Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ten Years Before the Mast

Or "Waiting for the m.s. Volendam" (m.s. = motor steam. Romantic, eh? I bet it didn't take marketing long to replace motor steam with "ms").

OK, it just felt like ten years, waiting for hours in the hotel lobby this morning (Saturday) for the announcement that our bus to the ship dock had arrived. None of us heard the call for bus number 3, so friend Elizabeth West missed her bus. When our bus was announced (number 4) minutes later, we lost track of E West (hey, East West -- cool name!). I was worried about her, but Robin assured me that she was very capable of handling the situation. And by golly, when we got to Customs at the dock, Elizabeth was there, ahead of us by a hundred people. We were standing there wondering why we didn't take cab (like E West) and skip about 3 hours of waiting in the hotel lobby.

Going through customs was slightly frustrating, as the line moved reeeeally slooow. But our friend Elizabeth Thornton (hey, ET -- cool name) was in line visiting with us, and E West was within sight in a nearby line, so it was better than some whiney blog might suggest.

As we approached the ship Volendam, I thought it looked a little dumpy from the outside, compared to the giant Carnival ship I was on a few years ago (OK, approximately ten years ago). But once we were onboard, it was very, very nice and elegant. We pulled away from the dock about 5 pm. I ran into E West on the promenade deck and we went to the bow to watch our harbor exit. She stayed at the bow when I left for an upper deck, from where I got some great shots of her alone on the huge bow.

There were welcome parties for both Mac geeks and Shakepeare freaks (respectfully referred to in the future as and M-geeks and S-freaks). After our ship left the harbor and I walked around the promenade deck that cirlces the ship, I noticed that I was having trouble walking in a straight line, even occasionally running into walls, railings, and passengers. Other people were walking funny too. The horizon wasn't staying horizontal anymore. Sweet Swan of Avon -- Rough water! I'm not good at that. I stumbled back to the room, sat on the balcony for a while, then went to bed while Robin went to the welcome parties and dinner. She brought some magic pills back with her, the water calmed down, and by 10 pm I was up and feeling great. At 11 pm I went to Deck 5 for a late snack, then to the Front Desk on 4 to get a Room Service form.

Tomorrow we dock in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. At 3:30 Janet Hill gives a "Guide to Macintosh" presentation to the M-geeks. Randal Schwartz (renowned expert on the Perl programming language) presents "Amazingly Cool Utilities."

On the Shakespeare side, Christopher Duval (nine seasons as an actor with the Oregon Shakespeare Festivals) and Michael Elich (13 seasons) present "Shakespreare Platter," the debut of a new work, drawn from the Shakespeare canon, created especially for this voyage.

All is well. All Systems go.