Another installment of the Trip Where Nothing Happened, Except the One Thing that Did. We are in the Virgin Islands today, although it does tend to blend together.
New to the Bleat, for some reason? This week is atypical. Previous full-scale-type Bleats can be found here, although it's been an atypical month. DC, Fargo, this - hiatus-o-rama, I tell you. Anyway, let's return to last week, when I wrote the following.
Sun! Glorious sun! I went outside and took a seat and kicked off my shoes and settled back and it instantly began to rain. I felt personally responsible. I’m sorry, everyone. This is on me. Literally, too. But it was just a passing cloud, a big ugly brute that seemed sullen, as if it had missed all the fun with the big storm and was now wandering alone kicking cats and kids.
Well, again, the recap of last night. Dinner was fine; had a good table with people who did interesting things: former firefighter / EMT who’s now invested in a gem mine and a frozen pizza production facility. (Seems mostly industrial pizza, sold under different labels but all the same recipe.) A retired teacher. Software engineers. Not sure what the lady at the end of the table did, but the occupation “drinker” came to mind quickly. It seemed a full-time vocation, and like many people, she took her work with her on the trip. It was a count-down to see when, not if, a glass would be knocked over.
The dinners are much brisker than the other ships. They’ve eliminated the middle course. On other ships there's a starter, such as three strips of raw salmon drizzled with a 3-micrometer-thick ribbon of wasabi, then there's a salad, then the Big Thing the chef has recommended. (I sometimes feel bad when I ignore the chef's recommendations. I mean, of all people, he ought to know.) On this ship you get the first thing, which is generally cold, and then the Big Thing, which is hot. Dessert inevitably includes Creme Brule, the world's most disappointing dessert. Everyone always thinks it's going to be better than it is.
Afterwards an event down in the ice rink again, which stretched the evening to 11:30, and then the Champagne bar, which stretched it to 1:00, and then we decamped down Broadway to find something to eat. The pizza restaurant is open until 3:00, and they sell drinks. Of COURSE they sell drinks. The shop where you buy clothes for children under 5 probably sells drinks. I’ll take this cute little dress, and, do you have any wine? Okay, red then.”
We docked in the Virgin Islands . . . .
. . . next to an enormous Carnival ship that looks a bit long in the tooth. But I’m spoiled now by the extraordinary machine. Example. My air conditioning didn’t seem to come on today, and I went down to Guest Services to be serviced; the clerk made a call, and the person on the other end said my balcony door was open. Because the sensor knew it. And the sensor would not let the AC go on if the door was open. But here’s the telling detail: she said it had been open since 10:07 this morning.
Because as long as you’re installing equipment to determine if the door is open, why not add information such as when it was opened and closed?
Anyway. Went ashore with one objective: a cold can of Diet Coke. Didn’t want to buy a Coke on the ship; it’s never the same. The minute it goes over ice something is lost. It has to be consumed from a cold can. I went to a convenience store that was doing land-office business selling cigarettes; you see these guys buying four cartons of unfiltered Winstons, a thing I did not know existed, and it makes your chest ache to think about that. Everyone was buying cartons, and everyone seemed to be demanding off brands like Pall Mall filter lights, then getting annoyed when the clerk didn't immediately produce 800 of their favorite cigarettes. The clerk bore it all with weary patience, accustomed as he is to regular innundation by peevish nicotine fiends.
A strange life: no reason to be open unless an enormous ship has arrived, and once it's gone, you close. No ship, no business.
The stores also sold silly things:
I don’t think so and he wouldn’t know if he was here, which he isn’t. And if he was he'd be looking for more weed.
I bought my Coke and a geegaw for daughter and drank the can in three swift draughts. Back to the ship; finished a book, afternoon nap. Up for the turn around the deck to justify the evening’s dessert. Between the trips around the ship and running around the leviathan I'm averaging 7 miles of walking a day.
Here’s a very quick walk around the exercise deck, which wasn’t as much fun today because the ship was docked. When you’re walking around at a good clip as the vessel surges through the pliant sea, it’s more fun. Still: this should give you an idea what it’s like.
Every entry shall end with a sunset. Here you go.
It's amazing that these things move at all, let alone from a dead stop.
See? Nothing is happening. Except tomorrow, something does. Stay tuned.