers, or trainers will readily agree with the statement.

Amigo and I had a chill time together yesterday. I was good to him, he was good to me. Not so much with a horse named Crazy Gus.


Turtle Bay Resort

Once upon a time, I was married in 2004. My wife had requested to vacation at North Shore, Oahu, Turtle Bay Resort. (Yes, the filming location for the movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) While on vacation there, she further requested to horseback ride along the beach.

2004 – North Shore of Oahu

As a dutiful husband, I booked the horseback riding tour. On the day of the tour we arrived on time so we can process paperwork (liability waivers, etc) Then we mingled with the other riders as the horse wranglers observed us. It was time to saddle up to our assigned horses.

After a quick discussion between the wranglers in whispered tones, they waved me over. “Hey Oakley (for my sunglasses), you have Gus,” one of the said.

I thought, Gus. Not a bad pull, like Simon and Garfunkel, get on the bus, Gus.

I approached the loading platform as directed. A different wrangler, mumbled to me, “Crazy Gus, huh?”

WAIT! HOLD UP. CRAZY GUS?! “Excuse me? Crazy Gus? I thought it was just Gus. Why, Crazy Gus?”

With a wink, she answered, “You’ll see. Just don’t let him get into the grass.”

I mentally complained, thanks a lot.


NOT a Black Horse and a Cherry Tree later … About halfway through the tour, a lawnmower was started several hundred feet away but STARTLED all the horses, save for Crazy Gus.

It was then he started pushing the threshold of my patience by drifting close to the trail edge where grass grew. He took a swipe or two before I gently guided him away as we were losing touch of the pack.

Thankfully, one of the wranglers was at the end to ensure everyone made it back.

THEN.

THEN IT HAPPENED. Rather, Crazy Gus happened. I think about we were about 75% done when Crazy Gus bolted into a small pasture of knee-high grass. I pulled up on the bridle to stop him, but he wasn’t.

Once he got a couple dozen feet off the trail and into the grass, he stopped. He stopped to eat!

This sonofabitch … I leaned over to his ear to whisper the following.

“Listen here, you ornery sonofabitch. I know you’re bored, but I’m not. If you don’t behave I’m gonna march the both of us to the GLUE FACTORY. Once you’ve been processed, and place on a shelf, I’m gonna buy it. NOW MOVE!”

I raised up my legs, pointed in my heels, slammed them into his ribs, careened the bit with his head attached towards the trail and yelled, “HAW!”

His eyes were as big as pie-pans! Most of all he was quite obedient after that little pep talk. The trail boss approached to ask if we were ok, I replied yes.

LATER ON …

No other incidents happened. As I was stepping off the platform, I patted Crazy Gus gently to assure him I was pleased with his behavior.

“MISTER! Mister! I’ve gotta ask, what did you say to Gus in the grass that got him to behave like that? I must know,” she pleaded with me.

“Oh, that?” I shrugged and thumbed in the direction of the trail. “That’s between Gus and I. It was a private conversation.”

I winked towards her like she did an hour earlier. A Cheshire Cat like grin creeps across my face every time this memory pops up in my mind.

‘los; out.

Accidental Karaoke: Dancing Queen

As I was rocking in the Millennium Subaru this morning, Dancing Queen by ABBA played Mark VII [my named iPod]. Reminded me of my first “karaoke” song I ever sang… totally by accident might I add. The memory flooded into my mind …


The Summer of 1995

Lynnwood, WA – Thrifty Payless Inc. I was the youngest supervisor on staff at the ripe old age of 19. Many of the old-crow cashiers were upset by this promotion by management. They thought I would react by being all award show [letting the title go to my head] One of my first responsibilities was to count inventory in our warehouse in the back of the store. It’s a very stressful time of year.

In order to mitigate that stress I would laugh, and joke, and sing, and dance and work off the clock when possible. The only music available to me was the satellite fed, Muzak music from Wilsonville, Oregon. If memory serves me correctly, only 6 songs were on that damn track.

As you can imagine, working part-time for the past 3 years, with each song averaging 3 minutes in length, I heard each of those more times than I care to admit to! One of those songs was Dancing Queen by ABBA. You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon [I know it’s a mixed metaphor – it’s funny, LAUGH!] to realize you learn the lyrics a song eventually.

