Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not that Canadian Thanksgiving was acknowledged in any way aboard ship, but somehow we managed to enjoy dinner, anyway!

But I must go back to the beginning and tell you about our New York weekend. We were picked up at JFK airport by a private car sent for us, and only us, apparently, by Princess. The driver was an older Greek fellow who, upon discovering this was our first visit to NYC, insisted on taking us a slighly scenic route to our hotel. No matter that it was 11:30 p.m. No matter that he actually didn't tell us anything about what we were seeing but instead expounded the entire 40-minute drive on Greek history and politics. It was neat to get our first glimpse of the city that doesn't sleep.
Our hotel, the Sheraton Towers, had a spectacular and gigantic lobby, but the rooms were no more than 3-star. Clean, nice. Adequate. (Excellent air conditioning, though!)

Met up with the Lawman and Ms. K about 8 the next morning and headed out in search of breakfast. This was more a matter of choice than search, of course, as there were literally dozens of places to eat within 5 minutes' walk in any direction from the hotel. After breakfast we took a Greyhound bus tour of Uptown Manhattan. Sat in the open-air top of the double-decker bus in the lovely sunshine (and nice breeze!) and thoroughly enjoyed the 90-minute trip with a worldly and clever tour guide. We had to take a few detours because we kept running into little street fairs, and one parade. We wondered if this was because it was the American Columbus Day weekend, but it seems that this happens all the time, totally randomly. This day's parade we passed was for some sort of Korean celebration.

In the early afternoon we did some exploring on our own. To save RH's legs, we did some subway and cabbing, both very successfully. It was 1000 degrees underground waiting for the trains, but the cars themselves are air-conditioned. And we quickly got quite expert at the proper cab-hailing technique. Espy an in-service cab (and they come along constantly), and fling out one arm. Don't wave, flail, or vocalize. Just the arm. Works every time, and just feels way cool.

Unfortunately I became violently ill in the latter afternoon so RH and I lost some precious exploring time (because of course my darling husband wouldn't leave me) and also missed out on our Tavern on the Green dinner. Major bummer, but I was fine by the next morning. Just one of those stupid things.

So Sunday morning we did the Downtown loop Greyhound tour, a two-hour trip and also most informative and enjoyable. Then lots of slogging around on foot in the afternoon. (Thank goodness I packed lots of moleskin!) Between the bus and on foot, we saw pretty much every New York icon you can think of this weekend. We Did New York! (We only got to do one side of the famous 5th Avenue, though, because...there was a parade going down it. Something Polish this time.)

VCCGirl -- you'd go NUTS shopping here. A gazillion clothes stores, and all huge!

Sunday evening we had an early supper and then cabbed to the Schubert Theater for our Broadway show. (Which I'd have been a lot more upset to miss than dinner last night!!) We saw Spamalot, which won a Tony award in 2004, and quite deservedly, we think. It was hysterical, outrageous, totally non-PC. And it ended with a rousing audience singalong of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". We shared a couple of pieces of cheesecake after the show, but still couldn't find a free cab in the busy Broadway area when we were done, so decided to walk back. It was ten blocks, but the short north-south blocks, so RH was fine. Especially, he commented drily, at the pace most of it. Our route home took us through Times Square, and apparently everyone in town mistook October 7 for New Year's Eve. The sidewalks were a solid mass of humanity. But we sure didn't mind the slow pace, because although we had been through the Square a few times in daylight, seeing it at night...well, it's dazzling in the extreme. It's almost overwhelming. It's hard to breathe. I'm so glad I got to see that. I think shuffling through Times Square at night was the highlight of my trip to NYC.

So this morning we did one more quick walk around. (More of a limp-around, really, by this point.) Then Princess got us bussed out to the Brooklyn docks midday, and from the moment we got off the bus to the moment we stepped on the ship was no more than ten minutes. It would have been even less, in fact, if Rob hadn't misplaced his cruisecard within seconds of being handed it at the counter. After a few minutes of kafuffle, returning to the counter and so on, he discovered it in his back pocket. Now, the large black woman admitting guests to the gangway had observed this and decided to have some fun. After waving The Lawman, Ms. K and me through, she held up her hand to RH and commenced berating him in a loud, very Bronx voice. "WHERE is your card, sir? Do you HAVE a card? Do you understand the RESPONSIBILITY of this card, sir?" It was hilarous.

And I've gotta tell you, the minute I stepped on board, I was Home. I really could live on a cruise ship.

And so we sailed away from New York on a warm and sunny late afternoon, passing right by our final NYC icon, the Statue of Liberty. (I half expected the US national anthem to start blaring from the PA system. Thankfully, it did not.) We discovered at dinner that we have a great table for four by a window and two warm and friendly Thai waiters.

Now, Missy Moo. As per your instructions, I present you with my first dinner menu: lobster terrine; spring rolls; baked ham with a cranberry gravy; and apple strudel. RH had: spring rolls; cream of porcini mushroom soup; house salad; rockfish; and profiteroles with fresh berries. (I'm not going to recite TL and Ms. K's meals!) We all split a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

After dinner we participated in our first trivia competition. Didn't win, but did pretty well. (One of the questions was "Edmonton is the capital of what Canadian province?" We got that one right.)

So that brings us up to date. I'm going to close this off, then go listen to some music in the Explorer's Lounge for awhile before calling it a night. Tomorrow: Newport, RI!

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