Heavy Metal

March 23, 2008 -

John Heald

The Exorcist is asleep. Her head has finally stopped spinning around and it’s safe to take of my cross and my necklace of garlic……………………the packing is done. I look at her now and she is all calmness and serenity and she has gone from a levitating remote control throwing head spinning she devil to her starfish mode and is in a deep sleep happy and content and dreaming about inserting a Samsonite in my bottom.

The desk is clear, the paper work is done and it’s time to join the starfish. The only problem is that she has left me very little space in the bed. Normally I would wake her or push her out of the way but considering she has packed three cases and a huge trunk and thrown remote controls and various clothing items at me …………….I think I will leave her in peace and be content to sleep with half my body hanging over the edge of the bed……………………goodnight.

Morning. Here i sit and I am back in frustration mode again. Debarkation is as smooth as it has ever been since I joined 5 weeks ago and it has nothing to do with me. The announcements and debarkation organizing are being made by some chap called Stephen. He is doing a brilliant job and as I write at 9:30am we only have 380 of the 3515 guests onboard.

This means thanks to Stephen we will be finished by 10:00am.

Stephen is a great guy and I have to say he is dam good looking as well. He weighs about 280 pounds, has salt and pepper hair, he is from the UK and is probably the funniest man in the world. He is married to a blonde Dutch Girl and he seems for some reason to have a suitcase hanging out of his bottom………………………………………ssssshhhhh…………..don’t tell anyone…………………………….it’s me. I started each announcement with “hello this is Stephen”………………..well………………….I know I was not supposed to work but unless Immigration have a camera in my cabin I am sure they won’t know……………..so, this morning I am Stephen and Stephen seems to organize a much better debarkation than that ugly sod John.

Well, it’s now Sunday morning and here I am once again sitting in the hotel. Lets go back to yesterday. After a brilliant piece of organization by Stephen debarkation did in fact end as predicted at 10:05am and Heidi and I were the last people off the ship. We were, as you will remember on the guest list so down we went to collect our suitcases that were spinning around on the carousel.

Yesterday I had not touched the cases. Heidi as you know did the packing and the cases were collected by our stateroom steward and taken off the ship. So, as the Samsonite sisters came past I grabbed the first one without preparing my mind and body for the task……………….big mistake. The first one was so heavy it took every ounce of strength to lift it off the carousel…………………….I looked at Heidi and before I could utter a word she snapped……………..”THAT’S YOURS”………………..How could this be mine…………….I own 5 shirts, two suits, four pairs of socks and two pairs of underwear and I was wearing one pair now. I was about to argue this point but Heidi’s head had started to rotate so I decided to say nothing.

However, the first suitcase was just the appetizer, the main course was about to be served. This time I bent my knees, breathed in and picked up the second suitcase and failed miserably. I had managed to get it a few inches clear of the carousel but the back end remained fixed to the conveyer belt and that was me………………being pulled around the debarkation terminal like some cheap fair ground ride.

Eventually I managed to use my super human strength and literally dragged it onto the floor………………I looked at Heidi…………………I wanted her to say………….”are you ok light of my life. That’s my suitcase and I am sorry that it is so heavy but it is full of all my make up, creams, zit remover, five hairdryers, 32 pairs of shoes and oh yes………..I saw Meatloaf yesterday so I packed him as well.”

What I actually got was her Medusa impression and before she turned me to stone I grabbed suitcase number three which must have contained Meatloaf’s sister Prime Rib and off we went to Immigration dragging 3 tons of clothing, make up and an aging heavyweight rock star behind us.

At Immigration our fingerprints were taken again incase we had new ones surgically implanted since they did it five weeks ago and then we went up to the stunning new Carnival terminal and met Ken the embarkation supervisor who allowed us to leave our luggage in his office and we then went back on board.

I had a meeting to go to…………………..a really important meeting. Now, you are probably going to be mad at me here because I am going to tease you in the same way I tease Heidi when I tell her that later tonight I am going to wear my Gladiator costume.

I can’t tell you much because everything is in the early stages and in might never happen………………..what I can tell you is that the meeting was with a wonderful chap called Jeff from California who seems to like the blog and …………………well………………let’s just say that he may have found another dimension for it. The meeting was also attended by our Executive Vice President Ruben Rodriguez, Roger Blum and of course Heidi. It was a great meeting and I was honoured that he had taken the time to fly all the way in from California. Anyway, I will tell you more when I can. I probably shouldn’t tell you but I know this will be just between me and you right..?

I walked around the ship with Jeff and as much as he has traveled and seen the world he had never been on a cruise ship before and he seemed to be amazed at the facilities, the operation and the whole aspect of cruising. I know Jeff reads the blog and I want to thank him for even considering what he is……………well……………..considering and also a big thank you to the person who suggested ………………well……………the thing i can’t tell you yet…………………………let’s see what happens.

