Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grumpy Summer Vacation, Day 11

We were in Ensenada today, which was an alternate stop due to the hurricane earlier in the week. In my experience, the best part of docking here is not getting off the ship.

My first time here was when I was single in 1993. A girl I’d met and I decided to try the "Scenic Gold Coast" bus tour. It turned out to be a drive through one of the ugliest areas I've ever seen. I kept hoping we'd come to the scenic part soon, but the bus just stopped at a “deluxe resort” (which was a dump), we each got a glass of shitty watery beer, and then got driven back.

In 2003 Mrs. Grumpy didn't believe me and insisted on going on the same tour, and hasn't questioned my judgment since (about that, anyway).

For you guys considering it, this is the "olympic swimming pool" at the “deluxe resort” that the bus stops at, where they give you a thimbleful of crappy beer and try to sell you timeshares. And you've paid $50 per person for the pleasure. This is not a joke.

It’s a funny thing about Mexico. This is an amazing country. Oil and other natural resources. Phenomenal beaches. Rain forests. A remarkable cultural history. A geographically excellent position. And because of irreparable corruption it remains a third world country. If they could cut corruption and develop a Japanese-like work ethic, Mexico would be a world power rivaling any other.

Mrs. Grumpy and I were in line to get breakfast today, and the omelette cook asked her if we'd be going ashore. She said, “No, I've been to Ensenada once, and that was enough”. He said, “So go back today to make it 3 times”.

Good thing this guy isn’t an accountant.

Today is the last day of the cruise. There are a handful of ways you are reminded of this. The disembarkation talk. The elevator sign having been gradually changed each day from "Maximum: 3000 lbs. or 18 people" on day 1 to "Maximum: 3000 lbs or 8 people” today.

I feel SO fat and bloated. I think I gained 40 pounds. Everywhere you walk on board someone is setting up a new counter of incredible looking food, and you decide you just want a taste. I think I ate 50,000 calories of “tastes” per day. I can barely reach my shoes to tie them.

And, as I noted before, you see lovelorn teenagers walking around, looking for any quiet area to make out. So you occasionally have an elevator door open to find them frantically untangling themselves, or sit down at a table and accidentally step on a pair under it.

The gift shop always has these "last day specials", which they push as if the ship is being scrapped in the morning. They’re somewhat comical, considering that tomorrow the ship will be taking on 3000 new suckers, uh, shoppers, just dying to buy overpriced T-shirts and stuffed animals. Mrs. Grumpy briefly glanced at a canvas beach bag, and immediately an employee came over to try and sell it. She was awesome. "This very good deal, ma'am. Regular price $29.95! But today, just for today, is marked down to $24.95! That half-off!!!"

Good thing this girl isn’t an accountant, either.

After another round of minigolf (with Marie hitting a pair of teenagers making out on a bench 2 decks below) I took her to the bar for some Diet Cokes. We arrived in time to hear 2 mechanics and a bartender arguing about a broken refrigerator. It was great, especially when the bartender said "all the refrigerators on this ship are absolute shit!" I hope the engines and watertight features are better.

The last night has brought the cruise to an appropriate end. Craig is sleeping in the bunk directly above me, and as I was typing he suddenly uttered some of the most dreaded words in parenting: "Dad, I think I'm going to..." followed by a waterfall of partially digested Cruiseship Lines foodstuffs. In the confines of our cabin it brought back college memories I'd tried to forget.

I'm glad we're going home. They may have to scrap the ship to get the smell out of our cabin.

So, from somewhere off Baja Calfornia: Merry Summer Vacation to all, and to all a good night.


The Ole' Apothecary said...

Thank you, my friend, for solidifying my life's plan to NEVER, EVER, GO ON A CRUISE!

All I have heard about cruises are ripoffs, disappointments, and outbreaks (of infectious illnesses). Your testimony cinches my case.

My best vacation ever was a drive through upstate New York.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say: if the majority of us, were to sit back and watch and listen to other people, then we too would probably encounter some very interesting people as you have. But probably wouldn't be able to write about them as well as you do.

Welcome back from vacation.

Can't wait to read about the antics at work...once again.

cynic said...

The Griswod's don't have anything on the Grumpy's.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, time to nod sagely when someone at work belabors the unseasonably cool weather encountered stateside, efforts at Washingtonian healthcare reform, and everything 'missed' while on your vacation. Ahh, vacation is over once again.

Thanks for sharing!

Fordo said...

OMG, Grumpy, I've been rolling laughing.

Cruises haven't interested mein the slightest- they just seem too boring. But, after reading your posts, I'm changing my mind. The people-watching opportunities seem endless. Thanks for bringing some laughter to my days.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, corruption has long been part of Mexico's "remarkable cultural history."

Unknown said...

I love mexican food. It seems like everything I like is named after a city in Mexico.

And cruises rock. I've only been on one,10 days, and it was with all 6 of my brothers & sisters, their wives/husbands and kids and my parents. 22 of us and what a blast! I'd go again in a heartbeat. Especially if my dad would foot the bill again lol.

Thanks Dr G for sharing your adventures. Great stuff!!

Easily Lost said...

Crosses a cruise permanently off the list of things to do.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Actually, I enjoyed it a lot. Fun with the kids.

Watching the insanity of others is part of the fun to me.

The Bus Driver said...

Craig uttered the words every bus driver hates to hear..... "i'm going to..........." which usually ends up in every child within the proximity of the unfortunate one going EWWWWW and jumping out of the way, while the bus is in motion.

Ever wonder why school buses are made of rubber and vinyl?

Anonymous said...

Ya gotta go to Hussong's. no change in decor since 1968, been dragged out of there face down many times... us Platinum members get dragged out face up now....

Chrysalis said...

Poor kid.

You made me chuckle though when you said, "It brought back college memories I'd tried to forget."

Anonymous said...

Omg...I took a couple of ferries last week (back and forth from Victoria, BC). I felt bad for the two older ladies who were not feeling well and were escorted to the back for some "fresh air." Seeing as the we were getting wet from a door 15-20 feet away...I would say they were troopers. I had fun.

I need some diet coke now

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