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07 September 2010

Outrunning Earl (or, Here & There Part I)

Greetings from the good ship Celebrity Summit!

Actually, I am home safe in landlocked State of Illinois, or at least I am told.  I am still pitching and swaying to the rhythm of 30' swells and 75mph winds.

Chin -- Party of Fourteen -- went for a slightly-longer-than-three-hour-tour and came away with a good tale, of sweltering heat in northern seaside environs which set the stage for a once-in-a-generation event, a hurricane that touches land in CANADA!  Hurricane Earl was a rumor when we boarded the cruise ship just over a week ago.  It takes water temperature of 80○F to sustain hurricane level force storm conditions.  Yet, while Earl went from a Level 4 to a Level 2 as it moved swiftly up the northeastern seaboard of the United States, it stayed strong enough to reach Nova Scotia (touching land in Shelburne) two days after we were physically there (in Halifax, 131 miles to the north, which reportedly bore the brunt of 81mph winds).
Enough about Earl!  Let's go cruising!

Never have I seen so many people in one place reading books.  Sorry to say, I did not see anyone reading an electronic book -- probably because owners of those gadgets didn't want to get them wet with seaspray or misplaced as they put them down to go for a quick swim or to participate in the scavenger hunt, so they stayed in their staterooms to read. They would have had to have some forethought in downloading all those thick volumes before leaving shore, because a) the internet package aboard is frightfully expensive (65 cents/minute without a package) and b) with the storms -- besides Earl, we had Tropical Storm Fiona flirting with the ship, also -- on-board connectivity wasn't all the hot, slow at best.  I did see some people take advantage of the free wi-fi near the pier in Halifax at the Garrison Brewing Company , which was our last stop before going back to the ship (and where Larry found the best-tasting beer in the city).

We spied several copies of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as newer and older books.  The ship's library, called "Words," is somewhat skimpy, but we saw that several people did find something to read among the stacks.  I saw quite a few titles mislabeled as fiction, but hey, we make that mistake at Books on First, too, sometimes. 

The book influence, of course, extended to the films featured onboard (a different one each night), such as:

Actually, we didn't have any time to attend the cinema, with so much other entertainment and so many activities: having our photos taken; listening to a young string quartet from the Ukraine playing, with amazing richness, the greatest hits from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries plus a few 20th century favorites; watching a stand-up comic and dancing & singing by the Celebrity Showcase performers as well as truly bad adult karaoke by fellow passengers (although one man's rendition of "Reminiscing" to his wife of 37 years stands out as well done and very touching) with over-the-top Pink Brit Jamesy (I can imagine that at his job interview for assistant to Cruise Director, Celebrity said, "If you can turn up the volume, you're hired," and he does it very well).  We have not yet mentioned the shore trips.  Stay tuned for Part II.

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