Centenary World Cruise Day 27-28: Now Sea Here!

Day 27:

A couple of days ago, we got a note saying “if you’re doing the city tour of Abu Dhabi, you must observe a strict dress code for entrance to the mosque.” Most of the requirements weren’t surprising: loose-fitting clothing that covers the leg down to the ankle and the arm down to the wrist, nothing transparent, head coverings for women. I was surprised, though, that you’re not allowed to wear white or animal prints. I hadn’t heard that before, and it meant that I had to re-think my original outfit, which involved short sleeves and then an oversized white shirt. It also means that I will spend the day in a hot country wearing all black. What could go wrong?

Today is another Gala evening, this one Roaring 20s themed. We dressed for the first couple of gala evenings, but by the third one, getting dressed up to have our pictures taken and then going to a giant party where 2700 people are competing for 1000 seats lost its allure.

I’ve never been one for parties, especially parties where I don’t know anyone, and sitting in a room with over a thousand other people and trying to have a conversation is more stress than I find enjoyable. I finally realized that this is just like any other party. I can NOT GO! And I don’t even have to feel bad about it! So the Pirate and I had a lovely dinner where we didn’t have to talk to anyone else, then were back in our room by 8.

Day 28:

After Southampton, the ship collected our passports so they could arrange all the customs stuff for us, but not every country will allow us to enter with just our cruise ID. In Egypt, while the customs officials stamped our passports before we got them back the day before, we still had to show them to a customs official as we got off the ship.

Today, we have to collect our passports in advance of being in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. And it’s not just the people getting off the ship who have to show their passports to the officials – every single person on the ship has to get off, show their passport, and then those that don’t have shore excursions booked can get back on.

We also found out that we have to secure our own visas for Singapore, but that you can’t apply for the visa more than 3 days before you arrive. I anticipate that the ship’s limited wifi is going to be strained past its limit in the 3 days leading up to Singapore. We have to get our own visas for Australia too, but at least we can do those any old time.

ReWrite, ReVise, ReThink

It’s the end of the month, and I’m in the same dilemma that I find myself in pretty often. I’m working on re-writes to a piece that I’m pretty excited about. I can see its possibilities, I can see it taking shape as I peel away the stuff that’s been bogging it down, fix the stuff that was a little bit broken, polish up the chrome and supercharge the…um…fraculator….you get it.

At the same time, I’ve got another piece that I’m equally excited about. This is a piece that I’m still creating. I’m only just starting to make mistakes on it. I’m still exploring, seeing what it has to offer, getting to know the lay of the land, meeting the locals. It’s a nonstop party in this new place, and I hate to leave a party! Okay. That’s an utter lie. Everyone that knows me knows that after two drinks, I’m standing by the door tapping my watch and saying that my dogs are getting lonely without me, but this is a fictional party where I’m always having a lovely time dancing and telling hilarious jokes and my hair never goes weird and my mascara never starts to run.

And at the same time that I’m supercharging my fraculator and charming everyone at the fictional party, there’s this other piece. Like most writers, I have a whole file of stuff that I’ve started writing and then sort of abandoned, half finished, or quasi-finished, or one-sentenced, in drawers and files and all over the place, and every once in a while, I dig those things up and think to myself “Holy mambo – that is GENIUS!” And I push everything else off my desk to make room for this amazing perfect idea that I can’t believe I discarded in a moment of folly.

But then something happens. Someone reminds me that I owe them revisions, or the next chunk of something, and I realize that I have to buckle down and finish something. I have to make a choice. Hobson’s choice. Sophie’s choice. Which is like Hobson’s choice, only way better-looking. Speaking of which, there’s a place called Hobson’s Choice Cleaners in my new neighborhood in San Francisco. My mother and I figure that it means that they give you the choice between putting stains in your shirts or ripping the buttons off. But I digress.

What I really wish is that I had more time, or that I had more of me, or that I were less creative. But I don’t have any of those things. I have my own Hobson’s choice to make. My own metaphorical buttons to rip off, my own metaphorical shirts to stain. And sitting here, writing this blog ain’t gonna get it done, is it?