Butt-Pirates of the Caribbean ARRRR!

Day II

Woke up to an astounding view of endless seas squooshing past the window, and a priceless, roiling nausea from the gentle swooning of this massive, well-appointed tub. Ah, land-lubber, me! And Ben was the one worried about le mal de mer. Look who's coddling now!

I ventured to the Windjammer Boo-Fay on Deck 9 to grab us some coffees and found that overnight, half the passengers had spawned for there were hundreds of small, mewling cabbages, conspicuously not present during check-in, running about the pool deck, screaming, laughing, crying, and making other unsavory noises. My nausea redoubled. Ben calls them 'drunk monkeys', but I think monkeys are more fun.

To be fair, maybe it wasn't the presence of odious children that was the cause of my quease. Mightn't my malady be due to too many 87 oz. cans of Fosters taken the night before, I thought, or was it merely the fact that I went to "80s Night" on the 10th floor Viking Crown room and watched stocky, white, straight boys try to dance to New Order? I mean, how high on the high seas do you have to be to endure that? No, it was the gentle swaying of the boat, I surmised. "Don't worry," I explained to Ben as if he were the one suffering, "Once you get your sea legs, the nausea will pass." "Okay, whatever," he comforted me lovingly.

(If the boat's a-rocking…)

After a breakfast of sticky sausages, runny scrambled eggs, watery coffee, and half a donut with the consistency and flavor of a bagel, we began our grueling day of being on a cruise in the middle of the Gulf.

I explained helpfully, "The movement of the boat will be lessened by being in the center, plus the water in the pool will absorb most of the rocking, so your nausea may subside if we go swimming." "If you need to," said my suspiciously un-ailing boyfriend. The cunt.

The pool, I was surprised to find, was salt water. And I began thinking, do they pump the water directly in from the Gulf, perhaps turning off the pump while we're floating in human waste like the Mississippi River (oh-please-say-yes)? Or is this actually fresh water made salty by too many sweaty, spastic infants who, I assume, are not outfitted with mandatory leak-proof diapers? And shouldn't there be an international law about that?

The pool was small enough that I could do 57 laps without breaking a sweat, but the sheer number of the laps convinced me I was getting enough exercise for the day. I have never shied away from self-delusion, after all. Perhaps because of this strenuous workout, perhaps because of my bullshit theory about swimming absorbing the motion of the boat, or perhaps because it had been a few wakeful hours and I had acquired my "sea legs," whatever those are, my nausea disappeared, and I could occupy my mind once again with the important task of trying to remember all the words to the theme from "The Love Boat."

I read my book for a while, then it started to rain. I went to our stateroom looking for Ben. He wasn't there, but the rain had stopped. So I went back up to the 9th Deck to look for Ben again, and it was pouring. I went back to the stateroom and there was no rain. I was going to spend the rest of the day experimenting with turning on and off the weather based entirely on where I chose to be when I found Ben and we went off to our next activity — lunch. My God complex could wait.

We were once again seated with some blue-hairs; a couple from Lawng Eyelunt, and a sour-pussed couple from Baltimer. After the initial where-are-you-from's and a jotted napkin of places at which they must dine when we get back to New Orleans (I refrained, with some reluctance, from sending them to The Rawhide for a cocktail), the conversation turned to the rapid appreciation of real estate in places I don't care about, and the lack of ice cream served to the grumpy man from Maryland. We were, as you may well have guessed, riveted.

"Where are the cute, hot ones?" asked Ben, not for the fifth time.

"There, there and there," I said, pointing to some of the staff.

"It's okay to hit on crew members," I explained. "It's not like a teacher/student or doctor/patient thing. On the high seas, I think it's simply called 'gratuity'."

We entered a $20 blackjack tournament in the on-board casino, and were delighted to find 80% of the other players had never heard of the game and were playing their hands with absolutely retarded abandon. We lost due to dumb luck — hey, nature of the game — but damn, if these people don't wise up, we could do this every day and cover our paltry expenses on this boat. I'm also looking into scalping the never-ending bingo sessions, looking for an advantaged player loophole.

Anyway, it will give me a chance to hang out with more blue-haired old ladies, which is actually a fetish of mine — shut up, I'm being totally serious. I have a fantasy of playing shuffleboard with an old biddy named Ethel or Agnes, if I can just find one whose legs still work to stand up long enough to move the puck about.

On the television is a channel dedicated to the different tours and activities available for large amounts of additional money at each of our stops. I signed Ben and I up for a biking tour of Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow, then a biking trip of Grand Cayman Island on Wednesday, then, just for something different, a biking trip of Costa Maya, Mexico on Thursday.

"That's a lot of biking," said Ben, worried. I agreed. Perhaps we'll just do the stingray and snapping turtle petting zoo in the Cayman Islands instead. Gird your loins, adventurers!

All this hard work had us beat, so we took a siesta in our room. (That's Spanish for 'siesta'!) Tonight is a formal dinner with Gavin MacLeod , our Norwegian captain on this Caribbean cruise. There is no iron in the room, so my suit may be a bit crumpled, but then aren't we all?

The menu will undoutably consist of fish, fish, fish, poison, poison, poison, seafood, seafood, seafood, death, death, death, and some dried chicken tarted up and trotted out under a fancy French name, which I'll have because, in case you haven't clued in, I'm allergic to seafood.

In all honestly, I can't bring myself to seriously complain about the food. Considering the daunting number of people — 2100 — dining simultaneously, I'm frankly surprised we're even supplied with a glass of ice water at dinner, much less a hot entrée. I doubt Emeril Lagasse could do much better, even with an army of bam-bamming sous-chefs.

Incidentally, I already find myself thinking in terms of 'port', 'starboard', 'aft', and 'opposite-of-aft'. Guess I'm just an old salt.

In the discothèque tonight, we watched an absurdly talented couple do horrendously complicated and disgustingly beautiful tango moves to, alas, Journey, some old Aretha Franklin, and probably something by Asia, though I've put all that behind me now so who's to say what Asia sounded like?

This couple had their smoove moves down, Jack! Some of their more intricate moves literally took my breath away, perhaps because I was thinking if I were dancing with either one of them, somebody's skull would probably get cracked due to my inept smoovitude. Manslaughter always makes me gasp with delight.

Ben suggested they were hired by the boat to be pretty on the dance floor. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it made, because everyone else was overweight, white, or if not white, then dancing as if they were. Then there's Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey with their effortless twirls and dips. Too good. Too conspicuous. I felt gypped actually, even as I was enjoying watching them. Duped into believing they were real people. Dance two songs. Sit two out. Rinse. Repeat. Clock in. Clock out. Insidious boat with your duplicitous entertainment, you won't fool me!

P.S. No sign of Rod Stewart today. I can only assume he's jumped overboard for the chance of being rescued by some swarthy seamen.

P.P.S. Huh-huh-huh. "Seamen."

P.P.P.S. I can't get the Love Boat theme out of my head!!! Is this going to go on for the next five days???

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