[Note- this entry contains 2,500 words, and basically nothing happened. It is merely an account of how a non-drinker, travelling alone on his first long cruise spent a day getting accustomed to a totally different life experience. Those craving more action will hopefully be more interested in the next entry, being prepared now, when the ship arrives in Acapulco, playground of the rich and famous in the 1950s.]
Saturday, September - At Sea
Dateline Lat 30 54 Long 117 05 Crs 155 Speed 22-23 mph Nearest airport MMES (65mi 025) MMES = Ensenada, Mexico
Today began quite early, even in NY time. I woke quite awake at 0535 NY time, which is 0335 local time, although up to now I haven’t been able to get the name of the local time zone[mountain]. As I lay there, I felt the unmistakable sensation of roll. I think that my cabin (R11) almost at the waterline, is probably less susceptible to discomfort than that of the Okie truck driver on the top deck with the balcony, but I enjoy it. I dressed in grey sweat pants and the hooded sweatshirt and hit the top deck with my GPS. It was not quite as windy as departure yesterday, but I had to hold onto my hat and was glad of the sweatshirt. It was warm however and the stars were pretty. I looked longingly into the bridge with the glowing instruments and thought about my good luck at the hotel in Kathmandu when the airline captain was interested in the same gps that I had with me now. No nibbles.
Walking back to the lido deck, it was a whole ‘nother world as I walked into people swimming, dancing, splashing, sitting in a whirlpool and lying on deck chairs with loud disco type music playing. It was quite a shock from the staid, air conditioned inside atmosphere from which I had just emerged.
A fellow passenger also walking around directed me to hot coffee in the rear of the ship. Finding a South African super in the casino, I asked him about the internet café which will cost a hundred bucks but is worth it. I should have gotten a wireless hookup however as they do not have them. [sic – they rent the wireless cards for ten bucks a day] T** was his name and he argued with me about the flying time from NY to Joburg and I went back to see him (happened to be wearing my cape point t shirt as it happened) and showed him my own backseat logbook which is going to have to be brought up to date, because I made an ink entry for yesterdays’s trip before filling in the trip from Warsaw to NY (God that seems a long time ago, but I got a real nice email from P*** just before leaving.
My next chore was to work on the photos. D*** had a death in the family and no time to spare, but he did give me the memory card for the computer, and I have successfully gotten many of the pix into the computer from the camera…about thirty six or so, some of them quite good, but am having difficulty in arranging them, and this will take a certain amount of expertise, which I may find aboard the ship.
The list of things that has been lost and found includes tickets, passport, water, pen, sweatshirt and wallet. However, I think the only so far lost and not found is the little maglite with brand new Duracell batteries in it, which could have dropped in the airbus I suppose.
What is worse is to open the zipper dopp bag with stuff in it and find a charger and not have F*** CLUE what it is supposed to recharge. It isn’t for the razor nor the computer, and the multi band scanner which I don’t know how to use doesn’t have one. It is lovingly wrapped up and I am a bit upset over not know what it is supposed to recharge. The missing flashlite is not expensive and easily replaced and not needed, but I am so trying to be careful and it is still upsetting when these things happen. Going for another deck stroll I think.
//Well as I prepped to leave the cabin, I spied my trac phone – and that is what the charger is for. I actually got a signal on in briefly but it was gone by the time I had dialed s**’s number. I caught a good breakfast on the rear deck buffet which is good till noon. Found out that we are in mountain time, and the time difference is two hours not four. Found out that bridge and engine room visits disappeared after Sept 11th.
If I didn’t mention it before, the coast guard came aboard in force to watch the life boat drill which I had been fixing to ignore but decided, wisely, to comply. Got some decent pix of it. I think I now have all the pix I have taken in the computer somewhere. Need to get some help sorting them out. As it turned out, the guy in the information desk had an identical camera and got it going when it had locked up again.
NY Time now is 1030AM. Located is 300 miles south of Long Beach airport heading se at 22 mph. weather is broken with temps probably in the sixties. Must bring room key along with thermo on it. I am presently sitting on the fantail with the wake streaming behind us between my feet, pic taken.
The computer does not work very well outside and not at all when the sun comes out, so I have read the first sixteen pages of my radio shack pro-95 handheld scanner which I’ve had a year in December and still cannot work.
I had an experience this morning akin to my hike at Katmai, where I went into the gym at 8am and found a bunch of young and old people working out. I rode ONE MILE on the exercise bike, burning off a total of 25 calories, heart rate of 122 or so and did a single mile in five minutes. The old guy next to me was cranking along at about triple the rate and was there when I got there and still going at 94rpm when I left. And forget about the ladies on the treadmills with 3,6 mph walking for what seemed like forever. Being that I DO live alone, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to compare my performance on a bike etc with anybody else, and it is sometimes a bit of a shock when I do.
Nevertheless, it is cool and pleasant on the fantail deck with almost no other people here. The ever present disco music cannot be heard here, nor in the bow either where my cabin is situated. My breakfast was scrambled eggs, one slice of ham, one slice of bacon, one slice of cantelope and one hash brown. And one cuppa. // ok, with the screen and sun conditions here now, I can create but not edit, and since I still have a lot of yesterday to fill in, and in fact brought along Poland to finish up, will close down the puter and read some more. Before returning to my cabin, will try to find an inside table with ocean view and do some refining. Played blackjack last night and down five bucks. Would dearly love to win enough to pay for the internet use which I have resigned myself is gonna be a hundred bucks or so.
