Buffaloed by Icebergs Breezing By Paamiut (Frederikshab) Greenland

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North America » Greenland
July 25th 2018
Published: July 26th 2018
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Our crossing towards Greenland took us across stormy icy seas. An iceberg was spotted and reported by the captain on our approach to Paamiut. Actually, the captain noted that this was our second (and final) approach to Paamiut. Initially, we had a spare two hours baked into our schedule due to our earlier than anticipated departure from Labrador. One look out of our stateroom window found the seas dancing unmercifully, and we had felt the ship rolling and yawing throughout the night. At dinner the previous evening it was apparent that the “Early Rush” had turned into a “Tardy Dribble”. One at our table reported that his wife was back in the cabin still trying to get her sea legs under her. Others were also preferring to remain in their cabin and the convenience of immediate access to their own private facilities. The captain came on again, and this time announced that the seas were just too extreme to allow a safe tender or anchoring operation, and that he would maneuver the ship to exit the narrow entrance. It would have been a long tender operation in high winds and difficult seas; and, he concluded again that safety concerns would not permit him to proceed with a day ashore for passengers who are becoming increasingly infected with cabin fever. As for the Noro-virus, there are still extra precautions being observed, people are being more than encouraged to wash their hands in the hand washing machine stationed at the entrances to the Lido. Teams grade their own answer sheets in team Trivia (not that helped us yesterday). And pencils distributed in the piano bar for “Ascertain That Tune” are disinfected. Reports of new cases are no longer increasing; so, hopefully it won’t follow us on the remainder of this cruise. We couldn’t believe it when we heard in the Captains report that some of the early cases reported had been quarantined to their cabin; but, were spotted going around the ship as if nothing was wrong. Terrific, we have our very own Typhoid Mary. The captain did take a measured response emphasizing that he expected everyone to follow medical instructions. And of course, wash your hands frequently.

I opted for an omelet in the Lido since we have another impromptu sea day. Sharon stuck with her chocolate croissant, scrambled egg, hash browns, toast and apple juice. It’s easy for us to spot our cabin because our neighbor started out with red-white-and-blue balloons on their door. The blue was the first to go, and was hanging there like a limp wet noodle. Then the white balloon went. It’s pretty good that the red balloon is still there and holding air. All of the other balloons on our bow to stern hallway have disappeared already. After the demise of the white balloon our neighbor noted to me in the hall, “I was hoping that they would last the whole cruise.” I’m thinking, “Good luck with that,” but eight days in the red balloon is still there.

Sharon went out to walk around the Promenade Deck and to take some pictures so she could at least see Paaaimut. She saw a couple of ice bergs; but, noted that the wind made the temperature biting. At about 10:15 we went into the casino and they were open; but, they would not open the Fun-21 Table for me. Nobody was playing at any of the table games and I thought that it was odd that they “Didn’t have enough staff to open my table.” I guess that that can be an issue on a non-scheduled sea day. Sharon was over doing spin-after-spin on the Lobstermania machine. “I can’t believe that it is not giving me anything.” Spin again. “This machine isn’t giving me anything.” Spin again. “Something is wrong, here… Very wrong.” I’m thinking, “What’s wrong with this picture. She played her $20 down to about $5 when she’d finally had enough. I’m not sure she ever even won half her bet on any given spin. So she was ready to try the Buffalo Stampede machine. Three spins in and she seemed to have buffalos across the line and her $5 bankroll had swelled to over $35. Woo-hoo! My girl is having fun now. A couple more spins and she got some more buffalo money; and, it was beginning to look like we would be here for some time. Then a lady came over and asked if I was playing the machine next to Sharon. I was leaning on the back of its chair. She squeezed in and holding her ashtray in one hand and shoving her lit cigarette into Sharon’s face with the other hand she attempted to settle into chair next to Sharon. “Oh, is that bothering you dear?” she asks in a thick Bronx accent, switching the cigarette to the other hand which is now free of the ashtray, and exhaling a carcinogenic breeze. Sharon hits the “Cash Out” button, fuming that she’s been forced to leave her machine (that apparently likes her). The Rotterdam doesn’t have “Fisherman Bob” in their casino. Bob’s been very good to her on previous cruises. “I don’t know why they allow smoking in the casino.”

I got the baked pasta with a spinach/romaine salad in the Lido. Sharon got beef and potatoes. I asked her, “Is this in honor of your Irish roots?” Sharon sent me off on a quest for chocolate chip cookies; but, where they served ice cream there were no cookies at all. I came back empty handed, and Sharon proclaimed, “Well, this is certainly going on my survey! I’ve been able to get just one chocolate chip cookie since we got on board!”

