Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day by Day (3)

Thursday, January 19, 2006
Due to weather and navigational problems our port at St. Vincent for today was cancelled. We will be spending another day at sea with an unscheduled stop in St. Kitts tomorrow. Okay by me. If a person who obviously knows way more than me about things of this nature deems it unsafe or unnecessary for us to stop, I will abide by his/her decision gladly. We had decided late last night that we weren’t going to sleep in; we were going to get an early start and do everything we planned. Stop laughing! We got up at 7am, showered, dressed and headed out to breakfast. We headed down to the library to pick up the morning Brain Waves quiz. Thinking we would finish the quiz at breakfast and turn in the answers immediately after we set to work. Scrambled words for Musical Instruments. RCNIOAA – see if you can guess. No fair calling Lyle! We then figure out the answers are on the back and it is not a contest after all just a quiz to get your brain working. We complete the quiz with only 1 quick peek by mom, finish our breakfast and head down to Scrabble play. We’re not too sure how this is going to be played, but we are pretty game for anything. Only two other people show up and it turns out it will just be a game of scrabble on the board. I am not really in the mood for that so I head down to the wireless area and proceed to catch up on home. Risa I need more pictures. Another trivia game and an argument ensues, is a piano a string or percussion instrument? It is disconcerting how serious this stuff is taken. It’s a luggage tag! We decide to hit the dining room for lunch. Another wonderful burger, but this time with bacon and cheese and even better company. Gene Suchy met us by chance outside of the dining room on our way in and we spent an enjoyable lunch together. A little relaxation and off to the Passenger Feud. This is really fun but again we lose. Maybe I am bad luck for mom. I do however have all of the scores for everyone and the poor person running it lost track so she gives me a prize for helping her out. Whoo Hoo – A sports bottle! Another trivia game at 4:30 and it’s off to dinner. I have decided before I left home that I was going to tempt fate on this trip. I have been tasting different items that I have always said I don’t like, but I never even tasted to know. Now I know and will post a boring list at the end. Dinners have been good and tonight’s was a Jerk Chicken. Not too spicy and very tasty. Our evening entertainment was spectacular! A comedian Juggler named Pete Matthews, he juggled axes on this rocking ship. He also rode a six-foot unicycle through the lounge. He gave ADD a whole new meaning! After that it was the Marriage Game Show. 4 couples, 1 married five days, 1 married 31 years, 1 married 34 years and 1 married 50 years. The newlyweds won. Upstairs to plan our day tomorrow and off to bed. This by far is the worst night yet. At about 1:30 the hangers in the closet all shift to one side and the bathroom door swings open.

Friday, January 20, 2006
We were up and ready to go on our excursion. Mom took an extra pill; we had breakfast in the dining room, but no. The captain and the pilot determined it was unsafe to dock as the winds were gusting at more than 35 knots and the direction we were going to dock in would possibly cause damage to the ship. Hey, all about no damage! Rock on captain. Another day at sea. It amazes me that some people are actually bitching about it. Hmmm…shopping vs. sinking? You choose! Mom and I decide to spend our extra time napping. As we leave our cabin afterwards we hear an announcement regarding an addition of activities. A round of Pictionary that we actually win (quite easily actually) and it is off to Jeopardy. Another losing venture but it was lots of fun and well run. Back to the Atrium for trivia (boo) and its up to the cabin to get ready for dinner. You’ll notice there is no sun bathing or hanging out at the pool. There hasn’t been any SUN! Rita sits by the pool all day everyday but she sits in the shade anyways. I would want to be in the sun. Again our evening entertainment was wonderful. C’est Magnifique! It was a French revue and they did a terrific job. I can’t believe these dancers do so well on heels no less, when I am wobbling in my seat. Back upstairs and here I am getting everything caught up. Now if I can keep this up each night all will be well. Thanks again Erika for blogging everything for me. It’s too expensive for me to take the time and check everyone’s blog so if you have something really interesting, email me at either address.

