Thursday, September 18, 2008

My First Sea Sick Day!

Also (ironically) happens to be the day of my first exam at sea! So right now, as all my peers are suffering through our World Health and Nutrition exam…I’m lying in my cabin, drugged out on 50mls of Meclizine (for those of you that don’t know – this is A LOT), waiting until I feel well enough to take the exam. This sudden sea sickness is quite embarrassing considering we’ve been at sea for 1, 2 … 14 days! And we’re nearing the coast of Africa, so the water should be much calmer than it was in the middle of the Atlantic (during which I was mostly suffering from food poisoning, not sea sickness). But it is somewhat excusable because we’ve been advancing our clocks 1 hour every day for the past six nights and I have class for four hours straight in the classroom on the highest deck at the bow of the ship (read: most wobbliest) starting at 8am. Nothing like 23 hour days to get you ready for wobbly class bright and early.

Anyways…now that I’ve updated you on all of my bowel movements for the past week…hi, how are you? I’ve decided to use this sea-sickness time to update my blog a bit.

Life at sea has gotten pretty cold. We’re passing some current that comes all the way from Antarctica, so I’ve been having to bundle up in jeans and long sleeve t-shirts every day. The Californians have broken out their Uggs to stay warm. This wonderfully crisp weather reminds me of New Hampshire summers a little bit. As in…I’d probably go swimming now if they hadn’t drained the pool do to the cold. But because of the lack of a pool…there has been a huge surge in…wait for it…GAMES!! Oh my god. I love it. So you know how Chelsea Harris needs to offer people alcohol to get them to play games with her? Not necessary here! There are no other options! Hahahaha*evil laugh*hahahahah.

I’ve finally learned how to play Hearts and Rook and Oh Hell – Bridge is next on the list. I’ve also gotten to teach even more people Taboo and Apples to Apples. People here suck at Apples to Apples. For example: on “uncomfortable” I played “spooning” (Think about it. Like very objectively think about spooning – and then think about the bottom arm and then tell me it’s not uncomfortable.) and it didn’t win.


I’ve also been meaning for a while to write a little entry about the type of people you meet at sea. The reason to be a parallel to the type of people I met in Mississippi. So here’s a quick break-down:

-25% from California

-5 from New England, not including Mass (our regional dinner was quite lonely)

-40 people each from USD and UCBoulder

-5 people from UVA

-2 of whom don’t drink (there go the Foxfield connections I was hoping to get out of this UVA sponsored trip)

-WENDY – another Dartmouth girl that we found

-lots and lots of people who have volunteered in Mississippi and want to join the Peace Corps after college

…and here’s the kicker. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to tell you…


That’s right. Both of her littles (I’m the better one) are at sea together = maritime mischief. Carolyn Fisher is a Pi Phi at Vanderbilt, but this doesn’t stop her from being as badass as Jenny. For example, she’s getting in trouble for having glued a quarter to the floor in the middle of the student center (she thought it’d be funny to watch people try and pick it up). If you cannot read my sarcasm…my roommate is currently on probation for five different violations including … well more interesting charges. I’m guessing if Jenny were on this ship, she’d double that number. Easy.

Quick update on the Peace Corps: It still sounds sweet, but I spent an hour at pub night talking to a staff member who was in Americorps for two years and he did a pretty good job at convincing me to stay in the US. However…Cory has agreed to marry me so that we can go into the Corps together. Married couples get placed with each other – so even if we’re not in love, it’d be nice to not be isolated from all other American contacts. Our wedding is going to be in Vegas and you’re invited if you happen to be there at the same time that we are. And we’re going to wait until we turn 21 to get married. (I’ll give you a hint: book tickets for Sept 22/23 next year.)

Which leads me to my next point…pub night. Again, I’m amazed that I haven’t discussed this yet. We’re going to have to do a mental exercise for this one: imagine the Theta Delt basement.

Replace the kegs with cans and the “hot girls first – everybody else never” style of serving with a monitored line (it’s still packed though).

Now remove the beer spills, puke remains, and all other nastiness.

Okay, now dress everybody up. Boys should be wearing either sweet California bro t-shirts or nice polos (not pong-I-expect-beer-to-be-spilled-on-this polos) and girls should be wearing dresses or skirts and heels.

