This is Day #2 of the cruise.
Our gang spent most of their time hanging out by the pool. Although I don't like getting sunburned and I tend to get bored sitting by a pool all day, I decided to join in anyway. I was sitting on my chair, reading a magazine, as everyone else in our group was in the pool, drinking. They had been drinking since about 9am, so by this point, the group is quickly getting rowdy. They invited me to go down the pool's water slide with them. I had to admit, it looked like a lot of fun. So everyone put down their drinks and we all got in line. The slide was SO FUN!! After going down it, I hung out in the pool for a bit with everyone. It was all going fine and dandy, until CN asked Larva: "Hey, Larva. We've been drinking all morning, and we have all had to get out of the pool to go pee except you. Don't you have to pee??"
It turns out that Larva, a 35 year old father of 4, had been peeing in the pool.
And when I slid down the slide, I had gotten water in my mouth.
So that was the end of the pool for me, folks. At this point, I was starting to dislike Larva, but since he's CN's old college buddy, I decided not to say anything at that time. I just excused myself and took a shower. And a nap.
I hadn't really thought about it beforehand, but being on a cruise ship means that you are stuck with about 1,500 strangers, and you cannot escape them. Everywhere I went, it was impossible to be alone. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, even if you are a people person like me, but trust me -- it is. Forget having romantic walks on the deck after dinner -- you will be joined by 50 total strangers, most of whom are loud and drunk. Forget having a nice, quiet breakfast with your sweetie -- you will have to eat with a table full of strangers, and you will feel obligated to make small talk. You will have the same small talk conversation with strangers every morning. This gets old quickly. Even finding a nice chair where you can read your book quietly is impossible. I read somewhere once that having at least one hour per day where you are totally alone helps relieve stress. You know what? It's true. Each day, I felt my stress level rising.
By the second day, I was starting to get cranky. Between Larva's antics, the disappointing food, the icky shower and being surrounded by strangers everywhere I went, I was getting a little irritable. Luckily, I kept it in check. My daily mid-afternoon nap helped. That bed made everything better. And thank goodness for the Discovery Channel -- I watched a lot of cool shows. But dammit, I could have done that at home for free, you know?
I would like to say that at least I wasn't bored, but I was -- hence the Discovery Channel binge. It was probably because I don't drink. All the drunk people seemed to be having a blast, especially if they were in the college-age range. There was always a spontaneous party at the pool, complete with dancing and drunken antics. I had fun doing that stuff when I was younger, but now, I'd rather read a book or go see a museum. (I am a frumpy, old dork. Trust me, I know.) It didn't help that everything was scheduled all the time. It made vacation feel like work. When I'm on vacation, I don't want to worry about being late for anything. I want to make my own schedule. Not be subjected to the whims of some cruise director.
There was always something going on, I will say that. A lot of people hung out in the casino. But CN and I don't gamble, so the casino didn't hold our interest. The bingo and trivia contests were at bad times for us (ie, nap time), or just didn't sound worthwhile. They had an art auction, but I didn't have the money to do that -- plus, the art was hideous. I really don't like musicals, so the night shows didn't sound fun to me. We kept hearing that the stand-up comedian wasn't very good, so we decided to skip that. I am not really the sort of person who wants to spend time learning how to make towel animals or line dance. All the activities felt like they were just something to do to kill time, not something I would normally want to do.
What I really wanted to do was go to some historic district, eat local food, go to a museum, take an old homes tour, check out local art and architecture, explore a wildlife preserve, or even just shop.....but none of these things can be done when you are on a cruise ship. I am a Culture Vulture, and I was stuck in a Cultural Wasteland. I know that most people have fun doing the stuff they had planned for us on the boat, but I am just not normal. I am a big nerd. I enjoy learning stuff in my spare time. That's part of the reason I am a librarian! Because I'm a total dork! I read random articles on Wikipedia when I'm bored! *sigh of frustration*
This is why I spent the vast majority of my time eating and sleeping. With a little reading and tv watching thrown in. And I paid about $400 to do this. Yeah. So I'm pretty mad that I wasted all that money. I wish I could just have fun like normal people do. But bars, cigarettes and drunk people annoy me, as do large crowds of total strangers with misbehaving children (seriously, I know you are on vacation, Mom and Dad, but does this mean your children literally get to do everything they want???? Ugh! Supervise your kids or leave them at home!).
I guess the highlight of each day was dinner. That was the meal where the food tended to be the best. Dinner was fun, because we got to eat with our group and no one else. Roger and Grace are really nice and fun people, so they made dinner really great. But we often didn't see them at all except at dinner time. As the days wore on, CN and I tried to avoid Larva more and more, since he was bugging us so much.
When you eat a big dinner at 8:30pm, it's hard to stay awake unless you proceed to go get drunk right afterwards. And since CN had been drinking all day, up until dinner, he was ready to pass out every night after dinner -- he just can't drink for 14 hours, like Larva can. The bed was the only fun thing I had found on board, so CN didn't have to twist my arm to talk me into hitting the sack at 10pm most nights. Plus, this was the only time he and I could be alone.
I know I am being really negative, but it's not all bust. There were some really fun times. I will talk about those tomorrow.