Buckwheat Pancakes?

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » North Atlantic
March 27th 2022
Published: March 27th 2022
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Saturday, March 26, 2022

We started the day with an alarm clock waking us at 8am so we could get our PCR test. No test? No leaving the ship when we dock in Lisbon….even if it’s your final destination. SO…everyone needs the test. Piece of cake. We, of course, forgot our paperwork in the stateroom, so Christopher ran back papers in hand, and we moved through the line. First, they scan your Oceania Card, then take your temperature, then you hand over the documents and someone scans your card again which creates a barcode to indicate (anonymously) the testee (not to be confused with any anatomical reference). Then off to the test. Thank goodness it wasn’t one of those that went back to your brain. Those are most unpleasant. This was easy.

At the start of our going through the line, the captain came on over the PA system to warn us about an airlift operation which would take place in about an hour on the back deck. He asked that no-one go on the decks so they could get the patient up into the helicopter as easily as possible. He then said as result of the pending airlift, we would NOT be docking at Funchal to remove the passenger. I felt a huge lump in my throat. I felt so terribly sad and concerned about this poor passenger and their family. I can’t imagine – you get together and plan on spending a wonderful holiday together and BAM. Honestly, I think it brought back a terrible time three years ago on another cruise…but that’s all I’m going to say about that. I was sad, I felt for the families, and I was sure the Helicopter and Ship’s crew were going to accomplish this heroic and herculean task to see that the patient gets the necessary care to heal. Let’s hope there’s no lookey-loos when this all goes down.

Test done. Time for the Brunch Buffet in the Grand Dining Room. We got there a bit early. Christopher ended up chatting with a woman while I took care of a pressing errand. She told him that the reason we didn’t get to Bermuda was because only 400 of the 903 passengers filled out the appropriate paperwork required to dock in Bermuda. WHAT? I hope this is a rumor and NOT the truth. I am NOT HAPPY if that is indeed the case. There should have been a mention of the Bermuda requirements DURING check-in. According to the woman, no one read the email entirely, which I can understand, but then who is the responsible party to follow up????? UNHAPPY.

We are seated at the back of the dining room, just above the propellers with the churning bubbling of the wake close enough to touch….save for the HUGE thick windows and such. We were handed menus. I thought it was a buffet. There are many, MANY tables LOADED with food. Hmmm. What gives? We learned that we could order hot items from the menu and get the sides from the buffet. OK. I wanted a pancake. A blueberry pancake. One. Pancake. Our waiter took the order and disappeared. FOR. A. LONG. TIME. I mean he was gone for at least 30 minutes. It was a simple order….I wanted a buckwheat pancake and Christopher ordered plain waffles and poached eggs (2). I was having a rough morning, as I slept MAYBE 3 hours…that’s being generous.

FINALLY. Our order arrives. He gives Christopher his food and when it comes to my turn, says I’m so sorry, they made Buckwheat waffles instead of the pancake. A little irritated, as one gets after waiting an hour for one’s meal and gets the WRONG order. I told him to put it down and I’d eat it. First…lukewarm. Butter didn’t melt. I HATE lukewarm food. I took a bite. WTAF. WHAT am I tasting…ONION? ONION in a blueberry waffle? I asked Christopher to taste it. I said something’s off – you tell me what you think. I hid the onion taste from him. You should have seen his face! NO. YOU. SHOULD. HAVE. SEEN. HIS. FACE! Is, is that ONION? Oh my god, why is there onion in your waffle?

I called the waiter over. I’m sorry, but there’s NO WAY I CAN EAT THIS. I dislike onions and who puts ONION in buckwheat for a sweet application? He brought over the Big Guns. They removed the plate, and I went up to the buffet to get some fruit to cancel my onion mouth. It truly was so disgusting and unexpected. The Big Gun returned in less than a minute with a new pancake. Hmmm. Not buckwheat blueberry, but PLAIN blueberry…BECAUSE…THESE DAMNED FOOLS PUT ONION POWDER IN THEIR BUCKWHEAT MIX…even for pancakes. WHO, well besides these idiots does this? Have I missed the memo? Is this some eurotrash thing? Did Jacques lose his damned mind? I. HAVE. QUESTIONS.