Great, now add a gym to the basement (because the sweetest dudes will do a few pull ups and then go and get a drink).

And finally, take away all pong tables/fun and restrict everybody to four drinks

Oh and one last thing: now tip the room 15 degrees and watch everybody (especially the girls in heels) fall.

In short, I think that pub night is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. I remember going up to my first one and immediately keeling over in laughter. What is so hilarious is how dressed up some people get to go stand around plastic chairs and drink wine out of plastic cups. It’s also amazing how many people show up. I really haven’t figured out what people do on nights that alcohol isn’t being served. Whatever it is though, it leaves all public spaces on the ship deserted. But then introduce the opportunity to have FOUR alcoholic beverages and WAH-BAM! The place is PACKED!

If you were truly determined to drink all four of your allotted beverages in the two hours given, you would have to arrive promptly at 9pm, get your drink, and immediately walk to the back of the line. You would then finish your first beer in line, get your next one, and repeat. If you’re lucky, the line will be moving fast enough for it to take less than a half hour each time.

The only redeeming quality of pub night is that it reminds me of how much I love Dartmouth. And pong. I love pong. I miss it a lot. Cory and I played a game the other night on a 4 foot by 5 foot (generous measurements) picture that is hanging on my wall. (Second to last stop before leaving Hanover: Stinson’s for paddles and balls. Last stop: Foodstop for turkey and cucumber sandwich.)


Alright…I’m now significantly depressed and missing pong. And I think I have to take this exam thing soon. (But I’m not feeling any better. FYI – actual booting hurts A LOT more than volume booting.) So I hope these 1000 words (longest paper I’ve written since high school) keep you entertained and you read all the way to the end.

-18 hours from Namibia

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Brazil Reflections

Hilarious story: I was pick-pocketed within five minutes of being in Brazil.

This is mostly hilarious because this occurred immediately after I finished writing, but before I even sent a somewhat personal blitz about my fear of being to quick to judge the poverty in Brazil and I focused more on the irony of the moment than the meaning.*

So a quick recap – Brazil was both good and bad. I fell in love with Lencois and absolutely hated Salvador. I spent way too much money. I hated how everywhere I went I seemed to be surrounded by SAS kids. I hated even more how much poverty was just on display for us to see but impossible for us to do anything about. But I loved when I really tried to talk with locals in Portuguese. I think they were great conversations. It was great to get off the ship (as assumed, I had started to feel claustrophobic). I got to go on a day long hike, which was a welcome change from the treadmills and ellipticals in our “gym.”

I believe that what I learned the most from the five days in Brazil was not about the country but about travel. It has left me better prepared for Namibia, as I’m sure Namibia will better prepare me for South Africa and onward. The time was really too short for self-reflection up until now.

The first night we returned, SAS hosted an optional reflections meeting. This was when I most realized that I do need to sit and self-reflect – although there’s almost no place on this ship to really be by myself in order to do so.

What I thought was amazing about this group reflection was how many girls exclaimed “Oh my god best five days of my lifeee!!!!” Which really got me thinking about the best five days of my life…the list I have so far is:

  1. Thanksgiving 2007
  2. Day I met the James family in Mississippi
  3. Tailwind day in Montana
  4. Scoring the overtime goal in field hockey freshman year

I’m assuming my fifth is the day I started school or something like that…because I’m a nerd like that. But if it’s really one in recent memory, than it probably involves either Elkins, Vail, or roller-coasters.

Moral of the story here is…great time. Not life altering. Can’t wait for Namibia.

*As promised, my blog is taking on a lighter tone than my emails. If you didn’t receive my email last week and want to (but are not in Sigma Delt, Tabard, or club lacrosse – because I know that all of you still haven’t gotten it), then let me know by emailing me at


Oh wait…sorry…I meant…INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

September 7 is Independence Day in Brazil. Ironically, the MV Explorer pulled into Salvador, Brazil at 6am on September 7. Even more ironically, this fact was never mentioned during either of our two required preport seminars. I guess the administration was hoping we would not notice the masses of people and parades through the streets of the city – hoping that we would instead take advantage of the time to visit all the museums, undisturbed by other tourists. They were probably also hoping that we wouldn’t notice that you can drink in the streets, as this fact was also never mentioned during our preport seminars.

