Centenary World Cruise Days 10/11: More at Sea

Day 10:

Another day at sea. We’re in the Bay of Biscay, which is apparently notorious for stormy seas. We’ve had gale-force winds, and swells of nearly 20 feet. Just before we landed in Southampton, I was looking out my window one morning and saw a fishing boat. At that point, naïve traveler that I was way back then, I thought the sea was rough. From my vantage point, it looked as though the fishing boat would be entirely submerged, then pop up again. I watched in horror, waiting for the inevitable time when they would disappear and not pop back up, but it didn’t come. I had to take myself aside and tell myself that these fishermen knew what they were doing – they’d likely done this before. Like, zillions of times. And even if it was their very first time out, and none of them knew anything about piloting a boat, what was I going to do? Jump in and pull them out of the water, boat and all? The revelation today is that the day that happened was relatively calm compared to what we have now.

Here’s a cultural difference I wasn’t prepared for: in America, if you go to a buffet, most of the meat dishes will be beef. Maybe some chicken, but mostly beef. Here, it’s all pork. I counted yesterday, and of the entire lunch buffet, there were a round dozen pork dishes, four chicken dishes, and four fish dishes. No beef at all. At breakfast there are pork sausages, both American and English bacon, black pudding made from pork blood, and often ham.

The Pirate thinks it’s because in America, we have lots of open land for grazing cattle. Pigs don’t need wide-open spaces (although I’m sure they would appreciate them). The problem is that ever since I saw the movie Snatch, all I can think about is the bad guy saying “They can eat a 200-pound man in about 8 minutes. So, beware of any man who owns a pig farm.”

We did see a fascinating lecture by Fatima Bhutto about the rise of non-Western pop culture. I loved hearing about how other countries (she covered India, Turkey, and Korea) are becoming larger exporters of pop culture than America. I’m tired of seeing movies either about my own culture, or about what people from my culture believe life is like for people not from my culture.

Day 11:

Today is Friday the 13th. Surprisingly, I’ve heard nothing about it. But just because that doesn’t seem to be a thing with this lot doesn’t mean they’re not superstitious or imaginative in the way that makes people freak out.

Down the corridor from us is an air vent that has some kind of leak. There’s a constant sound of howling wind that occasionally turns into banshee wails. The other day, a woman was passing us in the corridor just as I was observing to my husband that the room we were just passing was haunted. The woman said “pardon?” And I said “I think that room is haunted.” She made some uncomfortable kind of noise and hurried off. My husband berated me for scaring her, but given the fact that this person is older than I am, I don’t feel particularly bad about it. What would be cool, though, is suddenly hearing a rumor going around about The Ghost of 12006.

Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ship was haunted. At around 11pm, the captain came over the loudspeaker saying “Medical team, report to the Golden Lion” (the onboard pub). Five minutes later, the order was repeated. Someone had collapsed in the bar, and apparently, they couldn’t be revived. While that sounds (and is) horrifying and tragic, it shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the average age on this cruise appears to be approximately 147. So…not unreasonable to think that the poor people who have died while in this ship are spending their entire afterlife on one lovely cruise after another.