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Cruise to Mexico: Part 8

Posted by Job O Brother, December 13, 2010 02:09pm | Post a Comment
double fist drunk
(A lady raises her pinky.)


Day 5 (Part 1)

Friday. September 16, 2010

AT SEA




The best part of mornings on-board a cruise ship is waking up to the scent, sight, and sound of your ship at sea. The Pacific Ocean has a myriad of blues in her pallet, all of them are mesmerizing and crushable. For real. If the Pacific Ocean were a lady, I would totally marry her.

The worst part of mornings on-board a cruise ship are the breakfasts. It’s as though they were prepared by contestants on Top Chef who were given the challenge to “make as many things as possible using only white flour and remember – no fresh ingredients!”

By the episode’s end, my tummy loses. Bacon that remarkably resembles fried leather shoes, eggs that looked like they came from a chicken’s leukemia ward, fruit salads that seemed so depressed you’d think they should be sprinkled with Prozac, not sugar – and since I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of these aforementioned items, I was left with the option of pancakes covered in waffle cupcakes, drizzled in biscuits with a dash of bagel. One bite of this, and coffee became my only morning meal.

"I just feel like I'm never gonna accomplish anything that matters."

There are so many invalids on-board, trudging slowly, hunched over stainless-steel canes or walkers, oxygen tanks everywhere underfoot – you can easily forget you’re on a luxury liner, not a retirement home. The greatest danger is not that the ship will sink, but that you’ll get run-over by a Rascal Scooter.
transport
Faces of Death: Cruise Ship Edition

By lunchtime I was ravenous – the coffee that became my only breakfast was, in turn, making a meal of my stomach lining. By Day 5, I decided to try lunch in the main dining room. Up till then, most of my days were off-ship so I could eat from vendors at the ports. I was curious to see if formal lunch was as good as the formal dinners.

It wasn’t. I ordered a salad in which each separate ingredient somehow tasted like water. Put them all together and you get, well, a whole lot of water, but with texture. Despite this disappointment, there was a singular joy in my lunchtime: it was the first meal there where I didn’t have to hear the staff singing “Happy Birthday” to someone. Yay, God!

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Cruise to Mexico: Part 7

Posted by Job O Brother, December 6, 2010 11:37am | Post a Comment
mexico

Day 5 (Part 2)

Thursday. September 16, 2010

PUERTO VALLARTA



As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”

You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.

Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.

“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”

It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.

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Cruise to Mexico: Part 6

Posted by Job O Brother, November 28, 2010 05:20pm | Post a Comment
seahorse
A monument to early transportation in Puerto Vallarta


Day 5 (Part 1)

Thursday. September 16, 2010

PUERTO VALLARTA


I was awake early and enjoyed my morning coffee looking out over Puerto Vallarta, which was far more clean and money than our previous ports. It kind of looked like San Diego, but with less boring people.* There was even a Costco, which, in the context of the local language, I realized was male.

By this time I was having some World Wide Web withdrawals, and the only thing that kept me from utilizing the Internet lounge was the fee of $826,044 per millisecond they were charging. I realized how addicted I’ve become to researching any little thought that came into my head. Questions such as:

“What’s in gooseberry pie, anyway?” (Hint: not geese.)

“Exactly how many bands has Stephin Merritt been in?” (roughly 826,044)







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Cruise to Mexico: Part 5

Posted by Job O Brother, November 8, 2010 12:58pm | Post a Comment
travel poster mexico
Okay.


Day 4

Wednesday. September 15, 2010

MAZATLÁN


I awoke to a beautiful view of balmy, tropical islands along the starboard side of the ship. It proved the perfect backdrop to my morning coffee and obsessive playing of Scrabble on my iPhone.

“I wonder what the poor people are doing?” I mused to myself, thrilled at having played the word adz on a triple word score.

This question was answered when I ventured to the ship’s port side, which revealed a congested, smoldering-oil-scented labyrinth of tarnished industrial structures. The smog was enough to make L.A. seem like a beach on Oahu.

“Oh!” I said.


YOU WERE HERE

We had docked at Mazatlán. While the sight of such a gritty urban landscape was intimidating and caused one to question whether the most “green” thing to do was simply encourage the extinction of the human race, I was hopeful. As stated before, I’m a poor audience for the show of safe, tourist-friendly spectacles cruises contrive, and seeing some real estate that was teeming with real people (sorry, employees of Cabo Wabo) made me eager to disembark and explore.

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Cruise to Mexico: Part 4

Posted by Job O Brother, November 1, 2010 01:22pm | Post a Comment
Day 3

Tuesday. September 14, 2010

CABO SAN LUCAS

 

corey scholibo
The Glamorous Life

I woke up too full from the previous night’s dinner for breakfast.

Since the boyfriend likes to sleep-in until it’s time to go to bed for the night, I gathered up a few essentials: my book, spectacles, a Sharpie® brand felt tip marker, and my iPod; with these I made my escape from our darkened cabin and braved the outside world of the ship.

My goal was to find some nook, some cranny of the ship that wasn’t imbued with jolly, sunshine-soaked “good times” – a place where a second-generation Swede with deeply-rooted angst and a taste for Michael Gira side-projects could curl up and relax.

First and foremost, I was gonna need coffee, so I headed straight for the belly of the beast: the ship’s main mall. 

It really was a mall – a mall with upper stories that revealed people’s bedrooms; an odd combination of your local “galleria”, topped with layers of motel. You could sit outside the mock British pub next to the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop and watch sun-burned, middle-aged people change into their fluorescent, flower-print swimwear. …If you’re into that sort of thing.

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