Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm on a boat. Part 1: The beginning.

Before arriving at the boat ship, we had to fly to a city near to where the boat was docked.  The above vegetation and architecture, taken while awaiting the shuttle, should provide sufficient data to permit identification of the city.  It only takes 2.5 hours to fly there from here, just enough time to watch a movie (Unstoppable), and an episode of Modern Family.

LAX is a very busy airport, with many palms.

Palms are very photogenic.   It is only a tiny bit jarring to fly from a city whose skyline is interrupted by Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock to one bristling with palms. 

We rode a bus to the boat ship.  You could see the boat from a great distance away, from the exit ramp of the freeway.  It's that big a boat.  People started gushing over how beautiful it was.  Not me.  It was too damn big.  I already knew where our room was--on the 11th floor (which is to say in boat-speak, our stateroom was on Deck 11).  Here's the worst part as far as I was concerned:  it had a balcony with a glass front.  People pay large amounts of money for such a room stateroom.  For me it foretold vertigo combined with motion sickness.  I had Gravol tablets and Scopolamine dermal patches in my suitcase.  I would stay off the balcony and keep the curtain closed.  I should add that a boat- ship-trip was not my idea of a vacation. The concept makes no sense to me--being stuck in close quarters on a wobbling metal monstrosity with approximately 4000 strangers, only allowed to escape for a few hours at a time in a handful of tourist traps.  My idea of a vacation was Hawaii, and not the touristy parts.  I was outvoted.  I was barely consulted.  I only went along to protect the children, keep them off the balcony.

And it would be two days at sea before we got to Tourist Trap #1.  I knew I was going to hate this. 

After we went to our rooms staterooms and opened our suitcases, we had to go back downstairs to another deck to learn how to line up for the lifeboats, should that be necessary.  That deck was only seven stories above the water.  I was hoping we wouldn't have to jump to the lifeboats from there.  After being hollered at for a few minutes, we were considered trained.  A man standing behind me said to his wife, "I feel much safer now."

Suddenly off we went, with no fanfare, no joyous blasting of horns.  We simply drifted away from the pier.  After a few minutes I cautiously peeked through the curtain to take a few pictures through the glass front of the balcony.    We saw baby sailboats being towed by a Zodiac.  I would have traded my boat ship for one of those ships boats.  They look safe.

We saw a fair number of these guys.  They haul out on anything that can bear their weight.

Waving farewell.

And then the land was gone, and we were at sea.

San Pedro Lighthouse.  33 42 30 N, 118 15 06 W


Tim said...

I felt the same way when I joined some out-of-town relatives on a bus tour to banff a number of years back. But single-storey bus != multi-storey cruise ship. I'd gladly have traded places.
Was it really that dark that day? Or were you just trying to convey your brooding through photos?

Hugh said...

Tim, that sounds bleak too, and without the endless buffet. Yes, it was a very grey, overcast day. It was cold, too. And very broody.

Sally said...

I hope this is retrospective, and you're safely back on land! I sympathize with your plight... Sounds like it will make a good blog adventure, though!

Hugh said...

Sally, We're back home. Internet charges aboard were $0.75 per minute, and page-loading was very slow, thus not worth the effort. 12 days sans net is a record for me since I went online back whenever that was.