I’m catching up with a few days. Very expensive to use internet on the ocean part, so no photos until we reach port. Takes too long to download at .30 cents per minute.
Day 10 Sunday
I woke up at 2:25 am, listened to the start of the game at 2:30 am, dressed during the intermissions, and listened to the final period in the lobby from 4:30 to 5:00 am while I waited for my driver to take me to the airport. Fortunately, the game ended five minutes before he showed up, so I got a chance to hear it all.
THE KINGS WIN! THE KINGS WIN! THE KINGS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!
Who needs sleep. It was great!
I’m now at the airport waiting for my El Flight to Barcelona. I will arrive there about 1:00 pm which will give me the whole afternoon and evening to walk around and see the old haunts. Can’t wait.
The flight to Barca was nice, and after clearing customs, I caught a cab to the hotel. Cost was about forty dollars US. The hotel room is really nice, but since I leave on the boat tomorrow, I won’t unpack. I grabbed a map and decided to head over to my old haunts which centered around La Rambla, a picturesque street that runs for over a mile from a central park down to the waterfront. Along the way are street performers, outdoor cafe’s, and lots of people walking, talking, eating and generally having fun.
However, it was not a straight shot over to La Rambla. Turns out that my hotel street, La Paral lel (Parallel), also runs down to the waterfront. It connects with La Rambla at the point of a V. So I walked the five blocks down to the harbor, got on La Rambla, and did the stroll.
I have never seen so many people. I was like walking in downtown Tokyo. At times, the crowd didn’t move. Almost impossible to get through. I walked all the way to the top of the hill, then slowly made my way back down again. slowly being the operative word. Near the bottom, I figured I could shave a little time off my now exhausting walk, so I decided to cut corners and avoid the walk all the way to the harbor by cutting across the city to connect with La Para lel. Huge mistake. After a couple of blocks, I realized the streets didn’t go straight through. I continued on, trusting my instincts and my innate sense of direction. An even bigger mistake. It was like being caught in an English garden maze. I finally saw a street sign pointing where I needed to go to get to Para lel. It was a direction I never would have guessed. When I finally arrived at the street, I turned right, and started up the boulevard, looking for my hotel. I walked almost a mile before using my common sense and checking the address on my door key card. I was going the wrong direction. I want back down the street, in the direction I had come from, vowing never to leave the hotel room again. I was wearing a heavy coat, and the sun came out, which meant I was seriously overdressed. Sweat poured from my face, etc. When I finally got back to the spot where I started off in the wrong direction, I discovered that I had been right in front of the hotel, and if I’d turned left and walked twenty feet, I would have been at the front door.
That night I had dinner in the hotel. Too tired from all the walking to go out. Very expensive steak dinner. Barcalona is not cheap despite the economic problems they’re facing. I took photos from the rooftop of the hotel which had a panoramic view of the city, then settled in for the night.
Day 11 Monday
Breakfast at a small street cafe across the street from the hotel. Spanish coffee is very strong. I spilled a few drops on my hand and I swear that hair is now growing out of my fingers.
I went walking again down by the harbor, and at 1 pm I took a cab and all my stuff down to the cruise line for boarding. The process took an hour. I had to be examined by a medical specialist because of my cold, but they cleared me for the cruise. You can’t take alcohol on board the ship, but somehow my bottle of scotch made it through the xray, so I have it now tucked safely away in my room safe. Finally got to my room and it’s a beauty. Great double glass doors that open out onto my balcony. Awesome! I unpacked and then went down to the big dining room for lunch. Every kind of food you can imagine. Of course, I overate, and finally finished about three pm. Dinner was set for six pm, so I went walking around the ship to try to burn off some calories. Took over an hour to see everything they have to offer. At the spa I signed up for a massage for the following day, then made my way back tot he room where I found a protocol for what would happen once we entered Somalia’s pirate filled waters.
When the sun goes down, all outside decks are closed. All room blackout curtains must be shut. We run in darkness. Armed guards and lookouts will be posted outside on the closed decks. If the alarm sounds, those of us in outside cabins must muster in the inside hallways until further notice. If any boat approaches (including fishing boats of which there are many) the ship will take evasive action with giant side to side sweeps, etc. You get the idea. This is a really big deal. Gonna be fun!
My dinner companions are from England, Washington DC, and Miami, Fla. A very eclectic group. We laughed a lot and they’ll be fun for the rest of the week.