One Sunday morning, during “Inventory Season”, I slid in early to do some counting. I was issued an alarm code, a key to the store, and whatnot. I plugged in the lights therefore the Muzak music was turned on as well. The typical, same boring songs were on, Blue Bayou, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and more!

NO ONE ELSE IS IN THE STORE, mind you. With my focus and eyes staring into the racks of shrink wrapped pallets (think Costco), my arm outstretched with a Papermate pen pointing, and a clipboard as my ‘tambourine’. Well… Dancing Queen played for the first time of the cycle, so I unconsciously started belting out the lyrics.

Accidental Karaoke

Unbeknownst to me, Trisha, the Accountant, had arrived and let some of the mostly male crew into the store. They heard a voice, and knew it was me. They all gathered up behind the thin, metal, swinging doors (think a restaurant kitchen door) to eavesdrop.

By the time of the crescendo, I was in full effect. Effectively, ABBA in the warehouse that had great acoustics! I was still concentrating on my pallet counts, though. One, two, three, “feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yay!”, I’d tap the clipboard against my hip. Four, five, six, “… digging the Dancing Queen!”

The song finishes, the lights go out, and I exclaimed, “What the hell?!” The lights were unplugged which were by the door. Then all I can heard is snickering, and applause, as I rapidly approach, Jeff, the ex-hard core Marine, plugs in the lights and music.

The entire crew is literally falling down on the tile, laughing, and pointing, and hollowing …“Los is a dancing queen!”

Oh, here we go, I mentally groaned. I could already envision it: tomorrow or the coming weeks my desk will be littered with ABBA paraphernalia, the crew will be making a name tag with “ABBA” or “Dancing Queen” as my title, and forever plus one day, I’ll never live this down!

To this day, anytime I hear that song, a smirk creeps onto my face, and I think, where’s my all-white outfit, with white belt and more importantly, where’s my CLIPBOARD?!

‘los; out

A Bad Case of the Yips

The recent rise in the COVID-19 Delta variant reminded me of the time I developed a case of the YIPS. What is that, you ask? We need to go no further than a How I Met Your Mom episode.

How I Met Your Mother

Season 3, Episode 10 – The Yips. Barney has trouble hitting on women at the Victoria’s Secret after party and so has to return to the woman who took his virginity.

At the Victoria Secret’s Party

I followed that TV show from minute one to minute done. This particular episode resonated with me one evening.

You see, I have a gregarious persona, and charming personality. Much like, the character Barney with his wit and charisma. I’m generally not at a loss for words, and very nimble in social situations.

So when my friends and family learn or witness these rare moments of being flustered, or squirming or drowning – they relish it. And of course, later chide me about it. Without further delay, let’s recount the experience.


The Case of the Yips

February 21, 2019 – Woodinville, Washington, Costco Returns Counter.

I got the case of the #yips today in Refunds today… Bernie and I are posted up at Registers 83 and 82 respectively, which are the front line tills. A gorgeous married brunette walks through the door pushing a cart full of items with her son in it as well.

Me: Hello there, c’mon up, don’t be bashful. *I pause for her to approach* I don’t bite, I charge extra for that.

Her: (after looking me up and down like a piece of man-meat) I’d pay extra for that.

I instantly blush. I feel the case of yips coming on quickly. I struggle with my next words. I stammer: May I, um. Er, can I, say can I have your Membership Card?

Bernie is cracking up laughing in my peripheral which is killing what little concentration that I had left. She readily hands over her card. I struggle mightily with a single item, in-store purchased pair of socks with a receipt! The easy task to do.

The only sound you could hear is the beeping-complaining of the computer for not hitting the sequence of keys in the proper order. My face is hot because it’s MORE red than the Refunds Desk. At last, I finish the refund, return her card, money and receipt.

Her: *she smiles, places her card, money and receipt into her purse then pushes her cart away with some swagger in her walk*

She pauses, looks over her shoulder. Oh, and Carlos? Good luck with your next return, Carlos. Hope the cat doesn’t get your tongue. Then she delivers the coup de grâce by WINKING at me!

I crossed my arms as pillow, lean on the desk, and bury my head. Just effing kill me now, I mentally scream!

As she walks off, Bernie quips to me only, Do you wanna put your own jaw back in your skull, or do you want my help?

Needless to say, I overanalyzed the situation and arrived to a conclusion. If you’re gonna battle head-to-head with a witty opponent, be damn sure you have several practiced answers.

