My nose scrunches as I inhale the mint from the gelatin. The chocolate chip mint jello has been put on the meal plan by the chefs downstairs, and I don’t want to deny their hard work. The smooth wooden table glistens under the ceiling lights and the boat sways back and forth. The soles of my feet are placed firmly above my sandals. I look to my fellow friends and family across the table for advice. They look back with a blank expression, lightly diving their spoons into the sea-green gelatin.
A few feet away from the table, the chef stands with his hands interlaced behind his back, talking to a few crewmates in their white slacks. He goes behind the bar to switch off the buzzing noise of the metal hotplates which both contain the fishy smell of ceviche and the hot, oily, smell of burger patties. The table in front of the bar acts as a barrier between worker and tourist. Both of us know our respective places and where we should stand based on our status.
At the end of dinner, a few crew members come to take our plates with sloppy remains of meat, and descend down the stairs into what one can only assume as a kitchen where meals are prepared. They wouldn’t want to ruin the luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime experience of going on your own private cruise by showing you what goes on downstairs in the basement.
By 9:30, I ascend the curved white staircase and put my hand on the metal railing. I stop by the front of the boat to look at the sea. The tropical sky of the Galapagos Islands is covered by a dark blue veil, but the engine continues to roar and the waves still splash with them. I go down the narrow, wooden hallways, being careful with each step in fear of hurting myself. I’m in my own room with a small bathroom, a closet, vanity, and two firm beds pushed together to create a larger bed. My body settles in between the crevice of both of them, enjoying the balance of lying down. As I sleep, the boat keeps on moving, going past bodies of water that it will never pass by again.