I went up to the Crow’s Nest for Team Trivia, again moved from 4PM to 1PM for this impromptu Sea Day. Sharon came up later; and, Duncan and Pam soon joined us. This time we were seated at our normal table by the window. I had come up one-half hour early, and today, the guy from yesterday (whose table I was seated at yesterday before he arrived 5 minutes before trivia was to start) had already camped out in his table to make sure that he wouldn’t lose it two days in a row. Jim and Rose Marie never arrived, and we found a couple of women to fill in (their husbands who they normally played with were still eating). Again, we started out by acing Linda’s queries; even though we had to guess at two out of the first three questions. “In 1898 the Remington Number Two was a revolutionary advance in what: (a) Guns, (b) Razors, or (c) Typewriters?” Since we guessed, I’ll let you guess too! “How many members did the Fifth Dimension have?” Linda didn’t even offer up one of her not so subtle clues, like “Sometimes the ‘obvious’ answer is right”. Linda wanted to know “Who is the oldest Kardashian sister?” And ever so helpful, Linda answered, “Sometimes, if you only know ONE name, well, sometimes that’s right.” To our chagrin we took her advice. Who spells “Kourtney” with a “K” anyway? Jim was pressing for the right answer for “What decade did the last execution in the Tower of London occur?” Our choices were (a) 1880’s, (b) 1890’s, (c) 1920’s or (d) 1940’s. Everybody else was pushing for something earlier; but, wouldn’t you know that they’d catch a Nazi spy that needed to be terminated! Linda asked, “What is the element with the LOWEST boiling point. One of our pinch-hitter trivia teammates suggested “Mercury”. I’m sure that’s the right answer to an “Element” question that she heard before that had something to do with “Room Temperature”. I suggested “Hydrogen” and Jim suggested “Helium”; but, neither of us was sure. I don’t know why Pam keeps listening to me. I suspect that will change. Then Linda hits us with a flag question. Sharon is bragging, “We have this… John knows all the flags.” But the question was “How many stars are on the European Union Flag?” I would stand a better chance of answering that for any of the countries in the EU; but, this not exactly being a “country” flag, it didn’t make it into my list (although I have added it now). I now know that it’s one dozen yellow stars arranged on the perimeter of an invisible circle against a blue field. While everybody knows that Fae Wray played with King Kong in the original movie, who would possibly know the full name of the character that she played? “Ann Darrow” was worth two points. We wound up with 13 points, good enough to win yesterday; but, one-point shy today. Again, there was a tie with two teams, again first-time winners! If only we’d listened to Jim!

As added entertainment on this Sea Day Naomi gave an impromptu piano recital on what she termed “Music of the Heart” or “Love Songs”. She said that she’d been asked to play a certain piece by somebody that she’d met on deck, and she decided that she would play it know; but, that there were three variations to choose from (so she hoped that the one she chose was okay). She finished with a very lively rendition of Rhapsody in Blue (which had also been requested).

We headed back to the casino, since it’s not far from the Showroom. Again, I was told that there was nobody that could come and open the Fun-21 table (even though they were very busy at three other tables, they were not willing to open up another table. They offered, that I should sit down at the blackjack table that was open. I was reminded of that commercial where the guy says, “I should just take my wallet and through it into the water,” and then he does that, lamenting “I’m going to regret that I did that.” Playing blackjack at a 6:5 payoff table makes me feel just like that. I sighed and headed back to the cabin. Meanwhile, Sharon is playing with the Buffaloes. She was eying the Lobstermania machine, at which some poor fool was spinning and spinning and thinking something like, “Surely I must win with my next spin!” Sharon got three gold coins giving her eight free spins. Once you start using the three spins you only need two or more gold coins to get additional spins, and she worked her way up to thirty-eight free spins. Before she was done, she was up over $200. She was a pretty happy girl by the time she got back to the cabin.

