Friday, July 28, 2006

Tick tock.... - July 28, 2006

The final countdown is on....

I'm only on board for a little over 24 more hours...

and I haven't even began to pack!

~ ~ ~

I can't believe I'm leaving. It really hit me hardest today, walking away from Cozumel for the last time. I had just had one of my favorite port days in Cozumel ever with my new (best!) friend from Del Sol, Brian. I was all happy about my day snorkling with him and Anglea when I looked back and realized this was the last time I would walk the gangway from a port. The last time I would hear the engines whirr to life below me. The last time I would be off the ship until I began my journey home...

I can't believe it's over.

There's no way to summerize my experience, no way to quanitfy what I've been through. I might make a feeble attempt to do so later when I'm at home, but now, I just need to feel what it's like to leave. Leave this ship, leave my friends, leave these experiences and move on.

I need to soak in these last moments and enjoy them to the fullest.

Reflection will come later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ahhh, the irony... - July 25, 2006


we're quickly coming to the end of this odyssey.

Only 99 more hours left until we all go home.

And after spending the last 6 months with some of the most amazing friends I've ever had...

I get to go home to an empty house.

(well, I must admit, my kitty is there... but still)

(Hmmmm... this is not unlike the ending to my month-long backpacking trip around Europe two years ago... I got a cab home to an empty house, since my parents were out of town. Turns out I didn't pack my keys, so I had locked myself out, and climbed into my top window of my two story house via a HUGE ladder. Hilarious. Even funnier when my Dad called and told me a hurricane was coming, and to bring all of the 60 potted plants in the courtyard into the house.
I thought he was joking.
Little did I know that
A) he was not, and
B) it was the first of FOUR hurricanes that year...

but anyway....)

Levi's working, and my parents are going to be out of town. As if this wasn't bad enough...

they asked me to drive the truck they leave at the airport home for them to save them money.

*sigh*, the irony.

Everyone here in my cast thinks it's hilarous.

They also think everyone at home is planning some big surprise for me.

I told them it really wasn't their style.

Mostly, everyone thinks it's funny.
And I must admit.... I kinda do too.

(Right, the idea of me lugging my HUGE bags full of my life for the past four months through an airport, into a car parking lot down the street from the airport, into the truck, then driving myself home to an empty house, and then lugging them upstairs is a real laugh riot.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Big Update, Part 2 - July 23, 2006

The Great Engine Tour of 2006! - May 30, 2006

When I signed on to the ship, my little adventurous and maniacal brain thought “I want to go everywhere on this ship. I want to go to the very highest point. I want to go to the very lowest point. I want to go to the farthest point front and back of the ship. I want to go everywhere that ‘normal’ people just never get to go.”

These extreme and random thoughts are actually normal for a girl who, when she was 9 and in Rome on top of a very high and ancient Roman Aqueduct. HAD to go to the VERY edge of the 110 ft lip of the roof… just to do it… much to the distress of her mother and father, who still protest at the idea of her skydiving, which she will be doing when she gets back to Orlando with her older brother…

… anyway, these random thoughts of going to extremes on the ship were quite normal for her.
(Her being me….)

At any rate, early on in the contract I made friends with Christian, a very nice French-Canadian engineer officer cadet who was roommates with m good friend Ryan for a few weeks. During that time, I managed to get him to promise Catherine, the very nice French-Canadian singer in my cast, and myself to an exclusive engine room tour.

Now the engine room is no place for tourists. In my mind’s eye, it was a place with spinning turbines, pumping engines, and whirring motors. And it turns out I wasn’t too far off!

We began our tour in the parts department, where Catherine found the world’s largest wrench...

and we encountered our first engineer, who was astounded to see girls in the smelly, dirty engine department. (Engineers are easily amused by the mere appearance of women, we quickly found out) You should have seen the scene we caused on the engineer bridge, like the captains bridge that steers the ship, except there are no windows and lots of attention-starved engineers in coveralls instead…

Christian took us throughout the length of the ship’s bowels, showing us more engines, pumps, turbines, and tanks than you could shake your fist at. (Although I’m not sure why you would want to do that in the first place…)

And, I did manage to get to the highest and lowest point on the ship. Christian actually took us from below deck 1 (and below sea level!) to the highest deck, deck 10, by way of LADDERS.

That’s right. Ladders. (Who uses those anymore anyway, right????)

(And we complain when we have to take the stairs 3 decks! Not anymore, let me tell you what! After climbing 20+ ladders, I felt like quite the trooper!)

I laid down on the lowest deck and pressed my ear to the floor to hear the ocean rush by, and then when we reached the top, actually climbed up INTO the smokestack, which bears the famous Royal Caribbean insignia! (And for the record it was smelly… but worth it.)

