Monday, May 05, 2008

"26 miles across the sea . . .

Santa Catalina is awaitin' for me"

I'm sitting in the lobby coffee bar. Classical music is playing in the background and I'm settling into this peaceful oasis, gazing out the windows, savouring a caramel macchiato.

But wait, two couples have converged and are sitting immediately behind me. They are starting a loud conversation - a very loud conversation. They are trying to explain the history of Avalon and Catalina Island to the barrista. I keep hearing snippets of conversation about Wrigley and Wrigley Stadium, dances and casinos. I'm having trouble concentrating. Aaaak. I cannot write.

Okay, I've now moved two decks up to a lounge with windows looking out to the Promenade. My fellow loungers (loungees) consist of readers and one couple who look like they're waiting for somebody. The man across from me has a leather-bound journal on the table in front of him and is reading a book by Michael Connelly. I can't quite make out the title, but he seems fairly engrossed int it.

We're anchored off the town of Avalon on Catalina Island. It's overcast and pretty cool (at 13 Celsius) with a brisk wind. The port time is quite short here and requires tendering (ship to shore transfer on small craft) and since we've been here several times, it didn't seem worthwhile to go ashore. We've decided to stay on board and relax.

Instead, we had a three mile walk/run on a mostly empty Promenade deck and a leisurely, healthy breakfast of oatmeal cereal, peaches and a poached egg. Of course this healthiness was probably undone by the caramel macchiato - although - on the plus-minus health scale, it should make me about even. Shouldn't it?

Another couple just sat down. They look like they've just come in from the tender ride from shore. They're still wearing their fleece hoodies and have order two Irish coffees. It's 11 a.m.

I'm relishing the feeling of unhurried calm. I love sitting back to people watch. The neverending parade of saunterers, determined rushers and meandering "I'm not sure where I'm going, but I don't care" strollers is fascinating. It allows my imagination to run rampant as I make up fictitious histories for each of them.

Tonight is Formal Night - a chance to get a bit more dressed up. Over the years, my formal night attire has been honed down to three outfits that I alternate between different cruises. It's become a no-brainer for me.

On the agenda this afternoon is a wine-tasting. A short nap afterwards sounds like a good idea. If so motivated, I might even finish my book (Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman) before dinner. It's a tough life, this cruising.

Tomorrow is San Francisco, my favourite west coast US city.


Joy said...

Oh, this sounds idyllic! I can't help saying this every time you go somewhere, but I wish I were there. You make it sound so wonderful the way you write about it, and I'm sure you aren't exaggerating. This sounds peaceful and relaxing. I'm so glad you are there. You deserve it. Enjoy!

GreenishLady said...

Sounds absolutely wonderful (minus the chattering people - but at least you had other places to go for ). Enjoy it all!