Pacific Paradise

Bora Bora, ah!
Bora Bora, ah!

 Hawaii & Polynesia, Sapphire Princess

Waterfall in Hilo
Waterfall in Hilo

At first I didn’t want to take this cruise. It begins in the middle of October, after all, which is the beginning of my favorite time in Sacramento. Summer has ripened me. We have had our fill of swimming, sun block, big hats and gardening tomatoes, basil and eggplant. As the evenings are getting cooler and the millions of Land Park leaves are starting to release from their trees, as the first soups of the season start to warm the kitchen, do I want to prolong my summer? Also, I just hate to miss Halloween’s colors and costumes and cider and silly movies. Mostly, I will miss my little grandbabie’s costumes and jack-o-lanterns and dear, dear hugs. We won’t be back until November 20.

Yet, it seems that I need it do for my nine year old self. Back in fourth grade, I wrote an essay stating that I wanted to travel to Tahiti in lovely Miss Barbour’s class. She was one of my favorite teachers and remember so vividly how her eyes widened when she heard my essay idea and how she handed me a slip df paper after our lunch break with the correct spelling of Tahiti written on it. She had confirmed with other teachers in the staff lounge to find the spelling, since Tahiti was not included in our classroom junior dictionary. She made me feel like more than the awkward, fat preteen that I was becoming.  I just loved her, she made me feel special.

So into the grand Pacific I must travel for optimistic, naive little Denisey Daniels. There were so many grand dreams in childhood and now, seemly suddenly retired, I find that I am taking inventory of those dreams. Though I feel I have many good years in me, I feel a need to get serious about really becoming the person I planned being before my sweet honey, my kids and my work distracted me.

It seemed to take weeks to pack. We won’t be flying so no bag limits and we won’t be schlepping our stuff around much at all. I am going to take advantage of this great luxury and I am tucking just about everything that own into my bags. There are six, SIX formal nights and, goddess forgive that I should wear any formal wear twice. Teehee! I ended up with a wardrobe bag, a rolling duffle, a rolling carry on and a small tote. With Barry’s similar luggage requirements, we can just get everything I to the TT for the drive to my brother-in-law’s place in LA. He and his wife are going to put us up for the night and babysit my sweet little car.

My brother-in-law’s wife  tried to teach me the Yiddish word for needles in my bottom, but I lost the word already. This is how I feel on the morning that we are leaving, needles in my bottom, anxious and ready to go! When the taxi arrives at the port in San Pedro and I get my first glimpse of the ship, I can hardly keep my “needle butt” on the seat. We are sailing to Tahiti!

To save some moola, we booked an ocean view cabin, rather than a balcony. I’ve done this more than once and been upgraded to a balcony at a great money saving. As the weeks passed and the balconies were still available on the website, I was sure that we would get that upgrade email. However, it never arrived, and I put the luggage tags on for the cabin with a window instead of a balcony. (I know, oh, boo hoo 🙂 ) Alas, what a delightful surprise when we arrived at our cabin, it has a double balcony, a huge open area at the bow of the ship! I am frigging Kate Winslet in Titanic, well not the Titanic….but you know what I mean. There isn’t any patio furniture, as our cabin steward explains, since we are on the bow, it is too windy, but yikes, this is a great spot. There is a patio like ledge above us so we can chose sun or shade outside. Best of all, it has a view of…..the crew’s pool. Young shirtless men below me and the mighty Pacific beyond. The noisy geriatric passenger pool is hidden from us, I get to enjoy all this yummy eye candy! I am enjoying some wonderful karma from from some previously saintly life.

The ship is full of older folks, because only the retired really have the time to spend twenty eight days at sea. At newly fifty nine years old, I am ashamed to smugly feel young and fit within this demographic. I was one of two people in the gym who was actually running on the treadmill. I have to saw that the gym is full though. Lots of folks are moving all they can, and I respect them tremendously.

There are some folks who are our age and thankfully our dinner companions are in that category. One couple is from Long Beach and the other is from Delaware. So far we have had some nice dinner conversation and enjoyed their company.
Oh we a going to a hookie lau, still swaying in my ears after our hula lesson, which was on the heels, so to speak, of our waltz lesson. Tough live on board a cruise ship. Before our sushi lunch, we attended a pretty good lecture on the final voyage of Captain Cook. Tonight we will either go to tapas and wine pairing or to the Italian dinner in the dining room with our new friends.

Nov. 10, 2013, Onboard Routine
Yes, it’s a rough life. We get up when we feel like it, grab a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl in our cabin, go down to the piazza for cappuccino, then we meet some of our new friends  for pickle ball at the top of the ship, the 16th floor, above it all, surrounded by ocean and sky. We play for about an hour, getting sweetly and hot, sometimes I go to the gym to run a couple of miles, sometimes not. Then it’s time for a shower, grab some fresh pineapple in the buffet and then sit by the pool to read, take a swim and decide what lecture, game or show might temp us from our deck chairs.

We went throughout the shops again. The clever bastards change out the merchandise all the time to make you come back to see what they have. One day they had some linen blend peddle pushers for $7.99, only in sizes 8 and 10. Score! I got two pair and they fit fine, so far. With a week more of temptation, I hope that my winter clothes will fit when I get back.

In Papeete, in a taxi, the driver asked what all of us thought about Obama and the other two couples spat out such venom, I was afraid to voice my opinion. They were so viscerally hateful, that it was scary, and used only emotional Fox News type language. Shit! I whispered to the Tahitian taxi driver that we loved Obama when I got out, she smiled sympathetically. Our fellow taxi passengers were much older than us, I sure hope that we don’t get nasty and “the worlds going to hell”, as we get older. I worry about Barry, he is already so critical of everyone. I tease him, “Smile, you are grimacing like an old man saying, ” You kids get off my lawn.”

November 12, 2013
When we first walked on onward, one of the stewards smiled and said welcome home. How true, how lovely it is to be waited upon. In the dining room, when we enter a chorus of waitstaff welcome us back each night, the ship personnel all say good morning, good evening, hope you are having a pleasant cruise….

The thermal spa is one indulgence that we have purchased a few times now. For $199 each for two weeks we are given robes and invited to sip lemon water or have some fruit before we step into the changing room. Then we go into into the inner sanctum, soft lights, spa music, sounds of running water get you into the relaxation mode. Then you have a choice of the sauna, steam room or aroma steam room and the rain showers. I choose the rain shower first, then sit in the aroma steam room. Ah……. Of course there are also my beloved heated tiled lounges, they are magical. After a nice sweat and another shower, I cozy onto the large lounge. The warmth oozes into my body and every muscle dissolves to mush. I go through my meditation routine, but never complete it because I am in a deep, deep sleep soon. When I get enough of this (i feel my drool on my chest) I start the process again and then go in to another room to use the special spa products (smells like a fruit salad in there), maybe a mask or a scrub, another shower and back to the cabin to dress for drinks in the platinum elite lounge. It’s good to be a goddess.

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