Monthly Archives: January 2009

The whole world smells like chicken noodle soup

It’s strange, but my city smells like chicken noodle soup. I have no idea why; I’m just reporting. Yesterday West Lafayette was given the distinction of being the 6th most educated small town (20,000-65,000 people) in the US. I feel special, even though I now actually live in Lafayette (I guess that’s why we didn’t come in 5th). I don’t think the chicken soup smell and the honor bestowed are connected, but then again, you never know.

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Cruising into the new year

What a fun time! I was with my favorite people in the whole world: Liz, Rachel, Greg, Mike, and Paul. We did all the cruisey things—we played miniature golf, we went down the giant water slide (and the little slides), we read on the deck, we frolicked on the beach in Mexico, we ate wonderful food in the dining room (yeah, chocolate melting cake!), we watched Mike perform “Crying” for the talent show, we played bingo (OK, I’m kind of embarrassed about that one), we went to all the shows that included a ventriloquist and a raunchy comedian, and we enjoyed having our towels turned into little towel animals, as if by magic, every night.

So it was great, and I feel bad even having a “but” here, BUT, I have to admit it was also kind of weird. I mean here are all these Americans eating themselves silly for 5 days, while being waited on hand and foot by internationals who are working 12-hour days (or more) to make our stay memorable. I was surprised there were so few Americans working on board—just a handful, including “Big Tex” who would intermittently come on the intercom with annoying “Tex” messages. I guess it is typical for cruise ships to be registered in countries other than the US so that they are not bound by US labor laws, and perhaps these are really great jobs, still, it has to give one pause.

I was also amazed at all the different ways that the Carnival people had thought of to make extra money—the bingo, the spa, the stores, the gambling, the drinks, the excursions, the photographs, and on and on and on.

I realize that I am sounding like a crank—and it’s not fair, because I truly did have a good time. I didn’t become a convert, however–one of these people who does a cruise a year. I had my cruise experience, and I think I will leave it at one cruise per lifetime. My family members were totally good sports to give it a try with me.

One more thing—it took two days for the solid ground to stop swaying! Who knew you could get landsick?

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