Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Start of Hell

Left Sunday, Valentine's Day, for Miami. The plan was to fly to Miami, sleep in a hotel near the docks and then get on the ship to cross the river Styx into Hell.

The flight down was perfect. The kids were angels. We arrived in Miami around dinner time, grabbed our bags, made our way to the hotel, checked in and then we needed to get some food in the kids' bellies. So, where do you eat when you are in Miami, near the docks, without reservations, at 8 PM? Bayside Mall apparently. So that is where we went. I'm not a Florida person. I'm not a mall person and I'm not a people person so this was going to be a difficult evening for me. The mall was filled with fat people moving in and out of crappy stores or restaurants. It's one of life's mysteries how so many people can be willing to lay down on a table and have their teeth whitened in public. Must be the new miracle formula.

Anyway, the options for food were the usual Florida Mall fare. Chillis, Hooters etc. The wait at every restaurant was at least an hour and a half. We tried the food court but, it seems, the fat fucks waiting to eat at hooters were having snacks at the faster fast food counters. Eating argentinian steak house take out while waiting for your all you can eat argentinian steak is a fucking sickness.

We decided to peek into Lombardis. It's a chain restaurant that claims to sell past and seafood although there wasn't much seafood on the menu. It was far pricier than the other restaurants, with the main courses coming in at around 12 bucks a pop. As a result of this outrageous pricing, the restaurant was half full and we sat down to eat. I spent a nice amount of time trying to get prosciutto but the waiter had no clue what it was. So much for the italian side of the italian restaurant.

Dinner was pretty fucking gross.

On the way out, one of my kids made a comment about how fat everyone was. The other child remarked about the tattoos. Everyone seemed to have them.

My wife leaned in close and said "these are all cruise people."


We woke up the next morning, showered, got our shit repacked to accommodate a day on the cruise without our luggage and we headed down to the lobby. My mother in law calls my wife to tell her they are heading to the boat early as she is handicapped (apparently annoyingly psychotic counts) and she says she will be able to get us on early too. When I asked my wife why we wanted to be on the boat early, when it was too cold for the kids to swim, she responded with "from this point out, we cannot ask questions."

So, off to the dock we went. We got there 20 minutes before the outlaws so we checked ourselves in. Seems they let everyone on at noon and my mother in law just thinks she's special.

Once inside the check in we had to sit and wait for the rest of our group to arrive because my mother in law booked three rooms for nine people and that means that one of my kids is booked under her room and we cannot go in without her. This also means that, in an emergency, one of my kids will be taken to one muster station (this is where you go when you abandon ship) and one kid will got to another muster station.

Now, I'm not too concerned with the ship going down but, still, how fucking stupid is the plan when it puts a 70 year old pain killer addicted hobbled woman in charge of two children in an emergency?

Ok, so back to the boarding. We get on the boat and head to deck 8, where our "rooms" are. Rooms is really generous but I can't think of another word that would best describe this space.

I was expecting a small room and small is what I got. Two single beds with about a foot, maybe less, between them. Another bed was hanging from the wall. My son demanded that I sleep under him (after hours of convincing him it was cool to sleep up top). This meant I was sleeping in a cot with walls on 5 sides. It was a coffin with one wall missing and it kept me up at night thanks to my claustrophobia.

There were 4 small drawers, space for a few items of clothing and a bathroom that was so small that you needed to leave the room to soap up your back.

What struck me most perplexing wasn't the question of why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of torture. It wasn't "how the fuck are we going to stay in this room and not kill each other?"

It wasn't anything like that.

No, all I could think of was "how do all the fat people fit?"

Seriously. The drawers were tiny. A 300 pounder couldn't fit more than a couple pairs of of boxers in one of those drawers. The entry hallway was narrow and to get into the bathroom or the shower, one had to turn sideways to ease inside. These fatties couldn't fit unless they buttered themselves up but then, what's the point of showering if you need to butter your body to get out again?

Ever scarier, nobody does a cruise alone. This means the fat people were travelling in pods. Mother, father and fat kids. Who's brave enough to sleep under one of those murphy beds with one of these fat kids in the bunk?

These are the things that got me thru the first day.

The first feeding was another treat. All you can eat and this is, truly, a great deal.

If you can eat a lot of shit.

By shit I mean the brown stinky stuff that comes from your ass.

The kitchen operates on electric only. No gas, no flame.

So, the steaks? Gross. The chicken? Gross. The only thing that was edible was the fried shit, the bread and the salads.

That doesn't stop the fat fucks from ordering 3 of everything. Sitting at the table that first night, my son across from me, eating his chicken fingers, me picking at a Caesar salad, looking down and seeing the rest of our table inhaling everything that was on the menu, I realized that I am vastly different from my wife and my daughter when it comes to food. My daughter likes the same things as I do, she loves my cooking and she loves great food but, at her core, she's like my wife. She's a cruise eater. My son, on the other hand, was somewhat disgusted by it all and when anyone would order appetizers or entrees, claiming it was for him, he'd stop them and say, politely, "no I want the chicken and nothing else."

He and I were inseparable for the rest of the cruise as we both knew that we would need each other to get thru the week.

The forecast for the week was more of what we had on day one. Lots of shitty food. Overcrowded rooms. Constantly trying to plan the day, and night, around meals and cold weather. That's right, the trip to the Bahamas was going to be a cold on.

Tomorrow is Nassau. High of 70.

Stay tuned for more....

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