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THE SAME BOAT
THE GILLETTE FAMILY TAKES TO THE OPEN SEAS
Chef Jonathan Cruz hosted the Gillette party for lunch at Shibō in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
With fall just around the corner, I’m finally beginning to feel like I’ve recovered from summer vacation. It’s been a while since the whole Gillette household traveled together, but, with my eldest son graduating with his degree in electrical engineering and my next-eldest son graduating from high school, there was no better time to get together and celebrate. Jennifer and I, with our four kids, headed out on the high seas, and we weren’t alone. Joining us on our voyage were my parents, my aunt, Jen’s mother and sister, our godson, and his parents for a whopping total of 14 people! We were less of a crowd and more of an army. That said, I’m glad we were all able to pack ourselves onto the cruise ship. In fact, my godson’s mother is a travel agent (www.actnowtravel.com), so this trip literally couldn’t have been pulled off without her. Despite our massive group, we always had things to do. No matter what activities we all split up to do during the day, all 14 of us always made sure to get back together for dinner. We also made it a rule that you could never sit next to the same person twice, so everyone got a good chance to catch up. We also had a memorable lunch when our ship stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’m a big fan of the show “Bar Rescue” from the Paramount Network. In the program, Jon Taffer, the “Gordon Ramsey of bars,” visits failing bars and uses his 30 years of hands-on experience to help the owners turn their business around. A key episode was set in San Juan just a year after the city had been devastated by two hurricanes. In the wake of the destruction, the owner and head chef of “Shibō,” a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, was struggling to reopen. With Taffer’s help, they were able to come back stronger than ever. The full episode can be seen here: prmnt.net/2JEEpey And we got reservations to this exact restaurant! Not only was the food delicious, but we got to meet the chef and his girlfriend, Maria, both of whom were featured in the episode! There were plenty of highlights on this trip, including a full-blown tour of St. Thomas and riding horses along the beach at Grand Turk, but this lunch was
definitely something special. Still, as incredible as each of these Caribbean destinations were, the journey in between these islands ended up being the most memorable. This was my first time on a cruise ship. In fact, it was my first time leaving the U.S. since 1999. I’d flown over the ocean before, but traveling out into open water was a completely different experience. Looking over the side I finally realized just how literal the phrase “deep blue sea” really is. I didn’t think it would be such a rich color, but it was the people on the ship who really surprised me. On paper, thousands of people packed onto a 15-story-tall boat sounds like a recipe for disaster. I fully expected people to be as grumpy and on edge as they are in airports and similar travel situations, but this was just the opposite. Never in my life have I met more friendly, open people than on this cruise. Passengers would strike up conversations with each other in elevators, join in on group parties, and just generally treat one another well. This really stood out to me because my mother-in-law was recently disabled. She uses a scooter to get around now, and she’s still getting used to it, but that didn’t stop her from setting sail with us! As she tried her best to navigate the ship, everyone from crew members to total strangers were so incredibly friendly and helpful. It was a really refreshing sight to see. In such a divided world, being packed into one ship with people of every nationality, political persuasion, and religion ended up being a remarkable experience. As I wondered why everyone was getting along so well, it dawned on me: We’re all in the same boat . We’re all
N e x t D o o r Bu
here together, so why not treat each other well? Maybe if everyone went on more cruises, world peace might just be possible.
Here’s to hoping,
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