>Day 4 – Aruba

>Yes, this sounds exciting, I know. But I had a little thing known as “in-port manning,” which is a safety rule that decrees 1/3 of crew must always be on board at all times. So we all take turns, in a rotation system.. Usually once per cruise I sit around, potentially putting out fires.
Kind of like what Daniel did in the Drydock – they gave him a little squirt bottle of water and he went around all day looking for fires to put out. Except I don’t get a squirt bottle and I don’t have to walk around.

I don’t mind not going ashore in Aruba. It’s a Sunday – nothing is open, and the beaches in my opinion aren’t spectacular. I have been there a million times. And it’s raining.

I wake up and go to the gym. I set up my keyboard for the show tonight and then I take advantage of the buffet upstairs. I have a seafood cioppino soup with crusty bread, and some spinach salad. I should start taking pictures of all this, but they are slow to upload on satellite internet.

After lunch, I return to the cabin and see my roommate sitting there. “Aren’t you going out?” I ask. She wasn’t. I asked her to take my place in the in-port manning board. It took me awhile to communicate this request to her, and the logistics of it. Language barrier. Long story short, I take my computer and go ashore. I have an hour and a half, and I hear a rumour there’s free wifi at Dunkin‘ Donuts.
(note for Grandparents: wifi means internet)

The Drummer says that free wifi is our crack-cocaine. He likes to equate a lot of things to crack-cocaine. Personally I thought it was two different drugs. For example, a couple of months ago he said “you know that feeling you get when you do 10 pounds of crack cocaine?” No… I said “Well I just had 2 lattes,” he says, “and it feels just like that..” Now the 2 lattes feeling, I understand. He was remarkably sympathetic to my blood test story – how I had to give numerous viles of blood to pass multiple medical tests to be able to come here. “this here is my money vein..” he said, pointing to his arm.

He’s one of my faves though, I really don’t think he’s a serious druggie, just a funny guy and an awesome indie rocker. You should hear his indie rock band – it’s something like http://www.myspace.com/sickboy or however you find the band Sickboy on the My Space website..

Back to the wifi.. it really is our drug. I went ashore and called home via Skype, which is changing the way we live out here. It cost me 15 dollars for a year and I can call anywhere in North America, from anywhere in the world.

I don’t have much time to spend ashore – I have a rehearsal to return to. Today we are playing for a comedy pianist. I will play a keyboard, using blues organ, string sounds and the occasional banjo. Rehearsal is quick and easy. Afterwards I go down to the laundry on deck 2 to get my new pants hemmed. I encounter this sign:

I have encountered signs like this many times today. It doesn’t make my stair climbing any easier. It’s been like a game of snakes and ladders. But this sign is on the bottom deck, and I have already climbed under it. I encounter a closed water tight door, and another bunch of signs:

But it is between 5 and 5:15. hmmm. The elevator opens, and the bass player is in there, facing backwards, as the back door of the elevator only opens on deck 2.
I have a laugh at him, and we go on a quest to find the back door to the laundry. We go back up to deck 4 and around, through a maze of secret tunnels and passageways that I never knew were there. We finally get there. It is filled with Chinese guys. He found his Tux pants – but there was another similar door on this side and I never found my seamstress.

In the laundry I see this sign

And this one

There are some good signs around here, and some contain great english. Like for dinner once – “vegetable plan”. Don’t look now, the Vegetables are planning their escape. I make a mental note to document all signs from now on.

Now it’s time for church. I put on my Sunday finest and go early to consult song choices with the Priest. It’s not by choice that I play for church, it’s what I get the big bucks for. People always think that I am doing such a good deed by playing for them, and I receive many a head-pat and exclamations of “you’re such a good girl!” from little old ladies. I start the song. No-one sings. So much for my great intro. I circle around and start it again, this time they sing. The thing about church singers – they’ll sing it exactly how it should be. No matter what. I just have to follow them.

I drop by the coffee shop on the way from church. They are just taking away the mini-spread of food they keep there, and I scramble to get some brie, tomatoes and bread. This is my dinner. I go and see Daniel in his bar. He takes a dinner break and I go and sit with him in the mess as he eats. Dinner features french fries, mac and cheese, brussel sprouts, and ribs. You wouldn’t believe how often we get served brussel sprouts.

I go to work. The Drummer is backstage. “Hey, got any Codine?” he greets me. “I had two lattes at the free wifi in Dunkin Donuts, and can’t stop shaking.” He says this right after I wrote the last bit about him above, and I can’t believe my ears.

We play the show. It’s a comedy pianist, and a surprisingly big crowd is out for a Superbowl Sunday. We play about 4 songs with him, and the rest of the time is spent sitting there trying to look entertained. There is a big finale where I get up there on the piano with him and play dueling pianos – 4 hands , one piano, serious rock n’roll. The people love it.

In between shows we go and hit the Superbowl party. Not for the game, but because we heard they had hot dogs there, and guacamole.

There aren’t many people at the second show. I can see a lady in the front row, head tilted back and mouth wide open. Her head would fall forward and she would awake with a start, and then the head would tilt back again. It was hard to watch. I sympathized with her, although the show was funny, the more I watched her the sleepier I felt. I hoped that the comedian wouldn’t single her out for sleeping. .

When the show is finished, three of us hang around and jam, for ourselves. We play jazz, real jazz, until 1 in the morning, and then we go to the crew bar, where I am surprised to find Daniel, who got off work early tonight.

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2 Responses to >Day 4 – Aruba

  1. Ginnie says:

    >Stacey, you are really a hoot. A great writer! You need to start publishing these pieces somewhere. Start up a cruise newsletter for the employees (of all cruise ships!). I had a real laugh over the druggie guy and the lady with her mouth open on the front row. This is so fun, reading about YOUR side of the cruise. It’ll never be the same for me again!Yay for WiFi!

  2. Lynn says:

    >OOOOO The keeper of the duck!Your stories are interesting! I will have fun readin up

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