March 2nd, 2007

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

One odd thing that I forgot to mention in a prior post occurred Sunday night.

It turns out that forestcats and I were wandering around the ship late, and we found ourselves in the bar on Deck Eleven, called the Viking Crown, where there were a number of flat screen, large television sets, and we stopped to watch a little of ESPN’s coverage of the US National Ice Skating. We sat through a little of the background material, and, bored by the coverage, moved on, with the intention of returning to our stateroom. However, in a different part of the bar, we found one of the sets tuned to TNT in its South American feed to Buenos Aires and Santiago, and they were showing the Academy Awards, live feed.

We watch often, though we tend not to be glued to the set as some of our friends, who belong to the industry, would be. However, we are always touched by the memorial reel, in which the Academy acknowledges the passing of those who had made a significant contribution to the art. Although the commercial interludes were all in Spanish, we were able to enjoy the rest of the show, memorial reel and all, in English, even far away in the Caribbean.
Dead Dog Cat


Continuing my run of finished novels, I just finished reading Artemis, by Julian Stockwin, the second book of this nautical series, detailing the life of a man who slowly works his way up the chain of command, from being a pressed-ganged man in the previous novel, to quartermaster in this one. Being that I like the genre, have read extensively, and there are only a few authors who I’ve missed, it’s nice to have someone new, with a new viewpoint to offer. This series seems pretty solid, if you like Napoleonic naval war novels.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Last night, we finally had a chance to sit and chat for a couple of hours with Dave, siyehb and Tom. We engaged in old friends-type chatting, the stuff that would only interest folks who know the people involved. It was very pleasant, but since the day was going to be an early one the next morning, we broke up, finally, and sought our stateroom. Meantime, the ship continued slowly on its way; slowly, because it was such a short distance from Costa Maya to Belize City. Also slowly, I think, because the waters are dangerous, due to a long barrier reef off the shore of Belize.

After zigzagging into close proximity to Belize City, our vessel anchored well away from the docks, as did five other cruise liners, each with about two thousand passengers. Tenders started unloading our tourists, including Tom, forestcats, and me.

We were quickly marshaled into a bus, and then taken slowly through the streets of Belize City, shown the home of the Prime Minister, the Canadian Embassy, and a shack that was apparently a police station. Soon we were at the Belize Zoo, a small complex specifically set up to nurse and nurture the creatures of Belizean origin. I’ve never seen scarlet macaws in such health in North America. We were treated to a number of local denizens there, including jaguars, both spotted and black, kinkajous, harpy eagles, tapirs, and a host of other critters. We were rather close to them, within minimal enclosures, but the flora in which they resided as well as the weather was just their piece of cake.

Then, back on the bus, to the river. We had a cooked meal of rice and beans, and chicken, with a soda, and then we boarded a large launch. We then tooled down the Belize River, surrounded by jungle, and saw crocodiles, iguanas, howler monkeys, and a wide variety of avian fauna in the environs. Finally breaking out into the brackish waters at the mouth of the river, we then raced to the docks, drenched in spray.

Shopping in Belize left much to be desired; aside from the cruise line-owned shops, the quality of the offerings weren’t much. However, we did donate money to the local Humane Society, as well as leaving a bit of money to the Zoo.

The evening was the second and last formal dinner of the cruise, and forestcats looked gorgeous.

Once again, post-dinner, the five of us sat down for some more conversation. Dave and siyehb are very pleased with the cruise, as they’ve been able to rest more than they have in years; in fact, siyehb is considering thinking of this vacation as one of the best she’s ever been on, though it’s not over yet.

Later on the night I’ve typed this up, will be the midnight buffet, when the kitchen staff go all out in the culinary field, making up the best dishes they can, and decorating them spectacularly. I expect forestcats to nearly fill the SD card on the camera, photographing their works.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Cozumel. Up early, because we weren’t actually docked. We had to be tendered in, once again, as there were eight cruise ships in port all at once, four of them from Royal Caribbean. Once we were on the dock, forestcats and I, along with the rest of our excursion group, were escorted to a fleet of taxis, and we rapidly descended on the dolphin encounter site.

Shifting into swimware, we slipped into the protected area of ocean with the dolphins, and a number of tropical reef fish who darted amongst us. Just outside the fence swam hundreds of smaller fish, as well.

The dolphin encounter was supervised and choreographed, as well as photo-, and videographed. We had some very delightful touching and petting moments, and then we were pulled out, to be offered photos and videos of our fun.

Back to the ship for lunch, then, since it was a long day in port, we tendered back to Cozumel to wander the areas near the pier. We managed to find something that I felt comfortable giving the staff at my new job, had some “Belgian” chocolates, had a shoeshine, and purchased an impressive-looking conch shell.

We shared the video that night with our friends using this computer.

Today, after lunch, we tried to fly a kite off the stern or sternquarter of the ship, without much success. Doing it off the bow would be foolish, as it would interfere with the ship’s radars and conning tower, irritating the captain. Mission failed, we slunk back to our respective cabins.