Monday, June 28, 2004

(Busy Week . . .)

This week started out with something that I found interesting, and honestly have almost no explanation for whatsoever. I suppose that each individual thing about it wouldn't be THAT odd if it wasn't so out of place in a surreal sort of way. I was sitting on deck (reading In a Sunburned Country) when I happened to notice a guy casually walk to the end of the deck with a box under his arm. I was waiting for us to push off from the dock, I always like watching on Mondays as we pull away and head out to sea. The view of St. Thomas and St. John is usually really nice, and there are often lots of dolphins off the bow of the boat. I was going to attempt a picture of them, so I also had my camera with me (which, of course, guaranteed that there wouldn't be any on this particular day). I didn't take a whole lot of notice of the guy, but I did look up from my book in curiosity as to what was in the box. I assumed that he had some sort of replacement part for the hot tub, as they had a panel off of the side of the enclosure to work on it. Instead he walked past the hot tubs and carefully sat the box on the very end of the deck. A bit more cautiously than I would have warranted for a mechanical part, he opened the box and quickly stood up and back. I looked down at the box, and to my utter amazement a bird flew out of it and joined the other birds that often circle the deck when we are close to land. He then closed the box and walked back to wherever it was he came from. I would have asked him about it as he walked by, but to be honest I was mentally a few steps behind at this point and didn't catch up 'till he was gone. If you had asked 100,000 people to guess what was in the box that he had brought from inside the ship, I really don't think that anyone would have guessed a bird would fly out. The only conjecture that I can possibly make is that the bird ran into glass somewhere and knocked itself out, and he had retrieved it in the box for some reason (perhaps not expecting it to awaken).

Backtracking a few hours, the day really started with a small crew party. Josh (our cruise director) had sent out invitations to some departments and to the cruise department on the ship next to us (the one that is next to us every 7 weeks) asking people to join in a pool party on the island (in St. Thomas). He then sent out a second to some people saying that not too many could come because it was small. The whole thing was a bit confusing, but I decided to go anyway. There is an aerial tram that takes people up to the Paradise Point, which is where the party was. It is kind of between a cable car and a ski lift. Instead of one large car to hold a bunch of people that stops at the top and bottom, there are three cars at each extreme of the cable (or each middle of the cable, depending on how you look at it). Each holds 8 people and the cable slows when the cars reach the top and bottom, everyone steps off and on as it slowly moves around the end, and then speeds up again when it gets past the buildings. You could add more cars if you needed to, it is a pretty decent system. Here is the view of the building at the bottom, as well as the cars up close. Here is the harbor from about half-way up, you can see both the Destiny and the Legend. When I got farther up, I took pictures of the tops of both the Legend and the Destiny, it is a good way to see the slides and pools and such. If you look at the very back of the Destiny you can see what looks like a large cover. This slides open on tracks, and below it is a dance floor, bar, pool and hot tubs. They close it when it looks like rain. This is where we hold our crew party (description in a couple of entries) every month.

The party was to be held at the house of the owner of the cable cars. Apparently (basically for the sake of cheap advertising) he allows us to use his pool every few months to bring employees up and let them see the whole thing. Then the hope is that we will go back and tell guests how great it is. Here is the building at the top. There is also a small walk up to a gazebo, it is nestled into the side of the hill. His house is nestled in the trees right next to it, but there are so many trees that it is blocked from the view. The view from the pool is amazing, right over the harbor and looking out over the ocean. There is a good view of the islands (but it is facing away from St. John), as well as the Marriott (where my sister, Heather, got married last year). Here it is closer, and even closer yet. It was nice and relaxing, but not a lot of people were there. I had to leave a bit early as I needed to go to the grocery to get punch supplies for the party.

From the ship I took two pictures, one of the cable cars from a distance so you can see where they go, and one of a house that is under construction at the end of the island. If I can remember, I am going to try to get a picture of it every Monday as kind of a way to mark the passage of weeks. I have been watching it go up slowly each week. I don't know how many people have read or seen "Time Machine" by H.G. Wells, but in his time machine he kind of marked the passage of time by the changing styles of clothing in the shop window across the street from his house. I am hoping that they move quickly enough that the house will be (or at least look) finished by the end of my contract.