As has already been discussed on this august website, I am quite attached to my routine. The routine never changes, and if it does I get heartburn. It seems to be my lot in life, however, to have roommates who love spontaneity. For example, last year my roommates suddenly started pining for a cruise. I, an unwitting victim, just happened to be in the room at the time.

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I thought cruises were for losers. There were better things to spend your money on, like Panda Express or a new book. So I went to my parents for advice.

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So it was with some trepidation I began preparations for this Catalina-Ensanada cruise. It required a complete wardrobe overhaul, a new camera, and an exercise regimen that nearly killed me (see my virtually-defunct Exercise Diary for that sob story).
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And so, over Spring Break, I and my three roommates set out for our date with Destiny.
After a brief sojourn at Hoover Dam:
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we spent a night in Las Vegas, which was a mistake of some significance. You see, two of my roommates, Kyle and Walker, had never been to Vegas. My other roommate Layne and I knew what to expect and what to do…also what not to do.
Poor Walker was raised as a good Mormon child: you make eye contact with people, you smile and say hello, and if someone is offering a brochure you take it and thank them for their time. You can imagine what happened when one of the vendors handed him a brochure inviting him to spend a night with women of a certain moral fiber (if you get my drift.)

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I almost had to grab ahold of him, concerned that he was going to bolt into the street and get run over.
I asked to go to Caesar’s Palace, because I wanted to see and get a picture of their replica of Michelangelo’s David. My roommates were in no condition to take the picture when we got there; they were too busy laughing at me for coming to see it. “You want to see a giant naked dude? Hee hee hee!” I was not amused.

 

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Being a patron of the arts is difficult sometimes.

Needless to say, we did not stay long. The next morning we left for California. Kyle warned us:

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and he wasn’t kidding. Kyle is the most aggressive driver I have ever had the misfortune to be in a car with. We were inches from other people’s bumpers, barreling down the Interstate at ninety miles an hour.

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Walker and I kept stomping imaginary brakes in the back seat, blurting out what we claimed to be prayers but Kyle claimed were oaths taking the name of God in vain. He’s a liar.
Eventually Kyle got tired of us screaming, so he let Layne drive. At that point I began to lose bladder control because Layne served his mission in Florida, which operates under completely different traffic rules. Dave Barry put it best when he described what traffic light colors mean in Miami:

Green: Proceed.
Yellow: Proceed much faster.
Red: Proceed while gesturing.

Layne believes in the Florida traffic system with all his heart.

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Walker’s voice at that point was high enough that only birds could hear it, and was of such intensity that they were thudding onto the pavement behind us, stunned right out of the sky.
Somehow, probably through the grace of the Almighty, we made it to the hotel. The next morning we went to the beach near our cruise ship port, and frolicked in the water for a while. It had been a decade and a half since I had seen the ocean, and I got a little…crazy.
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They dragged me away after an hour, and we boarded the Carnival Inspiration.
I see now why people go on cruises.

There was the FREE, ENDLESS supply of food:
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The “Unlimited Soda” program:
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And, of course, the incredible view:
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They had a lot of shows and lounges to go to and hang out. My roommates kept asking “What should we do today?”
I invariably responded,

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“But,” they sputtered, what are we going to do after that?”

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When I wasn’t lounging on the deck, we went zip lining on Catalina Island:
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And went to a very disappointing La Bufadora (literally, “Place Where Mildly Interesting Ocean Spray Has Been Taken Over By Very Pushy Vendors Who Will Physically Assault You To Get You To Purchase Their Products”) in Ensenada, Mexico.

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I did not like the vendors. Like Walker, I was raised as a good little Mormon boy who makes eye contact with people and says “please,” and “no thank you.” The vendors took advantage of it here, so I had to put on my “Resting Douche Face” and make a beeline back to the boat.
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The vendors did not like Resting Douche Face.

 

We also went on a tour of the boat, visiting the bridge, galley and crew quarters. We were going to see the engine room, but the tour guide said, on a perfectly clear morning, “There is some fog, so we have to do some maneuvers and as a consequence can’t see the engine room today.” She lied. We overheard another crew member saying to his friend,

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This cruise has ruined regular vacations for me. I’m already looking at Hawaiian or Bahamas cruises for next year. I nearly wept when I had to leave the boat. The only real complaint I have was the dizziness when I came home; I was running into walls and missing door handles because the world kept spinning.

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So, I wish to publicly thank my roommates for taking me along. Next time we do this as a group, however, I’m taking a plane to get there.

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