Do you eat the red ones last??

Friday, September 23, 2016
Puerto de San Benito, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
Why is it that I can do nothing for hours at a time when at home and not feel at all guilty. Here on the cruise ship, when I do nothing for extended periods, I feel like I’m doing it wrong? I guess it’s a paradigm shift from when I was working. When I was working 40+ hour weeks and I finally got a holiday, I revelled in the luxury of nothingness. Now in retirement my life often consists of putting in time with nothing scheduled, so holidays are a time to get active. A total 180 degree shift from my working days.

So here I find myself in a stretch of sea days…again . That was the one downside to this cruise we’re on…a lot of sea days in the first ½. That will change on Saturday when the ports of call and the Canal itself start to present themselves.

The advantage to all this time on the ship is that it gives us ‘people watchers’, ie those that don’t really want to interact with strangers but just eyeball them from afar, time to exercise our craft.

Yesterday, for example, my ‘first’ on the ship was an activity called Elevator Roulette. Quite simple, really, you stand in front of a bank of elevators and bet on which one will open on your floor first. No money actually changes hands. Not rocket science. And the entertainment staff on the ship have facilitated these games for months. So don’t you just love it when someone with a triple A personality comes in and wants to totally rearrange the game? Take control from the ship’s staff, and run the game themselves. Yup…one in every crowd. Now, I consider myself a bit of a Type A personality at times, but when I step on board a cruise ship, I totally leave that at the gangway. I don’t want to organize, arrange, or direct anything. I just want some occasional mindless fun. DIdn’t find that yesterday at the Elevator Roulette.

With the great weather we’ve been spending a lot of time at the pool. There are 2 pools on board. One is the outdoor pool which is open to the elements…and the extreme heat. This is where most of the activities are held. The live music, the pool games, the movies under the stars, all happen there at the Lido pool. Way too much activity for me. I opt for the more sedate Lotus pool. It is in a glassed in area, away from the elements. It is temperature controlled here, so always cooler. Lots of shade and quiet music, plus all the lounge chairs have big, thick padded cushions on them. No brainer, I think!

There is a third pool area called the Sanctuary. You have to pay to go there as it is a total quiet zone. It’s a bit like a spa where all communication is conducted at a whisper level. I don’t need THAT much peace and quiet. I’m not bothered by the low level noise around the Lotus pool.

So today we’re nicely ensconced on our comfy lounge chair. There are lots of chairs around us and a fair number of people. Not as many here as at the Lido, for sure, but enough to keep things interesting…and it does get interesting. Not long after I got settled into my book, I notice a couple in front of us. I don’t pay a lot of attention to them, cause all I can see of them is the tops of the backs of their heads. Off to my right about 6 lounge chairs away is an elderly Asian couple. They are conversing in their native tongue, and are speaking rather loudly. No biggie as far as I’m concerned. I’m not bothered, and I can’t eavesdrop cause I don’t understand Mandarin, or whatever language they’re speaking. Well, buddy in front of us takes umbrage. He yells over to them “QUIET”…repeatedly. Okay…what’s wrong with this picture? Firstly, the Asians are 6 lounge chairs away, so they don’t really know who buddy is talking to. Secondly, they ARE speaking another language…ya don’t suppose their grasp of the English language isn’t likely all that great? And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they are friggin’ OLD. They are probably having a hard enough time hearing one another, hence the raised voices, let alone buddy from 6 chairs over yelling “QUIET”. I mean really! I so wanted to tell him that if he wanted complete silence he should fork out the $$ and go to the Sanctuary. But…not my circus, not my monkeys.

This afternoon I headed down to the Arts & Crafts lesson as today they were making greeting cards. Hey, I’ve never made my own greeting cards before. Might be fun. And I went early cause they advertised limited seating. Now to put these sessions in perspective, the girl that is “in charge” just got hired by the cruise line a few months ago. A nice young girl from Toronto. I met her at Origami. Did she know how to DO Origami? Not really. But she did know how to hand out instruction sheets. So today she was in charge of card making. Did she know how to MAKE greeting cards? No, but she knew how to hand out supplies.

These little activities on the ship are really at the most basic of levels. They just give you a little exposure. They are not professional nor are they FOR professionals. Just like the photography sessions on the ship. They are for amateurs. People who just got a camera and want to learn the basics. They aren’t for the person who has taken numerous courses in the past, or for someone who has pursued photography for years either as a hobby or a profession.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the little card making seminar to find a woman there with a HUGE BAG of supplies. She wanted everyone to see the greeting cards she makes. Really?? I wanted to ask 2 questions…1) why are you here since you obviously know more about card making than the girl in charge, and have way more supplies than the cruise ship offers for this activity and 2) who BRINGS all that stuff on a cruise with them?? Needless to say, I wasn’t there long. I bailed before any cards actually got made. Put 20 or so women in a room where there is only 1 table of supplies and it was like throwing a Smartie into a weight watchers meeting. I couldn’t get near the supply table. And I wasn’t all that jazzed about the whole thing anyway. There I was, gone!

Tonight I returned to the casino for a little Roulette and I turned my $25 chip into $70. Things are looking up! One more sea day till Nicaragua!
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