Friday, January 12, 2007

Crystals, Waves, Rays of Light, Small Crocodiles

Meridith told you the story of most of our Wednesday night adventure, but being far and away the most sober person there (I did not actually finish that bottle of red thankyouverymuch—I'm perfectly capable of singing like a crazy woman without such assistance), I feel I should add a few details.

First, a bit about our musical companions, with whom we're planning to lunch on the Grand Cayman today: their names are Garrett and Malcolm, a couple from Surrey celebrating their twentieth anniversary with this cruise. Malcolm, a journalist, was delighted to hear about Mr. Fushigi and our crew's exploits; I think he and Connor are going to get along swimmingly. I got the sense that Garrett "comes from money"—in a way that I feel you have to be British to do; either way, he's retired and seemed pretty passionate about gardening. He was tremendously envious when I told him about our exploits in Fairchild. The only thing that disappointed me was their discouragement of my entering the pool; what is a night in the middle of the ocean FOR if not night swimming, I ask you? It's gonna happen one of these days—I mean, we've got about a hundred of 'em left, after all—but if it will make you feel better, Jess, I promise to be stone cold sober when it does.

I've casually passed a bunch of conversations with random folk in my nearly two days shipboard, but these gentlemen are the first people I've felt might be new friends, who didn't seem in any way to be assuaging or judging my financial or physical circumstances as we spoke. I'm looking forward to introducing them to the rest of the gang.

Other than that, yesterday was pretty tame. I slept in, but not as late as Meridith—I have a really hard time sleeping in, no matter how tired or hung over I am. I'm hoping the sheer number of different time zones we go through will change that for me. Breakfast was still being served when I woke up, though just barely, so I collected myself quickly. I was more than a little overwhelmed by the menu—people actually eat baby lamb chops for breakfast? What?—and couldn't help thinking about what an amazing thing it would be if a cruise line contracted with organic food producers. Most cruise consumers honestly wouldn't notice the slight gouging in ticket prices that organics would inevitably cause these days (stupid agricultural subsidies), but it really would spread the word and the thought, at least among a certain social class—give organics a different kind of cachet. Yes, that actually *is* what I think about at breakfast. Either way, my brioche was nothing to complain about.

I probably watched the ocean for several hours at a clip, then started to feel a bit dizzy and proceeded to explore the lower decks of the ship. There's really not all that much there, at least relative to the rest of this behemoth—a pool, a gym, "thalassotherapy," a whole heck of a lot of staterooms. Not being much of a gym person, and generally reluctant to lack an ocean view, I have the feeling I'll be spending more time higher up. I had a light lunch from the Lido with Clara; Amber, Sumara, Noel, the girls and I had already planned on doing High Tea that afternoon, so I didn't want to fill up when there were scones to be had. I passed a couple of hours in the library (I only brought three books, not at all adequate for a three-month voyage), and then gathered with my crew in the Queens Room.

And I know I shouldn't have expected any less on a ship called the Queen Elizabeth II, but that was a *lovely* tea. I'm a sucker for clotted cream, what can I tell you. Tali and I pretended we were princesses for a while, but when the fantasy went more in the Cinderella direction and I started pretending we were being served by wild animals, I got a couple of nasty looks from the staff. To make a sweeping generalization, people who work at black-tie restaurants tend not to have much understanding of four-year-olds, and I really shouldn't have expected them to take it as a compliment when I cast them as rabbits in our fantasy world. Either way, I gorged on scones, and forgot that most normal tea has caffiene in it. It had me bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day and night, unable to focus on anything or make a plan, though I am (sorry, I'm self-indulgent) *loving* the process of dressing up for dinner. An American woman in something stiff and fancy actually complimented my maroon dress! (I was tempted to tell her it cost a dollar, but let well enough alone.) I had a couple of drinks with dinner to counteract the caffiene, and then stayed with Tali and Bea for a while so Sumara and Noel could have an evening. And, as usual, despite a late-ish night I've woken up early. But since we've docked in the Grand Cayman Island, that's not at all a bad thing!

Now, just as Amber's revealed herself to be a total freak about plants, I'm a total freak about animals—but I cannot help but hope against hope that on the Grand Cayman Island today we see some caymans. I think they're super-cute!


At 7:39 AM, Blogger Connor said...

I really want to join you all for tea. I haven't made it because things have been so busy with the revision, but it's something I "do" from time to time at home, so I'm really excited to "do" it the right way.


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