Sunday, May 23, 2010

People Watching on the QMII

If anything, this passage on the Queen Mary II is even better than our voyage last year. Blessed by mild weather and calm seas, we have made steady progress toward Southampton, averaging 23 knots. I think Rod would prefer a bit more nautical excitement (translation: a goodly storm), but I am very happy with the current conditions.

The passengers seem a bit more colorful this time through: two 60-something hippies, with graying waist-long hair and wildly inappropriate gypsy garb caught our eye, as did a young man in psychedelic pants. On our first evening we saw a woman in a burgundy colored velour tracksuit—indescribably awful—wearing a hat with bunny ears. The contrast between the madcap garb and her hatchet-faced expression was, um, compelling. Perhaps the bunny ears were supposed to cheer her up?

I don’t know if it’s the current economic climate or political tensions or even the volcanic ash, but more people seem to be gorging on food this year. We went for herbal tea last night in the King’s Court, a central cafeteria area that stays open until nearly midnight. While we sipped our hot drinks, I watched a succession of people attack various desserts with grim determination—and this after having dined on a 3-course meal two hours earlier. One man in particular caught my attention, a trim bearded fellow, perhaps in his early sixties, who returned five times—no, I am not making this up—to the desserts, each time heaping his tray with two or three items. He didn’t appear to be enjoying the sweets; indeed, he seemed generally unhappy, and it made me sad to think that all those bowls of pudding and slices of cake would never sate his emptiness. Then there were the usual overweight people (as many Europeans as Americans, I might add) who had no business indulging midnight snacks but nonetheless stuffed themselves with empty carbohydrates.

One can very easily eat well on the QMII: fresh fruit is available around the clock for snacking, while salads, grilled vegetables, and lean proteins abound at every meal. Lunch and dinner choices include Canyon Ranch specialties, all relatively low in calories and sodium. Yesterday for lunch I had a superb vegetarian meal of grilled vegetables atop toasted risotto and a fresh tomato soup. It can be done.

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