Thursday, December 01, 2005

OT: My Thanksgiving Cruise

Holland America Ryndam Thanksgiving 2005

Some acronyms for those of you not familiar with cruising:

HAL: Holland America Line
pax: passengers
fore: front of ship
aft: back of ship
embarkation: boarding the ship
Lido: ship's buffet area
Crow's Nest: bar and dance floor at the top of the ship

Well, I'm rested up, finally. I guess I can begin somewhat of a trip report.

This cruise was awesome, my best yet. Of course, the Ryndam crew might not agree, and probably are collectively breathing a sigh of relief that I'm gone, lol.

I will be the first to admit that I was a holy terror on this trip. The only person who maybe outdid me was the self-proclaimed "token dyke" on the ship. She got the edge on me because she is even more candid, if that is possible, and much less conservative than I am (obviously). Plus, she was healthy the whole trip, whereas I caught a little cold and had to spend some time resting in order to keep up, haha.

So anyway, back to the beginning.

First off, I loved the train, although we got off to a rocky start with the train being over two hours late. I had no idea Amtrak had so many problems, but everyone who rides the rails often tells me this is true. They are "always" late for the longer trips.

If you crave breathing room, a train gives out about 5x the amount of space as an airplane. Something to think about if you are tall, big or just like to stretch.

We were able to make up some of the time in the desert, traveling quickly at about 90 mph, or so I was told. I was given the option of taking a "short-cut" to San Diego. Instead of riding all the way to LA, which my ticket indicated I should do, I could get off at Fullerton and then catch the southbound train.

Looking on a map, one can see this is simply just common sense. The westbound train stops at Fullerton, continues to LA, then comes back to Fullerton! Since Amtrak routes everyone this way, it is no wonder they're in so much trouble, lol.

Anyway, I more than made up the lost time by getting off in Fullterton and then catching the southbound to SD at 9am. In fact, I got to SD about 75 minutes before I was scheduled, just by doing the logical thing. What a coup.

This was the fastest embarkation I've had. I got to SD Amtrak about 11:20. It took me maybe 15 minutes to walk to the Ryndam tent. From the entrance to the tent (I already had my immigration form filled and printed), to the gangway took less than five minutes, and I was onboard!

Everyone seemed to remember me from the October 18th cruise. I got lots of hugs, handshakes and huge smiles.

A big shocker was that I was once again upgraded. I had signed up and paid for an inside guarantee, lowest cabin (NN). Before the cruise I had been upgraded five categories to a K.

At the tent, the immigration form said K412. The clerk told me that was no longer my cabin number. She got my documents and key from the file, and smiled hugely when she handed them to me. C318. This was a 17-category upgrade to the highest outside cabin available, lol. Had I been upgraded even one more category, I'd have been given a Verandah suite! Amazing.

I was at the front of the ship, full view, with a tub. I cracked up about this throughout the cruise. With HAL, one just never knows. My 6'10" friend, the one I met online right before the cruise, had paid for an outside guarantee, lowest category HH. He got the HH, fully obstructed view, whereas I was upgraded to C. How this works is beyond my comprehension. He was so amazed at HAL, he paid way more than me. I offered to switch with him, but he didn't take me up on it. I couldn't care less about the view, as I was barely in my cabin and mostly had to keep the shades closed when I was, since I was either changing clothes or sleeping. Poor Gary, he got the shaft.
After embarking, I was feening for some cappuccino. On the train, I was unable to sleep much, due to a woman who had just relocated to Kingman from southern California and was going to visit her daughter for Thanksgiving. She chattered almost non-stop, but was interesting, so I didn't go off on her about it. We only ended up sleeping an hour or so.

Anyway, I was #7 to visit the cappuccino bar so far on the ship. I got revved up a bit and went to explore, since it was so early and my cabin wasn't available. I left my stuff in the library, instead of using the coat-check, because I don't bring anything of value, lol.

I had condensed my packing down to one small Samsonite roll-in and an over-the-shoulder carry-on for essentials (vitamins, Rx, deodorant, etc). I am a very thrifty packer. Even Gary was impressed, and he is a dude.

