Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Love Boat, Day 2

Following an entire night in the deep blue sea we awoke... to mutual headaches. My Fair Lady and I woke up that morning and neither of us felt close to 100%. Heck, we'd have gone in for 70% but at the time all I could hear was the siren call of my Advil bottle. Fortunately, I never go far from it so while I may stink on account of forgetting my deodorant, never fear for I doth have Advil handy.

Were you to combine that with a shot of booze then you'd pass right out and never have to smell me. "Considerate" is my middle name.

The steward knocked on our door around 9 a.m. with breakfast, so while My Fair Lady hid under the covers and I ducked into the bathroom, our breakfast was put in our cabin. I walked out and examined what we had on hand and it looked pretty solid. One thing we've both become accustomed to in our travels is how Europeans always throw a cooked or fried tomato onto the breakfast dish as a side. It never fails, and this extends even so far south as Sydney.

My Fair Lady bounded out of bed with her trademarked morning enthusiasm and we ate breakfast on our balcony. I recalled the famous line from The Shawshank Redemption when Morgan Freeman's character Red is on the bus bound for the Texas-Mexico border.
"I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the ocean is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."
The Atlantic Ocean is indeed the deepest and richest blue one can imagine and sailing across it while eating scrambled eggs with assorted pastries was a wonderful way to spend the morning. After taking in the view and smells of the ocean we figured it was time to explore the ship stem to stern.

Before any of that could begin though My Fair Lady rushed out to buy us tickets to the ice show on Thursday.

"Tickets will sell out if I don't get there right now!" she cried out.
"Uh, this is a show about people skating around, yes?" I asked.
"Uh huh. They have shiny costumes and everything," she replied.
"So how is it this whole 'we' thing applies to enjoying it?" I asked.
"Oh hush, you'll like it."

With that the door was open and away she flew down the hall. Some days I wish I had that sort of enthusiasm first thing in the morning. But then I'd have to kill myself out of fear the perkiness might spread like an infection. Soon all would be perky and the world would become populated solely by Katie Couric clones.

Think about the sheer terror alien invaders might feel. They come in war and all they find is perky, the once great nations of the planet Earth reduced to shiny, happy, automatons of joy. They'd flee back into the depths of the universe in terror. Think about that.

Once My Fair Lady returned with full perkiness in tow, we headed out onto the ship to explore everything. We found a rock wall, a Johnny Rockets, and a mini-golf course set up at one end of the ship. In the middle were the spas and the swimming pools and the bars. There were restaurants galore, a movie theater, a stage where the nightly shows performed, and so forth. Plenty of stuff to do...

But then that "trapped" feeling set in.

Neither of us is particularly claustrophobic especially when one examines our personal lives. We're not hermits but we do have a sort of structure about our lives. We go to work, come home, and maybe go out for a bit before returning home. Yet when we vacation we like to just go walk-about as the Aussies would say. We'll pick a direction and just start hiking to see what we can find. So for us to be stuck in the middle of the ocean on a giant floating mini-mall surrounded by people boozing it up and scarfing down food and shopping incessantly was a little weird. But we figured it was only one more day until we landed in San Juan so why shouldn't we make the best of it.

Right around that time came the announcement for the cannonball competition up on deck. Chita Rivera emceed the festivities with some Spanish flair added to the rampant perky. Many challengers stepped to the plate and many a giant splash was created until the main man strode forth. His name? Dave.

His size? Frickin' ginormous.

Dave danced his way to the platform, waved to everyone (whether it was for good-by or good luck I couldn't tell) then leaped into the air, curled into a ball, and aimed for the water. As he hit the water it was though someone detonated a mine under the surface because every drop of liquid in the pool shot straight into the air and landed on us. When we could all see again we brought in a ladder to pass down to him so he could climb out of the now-vacant pool. What better reward than to hand out a perfect score?

We wandered the ship snacking here and there for the rest of the afternoon until it was time for dinner. This was the first of two formal nights so while My Fair Lady leapt for joy at dressing up (something she is amazingly good at, it bears mentioning) I grumbled about wearing a suit and eating with people I didn't know.

"But you do know them," she said. "We met them the other night and they seem like very sweet people. Oh! I'm just so excited! Whoo-hoo!"

Hang with her long enough and this sort of boundless enthusiasm towards pretty much everything becomes common place. There are many reasons I wanted to marry My Fair Lady but her energy and joy at the world is easily in the top five.

We arrive for dinner and greet our server again, and we meet one half of the missing duo from the previous night. Mr. Mark from Seattle joined our merry crew and along with Robyn/Armando from Texas and Charles/Michelle from LA the couplings were almost complete. As the night wore on we became increasingly comfortable in our discussions and the evening was very friendly. The dinner itself was alright, but nothing spectacular. Mark mentioned that Johnny Rockets made a mean milk shake which meant I had to immediately head there for dessert.

One of the headlining traits of the cruise I was sold on was 24-hour ice cream. This proved not to be the case. By 24-hour ice cream I assumed, incorrectly, that there would be a bar setup in one of the cafes where I could pick up a few scoops whenever I wanted and go on with my day. Instead I could either pay for Ben & Jerries (overrated) or grab a soft-serve yogurt cone at one of several locations.

Soft-serve yogurt to me does not equal 24-hour ice cream bars. Just sayin'.

At any rate, we learn that Michelle is a financial manager for certain celebrities and sports people in LA and apparently it's true how poor they are with handling their money. I don't know anyone that can justify dropping $20K on a piece of luggage, but these people somehow do. I can only imagine Michelle sitting on the other end of the phone telling them that's not the wisest course of action regarding long-term investments.

After dinner digested we ran up to Johnny Rockets and grabbed a shake. Fortunately the girl behind the counter didn't have to use the mixer because the cruise ship hit some rough chops and at that height we were all swaying. When we returned to the midship we were able to stand on our own and figured the wisest thing would be to hit the sack and hang on for dear life.

Day three and LAND!!! was just around the corner.

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