Since all of our fellow passengers appear to be from North America, it was a surprise to discover that the top deck of the ship is reserved for topless sunbathing. Although this deck was not totally empty today, its occupants nervously dared one another - "You first." As our ship steams south the temperatures rise and the clothing does come off. To borrow from Martha Stewart, this is not necessarily "a good thing." In the past when we cruised at school holiday times we saw lots of young people with six pack abs. Here with our fellow geezers we're more likely to see the results of too many six packs. I am amazed at the piercings and tattoos sported by my aging fellow passengers. Old guys with nipple rings? - I'd rather not know!
While we are at sea many of my fellow cruisers spend countless hours in the casino. When I put eight quarters in a machine yesterday I ended up with some clean laundry, but the appeal of throwing coins into a one armed bandit escapes me. Actually most of the machines in the casino here do not take quarters. Rather you get a handy dandy plastic credit card sized key attached to a lanyard which goes around your neck. You insert the key into the machine and play away, oblivious to the amount of cash you've squandered. To my jaundiced eye, when these folks leave the lanyards around their necks while they play, they look for all the world as if they are plugged into the machines for life support.
On Holland America when we had lots of days at sea, they hired a professor to give daily lectures about the history and culture of the places we were about to visit. A musician gave talks about the native music and its roots. Carnival is not noted for being a cerebral line and the offerings for our days at sea here range from silly pool games to Newlywed Game to bingo. At dinner time we are regularly solicited to sing and dance before we earn our dessert. The lack of entertainment that appeals to us doesn't really matter, because we always bring plenty of our own things to do. However, when we turned on the TV yesterday they were playing a trivia game where if you were too lazy to attend the game you could phone in he answer from your room. One of the first questions they asked was the name of the mountain in Cape Town. Having just been in South Africa last spring I couldn't resist. A short time later my prizes were delivered to our cabin. My "ship on a stick" will surely make you envious!