I was a little disappointed that my prior library book wasn't on the shelves. I hadn't finished it, and just assumed it would be available. I usually read 2-3 books every seven to ten days. I checked out another one, instead.

Up in the Lido, just walking around, I got a real shocker. A woman in a wheelchair being navigated by her friend. Age was young, but not really totally determinable by me, since she was so sick. I'd say 40's or 50's. She had cancer. She was wearing a breast cancer cap. No hair and extremely emaciated, maybe 80 lbs. soaking wet. She didn't look like she would even survive the cruise. I figured she had metastasized and was in late stage cancer, having one last party aboard the Ryndam. She couldn't have picked a better cruise, IMO. I vowed to speak to her if the opportunity arose.

When our cabins were available, I went to unpack. What a cabin, man, did I get lucky or what?

I had brought a small Thanksgiving bow for my door, and attached it. It became less of a holiday thing, and more of a navigational thing for most of the passengers in my hall. I was right off of the fore elevators, port side, so those passengers who were new to the Ryndam, or had navigational problems, used my bow as a point of reference. What a coup. I must have gotten "thanked" half a dozen times. Not the type of Thanks I was thinking of, hehe!

I had the great-disappearing cabin steward. I just never saw the guy. Room was always clean, I got two towel animals, but he was like a ghost. A first for me on Ryndam.

I went by the dining room, closed, of course, but I saw the menu for dinner and started salivating. I think I snagged some Lido food, but can't remember.

I met Gary in the hallway when he was just arriving. Hard to miss, the guy is 6'10".
I woke up early the second day! Even with the time change. I had set the little, cheapo Walmart alarm so that I could try to make breakfast in the dining room, but I woke up before it went off.

In the dining room I was seated with a couple in their 80's. Excellent company. The woman was on her third round with cancer, but was one of those lucky ones who never "feels" cancer, nor the treatment. No hair loss, no illness, no fatigue. She says she is embarrassed to tell people she has cancer because she has never had any side effects, no symptoms of it at all. She has had breast cancer in both breasts (different times), and now she has bone cancer.

During breakfast I would meet the highlight passenger of our cruise, Rose.

Rose is 48 and from western Canada. She was just widowed three months ago. This was her, "get out of the house, away from well-meaning-yet-smothering friends and family" cruise. She was awesome company.

I was bound and determined this cruise to do more of the little sports and get a ton of "Dam" dollars to buy prizes. They offer quality merchandise, not just little, cheapo plastic keychains, etc.

I entered the golf putting tournament and got 2:3. Don't think I'm some prodigy, on the last cruise I had no clue about what I was doing and whacked the balls across the entire atrium like I was trying to hit the ocean. This time I'd learned my lesson somewhat.

I tied for 2nd place, so we had a putt-off. George and I got one putt each over and over again to determine who got 2nd place. After about the sixth or seventh try, he finally made it, so I got 3rd and one extra dollar. Woohoo!

The singles and solo cruisers group met in the library. Only about five of us showed up, all women. Gary kept whining about those meetings, so he didn't come either.

The director bought all of us cappuccinos. I'll always take a freebie whenever I can get it, lol.

Our group was so sparse that the wife of the head Maitre'D who had been with HAL since 1959 (I think that is what they said), came and joined us. She said she would point our her husband to me when we were all together.

We had a great time and all agreed to meet the next day for the noon luncheon get together.

Gary and I caught a good movie, "Must Love Dogs."

On a sad note, we had to stop by Cabo to let three passengers and one crew member off of the ship. Supposedly the crew member had a heart attack but was expected to make a full recovery. I worried about the three passengers, thinking of the woman in the wheelchair with cancer. Since I hadn't seen her again, I was apprehensive.

That night at dinner, another couple was sitting at our table. Oy vey. The family of ten had gotten a bigger table and moved on, leaving us with new tablemates.

They were from southern California. Both widowed and on their second marriage. The woman was originally from London. Excellent tablemates. The husband could give and take with us, which is a tough feat, and had some zingers in the wings for both Gary and me. Although they missed a couple of nights during the cruise due to other obligations, we enjoyed their company very much. I just hope we didn't give them strokes with our constant joking around and general idiocy.

