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Showing posts from April, 2012

Tenerife

After eight days at sea, we struck land!  Our first port after crossing the Atlantic was Tenerife.  Tenerife, Wikipedia tells me, is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, and also the most populated island in Spain.  What’s the point of having a blog if not to shame yourself publicly and often?  And so I add this detail: until I looked up that article just now, I was pretty sure we were in Portugal that day.  I blame the culture-numbing combo of cruising and small children.  While cruising, you spend so little time at each port that you’re barely dipping your toe in the life and culture of the places your visit.  And with small kids, your attention is so fragmented that you don’t even get to dip a toe into the culture, you’re basically just hoarking on in.  In our highfaluting cruisey-cruise days, we’ve seen quite a few beautiful little island cities built into hillsides.  What made Tenerife strange was that it was really dry and arid.  So much hard, dry ea…

Teddy At Three-And-A-Half, Veronica at Twenty Months

Veronica first.  Because it’s usually Teddy first in this family.  Not because we love him more or favour him in some way, but because he’s reasonably verbal.  It’s easier to take care of the needs of one kid who’s saying, “Want milk.  I snuggle Daddy?  I go to park?  Potty!” and trickier to respond to the needs of another kid who says, “Dabum, dabum, dabum?  Hiya!  All done!  Dabum?  Dabum, dabum?  EHN! EHN! EHN!”
She’s not a big talker, that Veronica.  I can count on one and a half hands the number of words she uses repeatedly.  Then there’s this strange pile of words she’s used perfectly just once and then never again.  There’s that nagging, taunting part of me that says: she has a speech delay; she has an impediment; she needs help.  And then there’s the other part of me that thinks she just does what she wants and no more.  On our last cruise (which was about five months ago), we said to her, “Can you say ‘elevator?’”  To which she replied, “Elevator,” and has never spoken the w…
We’re on one of two ships in the entire Celebrity fleet where they have a glass-blowing show on board.  (The other ship is the Equinox.)  It’s a skill I’d never really appreciated, and prior to seeing it back on the Equinox my only previous exposure was watching a super-boring mini documentary on TVO about it, back one hundred and eighty years ago when I was still a kid.  Having seen it live twice now, let me assure you that it’s an astounding thing to see.  The folks who do the Hot Glass Show are from the Corning Institute, and they’re beyond skilled.  And in addition to putting on two live shows a day, the artists here also take turns describing what their colleagues are doing, and they also field random questions from the highly random cruisers.  So you can’t just be talented with blowing and sculpting glass, you’ve also got to be interesting and quick on your feet.  The very fact that they put these shows on, in the middle of the ocean, with two thousand degree ovens blaring awa…
Here we are on probably our last good vacation for the next while. We’re on the Celebrity Solstice, on our second of eight days at sea, headed towards the Canary Islands, Portugal, and Spain. It’s a little disorienting being on this ship because we’ve been on two of its sister ships (Equinox and Silhouette) which are completely identical within and nearly identical without—with the differences limited to artwork and finishes.

Teddy, an old pro at five cruises, knows exactly where everything is. I’m pretty sure we could just tell him to go find the pool (six floors away), and he could find navigate there on his own about as fast as we could. Veronica, a nube with just three cruises her belt, is really enjoying herself this time around. There’s lots of places to walk and climb and no end of fellow cruisers to tell how pretty she is (which is all I want people to tell me on any given day).

This trip didn’t have the most auspicious start. We left Ottawa at 2 a.m. to catch a flight o…