For more embarrassing, self-professed incidents, please follow me.

los; out

Beer Olympics

The much-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics being hosted in 2021 had me reminiscing about the first Beer Olympics my crew and I organized many years ago …

Beerfest

Summer 2009 … My friends and I watched a hidden movie gem called, Beerfest. Two brothers travel to Germany for Oktoberfest, only to stumble upon a secret, centuries-old competition described as a “Fight Club” with beer games.

That had us thinking we should host our own Beer Olympics. The only thing stopping the Brew Crew was our own imagination. As ‘manifesting’ goes, I must’ve been focusing on it because the Issaquah Ross Clothing Store had not one but TWO glass boots for filling with the beer. THEY WERE A REPLICA OF THE VERY MOVIE WE ROCKED.

DAS BOOT!

We understood then, and understand now, that’s not the proper translation. I was just so elated that I would be bringing the best item to elevate our Beer Olympics more so than anyone’s.

September 9th, 2009

Scott’s idea of a having wristbands thrown into a black garbage bag was brilliant. Each player withdraws one wristband from the bag, the matching one would be your teammate.

The teams were further organized to an established team name, e.g. I’d Tap That.

Let the games begin! If memory serves me, it was beer basketball, beer pong, quarters, for starters. It was a single match up elimination with the winning advancing until we reached the quarter finals. Not sure, we had hella beers and this was over a decade ago!

Ready? Set … GO!

At any rate, we did eventually battle our way to the finals which incorporated the use of the DAS BOOTS I bought, and brought to the party.

TEAM CHUG NORRIS (pictured left) was our first Beer Olympics Champion – Gold Medalist

The Brew Crew hosted a couple more before … again life stuff, and/or natural friendship attrition. But each time was a blast, regardless.

Have you hosted a Beer Olympics? Have you participated in one? Are you inspired to host and/or attend? Lemme know with a comment below!

‘los

Watershed Festival

With Watershed Festival 2021 quickly coming up, it reminded me of Watersheds passed. Instead of concentrating on a particular year, I thought I would stroll down Memory Lane …


You Never Forget Your First

I remember how the conversation even started about Watershed. I was exchanging texts with a hot girl I had a crush on for years. She asked me since I was a ginormous country music fan if I ever went or heard of Watershed.

I had not, so I replied as such. My inquisitive mind sought it out with a Google Search, of course. I was immediately amped: oh-I’m-doing-this!

I planned to secured these highly coveted tickets, AND camping tickets. Then I invited my friends, Michelle, Alicia, and my sister. A small group of 4 seemed best. I rented a Chevy Tahoe to ratpack in our gear and ourselves.

On the day of departure, once packed in my apartment garage, a watermelon was remaining. I voted for leaving it, but … the girls? Hell no, they were committed to jamming it in. WCP’s Tetris skills were in full flex as she was able to work in it.

OFF WE GO!

Hours later, we arrived at the campground like everyone else. This is when we met Jeff, Justin, Karen and one more (can’t recall) They rolled in with luxury coaches / RVs! Premier Camping was designated for these vehicles, we only grabbed those for space enough for 2 tents, etc.

They politely asked to back in their vehicles to create a compound through our area before we set up. I smiled, “Go for it!” We talked for a bit, and became fast friends.

We listened to live country music, drank, ate some great food, and made awesome memories. Even rocked my first foam party before it became passé.


Year 2

We camped at the nearby Cave B Winery. Yes, it was another 3-day country music bender but it was fun. If memory serves me well, Michelle’s father, Gary was able to join us that year. Jesse would make the long trek of walking from Standard Camping. Poor guy. At least he did it in style … shirtless, with American flag themed leggings (for lack of a better term)

I managed to pass out in the camping site which Jell-O shots were placed all around me without me stirring awake.

I also believe WCP was stung by a wasp several times right before a concert. While the group was helpful in their wasp sting remedies, we believe that all of them combined made a potent night for her.

Year 3

Instead of camping, we decided that we would try the hotel-stay-during-the-night, and rock during the day at Watershed. The air conditioning, and pool time was lovely, but we felt disconnected from the merrymaking at the actual festival.

We would only do this route again IF NEED BE.

Cher, Charrina, Michelle, and I decided we were gonna have team T-shirts this year: Team Day Drinking. We caught some laughs, and smiles throughout the weekend.

Year 4

This would be our last year attending as life, and other events took over priority status than country music festivals.

Have you ever been? What was your favorite Watershed memory?