I think this was the night that Gary tried to convince me to catch Dave LeVesque's show. I guess I'm super picky about live shows, because I had to leave after about 15 minutes, lol. Shows have never been very special to me on HAL. They are okay, but I have tons to do and see that I truly love and enjoy, so missing the shows isn't a big deal.
Now that I'm getting ready for the Carnival CardPlayer cruise, I am forgetting more and more about this last one! Oy vey.

I might be getting some of the days confused, but since I had such a great time, and the general gist of the report will remain the same, I'll simply press on.

I think this was the day I met Charlotte, token dyke.

I went to join trivia in the Ocean bar. I sat down at the front table quite early, but there was already a group of about four or five waiting. One was Charlotte. At first glance, one would never suspect Charlotte was such a raving dyke. Her features are delicate and she is small. Looking closer, however, she does give off some more masculine traits. Her hair is very short. She wears no makeup. She doesn't shave her legs or under her arms. She wears asexual clothing.

I didn't notice this at first, but she was so "out" about herself that it didn't take long. She said something to the affect of, "there has to be one token dyke on every ship," and that kind of gave it away, lol.

Anyway, Charlotte saw my pink bracelet, and probably noticed my caved in chest, so she asked me about having cancer. I summed it up in a few sentences, and she replied that she'd had breast cancer, too. She said it was seven years ago, and she'd made a complete recovery. We talked about it a bit more, then she walked over to me.

By this time the Ocean bar was full with about 100 passengers ready to play trivia. Before I could even react she said, "Wanna see my mastectomy?" and pulled up her muscle shirt showing her chest in all of it's glory, lol. As I'm sitting there with my mouth hanging open (as well as the 100 other pax), she said, "Show me yours!"

I rarely ever get embarrassed, and I'm certainly no wallflower, but I don't usually go around showing my shark attack to 100 people who don't really want to see it, haha. So I kind of turned around and hid myself so that only she and a few willing participants could see.

The whole room was in utter silence and shock, I think. This was the funniest thing I can recall happening to me in a long, long time. Usually I'm the one putting others into shock, so it was hilarious having the shoe on the other foot.

To break the mood, a guy from Canada yelled out, "Well, I can tell you one thing, I have bigger boobs than the both of you put together!"

And that was my introduction to Charlotte!
I saw Rose sitting around the Lido pool with headphones on. I liked her so much that I wanted to stop and invite her to the solo cruisers luncheon. At first she was kind of turned off saying that those solo get togethers are filled with a bunch of old women looking for husbands. I thought of myself, and found that funny. Gary had said much the same thing, so I'm sure they were correct, but I did tell Rose that in the first day get together, there was me, 37, a woman in her 40's, one in her 50's, and the other two maybe older. I don't know, I never think of people in terms of age, I guess. I either like them or I don't. Anyway, she promised to think about it.

I roped Gary into the luncheon, too. What else did he have to do? It's not like there are a ton of activities on a sea day, at noon!

So that is how Gary, Rose and I met up and became a threesome.

I had admired Rose right from the start, but liked her even better when during lunch, one older busybodys asked her about her husband and his death, and Rose stated quite vehemently, "That is something I don't want to discuss. Do not question me about this, that is off limits!" Ahhh, a woman after my own heart.

I could tell that Gary was impressed, too. She was assertive and direct, not the withering, timid type. Just the perfect match for the idiotic give-and-take relationship that Gary and I had established.

By the end of the day, Gary had already called her a few names like "Thunder Thighs," lol. All in a totally lovable way, after all, he is the one who weighs 330 lbs, whereas she is thin like me. Of course, 330 lbs. on a 6'10" man isn't really overweight, either, lol.

One of the great things about hanging around with us (she said later), is that we didn't treat her like the poor, grieving widow. We treated her equally, just like she was one of us. Lots of kidding around, lots of fake put-downs. Gary is really nutso about things like that. The more he likes someone, the more he puts them down. It is pretty hilarious. I'm having a hard time explaining it, because he is not annoying in the least, and huge fun to be around, but he can really dish out the heat!

