Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 7 - St. Thomas.

Day 7 - St. Thomas.

Lili noted that we were lucky to be on the cruise while the Northeast US was hit with a storm. She called her boyfriend, and he sent pictures of the snow outside the door. The electric was out, and he was stuck fending for himself - but not as well as if Lili were with him. But what’s most worrying is that a couple of trees fell down on her driveway and that they will need to be cleared before the end of weekend.

 D&M flanking Lili and Marian in St. Thomas

In our area of the world, we went ashore with D&M to do some shopping. The stores near the dock were the usual jewelry, liquor, cigarette, and souvenir shops, all geared to make their money extracting money from tourists. I was able to find a bottle of cognac for $44 onshore that I’d have been charged $55 on board. You can guess where I bought my one bottle of booze this trip. What I found most interesting is the number of ex-mainlanders manning the shops. How do they afford living here?

Upon returning to the ship, I encountered no problems with security at the gate. I guess he’s seen it all and done it all already. It was good to get in air conditioned comfort. But I’ll miss the balmy air of the tropics.

Politics has been the topic of many of the conversations as of late, with most people I’ve met saying Washington DC has gone nuts. Even Lili is starting to get interested in what’s going on, and that says a lot about these strange times.

So far, Lili has lost enough money at the casino to pay for this trip twice over. I’m glad she has the assets to do this. As for me, I’m still up $10 from where I started. I expect that I’ll be down $20 by the end of the cruise. But that’s because I may get bored and be willing to play the slots a little more than planned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 6 - St. Lucia.

Day 6 - St. Lucia.

Neither Lili nor I wanted to get out at this port, but for different reasons. In her case, she didn’t want to take the tender to the island. In my case, I had a feeling that I might have problems being TG. So we both stayed on board the ship and met up with D&M again, and Lili went to the lounge chairs with M. Shortly after I left (didn’t want sunburn), M started getting ill, and Lili had to take her to her cabin.

Later, we ate dinner with two ladies I met in the hallway. In many ways, these ladies remind me of my two neighbors who should be in assisted living facilities - down to the voice of the younger lady, whose speech is identical to my neighbor’s voice. After dinner, Lili noted that she felt that they are a couple of strange people, and I agreed for my own reasons. Anyone who always carries all her valuables with her on the cruise has no trust in other people, and that is a sickness.

While at dinner, we heard an announcement. The ship was skipping Martinique due to weather concerns, and was making its last stop in St. Thomas the next day. Given the storm approaching New York, and the storm building in the Caribbean, this made perfect sense. But is was also a let down, as I wanted to see Martinique on this cruise.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 5 - Antigua.

Day 5 - Antigua.

I was not in a mood to get off the ship and take a shore excursion today. To see the ruins of an old fort didn’t interest me. However, Lili got off the ship and did some shopping. She returned with a nice inexperienced dress that she could and would wear on the cruise.

Later on, we went to one of NCL's specialty restaurants (not sure if it was Cagney’s Steakhouse or Moderna Churrascaria) and has a tasty meal. The difference in service between the specialty restaurants and Magenta is like night and day. We have had problems with Magenta on a previous cruise and on this cruise. But we never have had problems in any of the specialty restaurants (Cagney’s, Moderna, and Le Bistro) on the ship. This makes me wonder about the training given to the staff for the standard restaurants.

When we retired for the evening, Lili was complaining about my CPAP machine making too much noise. I’m not sure what really bothers her. Could it be the occasional air leak? Could it be my chin strap becoming undone, and air coming out through my mouth? or, could it be something else?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 4 - At Sea.

Day 4 - At Sea.

This was the first day that I could go to the hot tub with Lili. But this visit was unplanned, and I was wearing the wrong wig and didn’t make sure that I was fully denuded of hair. Yet, I enjoyed my soak with Lili. Upon getting back to the room, Lili made sure that my stray hairs were gone, so I will be safe when I go back to the tub again.

I wore my lavender dress today. Lili said that it doesn’t look good on me, and that I should no longer wear it. (After seeing myself in it today, I agree with her.) so it’s likely that I’ll put it in the charity bin sometime later this year. But it will be a good knock-around dress to wear until then. Lili also mentioned that she wished I brought her favorite dress with me. If I had dug deeper into my summer clothes in my storage bins, I’d have brought that dress and my favorite summer dress.

