Monday, July 26, 2010

Grumpy Summer Vacation, Day 12

This cruise (as they all do) has some interesting passengers. Sometimes, I swear, it’s like the cruise line supplies them. This one features:

A lady who wears what looks like cake decorations on her head. These are NOT silly hats, and she clearly thinks they’re quite fashionable. She has different ones every day, sometimes with flowers, little people, ribbons, and small houses. I was hoping to see one with burning birthday candles, but I guess it wouldn’t be safe on the ship.

Another lady has outfits consisting of a tube top, 1970’s short-shorts, and knee-high boots. It’s like her fashion sense is stuck in the 1970’s, waiting to get a call to appear on Charlie’s Angels.

There are a truly frightening number of morbidly obese guys whose entire trip wardrobe consists of T-shirts that say "This is what AWESOMENESS looks like."

Another prize, and likely the winner, is a lady in her 40’s who’s on her honeymoon. Nothing wrong with that, EXCEPT SHE WEARS HER WEDDING DRESS EVERYWHERE! I’ve seen her in it every freakin' day now. At dinner. By the pool. At trivia. At karoke. On shore. She’s either having it washed every day, or has several dresses, or stinks.

While watching the world go by this morning I heard some vaguely familiar lyrics overhead, but the music didn’t match. After listening carefully, I realized (to my horror) that it was a cover of Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb”, redone as a disco song.

On the way up to lunch, in a crowded elevator, Frank had the class to rip one off. Loudly. Of course, Marie and Craig couldn’t let it go, announcing to the elevator who it was, and which of the guys in the elevator was his Dad. When the doors opened at the next stop I bolted out, leaving my kids looking horrified as I disappeared into a staircase. I needed the exercise anyway.

After lunch, Marie decided she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for desert. As we headed for the deli we began hearing people talking loudly. Then yelling. Then running. And in a scene reminiscent of “Titanic” we saw increasing numbers of people dropping what they were doing and heading for the stern.

I looked out the window. The ship wasn’t listing as best I could tell. We were moving forward at the same speed. I didn’t notice any smoke. But more and more people ran past us. We started wondering if we were missing a boat drill.

So Marie asked her boyfriend, Grilled-Cheese-Master-Ajay, what was going on. He laughed and told us they’d just opened the cruise's chocolate buffet in back, but to prevent a riot were letting the news spread by word-of-mouth, rather than announcing it overhead.

We turned to go there ourselves. I then realized that the kids were gone already. They'd vanished in a blur, heading for the stern. I found myself holding Marie's grilled cheese sandwich, with one bite out of it.

This afternoon Frank and Craig wanted to play cards, so I grabbed a deck and we went down to the card room. It was packed, so instead we went to the casino next door. We got a table near the bar, got some Cokes, and began an exciting game of Go Fish.

None of the crew minded, but as usual some bored passenger felt the need to come over and chew me out for doing such sinful things as teaching my kids to gamble and drink. I didn’t bother (you can’t argue with these types) to point out we were doing neither.

After Mrs. Nosey left, the pianist struck up a cheery rendition of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

Our last stop on the cruise was tonight, in Victoria, British Columbia.

I haven't been to Victoria in many years, but have always liked the place. Unfortunately, we didn't get in until early evening. Even worse, we docked in an industrial part of the harbor, far from easy walking distance to the venerable Empress Hotel or lovely Buchart Gardens.

It was, however, the first time I'd been to Canada since I began my writing career, and so I assumed a delegation of my Canadian fans (all 5 of you) would be waiting for me at the gangway, eager to have me sign your official Dr. Grumpy T-shirts.

So I dug through my luggage for any clean clothes I had left, which consisted of blue basketball shorts with silver stripes, and a Hawaiian floral shirt. The shirt had fit nicely when I packed it, but after 7 days on the S.S. Smorgasbord my buffet belly protruded like a hairy melon.

Thus fashionably attired, I marched down the gangway with Marie (the only one who wanted to go with me) and hoped my outfit didn't create an international incident.

