Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yes, Yes

My favorite port, the last time I took this same Trans Atlantic repositioning cruise on the Disney Magic, was Cadiz. This time it appears to be the same. My excursion went extremely well. I’ll have to research where I went because I have forgotten the name. It was an equestrian event I would unintelligently call dressage. It was simply beautiful. Then there was the bodega afterward. I sat with some very enthusiastic young Canadian folks and their mom. They were of drinking age and the bodega was really what we would call a winery. They aged sherry there. We ended up sampling five bottles of sherry at our table, some of the best cheese, also the best brechuto (sp) and a huge egg/potato omelet sort of thing cut into many pieces.  There was more than plenty of this food and sherry. It was beyond excellent. I liked every one of the kinds of sherry, though three stood out above the rest for me, all sweeter. Nonetheless, all were, like I said, beyond excellent. I don’t like wine, by the way. Apparently, sherry is my drink, or maybe it is Europe. The young folks at the table related their excursion of the previous day and it was really one I wished I had had the courage to choose. They hiked and apparently had to jump off a few cliffs into pools of water on their way, as well. At the end of this sherry tasting, one of the most delightful moments of my cruise thus far, these three kids took three of the unfinished bottles with them and invited me to take one as well. Well, I couldn’t very well take it home and I’m not really supposed to be drinking on the cruise either. I declined, explaining that I was not supposed to be drinking alcohol and they really already had the best three bottles. And we shouldn’t push our luck wink, wink . They were on a different touring bus but later when we gathered after our excursion, I noticed the mother standing to the side. I went over and as I conversed with her, I realized just why her kids were so intelligent and delightful: it was probably mom’s influence.  I think the reason her kids struck me as so wonderful was their politeness to an old and rather fat guy like me. They had treated me as a complete equal and that is rare indeed, from any age group. I find this commonly lacking from people of my own age group in these times. This mom had what I would have guessed was an Illinois type of look and accent, but she was Canadian, I knew. I asked her if all three were her own kids (two boys and a girl) and she affirmed that they were. I complemented her on their manners and she joked in a concerned way, “Did you see what they brought back?’ Right on cue, the three came walking up from behind me smiling and holding their bottles. I stood with them in the line to get back aboard the ship for a minute but realized we were near the end of a long line of excursioners.  I thanked them for the nice conversation but excused myself to head out for a walk in Cadiz. They invited  me to share their sherry with them later but I declined reminding them I was not supposed to drink.  I thanked them and excused myself again from the line to use the time remaining in the day walking through Cadiz.

I walked and took about a hundred or more pictures. I wandered recklessly and was quite happy to still be a little tipsy.  Finally, I accomplished a subconscious goal of getting lost entirely. I reasoned my way back towards the ship and had almost made it sighting some familiar workmen hammering, and then I took a wrong turn at the very last bit. So I tried reasoning again and decided to walk downhill, figuring that would lead me to the ocean. It did, and there was no shipyard in sight. There really was no problem as there were taxis around. I hailed a cab by walking up to it and asking, “Speak English?” He shook his head and said “little” and I realized our conversation would be in single words or phrases.  I threw out the phrase “Disney Magic Cruise Ship?” and he nodded and replied “Mickey Mouse.” “How much?” I asked. “Is meter.” I said “How much?” again purposely. He got my point and said “3…4 Euro, maybe.” I opened the front door and pointed to the seat and asked “OK?.” He smiled and said, “Yes, yes.” I started a conversation with one word “volcano” and repeated the word. He thought a second and said something that sounded like “Vulcan” and then unmistakably added “Iceland.” I exclaimed “YES!” then I said “Last year, the same.” He thought for a minute and nodded his head vigorously and said, “Yes, yes, same.” I pointed to myself and said, “Me, last year, Cadiz, Disney Magic, the same.” He thought then laughed heartily saying “Yes, yes, very funny.” He laughed loudly over and over. Soon, he pointed down the street to the welcome sight of the Magic and it’s highly recognizable smokestacks. I said “Oh, yes, here is fine.” He said, “No, no.” He thought for a while and put together  “Still …is… uhhh… far.” I nodded and laughed and said “Yes, yes.”  I next said “My father, umm, a taxi driver like you." I pointed at him exageratedly. He understood and said "Your father taxi man." I laughed and said "Yes, yes." Finally we were at the port and the meter clicked a fraction up to 3.29 Euro. I gave him a five Euro note and he pulled out a changer and started pressing buttons. It was exactly like the changer my dad had used except made for Euro coins. I had played with my dad's changer countless times when I was a child. It was endless fun to a young boy to pretend to be making change, pressing buttons and shooting out coins from Dad's old changer. I waived off the change the cab driver was offering. It was really quite a small tip but the guy smiled largely and and could not express his obvious appreciation. He just seemed so happy. I looked over my shoulder as I was walking away and he was still smiling and watching me. It was magical, really.

Later that night, as we pulled out of Cadiz, I talked to a retired Canadian school teacher at length about politics, schools, the military, recent wars and lots of other topics. It was fascinating that we held such a long conversation and that it flowed so seamlessly, punctuated as it was by quite a few A's at he end of his sentences. A few minutes later I was talking to a very nice couple at the front of the ship as darkness had completely taken hold and the stars were bright above. After having been reminded of my father by the cab driver, now  I was reminded of my mother, as well because a meteor brilliantly crossed the sky. I startled and pointed at it and said, “Oh…but it is always too late to point.” “You must have seen a shooting star,” said the wifely half of the couple. “Yes, yes…..I did.”