Saturday, January 21, 2006
A fabulous night of no rocking and rolling. Mom wakes up and easily gets out of bed. I on the other hand have back pain that I have never experienced. We sleep late and enjoy the calm. A quick breakfast at the buffet and a losing trivia game, we are off to venture into St. Lucia (West Indies). There is a van shuttle (free) into the shopping area. We are deposited at an air-conditioned mall where mom finds a nice bench. I traverse the mall and find cute outfits for Caitlyn and a bell for me. Everything is very cheap. I then decide to venture further into the real world of the city of Castries and hit the local market area. I am almost run over by many cars but thanks to an island native I quickly realize my mistake of looking the wrong way. They drive on the left so you have to look to the left for traffic. This nice native then wanted to escort me to the market area to help me find what I was looking for. Uh no thank you! I wander in and out of stalls looking for a house for mom’s collection. I see bells that I like better than the one I bought before but do not give in to the temptation to buy again. Alas, not a house to be found. Very hot and very humid. Hot I can handle, but humidity is foreign to me now. It has been raining off and on throughout our trip so it is to be expected. Back to the ship in time for a yummy lunch at the pizzeria. Then off to a winning game of Outburst. Our team has been pretty good together at the games, not so much at the trivia. Our team consists of mom and I, Betsy and her mother-in-law Muriel, and Kathy and her husband Norm. We all just kind of got thrown together a few days back and now wait for each other at each event. B and M are very competitive and will argue a point until it is dead. Kathy and Norm are pretty laid back and are very knowledgeable in many areas. Norm doesn’t know much trivial things but detailed and scientific things are his specialty. I leave mom parked at a table for the later game (tables are at a premium, the trivia crowds are quite large) and head off to the Internet café. I have had problems with the wireless service but can check email and such in the café. Back at 4:30 for the afternoon trivia and guess what? We lose again! Riddle me this Batman (without going to google!) – What language was Bambi first written in? Time for dinner. I have had a request to be more elaborate about dinner, so let me backtrack a little to night number 1. My first venture into the dining room. Think of a grand ballroom and then fill it up with tables. The menu is very nice and has a good variety. It wasn’t until the 4th night that I had to go to the bottom of the menu and pick something that is “always available”. Each night the chef gives you 3 choices of each – Appetizer, soup, and salad. Then there are usually 4 or 5 choices of entrees with sides and 4 things at the bottom that are always available. Only 2 of which would interest any of you, an herb marinated breast of chicken and a NY strip. The first night I got filet of Beef Tournedos with a baked potato and mom had a beautiful ham dish. Marisa you would love all the pineapple on this ship! Night 2 – some kind of steak with yucky potatoes. Rita and I got it without the sauce but mom says the sauce was good. Night 3 – Jerk Chicken – YUMMY! And the last two nights have been the herb-marinated chicken. Kadreya has had a seafood dish every night. While I have been tasting things, I am not venturing into tasting desserts, I figure I like enough of those. Our waiter has me down for my nightly 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream with double chocolate sauce and a cute little wafer cookie. Everyone else tries all of the fancy things. And Kadreya gets a different flavor ice cream or sherbet every night. The ones I remember are Honeydew sorbet, Maple and Walnut ice cream, Hazelnut ice cream, mango sorbet and I am sure others. Whew, back to Saturday. After dinner we head down to the show, a singer that everyone who saw him last night was raving about, he even sold out of the cd’s he had brought to sell. I didn’t want to go at first, but when I heard all of that I thought okie dokie let’s go. DAMN! He stunk! He comes out in fake pleather pants and jacket with a bright red shirt under. When I say fake pleather it is not a typo, I mean even the pleather looked fake! His face was an unnatural shade of brown and orange. A horrible tan job and he must have taken advantage of the teeth whitening onboard. Now put all of that on someone who looks like Tom Jones. Have the picture? The singing was just as bad. He only did covers and he did them poorly. Some Garth Brooks (Captain Morgan), Disco inferno, and O Solo Mio to name a few. I couldn’t believe when everyone was clapping and hooting. He did a drum solo and made so many mistakes even I could pick them out. Oh well. We left there and headed to the evening trivia where no one from our team was available so we teamed up with some drunken strangers. Guess what??? WE WON! We only got 15 out of 20 correct and we were in a tie but we won the tiebreaker. Closest number without going over – How many squares on a Scrabble board? I had the exact number but we went a little lower just in case. 10:30 time for the Liar’s game. Really it is like Balderdash and you have to figure out the correct definition of something from choices given to you by members of the Cruise staff. Can anyone tell me what any of these mean? Clinchpoop, tittup, fulfart and foccalation mean? As I type the words are coming up with red lines underneath telling me that MS Word doesn’t like them. It was completely hilarious. We have an excellent Cruise staff! A quick trip to the midnight buffet and back here to keep you all informed.

