Posts Tagged ‘Spinnaker Lounge’

 

Magic On The Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Aboard the Norwegian Star

No land in sight. We’re heading north, moving at 21 knots, on schedule for San Pedro/Los Angeles Thursday morning.

I wasn’t going to post tonight, but… well, you’ll see.

In the meantime, as long as I’m writing, I might as well say I was disappointed with my choice of photos from Cabo San Lucas. It’s a little difficult to change things without full time Internet access (I have been writing the blog offline and then uploading the entries and photos all at once). When I get home I will post more from Cabo, which was beautiful.

We had dinner this evening at one of the six theme restaurants on the ship. La Trattoria is the Italian restaurant. Unlike the others, this one has no surcharge. Unlike the others, this is in a converted buffet area.

The buffet lines are hidden behind curtains. The chairs are covered with dark slipcovers. The menu is traditional Italian. The sky was beautiful through the large windows.

I had a meat/cheese/spinach lasagna. As has been the case with nearly all the food, it was excellent. My dessert was an Italian cheesecake.

With dinner over, Helaine and Stef headed to the casino while I headed to our cabin to read… and nap. I played Hold’em the first few days, but I was very disappointed in the rake, quality of dealing and play… and especially disappointed that the Hold’em area was in a room squirreled away from the main casino.

While playing the second day, I was beaten on a large hand by someone who was playing a 9-5 offsuit. That’s a terrible hand, but he had every right to play it. His full house beat my full house. I took this as a sign and stopped playing.

Considering how much I enjoy Hold’em, you can understand my dismay – but it just wasn’t fun, and this bad beat solidified that.

OK – on to the reason for this entry. We decided to see a magic show tonight. The venue was the Spinnaker Lounge, where we saw Dave Heenan last night. This magician, Matt Fallon, was performing some close-up magic.

Let’s pause for a moment. I have a theory about magicians and those who are driven to be one. In high school these are not the most popular nor most athletic. My guess is, when David Copperfield was growing up, he was quite the dweeb. The same goes for most of the magicians I’ve known or seen.

Penn and Teller are dweebs – though they admit it and use it to their advantage. There is little pretense of being mystical bunny pullers.

I make no claim of being anything but a dweeb myself. There was no chance of my being name most popular while a teenager.

I sat in the second row with Helaine and Stef, snapping off photos as I obsessively do. The show was entertaining – the tricks puzzling.

Everything was going fine until he had three people pick cards and then chose someone from the audience to put him in a straitjacket.

That was me!

I tried to do my best to help a fellow performer. That meant I did as I was told and wasn’t too curious or anxious to bust his trick (Not that I could. I just didn’t try).

The trick’s culmination was his stripping off the straighjacket while revealing the three cards. The third was revealed when he pulled off the straitjacket and his shirt! The card was attached to his bare chest.

Thankfully, I was off the stage by then.

Gotta Love Cabo

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Aboard the Norwegian Star

I’m on the balcony. It’s around 1:00 PM. The breeze is gentle, the air is warm and moderately dry. We are at anchor in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

If you’d like to find me on a map, it’s easy. Find Los Angeles, then trace the coast south with your finger. Pass San Diego and Tijuana. Keep tracing until you run out of land. I’m there. Simple!

Before I get to more specifics about today, let me wrap up yesterday.

We did decide to see Dave Heenan, the comedian, again. This time he was in the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 12. It’s a nightclub style venue. I’m guessing it seats 400 or so. The chairs are comfy. The service is excellent.

There’s no doubt, Norwegian Cruise Lines is making money on booze! It’s tough to sit anywhere for any length of time without a waiter or waitress approaching to ask if you’d like a drink. They are everywhere taking orders and delivering drinks.

Dave Heenan’s show was totally different than the one we had seen earlier in the week. He says, and I believe him, that he ad libs everything. He knows enough jokes to keep a stream of consciousness running for 45 minutes at a clip.

Best line of the night. Speaking about the cleanliness of the southern restaurant chain, “Waffle House”: “I saw a cockroach there throwing up.”

When the show ended, we walked downstairs to Aqua. That’s deck 12 to Deck 6 for those counting. It was nearly closing time and the restaurant was emptying out. Once again the meal was great and once again I had a light cooking meal that couldn’t have been light. It was Chicken Parmesan with pasta. The dessert was a souffle.

I could get used to this life, if my arteries would allow it.

