Friday, December 30, 2016

All at Sea, Again

Well, we're back in Tampa. The sun hasn’t come up yet. I woke to the lights of the port reflecting off our cabin walls and moving across the room in ghostly whiteness as we pulled into the shipping channel that leads to our dock. I’m a bit bleary-eyed this morning, having stayed up late last night in the bar with my brother and stepsister for some sibling bonding — an essential part of this trip, after all. And Dave packed the aspirin in his suitcase, which has already been taken elsewhere for offloading. Argh!

Yesterday was another full day at sea — a fairly leisurely one. We seemed to take our time crossing the Gulf of Mexico back to Florida. Or maybe I’ve just become used to the ship’s speed, the churning wave sounds and gentle rocking motion.

I spent the morning finishing “H is for Hawk,” which I came to like more as I worked my way to the end. The author became less cantankerous as she healed after the death of her father. But I still don’t get falconry. I understand it’s considered a sport, and I suppose it’s no crueler than riding a horse — perhaps a lot less cruel in some circumstances. But a horse is domesticated animal, and a hawk isn’t. Even a trained hawk seems only borrowed from nature. Their fierceness demands freedom. Don’t you think? I’m not sure why falconry is even legal, frankly.

Anyway, I finished the book. Then Dave and I went to a question-and-answer talk with the ship’s captain and watched a slideshow about the behind-the-scenes operation of the ship. Dave was curious to see how the kitchen and engine rooms work, for example — he used to go boating with his dad, so all that information resonates with him.

Then we went up to the Crow’s Nest for our daily Happy Hour trivia contest — and did I mention our family team won trivia on Wednesday? We all got little Holland-America lapel pins. (What I'll do with that I have no idea.) Yesterday we came in second place. The question that stumped everyone: “In her song ‘Hung Up,’ Madonna sampled which ABBA song?”

(Answer: “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight).” As a longtime unembarrassed fan of both ABBA and Madonna, I’m surprised I didn’t know that. But neither did anyone else.)

Anyway, I need to get myself in gear and prepare to get off the ship. Our life of luxury is at an end. Back to the real world.

(Photo: Our dock at Cozumel. As you can see, there were multiple cruise ships in town that day! Ours, the Oosterdam, is second from left.)


ellen abbott said...

back to the real world indeed. 21 more days and it's going to get too real here.

Unknown said...

That's a lot of ships. Incredible picture.

We really don't seem overly concerned as a society about animals. I wish we did, but we haven't even learned to treat human beings well, even when they look like us and can complain and sue. Animals are probably a stretch.

Sounds like you had a decent trip, though.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Regarding hawks, I wonder if you have ever read "Kes" ("A Kestrel for a Knave") by Barry Hines? It is still a school examination text in England and has been read and enjoyed by many cohorts of schoolchildren. I might argue that it is about the "other" England, far from west London and it is about a boy who trains a kestrel.

By the way, please check out my humble blog tomorrow.

Ms. Moon said...

I only see one ship in port today!
Ah. Back to real life. I'm afraid I'm not ever going to be able to settle back into that. Not after this trip.

Sharon said...

That photo is gorgeous! There is certainly a lot of cruise ship activity these days.

jenny_o said...

I can't really take in how large those ships are - and to have several of them side by side kind of blows my mind!

I don't know about you, but I'm actually looking forward to getting back to "normal"!

Catalyst said...

Wonderful trip, Steve, and great reporting.

e said...

Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your trip and safe journey back to London.

Red said...

So you were well papered on the ship. that makes for a nice holiday.

Alphie Soup said...

Well done for winning the trivia quiz. We could have used your family's talents earlier this year on the Volendam...