The most amazing and disorienting part was when we would pop out random doors and be back in our familiar crew areas. It was like finding an entire new world within a world you were already familiar with. It was like opening your closet and walking down into the core of the earth, seeing the geothermic inner workings of your planet, then opening another door and finding your linen closet. Yeah, kind of like that.

At the end of the tour, we popped out into the laundry, which we had never been in anyway, so we were still amused. We saw HUGE dryers and washers, and a few oven looking-things that had the funniest signage I’ve ever seen. For example, if you climbed into this one ominous oven-looking contraption, they had devised the perfect sign to let you know where you would end up….

All in all, the tour was amazing, and we enjoyed it immensely.

We actually found out later that we really weren’t allowed anywhere he had taken us that day… he actually could have gotten in lots of trouble for what he did… liability and all that…

So turns out I did get to go where others rarely get to go after all!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Why don't my side links work on blogspot anymore??

It's ok.
I'm going home in 196 hours....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Big Update, Part 1- July 19, 2006

The Big Update, Part 1.... - July 19, 2006

Ok, so I promised you a big update, so here it is, starting from three weeks ago....

And sorry about the lack of pictures. They're on the way...

~ ~ ~

Well, the week of June 26th started off with a bang when I planned an excursion to River Tubing in Jamaica! It was really fun (and cold!) 10 people came along! (My excursions are becoming notorious...)

We met our driver, Mickey and English ex-pat, and he drove us around the island a bit before bringing us to the mouth of the river, where we recieved our innertubes. (Basically big black rubber things with plastic strapped to the bottom so you don't fall out!)

The river was swift and cold, so we had an exhillirating and quick ride. Every time it turned and twisted we would scream and hoot and holler like we were going to run aground (and a few times we did!) It was hilarious.

Halfway though the ride, randomly, in the middle of the jungle, the river got shallow, and there was a Jamaican standing there with a really nice digital Nikon camera, taking our picture! We got out of our tubes and on the bank was a bar and a line of flat-screen computers with our pictures for sale! In the middle of the jungle! Again, hilarious.

There was a 20 ft. cliff for us to jump off of (we always find those in Jamaica!) and we took turns on the rope swing. Some people were alternating between that and the little bar that ONLY had Red Stripe beer. (figures...)

Then we hauled our tubes back in the water, next to a Jamaican woman washing her clothes (Who we later found out usually washes ALL of her clothes at once... even the ones she's wearing!) and her adoreable children (who I played with for 20 minutes because we all know I can't resist children!) and we were on our way.

Afterwards, we ate in this awesome all-you-can-eat resturant with a waterfall in it called the Ruins, which was owned by a Jamaican-Chinese guy. (Figures...) hehe.
He was really cool though, and told me how his family, and most Asians in the Caribbean ,came to live there for generations because their great-great grandparents came over to work on the Panama Canal! (Then moved to other islands, obviously, since the canal's not in Jamaica...)

~ ~ ~
Then, on Friday in Cozumel, we went Jeeping with Xavier, Matt, Angie, Judy, and Katie. Xavier and Matt drove the jeeps, and since they're typical boys, they wanted to off road, so the first dirt road X found, we were on it, bouncing out of our seats. It was nauseatingly hilarious.

We toured all over the island, played in some BIG waves, and found a resturant called Coconuts on top of a bluff overlooking a beautiful view. Cozumel is a pretty desolate island, if you go to the center, because it's all a nature preserve, which I especially appreciated...

But the weather reminded us that it IS an island.... it started to POUR at one point and we stopped to rush and put the tops up on the Jeep... only to have the rain abruptly stop once we had secured all the canvas flaps....
~ ~ ~

Well, now that I've written a small novel and feel that you're well on your way to being fully updated... I'll go.... for now.....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The fastest way to a mutiny on board, or "Mutiny on the Rhapsody" - July 15, 2006

Ok, want to know how to overthow a cruse ship?

Here's a step by step:
-And if any RCCL officers (or terriorists, or that matter) are reading this, I'M JOKING.-

But kinda not.

Anywho, step one:
Take out the crew satellite. The one that supplies the crew, who are stuck on board for MONTHS at a time, with outside lines to phone and internet. You can do this simply by sneezing in it's general direction, having a butterfly land on it, or by having a cloud whisk by at a slightly brisk pace.

Step two: Don't tell anyone for a day or two.

Step three: Post a sad little sign outside the crew internet cafe that reads
"Internet broken."
"Try again later."
(And this is the kicker, don't forget this part.)
"Sorry for the inconvienence"

(Then snicker at your lack of sympathy, because in reality, you're not sorry. You are planning a munity, after all.)

