Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | July 19, 2011

Baby, Let’s Cruise Away From Here: Journal Entry # 2

Today’s Towel Animal: Frog (Yesterday’s might have been an elephant or a walrus, we’re not sure.)

So it is Day 2 of my cruising adventure, and I’m a little pink, but the nice kind that might mean I don’t end up going back to Canada in the same pasty white condition I left it in.

DW and I were able to sleep in a little this morning.  Yesterday, we’d made an executive decision to splurge on the seven day pass to the thermal room, so our days can begin with a few spa-like treats.  I started on the special heated tile chair – designed by a chiropractor and soothing on my sore, deep tissued muscles – then had an aromatherapy rainwater shower, a soak in the very hot detoxing mineral pool, and finished with an aromatherapy steam.  We were very, very hungry after all this, so we next went to the buffet breakfast rather than rush to the dining room.  As some of you may know, I’m a Monday vegetarian (Meatless Mondays = reduced carbon footprint)*, but tomorrow, me and the bacon are ON.

Breakfast was followed by a walk on the promenade deck before we had a bit of reading time on one of the upper decks.  This, I suspect, is where I got a little pink as both DW and I weren’t in a hurry to put on sunscreen (though we’re a pale pink, and just in spots, nothing a little aloe and a little more vigilance with the SPF 50 won’t cure).  We grabbed a quick salad for lunch before making our way to our respective tours.

Looking down on the Key West port from our ship.

DW did the bicycle tour around Key West, while I chose kayaking because I like kayaking (and I despise biking with a fiery, fiery passion).  The kayaking tour was lovely, if a little leisurely – I found myself wanting something a little more vigourous even given the hot weather.  (Mom, you will be relieved to know that I did slather on ridiculous amounts of sunscreen at regular intervals for this one).  I got to see some pretty cool wildlife at fairly close range (like the pelicans and herons and cormorants) and some at even closer range, as our guide, Bethany, would pull it out for us tourists to hold.  I declined holding the horseshoe crab (it had creepy, creepy spider legs) and the conch creature (with pokey eyes), but did poke a sponge and hold a sea cucumber.  There were no splash guards, so I got a little wet while paddling – and very wet when one of the many boats that passed up didn’t slow down and the wake overtook the sides of my boat. There’s always one jerk.  Fortunately, I’d brought a change of clothes – and left the camera locked up with them.  So not a lot of Key West pictures, but also no need to purchase yet another brand new camera.

Back at the boat, I had shower to rinse off sea water and a little mud and a lot of sunscreen grease, then reapplied the sunscreen to find DW at the pool.  We decided we needed to go for dinner – I was really hungry! – and decided to try out the dining room.  (I was very excited to wear one of the many cute outfits I brought for the trip – coral coloured sundress and my pearls!)

We were a little surprised to be seated with strangers, since we chose not to have reserved seating.  This gives us a little bit of freedom to choose the time we eat, but I must admit I was a bit taken aback.  Of course, it turned out to be a boon.  We were seated with a couple from Montreal, Betty and Art (and hockey even worked itself into the conversation) and a mother and son duo, Flo and Flo’s son whose name I forget.  Betty and Art are on their 12th cruise, while Flo is 94 years young and on her 34th cruise.  May I live (and have enough money) to see 34 cruises!  She also said I have such “joie de vivre” which is an enormous compliment. The dinner conversation was lovely and surprising as it can only be with friendly, interesting strangers.  The food?  So delicious and fancy I don’t even think I can find a word for it.  I began the meal with an eggplant appetizer (there are a few choices for each course, all equally mouthwatering and hard to decide between).  My second course was a chilled fruit soup, made from a Caribbean fruit called “guanabana”.  I suspect it is related to the banana. Regardless, it was fabulous – like a smoothie soup.  I choose lovely cheese-stuffed pasta as my entree, with fancy ribboned zucchini.  For dessert, coffee and Opera Cake, which had almond meringue and coffee cream and was just beautifully presented.

This is about as close as we got to sunset.

After dinner, DW and I tried to catch the sunset, but it happens so fast here!  We chatted a bit with some of the folks DW met on her bike tour, maybe for 10 minutes, and in that time the sun literally dropped from the sky down past horizon.  Not like the lazy process up North, that’s for sure!  We lingered on the bow of boat while dusk faded to dark, and were the only people out there.  A little creeped out (and worried we’d accidentally get stuck there) we moved to a more populated deck to chat and watch the stars for a while.  Next, we made our way to the bar where there was Karaoke, because I’m a bit of a dork.  It was fun to watch, and I even signed up and sang a Gordon Lightfoot song (after one and a half of the drink of the day, of course).

We might have stayed longer, but the guy from North Carolina who DW suspects has a “monster crush” on me (yes, that’s a direct quote) turned up again.  Maybe he’s just being friendly, but it’s just got that intrusive feel (and we’re also both kind of offended because what if we were a couple????), so we decided it was time to call it a night.  Besides, as I admitted to DW earlier while discussing the state of our government and the upcoming election, I have my own monster crush on a certain party leader.  No, it’s not Harper. Or Ignatieff. Or Elizabeth May.  (Jack, I love you!)

So that’s it for my Key West day.  Tomorrow is a sea day, so I expect to spend some more time in the thermal room, and of course a lot more time reading in the sunshine.  Tomorrow’s adventure: Walking the fine line between burning and getting a tan.  Notable    resident of cruises: Flo.**  And, drink of the day: Hand Shaken Champagne Dreams.  I’m totally on board for those!

Until the next entry!

*Well, I try.

**And the world. DW and I = inspired for life.

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