Monday, September 8, 2014

At Sea aboard the Golden Princess

ON BOARD THE GOLDEN PRINCESS 8:00AM MONDAY Here we are sailing eastward through the Frederick Sound into Juneau, Alaska and the humpback whales are spouting.  There are a couple on the port bow, and wow, there are six, no ten whales, no twenty whales spouting on the starboard bow!  Most unusual, says the steward delivering breakfast to our stateroom down in the bowels of the ship on Deck 5. Hey, when the salmon are running we whales gotta get our brekkers before the little monsters escape up the rivers for sex, sex, sex.

Meanwhile up on Deck 15 they are crowded along the rail, with gigantic telephoto lenses ranged alongside smartphones, with everyone snapping away.  But nobody seems to be taking selfies with the whales.

Lady Marjorie and I are sailing on an Alaska cruise out of Seattle with a group doing Argentine tango.  We do a "practica" in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Wheelhouse bar and dance in the Vista Lounge from 10:00 to midnight.  That's early, of course.  In Argentina they start their milongas at midnight, dance till 3:00 or 4:00 am and then go to work at 9:00am.

Yeah.  Now you know what's wrong with Argentina's economy.

Music?  No problem.  We just plug an iPod or a smartphone into the room's sound system.

It's the first cruise for Ordinary Seaman Lady Marjorie and Admiral Chris, so we'll be deciding whether we want to do it again.  Admiral Chris is a veteran sailor, with years of sailing boats from 14 ft sailing dinghies to 30 ft sloops. I've been doing a bit of guerrilla navigation with my smartphone, and I can report that the captain navigated safely from Seattle out through the Strait of San de Fuca and up the west side of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands.  Really, these young chaps don't need to know nuttin'.  Just flick out the smarthphone and start up your GoPilot GPS.

The Golden Princess is rather like a vertical Mall.  There is lots of shopping, an atrium, shops, and bars and restaurants.  100,000 tons of it with 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew. On Deck 14 are the swimming pools, the all-you-can-eat buffets and the outdoor Movies Under the Stars® screen where football fans can watch the NFL on Sunday while reclining on beach loungers all muffled up in parkas and blankets.

After a couple of days we've decided that we really want to eat in the dining rooms.  The food is "free" either way, but the buffets up on Deck 14 are something of a crowd scene, rather like the free breakfast "bunfight" at a US motel.  It's a little undignified for educated class folks like you and me.

We are having a great time at the Argentine tango.  Lady Marjorie and I met at a tango ball, and we did a lot of tango dancing in our early years together.  But now we have to get it together quickly to deserve to dance with the serious dancers -- like Irene the Russian who dances tango five nights a week and displays the most exquisite ornamentation with her flashing feet.  But there are also the rank beginners, like the young couple from Phoenix that just happened to be in the Wheelhouse bar when we started our practica on Sunday.  We soon had them in the hands of experts, showing them a move or two and getting them eager to Google "Phoenix Argentine tango" when they got home.

The thing about dancing is that, for men, it's all about cherchez la femme. But women of every age absolutely love dancing.  Really, guys.  You should do it.  Not for the children, but for the ladies.

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