May 4, 2007
By now we have traveled about 1300 nautical miles since leaving Ft Lauderdale and about 1500 miles remain until we dock at Ponta Delgada in the Azores. We passed south of Bermuda sometime during the night.
The dollar apparently keeps dropping against the Euro. At the moment, the onboard exchange rate is 100 Euros for $147. Amazing, isn't it?, that the news services in the U.S. keep crowing about the stock market, but the dollar is worth less and less abroad. I hope it doesn't drop any lower!
May 3, 2007
Today my first niece Daphanie is 40! Happy birthday, Daphanie. I was only an eighth-grader when she joined the family.
Early this morning, the sea was "like glass", though I was not
Alone, alone, all, all alone
Alone on a wide, wide sea!
While I was getting my lunch, the bridge reported that we had traveled already about 800 nautical miles from Ft Lauderdale; the entire distance to the Azores is 2800. We are scheduled to arrive there about noon Monday.
I keep forgetting to mention that the onboard art gallery, which sponsors auctions in the afternoon, has three lithographs by Salvador Dalí and another by Henry Moore. I hesitate to think how much they must be worth. The most charming of those by Dalí sold today; it reminds me either of Saint-Exupery's work for The Little Prince or the illustrations for one of Thurber's books, though whether I am thinking of drawings by Thurber or William Pene du Bois, I'm not sure. (This evening a Marc Chagall lithograph has been added to the collection!)
May 2, 2007
We made our second time-zone change (since leaving Galveston) overnight and will make another change overnight tonight. I think many of us keep feeling we are oversleeping, then we remember that only 3 days ago, today's 9 a.m. was only 7 a.m.
This morning the wind was roaring so much that foredeck 15 (a part of one of my walking rounds) was closed, and even on foredeck 16, which has wind-blocks, the breeze was quite intense. The ship makes the occasional sway or shudder, but it is so enormous (two blocks long, maybe?) that it seems mostly to cut through the water. Not too long ago, one of the officers reported that the swell was "moderate" today and that the ocean-bed was 5200 meters below us: well over three miles. Amazing to think about. We left Ft Lauderdale something like 18 hours ago (a little after 1700 yesterday), so I'm thinking we must be at least 400 miles offshore by now. I'm not exactly sure what it means that we are moving at 20+ knots per hour. I've been told that a knot is not much more than a mile, but we certainly seem to be moving much faster.
Those of you who get a giggle out of my dietary restrictions (yes, you, Cindy!) need some sort of menu report, I suppose. My breakfasts have included such items as: grits, cold cereal, bagel, ham, turkey. My lunches and suppers have featured: smoked trout, smoked mackerel (too fishy), ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, baked potato, a bit of peas or lima beans from the salad bar, applesauce, bread or rolls, chocolate-ish desserts (anything not chocolate seems to feature nuts or fruits, so I have to avoid those). Afternoon tea, which I attended one afternoon, offered scones as well. The Horizon Court, where I've been eating, is open 24 hours a day, so I've had mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening snacks as well. And lots of tea.
Those of you (someone, please tell Nancy, since she doesn't access the Internet) whom I've accused of eating like lumberjacks will be pleased to know that I am eating like a lumberjack (well, okay, a small lumberjack). The bracing sea air might be part of it, but mostly I think it's the amount of exercise I'm getting (see below). I'm sleeping, as they say, like a baby. Is it the rocking motion? Is it all the walking and stair-climbing? I don't know.
I'm doing a lot of walking (both for official exercise, as well as just getting from here to there) and stair-climbing, visiting the hot tubs and pools, doing some yoga, and making use of the weight machines.
Don't tell The Sweet (obscure Rock Music reference no. 1). Today I attended the onboard Ballroom Blitz dance class and learned the basic steps of the merengue from Jamie and Jackie McVicar. Where is Susan when I need her? Dust off my tuxedo!
May 1, 2007
While ashore today, I canceled my wifi service and my cell phone service, as they won't do me a great deal of good in Europe. Before doing so, I had one last round of St*rb*ck's Interneting, clearing out a pile of email, making some posts and checking bank and credit card accounts. I also bought a big jug of V8 (not apparently available on the ship), a couple of Coca-Colas, and a package of Golden Oreos.
The water is an intensely rich blue, more like ink or an enormous vat of dye than water. This was true in the Gulf of Mexico and is true in the Atlantic, as soon as we are a few miles off shore.
I finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin and am trying to write about it for a new column of "In Dissent." If I remember correctly, my last column posted almost a year ago!
Tonight I watched the live performance of Lisa Donovan. She has an incredible "set of pipes" and hits amazing high notes. Her chosen style is more show-tunes than jazz (my preference), but she excels at what she does.