She might have kept playing; but, she needed to go to mass. At least she has priorities and hasn’t completely been bitten by the gambling bug. She came back to the cabin and we needed to get ready for dinner at the Pinnacle transformed into Rudi’s “Sel de Mer” (which happens about once per week). Their specialty is French-style cooking and seafood. I ordered the escargot (of course) and asked about the Fish of the Day. I was told “King Fish, but I do NOT recommend it.” His accent had a distinct French haughtiness about it; but, I heeded his recommendation. I chose the Lobster. Our serving steward approved, “Oui, most excellent choice.” Sharon had the “Steak Frittes” clarified as a black-pepper crusted beef tenderloin (with French Fries). I added mashed cauliflower and green beans as my sides; and, Sharon did help me with the beans and I her with some of her fries. They started us with an amuse bouche of a grilled scallop with some kind of “sea foam” on top. As the steward described this complimentary dish the greenish foam on top of my scallop was beginning to ooze off of the scallop, down its side and dripping a bit onto the tablecloth. Sharon’s “sea foam” remains perfectly centered on her scallop, and I’m thinking she’s going to give me some grief for messing up my side of the table. The scallops were delicious, and I can attest that both of them were most excellent. Sharon did like the salty butter and fresh French Bread wrapped in a cloth to keep fresh and warm. My escargot was brought in the classic French style and served in the shell. I struggled with the “snail holder” which never seems to hold those little beasties tight enough, to skewer the inside with the pick utensil; never mind that the shell is quite slippery in hot butter. The garlic is served as a roasted garlic which needs to be individually dug out of the clove. I’m not sure that the top of the garlic was cut in the right place, because, the individual pieces didn’t pop out very easily; but, I managed. Mine was the only appetizer that we ordered. Opposite a table for six had started mostly with an order of Cioppino, served in a baking bag, whose top is cut in front of the diner, and then the fishy soup is left in the bowl as the plastic-like wrapper is deftly removed from the bowl. The server evidently messed up one of the bags, because he spent some time fishing out a piece of the bag that got left behind. They all seemed to rave about the cioppino and agreed, that the saffron accented fragrance when cooked in the bag such us this was indeed delightful. I noticed that they also got a second appetizer. I wonder why I hadn’t thought about this. I thought, “No, I’m being good. I allowed myself to have some of the French Bread because this is a ‘special’ dinner.” I notice that they are mostly having escargot for their second course. The head server checks to make sure that they have everything that they need and notes, “Madame, ‘YOU’ are most expert at eating the escargot…” I couldn’t help but detect a certain distain he must hold for those who are not as adept at handling those little beasties; but, I’m sure his barb wasn’t meant only for me! My lobster came and there were two lobster tails, artfully arranged on the plate so that one stood up and one was hidden. Sharon’s steak came with fried onion strings and a inverted spiral conical holder for fries wrapped in paper. The lobster tails were broiled and the meat fully exposed. I was happy that they didn’t bring me one of those lobster bibs; although, I might have needed one. I also allowed myself to have the Profiteroles, with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and ice cream. I could have been good and gotten the cheese plate; but, as I mentioned: This is a ‘special meal’. We’d considered Rudi’s Soufflé, his version of Salzberger Nockerl; but, I was leaning towards something chocolaty. I was nearly done, when “it happened”. A piece of my puff pastry and a dollop of ice cream which was perilously balanced on my fork shifted and plummeted downward, missing the table, missing me in my new suit and plopping on the floor. I do the quick double take right and left to see who might have seen my faux pas and of course Sharon is grinning, “I saw that… you can’t fool me… not with that look on your face.” They’d brought us out a spiral tree with about a dozen after dinner treats for us to sample, a bit much for a table of two; but, perhaps more perfect for the table of six near us. There were three strawberries, one of them dipped in dark chocolate and one of them dipped in white chocolate. There were a couple of fruity chewy treats, and other chocolaty creations using all types of chocolate. I had the dark chocolate strawberry. Sharon has one piece, and then admits that she’s full. She gets the server to wrap the rest of the treats in some aluminum foil. I guess they aren’t setup for doggie bags. I’m thinking, “Boy, if he looks down on me for they way I eat escargot, what must he think of Sharon for the way she’s asking for a To-Go box from a fancy restaurant.” I’d say that we got our answer when we got back to the cabin, and later Sharon went to have the white chocolate candy, and everything had been mushed together and her candy was covered with strawberry juice.

We went to the show; and, the seas still made any dance show problematic. I found us some seats 30 minutes before showtime; and, it was a good thing that I did. The first show was “Sold Out” five minutes later when Sharon arrived. She took her goodies back to the cabin, and I had correctly suggested, “I’d better go get us some seats.” Tonight, we got a combination show of the comedian Fred Bevel and the guitarist Greg Rodman.

Afterwards Sharon went to the Piano Bar. I walked through the casino and smiled as I walked by the Fun-21 Table where a dealer was waiting for somebody to sit down. I just walked by, smiling to myself, and figured maybe next time they’ll find someone to deal for me when I want to play. If I’d realized that tonight was a “No Smoking” night, I might have sat down; because, they have far too few of those. But let’s face, walking through the casino on a “No Smoking” night, you might not realize that it’s a no smoking night because the whole place still smells like an ashtray. Sharon enjoyed spending some time with Barry From Boston on Sing-a-long night. She said her mother would have loved that set since it included her favorite “You Are My Sunshine” along with the 3 little fishy song she used to sing to her brothers as kids, and the Rubber Tree Plant song. Afterwards she visited the Buffaloes, and this time sat down at the machine on the left side. Back in the room I was getting comfortable, getting out of my new tannish suit and relaxing. I’m watching some TV and Sharon comes bouncing in “I won, Baby. I won!” She got a whole bunch more free spins and this time won $400. “What are you trying to do, pay for the cruise in the casino?” I asked. She just beamed. “So, now that you’re ahead are you going to quit?” She thought about that a bit. Between the casino and Bingo, we’re up about $1,000 in two days. Do you notice how deftly I inserted that “WE” in there? Well, I did win a little at Bingo yesterday too ($91 vs her $360)! This is where Sharon will likely add just how little I won yesterday, splitting my winnings with someone else! After all, she has final editorial review of the blog!

Did you guess “Typewriters” as we did!


27th July 2018

John....loving your blog. We were supposed to be on this cruise but had to cancel at the last minute so I am gobbling up all your posts and traveling right along with you......what fun. Keep them coming.
29th July 2018

I love your writing style! And all the funny details yo7 include! We look forward to meetingyou in Rotterdam where we board! Keep the winn8ngs going in the casino... and I guessed ‘Guns’! Darn!

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