Sea Days

Sea Day 1 of 9

Feel free to read that again. NINE sea days coming up.

A bit bumpy first thing, and the pools and decks were closed because of the wind. But by teatime, things had calmed down enough to open everything (except, bizarrely, the roof, despite the fact it was 20 degrees in the shade). I tried to go for a swim, but apparently, when they close off the pool, they don’t bother to heat it. So after getting in as far as just above my knees before realising my toes were already going numb, I beat a yelpingly hasty retreat. Settled for going back to my cabin and having a shower while it was calm – although we are still rolling a bit, so the water basically alternates between warm and icy depending on which way the ship is moving. I wanted icy, to cool the sunburn on my shoulders, so I had to sway the opposite way, at the same speed, so that I was out of the way when the warm bits flowed.  Just taking a shower becomes decidedly complicated on a ship. And you cannot weigh yourself unless you are in port, because the movement of the ship on the water means your mass fluctuates! Most passengers find all the rocking very soothing – makes it very hard to stay awake. Mum and Dad were dozing too.

Met a new waitress today – there are three types of waiting staff – food servers, table clearers and drinks sellers (who get commission on every drink they sell). Her name is Geneva (apparently) and she is from Manila. We’re going there. We could have picked her up. But instead, P&O flew her from Manila to Tokyo, Tokyo to San Francisco, San Francisco to Atlanta (?!) and then Atlanta to Valparaiso. She spent 24 hours on planes. And then boarded Arcadia. So for someone who, two days ago had never set foot on a plane or a ship, she was having a hell of a time of it. She has boarded just in time for the roughest weather since the Western Approaches and she has not been well at all, poor thing. She was remarkably cheery considering, but she did look pale. I hope she gets her sea legs soon.

Today was Shrove Tuesday, so they served a pancake buffet on deck (and crepe suzette at dinner). They didn’t bother to offer, but when I asked the Head Chef for gluten-free pancakes, he was happy to make them for me. I just had to wait for a bit, while they were made, especially for me. I just worry that all the other coeliacs on board, who are not as stubborn as me, missed out, because if you don’t ask around here, you definitely don’t get. In the end, I got three (I had asked for two!), rather pallid-looking, but perfectly yummy, pancakes with sugar and lemon juice. Yum. Good thing I hadn’t ordered a big supper (cold meat and salad).

More about the tablemates: Dale is a radar engineer for the US Navy in the Marshall Islands (American base, off Australia). Still not sure what Paula does. They say “we” a lot, so maybe she works for the DOD as well. Dunno. Her dream is to teach ballroom dancing on a cruise ship, but Dale doesn’t dance, so I don’t fancy her chances!

Michael has stories to tell about online dating. He is clearly very lonely, although I have no idea why, because he’s absolutely lovely. He says that dates go well about 50% of the time, and the best way is to talk on the phone first.  Cue discussion about the sex habits of the youth of today – Tindr, etc. All sex, no marriage, seemed to be the consensus. They looked pointedly at me a few times, but I pointed out that I am not the youth of today, by any stretch of the imagination, and we left it at that!

After dinner, we went to the show, because it was one we didn’t think we had seen before, and also, due to the first sector having no shows at all, due to the stage malfunctioning, I haven’t actually been to one yet! It wasn’t very good. They were doing a Rough Routine (they learn 17 shows, and two versions of each – one for rough weather, one for smooth (with more jumps and stuff in)) and it was a little mechanical – like they were getting moves muddled in their heads between the two versions, which is entirely possible. But the singing was quite good. And then, about two thirds the way through, the stage broke. Again. So we sat with the house lights up for ten minutes and then they finished the show – although it seemed to have suddenly metamorphosed into Jersey Boys, as all the songs they did after the pause were Frank Valli and the Four Seasons songs. I suppose there is a connection with a show entitled New York Rhythm, but if you said that Jersey was New York to a genuine inhabitant of either, I think you’d get a punch on the nose.

As the show started, Michael came and sat with me, because he said that Laurie had snapped at him twice and he needed some space. We swapped some soothing comments about people in pain and letting them have their moments. We then chatted about previous cruises, ferry journeys we have taken, and seasickness tales, until the show started and by the third song, he was asleep! He woke up for most of the applause bits. When the stage broke, he went to check on Laurie, who was sitting at the back, in the wheelchair section (leg broken in two places, remember?). But she wasn’t there. So he left to go and look for her. This may turn into a bigger barney than I was originally expecting. Doesn’t bode well. They only boarded yesterday!

Clocks go back tonight to GMT-4, which won’t help with anyone’s sleep patterns.

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