Monday, April 14, 2008
A Liberal on a Luxury Cruise
Sailing out of Sydney Harbour, past the Sydney Opera House - this is shot from the balcony of my stateroom. It was midnight when we left. I was hosting a segment of the World Cruise on Crystal Serenity, and I was a liberal among conservatives.
The Sydney Opera House is one of my favorite buildings. On the cruise, I started a series of watercolors with the Opera House as my subject, and now that I am home I've actually gotten serious about my paintings. When I finish, I will photograph them and put them up on Flikr, or Picassa, or something - but right now, I am just doing them. But this image, taken at night, without a tripod, while on a moving ship - well, it has the energy I wanted.
The cruise segment was 17 days, with five ports and 12 days at sea. Those were my favorite days, the sea days. Those were the days for relaxation, reflextion, Yoga, painting, spa, pool, walking. However. I went to the library one day, after I'd finished my book (No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy). They had every book that Ann Coulter has written - they had books by every current neo-conservative author, nothing by any liberal, and the fiction was all Clive Cussler genre. Yikes. The travel books were decent, but I'd read them all, so I sort of backed out slowly...
It was a funny experience for me. I met lovely people, as long as the topic of conversation was superficial - clothes, food, the cruise, men, dancing, the casino. One woman discovered I was a Democrat and she said she would have to reconsider being friendly (until we all decided to chip in on the last day's bingo game. We won the grand prize. She liked me again, thought I was lucky.)(I was lucky. I won big bucks in the casino at Black Jack, Craps, and, yes, even Roulette.) But greed is a strange and powerful motivator. And greedy people tend to be suspicious of others. I spent a lot of time just observing others.
I also found that people who cruise don't really want to get to know a destination in depth. They want convenience over anything else. I prefer land travel, when all is said and done. I want to break bread with local people, to hear about their day, to experience their culture. Do I dislike cruises? Not at all - but I'd just be happy to use a cruise as a means of transportation - I love sea days - I love being afloat on the ocean with nothing but water and the open sky around - the power of the sea is mesmerizing, and it makes my heart sing.