Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Trip - Cruise Days 5 and 6

Our last two days on board ship were at sea as we sailed back to Miami. I think the captain said St. Maarten was 1,200 miles from there.

Sea days are good days--different from port days, which are also good--and some people like sea days so much, they have some cruises that advertise as "Cruise to Nowhere" with no ports of call at all. The ones I saw sailed out of New York.

When you're in port, they close shops and a lot of activities. But on a Sea Day all the shops and cafes and sports and casinos are open, and that's why people like them.

Friday I took it easy. I went to the rock-climbing wall, but the sun had been baking it all morning, so they only had the shaded climb open, and that was an intermediate climb, so I went away until later. By then, the open ice skating time was over, so I settled down in a deck chair with a book and spent most of the day there. It was a really good book--Karen Kingsbury's Sunrise, part of a series.

Dinner was casual dress, because they had lobster tails on the menu and didn't want to mess up anyone's formal clothes with the lobster and shrimp shrapnel. These are our servers, Assistant Waiter Sherriann from Jamaica, Head Waiter Greg from the Philippines, and Waiter Ramon from the Philippines. We really loved Ramon and Sherriann, who were with us all the time.

We found a monkey hanging by his hands at bedtime.

Saturday morning I was determined to try The Wall, so I went up early when the line was short and the rocks weren't hot yet. I didn't make it up to ring the bell, because about a third of the way up, my hands were getting sweaty on the warm rocks, my arms were in full shaking mode, and then my legs started shaking too. That's when I told the lady holding my rope that I was done.

I have proof that I was climbing, but I'm not posting the picture, because it mostly shows my rear end.

After The Wall, I went down to the ice rink and skated for a while. My mom took pictures, but we hadn't figured out the ISO settings on the little camera, so they're too dark to tell who the skating blob is. At one point, my mom told me to let go of the railing, and I said, "No!" But then I did. I skated long enough that I could go around without holding on and ALSO be able to avoid running over anyone in my way. But then the ice got crowded and I was spending more time avoiding people than actually skating, so I left the ice, and my mom and I went up to the lunch buffet to find Ajith. This is him with my mom. He's much cuter than he looks in the picture.

The story about Ajith is one I didn't tell on Monday. My mom got sick at breakfast then, and Ajith (the Assistant Food Manager Trainee) helped direct workers to clean up, and then he was so worried about my mom that he persuaded her to go to the medical facility and went with us to be sure we found the way and made sure she was OK. He was so sweet. And then he said that we should come back later, after she rested, and he'd save us a table (it's a madhouse in the buffet dining room). But she rested longer than breakfast lasted, and by then Ajith was off duty.

We finally caught up with him Saturday at lunchtime, and he greet us like long lost friends, thrilled that Mom was doing well. He found us a nice table, then held my mom's plate through the buffet line for her and put whatever she wanted on her plate and carried it back to the table for her. He'd run off to do his job and then come back to chat with us for a while.

He's married with a 2-year-old son, and only has two more weeks left on the cruise ship before he goes home (southern India) to try to find work there. He doesn't like being away from his family, and I don't blame him.

After we finished our meal, the people at the next table came back with a couple leftover desserts from the night before: flourless chocolate cake. They said they got the last two. Ajith could see we wanted some, so he said he'd go check for us, and he came back with four, two for us and two more for the next table (they had 4 people). Our lunch lasted almost 2 hours. We really loved Ajith.

Back to the ship. This is one of the glass cases near the elevators we used to get to and from our cabin. There's a hand crank that makes the mouse go up and down at the same time the cat's hands go wide and close as he tries to capture the mouse. People played with it all the time, because each time we went by, the cat's paws had moved.

At night was the Ice Show. By this time, at FD's suggestion, I figured out how to adjust the ISO on my little camera for low light. I got a few pictures of the show, and then my battery died. It turns out the skaters have to "moonlight" as workers for open ice skating sessions. The Asian girl in front is the one who had me sign my waiver form in the morning, and the blonde girl right behind her is the one who got me my skates.

And our last towel animal was a stingray. Roman sure liked my mom's sunglasses.

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