Guess what.

We figured it all out.

Cory, Darcy and I may have even figured it out a bit more intimately than our classmates. When they all took a left at the top of the elevator (cool story: Salvador is built across two tectonic plates so there’s an upper and lower city that sometimes shift, but the change is so steep that it requires an elevator to get from one part to the other.), the three of us turned right. In other words, as our classmates followed the signs that said “Edible Food, Bottled Water, and Clean Bathrooms this way!” in English and “Americans to pick-pocket this way!” in Portuguese, Cory, Darcy and I followed the smells of food and loud noises. …right into a parade of … army men?

This was honestly the scariest parade I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure the entire Brazilian army was marching through the streets of Salvador, faces painted black, carrying machine guns, and chanting scary things. Every once in a while an entire brigade would stop and start doing pushups or playing with their guns with their fingers frighteningly close to the triggers. There was no music, or clowns, or happiness. Instead, it was army followed by navy followed by no candy. My favorite though, was the brigade of snipers, who were dressed in their camouflage. They stood out in the streets, but that’s probably because I only saw half of them.

Unfortunately, Cory would not let me eat anything from street vendors because he thought it might be “unclean.” (Thanks, but I got sick anyways.) So we wandered and wandered and wandered in search of “safe food.” During this wandering we learned that it is definitely legal to drink in the streets (and socially acceptable), that “perdon” translates pretty well to get people to move out of your way, and that the bus station is both really far from the ship and totally not the place for Americans to be.

The most difficult part about this wandering was that I was really hungry. As you can see from my Lencois post, I get cranky when I get hungry. I also have way lower standards on what qualifies as “safe food” (or safe sex for that matter). So while Cory was able to turn his head in disdain at each “food by kilo” restaurant, I began to crave everything Bahimian: fried plantains, beef stews, mango salad, and men, all served over perfectly cooked rice.

At some point we made it to the tourist district, where much to Cory’s disdain, all the restaurants were still “food by kilo” bars. “Food by kilo” basically means that everything is set out buffet style, and you just pay for it when you finish piling up your plate with as much as you dare to eat. The biggest differences between this style of food and the way it is served on the ship is that it’s better and we have to pay for it. But Cory was concerned about the lack of hand sanitizer (which, although present, goes largely ignored on the ship) so insisted that we could not partake in this cultural experience.

But finally, we passed a restaurant where Cory saw that two of his professors had brought their families to eat…so finally…we were allowed to go in and enjoy our “food by kilo.”

I have not yet complained to you about food on the ship. So let me do that quickly. First of all, it’s only served three times a day. I’m used to a solid six meals a day. So this is difficult and I have resorted to a sleeve a day Ritz habit and a tendency to steal from the dining hall.

Additionally…and much, much worse…the pasta and rice are undercooked. This is the strangest thing in the world to me. Because both are impossible to mess up. They are the staple of those who cannot cook. What is also strange is that nobody else on the ship seems to notice how terrible it is. Every single meal they pile up the terribly undercooked pasta staple of different shapes and with different sauces. It’s disgusting. All I have been craving since our first dinner is angel hair pasta, cooked by my brother, with butter and parmesan cheese. That’s it. Very simple request. All I want. (And please please the morning I get back can we have French pancakes, and then eggs over easy the next morning, or even for lunch that day, then angel hair pasta for dinner.)

All I think that I need to say now…is that the rice at the restaurant we ate at was absolutely perfectly cooked.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

\oh also

i didn~t shave my head. that was a joke.


First of all...excuse any strange punctuation. \i~m on a /brazilian computer and the keys are not in the right place and \i~m too lazy to fix it. \9mostly because the delete button is also in the wrong place and it just becomes a mess. took me forever to figure out how to get onto blogger because "/" is where the enter key should be...right. \i~m and idiot and \i know. /deal with it.

