Day at Sea/Formal Night...

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
Carnival Valor

Flag of Cayman Islands  , Grand Cayman,
Monday, December 5, 2011

I was really tired when my alarm went off at 7:00 am the next morning, as I had only got to bed close to 3 or 4, just a few hours before. However, I was determined to keep up with my walking while on my cruise and I didn't want to miss anything. So I dragged myself out of bed and put my exercise clothes on. I headed upstairs with my music and my water bottle. There was a walking track up on Deck 12. I had already looked and 36 laps of the track would equal 5 kilometers. 

It was a beautiful day, sunny but not too hot. I started my walk. I found soon, however, that walking on a track around and around with nothing to look at but ocean on all sides is not the same as walking along the Danube. I was very bored, very quickly. However, I kept going until I had finished my 5 kilometers. Then I went downstairs for some water. I was feeling like I hadn't done enough as I went down the stairs. I got to Deck 2 and looked back up the stairs. There was no one around, so I ran up as many stairs as I could. I got to about Deck 7 before I had to slow down. I walked all the way to Deck 9 before going back down to my room to shower and change. I was wearing one of my casual dresses and I have to admit I was feeling more and more like the old me.

My favourite time at the buffet on the Lido deck is breakfast. It always seems a little quieter and easier to get a table by a window. You can eat your breakfast while looking out the window searching for whales. I didn't see any whales on this cruise, but I kept looking. There is something really peaceful about being surrounded by water on all sides while you just meander slowly somewhere. I have often wanted to take a "cruise to nowhere" (available now and then through different cruise lines), but wonder if "Nowhere" counts as a travel destination.

After breakfast, I went down to the Photo Gallery which was open. I looked for my embarkation photo and for the picture that Istvan had taken. The pictures that are taken in Port or on the gangway are always really quickly taken. It is hit and miss as to whether it is a good picture, but it is the picture that shows where you have been. My embarkation picture was not great, but it wasn't horrible either. I was still standing so stiffly that I looked like a robot. I was going to have to practice a lot before this became natural again.

I found the pictures that Istvan had taken. Some I recycled right away, but the one of me smiling made me smile. I could see the difference in my pictures now. My eyes were what used to give me away if you were looking closely. They were frozen. My smile was forced. These pictures were showing someone who had happy, smiling eyes and a smiling face. Standing there looking at the picture, I smiled at the memory of a moment with a friend. Sometimes you have a connection with someone that goes beyond explanation and that was the moment that Istvan had captured. I immediately bought that picture.

After taking my pictures down to my room, I wandered up to the Gift Shops which were now open. There were two gift shops on the Valor. On one side were all the clothes, souvenirs, alcohol and sundries such as Tylenol, gravol etc...On the other side of the Atrium, was the store with all of the jewelry, purses, scarves, watches etc...I spent some time wandering around in the souvenir store, noting things for my son and daughter. Then I wandered over to the other side.

I have a confession to make. I am a purseaholic. I have always loved purses. I don't spend hundreds of dollars on purses. I just buy inexpensive purses that appeal to me. I firmly believe that a matching purse, jewelry and shoes will complete an outfit and make a woman look classy. I haven't always been able to achieve that look, but for me that is the height of looking good. I especially love evening bags and clutches. Every cruise I have been on, I have purchased a couple in different colours. As they are only $10 each, it is not a huge investment and it makes me feel good.

This time was no exception. I spent time looking at the purses, and found a white one that would perfectly match my outfit for that evening which was formal night. I also found a hot pink clutch that would perfectly match a dress I was wearing later in the week. I had forgotten to bring a sunhat and picked one up for the next day. When I got to the counter, the cashier told me that there was a special on. If I bought three things I then got something for free. So I asked where the watches were and wandered over. I needed a new watch. All of these items by the way were only $10 each.

As I waited in line to pay for my items, I absentmindedly looked at the cashier's name tag. I then focused. Szabina was from Hungary. When it came to my turn, I asked Szabina what part of Hungary she was from. When she told me that she was from Budapest, I told her a little bit about my trip. By then we had finished the transaction. I said "köszönöm" (thank you in Hungarian) and Szabina was thrilled. She told me that I had a natural accent in Hungarian. By then I had told her how I had fallen in love with Budapest and would be going back there one day. When she told me my accent was good, I told her that I had a friend working on the ship from Hungary who always laughed at my accent. Szabina told me that my friend must just be joking because I was doing really well.

