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.

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