Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Europe Journal 2013: To Pompeii

7:44 a.m. Waiting to board the shuttle boat to shore, then to Pompeii. Excited to see it once more. Tomorrow is Herculaneum, to which I have never been but always wanted to go.

This is turning into a very expensive trip. Somehow, somewhere yesterday I lost one of my hearing aids (my hearing was shot, I suspect, by the roar of passing el trains in front of my apartment). At any rate, it will be a mere $2,400 to replace it ($4,800 for the pair).

Life aboard ship goes on apace...I'm discovering new parts I'd not seen before.

Again, the staff is amazing. I think I mentioned they won't even let you carry your food from the buffet to your table...always pulling out your chair for you, spreading your napkin on your lap when you first sit down, etc. And this is not the main dining room, where I gather dress shirts and jackets are de rigeur.

Tried to upload yesterday's photos to FB last night, at sea. I had transferred 40 of 73 when the internet went dead. They say that happens often. Good to know...now. And because I could not log out, I may have used all 12 hours of the minutes I bought.

Well, time to go. More later.

Two things: 1) Never come to Europe in July (or, I am told, August). 2) This will be my last “Tour” of Europe. Temps hovering around 90, everyone on vacation. Pompeii had twice as many people roaming its streets today as it did when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. I've often said I dislike organized tours because of the herd mentality (“Move here, move there, everyone gather around,” etc.) Our guide did not walk...he strode. Rapidly. If I took my eyes off of him for five seconds, literally, he had disappeared into the crowd and I had no idea where the hell he had gone. We all have little radios and earphones so I could hear him say “We'll turn left here,” which didn't really help much since I had no idea which “left” he referred to. I got seriously separated from the group at least three times. Twice, by luck, I managed to see someone from our group off in the far distance and hurried to catch up. Once I joined another group from the ship until one of the ship's staff shepherding our group came and found me. I took the tour to see Pompeii, not to constantly having to wonder where everyone else had gone. We did see one beautiful villa, of which I got many photos—though while I was taking them was one of the times I got separated.

And did I mention the heat? It reminded me of arriving in Budapest in 90+ temps after not having slept for 30+ hours and trying to take a walk around the city while waiting for my cabin to be ready.

As I said in my last post, I so sincerely resent having to make concessions to age, and I am increasingly doing so.

Back to the ship around 1:20 in time for lunch. I had a bowl of chicken consume with bean sprouts and a tiny sliver of a very nice pecan crème pie. Tom and Mike each visited the serving table three times, consuming...I am serious when I say it...more food in one sitting than I eat in a week or more. I envy them, but cannot comprehend how they can do it—how anyone can do it.

I'm now going to go see if I have any internet minutes left or if my inability to log off ate up every one of them. If so, I'd hesitate to spend another 28 euros for another “twelve hours” of minutes. If I can get on line I'll send this off and maybe add an addendum later.

Tomorrow, as I mentioned, is Herculaneum and I pray for far fewer people and a slower guide.

Sunday, 6:13 p.m. Called Mike and Tom about dinner. We agreed to meet in our usual (the more casual of the two main) restaurant at 7:30, and I decided to go to one of the bars for a Bloody Mary, which I'd not had in years since alcohol burns the hell out of my mouth. The bartender (tendress?) is a beautiful Philippine woman, with two equally beautiful waitresses in formal Philippine-style dress. I had asked the bartender/dress my first day aboard if she could make a Bloody Mary without tabasco, and she said yes. So when I came up to the bar, she said, “Bloody Mary?” Talk about a good memory!

I took a seat and one of the waitresses brought my drink and a plate of tapas...small, 50-cent piece-size mini open face sandwiches; one with cheese and half a grape, one with smoked salmon, one with Italian salami, and one I did not recognize. She then brought me a bowl of potato chips. So I effectively had my dinner before I even went to meet Mike and Tom. I had asked also for a glass of water, to cut the burn of the alcohol. Of course they had no idea of why I was taking one small sip of Bloody Mary and washing it down with water. She brought me two straws, which was very kind and attentive of her, but which I found just a tad embarrassing. Did I look like I needed a straw to drink a Bloody Mary?

“I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear my trousers rolled.”


1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

It sounds like a brilliant trip so far and, as always, I love the level of detail you offer. Looking forward to catching up and reading more.