Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cunard Adventure, Part IV

Blessedly calm seas have prevailed now for over 24 hours. We could use some sun, but I'll take the temperate weather. I realize now why the Atlantic has a reputation for being such a grey ocean. On overcast days, the horizon blurs into an indistinguishable mass as though a giant finger has smudged the line separating sky and sea.

This morning I saw the resident osteopath at the Canyon Ranch Spa, who was a revelation after the fellow I had visited a couple of times in Annapolis (and to whom I will not return). Using a combination of electrical stimulation, acupuncture, and good old-fashioned manipulation, he rotated my sticky sacroiliac joint back into functioning mode. I may very well return for a second visit just before we disembark. I only wish I could find someone half as good back in Annapolis.

We whiled away the rest of the afternoon on a leisurely lunch and walks around the deck. I am told that three laps = 1 mile. Keen joggers run in mad circles, determined to make their daily quota. Most folks simply stroll, an activity much more suited to the stately pace of life aboard the QMII. As I write, I am happily settled in the library, my favorite spot aboard the liner.

Food continues to be very good although not quite as excellent as I expected. The kitchen seems to excel at old-fashioned English favorites: puddings, cream soups, breaded fish, and scones. Indeed, the soups are just wonderful. Last night I had a mushroom soup for a starter that far surpassed the entree of sea bass. Gladly I would have made a meal out of the soup alone, with nice crusty bread on the side. Desserts at dinner have been a disappointment. Last night I tried an indifferent lime panna cotta; by contrast, Rod's rice pudding was very tasty. I think the trick is to order the occasional custard or pudding--or simply hold out for the superlative afternoon tea.

Fortunately, one can also dine healthily. Fresh fruit and salads abound, and the restaurants feature Canyon Ranch sanctioned items on every menu. One of the cafeterias is kept open 24/7 to accommodate insomniacs or the perpetually hungry; again, fresh fruit, cheese, and salads are offered alongside less healthy fare, even at 3.00 a.m. If one were so inclined, you could spend the entire voyage eating, with only an hour or two between meals. Lunch morphs into afternoon tea which then melts into dinner, followed by a late-snack snack (or two). Most people, though, seem pretty good about pacing themselves. From conversations I gather that many people eat a substantial lunch or dinner, preferring to graze lightly at other meals.

In a few minutes we're off to another dance lesson with our South African instructors. Then I will go to the gym for some stretching and a session in the hydro-therapy pool. Tonight we will dance again but not for too long. Poor Rod's neck makes it difficult for him to "hold a frame" for more than 45 minutes. And we'd like to get to bed before 2.00 a.m. for a change.

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