We talked a bit longer and then I left. I promised to come back later and chat. Because she worked in the gift shop we had a lot in common and I had really enjoyed talking to her. It had also been nice to be able to practice Hungarian again. Istvan would hardly ever talk to me in Hungarian and when he did, he usually was laughing at me. Yet for some reason, even though it is a very complicated language, I have found it one I really enjoy learning and speaking. 

I took all of my booty down to my room and then went upstairs for lunch. After lunch I gathered up all of my writing paraphernalia and headed for the library. I found it completely empty and was able to spend a good two hours in there writing. By the time people showed up to play a Trivia game, I was ready to stop. I wandered out to the photo gallery and saw that photos from the night before had been added to the wall display. I spent a bit of time looking for the pictures from our dinner table.

There was a nice picture of me from the dinner table, and so I bought that. I was beginning to feel a little strange buying all of these pictures of myself. I also knew, however, that there were so few pictures of me anywhere, that it wasn't really a bad thing. When asked if I wanted to order the poster size of my picture though, I drew the line. I was not a Diva and couldn't even imagine having a poster of me hanging anywhere.

I spent time in the lobby listening to the music before heading downstairs to dress for dinner. I needed a bit more time for formal night, but my dress was not very complicated, so it didn't take that long to get ready. I took a look in the mirror, and decided I was looking better than I had in a long time. I headed for the lobby and my pre-dinner drink. I really enjoyed this part of the cruise. It was so nice to relax with a drink and listen to live music, while people watching. On Formal night it was especially interesting to see all the women in their beautiful dresses. Every colour of the rainbow was represented and it was like a fashion parade. 

I wandered up to the gift shop since I still had lots of time to wait. I was looking in the back corner of the shop at some necklaces, when Szabina came over to talk. By the time I left for dinner, we knew a lot about each other. My friend Penney would say that we were kindred spirits, and I believe that to be true. I believe that sometimes you can be acquainted with someone for five minutes and know that they will have an impact on your life.

I said good-bye and wandered down to the Casino. I saw Istvan and since it was fairly quiet, I had my picture taken at that time instead of waiting until after dinner. Once again, after the pictures were done, Istvan talked for a moment and then very abruptly told me he had to work and I was stopping people from coming over. I looked around and couldn't see the people he was referring to, but didn't want him to get in trouble. So I left and wandered down to the dining room.

Dinner that night was festive. It was lobster night and it was absolutely delicious. I was always amused by Holly. That girl had the figure of a Greek goddess and ate like a horse. She ordered one of almost everything on the menu and finished most of it. Tia sat right beside me, and we spent quite a bit of time talking. By the end of the cruise I felt protective of her, as she was only slightly older than my own daughter.

We had all made arrangements to meet up in the Casino Bar after I had gone to the show. I wandered down to the Ivanhoe Theater, waving at Istvan as I went past. There were not many seats left, but I heard someone calling me. It was my friends from embarkation day. I went over and sat with them and thoroughly enjoyed the show. The shows are incredible. They are extravaganzas with singing, dancing, and a full orchestra. I usually loved going to the entertainment every night. However, on this cruise, I ended up being so busy that I only ever made the one show.

Back up at the Casino Bar, I was introduced to many people. Some people came and went throughout the cruise. Some of them I only saw when they were three sheets to the wind. Others I spent a bit of time with. For example, Ryan was one of the people I spent time with. He was a really nice guy. He and I were often on the peripheral of the group and talked quite a bit. He was on the quiet side like me and so we would often watch what was going on.

That night we ended up at the singles event which was Karaoke. It was a lot of fun to watch people singing without inhibition. Halfway through Karaoke, our Mexican friends showed up. After Karaoke was over, we headed for the Disco and more dancing. Holly and Tia kept dragging me on to the dance floor and I had a wonderful time dancing the night away. It had been so long since I let my hair down, that it was quite the experience. I found myself loosening up more and more as the cruise continued.

When I ended up down in my room at 3:00 am I saw my towel animal, which always made me smile. I was very tired as I took off my heels which were starting to hurt a lot. After I got ready for bed, I turned the lights off and stood at my window. The moon was shining on the waves as the ship crashed through them. Now that it was peaceful and quiet, my thoughts turned to my friend Istvan. He was acting in a very abrupt manner, and I was beginning to wonder if I would get any time to talk to him in more than 6 sentences with lots of people around. I was also beginning to suspect that he was avoiding me...

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