Monday, May 17, 2004

(The Party That Wasn't There)

Well, Friday was supposed to be the beach party for Carnival employees. It was on a more secluded part of Eagle Beach, and there are volleyball nets there.

Friday morning, as usual, I uploaded web pages. Everything went fine, I answered e-mail, and took the computer back to the ship.

I got back off the ship too late for the noon shuttle to the beach, but a taxi is only $3 if there are others going. Since there are always people headed to the beach, I found a van who was waiting for a few extra people and joined them. He dropped me off at the part of the beach I was looking for.

As always, I tend to like to walk a new beach from end to end and see what it is like. The beach is only about two miles long (keep in mind that the vast majority of Aruba is a desert, with cliffs instead of beaches). It is mostly bordered by hotels, so there really isn't anyplace that is crowded. The sand is really white, and the water is really clear. Since I was close to the middle, I walked all the way one way and turned and walked all the way the other. I ended up back where the party was supposed to be (from noon 'till 5). As I'm sure you have figured out from the title, the party didn't exist. I finally saw one guy, and he had just happened to come out and get some sun. Either no one showed up, or they all showed up at noon (which, in past experience, seems awfully unlikely) and left because of the wind. It was blowing kinda hard, and to lie down on a beach towel was to get sandblasted. There were plenty of chairs around, but no ship employees. I walked the beach for an hour, and finally went over to a bar/hut and had two glasses of water and a drink. There were a couple of passengers from the ship that sat down for a drink, they were from San Juan and were on their honeymoon. Since they had rented a 4x4, they offered to drive me back to the ship so that I wouldn't have to find a cab.

Saturday was also a no-pager day, but it is one of our busiest days and we are at sea. So, the person who isn't carrying the pager prints the room keys (between 2,900 and 3,300) and all of the envelopes to put them in for Sunday's departure. Since the person with the pager is often busy, it would be nearly impossible to do both. It takes nearly the whole day, but can't be started 'till around 10. So, I thought that for once I would skip breakfast and sleep in. This, of course, was a waste, since I can't sleep anyway. I stayed in bed 'till ten, but was awake from about 6 a.m. on. I finally got up (really hungry) and went up to print cards.

As I have been doing, I went out on deck for an hour before dinner to read and watch the sun set. It was really windy, though.

Sunday was my turn to carry the pager, and of course it was embarkation day. Everything went pretty smoothly. Every six months they send a guy to work on the printers that print the room keys, and this was his day to be here. For security purposes, I had to take him up to the computer room and stay with him. It was supposed to be a routine cleaning, but they hadn't been printing really well. He started making adjustments, but one was stuck. That led to something else, which led to something else, and by the time he was done he had the entire thing in pieces on the table. I ended up being with him 'till just after 9pm, which was way after dinner.

We aren't supposed to eat on the passenger deck at night since it is kind of busy, but I was starving. My roommate had been waiting for me, so he had missed dinner also, so we decided to go anyway. I had forgotten that on Sunday nights there is a mandatory safety seminar that all guests have to attend from 9:30 - 10:00. Of course, they close everything (including the 24-hour pizza counter) so that people can't do anything else. We decided to go raid room service and take it down to the general mess hall (which wouldn't open again 'till 10). They have pretty much just carbs for room service, so I gave in and got a BLT and a Caesar salad.

We took our food to the general mess hall, where I inhaled it. I was still starving, and realized that is was almost 10. So I went through line there and got a complete second meal.

The paymaster paged me, she was having to work late because payday is on Monday (and she has to pay 1,050 people in cash, each in a separate envelope). Normally she has an assistant, but the assistant had just left and she was by herself. She had me fix something on her computer. She had been looking for me anyway, as she has a friend coming that is visiting for a week. She wants him to be able to see a lot of Dominica, and hadn't been satisfied with any of the standard tours. So, she had talked to a local tour guide and paid him to take the guy for a 6-hour hike in the mountains. She said that it was paid for, and wanted me to go with him so that he wouldn't be alone. I said that would be great, as I really want to see more of Dominica, and this seems like an excellent way to do it. So, tomorrow morning at 9 I am going to go do that. She introduced me to him today, and I ended up seeing him again at lunch just as he was getting off to take a tour in St. Thomas, he was very excited.

One funny thing happened during the day today. Julio (my roommate, and the interactive TV manager) had stopped by the server room for a few minutes. We both started hearing a beeping sound. I was busy working on something, so he started looking for it. We figured that it was probably a UPS (an uninterruptible power supply, for those who don't know computer terminology, keeps computers running for a while after the power goes out) that had come loose or had a battery going out. After 20 minutes or so I finished what I was doing and came over to help. I listened closely to each UPS (it only beeped about once every 30 seconds, so it took a while), behind the server cabinets, and over by the card printers. As is often the case with a sound in a room full of white-noise-generating equipment, it was very hard to tell where it was coming from. We finally gave up and Julio left. He came right back to tell me that the reason that we couldn't hear it was because it was coming from the broadcast room next door. They have a lot of computers also, and the guys weren't there. I listened at the door, but it wasn't coming from there. We each stood under the smoke sensors nearest to us in the hall, as I thought that maybe the battery backups in one of those was out. I even opened the fire panel in the hall and listened in there. Julio finally determined that it was coming from his storage locker which was just a few feet away. I went there with him, and it definitely was coming from there. I stepped into the back corner while he stood near the entrance (it is a tiny room) and waited another 30 seconds. This time it was easy to tell where it was coming from, as there isn't any white noise in this room. It was the #!@$&% pager on Julio's belt! He normally always has it on vibrate, and hadn't even heard it go off. It beeps every thirty seconds to remind you in case you didn't hear it. It was a large waste of time, but we had a pretty good laugh over it.

Well, I need to get to bed early, as the hike is early tomorrow and I want to be rested and have time to go to breakfast.