Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quoting Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson said, “The grand objective of travelling is to see the shore of the Mediterranean”.   
Mediterranean Sunset

I agree with him.  

The water is blue.  

The sand is clean.  

The sunsets are spectacular.  

The sunrises are amazing with their pinks and reds, sometimes with beams of light piercing the clouds and travelling down long paths through the air and onto the water.  

... from the jogging deck ...
People have come to this sea for millenniums – either as merchants or as invaders.  

I have come for different reasons.

Unlike Samuel Johnson, I have been thinking that the grand objective of travelling is to taste every new food on the menu.  

I try to let nothing escape me:  duck a l’orange was on one menu.  

The next day there was duck liver in a butter tart crust.  I told Wyona that what I have to do is taste what I want and leave the rest.  I was through after ¼ of the duck liver tart, but had to keep myself going until I had finished ¾ of it – just in case that taste never came my way again.   That was a little too much duck liver.

Mushy peas is the bottom of the list of foods that interest me, but Wyona took some of them on her plate a couple of days ago – just to see if they are as horrid as I say. 

“Taste them from my plate.  They are really good.”  But when she went back to them later in the meal she said, “”I can’t believe I put those in my mouth.”  The reason that mushy peas comes to mind is that there is a burger bar (turkey burgers, beef burgers, chicken burgers), as well as all the condiments a person would put on a burger.  There is also a huge plate of English fries to add as a side-dish, ... and mushy peas.  Sometimes I stand there before I plate up my own food, just watching to see if people really do take mushy peas.  The answer is yes – people take as much as eight ounces of them, and they drop them right on top of their fries. 

We were talking about this later. There is no way to account for the tastes of home in all of us.  Greg said that he remembers lasagne at his house – there was always that as a comfort food.  Wyona can remember the taste of warm pie.

On this point, while we were walking in Gibraltar, I overhead this conversation:

Woman 1:  I have not been able to buy any ox liver lately.

Woman 2: And I haven’t been able to find any ox tongue or gizzard.

Woman 1: It makes you wonder what they are doing with all of the ox liver, tongue and gizzard.  Why is it in such short supply.

Questions I would never ask about food!

In the overall scheme of travelling this cruise, I have enjoyed the 11 am bridge lessons as much as anything.  Probably those and the morning walks around the deck would be in my top two choices to repeat again. 

I have to add that the destination lectures have come in at a close third.  When we were learning about the Greeks being conquered again and again over the centuries, this gem dropped.  The written word was not plentiful, and stories and myths that were memorized and passed down were highly valuable.  In fact, conquers gave those who had huge chunks of stories memorized, more food than those who didn’t have their memory work done.

Given that formula, I would be among the dying now, since I don’t have too much memorized anymore.  I rely on the internet.  I had no idea that I go to do an internet search so many times in the day until I got on this boat, and the access to the internet is limited since it costs about a dollar a minute.  I try not to go to google on board, since I am likely to get trapped into many more minutes than I wish to pay for, when I need to answer a question ... and then another ... and then another.
I am leaving the evening entertainment right out of the formula of things I have loved on the boat, because it is lovely to go to a show every night, and then to go to it again, when the second performance is given.  The evening entertainment is pleasurable – a nice meal, and then a short walk to the theatre for 18 days.  Yup.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that.

Three thousand, six hundred people can get on this boat – and when it is full, 4,200.  But the evening venue for the shows only holds 1,800 people.  So when the shows are done twice, there still isn’t much room in the theatre if everyone tries to go to the first showing, which in this passage everyone seems to want to do.  This is the last of the Mediterranean crossings and we are a group that is 80% British, and among those, many who are trying to squeeze in the last 18 days of a lost summer. 

But given how old most of that group are ... they like the early dining and the early show and while they can’t run for most of the day, they can make a dash to get those theatre seats before their mates do.

1 comment:

  1. This 18 days cruise was the last of our cruise adventure. It was just enough time to really believe that life is choosing off the menu every night and walking away without paying the bill. Oh well, that part is over and I am looking forward to a fun family Christmas.