Monday, March 23, 2009

Caribbean Cruise (Not)

"Caribbean" is one of those words my mind always tempts me into misspelling. For some reason, I want an extra "r" in there. . . .

I've taken one cruise in my life--an over-nighter from Stockholm to a big island between Sweden and Finland. The Swedish travel-agent informed us that the colloquial name for the cruise was "the booze cruise." He was right. Swedes, especially Swedish men, got on the boat, drank and drank, and then passed out--usually without saying a word and never with causing trouble. Americans tend to get louder when they drink. Swedes seem to get quieter.

I did take a boat from southern Italy to Greece (and back) once, but it was hardly a cruise. It was a people-freighter.

Oh, and I've taken a small cruise-ship on a "dinner-tour" of Puget Sound. That was okay. I actually prefer sitting in a restaurant and looking at the water, however.

I took the ferry from Dover to Holland once, and the sea was rough. Not to get too graphic, but everyone was throwing up except the crew, an Irish woman, and me. I tend not to get sea-sick for some reason, although if I were on a ship in the Atlantic, I probably would. One person made the mistake of rushing to the wrong side of the boat and expressing himself, as it were, into the wind. A crew-member chided him. I thought that was mean. The Irish woman sat there on the deck smoking, and I sat next to her. I think we were each waiting for the other to get sick.

This has all been a rather unpleasant prelude to a poem.

The Home-Cruise

I'd like to take a cruise, Caribbean, let's say,
but I don't like "activities," crowded boats,
and troughs of food. I wonder if they'd bring
the cruise to me: A cup of sand, a bucket of
sea, a box of sunlight, a book about the history
of the Caribbean. --You know, just drop it all
off at the place here. Then I could put on

some swimming-trunks that don't fit,
play recorded Jamaican music ("Get Up,
Stand Up"), pretend to look through a
porthole, fall asleep drinking rum, wake up,
stand up, and feel as if I've taken that cruise,
come back, rested, with some small knowledge
of Jamaica and no sun-damage to my skin.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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