A little about the crowd. With the exception of about twenty people, including two families with kids, a quick scan of the nightlife scene brings to mind a rest home for the elderly. Holy cow! Chronologically, I might be up there, but these people really look their ages. Soon they’re likely to start calling me sonny or kid. It’s FRIGHTENING. I ran down to look at myself in the mirror. When did I get so old? A lot of couples just sising around, staring at the walls, consuming alcohol, not talking, just watching. I swear, it’s a wealthy, floating rest home. The only young people on the boat are the crew members. Good thing I’m not here trying to meet Mrs. Right. I know it’s silly, but I feel like I’m hanging out with a crowd of my parents contempories. Now I’m getting depressed.
After an amazing dinner, I went to my room and crashed. Kings game at 4:30 am, so I’m hoping to get a little sleep.
The boat didn’t leave the harbor until 1 am.
Day 12 Tuesday
Got up at 4 am, walked down to the main prominade, found the open 24 hours pastry shop and poured myself a large cup of coffee. Before bed last night, I set up the internet to get the game. Get this, I had to buy 500 minutes of internet time (the shiup bills by the minute). It cost me $150 US. I could have paid by the minute, but that was .65 cents per minute. It’s a huge rip off, but I need to listen to my Kings game, so I had no choice. I connected with the internet, and turned on the sound portion for the game. While waiting for the connection, I typed a message to Bryan to see if he was watching the game. He typed back that the Kings were leading 4 to nothing. Yeah, right. He’s trying to fake me out. The sound came on, as did the printed score, and I fell out of my chair. It was 4 to nothing…..AND I MISSED IT. By sailing at one am, we entered a different time zone. I was an hour late getting up. @#%$X*%$!
I typed him back, and he called me by the facetime feature on the ipad. We spoke face to face, and he held his ipad up to the big screen, and I got to watch the last few minutes of the period. Jeremy called me, and I lost the game signal. We connected on facetime, and he graciously put his ipad on a barstool in front of his TV, and I got to watch most of the third period. It was clear and just like an original feed. When the ship changed course, I lost the feed from Jeremy, and since he couldn’t hear me moaning about it, I called Bryan back. He put a barstool on top of his coffee table and put his ipad on top so I could see his screen. It was fantastic. I owe you guys…. enjoy my tickets. I’ll be calling again for the next game. 🙂
By the way, the only people up on the ship were workers and one guy, a former football coach from Oklahoma. I had a large crowd around me by the end of the game. All are new Kings fans. Soon, they could become the most popular team in the Middle East. We ate pastries, drank coffee, and laughed a lot about how this TV rebroadcast feed was being pulled off. It was great!
I was too wired to go back to sleep, so I hit the gym, did the treadmill and my weight routine, then made it to an open seating breakfast. Met another interesting group, and really, seriously over ate… again. By the time I finished, it was time to see the Vegetable carving demonstration, and after that was over, I attended a lecture about losing belly fat. (It was a total rip off. The guy was making a pitch to sell personal consultations. Did you know that the cause of belly fat is clogged intestines, which in turn is one of the leading caused of cancer? Seems to me the only guy with clogged intestines was the lecturer, because this guy was really full of shit! Fortunately, most of the group walked off and didn’t sign up for the snakeoil cure. It was bad).
Lunch time. What! We’re eating again? Soup, grilled fish, and chocolate cake. That shoud clog up my intestines real good. Then it was off to the spa for another workout (feeling guilty about the cake), followed by a dip in the luke warm hot tub, which was then followed by a one hour Swedish massage. I decided the seaweed wrap and the Thai bamboo massages were a little much for the first time. I want to save those experiences for later in the trip when things get boring. But the massage was great, really good for my sore legs (all that Barca walking), then back to the room to shower and change for……. DINNER.
Yep. We’re eating again. Medeterranian salad (with shrimp and calamare), oven baked sea bass with veggies, then, for desert, a giant piece of bacallava drowned in honey with a scoop of pistachio ice cream and a carmel flan for good measure. It’s like crack. I can’t stop eating the deserts. I can see my future for the next two weeks. The gym, then eat, then the gym, then eat, etc.
I got into bed at 9 pm, and believe it or not, I got my first eight hours of almost interrupted sleep since I left LA. My cold seems to be getting better, too.
It’s now six am, we’re sailing off the coast of Sicily. On the other side of the water is Tunesia. I’m finished typing, and it’s time to get up and have breakfast. But I’m vowing not to have desert with this meal. 🙂
Day 13, Wednesday, May 2
Spent the day reading, proofing my novel, and two workouts in the gym. Ate no fewer than four deserts today, so I need to start toning it down. We’re sailing off the coast of Sicily tonight. Sky has sme clouds, but the outdoor temp is very pleasant and the seas are calm. It’s been a very nice day.