Now, while this is all going down and we’re waiting endlessly for our meal….why should it take two hours to make a bloody pancake…and then get the order wrong? Anyway…I spot a very, VERY low flying plane approaching the ship. The ships engines are not off, but we’re not vibrating over the props as per usual, and the ship has slowed drastically. The plane must be recon. Shortly thereafter we saw the chopper approach. There were two different helicopters and a jet. The jet circled the ship a few times. When I was in the room, I saw the jet come by low and fast. I could see the pilot…from the room. Yes, it was close.

Prior to returning to the room, Christopher wanted his espresso, so we went up to 14 where everything was happening. We saw a lot of people, noses pressed to the glass gawking. I don’t know how the family felt (nor the patient) but I was upset and turned immediately away. I understand this is a “novelty” – but someone is sick. Sick enough to be evacuated from the ship. Give them some privacy. Did I mention this rescue occurred on a ship perhaps moving between 5 -15 knots, in winds of 35mph and if that isn’t enough it was raining. This rescue crew are the embodiment of true heroism. First responders rule.

We weren’t in the room long – long enough to be certain the person was on their way to wherever they were going. We decided to play some rummykub after a quick lunch: salad for Christopher and Cuban sandwich for me. We played rummykub for about 2 or so hours. One loses track of time.

When we started our games in front of La Reserve, there were only three tables occupied. By the time we left all six tables were packed with two adjacent tables of Texas Fundamentalists. And LOUD. LORDY…they were loud. I could go on, but that would be like shooting fish in a barrel. The stereotype is REAL folks. They held hands and sang amazing grace (according to one lady) last night while at Martini’s. AND…we missed it!

We got back to the room to rest up for dinner. I read (Reading I ALONE CAN FIX IT). IT was worse than I thought with the former guy. I can’t put it down. I’ve been reading for a few days and already halfway through.

DINNER. Tonight, Red Ginger. AT LAST. I’ve had dreams about the Crispy duck and watermelon salad. Dinner will absolutely make up for “brunch”. What were we thinking…we both loathe buffets!

Back to dinner. It was everything and more. So worth the wait. Christopher started with an assortment of sushi, I had the crispy potato roll. We each had the aforementioned salad, because…DUH. And we each had the red chicken curry with jasmine rice. We sipped a wonderful sake while engorging our bellies with these delicious treats. We finished with dessert. I had a single scoop of yuzu sherbet, Christopher had the Steamed apple cake with ice cream. He did not finish the cake. Ice cream was devoured. We waddled over and up to the Grand Bar to listen to the string quartet. They played for about 30 minutes and took a break. We took our leave and called it a night. Indeed…dinner salvaged the day.


27th March 2022

Who on Earth would think that any onion flavoring belongs in a breakfast pancake?! Now, a savory lunch/dinner pancake or crepe is another matter, but NOT for breakfast. I, too, am not a lover of alliums (they actually don't like me, not the other way around), but I generally look the other way when they are cooked into something. But not a breakfast pancake!! So sad that an airlift was needed for the sick passenger, but comforting to know that Oceania can accomplish such a feat when necessary. And I'm surprised that you lasted as long as you did with the rude and overly religious Texans. I would have walked out and likely also made a loud comment to my partner while doing so. It's one thing to have strong beliefs, but it's entirely inappropriate to foist them upon other people in a secular environment. Hope the remainder of this leg of your trip is relatively uneventful (i.e., better weather and better behaving fellow travelers), and that some fun off-ship exploits await you! Love hearing about the menu choices; I'm taking notes for my 3-week Panama Canal passage next year.

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