Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

Wednesday, 15 Dec 2004

I saw two people sitting together at breakfast. I assumed that they were married and traveling together. But they were really just strangers that just so happened to be sitting at the same table. The woman said to the man:

"Say, would it be too much trouble for you to get me a glass of water?"

"No, not at all, I would be glad to do that for you. But say, may I ask if you are traveling alone?"

"Why, yes I am."

"Me too. Well since we are both traveling separately, what do you say we hang out together, kind of as a team."

"Yes, that would be fine, in fact fantastic."

"Maybe we could pretend to be, you know, husband and wife just for the duration of the trip. What do you think?"

"That would be great!"

"Well, in that case" he said, "Get your own glass of water."

Ruth has been exercising and walking each morning. There's an excellent gym with weights and stationary bikes. They've got several types of spas including sea weed wrap and hot stone message. What gets me here is the price. Imagine spending $175 for a massage and "cleansing." These gym prices are insane. (By the way, the Greek word "gymnasium" means "school for naked exercise," which made toweling off the stationary bike even more important.)

We went to the Lido deck's Jacuzzi this morning. Many were in line down stairs for the shore excursions, so we played around the pool. They have large showers and body soap that you must use before going in. Imagine a solarium about 100 feet wide by 160 feet long. It covers the entire pool area and consists of five sections that compress and fold over each other to reveal a deep blue sky. Just as one of the stewards is opening the system, a 60ish woman is lathering up. She's got more wrinkles than my Atlanta map, but she continues to expose herself to the sun in a tiger print bikini. Wait! What is she doing? Oh my word, she's doing leg raises in broad daylight. I've got to turn away. Do they make sight sickness patches similar to the ones I use for the sea to prevent losing my lunch?

Jacuzzi on the Lido deck (level nine)

Ruth goes shopping in St. Maarten

I stayed back and lounged around the pool just reading. I've been reading "The Know-It-All" by A. J. Jackobs. It's about a guy that decides to read the entire Encyclopedia, all 32 volumes in a year. Others have done this, but I guess he's the only one that wrote a book about the experience. He's also very witty. Some of the facts are interesting too - like blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are not berries at all, but bananas, oranges and pumpkins are! Yeah, I know you're wondering, "What makes a berry?" Well I'll tell you, or rather A. J. tells us a berry is a single ovary with lots of seeds. Whatever THAT means. Don't say you never learned anything from this blog.

But here's a great quote from the book. He went to meet Alex Trebek of Jeopardy who he quotes as saying: "Be curious even about things that don't interest you." I know I'm deviating from the cruise itself, but isn't reading books all part of the experience of the cruise? This is how I entertain myself when Ruth is on shore.

Back to the ship...

Ruth is back and we are enjoying a violin and piano ensemble at High Tea (3:30pm) in the Explorers Lounge. Ah, what could be grander? Earl Grey, a packet of pure sugar, a pastry and/or finger sandwich, and a beautiful view of the ocean through our portal. Here we sit on red velour crescent sofas around white linen tea tables. Highly polished silver tea pots reflect fresh cut flowers and white tea cups with royal blue borders overprinted with a gold filigree. I've been looking earnestly for a stowaway place for when we return to port. This just can't end.

High Tea

Tonight's dinner was okay. The meals have been good but not outstanding. I had duck, Ruth had an Indonesian dish. I think her meal was better. The dessert was outstanding. It was German chocolate cake with coconut filling and sitting in a lake of chocolate syrup. Fantastic.

We went up to the Crow's Nest to dance. We've been teaching ourselves to do swing but I forgot all the moves. I have to practice in the room before making a fool of myself again. The good news is that just our friends were there. The bad news is that we'll have to get new friends, they've disowned us after our dance debacle. Ted and Olive were out there doing the fox trot. Not bad.

As you know, food is always available on these big cruise ships, so we went to the Lido deck (9th floor) to fetch some dessert and coffee at about 11:30 p.m.

"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries." Aldous Huxley

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