Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


On board Zaandam, Holland American Line Cruise to the Mexican Riviera, 2/9-16.

For the first couple of days I asked, “What are we doing here?” I wanted warm weather it has been cool too cold so far. No one swims in the outdoor pool on deck. Cloudy to hazy skies, some bright sun mid day. Plenty warm inside and lots of places and rooms to explore, a library, auditorium and casino. Lots of older folks and I am one of the oldest. Mostly couples, some gays, lesbians harder to spot. The younger attractive people seem to be the entertainers, staff and teachers of various activities of which there are a slew.

We meet some pleasant individuals at meal times.

Maurice is a retired meat cutter from Safeway in Canada. Good Roman Catholic with an inquiring and questioning mind.  We talked about authority in the church. I explained how that in the Episcopal Church lay people participated in the election of rectors and Bishop, fund raising and expenditures. He is unsound n the gay issue citing the Bible as literal. Pleasant guy spoke far to long to say far too little.  I was glad to escape.  One good thing is that we seldom see each other much as we have open seating at all meals.  People are pleasant and open to starting conversations.

I met Tom from Palm Springs one evening. He is a retired Presbyterian minister, married for 31 years with several children, and came out of the closeted 20 years ago. Served as a chaplain in a retirement home for twenty years. His partner does not like cruises so he thought he’d it one on his own,

Most stories are pretty conventional American and Canadian success tales as these folks like us can afford a cruise. We are surprised at how many spend a lot of time taking cruising. One woman said she took 51 cruises, she was nuts in a lot of ways.

I don’t want to take long cruises. Too much good food, most of what I do on board is what I do at home except for the cooking and shopping. The activities do not interest me much. Wine tasting, one shot cooking classes and gambling, bridge playing, and contests are skimpy fare.  Going on shore excursions, and shopping on and off the ship and at ports have little interest for me.  Ann will go bird watching in Puerto Vallarta, I probably won’t bother to get off the ship.

Valentine’s Day on the Vaandam anchored off Cabo San Lucas.

After a day and a night in PV we are heading north and home - at last. Stopped for a few hours in Cabo, Ann has gone shore. I have not. I had a physical therapy appointment to work on my knee, with Bayley an Australian instructor. I plan to spend the day on the ship, reading eating, napping and getting ready for the next meal no matter what it is. It is hot and sunny today and that really feels good, getting what I wanted from the cruise at last. Actually we had four nice warm days. .

I read My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. It is a fine story of a Puerto Rican woman brought up in the Bronx housing projects, graduating with all the honors from Princeton and the Yale law School and then on to the Supreme Court. Very moving.

We are having a happy and restful time.

At the main port for cruise ships, right across a six-lane road is a Walmart. The standing joke on the ship is that we come all this way to shop at Walmart. One annoying thing about the ship is that they charge $3.55 for a big bottle of water. Most people are outraged. One very large overweight woman asked her friend to help her off the ship so she could buy water at a cheaper price at Walmart. The friend dutifully helped her very slow and awkward friend down the gangplank, over the six lanes of traffic and a 300-yard walk to Walmart. When Large Lady got there she found the water at about the same price as on the ship. In a huge huff, she asked her companion to take her back to the ship. Realizing how far away the ship was and how arduous it was for her to walk, she took a cab for the short ride back to the ship, $5.00 plus tip. Saving money is indeed a virtue.

I met a man while waiting on the line for dinner. I asked him what he did for a living. He said he was a Ferrier. I tried to use my Latin and Greek to find the root meaning, to no avail. He told me he was a blacksmith as was his father before him. He shoes horses, which need to be reshod every six weeks so he has a regular clientele of horse lovers who come to him to shoe their horses.

I asked another man what he did for a living. He replied that he was a hair-raiser. I asked, “Is that a stockbroker? He laughed and said, “No, I raise hair on people who are losing their their's.  More women are coming to me all the time.” People pay him a bundle of money and come to him to help them grow hair. He had a splendid main of hair himself and it wasn’t a toupee.

I also met a physician from Taiwan who had graduated from UCSF medical school and practiced in Taipei. He told me what I wanted to hear. He said studies have fond that after one is 75 years old one can eat whatever they want. I loved that. Besides, he said I looked great.

Ann and I travel well. As at home we come and go as we please and meet up for meals. I am glad we took this week off from retirement. We won’t be doing another cruise for a while.


Blogger Nigel said...

Robert, the word is actually "Farrier"


4:27 PM  
Anonymous Fred Fenton said...

I second your endorsement of Justice Sotomayor's powerful memoir, which debuted as #1 on the NYTimes non-fiction list. I knew very little about Puerto Rican culture. Had no idea of her struggles and the hard things she endured. There are important lessons in this inspiring, truthful account of her life up to the point of becoming a judge. It is well written, with descriptions of people and places worthy of an experienced novelist.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

My wife Ann and took a cruise in January that had nonstop music. ..Lyle Lovett and Richard Thompson were headliners. I don't think I'd enjoy normal cruise.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

My wife Ann and took a cruise in January that had nonstop music. ..Lyle Lovett and Richard Thompson were headliners. I don't think I'd enjoy normal cruise.

4:11 PM  

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