At about 10Ç30 two nights ago \i got an email from an acquaintance that went something a little like "hey eli...a group of us is going to lancois at 11pm. if you get this, you should meet us at the bus station." \i really do love salvador (and more on that in an upcoming entry) but I didn~t know what i was going to do for three more days there. so i through a few things into my backpack (my passport not being one of them) and ran to the bus station. by "a few" i guess this girl actually meant 40. the entire bus was sas kids. they actually hired for a bus to drive us to lancois so we wouldnçt have to worry about pickpocketing while we were asleep. and i fell asleep immediately. i was oken up at 530 am when the bus pulled into lancois. dreary eyed but filled with adrendaline. 40 sasers got off the bus and flooded the town of lencois.

have you still not googled lencois? \i~ll help you out\ç

while i actually have access to the internet...ill point out this page as well\ç

so...we were at 530 in the morning in lencois. of course nobody in the town was awake, and none of us had a hostel reservation. i guess that our plan had been to just start hiking. but of course it~s a tourism town so every single person to whom we asked about the trailhead told us that they would be our guide for 40 reais a person. so then we would wander away and find a new person who would offer the same thing. this was especially entertaining to me because i was the only person in th group who had really hiked before...but the idea of needing a guide...hilarious.

this is around the time that i decided to sit down and admire the absolute beauty of the town i was in. imagine a picturesque, colonial portuguese village. there were roosters, a water spciket in the middle of the town square, and a mercado with fresh vegetables. everybody seemed to know eachother. the houses are colored stucco. basically, i fell in love and decided to take it all in. then i found a man that said i could change in his house, so i followed him back to his house \9i~m an idiotn, i know\0 and changed while he waited outside. he showed me back to the square where all the 40 semester at sea kids had been...but nobody was there.

this is eli in panic mode. because holy shit this city is not that big, but i lost my group. i~m a girl by myself in abrazilian town. i don~t know portuguese and i don~t have a passport. i~m an idiot. i ran around the entire town looking for them, getting random points from construction workers etc etc. i could not find my group, but after about a half hour of freaking out, i did find another sas group. i just tagged along and followed them into the woods.

for all the beauty that i thought the town of lencois posessed...the mountains behind it multiply it. in three months i will finally be able to post pictures...but it is amazing. we hiked about 10 miles yesturday. in that time, i jumped off a 45 foot cliff into a waterfall, i slid down a natural rockslide, and i swam in numerous numerous natural springs. i actually started hiking in my bathing suit because it seemed that every ten minutes there was a new spring for us to jump in. of course the day started out rainy and the girl scout inside of me cursed me for not being prepared and bringing a raincoat, but by the time we reached our first waterfall, the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky. it was actually deathly hot and the water was perfect.

our tour guide also made us lunch which was i think the best food i~ve had in brazil \9so good when hking\0

when we got back ... it basically became a night out on the town. i have no idea how lencois managed to absorb about 150 college kids for a night...but in the end everybody was fed and had a place to stay. more or less.

of course i was the person without a place to stay. but we don~t really have to get into that.

i mostly just want to copy something that i wrote in my journal this morning. i think it~s hilarious because my mother~s main worry about this trip is that i~ll just never come home \9possibility\...but as much as i love lencois. this isn~t actually an option because of the following entry \9which i now find hilarious because i am now well fed, but at the tme was a serious concern\0...

"Three things are keeping me from moving to lencois full time\\
1. this is their winter. it~s great. but this is their winter. i need snow. and temperatures that are not any hotter than this.]
2. no eggs for breakfast - actually \nothing for breakfast. what kills me most is that i had a great americano last night - ham and cheese sandwich. but i have no idea what time that place opens - i just know itçs not by 9am. jc what i would give for tow eggs over easy wheat toast butter - served slowly and undercooked, hop style, or a seasame bagel toasted with plain cream cheese from bagel basement...heck i~d even go for a collis omlette righ now. something. this when in bahia do as the bahians do attittude is all great and wonderful until it starts messing with my breakfast. how do these people even fuction without eggs in teh morning\;;; brazilian coffee is not good enough for me to get excited fro the day. i am a morning person and i am very unhappy right now. i woke up at 7am because i was too excited to sleep anymore. eff this i~m excited to go back to the ship. love you lencois, you were great for the first 12 hours, bu tnow i~m totally over you.
3. it is too small. all adorableness was lost this morning when the man serving coffee called me eli, one of the construction workers knowingly waved at me, and a rando tour guide told me that ti suck at dancing. yeah...i know. i think that had i been served eggs at soem point i would have found these greetings to be a cute reminder of just how small and adorable this town is. instead, it made me think
a. don~t these people get bored of eachother\; like...i know this many pepole after one day...what if i was to stay for just one more\;
b. who are you\; how do you know my name\; and what the hell did i do last night\; "

so...lencois is great. you should all come here. at one point during the hike yesturday, i decided that i was actually jealous of my own life. ...but you should never ever consider living here. unbearable.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


The title says it all – OMFG – tomorrow I’m going to be in Brazil! Omfg!Omfg!Omfg!