Throughout the cruise, we totally ripped Gary about eating sugar-free jello. Both he and I are diabetics, Rose isn't. Although it's great that he is really monitoring his blood sugar, we were perplexed that he liked jello so much. He would order two or three plates of it! With all of the great sugar-free stuff that HAL has, he kept ordering jello! Rose and I kidded him incessantly about his jello fixation.

That night Gary and I had some other new company at our dining table. A couple from Canada. They were so easy going, but I don't think they really got our humor, nor appreciated it. I think they probably thought we were crazy, which wasn't far off the mark. They took it well, though, and we probably liked them a whole lot more than they liked us!

Every night, I would whine and complain to the "new" people (and anyone else who would listen), that we'd been dissed from table to table in the dining room. Gary would quickly point out that it wasn't "us" who were hated so much, it was solely me. I would point out that he was right, but no one liked him either, so it was a moot point. I would remind him of his circus sideshow freak features, and that he looked like the scary guy in the James Bond movies.

Gary took to teasing the head wine guy, who was from Romania, about being Vlad, and how he was going to grow fangs and suck the blood from the passengers. I would gently (haha) remind Gary that if he wanted to see a horror show, he could simply look in the mirror. I said he should tease Vlad, since he looked like Frankenstein's Monster himself.

Do you see how we were terrorizing the ship?

I had real doubts that we'd keep our current dinner partners for long...

That night Rose and Gary begged me to come up to the Crow's Nest after the show. This was to become a ritual, although I am not a party girl, nor do I fit into the bar scene. For some reason, they had convinced themselves that I would be "cool," and not an old fuddy-duddy. The hilarious thing is that after I'd get up there and whine and complain a bit, they would call me a fuddy-duddy. I kept saying, "See, I told you!"

Up in the dreaded Crow's Nest I saw the wife of the officer who'd promised me she would introduce me to her husband. I figured that he was the officer I'd been thinking of all along. I remembered him from the last cruise, and that he was kind of aloof. Those things stand out to me, because I am constantly accused of being aloof myself.

So I went up to her, her husband and a few other officers from Holland. I told her, "Oh, yeah, I remember him. He is so cold and rude! He is never nice to me!" I was just joking around, giving him a hard time, but they took it badly at first. She started yelling at him in Dutch, and they were going back and forth. The officers looked at me like I was some kind of freak (I am). I tried to warm them up a little bit, but I guess those cold countries have a hard time taking it easy. Next time I'll get them drunk and see what happens.

Naw, all kidding aside, once they realized (later in the cruise), that I was totally joking about it, and that I am pretty much 100% FOS, they relaxed quite a bit, and even told me some jokes.

The head Maitre'D kept coming around to our table after that and making a huge point of "being nice" to me, lol. Like a fake show. I thought that was hilarious. One night he told me that he was on leave in Holland and some men came up to rob him. They stuck a gun in his face and demanded all of his money. He said, "I work for Holland America!" They took out their wallets, gave HIM $10 and ran away.

Cute, cute, cute.
Before I forget, I want to list some of the more hilarious things that Charlotte said and did (besides what I've already talked about).

1) One time she was with Gary & Rose. Somehow the conversation turned to men checking out other men in the bathroom. Gary stated that was an urban legend, men didn't really go around checking out the size of other men. He said something about how he was sure women didn't check each other out in the locker room either. Rose agreed. Charlotte, however, said, "Well, I sure do!"
2) On Thanksgiving at ping-pong, Charlotte had a sticker on her shirt with something like "Being thankful I survived." She saw me, peeled one off of the backing, and slapped it on my chest where my left boob used to be, hawking something like, "Here ya go, sister!" I just laughed, but I could see Rose trying to cross her chest and back away from Charlotte like, "Oh, no, not me!"

I'll add more as I think of them...
On one of the first nights we met Vlad, the head wine master, or whatever they are calling themselves these days.

His name wasn't really Vlad, but after Gary started calling him that, I couldn't remember his real name. He was from Romania, and said Transylvania was part of Romania, playing into the Dracula scenario that Gary was trying to create.

I said my husband and I had just been on a cruise the month before. Suddenly I saw the recognition in his eyes, and him look at my head. This time I actually had hair, and bleached white, unlike the little sprouts I had on the last cruise, which were mostly brown, with gray mixed in.