Sunday, January 22, 2006
GRENADA! We ported in Grenada this morning and it is such a beautiful place. I hear farther in there are quite a bit of ruins from both hurricane Ivan many years ago and from the unrest in the 80’s but we didn’t go past the shops on the pier. To get off the boat we had to go below the main decks and “tender” off to the island. I was a little unsure about tendering but it turned out okay. A tender is a small boat that seats about 90 people that is used when then ship anchors off shore. We waited until after breakfast and morning trivia (lost by 1 without our regular team members). The water is the most beautiful blue. Not clear like I have heard about off the Bahamas, but a shade of blue that I have never seen. A quick shopping trip in to get some spices and we were ready to barter. Well mom bartered I just looked cute. What was priced $7 each inside, mom got 2 for $5 outside with some extra nutmegs thrown in. She’s good. We found a shop that had a choice of houses, mom found a very nice metal one with a hook on the bottom. It’s Island Night on the ship and mom finds a store with beautiful shirts in our sizes, so we each buy one. Again it is very hot but not so humid. Hot meaning in the 80’s which shouldn’t bother me so much but the ship is such comfortable temperature that you really notice the heat when you go out on deck or on shore. We tender back to the ship and meet up with Rita, Jan and Gene for lunch on deck at the grill. Yummy burgers, dogs and fries and it’s downstairs for a game of easily won Pictionary. As I type a bunch of us are gathered in the disco, where we are hoping to get reception to watch the Bronco Steelers game. Go Broncos! Sorry Andy, Yeah Steve! Now the Seahawks are winning as well. On 2/5 it will be go Steelers! We leave at halftime and head out to dinner. Tonight is Filet Mignon with grilled shrimp. All of the shrimp gets passed to Kadreya. The filet is excellent! Everyone gets fancy desserts and our wonderful waiter brings me my ice cream. I could get terribly spoiled have ice cream every night. And terribly fat. Oh yeah, I already am! After dinner only one show is set for tonight a tribute to singers from the last 50 years. The staff performers are better than the guest entertainers by far. Tonight they covered, the Beatles, the Rat Pack, Diana Ross, Cher, Madonna and the Beach Boys. I am running out of superlatives for everything. Mom starts to doze during the show, I’m afraid I have been working her pretty hard getting on and off the ship and running from game to game to trivia. I bring her up to bed and head upstairs to the deck for the Island Party. The Patter promises limbo, Caribbean music, a grand buffet and more. What they didn’t count on was the horrible weather. I take some pictures of the buffet. It is under an overhang and of course beautiful. These guys have done things with watermelons, spaghetti sticks and many other items you would never think of. Hell, I have a hard time making a rose out of a radish!

Monday, January 23, 2006
MARTINIQUE. It’s raining hard enough to keep the weak of heart on the ship, so morning trivia is crowded. Unfortunately they are also pretty smart and we again take a loss. We do however see the sun shining afterwards and pull up our collars and put on mom’s hat and venture out into the world. The pier is really long but the let me take the wheelchair with us off the ship. The roads and sidewalks are not as cooperative so mom finds a place to park as I go off in search of our trinkets. Everything is in French and I am without my trusty interpreter so I am looking inside each shop as I go past. Unless you are interested in buying clothes, shoes or perfume, you might as well have not gotten off the ship. I wander in to what ends up being their local Big Lots. They had a quite a few things that I need at home for very cheap prices, but really, how am I supposed to lug that crap around? I do find a cute house. It doesn’t say Martinique, but we can pencil that in later. It rains on and off but nothing hard enough to make us run away. As we head back to the ship I find a magnet for someone at work and then it is back up the long pier. The wind has really picked up now and the rain is actually making some progress on us. By the time we get on the ship we are spent. Straight up to our room for some Room Service lunch and a chance to do some laundry. There is a line at the Laundromat so it just ends up being time for a long nap for each of us. We have slept through afternoon trivia and are getting ready for dinner. It’s Italian night in the dining room and the wait staff all look very cute in their striped shirts with scarves around their necks. A bunch of stuff I’m not going to eat so it is chicken and baked potato again. Mom and Rita have a pot roast that looked good, but didn’t sound on the menu like it looked. Our first show tonight was a ventriloquist Dan Horn. He was okay but nothing to write home about (ba dump bum!). The second show was a comedian that I am sure I have seen with Adam on Comedy Central or somewhere, Billy Vader. He was really good. Then back up to the room and another shot at the Laundromat. Surprise it closes at 10pm. A quick run up to the buffet for absolutely nothing so instead it’s a call to room service for a French fry fix. Tomorrow is St. Thomas. Everyone is excited about the shopping. This is our last real port so I better find what I have been looking for.

