Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Eight Days in the Canary Islands -- Day 2

Oh, the first night is rough and rocky. I'm surprised they aren't playing "Don't Rock the Boat" at breakfast as we sail toward Madeira. I return to my bed after "breakfast," which for me--despite the endless buffet--is no more than coffee and a bowl of yoghurt. I stay horizontal most of the day, praying for the world to stop swaying.

"Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away," Alexander the Pool Shark sings--he does not have a pretty voice--sitting on the edge of my bed.

"Shut up."

"It is time to work out our bodies to compensate for the inordinate amount of wine and food we will consume today."

"I can't stand up while the ship is still moving."

"We've been in the port for an hour."

"Oh dear Lord."

"It is time to work out our--"

"Go away."

I (try to) sleep until mid-afternoon, at which time I do indeed don my training clothes and head off to the gym on the eleventh deck. I know I won't be able to indulge in the inordinate amount of wine without the obligatory trip to the gym. The captain will joke later in the evening about how, statistically, guests gain 2.2 kilos in the week aboard the AIDA Sol. How do they know this? Is this part of the questionnaire passengers get a couple of weeks after the cruise? You know: Were you satisfied with the service, the food and the facilities on board? Did you enjoy the shows? How fat are you now? I dare anyone to call me a statistic.

Some first impressions of the ship once I got my sea legs:

After lunch, I try to find a quiet place on the ship to write. I have so many projects going lately that I have to write whenever I get the chance. There's a "library" on the tenth deck, but it turns out to be just another place for people to gather and gab loudly. There are a few shelves of books, but no one is reading them. Surprise. Surprise. There are two groups of people playing cards, three pairs of women roaring about this and that, and kids running everyhwere. I squint, wrinkle my brow at these interlopers. This library needs a librarian.

An exclusive tip for IMBO readers: The only quiet place on board the AIDA Sol is the Zen room attached to the gym when no one's zenning or the nude area on the twelfth deck if you're not susceptible to distraction and you like writíng in the nude.

Roasted Vension Roullade in a mushroom sauce -- Gluten-free and Dairy-free!
By dinnertime, I feel much better. For the Germans with Celiac Disease (Zöliakie) or lactose intolerance reading this post, you'll be thrilled to know that the dishes on the various buffets are all labeled. You won't have to ask many questions. I found this to be so stress-relieving. I ate a lot of dishes I would never have touched if they hadn't been labeled "glutenfrei": lamb in a red wine sauce, soups and lots of other dishes in sauces. When I asked about gluten-free soy sauce, the head chef in the Asian restaurant assured me that, while they didn't have it yet, they had ordered it for future trips.

Day 3 tomorrow of Eight Days in the Canary Islands.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire) about a gay man in his forties struggling with expectations. Available from Amazon Anything.