Anyway, I mentioned that he never came around to our table on the last cruise, whereas he seemed to visit every other table. I thought perhaps it had to do with us not drinking. He said that some people seemed to be into themselves and not really approachable. I told him it was conceivable that he felt that way about us, that our body language was sort of off-putting because we were celebrating the whole "getting over cancer" thing. The light dawned in his eyes, about why I had hair, etc, and he agreed that was probably it.

Over the duration of the cruise, we got to know Vlad better, and started giving him a hard time (joking).

I got him pretty good the first time. I was carrying around my room key because I didn't have any pockets in my outfit, and hell would probably freeze over before I'd be caught with a "purse." So I had the habit of putting my card on the dining table while we ate.

Vlad came by and suddenly I got the idea to pull a fast one on him. I picked up my key and acted like I was going to try to give it to him. I said something like, "Oh, here's my room key, come see me tonight!" He turned a bunch of shades, then kept stuttering over and over again, "I can't, I can't! I'll get fired!" and quickly tried to get away from us. We were all cracking up.

Another night, Rose did it. Then even Gary did it to him. By this time, Vlad had gotten used to our antics, and said to Gary, "Now that's what I'm talking about!" We were rolling laughing about it.

I tried to get the whole table to do it in tandem one night, but they refused to torture poor Vlad that much!
About the third or fourth night into our cruise, Gary and I arrived at the dining table only to find we'd been abandoned altogether. Yeah, dissed again, like we were that shocked, lol.

We dined alone, at a table for six. The Canadians had left their bottle of wine on the table, so we kept asking employees if we could drink it, if they didn't show up. This time, Vlad rolled with the punches, and not only said we could drink it, but sat down and said, "Yep, and I'll share it with you!" then pretended like he was opening the bottle.

Luckily, our dinnermates came back the next night.

We also invited Rose to our table. While that may have been presumptuous on my part, the deal was that the nosy women at Rose's table were really starting to get to her, making her depressed and crying more often. They would simply not let up about her husband dying so young of cancer.

The employees in the dining room did their best to accomodate Rose. Although our table was only meant for six, I figured since we'd had seven the first night, it wouldn't be a huge stretch to make it seven again. They were very understanding of her situation.

Likewise, our tablemates were very understanding. They'd heard us talk about Rose and how much we liked her non-stop since the beginning of the cruise, so they welcomed her with open arms.

Perhaps I was pushy and rude in this situation, and should have had a little more tact approaching the rest of the table about it (asking first instead of just introducing her like she belonged there), but it all happened very quickly (right outside of the dining room before dinner), and I was so appalled at how she was being treated at the other table, that I just took the initiative and pressed on. Once I get a bug up my butt, I tend to bully my way though, and that is not really something I'm proud of, but I absolutely cannot stand for someone to be hurt, and crying in pain of heartbreak.

So after that Rose sat with us for the rest of the cruise. And amazingly enough, haha, was way more popular and loved than Gary or I could ever hope for.

You know, those Canadians, they are such great, friendly people. Somehow I have this theory that they are out for world domination by fooling us with their kindness, lol. Yes, this is a joke.
Rose never wanted to talk to me about her husband dying. She would talk to Gary, and a few other people, but she tried to keep a stoic face around me.

I am not really that nosy of a person (too narcissistic), so if someone doesn't want to discuss something with me, I just let it be. I don't press.

One day grief overcame Rose and she started crying in front of me. She kept apologizing about it, saying she hated to bring up her husband's illness around me, since he had such a painful form of terminal bone cancer, because I was just recovering from cancer myself.

I told her that everyone handles tragedy and grief in different ways, and most of those ways are necessary and appropriate. There is nothing to be ashamed of if one is crying, nor should she feel the need to apologize to me, or anyone else, IMO.

The way I handle tragedy is with humor, even very morbid humor (as if you all hadn't noticed by now, lol). Sometimes the more morbid and direct I am, the better I am at handling things.

When people ask me about the cancer metastasizing, or recurring down the line, I am very open about saying that unless the chemo-biz changes drastically for the better, next time (if, God forbid there is a next time), the cancer can have me. I'm a Christian, I'm going home (this is just what I state, my beliefs, I'm not trying to get into a religious discussion here, or preach to anyone).

