Centenary World Cruise Day 1 – Embarkation

It was dumping rain when we left our hotel. Back in 2010 when we took my mother to Scotland for three weeks for her birthday, we stayed a night or two in one city, and then moved on to the next city in our itinerary, eventually making a circuit of the entire country. It seemed that it was always raining on the days we traveled from one city to the next. Since then, I’ve just taken it for granted that if it’s a travel day, it’s raining.

My biggest fear once we got on board was that our luggage wouldn’t be there. I’ve never shipped luggage ahead before, so I had no idea what to expect. When we boarded the ship, the queue for the elevators was ridiculous, so the Pirate and I ducked into one of the zillion lounges for a much-needed cup of tea to wait out the crowd. The Pirate took the stairs up to our stateroom to retrieve our keycards (they’re used for paying for things on board), and the luggage wasn’t there. After a tiny, silent panic attack, we reassured ourselves that luggage was still being brought on board, so it wasn’t hopeless.

Tea drunk, we went up to our stateroom (which, I’m going to be honest, is just a really posh way of saying “closet with a bed in it”) and were joyously re-united with our luggage. Because we’d shipped it two weeks ago, and in that two weeks I’d flown to LA to teach a class, my younger sister came out for a brief pre-holiday visit, my daughter and her husband came out from Connecticut, and then there was all the holiday hoopla, I had honestly forgotten all about a lot of the clothes I had packed. It was like Christmas all over again, looking at a bunch of clothes I’d bought specifically for this trip (OMG! Those great flowered cigarette pants!)

After dinner, we took a little stroll around the ship to familiarize ourselves with it. This is by far the largest ship we’ve ever been on, so there’s a whole lot of stuff we haven’t seen yet. I don’t have a good feel for the layout of things, but I have four months to figure it out. One thing we did see was a giant bas relief with scenes from different parts of the world. The very first figure in one of them is a woman wearing some kind of headdress and a sort of drapey skirt thing. No shirt, no artfully-arranged hair, no leaves – just her bare breasts hanging there in midair. EXCEPT: she had no nipples. Because you can’t tell they’re breasts without nipples, right? There are so many things that could be floating around right below a woman’s shoulders, right? Even weirder, a few feet further down are a bunch of topless men, and they all have nipples. They don’t even have a use for them, but they have them.

Yes, it looks like she’s wearing a shirt, but she’s not. And on the right, that’s not a trick of perspective – he really does have a weirdly prominent head and a posture that suggests he’s parading down a catwalk, showing off his nipples.

I keep feeling like I have to do every activity, fill up every minute. And then I remind myself that I have four months. There’s no hurry.

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