We finished dinner and headed back up the six flights of stairs to Deck 12. Steffie wanted to see Dave Heenan again – and he was funny enough that it made sense.

Another 45 minutes with hardly a repeat… and when he did repeat, he’d acknowledge it was something he said earlier.

Our night was done before midnight. We were all tired. There’s just so long you can lead this kind of life without a recharge. Anyway, today’s port call would be very early and with much less time than any of the others.

I’m not really sure whether it was the captain’s announcement or Helaine in the shower that woke me this morning. They happened pretty much simultaneously. We were anchored near the harbor at Cabo.

Everything I know about Cabo, I learned on Love Boat. Everything she knows about Cabo, Steffie learned on MTV. Who has the more liberal knowledge? Captain Stuebing – you’ve let me down!

From the balcony, I immediately made up my mind. This was the most beautiful of the ports we’d seen.

Looking out I could see miles of white beach flanked by five and six story hotel (maybe condo) buildings. Between us and the shore was a huge yacht. Whatever you’re thinking of, it’s bigger. A helicopter sat on an upper deck in the rear of the ship. Attached by lines were a few jet skis and other small boats.

I can’t see the name, but I do have the tail number of the copter. The ship is registered in some British Commonwealth country (based on the flag, which has a Union Jack). The chopper is from the United States (the tail number starts with “N”).

Helaine and I went up to Deck 12 for breakfast while Stef showered. As soon as we had a vantage from the port side of the ship, I saw the rocky outcropping that makes Cabo San Lucas so famous.

There is no harbor here large enough for the Norwegian Star, so we walked down to Deck 4 and got on a tender.

I’ve seen this on cruise ships before. There is actually a dock that swings out from the ship’s hull which is used for boarding.

A few of the lifeboats had been lowered down to the water. They would be used for tendering.

Again, with so much else on this ship, these lifeboats are super sized. I believe they can sit 125 or so in case of emergency! This is not some little dinghy.

The trip to Cabo took five minutes – no more. We landed at a marina full of moderate to large sized fishing boats – most from the states. There was an amazing amount of activity in the harbor and the marina.

When you looked to the water, you saw boats and you saw pelicans. Lots of pelicans.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen Pelicans up close like this. They are not pretty birds. They are substantial. We saw more than one down a fish whole in his beak!

Like I said, Steffie knew this place from MTV – specifically Laguna Beach. She knew where she wanted to go and Helaine already had directions to “Cabo Wabo.”

“Cabo Wabo” is owned by rocker Sammy Hagar. It’s a few blocks off the main drag, up a hill and across the way from a strip club. Inside was set up for small concerts with bar service. My guess is the real money maker is the merchandise stand near the front door.

Steffie now has a t-shirt and I have a hat. Sammy can taste some more Tequila on us.

Cabo is loaded with little shops selling silver and crafts. We went into a store where Helaine got a bracelet and another where I got a silver bookmark (now in Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat,” which I should finish before Ls Angeles).

We headed back to the ship, through the marina area. Every few feet someone wanted to sell you something. There were hats and serapes and little carved toys. If it could be sold… If Heche en Mexico could be stamped on it… it was here!

We didn’t buy anything from these vendors, but we did make one more stop. At a bend in the marina, a Mexican man stood, holding two iguanas. One was wearing a sombrero. Neither seemed particularly mindful that they were the main attraction in this man’s business.

For $2 US, I could have my picture taken with the iguana – and I did! Actually, nimble fingered Stef shot of a half dozen – maybe more.

The mere fact that Stef got this photo is amazing, considering she was laughing herself silly at the time.

We tendered in and were back on the ship by 12:30. Right now, as I type, the last of the tenders are bringing passengers back. A few of the tenders have already been hoisted on their davits and stowed for their real job. We should get underway within 10 – 15 minutes.

This is our last port before returning to San Pedro/Los Angeles. We’ll be at sea all night tonight and all day tomorrow. We dock early Thursday. Los Angeles is the better part of 1,000 miles from here.

With a few blasts of the ship’s horn, we’re underway. Though we’ll be doing 21 knots on the trip north, it takes a long time to accelerate to that point.

We headed south first, then a sharp u-turn around the tip of Baja.

I am surprised, 45 minutes after leaving Cabo, a Mexican Navy patrol boat is keeping pace between the Norwegian Star and the coast. Finally, at 2:48, it makes a clockwise turn and heads home.

We’re all alone in the Pacific.

There is no doubt this was our most beautiful Mexican stop.