Days 11 & 12

May 14 & 15, 2003
(Wednesday and Thursday)

We spend these two days leisurely drifting at sea. Okay, we may be drifting, but the boat is hauling keel towards Venice at some 22 knots (they never have told us what kind of knot, but it must be a big one).

We spend a fair amount of time snoozing, reading, and drinking on the decks (mostly in chairs on the deck, but occasionally...).

About noon on Day 11, there's an Ice Sculpting demonstration. This involves taking two Filipino experts from their jobs in the galley, giving each of them a 150 pound block of ice, and telling them to have at it. (We're not sure what their job in the galley involves, but there's been a dearth of ice sculptures on board, so it's not that.)

It takes about half an hour, and by the end, the whole space around them is covered with shaved ice ("Ah! For some lime syrup!" says Robert). One of them carves a an eagle grabbing a fish from a frozen lake, and the other one does a nude kneeling woman (must get lonely down there in the galley).

The ice carving demonstration

The end result, a cold beauty...

...and an icy eagle

According to Mr. Commentator, they know what they want to do before they start (in other words, they don't examine the ice to see what figure is inside, waiting to be revealed). But sometimes, something goes wrong, so they have to change what they're doing.

Robert wonders if they ever end up with an ice toothpick....


Laura wanders off to the beauty parlor on board to get a pedicure. Her toenails look lovely (although Robert thinks it would look cooler if she got them painted green). The beauty parlor also offers all sorts of other treatments, including a "Chakra Hot Rock Treatment" that takes an hour and a half. Presumably, this involves beating you with different colored hot rocks until you think you've gotten $150 worth of it.

Whatchoo looking at?

Laura admires the results of her pedicure

Laura is pleased


This is the last formal night on board (there's only been two), so Robert once again dons his kilt (and knives and flask) and we head out to dinner. This time, we have dinner with an actual Scotsman (who's in a tuxedo, but not a kilt, which lends a nicely surrealistic atmosphere to the dinner). We discuss American and British politics ("Our leader is dumber than yours!" "Is not!").

Robert ready to go out and wow the peasants

Laura and the Mediterranean

Robert has caviar and a couple of lobster tails, but is still disappointed that we haven't had any flaming desserts. Stephen, our Spanish waiter, offers to set any of the other desserts on fire just for Robert.


We try to sit through the Broadway Review. We really do. But they have managed to take Broadway songs (which are full of emotion) and make them sound like Musak, while people caper about on the stage.

One thing we notice about the entertainment is that none of it is local (like, say, Europe). It's all American music (except for the Bahamanian guys, but they mostly play songs like "Layla" with a Calypso beat). Even the Mexican restaurant has a couple of Americans doing insipid arrangements of Country Western tunes. Why not a Mariachi band?

Shoot, why not some Greek music? Turkish belly dancing? Spanish music? Italian music? It's not like America is the only country with musicians. And you could probably get an Italian band cheap (couple of bottles of Chianti and they're playing all night).

There's one jazz quartet that's pretty good (interestingly enough, none of them are American, although they play only American music).

On the other hand, there's a lot of Russians/Slavs on board, so at least for them, this is pretty exotic music.


Starting at about 11:30 pm until midnight, two of the head waiters build a champagne waterfall. This is a whole mess of glasses stacked on top of each other in a pyramid. At the very tippy top is one glass. Theoretically, you pour champagne into the top glass and it flows out to fill all the other glasses. (We didn't get to find out, because after pouring a bottle, they opened a concession stand to sell pictures of people pouring champagne into one side of the pyramid. At $20 a pop, there was still a pretty good line of suckers willing to pay for the privilege.)

Robert thinks that there must be a pretty interesting curriculum at cooking school: Ice Cube carving (you can't start them off on blocks, after all), Glass Stacking, How to Deal with Americans Complaining About the Salty Taste of the Caviar.


Tonight the clocks get set back an hour on board the ship. So tomorrow, we'll have boat lag....


The second day at sea is, if possible, even lazier than the first day, although Laura springs into action and visits the laundromat to provide enough clean clothes to get us back to the USA.

Robert watches a James Bond movie on the TV (his plot summary: "There's a bang, then a whoom! Smash! Zoom! James goes "Bond, James Bond" and then Crash! Kaboom! Zam! Halle Barry! Woohoo! Kabloomey! Zap! Lasers! and then at the end, Zoom! Smasho! Crasho! Kapow!")


Tomorrow we pull into Venice (Italy), which is our last port of call, so with fingers crossed, it looks like we got past the hard part of the trip....

Robert & Laura
Almost at Venice

P.S. Fr. Steve would like us to point out that even in the 21st century, you can end up with a pretty nasty hex if you kill a clergyperson, or even mess with one. Consider yourselves warned.


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