‘los with the most; out

Swimming with the Sharks – Literally

My sister has a long-standing tradition of watching Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. I don’t understand the attraction but I can appreciate the dedication to a tradition. A segment was dedicated to black tipped reef sharks which reminded me of time that I … ACTUALLY SWAM WITH SHARKS?! LITERALLY!?


When I was married a long, long time ago, my wife and I had a tradition of traveling once a year. In October 2006 … we traveled to the Bahamas. The hotel choice was the Atlantis Resort prior to all of their additions, etc. As a resort in a tourist destination, they offered kick-ass excursions.

Powerboat Adventures offered the best of all of theirs … Exuma Cay.

  • Your Own Private Island
  • Shark & Stingray Experiences
  • Our Famous Exuma Piggies!
  • Stunning Beach
  • Huge Fresh Cooked Lunch
  • Bahamian Conch Salad Show
  • Open Bar – ALL FREE, ALL DAY!
Powerboat Adventures

You had me at OPEN BAR. Regardless, as pictured, the powerful boat whisked about 15-20 passengers out to their as-advertised private island. We swung by Iguana Island, which I was convinced this was (is) the breeding ground for Godzilla (yes, I know that the “actual” place was in the Pacific)

A few minutes after disembarking, the company suggested the stingray feeding. I was brave enough for that action, so I participated while my wife watched.


Feeding them stingrays

Next, they feed us a wonderful on-spot-prepared lunch while we were still drinking from the open bar. But the “main show” was to witness a shark wrangler feed black tipped reef sharks!!

I honestly had no idea how that was gonna be facilitated. One of the “expendable” guides, dragged out from the beach into knee-high water with a chain, and at the end was a large fish head (assumed it was a grouper)

It wasn’t long before a shark or two wandered up. Then a brave or hungry shark clamped down HARD on his bait. With his massive build, the shark wrangler started to sway the chain in a back and forth action like a tug-of-war with a dog and bone!

And this guy managed to wrestle away the grouper head from the shark. Then he lift it above the water line about 2 feet so that the shark would launch up in the shallow water to bite it! This would never be OSHA approved.

He finally fed them with his hands (see below)

A Shark Wrangler In Action

After feeding those sharks, the company offered the impossible: swim with the very sharks that were fed! With a whispered, you only live once, I accepted their offer along with a dozen or so others. The guide demonstrates to wear a life jacket even though he isn’t wearing one himself.

He instructs us to not fight the current but travel with it. There was a point-of-no-return which would literally carry you out to the Atlantic Ocean and open water. AVOID that, he says flatly.

My wife knows I’m not a strong swimmer, but doesn’t object. Perhaps she was trying to kill me then as well as later? I don a life vest like an oversized orange shark bobber. I’m an idiot. Also added fins to my feet to aide in swimming like a 40-lb fawking anvil.

One guide leads us while another follows up the rear to make sure all the tourist are herded the correct direction. They explain the sharks are satiated so they are not interested in eating / biting you. Yeah, right!

I settled in about midpack so I can see and keep in touch with the leader yet see the rear being cattled along.

ALL was good. I was taking underwater photos with a disposable camera. The reef to my left, and open water to my right was a grip disconcerting … the seascape was beautiful! All the colors of the rainbow was represented there.

The sharks started to swim amongst us! Like an underwater freeway, the ocean current carried humans, fish, seahorses, and SHARKS. Then it happened. I pissed myself because a shark on my right about the 1 o’clock position and 20 feet away took an unexpected U-turn!

As he and I were playing “chicken” like a scene straight out of the 1984 hit, Footloose. I was Chuck in this recreation, though. As I banked myself to the left, and the ‘Ren’ shark glided by, I looked into that one eye.

I continued to watch behind me as scared swimmers darted out of the way of the ONCOMING SHARK. Next the damnable thing performed another U-turn in the middle of the crowd causing even more chaos! Finally, it settled down in a straight line all the way to the outside of the current and pointing towards the way everyone and everything was going.

I looked forward, and witnessed the guide and the others angle themselves left towards the beach. I was relieved as I casually swam with the crowd. Once I reached the beach, I thought that’ll be the first, last and only time I’ll swim with sharks.

I’ll stick to the corporate, suit-wearing, lawyer-like sharks thank you very much.

Would you swim with sharks if given the opportunity? Or just enjoy the yearly #SharkWeek like my sister?

Comment below!

‘los with the most

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