Pathmaker, There Is No Path

Fall Waning Autumn Moon

After dinner. The Rotterdam Dining Room has huge lamps, four feet high, with wooden men and lions carved into them for décor, otherwise they look like street side gas lanterns. The wine steward used to work for Marilyn Carlson as a butler on the Radisson Cruise Lines. He was, he said, her butler of choice when she cruised, which was once a year or so. She also came to each launching to swing the bottle of champagne.

He has never been to Minnesota but he offered to work as our butler for free. If we would sponsor him. When I said, “You’ll work for us to free if we pay to get you into the US?” he laughed.

Our table, number 31, sits at the stern of deck 8 and overlooks the wake of the ship. Because we chose the 5:45 seating, we also get to watch the sun go down. Can’t get better than that.

Here’s a testimony to empirical observation. As we head south toward Ft. Lauderdale, we had the bow into oncoming white caps, a moderate swell as I said before. When I looked at the LED screen showing our progress, the scroll bar the bottom said winds N. I knew that couldn’t be right. Sure enough the Captain came on and told us the winds were from the SSW.

He also told a story about the Bermuda Triangle. He gave what must have been meant as a reassuring analysis of the wrecks and disappearances there. He explained that neither extra terrestrials nor magnetic disturbances were to blame. The only law at work explaining disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle is the law of gravity, he said. Even though he said that statistically there was nothing unusual about this body of water, his focus on wrecks and disappearances left quite another impression.

Due to cruise ships affected with norovirus there is, too, a somewhat disturbing emphasis on sanitation with hand sanitizers located all over the ship and small signs encouraging the careful washing of hands. I say disturbing because I find myself avoiding touching any common surface, a bit dicey when going downstairs. Besides, I don’t like this feeling that contamination lurks around every corner. Our germ-phobic culture in the US actually encourages the spread of disease by ensuring that only the toughest bugs survive.

As Kate and I walked around the promenade that runs all round the ship, we noticed Jupiter risen in the West. I’m looking forward to seeing the Southern Cross and other south of the equator constellations. That’s not till post Ecuador, however, a week plus from now.

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