Anyway, sometimes people are really shocked by that. I don't care what they think, personally. If they don't want to talk about death, they shouldn't push me about the cancer thing, because those types of discussions can possibly lead to talk about death.

So on the cruise I just said that if it comes around again, I'll get on a ship, and sail away until they take me off the ship, in the morgue. To me, that sounds like the perfect way to go.

This is my way of handling morbid thoughts. I don't cry, I don't get emotional, I just talk about it openly when asked, and saying it helps me cope.

Rose's way was to slowly open up about her last two years with her husband. Slowly, slowly, like her name, a rose. Talking more and more about it, subtly, so that she can handle it. Nothing to be ashamed of.

As time went on, she volunteered more information. I never asked her even one question about his life or death, I waited for her to tell me when and if she wanted to. I made it clear that I don't have any problem with her talking about it, and healing, but I was not, ever going to "bug" her about it. It was evident that they were very much in love, like Glenn and me. They'd been married about 25 years when he died, and were extremely close. She was his sole caregiver and his best friend. She is a heroine.

One day we were doing the golf putting. Suddenly, many of the crew rushed by us in the atrium, and down the hall. Emergency codes were being shouted and a crash cart went by. I kept hearing something about heart failure.

I paled. My first thought was of the woman with cancer who was in a wheelchair. I hadn't seen her since boarding day in the Lido.

Happily, the next day, I saw her once again up in the Lido with her friend. She looked a billion times better! This is not to say, that she looked like she would survive. She just looked great compared to the first day. Not only like she was having a great time, but that she had more animation in her face and looked more alive. I was so happy.

Even later in the cruise, Rose and I met her in the elevator. I told her that I had just finished cancer treatment. She said that she was not finished, that she was in treatment. I didn't press. She then said that this was her second go-round with cancer. She didn't elaborate, but I pretty much understood what she was trying to tell me. I think she was saying that she wasn't expecting a recovery this time, that the treatment was more "comfort care" than anything else. I can't think of anyone who could go on a cruise during chemo, looking like that, so sick, because I could barely move during chemo and she looked a lot more sick than I ever did. So my logical assumption was that she knew this was the end, and that she was cruising regardless. One last blast.

As she left the elevator, she said, "God bless you."

"God bless you, too."
Okay, so tonight we are leaving for San Diego again. It's time for the CardPlayer cruise on the Carnival Spirit. Although I'm not expecting that Carnival will be anything like HAL, a free cruise is a free cruise, and I'm sure I'll enjoy myself.

Gary and I built up such a good rapport that he decided to go on the Spirit with us, even though the poker cabins are sold out! What a trooper, it would be hard to be on the ship for eight days, knowing the poker room is right there, but unable to enter. Kind of hard to sneak him in, too, since he's 6'10", lol.

Some of the things that I remember about the Ryndam cruise, but am unable to put in chronological order are as follows:

Gary said I have a "gay" fixation, because I can usually spot gay people pretty easily. He says it's not a matter of spotting them, that I just call everyone gay, and that even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while. I say that I'm just more observant than most people. Rose agreed with me, not Gary, so take that!

One day I made a huge faux pas that I won't soon forget. I am constantly making a complete fool out of myself in public. Glenn once asked me not long after we first met, "You never fail at making a total fool out of yourself at any given opportunity, do you?" I agreed wholeheartedly.

Anyway, Gary, Rose and I went to see one of the performers. He was a singer/dancer. To me, he seemed gay, because he could dance so well and wore tight clothing. Yeah, I know, you are thinking "stereotype," and that is true, but really, it was the whole package.

At one point, Gary and I were talking about it, and he was rolling his eyes and saying I must be homophobic and stuff like that. Rose, on the other hand, turned to me (not even knowing I had talked to Gary about it), and asked, "You think he's gay?" LOL, Rose and I were thinking the same thing at the same time.