Tuesday January 24, 2006
ST THOMAS. A beautiful day, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing. We start off early with a check of everyone’s passports and such since this is a US port. The Laundromat was set to open at 8am. I walk in at 8:02 and there is already a line. I head down 1 floor and it is completely empty. As I start getting everything ready, one of our trivia team members lines up behind me. A quick breakfast and a chat with Rita, then it is off the ship with us. Mom has really been a trooper. She has gotten off at each port with me and endured the walking as I shopped. Today we had to walk to a taxi that took us downtown. Past the beautiful blue water, through the dingy little town, into the bustling downtown, where everyone wants you to buy jewelry. This is the shopping Mecca for cruise ships. Mom says it is called the Kmart of the Caribbean. There were 4 ships docked at two different piers and 1 anchored out in the open harbor. As we drove we also passed about 5 or 6 yachts that were docked as well! I found souvenirs for all and even a couple of bells, but no house for mom. Taxi back in time for lunch in the dining room. Chicken Teriyaki for mom and a Bacon Cheeseburger for me. 2pm is time for Scattegories, which we along with Kathy and Norm win handily. Now it seems to be naptime for mom. I am having problems with the wireless service so that is why these updates take so long. I am trying to type as I go to remember everything. I passed by the dining room and it looks like it’s going to be a chicken and potato night for me again. Which is ok by me. The evening’s entertainment doesn’t look too promising. A concert pianist and a virtuoso banjo player. Hmmm… I think I’ll pass. I’ll go see the comedian / magician instead. I wanted to sit by the pool this afternoon but I finished my book already and the library here is pitiful. Mostly hardbacks and non-fiction. The stores are closed while we are docked so I will just sit here and play snood! I decide to go out on the deck and watch all the yachts go by; one even has a helicopter on the back. I don’t think I got a very good picture of it. As I am getting onto my deck chair, I set down the computer and my diet coke (never without one thanks to the awesome wait staff at all the bars!), on the table next to the chair. I lift my leg and it’s not quite high enough I push the cushion. Readjust and try again. I sit more gracefully this time, get comfortable, pick up the laptop and promptly put my arm down on my diet coke and spill it all over the deck. At least it didn’t get on the computer or the lady next to me. And she was a good sport about it as well. It was too sunny to do anything with the computer so I just closed my eyes and went to sleep. Back upstairs to pick up mom and head down to save our seats for trivia. The gang is all there but still we don’t win. Damn trivia! We are already dressed for dinner so we just hang out and play a few games of Yahtzee. Mom easily beats me 2 out of 3. Up to dinner, yep chicken for me. Mom also picks something from the always available but we both try the fancy dessert. Some mushy bananas cooked in caramel and liquor. I taste the liquor immediately and spit my piece discreetly into my napkin. Thank goodness our waiter likes me and brings me my ice cream anyways! After dinner we head to the comedian/magician. Pee Yew! He supposedly has done 8,000 shows at the MGM in Vegas but he really tanked tonight. His name is Garry Carson, if you ever see his name in lights, head the other way! Back over to evening trivia where again – shocker – we lose! The highlight of the evening and possibly the last few days is the Crew Talent Show. There are great singers and the finale is stupendous. It’s an old number with a couple of changes from the Cruise Staff, If I Were Not Upon The Ship. I will do a blog tomorrow about the Cruise Staff. We leave the theater laughing so hard. It is hard to settle right down to go to bed. Hence the reason I am typing at 12:30 am. That and mom is watching tennis AGAIN! ESPN International has been showing tennis every night at an ungodly hour. But it is live from Australia. Oh yeah and room service is on its way with my French fries.

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