What do people do all day
So you spend a week on a big ship and what do you do all day? Well on the Queen Elizabeth there are many options. Today I wandered around the ship checking out all the different ways passengers keep themselves busy. The crew keep busy, as well. While we were at breakfast, it sounded like a giant woodpecker was trying to come down through the roof. Workers up top were chiseling at the endless rust. Get a bit here, and tomorrow it’s popped up over there.
Some passengers start their day at an early fitness class in the spa, or go to work out on their own on one of the many machines facing out to sea. Some go to catholic mass while others head off to collaborate on crossword puzzles. I checked up on four tables of people learning how to play bridge and on the way passed someone doing a large jigsaw puzzle. A space that mimics a British pub at night was home to a giant trivia contest in the morning. Heard through the door: “In what western state would you open your door and look out into the town of Ding Dong.” I never did get the answer because I heard the cheery chirp of the line-dancing instructor just down the corridor. “Now does anyone remember the steps we learned yesterday to Independence?” One step forward and back and cha cha cha. I tried to follow along but could not keep up, and truthfully got a little out of breath.
My mother went off to a workshop on using your digital camera, but when I looked in, they were learning what button did what and it seemed pretty basic. Enroute to something called a “Baggo Tournament,” I passed people lounging in chairs reading, chatting, looking at their computers, or heads thrown back, completely relaxed in sleep. In the “Royal arcade,” a crowd of ladies were looking over purses and bags that were on sale at half price for two hours only. Folks were looking at art for sale, jewelry, knick knacks, and even a wall of photos. Buy a portrait of yourself taken by the ship’s roving photographer.
I never could figure out what or where the Baggo was, nor could I find the watercolor class, but I did get to the theater in time to catch a bit of historian and mariner Paul Covell’s talk on ocean voyages. You could not get in without bumping in to the ubiquitous Purrell dispenser. Not only are these machines everywhere, but each time you enter a restaurant to eat a small flotilla of waiters chases you down with little squirts of the stuff.
My son Sam has been asking me via email whether I have been swimming yet. So today I decided to brave the pool, yet another activity. The motion of the ship rocks the water back and forth like a giant tidal wave. One moment, you are swimming uphill and the next, you’re shooting towards the end of the pool like a rocket.
More people than you might think, many of them men, spend much of the day in the laundry rooms. There is one on each floor, a narrow space with three washers and driers each. So far none of the men ironing their white shirts has agreed to iron anything for me.
After lunch, the activities continued. Bingo, darts, a shuffleboard tournament. A man and his son playing chess on the giant roof-top chess set. A ballroom dance class, a lecture on hymns of the sea. A movie: Life of Pi. Interesting to watch a large ship sinking in the ocean, just as ours hits some big swells and starts to pound. Several viewers left early, one muttering under her voice “too much water.” An art talk, solo travelers get together, a lecture by a former Olympic gold medalist runner, a knitting and needle-point group, alcoholics anonymous, a golf chipping tourney, too many spa lectures to list, and lots of music. Every afternoon, the Friends of Dorothy meet in an upper deck bar. This is a group for gays and lesbians.
On the way back to my stateroom after lunch, I stumbled on a band playing reggae, to a group of catatonic, largely large white people.
Last night, there were five different venues of live music. A jazz band with a fabulous sax players, a rock band playing for a dance, two piano players, a classical harpist and even a British comedian. Don’t want life music? how about the sound of the roulette wheel or slot machines. The onboard casino is open all day.
Tonight, in addition to similar musical line-ups, there will be an “Elizabethan Ball.” Too bad I missed the afternoon ballroom dancing class. But a dancing partner will not be a problem, as there are six assigned “escorts” who are paid to dance with single women.
Bed looks good after all that.
I’ve been so busy, checking out all the activities, walking and eating, I have barely read any of the books weighing down my suitcase. I guess I can catch up on my reading when I get home.