Anyway, that was one of those nights they dragged me up to the dreaded Crow's Nest. I was talking to one of the activity directors, and she confirmed that the performer was gay. I kept saying, "Told you so!" to Gary. The performer came up, and he just seemed so cool, so modern. So when I mentioned it, I expected he would roll with it, but instead he looked angry. Later he chastised the director for "confirming" he was gay. Go figure! He wasn't cool in the slightest, he was a really uptight gay guy.

So my faux pas was mentioning it in the first place. The director was "working," under contract. She could have been fired for talking about sexual orientation on the job. I shouldn't have said anything. Nor should she, either, but sometimes in a social setting everyone just starts talking, innocently, and things happen. It was a mistake. One I hope not to make again.

During the cruise, Gary was just kidding me constantly about my "gay" thing. I finally admitted that I was just jealous. I often say I should have been born a man. Or that I was born a man, then God played some incredibly cruel trick and made me into a woman. I think the real deal is that I should have been a GAY man, because I totally dig men, but can't stand women. Oh, what a FUBAR life I lead, lol, but I'm having loads of fun!

One day I signed onto the Internet in a cyber-cafe at port. Gary was sitting beside me. I was IMing with Al and said, "Gary thinks I have a gay fixation." Al said, "You do." Now Gary will never let me live it down.

People keep asking me about the different ports and towns we visited. The funny thing is, I barely ever got off the ship. I got off in Zihuatanejo to e-mail Glenn that everything was fine. The next morning I woke up with a sore throat. The only other time I got off the ship was in Puerto Vallarta. It was my 3rd time visiting there, so the only reason I even got off was to go to the Walmart across the street and speak to the pharmacist about my cold, and get some anti-biotics, just in case it was viral instead of bacterial.

Yes, I'm a total dud. I seem to like sea days, and don't even care about getting off of the ship at ports I've been to before.

So there ya go with my lack of posts about towns in Mexico. Now you know...

The funny thing about cruises is that there are always a group of people onboard who love to gossip and start rumors. Remember me saying that a woman asked me about "shaving my head" and said there was a rumor going around that I'd shaved it for our renewal of vows ceremony? Well, that is indicative of how things are on longer cruises, where old ladies and men have nothing else to do besides gossip.

On this cruise, the rumors were about Gary and me. Then later Gary, Rose and me. It was pretty hilarious, and both Gary and I fueled the gossip on with our totally warped sense of humor.

At one point, the gossipy old women at Rose's table were questioning her about the three of us. Saying things like, "At first we thought the other girl was married to him, but now you are being seen with him, too. What is going on?"

Of course, Rose probably told them to mind their own business, but Gary wanted to play it up. He said we should enter the dining room on Rose's side (opposite ours, until she moved). He wanted to go up to their table after all of the busybodies had been seated, then say, "Hi, I wanted my wife to meet the woman I am screwing."

It kind of fizzled out, though, because Rose was the only one seated when we went by, lol! Ah, well, good joke, at any rate.

Another time, there was a gossipy woman in the bathroom with Rose and me. She bluntly asked, "So, what is the deal with you three? Who is sleeping with who?" or something like that.

I figured if she was going to be so direct, I would give it back tenfold. I said:

"Are you crazy? If either one of us were sleeping with him, we wouldn't be able to walk the next day! We'd be bowlegged for life!"

She was really embarrassed, but I said, "Well, you started it!"

The first time I ran the "not able to walk" comment by Gary, he didn't get it. Rose and I were on either side of him, cracking up, rolling around laughing, and Gary was like, "...not able to walk? I don't get it!"

After that, we used the joke again and again about being bowlegged and not able to walk the next day. We must have embarrassed at least 100 of the passengers.

So this is kind of a summary of the things that stand out. I can't think of anymore right now, and I'm trying to pack for the poker cruise tomorrow.

Rose and I are already planning cruises together. Since Glenn is just a dud onboard and does nothing except sleep, Rose and I are going to cruise the world together. I couldn't have gotten a better travel partner. She already knows how crazy I am, and can take it as well as give it. Pretty soon I'll have her making as many horrible, tasteless jokes as I do.

Now I just have to teach her how to play poker, and that will be my biggest feat yet, because everyone knows that Canadians suck at poker.

...Waiting for the flames

Hope you enjoyed!

Felicia :)