To prepare us for our arrival, the whole ship has been contributing to our knowledge of Brazil: today my International Finance assigned a case study on inflation rate targeting in Brazil, we had a guest lecture in Great Powers about how first sugar plantations and now soybean crops have made Brazil a predominantly exporting country, and my world nutrition class focused on how the body uses sugar – the main crop in Brazil. Additionally, there have been mandatory and optional lectures about the culture, architecture, and politics of the country.

Last night we learned how to speak Portuguese in three easy steps:

1) Take a Spanish word

2) Replace: ue à o; ie à i; ion à ao; on à ao; j à lh

3) Speak Portuguese!

If you’re me, of course, these easy steps are interpreted as:

1) Memorize the phrase “Nao falah Portuguese”

2) And “Voce falah ingels?”

3) And “Nao entendo.”

Last night at social time, we also saw our first snippets of Brazil. My first view of land in the Southern hemisphere! There were lights all along the coast. We had a best guess as to which city it was that we were sailing around. But, of course, I did not write it down and therefore now have no idea of what it was.


A Little About Brazil:

We will be docking in Salvador, which is the third largest city in Brazil (although smaller by Rio and Sao Paulo by a long stretch). Salvador is part of the Bahia region of the country, where the Portuguese initially set up sugar plantations. The 2000 census for the country showed an ethnic breakdown of 53% white, 39% mulatto, and 6% black. Salvador, however, is 80 – 90% black, a result of the slave trade that was based predominantly out of the Bahia sugar region. This has resulted in City of God-like ghettos in Salvador and, coincidentally, 80 – 90% of the city is also living in poverty. (In all of Brazil, 4% of the population controls 80% of the wealth.)

So…tonight’s mandatory cultural pre-port lecture: all about safety, including a self-defense demonstration. I actually won’t need this demo though. After I learned these facts last night, I found a rugby player and asked what he would be doing in Brazil. Turns out, he’ll be hanging out with me.

OMFG – I’m going to Brazil!

Neptune Day

For all the students on the MV Explorer, Neptune Day began with a form of “hazing” by the night crew members who, dressed as Greek gods, went from cabin to cabin banging on pots and pans to wake up of the sleeping inhabitants who were excited for a day off from school and an opportunity to sleep in. For all the students besides Darcy and I that is. We were wonderfully oblivious to this debacle as we were the only students in the dining room, enjoying an early and quiet breakfast. (Leave it to me to wake up my roommate at 7am on a day with no school.) We returned to the second deck just as the night crew was making their third and final round of all the cabins. Darn.

The most entertaining part of this wake-up call though was probably the people in inside cabins. Without a porthole, they had no idea what time it was and literally thought that they were being dragged from their beds by Filipino looking Greek gods at 3am. It was actually about 8am and time to start the day.

Then came the real wake up call. Big Brother over the loud speaker announced that it was time to go to the seventh deck and worship the sea gods.

I know I’ve already delayed this too long – I shaved my head. All the cool girls were doing it, so I decided to join in. Unfortunately though, all the cool girls actually look fine with shaved heads because they have cute earrings and nose piercings that make it quite apparent that they are females. Seeing as I have neither, I actually look like a scrawny pre-pubescent boy. Therefore, the next stop is to get ear piercings in Brazil so I actually look feminine.

The cooler part of this story though is that I had my head shaved BY THE CAPTAIN. Student of Service raffled off the opportunity to have your head shaved by him and I won. I swear that I would not have shaved it had I not actually won the raffle. But how could I say no?

