Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Curse of Coke

There are clubs for everyone – a new one to me is the cruising club for people who have gone on spectacular voyages. Their benefits shift.  I thought ours included breakfast in a lovely refitted dining room from an old ship.  We just never had time to get there.  Then at dinner I found out that only elite plus members are invited to that breakfast – not the elite, which is us.  Wicked of our dinner companions to tell us that, given that they have breakfast there.

I didn't want to go until I wasn't invited.  Clubs are a curse that way. Wyona, Greg and I do have a wonderful choice before dinner though.  Three drinks every evening. To get the best value for our money we should be drinking alcohol, but having no interest we have turned to drinking pina-coladas, then a peach drink, then a strawberry slush drink and now we are trying out the mango drink every night.  A stemmed glass, a maraschino cherry, and enough calories that we shouldn't have dinner afterwards – at least if we are just making sure that our bodies have enough energy to sustain themselves, which is a difficult count to make on a cruise.

Between us there are 9 drinks every night.  Three go to the mixes described above.  The rest of the tickets are used up in Coke that we carry away in a big black bag every night.  “Does this look a little gauche?”, I worried one night. “Carrying our drinks into dinner, wearing our formal evening clothes and carrying this bag of contraband Coke.”

“Don’t worry.  It is zipped closed,” replied Wyona. She is right.  The bag is closed and only looks like we have been shopping for a six-pack.  The revenge of the Coke is only to me, for if I drink mine after I have watched the last of the evening’s entertainment, I can’t sleep at night.  And that is the reason I was doing Braille around the room at 5:45 am, trying to find something warm enough to wear out on the deck for I was still wide awake. Pulling out exercise wear, changing orthodics in shoes, not caring if I found socks that matched – just finding socks was the task.

Nice to have a body so sensitive to drugs that caffeine will have that impact – not letting me sleep. Now I have to figure out a way to use the effect for when I need to stay awake.  Having no way to stay in bed, I was up on deck by 6 am, walking in the dark, having a open-air deck all to myself, watching the sun rise, It was not the sunrise that was spectacular.  This was one of those mornings when light comes but the clouds hide the brilliance of the sun.  I was watching the crew come alive by 6:30 am – some out washing and drying the deck, other’s delivering food on huge trays held shoulder high, still others opening towel kiosks and folding blankets for those who will need them in the early morning coolness before the sun brings out the sun-tanning crew.

Two other set of people were outside.  One woman huddled in the smoking-corner of the deck, alone on a rattan couch smoking.  The other people I saw were those were all men, hitting the gym before the big crowds get there.  We have one such exercise-conscious person at our dining table at night, Olis, – a retired pilot and former policemen who stopped working 20 years ago.  Now he is 74.  He walks 3 miles a day at home and has 18 miles of walking paths close to his home. 

But back to last night. The formal dining room on the ship is dimly lit.  People’s faces are buried in the menu as we walk through.  A 3 piece band and lounge singer called So Long play pre-dinner music in the lounge for 45 minutes.  Wyona and Greg dance before dinner.  They have been dancing all of their lives.  Yesterday doing a new tango – “the Brazilian way”, having mastered it in one of the Celebrity Life Activity Classes.

No matter how long a person cruises things change.  In the past there has been a wonderful parade of cookies, waiters, and maitre d’s on the last formal night of the cruise.  They sing and then walk through the aisles between the tables.  We wave our white linen napkins and cheer them on.  Greg, Wyona and I have been watching for that event.  Apparently it was canceled at the end of 2013. 

We asked about the Sunday Celebrity buffet.  That has been cancelled as well – too hard to keep health controls on the food – there is very little that is buffet style anymore. 

As for the Coke – Wyona told me to drink early in the morning and taper off at night. Being a latent scientist, I will drink a lot of Coke this morning and see if I sleep at night.

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