Friday, January 05, 2007

Cruise Journal: 12/9/2007

As promised! It's a little rough. It's sort of just whatever I wrote, and not much editing. And not nearly as fun as my Glacier journal (you should go back and read that if you haven't, it was in July). Oh, and I'm not quite done with my web albums, but I promise I'll post picture links soon.


Definitely low on patience, and needing a vacation. Eager to be underway, out on the water. Happy to see Bud and Pat, meet their friends, see my mom, but ready to be alone. The room is warm. I’ve just gotten on the boat, with Moon River playing in the background. I’ve come to the cabin to put out bags down. It’s quiet here. Just a television playing safety drills. The people in the dramatizations are all much younger than most of the people I’ve seen here. I’m also a lot younger than most of the people I see.

Our cabin has portholes with rose colored curtains, about 20 feet above the water. It’s calming to be here by myself finally, but I need to go back up to the group, I guess.

Life Boat Drill

We are muster station H, life boat 12, and the emergency number to call is 21. I know all this because I just stood out on the deck in the cold and yelled it at the top of my lungs. The emergency signal is seven short blasts of the horn followed by one long blast. But the short blasts don’t seem very short. And if that horn starts blasting, I’m likely to just run to my muster station without counting. Brooke just called Mom for the last time. Bud and Pat have two big bottles of Crown, so Mom’s fixing a drink. I could buy the bottomless soda gun package for $40.25, but I refuse to believe I drink 6 sodas a day.

If I hear much more about how the Celebrity cruise my godparents went on is so much better than this, I might just scream. I can feel the vibration of the motors now in my seat. We must be about to leave.

Leaving Harbor

The sound of the wind rushing by is almost all I hear on the forward-most deck, up above the prow, as the banks slide by. I think I see the open ocean ahead, but we won't reach Galveston for three hours, so I could be wrong. The sun is setting off the starboard side, which is west, of course, so we’re headed south. Good. We’re going the right way, and I remember which is port and which is starboard. The smoke and the stacks of the refineries are behind us, drifting away. Off on the last bit of shore to my left, a gull cries, but it sounds muffled. Even the voices of people near me seem to fall into a dampening silence. The sounds are clear and sharp, but they don’t seam to spread or ring in the stillness.

A flatbed barge passing by has a flock of sea gulls circling over its wake. Dozens of them were perched on the deck as well, like ferry passengers huddled in their warm gray coats, puffed against the wind. I wonder if the gulls are flying in our wake, and on that thought I hurry to the aft deck.

If the front of the boat is windblown and peaceful, with only a few passengers standing against the rails, enthralled like me by the rush of the wind and the sliding shores, the aft is where I feel the real power of the ship. The engines are chugging and churning up billows and maelstroms of thick brown and green water. The gulls scream and swoop and swirl above, diving down into the foam after small fish, for yards and yards behind us. When one is lucky enough to catch something, he gulps it down immediately if he can. If he can’t, he flies up out of the fray, with the others clamoring after him. I watch one gull flying level with me holding what must be a small eel. He drops it as I watch, and one of the gulls chasing him catches it as it falls, and dodges off, pursued in his turn. Every so often a pelican glides sedately through and past this unruly mob, and I feel like he’s looking sideways at them in disdain as his wide wings carry him yards along with each swoop.

One of my fellow passengers walks by and asks if I’m getting inspired. I smile, but the spell is broken. Don’t people know better than break into the dreams of an artist at work? :-P

The side and aft decks are much warmer than the prow. The sun is setting in flames and I’d take a picture, but it would never come out with just those colors. I’ve lost my group, so it might be about time to go looking for them.

Dinner and a Movie

So, 7pm we started dinner in The Terraces. You order appetizers, soup, salad, entrée, and dessert, all at once. Every thing looks great on the menu. We sit and talk, appetizers and soup come. We sit and talk, soup comes for people who also had appetizers. We sit and talk, and talk, and get our water glasses filled, and talk. And realize the dinner is taking quite a long time.

Finally it comes. My strip steak is very flavorful, and very tough. Hmmm. The potato wedges were yummy. The chorizo on a skewer between a halved jalapeno was… atomic. Ow. One little bite and I felt like my head was exploding. Ow. Chew chew chew ow ow ow. Swallow ow. Lemon wedge helped. Water. Bread and butter. NOT touching one of those ever again.

The entrée is cleared away. The maitre d’ asks how everything was. Why do you always smile and say yes, even when it isn’t? In spite of the almost constant complaining through out the entire meal, no one has anything to say. So we sit and talk (complain) and wait for dessert. Which is the BEST part of the meal. I got the chocolate pecan cake. If it had been normal cake consistency, the slice would have been the size of my head. Instead, all that cake was compacted into about 5 cubic inches of extra-dense, extra-rich, extra-dark extra-FABULOUS chocolate cake. Wow.

Well, and dinner took 2 hours. I have to say, I actually would have enjoyed the relaxed pace, if it weren’t for the CONSTANT comparing of how this cruise isn’t as good as other cruises and how it was unbearable to be waiting so long for each course. Sigh. And if my steak hadn’t been so chewy. We’ll see how next time goes.

So then we went and watched a show. There was a little jazz combo. They were okay. They weren’t as good as the Rice jazz band. :-P The cruise director came out and tried to liven up the audience. But we were all pretty tired. There was a singer who played piano. She wasn’t really all that good. Hmm. There was a comedy magician with a raccoon puppet who was pretty funny. Then another comedian who had some pretty funny material about learning to ski and being mystified by body-builders who take pride in giving themselves hernias lifting incredible amounts of weight.

Of course, I almost fell asleep during the show. Really tired. Can feel the motion of the ship as we sail. Wonder how sleeping will be in this. Finding Nemo is on the TV. Mom’s actually never watched it. So I guess we’ll be doing this until I fall asleep. Night!

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