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Cruise to Mexico: Part 6

Posted by Job O Brother, November 28, 2010 05:20pm | Post a Comment

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

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.

Furthermore, I had a goal. I wanted to rendezvous with saucy barmaid extraordinaire, Spice, whom the boyfriend and I had chatted up at one of the many bars. She had promised, if I found her at the “old marketplace” to reveal unto me the secrets of making Oil Down, and I wanted to hang out with her and the ship’s staff out of their work environment, where they could treat me sincerely without fear of being locked into the dungeon I’m certain must be hidden on the bottom level of those cruise ships (it’s just past the roller-coaster, past the sperm whale holding tank, to the left of the secret blood diamond mine/Mai Tai cabaña).

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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

 


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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Cruise to Mexico: Part 3

Posted by Job O Brother, October 25, 2010 04:31pm | Post a Comment



Day 2

Monday. September 13, 2010

AT SEA


The boyfriend and I woke-up to the sounds of two billy-goats fighting to the death using spoons, blankets and old cassette tapes as weapons. At least, that’s what it sounded like; in actuality it was room service delivering our breakfasts.

I use the term “breakfast” lightly, as what our silver-domed trays revealed was something more akin to after-birth than food. What must have been powdered eggs had a texture that reminded me of the phlegm I used to cough up back when I smoked clove cigarettes. And the bacon? It was like really juicy, succulent, pan-fried Dr. Scholl’s inserts.


Chop and fry and add to omelette!

The boyfriend, too sleepy to deal quickly with the delivery, neglected to tip and felt guilty as a result.

“I’ve got a tip for them,” I growled, “Don’t bring me this garbage to eat!” We determined then and there to forgo the “luxury” of room service and take our morning meal at the buffet, where we could be discerning, from then on.

Our first excursion of the day was to the upper deck for hot-tubbing. There were options: there was one side of the ship with swimming pools and hot tubs for people who wanted a “party feeling” – this is what you always see on TV commercials for cruises; the fantasy: a bunch of twenty-somethings jumping around in their bikinis (showcasing trim abdominal regions), laughing and splashing as teeth-bleached service personnel graciously hand them exotic beverages.

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Cruise to Mexico: Part 2

Posted by Job O Brother, September 27, 2010 03:52pm | Post a Comment

Bon voyage, bitches.

For the boyfriend and myself, going on a second cruise was like a couple of World War II veterans returning to Truk Lagoon – we knew in our hearts we were headed for a piece of paradise, but past experience kept us on edge, worried for the worst. (It’s hard to come back from a cruise where you order 1 bowl of chicken soup and, instead, are brought 14 bowls of rice and 26 hard boiled eggs.) At least this time, we had company: his mother, Chris, and his father, Fred – two people with lots of cruise experience.


Chris and Fred flew in from Texas, where they reside. Early in the morning, the four us took a shuttle to Los Angeles Pier. The driver of the shuttle was the slowest I think I’ve ever witnessed. I mean, kudos on being safe, but when your passengers start thinking they’d make better time on foot, you’ve got a problem. Seriously – he made the Peoplemover seem like the Starship Enterprise.

Once at the Pier, we were guided through a bewildering array of checkpoints, gates, lines, forms and again, more checkpoints. To add to the confusion, there were both mandatory forms and photos to be taken, and optional, “fun” photos and forms. The whole ordeal was kind of like being led to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, if, y’know, instead of wanting to exterminate people, the Nazis were obsessed with tricking them into buying family portraits superimposed on commuter mugs.

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