Friday, June 5, 2015
I'm in the air.
We just flew over Mt. Rainier. It was completely covered with snow. You'll have to take my word for it since uploading a photo takes forever on the Internet here in this place not quite on Earth. I'm also about to have a gin and tonic. I know you'll take my word on that.
So how was the cruise, you might be wondering--if you even remember that there is such a place as Margaritaville after my long absence. Turns out that boat was a big as a mountain--which I didn't really know when I agreed to take this trip with my friend Ellen. She made all of the arrangements, and I said, yeah, yeah, sure sounds absolutely fabulous, not quite believing that I'd actually be able to go, given my obligations in Margaritaville's sister city, Pillville. But the grand plan to take my mom off hospice for two weeks and fly with her to my brother's house worked out great. News has it that she's doing fine, although I won't know if that's the whole story until I can talk to my brother or his girlfriend (a.k.a. the saints.)
I never quite imagined myself on a cruise ship that holds a couple thousand people, and while the idea of that is, I admit, not my idea of the sort of ecological footprint I want to step into, for all I know, it's better than flying. The ship claims to recycle all paper, plastic, and glass, and they use few disposable products. Even the napkins are cloth and there are single use cloth hand towels in all the restrooms in addition to paper towels. They only change sheets and towels upon request, and the portions of food served are very modest. A big eater would have to hit the buffet before visiting the dining room, so there's probably less food waste than in the average American restaurant, diner for diner.
Now that I've given my best to justify the boat as big as a mountain, let's just say it was wonderful in every way. Beautiful little cabin, superb and friendly service (holy shit, I do sincerely hope all of these people are being paid a living wage) Delicious and healthy fresh food to please all tastes and ethnicities. (I wish I'd taken the galley tour on the first day that explains how they do what they do.) There were trivia matches, dance lessons (these were free), a well-appointed yoga studio with good teachers (not as good as the ones I have at home, but still...) There was a spa (too expensive for me.) There was an acupuncturist (not free). There were lectures by a naturalist, many entertainments with Boradway quality performers (all free), and for a pretty penny, there were excursions one could book at various ports. The two we did were worth the money--a steam engine train on a narrow gauge track up a mountain--more like on the edge of a mountain, really. I got terrified for a bit when the train couldn't make it up a particular hill, had to back up, then still couldn't make it and the tracks had to be sanded and even then the wheels slipped and the train geek sitting behind me mentioned that a more skilled engineer would have know how to build up a better head of steam and managed it without spinning the wheels. But I powered through by writing a note to a friend on my iPhone for sending later. Knowing I had his ear, even in a delayed fashion, got me through it. The other excursion was ocean kayaking which had its drama too, but I was actually okay with that. Both excursions were a dose of extreme natural beauty that left both of us awestruck.
So, there you have it. There may be an annual cruise wherein I depart Pillville in order to take to the water. I may even choose to go to Alaska again. I've fallen in love.