Trans-Atlantic Travelogue #6

We Cross the Atlantic, Appear in a Talent Show and Listen to Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

May 7, 2001

Scoreboard: 8680 miles; 3 Countries, 20 states


Alexandra naps in a porthole

After five days of nothing but beautiful water the crew and passengers are getting a bit restless, and things aren’t quite as cheerful as they were. One British food worker was openly threatening to return to her “mum” if she’s not given a vacation soon. A foul-mooded passenger ranted relentlessly that water was coming out of what was allegedly supposed to be an iced tea dispenser. None of this has effected the unrestrained torrent of adoration for Myles from all quarters.

We’ve taken to eating our dinners in the more casual Windjammer, skipping out on the full (enthusiastic, almost overbearing) service in the more elegant Great Gatsby Dining Room. There are several reasons for this defection, the main one being that we’re able to get seats with a better view of the ocean. The food in both places is great, plentiful, and nutritious (or at least not unhealthy in quantities about half of what we’re consuming).

I assure you that we haven’t abandoned The Great Gatsby just because last time we went the entire place erupted into the Macarena. That was just a symptom.


Kasmira dazzles the crowd at the talent show

The kids on board (9 in all, counting our 4) had a talent show that Kasmira most certainly would have won had there been a prize. She performed a wonderful airy dance to the Britney Spears standard Hit Me Baby One More Time. She was joined, at several points by Myles escaping Theresa’s clutches, and later by her sisters for a nice bout with a song including the immortal lyrics “Coca-Cola went to town/Pepsi Cola shot him down…”

The crowd loved it all.

We were witnesses to an only slightly less spectacular exhibition of talent that evening when we caught our first of the ongoing shows in the ship’s several theatres. In all honesty it must be said that it was really our second show, but we, one at a time, and as inconspicuously as possible, left “The New and Not So Newlywed Game” when we weren’t selected as participants. Sad, we’ve been practicing for years.

And still aren’t very good.

So we caught “The Beat Goes On.” It was a nicely done, if somewhat sappy, presentation of popular music of the past 50 years. Dancers danced about, and a singer would sing along with a hidden soundtrack blaring through great speakers. To the side a large video screen would be filled with pictures of Donald Duck, or Eisenhower, Thunderbirds, beach parties, etc.

When they did the Rolling Stones’ Jumping Jack Flash, and this was the only time they did this, the video accompaniment was of 1969 tour footage (from the film Gimme Shelter). I guess you have to have seen it to fully comprehend the situation, but how would you like to be some generic wanna-be Broadway dancer in a top hat and cape trying to be Mick Jagger, who is ten feet away from you on a screen, and way, way bigger?

It’s not an assignment where you’re likely to gain widespread acclaim. I also had to wonder what Mick would have thought if you’d told him, those 32 years ago, that some day a middle-aged audience would be watching his Altamont performance on a cruise ship.

He might have been excused for thinking that things would turn out differently. Oh well.

The Mick Jagger impersonator likely felt somewhat like I did playing ping-pong. After going undefeated across the campgrounds of America an elderly Dutch guy kicked my ass 21-2. My great saving grace was that I could keep score in German. Damn these idle rich!

Clayton and Myles

Clayton & Myles

I caught a sunrise over the Atlantic on my brother’s, and Kierkegaard’s, birthday, May 5. It was very nice, and would have been even better if the sun hadn’t risen directly into a cloud bank, and remained invisible for another 10 minutes or so. No matter, even during the interim it gave the curtainous clouds some spectacular brilliant linings.

Then I went to sleep. Our hours are all messed up, from the “jetlag” of going forward an hour a day, and also because the state rooms have a cave-like quality. The lighting is the same at noon and midnight. The kids have been going to sleep around 1 a.m. (their usual is 8 p.m.) at which point Theresa and I step out to the casino to see how long we can make $5 last, or pour a few Dragon Stout’s (I grabbed a case of the glorious stuff in St. Thomas) and head for a hot tub, or the elegant strolling deck on level 6.

Alexandra wrote a poem that I think catches the spirit of the moment:


blossoms grow

and snow melts into

green, green grass

big snow boots are

tucked away and

sandaled-feet are

out to play.

Tune in next week, when our sandaled-feet arrive in Europe, grab a VW van, and set off to seek our fortune.