Fortunately, the majority of passengers had left the ship in a rush earlier, and so we were alone as we walked ashore. We were greeted by a few bored harbor agents who stamped our passports. We wandered around for a few minutes, were told it would be a while for the next shuttle into town, and then returned to the ship after Marie abruptly declared she was hungry and wanted grilled cheese and ice cream.

I waved to a guy standing on the deck of a nearby Canadian Coast Guard Ship (C.C.G.S Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who was watching me closely. I can understand this, because if terrorists were trying to send someone to horrify people with bad fashion sense, they likely would be dressed like I was.

Today was the last full day of the cruise. As usual, we were presented with the U.S. Customs Declaration form, which features some of the typical great questions asked by government agencies. This includes them wondering if I happen to be carrying snails or insects on me. REALLY!

I’m actually glad to be leaving, because if I hear the phrase “have a cracking day!” again, I’m going to throttle Stu.


The Mother said...

I teach my kids to gamble. They are very good at blackjack and craps.

And we teach them about wine.

So I guess I need to get chewed out, for real?

Anonymous said...

The person who came up with idea of turning "Comfortably Numb" into a disco tune needs to be keel hauled. Repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

I think I am the only person (okay one of a small group) that actually losses weight on a cruise and sometimes have to try and find a pair of shorts to buy to go home in OR make sure I remember to bring something with me to wear home. Nothing about cruise food appeals to me. I have never on any cruise said OMG that was so great I must have seconds. The buffets are the same food just prepared differently all week. By the last day of the cruse your eating the same food form the first night. I think it's just the fact there is a lot of food and it's always there. What do you all think? Just an informal survery?

Do you lose or gain on a cruise?

Do you truly enjoy the food?

What is your favortie cruise food?

Grumpy, how many Grilled Cheese Sammies does Marie eat daily? How old are the kiddos?

DenaliDriveThruPharmD said...

Looks like I missed you in Seward Alaska, if your ship made it this far. Glad you had a good trip.

Angela said...

ahaha sorry I wasn't waiting for you at the dock... it's only a 6 hour plane ride away from me :P!! Maybe next time with advance notice! lol!!

ps Canada = ♥

Anonymous said...

Good for the honeymoon lady for getting her money's worth out of her dress, I'd say!

Kayleigh said...

Ha ha...we all know it was YOU who farted and then blamed it on your poor son!! Dont' worry, I'm just joking :)
We all know boys think farting is the funniest thing on earth!

Kira said...

Welcome to Victoria, Grumpyites! I recommend a Kabuki Kab (bicycle taxi) tour and a stop for lunch from the pretzel guy who sets up shop behind the Bay Center. :D Don't worry, he has Diet Coke.

vicki said...

your kids sound like my kids ... wanna trade?
actually, mine would have started a burping contest after the "farting" so yours did better!
the worst thing about vacation is: the last day because that means work is right around the corner
word verification: dumbs

instant student said...

Haha, if you are amused by the US Customs Declaration form you should see what a foreigner has to fill out before he is allowed to enter the US of A. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Doc G.
Your Canadian contingent of fans was actually waiting in Prince Rupert - hanging out at the hospital thinking that we might get you to drop in by Coast Guard helicopter Hey, Santa Claus does it so why not Dr. G? Later on in the day we hung out at the waterfront just in case the ship might have a mechanical malfunction - or run out of necessities such as processed cheese - alas no such luck. So we have missed out on meeting our hero of the medical blog world. Sigh.

Lord of the Eeple said...

Now now. Canadian customs is really much nicer than US customs.

Once, in taking the ferry from Victoria to Seattle, I failed to finish my lunch en route. I then forgot about it, and the US Customs agent discovered an avocado in my bag. She was displeased. She was infuriated when I pointed out the 'California' stamp on it and said that it ought to be all right as it was an expatriate avocado. I really had a hard time at the border that day.

Loki said...

Comfortably Numb is a song that should be legally un-coverable. It is perfect as it is, any attempt to re-do it is an attempt to lessen its perfection.

Also, if it is played at less than 90db it is not being played in its true form.

Sara said...

