By Monte Lazarus
Perhaps it’s the bracing sea air – or maybe it’s being freed from the mundane life back home: in any event, cruises seem to bring out some of the goofiest comments, statements and quiz answers known to man or beast.
Halfway across the Atlantic, after spending massive hours in the dining room, one of our fellow cruisers commented on the waiters. Those waiters were all exceptionally pleasant, attentive, short in stature and obviously (to us) from a different part of the world. Since they all wore name tags with their home country there was a pretty good clue about their background. Our nearby diner wondered, “Why don’t they have Americans working in the dining room?” Pretty good so far, since she noticed they were “foreigners.” Then it fell apart when she decided, “They’re all EUROPEANS!”
Daily trivia contests are fertile grounds for absurd questions and remarkably imaginative answers. Here’s a recent classic: “Name the windiest CONTINENT.” This was the opening one of our rivals jumped on pronto: “A DESERT,” he answered. That was bad enough, but other contestants nodded wisely at his perception. (For those of you caught nodding like bobble heads, the correct answer is Antarctica. Oh, well, Americans are not noted for their knowledge of geography).
How about this one? “Name the largest bay in the world.” Answer from one of our more experienced travelers: “Australia.” No one even nodded at that. (Correct answer: Hudson Bay, of course).
Here’s another: “What association is there between the Rocky Mountains and a chinook?” Answer from a frustrated contestant: “What’s a Chinook?” That one wasn’t too bad, because almost nobody else knew. Want to find out? Look it up…this isn’t Google!
After seven days we reached and explored incredible Madeira Island, an infrequent stop for cruise ships. We returned – to the dining room of course. A fellow passenger sat down next to us and kindly asked: “Are you on the same cruise that I am?” Maybe seven days on balmy seas produced a balmy mind.
Early one afternoon in mid-Atlantic we saw a sailboat – not very large. It wasn’t flying a skull-and-crossbones and we were pretty far from pirate territory so we wondered what he or she (or them) were doing out there. We decided that it was probably the same that we were doing; enjoying life and the magnificent ocean. Only we were pampered by waiters, cooks, stewards making beds and cleaning, and folks earning a buck by entertaining. On the sailboat they were doing it the old fashioned way. They worked for it. They had a huge advantage, however. They didn’t play trivia every day. On the other hand, maybe they did play -between attacks.