Monday, June 20, 2022

May 22, 2022 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Off Coast of Costa Rica – Mostly Cloudy

COVID Mitigation Update.  The indoor mask mandate is still in effect (mask monitors are still on the job in the theater) and the seating separation, while generally ineffective, is still in force (there are signs that say "don’t sit here" in the theater).  The Lido Buffet is still assisted serving.  The staff do a pretty good job of keeping the items moving onto the plates of the guests. 

Big day today – ship wide testing for COVID antigen.  The Queen’s Room is the venue and there are ten testing stations.  Guests enter from the forward side of the Room and exit the other side. 

I was up at 6:00 AM to an ocean full of sunshine.  At 7:10 AM, I went for the testing, which took less than two minutes.  I went back to the room to let Ellen know how to enter the Room. She went to get tested and I went upstairs to get a table in the Lido Café.  I got the first table against the window at the entrance.  Today, I had pancakes with Nutella, Maple Syrup, and walnuts.  I also had a fried egg and a scoop of scrambled eggs.  It was all cold when I finally got my creation to my table.  The only hot item was the very strong coffee served this morning.  Cold but OK.

Ellen got her test and we met up in the Lido Buffet line.  The line was a bit chaotic since people who normally eat later are now up here because they had to get up early for testing. Ellen had porridge with nuts and two pancakes with bananas.

I am now live in the Carinthia Cafe at 10:09 AM CDT sipping an ice water. 

The weather outside is perfect for stretching out on a lounge chair and reading.  Not too hot, not too sunny, and not too humid.  There is no shady or sunny side of the ship but there is a cooler side and that’s where we set up HQ.  The key is to find a spot away from the AC exhaust fans, which are very noisy.  The breeze on deck is wonderful today coming not only from the motion of the ship (headwind) but also sideways from the Pacific Ocean. 

I have a goal today to finish “Someone to Watch Over Me” – I have about 80 percent left.  As I get further into the book, it has become clear that this book is about Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and their craziness.  The book was released in 2020 so the timing is just about right and the “Big Bads” in this book are thinly veiled versions of the notorious duo.

The Noon update from the Captain did not include the status of the COVID Testing.  It is clear that Queen Elizabeth will not be as transparent regarding cases as our previous ships were.  I suppose that everyone we see walking around has tested negative or they would be isolated in their rooms for five plus days. 

Lunch in the Lido Café consisted of a larger than usual salad for me (with Marie Rose dressing, which does NOT contain fish) that also included these huge strips of sun dried tomatoes (that looked like some kind of cured meat).  The tomatoes were so salty that I couldn’t eat them.   I also had a taco made for me (guacamole, tomatoes, and what passes for salsa on a Brit ship) but, as expected, wasn’t as good as the last time I had it.  BTW, salt and pepper are not on the tables – you need to ask for them.

In the afternoon, we were back on our seats on Deck 3.  After reading for a while, we completed three laps of the ship, which comes out to 0.9 miles.  This is what we saw on our walk.

View Through Opening at the Bow of the Ship
Coast of Costa Rica (Starboard Side)

I had taken an Advil in the morning and it kept me basically pain free for the day especially while we were walking.

I finished the book and things didn’t work out exactly how I wanted them to but the ending was fine.  I have another Spenser book in my collection that I will start tomorrow.  I am also planning to get some additional Spenser books at our next phone service stop.  I have a lot of free books but they just don’t have the hooks that make me want to finish them.  BTW, I have started reading books on my phone instead of the Kindle.  The Kindle App on the phone is easy to read on and the Libby App from the library is far superior than Kindle’s Overdrive when it comes to getting books.  One less screen to bring along.  My Kindle is now a back up device for Ellen’s Kindle.

It’s “Smart Attire” night tonight and we had dinner in the Britannia Dining Room. There were plenty of items on the menu tonight.  I had the Roasted Tomato Soup (very hot and good), a Cesar Salad (the first time this item has appeared on this cruise), which was OK but did not have a standard Cesar Dressing.  My main dishes were an Asian Salmon dish (I did not like any of the side stuff – the fish itself was not so tasty) and a mushroom/cheese pastry that turned out to be better than the fish.  Ellen had Sole prepared specially (pan fried instead of soaking in seafood sauce) and she like it.  Service was very slow tonight for some reason so we tried to order dessert and coffee/tea but could not finish it. The chocolate crisps petite fours turned out to be small Rice Krispies treats.  Dinner was complicated but OK.

We spent some time listening to the Everglow Duo in the Queen's Room but have come to realize that the lead singer slurs the lyrics to the point when you cannot understand what she is saying. I understand that is artistic license and interpretation at work but tonight she did it with two songs I really like – “Jolene” and “Annie’s Song” – and I really like the lyrics.

It was Variety Showtime again tonight combining a tribute to James Bond (again?) by the Singers and Dancers and a violin set by Gary Lovini.  We stayed for the Bond segment but headed out when the violin got under way.

We wandered around the rest of the evening – spending very little time in the Garden Room

because the Irish Folk Duo were playing.  They are very popular with the Irish on board but, even though I like Celtic music, I am not a fan of this kind of folk music.

From there we went up to the Commodore Room to hear the piano musing of Jacqueline Waugh.  

We kept moving our seats to get away from people and eventually found safe haven.  We stayed until she finished her set and then headed for the room.  The Commodore Room was very chilly tonight.

Clocks move back another hour tonight – I guess to put us PDT.

Seas are smooth and the room, as always, is quiet.

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