As kids once we spent a morning in a hotel and my brother had the worst farts in the world. When we got to the elevator, it was full of PRIESTS - there was a priest convention...

And the cab driver after that kicked us out of the car on the side of I-5 in LA.

It's a family legend. He was about five at the time. have a "no win no fee" personal injury lawyer asking for people to sue on your ads...?

Anonymous said...

Hat lady reminds me of the mother in anime/manga Child's Toy (Kodomo no Omocha). She wears different elaborate hats all the time, most of which are interactive for the squirrel that lives on her head.

Claude said...

Not to worry ever again, Dr.Grumpy. Having put our flag up, we will forever stand on guard for thee. It's in our Canadian Anthem, BTW. The French part says something different. But you're in Victoria. You're safe. It's very British. You don't have to shout, "Vive la différence!" All the best. À votre santé, Docteur!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

The disco version of "Comfortably Numb", according to Wikipedia, was done by The Scissor Sisters.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Anon@ 1135:

I like it. I like the variety, and I find items are quite different from day to day, although this likely varies between companies and length of the cruise.

Anonymous said...

I once crossed the border from Canada into New York. I had a coat laying on the back seat of my car. The customs guy insisted that I wake the coat up because he wanted to talk to the coat. Took me 15 minutes to convince the guy that it really was a coat, not someone sleeping. And it was a short coat, too! More of a fall/spring jacket!

Btw, a friend of mine took an Alaska cruise last week and knows of Stu. Too funny.

Magdalene said...

I have friends here in Wisconsin who have a polka/zydeco band (Copper Box). They play a polka version of "Comfortably Numb" that is amazingly good.

Anonymous said...

Argh! Missed my opportunity for a signed T-shirt :( Close but not close enough.

Greetings from the Sunshine Coast!

Unknown said...

You now have 6 Canadian fans. Had you stopped in Vancouver instead of Victoria you could have signed my tshirt!

Rothase said...

I learned to play blackjack in the 8th grade at St. Peter Parish School of Religion. The teacher, someone's dad who's wife made him do it, was supposed to be teaching the poor public school students about making life choices. So he taught us blackjack. Probably the only thing I remember about 8 years of those classes.

A Victorian said...

You shouldn't worry too much about your appearence. Victoria is a VERY popular stop for cruise ships in the summer, and the locals are quite used to seeing groups of loud tourists wandering around in Hawaiian shirts.

Gloria P said...

Wedding Dress Lady may have a lost luggage problem (which doesn't explain why she wore The Dress on the way tot he ship.) Or her husband may be a cheapskate who wouldn't pay to check luggage on their flight. Don't be so quick to judge until you have walked five miles in her white satin high heel pumps.

ladyk73 said...

I went to victoria with my brother a few years ago. My brother neglected to tell me where he made reservations for our hotel. And being the dork that he was...he was way ahead in line... The custom agents made me sweat while asking me where I was going to stay! My brother, now many feet a way, started answering for me..and got scolded by the canadian crew.

I live in Niagara Falls where are Canadian custom agents are very laid back.

It was quite funny. I am a big fan of our sister country to the North....except it is west of me...about 6 miles actually....

Anonymous said...

I can't believe your Canadian fans let you down! Come cruisin' to Australia! We'll be ready to welcome you (if you let us know when you're coming).

WV: afterth as in "afterth cruise, it's back to work"

Anonymous said...

Does this make me Canadian fan #6? Welcome to Canadia! ;)


Des said...

"protruded like a hairy melon" simile I've heard in a very long it! Thanks

Helen said...

Whoops - I'm afraid I missed my chance to be part of your Canadian welcome committee. Perhaps a cruise of the Great Lakes next time?

Have Myelin? said...

I was thinking lost luggage too re: the wedding dress lady, lol. No woman is that crazy. Too bad you didn't ask!

Sounds like u had fun.

Unknown said...

i love the scissor sisters version of comfortably numb. but then again, that was the first version i heard. sorry, young'n here.

Anonymous said...

Victoria is full of newlyweds and nearly-deads but it is nice to visit. Living vicariously through your experiences and enjoying it.

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