After the head shaving ritual (and no, I have no idea what it actually has to do with worshiping the sea gods), we showered in fish guts, jumped in the pool, kissed a fish and were knighted. I am now a proud member of the Shellback clan. I even have a certificate to show it:

“A Neptune Day Proclamation

Whereas by our Royal Consension, Our Trust Well Beloved Eli has this day entered Our Domain. We do hereby declare to all whom it may concern that it is Our Royal Will and Pleasure to confer upon him the Freedom of the Seas without undue ceremony. Should he fall overboard, We do command that all the Sharks, Dolphins, Whales, Mermaids and other dwellers in the Deep are to abstain from maltreating his person. And we further direct all Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and others who have not crossed Our Royal Domain, to treat him with the respect due to One of Us. Given under Our Hand at Our Court on board the MV Explorer and on the Equator in 037 Longitude, this 4th day of September in the year 2008 on Semester at Sea!

Cancer – Chamberlain Neptune – Rex”

So just in case I never get a diploma from Dartmouth, I’ll always have the sharks and dolphins and whales to fall back on as an alumni support network.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

At the Equator

Last night all of us on the MV Explorer waved good-bye to the North Star, or at least we would have had it not been so cloudy. Additionally, a “suggestion for fun” at the bottom of our daily Dean Memo suggested that before going to bed we fill up our sinks all the way and watch which way the water drained, and then to repeat the exercise in the morning to see if there was a difference. This exercise actually led to disaster as the ship inevitably tipped a bit as the sink was full to the brim and in our rush to let it all drain and clean up the mess, we forgot to actually watch which way it drained.

So the urban myth of clockwise above, counter-clockwise below (or is it the opposite? I’m dyslexic…) goes unsolved.

My first time in the Southern hemisphere has so far been … a lot like the northern hemisphere. The water is still blue. The sky is still blue. And there are still clouds. ACTUALLY, yesterday the water temporarily turned brown as we passed the Amazon River delta. All the debris from the Amazon River turned the ocean brown even as far out as we were (far: we couldn’t see land).

SAS has a fun tradition called “Neptune Day,” which is celebrated when we pass the equator for the first time. For some reason though, Neptune Day is actually scheduled for tomorrow. Classes are cancelled and our day is instead filled with fun activities such as showering in guts, kissing a fish, and shaving our heads. On the last voyage, fifty-five girls shaved their heads. I think I should take a poll on whether or not I should join in this time around? Mom? Oh right…you don’t have internet access right now. No good angel to counteract the bad devil telling me to “DO IT!”

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s entry for a recollection of Neptune Day’s events.

More on Life at Sea

I started writing this entry when I was sitting on the starboard side of the sixth dock. The ocean was unusually calm – I’m even tempted to describe it as water-skiable “glass”. We hadn’t seen land for over 24 hours, and I had no far away exactly the horizon was. I’m sure that it will only be a few more days before I’m sick of staring at how one shade of blue seamlessly transforms into another – but for now, it was still amazingly picturesque. Too picturesque to work actually. So I sat and stared. Literally for a good hour.

Around midnight last night I probably started regretting that hour inefficiently spent as I struggled through my first econ problem set of the term. But this is exactly how school goes – it would all be so easy if we had only cases to worry about, but really we have commitments and distractions and social activities. And then, on this ship, add in the extra complications of sunsets and dolphins (!) and dinners that can drag on for hours, and the required schoolwork seems damned near impossible to complete.

The only thing saving me is that the internet connection is so slow that I have no blitz with which to distract myself. My dad and I actually determined last night that it seems emails are only sent out in “packets” about once an hour. So it’s impossible to have a blitz-AIM-like conversation with somebody not on the ship. A necessary break that I think would do us all well to take. But I’m still getting used to it, and it’s still a little terrifying, and I do not deny hitting the refresh button for five minutes straight before just giving up on email for the night.

Beyond the beautifully distracting views, however, life on the ship has offered a new distraction: board game night. It’s a productivity killer. I’m pretty sure actually that board game night sucks productivity right out of me, leaving me with negative progress on any assignment. (Crazy that I’m already talking about assignments – crazy I only had a week long break!) I made the (very) smart choice right before I came to stop by Target and pick up two board games. I also somehow managed to stuff these somewhere into my carry on. As I’ve said…my packing skills should seriously, seriously impress you.