Step four: Watch the mutiny begin on it's own, probably led by the entertainment division, which contatins singers and dancers who do little else than sit on the internet for hours at a time.

Voila! Instant mutiny.

Or, rather, what's been happening for the last week on board.

Levi thought I was dead.

(And interestingly enough, my family barely noticed... hehe)

It's been a rough few days on board, to say the least.

~ ~ ~

But on Sunday, expect a blogging extravaganza of some sort. Tomorrow, a boring ol' sea day, with NO internet or phones to speak of, of course... I'll be working on my 'Adventure' blogs. I've had a few adventures that I didn't want to post without pictures, so I'm pulling all that together for you,
the few,
the faithful.

And as a teaser, I'll let you know that I almost DIED this week.

(And no, it's wasn't from a disgruntled, internet-less dancer attacking me with spikes from the shoulder-pads of her "Tommy" costume...)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Finally! I'm blogging! - July 9, 2006

Whew! It's been a while.


Goodness, so much has happened, what to update you on first!

Well, the new pictures and slideshow tell a lot of the story... but I have some specific blogs that I will be posting later this week, like my awesome Engine Tour (I went to the LOWEST point of the ship AND the HIGHEST!) my 23rd Birthday in Cozumel, Diving, Key West, my next ship, swimming with dolphins, Dunn River Falls, Swimming with Stingrays, River Tubing.... and Levi's visit in Key West!

Gosh, I don't even know where to begin...

Well, I'll tell you this much- my life is about a TRILLION times better with my NEW laptop! That's right folks, I've finally gotten my 12" Powerbook. And she's perfect. And cute. And smart. And cute. And fast. And cute. (Did I mention cute?) I sold my 14" ibook about a month and a half ago and had been lost without a laptop for 30 whole days! (I know, can you believe it?) So I just got this one two weeks ago and my whole life changed.

So now it's back on track. Working on my photography (I made two new composites!) and writing away... next week I'll have some more pre-prepared blogs for you....

(Like people actually are interested.... haha.)

Anyway, I guess today I'll write about July 4th, by far the best day of my contract so far. Why is that, you ask? Well, Levi came to visit! It's been about two and a half months since I've seen him, which is far too long, so I had a litany of surprises lined up for him.

When we pulled into the port, I had me and 8 other friends make posters saying "Selena Loves Levi," and we all ran up to Deck 5 (Promenade Deck) and waved them for him when we pulled in.

He was surprised.

Then, we watched the sunset (a Key West must!) and had a romantic, dimly-lit dinner at a cute little Italian place. We were sad when he left, but I must say I was proud of myself for not folding into a little ball of tears.

My last surprise was a note or present for EVERY day from that day until the day I come home, which is only like 22 days away now! So he has 22 little presents to open until then!

So now he'll be surprised 22 more times before I get home!

~ ~ ~

Oh! And earlier this week we went to Hell. That's right. Devil, brimstone, Hell. Well, Hell, Grand Caymen, that is. Katie, Judy, Kristen, Catherine and her friend and I went on a tour of Grand Caymen and we went to Hell, which is basically a cute little road side attraction complete with quirky locals dressing up in costumes! It's really just a rock formation that oddly resembles volcanic rock, even though we're no where near a fault line or geothermic activity, and a little hut full of souvineirs and a man who dresses up like the Devil every day for tourists. My favorite kind of place!

Then we went to the Turtle Farm, where they raise sea turtles for either research, release, or food, we're not entirely sure.... It was fun, though, I got to hold a sea turtle! (See slideshow...)

~ ~ ~

Well, we've got a lot to update you all on, so expect some more back-dated blogs this week!

My Slideshow!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Slacker.... - July 2, 2006

I know, I know...

it's been forever and a day...

but don't fret! I haven't lost the blogging-bug!

(Just the spending-money-I-don't-really-have bug!)

You see, since we're in the middle of the ocean, connecting to the internet is a little tricky, to say the least.

Therefore they charge us an arm and a leg to get online. (jerks...)

And therefore, I put off blogging until I get to free internet on Sunday.

But this week I was busy... talking to Levi!!!! (See? How much more worthy of a cause do you need?)

Because he's coming to SEE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's right- He's driving 8 LONG hours from Orlando to Key West to see me for 8 short hours, then spending the night alone in Key West before driving another long 8 hours back home....

now THAT's Love!!!

So needless to say, I'm breathless with excitement and preparations.

I'm getting him a tour of the ship, not to mention planning our night in Key West, and making all sorts of fun surprises for him to take home with him! (To be revealed later... see? That's how I keep you coming back. Cliffhangers. hehe)