Despite only burning off 25 calories in the early morning workout, I had a modest second breakfast and expect to have that hold me till dinnertime. The fellow at my table (R** from Wisconsin) wandered by while I was on the back top deck and we chatted awhile and then I came inside and had a second, modest helping of ham, hash browns and sausage, and one pancake with honey on it. I found a dark table with an ocean view between the ‘internet café’ which is two terminals, both in use, and the casino which has five bucks of my money which I want back. In just one hour I will go to the orientation speech ref shore leave. Last position (7 satellites) was 29 24 N and 116 24 west. Have now read about forty pages of the idiot instruction manuyel for the scanner, and managed to get it to scan the marine band, which, surprise, is mostly Spanish. Nearest airport is now 160 miles and is Mexican also. Course continues 155 or so.
Time – 1615 eastern daylight. Location – double porthole room R11, Starboard Ecstasy
Was thinking just now, what a diff a day makes, as I walked into the room, one handed my door key out of the kangaroo pouch and walked barefoot into the place as though I owned it. I had been down the giant two story water slide twice and had a much bigger lunch than two breakfasts would dictate…hamburg, hotdog, fries and apple turnover. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but each thing was huge and in fact I left most of the fries because at that rate the fifty or so calories that the stupid bike machine says I’ve burned off isn’t going to do any good at all. I didn’t swim, but I have walked extensively back and forth, mostly outdoors, enjoying the atmosphere.
I stripped to shorts on the rear fantail when I saw a beached whale doing the same, and while reading my scanner handbook, got the marine band to scanning, any by chance heard our captain, capt of the ecstasy, calling a Russian ship out of st Petersburg which had just gone thru the area where Javier is, first on channel 16 and then switching down to channel ten, which I have learned how to make the damn thing do, and they reported 5 meters per second wind (11 mph or so) and 5 meter swells, which I shall enjoy!! It was fun to hear the Rusky wishing me and all other 3000 people a safe and pleasant journey.
I have caught up on some of the notes from Poland and from yesterday, which is now seeming like a bad dream-- at least the ship boarding part. For the next two weeks, I should be care free. At the info desk I asked whether they had a spot where they posted their location, and they don’t. I asked if there is a bulletin board for fresh news, and there is not.
Instead there was a contest to judge who has the hairiest chest and a contest to guess 25 television theme songs (The Jeffersons??) and a wine tasting seminar.
Different stokes obviously, just like the golf on the plane tv yesterday. Now I’m stripped out of my wet bathing suit and headed back to the casino and internet area to listen to some live jazz and hopefully get to play a bit.
It is 1900 eastern so coming up on five pm here. “Here” is N27 42 W 115 41.7 with steady course 160 at about 21mph all day. They blew the boilers and I got some good pix of same.
The jazz band is much too modern for my taste, sounded as if they had never rehearsed together, were too loud and it just didn’t work for me to try to sit in. Went further aft and sat in the shade overlooking the pool and the water slide and enjoyed another live band out there when they did Marguierita ville, but left them when they did Kokomo. Still a little miffed at losing my five bucks at blackjack last night (don’t usually lose) I sat until I was up a total of fifteen bucks and then spent it on the internet. I am paying 75 cents a minute plus a four buck activation charge. I couldn’t find my comics or e-mail anywhere, and the drudge report mentioned that parts of the northeast got up to five inches of rain. Oh well, I did what I could before I left and it’s in God’s hands now. There is nothing much to see outside the window but lots and lots of ocean, but I sense that we are pitching more than rolling and that the swells are quite small. No sense yet of the 15 foot swells mentioned by the Russian captain that he encountered last night.
I went to the orientation at 1100 about shore leave, and think my two choices are the correct ones. After two breakfasts and two lunches, I am really not hungry for much of a supper, but I am looking forward to telling the Bulgarian waiter that I was in Sofia and showing him the ID card I got from there. Like the logbook, the odds of my having it are indeed remote…both were in the writing case. Turned off the air conditioner in the room so that I can sleep warm tonight. I think tomorrow I’ll take my own laptop up to the internet room so I can at least look at some of my favorite websites. I should probably just pop for the fifty bucks for a package of minutes.
Back now from supper where I was perhaps the only person in the dining room wearing a jacket. Formal seems to mean no tank tops. The food, lamb, was decent but not great and the conversation the same. The only one of the three I like at the table is the old man who was in Korea. Two are diabetics. All are in single rooms and deducting, all paid a good deal more than I did for my outside cabin.
I had key lime pie and ice cream for dessert and on my way back to the cabin to get out of the turtleneck and blazer, i passed a cocktail pianist in white dinner jacket and bow tie who was so –well, not great -- that I asked for and got permission to play one piece (What’ll we do) and got a smatter of applause as well. The casino was totally deserted as everyone ate. Did not see my female dealer there from last nite, nor the south African. I am up fifteen bucks there and it was all spent on the internet and pretty useless at that. I think the swells on the ocean are increasing, but it is time for me to take my binocs, camera, scanner, short wave and perambulate here and yon.
I walked from the top deck to the cabin deck and along the way I met a woman from Minnesota married to an Italian and living in Italy (pit boss) a young Kiwi living in Australia (poker dealer) a young guy from Bulgaria who cracked up at my Sofia casino id card, (which I showed to the waiter as well who is also Bulgarian) and a sweet young girl from Romania who took twenty bucks off me quicker n anybody cuz I upped bets to ten bucks when I shouldn’t have, but she was sweet and it was fun.
Lastly I went to the internet lady and said I’d be up there tomorrow with my laptop. One of the guys suggested going to an internet café in Acapulco where an hour costs a buck, not a hundred.