Last night my roommate and I bought a tray full of homemade cookies from the dining room to share with our floor – a party that quickly devolved into a game of charades [memorable actions being the Vagina Monologues, batman (only because I did the COMPLETELY wrong action for it, but my roommate still guessed it properly), break dancer, and Monica Lewinsky]. Tonight, however, I had the opportunity to introduce Taboo to a group during game night.

For your own good, I hope everybody reading this blog has played Taboo. Some more memorable moments from tonight’s game that I’ll share with you:

Clue: He’s kind of like Mini-me except he’s was a leader of an army!

Girl who shall remain nameless: Napolean!

Clue: Yes! But his last name to!

Same Girl: Dynamite! Napolean Dynamite!

Clue: Umm…no.

Clue: It’s something bad that happened in the country we’re going to after Namibia!

Eli: Apartheid!

Girl next to Eli: What’s apartheid?

*Eli debates whether or not to hit girl’s head or own head on table.

Eli’s Clue: It’s where Columbia is!


Eli: Ef wrong group for that.

Lest the last two examples seem a bit harsh on my classmates…I will take credit as the “Girl who shall remain nameless” in the first. So…I guess I cannot judge too severely. (You, however, are free to your own opinions.)

And finally…I come to my third new distraction. Writing this blog. I love you all, but I’m just not used to having to summarize my day, or even writing for that matter. Add on that I try to be witty for all y’all’s (and yes I’m aware that my only audience is my mother) entertainment…and I become very happy that I chose four classes instead of five.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Time to Start the Countdown!

That’s right. It’s that time of year again…only TWENTY days until I turn TWENTY. I know that all of you have followed my advice on the side column that points out that if you’d like for me to get a package for my birthday, you need to send it to the Namibia address by September 4 (two days).But just in case my birthday just so happened to slip your mind…here’s a few ideas of gifts for which you don’t even have to pay international shipping fees:*

- 5 course dinner with one glass of champagne $25
- 8” sponge cake $12
- 14” sponge cake $21
- 11” by 19” sponge cake $42 (help me buy friends!)
- 8” ice cream cake $20
- 14” ice cream cake $35
- 11” by 19” ice cream cake $70 (help me buy even better friends!)
- Happy 21st Birthday Package (doesn’t matter – I’m only turning 20)
- Fresh Fruit Basket $15 (don’t bother, I steal enough anyways)
- 50 minute seven seas massage $55
- 25 minutes Swedish massage $25
- 25 minute Aromatherapy $25
- Standard Manicure $20
- Standard Pedicure $25
- 50 minute Guinot Hydradermie Facial $55

…just a few ideas and examples of the way that the MV Explorer manages to pamper its guests. Other ways that we’re pampered include having our sheets changed daily (jealous Mommy?) and being waited on hand and foot at every meal. My favorite waiter is Allen. He snuck milk out of the kitchen last night so I could have it with my brownie at dinner. And then I told him I loved him. But really - it is shocking how easily not bothering to clear one’s plate can become second nature. At this rate, I’m going to expect to be spoon-fed during Christmas dinner!

Although certain amenities to the ship are lacking (the two treadmill gym and 12 by 20 pool being two obvious examples), the Explorer does quite well for itself as a university. There are 9 classrooms and 1 large lecture room. For the very large lecture classes, the lectures are broadcasted on TVs in all the other classrooms throughout the ship. We also all have TVs in our bedrooms, where I’ve heard that they start to show video feeds of classes for especially sea-sick travelers. Right now, five channels are showing Brazilian movies (our next stop!) and one shows the ships location, much like an airplane. Except, unlike an airplane, it’s hard to assess the progress since the ship figure itself is about as big on the scale as the 500 or so miles that we travel in a day.Speaking of which – ship speed. Apparently we’re the fastest boat our size out there. Which means…we don’t have to worry about pirates! We can go SO fast that pirates cannot attack! (But they do have a back up plan, just in case. And it unfortunately does not involve me ripping off my corset to go join them. Instead, Allen will be my protector and fend them off while I drink my milk. I asked.)Next stop: the ping pong table they just moved up to the seventh deck. I made my obligatory stop to say good-bye to Jack and stock up for the trip on my way out of town, so I’m sure that the five Dartmouth students here are not too far away from finding great friends.

*All serious inquiries can be addressed to the Institute for Shipboard Education, 800-854-0195.