God, all these Australians! They’re everywhere! Someone screams Aussie Aussie, Aussie!! And the whole room roars OY OY OY!!!
We’re on our three night shortie cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles, which, interestingly enough, continues across the Pacific and eventually winds up in… Sydney.
For all that we’re surrounded by Roos (and they’re really nice people, despite that rather odd nationalistic cheer) I’d love to stay on board, wind around Hawaii for a couple days, hit Tahiti and Bora Bora, swing by American Samoa, tour New Zealand then end at the Opera House…
Actually, Beloved found out on the first night the Aussies are #2 on this cruise, the Canadians are #1. Then the Kiwis, and the Yanks are an astonishingly paltry #4.
So we headed up to Vancouver at a freakish hour, even for me. The trip from the airport to the cruise port was amazingly easy (love them Canadians, I wish the Angelenos would take a lesson) – the train was CAD $3, although because I was using a cane (my leg was hurting still from my knee surgery) the lady assisting people told me I should use the kiosk to buy my ticket
“Don’t you want the concession fare?”
“Um… the what? The train’s coming, how do I get on?”
She motioned my cane.
“Concession fare, dear. For your… um…”
“My what?” Genuinely confused, but wanting on the train. God, am I looking THAT old these days?
OOOOOHHH… the cane. No no no.
Saving a buck fifty Canadian or getting on the train? Outta my way. I tapped my credit card on the turnstile and it admitted me.
The Vancouverans (? Vancouverites?) are rightfully proud of the metro system, but I was a little unnerved by the idea there’s no conductor or engineer or driver on the train. The lady was hustling people on board, which I found a tidge bit offensive until I witnessed a woman nearly squashed as the automatic doors attempted to close on her – they’re merciless.
Once you get to the end of the line, you just waddle with your suitcase to the Canada Place cruise terminal. Conveniently enough for those like me who miss English chocolate and find Canadian chocs a reasonable substitute, there is a newsagent en route.
“You got Smarties?”
(Americans, please note, English Smarties are a far superior form of M&Ms. They are NOT those vile little chalk and sugar tablets you get in a roll at Halloween from people too cheap to buy real candy.)
The woman pointed at the shelf. I pounced.
Twenty one small boxes of Smarties packed, shoved, jammed and snuck into my backpack later, I’m staggering outta the shop. Somewhat poorer, but oooh I got my stock. God bless my honey, who said nothing as I signed away CAD$30.
Heh, heh, heh. Today the exchange rate is USD $1 = CAD $1.33, so those Smarties ran me just over a buck a box.
We’re kinda tied/married to Princess at this point due to our proximity to Elite status (and free laundry…). I don’t give a butt about the nifty Elite pin or whatever. I want my fresh fluffy panties each morning.
So we’re on Princess, even though I really want to try one of those giant Royal Caribbean numbers (now, that would be an awesome perk – match status just once on another line so you can try it).
The thing about Princess… dear GOD, those embarkation “talks”, mandated by international maritime law or whatever where we have to learn about abandoning ship and putting on life jackets etc… I mean, I understand the necessity of it. I get it. I’ll attend.
However, were I an executive of Princess I would NOT continue to dredge up the memories of the 1970s nightmare Love Boat show. They’ve now turned the theme song into a hideous safety parody.
I actually would pay money to go to an alternative talk led by serious Germans intent on distilling the importance of safety on the high seas.
I would pay even more to listen to a comedic version. Hey, Princess, who’s doing all kinds of mildly distasteful things to try to separate us from our cash once we’re on board, are you listening?
I’d actually whip out my Medallion doohickey for this. Watered down liquor? No. Amusing lifesaving demo that doesn’t leave me squirming and praying for a quick death? Oh, hell yes.