Dear Cruise Diary
Day 13 – At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean
May 3, 2013
I guessed 8 am was the new 6 am, at least for me in the morning. I went to dinner later than normal (8:30 or later), stayed up later and thus slept later. I really liked getting up early, but I didn’t want to set an alarm to do it. Again, I headed to the Windjammer for a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and a mini-croissant.
One of my favorite things about cruising was the people I met, and this morning didn’t disappoint me. John at the next table struck up a conversation, and I realized he was someone I had overheard earlier talking about traveling the world. He and his wife had sold everything they owned and struck off two years ago with two backpacks and two duffels. They had just returned to their (perhaps former) home of Denver to “pay taxes and get our physicals” and were using this cruise to jump to Europe and then Africa for a three-year journey. He is taking photographs and blogging (http://journals.worldnomads.com/vagabonds), and I had lots of questions.
As my sisters and some of my friends know, I have been in a “discardia” mood for the past few months, thinking if I shed myself of a lot of the “stuff” I have and maybe even my house, I could travel more myself. Some friends are calling it my “mooch plan,” fearing I might settle too comfortably into their guest rooms. Of course, I haven’t worked out any of the details of what to do with the cats if I travel more, and over time I will probably need to stay closer to my mother. But for now I am just trying the idea on for size, while slowly selling off things like some of my eight or nine sets of dishes and china.
As I told John, I didn’t know whether I would ever take off around the world like he and his wife were doing, but I wanted to know more about the transition at the least.
The ship’s office staff was getting ready for the hundreds of people on this cruise who were not getting off in Barcelona but staying on for the next one or two segments. We had instructions to turn our passports in during the morning, to be held until Egyptian officials join the ship in Barcelona to issue our visas before our next stop in Alexandria. I prefer to take my passport with me in my money belt when I leave the ship, even in western Europe. Were I to miss the ship or have any trouble, I would like to have it. But I would settle for carrying one of the copies I had made while ashore in the next three ports of Gibraltar, Alicante and Barcelona.
After grabbing a latte, I settled down at a table in front of the Wig and Gavel Pub on the promenade to catch up on two days of journals. I also spent a few minutes catching up on Facebook and reading some entries on John’s blog. I still had about a third of the Internet minutes I purchased in a package on the first day of the cruise, and I couldn’t carry them over to the second segment, so I wasn’t quite so stingy with them. Perhaps I would download the Wall Street Journal every morning.
We were once again setting our clocks forward, so lunchtime would come soon. To mark our last day at sea and give passengers another option, the galley staff was setting up tables throughout the promenade for tastings, along with a chef demonstration. After perusing the offerings, I decided there wasn’t anything worth standing in line for, so I headed to the dining room instead.
Promenade Tasting, Chef Demonstration
As we were nearing the two-week mark, I was still meeting more people and struggling to remember the names of those I had met before. Today’s all-Texas lunch crew included Sue and Sandy from San Antonio, Nathan and Kathy from Waxahachie, Ed and his Kitty from The Woodlands and Diane and Jim from east Texas (north of Longview).
After a leisurely lunch with great conversation and food (Moroccan lamb on pita), I headed for the Café Promenade to continue finishing journals for the previous two days and start this one. It amazed me how long it took to write the journals, particularly because I always thought I was a fast writer. I may have to reconsider this plan for the second half of the cruise.
Back in the stateroom, I spent more time on photos and uploaded some to the blog library so I could attach them to the Madeira journal. And poof! – the afternoon had passed and it was time to get ready for dinner. In fact, it was late – I thought I might miss happy hour. But I got my two half-price drinks a minute before the special ended and settled down with Robin and Helen for trivia. We didn’t win but we did have fun. Once again, Hoyt and Ron joined us for dinner, and once again we were some of the last people to leave the dining room. The ship’s singers and dancers put on a new show, and once again I went to bed around midnight.
Ron, Robin, Helen, Jo, Hoyt
Tomorrow: Day 14 – Gibraltar