Again, the topic of shore excursions came up. I’m only interested in the cheaper drives around the islands, as I don’t want to walk much and break out a sweat. I’m not interested in the food and drink excursions, as they are all over priced.

We decided to go to a non-specialty restaurant (Magenta) on the ship. Both the service and food were mediocre tonight. If you ever take Norwegian cruises, skip the Chicken Parmigiana if on the menu, as it has the texture and taste of a chicken patty. I’ll probably write to the cruise line when I return to complain.

Since there was one way I could send a cheap outbound message to anyone, I decided to go to the photo kiosk and send a “wish you were here” selfie to GFJ. I intend to send something to the Cat Lady soon, as well as friends I know that know me as Marian.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 3 - At Sea.

Day 3 - At Sea.

Lili woke up and couldn’t find her phone. This wouldn’t normally be a big deal, but Lili gets very nervous when she can’t find things. Then she wanted to find out how to use her free ship to shore phone minutes, and this took a little bit of effort. We found out that she needed to get a PIN number that she would use for the internet - and she wasn’t able to use her access. So she ended up being told that she would have to wait for tomorrow to meet with the person in charge of such things to receive her access code.

We had a nice steak dinner to close out our day. As usual, Lili couldn’t finish her dinner, so she pushed her rib eye steak to me. I’m getting tired of this, but tolerate this behavior from someone who lived in a house where children were taught not to waste food. I’ll bet that this is why many Americans develop food addictions. But this is another story for another day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 2 - At Sea.

Day 2 - At Sea.

Both Lili and I got up late. On her own, Lili rarely gets up before 11am, and I knew enough not to wake her when there is no reason to do so. Before we left the room, she made some comments on my masculine name being on the card when presenting as female. And she recommended that I get my name changed to a name which can be used in both male and female presentations. (I only wonder if she remembers how much of a pain it was when she got married and changed her family name to her husband’s name.)

As usual, Lili went to the card tables and started to give money back to the cruise line, while I played the slots and won a few dollars. Unlike Lili, I can be quite entertained away from the casino as long as I have a good book to read, an interesting movie to watch, a good band to listen to, or nice people to chat with.

Lili wanted to take some shore excursions, but I wanted to err on the side of caution. I had forgotten to look up the LGBT advisories for St. Lucia, Antigua, and Martinique. Since I had already been to St. Thomas, I wasn’t worried about the island because United States laws applied here. But I wasn’t going to say much about this to Lili. Instead, I was going to mention a truth about the islands - if you’ve seen one small island, you’ll rarely see anything that isn’t already familiar to you on a new island. Most have at least one old fort, many have small rain forests, but all have duty free shopping districts geared to extract as much money from tourists as possible.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Winter Cruise: Day 1 - Embarkation.

Day 1 - Embarkation.

Both Lili and I were running late. She got to my place at 1130, and had no problems getting to the pier. It was strange for me to sit in back, but there was no way Lili was not going to sit next to her boyfriend on the way to the cruise.

I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problems checking in at the pier. Given that this is the age of Trump, no Transgender person can afford the luxury of feeling 100% safe. But, so far, I’ve had few issues while “cruising pretty.” However, there was a minor screw up at the pier that would cause me a little problem later. 

After boarding the ship, I found that my key card wouldn’t open the door, so I had to get a new card issued to me. And this is where the above problem caused me a minor concern - I got a new card issued with my full male name. The fellow at the pier issued a card with the familiar form of my name, whose androgynous nature helps me blend in as female. So I now had to deal with ship personnel occasionally using the dreaded “S” word. 

 Lili's Gift - It looks better than in the photo

Once safely back in the room, Lili gave me the tunic she bought for me. It looked good on me, and I’ll wear it often in the future. Then, I returned the small handbag she gave me, as the strap didn’t lend itself for use as a crossbody bag, and I don’t do well with over the shoulder bags. 

Then it was time for dinner.... Both of us were starving, and didn’t mind being seated with other couples. There was one young couple from New Jersey, and one older couple from Boston. We clicked with both couples, but Lili made friends with the older couple. (Let’s call them D&M for now. I’ll refer to them in later entries.). It was nice to have a tasty dinner at the end of the day, and I was glad to have someone other than Lili to talk with on the cruise.