I landed in Barcelona after a hazy and time-zone confused 7-hour layover with Lady Gaga in Amsterdam. I told everyone back home who would listen that I was going to leave the airport and get legally blitzed in a smoky drug den, but they all laughed (uncontrollably) at my bluff. “Hugs, not drugs,” I always say. Once I finally made it to Barcelona and tossed out a few Spanish words en route to a taxi and my hotel, I quickly learned that the South American dialect I speak is nothing like Castilian Spanish. I was soon relieved to find out that the entire country was not suffering from a speech impediment, but as legend has it, hundreds of years ago the king had a lisp and his citizens adopted it to make him feel better. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to say Barthelona too much, because Celia is a native Spanish speaker and I let her do all the talking this time around.
Even though I didn’t get wild in Amsterdam (verboden te roken, anyone?), I certainly felt like I had while we wandered the streets of Barcelona on Saturday evening. In my sleepy haze, I barely recall where we went (oh wait, Celia talked me into buying another new bag) or what we ate (seafood ravioli, maybe, and about $24 worth of Coca-Light). At dinner, Celia and I laughed more than once about our inability to complete sentences or thoughts because we were so exhausted - that first day in Europe is always a doozy!
Once we finally turned in around 11 p.m., my body and brain were off-kilter enough to be borderline delusional. We decided to watch the always apropos Up in the Air before going to sleep, but I don’t think we made it any further than George Clooney packing his suitcase. We slept with the window open and my sleep was peppered with kooky dreams. I would swear that there was a George Clooney-soundalike standing under our window shouting “Barthelona, Madrid, Barthelona, Madrid, Barthelona, Madrid!” for about 45 minutes. That can’t be real, right? Celia sleeps like the dead, so she can’t confirm or deny that this happened.
The next morning we woke up refreshed and thankfully un-jetlagged, packed our junk and hailed a cab for the cruise port. Remember when Lauren met me in The Bahamas last Memorial Day weekend and she was so giddy about Atlantis that I thought she would float away on a cloud of happy bubbles? And I was, as usual, about as fun as Jeanine Garafolo on sedatives? Lauren will be so smug and satisfied to know that her influence rubbed off on me when we boarded Voyager of the Seas. I fist-pumped, said “hurray” and “awesome” a few too many times and smiled so big that my overexposed incisors may have frightened small children. I can only imagine what was going through Celia’s mind knowing she had to share a cabin with me for the next seven nights.
“This is going to be so awesome! Celia, they have rollerblading! And rock climbing!” I hollered a little too loud while highlighting the best stuff on the Cruise Compass daily activity newsletter.
“Mmhmm, yes I know,” she said, with much understanding and self-control, considering she was actually there to work.
“Ice skating! Wow, they have ice skating! Hey, do you want to go dancing later? There’s a Michael Jackson dance party at the Vault! Oh, and we could do karaoke! Yayyyyyy!”
Poor patient and kind Celia. I have such a newfound respect for her, both professionally and personally!
More to come about our high seas adventures…
September 2021 Highlights: The Highs + Lows
2 weeks ago