The Winter of Our Discontent

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain and Canary Islands
Days like today are a blogger’s dream.  It’s everywhere.  Discontent.  The natives are restless.  It started first thing this morning when I made my way to the Speed Sudoku to try to regain my champion status.  There were 5 of us.  Myself, a woman my age from Ottawa, an Asian man my age (give or take) and an elderly couple.  The Asian was talking about how he’d won one of the challenges a couple of days ago...he was the only one that showed up.  The elderly couple were not in a good mood...let’s call them ‘the Cranks’.  
When Kristoff arrived, the cruise staff member in charge, the Cranks started in.  They weren’t happy with the new prize system.  Instead of handing out useless tchotchke at each competition onboard, they now give you a ‘prize passport’, you collect signatures every time you win, and at the end of the cruise you can turn your passport in for a prize commensurate with the total number of wins that you‘ve accumulated at various activities.  It’s a new approach.  It’s different.  People hate new almost as much as people hate different!
Kristoff managed to steer them to the contest at hand, and the sudoku began.  I came out victorious.  I got 3 signatures on my ‘prize passport’.  The Cranks were still not happy.  They were muttering and huffing.  So Kristoff said “What is really wrong here?  This isn’t JUST about sudoku.”. wasn’t.  Mrs. Crank was annoyed that the only way she could read her paper from ‘back home’ was online.  She didn’t like that.  And this might be where Kristoff made a huge miscalculation.  Instead of just saying ‘poor you’ or ‘isn’t it a shame that the Podunk Times doesn’t deliver to the middle of the Straits of Gibraltar’, but nooooooo.  Kristoff decided this was a good time to tell the Cranks that this ship was moving toward being paperless.  That will mean no more delivery of the daily ‘Patter’ (the newsletter outlining the activities schedule each day).  No more sudoku.  No more anything that requires additional paper.  Ohhhh lala...not happy campers, the Cranks!!  But you know that old saying?  ‘If you want it to be like home...then STAY home!’
Whether there’s some actual connection between poor weather and poor humour, I can’t be certain.  But today was overcast and a bit rainy and people’s dispositions were equally poor.  Walking through the buffet for breakfast I could hear snippets of conversations as I passed...there was a lot of griping and whinging.  And this is when people are able to get off the ship every day.  I can’t imagine what the long stretch of sea days is going to bring.  Time will tell!
We had a lovely time ashore in Cadiz.  Unfortunately the 1.5 hour trip into Seville was just a bit far for our time in port, so we stuck to this quaint port town.  It really is a small and very quaint spot full of narrow alleyways and old buildings.  Maybe even a few oranges, but I’d expect no less.  There were lots of cathedrals, a very new and modern market, and some entertaining street buskers.  In spite of the periodically wet weather, we had a wonderful time.  And then we returned to the ship.
You know there are going to be tons of ‘mobility challenged olds’ on these transatlantic crossings.  We expect that.  And when they go ashore they often need mobility assistance devices.  Understandable.  The gangway today was incredibly steep. Match that with the damp weather and you’ve got a slipping hazard.  To accommodate those with mobility issues, the cruise line established a separate gangway which was flat.  Much easier to navigate when using a walker or push cart.   We reach the gangway at the same time as a woman and her elderly husband using a push card/walker.  They slowly make their way to the very steep gangway.  The crew direct them to the flat gangway about 100 m further along.  Nope...too far to walk, they say.  They insist on going up the steep gangway.  The crew had to block all foot traffic entering and leaving the ship, find some ship’s porters to come down and PULL the push cart with the man inching along behind up the very steep gangway.  And you just know that if he’d fallen then there would have been a complaint put in if not a full blown lawsuit against the ship.  Was the Mrs walking up behind the hubby with her fingers crossed in hopes of an accident and the opportunity for a large payout??  One has to wonder.
The captain is forecasting rough seas tonight!  Can’t wait for a little rockin’ and rollin’.  Let’s hope I don’t regret THAT statement!!
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I'd say that sanity guage is going to get the workout of a lifetime in the next few days. Better start polishing up NOW!!!