I decided to eat at Johnny Rockets, to fortify me for the long hours before second supper. A reminder: this is a ship.

(Other reminder: all photos and video taken with the iPhone this trip.)

Walked in, took a seat at the counter. The waiter said “thank you for joining us today,” and I was a bit surprised: toadying servitude is not the model here, or the norm. This is not a ship where a million stewards say “good mohning” as you walk around. Perhaps up in the buffet, but I don’t go there. Mostly they are polite, friendly, call you by name as soon as it is known to them, but there’s a professional reserve I really like.

Anyway, the waiter comes by. I say I’ll have the original, mustard, pickles, onions.

“Do you know how Johnny Rocket work?” he said.

I said that I did.

“Five ninety-five,” he said.

I said I understood that it was extra, and said I would have the original, with mustard, pickles and onions.”

“So you know how Johnny Rocket work,” he said.

I looked at him for a second and said “Am I doing something wrong?”

“No, no.”

“I’ll have the original, with mustard, pickles, and onions, and an order of fries, but with the meal, not before. I know you always bring it before. I know how Johnny Rockets works.”

He said fine and went off. A waitress came over to my space on the counter and took the salt shaker. I watched her give it to customers on the other side of the restaurant. I got up and went to a booth that was closer and took the salt shaker from the booth and brought it back to my space on the counter. I wasn’t sure if I should because this might not be how Johnny Rockets Works.

The waiter brought my hamburger and some onion rings and left.

Huh. I had one. I dipped one in the sauce and ate half and put the other back in the sauce. Waved the waiter over.

I said “I . . . I didn’t order any onion rings.”

“It comes with,” he said.

“It does?” I picked up the menu. Pointed to the Original Hamburger, and said “where does it say that it comes with onion rings?”

He pointed to an item on the top on the other side of the menu: Half Fries / Half Onion Rings.

“But I didn’t order that.” It is now apparent I do not know how Johnny Rocket Work. I told him he could take the onion rings away.

“You don’t want them?”

“I prefer the fries.”

He pointed to the half onion ring deposited in the sauce and raised his eyebrows: you appear to gave committed to this onion ring; do you wish to sunder the relationship for all time? I waved it away.

Later the fries came.

Later a place came with a happy face drawn in ketchup, because that’s what they do.

Pretty damned good hamburger, though.



Annnnd another night at the Champagne Bar. It's a swank place.

The bartendress knew my drink by the third night. Impressive, considering I didn't even know it by my third night. On the last night we went elsewhere: the RISING TIDE, a bar that goes up and down three levels, slowly. It's the sort of thing that must have clinched it for some people. Well, the ship sounds incredible, the very state of the art, the very height of luxury and power, but if all 38 bars are stationary, I'll pass. No! One of them travels up and down three decks while you drink.

Really? That changes everything.




Now, as promised - did I promise it? Don't know. The last piece of video: the Solarium. Daughter watched this and said "I hate you."

Declined to do the staged boarding when we got back to port. You can leave your bag outside of your door, then wait for a few hours the next morning to find your bag in a vast warehouse. Or you can walk off with your bag. Don't really see the point of the first option. Cab to airport, then popped for the Delta club since I have their credit card and get a cheap rate, and I would have spent all that on coffee and food anyway. Five hours pleasently spent; three and a half hours in the air - and into the miserable, horrid, malicious cold of the worst November in years.

Crash. All of the previous week's contentment and ease, gone like that.

Until I looked at the pictures. There's always this; there will always be this, somewhere, every evening on earth. Only a matter of time before we're all in the same place again.

Normal Bleatage returns on Monday, just in time to take Thanksgiving off. As I said, it's a peculiar month, but it's good to shake things up. Thanks for reading; see you on the other side of the weekend.




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