20th April: Sea Day, Birthday!

Trip Start Apr 16, 2005
Trip End May 01, 2005

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Thursday, April 21, 2005

I awoke to the muted strains of Helen teaching Xander how to sing "Happy Birthday To You" (but don't tell Xander as he's certain I was asleep at the time, even though he'd already crawled all over me to get out of bed).
This was then sung at me (although he got stuck in a "Happy Birthday To You" loop and never actually got to the "Happy Birthday dear Daddy" bit) in a beautiful  duet, and I was presented with some lovely cards which are now adorning the shelf in our cabin. And Xander gave me a lovely Celebrity Cruises Thermal Mug for those days when I have to set off horribly early in the morning. My Official Pressie had already been discussed and pondered over but final decisions were to be made by me - that's something for the next Sea Day on 23rd.

We spent the morning doing... well, I can't remember what really; we just chilled. Uncles Chris & Graham offered to take Xander to the Kiddie-Bingo / Party that he'd been invited to in the afternoon (run by the ship's youth program team, who we'd have a lot more involvement with if he was a year older and thus allowed to be left with 'em).  I'm sure they only offered so that they could see the reaction of the people running it when two blokes turned up with a little boy...
Anyway. He won the bingo (despite being the youngest there), prize being a fluffy yellow starfish which has been his best friend ever since. He also danced better than anyone else there, apparently.
All this gave Mummy and Daddy some time sans-fils. So we slept!  The little treasure has been waking us up in the middle of the night and not shutting up, so we're a little short of sleep, alas.  

And my itchy throat progressed to a horrendous cold.  Not a nice birthday pressie, that.

We had booked the ship's "Speciality  Restaurant" for the evening - all 8 of us. So suits were donned and off we trundled, me armed with a pocketful of tissues.
Despite feeling absolutely grot and not actually being able to taste an awful lot, it was the most fabulous meal I've ever had.  They do a standard a la carte and a special "Menu Exceptionelle"; the whole table must partake of the latter or none at all, but as well as being the Chef's  recommendations, it comes with specifically selected wines for each of the six (oh yes) courses.
Well, we had to really.
We were serenaded by a harpist - unusual and very nice; she even played my favourite, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. The food was fabulously presented and apparently it tasted really nice. I managed a few mouthfuls of each, but I'm really ashamed at the amount of beautifully pink lamb I left on the plate.  Most unfair.
But the service... oh my. Completely flawless. The Maitre d' noticed that I'd barely touched my beetroot consommé and was most concerned and quite insistent that he should supply me with something else; I had to explain that a) the fact that I didn't like beetroot was my fault not his; b) I had actually had several spoonfuls despite (a), just to experience a perfect consommé (it was) and c) I had a stinking cold and was saving my very limited appetite. He was eventually convinced by my blowing my nose loudly.
I could rave for paragraphs about every course, but I suspect I'm boring you / making you jealous already so I'll shut up about it.  One thing though - either somebody tipped them off or they noticed the birthday card passed to me from Aunty Margaret, as my sweet was supplemented by a very nice chocolate birthday cake which was duly shared around :)  And when we asked that 2 pieces could be saved for the boys, the Maitre d' waved his hands and said "No, no! I shall have chef make you another and have it delivered to your stateroom".
Good eh?

Finally, we have a photo of Xander trying some canapés. These are delivered to the room late every afternoon and are usually smoked salmon or walnut & Roquefort goo or brie and black pepper or something. Today's was... caviar .  And here's Xander's first experience of it.

Like father like son, it seems. Bleugh.
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