I did though feel guilty yesterday. I met wonderful blogger’s as I walked around. I hugged Vicki, I hugged Michelle, I shook hands with their husbands and got to see my old mate Randy from cruise critic. I met many guests who came up to me and said “are you our CD this week ” and the guilt multiplied when their happy faces turned to sad ones when I had to tell them no.

I was hoping that I would get the chance to spend a few minutes with Randy and his group but time ran away and before I knew it I was in a taxi heading to the hotel. I had though made a new friend called “Emmanuel Petit” our Haitian taxi driver who had offered to put the suitcases in the trunk and now was thinking “merede, kiss cosay is dans la suitcases, Monseuir Meat de pain ……………….. mon back is buggerde”

We then arrived at the Hotel Doral Golf and Country Club a 5 star luxury resort where Heidi and I will not be staying. However, this was the place where Enterprise rent-a-car was situated and before we went to our Motel 6 we had to collect the car. Now, as we entered the hotel I was surprised to see two police cars with lights flashing stopping cars going in…………………I wasn’t sure what was happening ……I did have a few Cuban cigars in my carry on which I had not declared……………..surely it wasn’t for that……………….I also thought just for a minute that maybe Immigration had found out that Stephen was actually me………………….anyway, Officer Alonso waved us through once I told them what I was there for and we drove up to the Hotel lobby.

There were hundreds of people sheltering from the now torrential rain both inside and outside of the hotel. What the heck was going on?

The people seemed to be in a bad mood and from what I could overhear the rain had ruined the day and ……………you won’t believe this but the course was also closed because a Tiger had been seen in the woods.

I know Florida has Alligators and snakes but I never new Tigers were indigenous to Miami………………………you learn something everyday.

We collected the car and my hope for a shiny black Cadillac was slightly dampened when I was given something called a Saturn. It was called this because it is so underpowered that 80-year-old ladies on a bike could run rings around it on a race track. Oh yes………………..one more thing about my car…………..it has the words GTI on the back…………….usually this refers to a sports model and break neck speeds………………not on the Saturn……………GTI………………Uranus.

We arrived at the Hotel and once again the differences between cruise ship friendliness and hotel friendliness is like comparing a long lingering kiss from Jessica Simpson to a long lingering kiss from a camel with gingivitis.

We met the doorman, the bloke that takes the cases out of the car……………..although he has an excuse considering he will have back pain for the rest of his life……………..to the front desk person. Her name was Latisha, which means “rude” in about 5 languages. I mean, she didn’t even wish me a nice day or ask who we were ………….in fact apart from a “sign here” she said nothing. This was in fact a 4 star hotel and part of the Intercontinental chain……………..a nice hotel with big rooms and close to where I need to be but I couldn’t believe that they were all so cold…………..maybe it was the weather.
Whatever the reason it once again made me feel so proud of our crew and their welcoming smiles and friendly service.

Last night we drove to see some friends in Miami. Usually the drive would have taken 20 minutes but in my Saturn Rocket it took 45 minutes. I decided to let Heidi drive because Mr. Bell who has now buggered off to whence he came left my eye feeling tired still………………….it was actually embarrassment that put Heidi in the drivers seat………………..even with the seat all the way back I was still only inches from the steering wheel…………….this was not a big mans car and was probably designed for beautiful size 0 models or Bob the Builder.

My friends Tommy and Emm Cooper were in town and as we never get to see them we decided to have a quick drink in South Beach. They couldn’t stay long as they fly out tomorrow to Italy. They own a very successful travel agency and are escorting a group of Germans on a riverboat cruise.

Like Heidi Emm hates to pack and like me Tommy sits back and lets her take charge and last night the two camps swapped notes. We men discussed why both our bottoms and heads had ached from the verbal attacks while the ladies swapped injury reports with Heidi showing her broken finger nail and bruised ankle while Emm reported that she been attacked by a wild and ferocious Louis Vitton bag and which had stubbed her toe.

After a quick hour of fun we said goodbye……………….I probably won’t see them again for months……………they are great people and great friends. After that we went for dinner to a place called Smith and Lowensky, which is a steak house. Heidi had a fillet mignon and I ate a pork shank with hard skin called crackling……………very unhealthy but wonderful all the same.

Two things struck me here.

The food was great but no better than our Supper clubs yet four times the price. It also struck me that this was the first time Heidi and I had eaten together……………just the two of us with no interruptions or phones or………………well…………….you get the picture…………………….and that’s a shame. We returned to the room, I put on my Gladiator costume and before I could say “Naughtius maximus timeus” Cleopatra was asleep.

So, as she makes those little snoring sounds I will say goodnight. Please know I have read the comments but I have no printer here and I hope you understand that for a while I cant reply to them all. However, I have already replied to 5 of you who marked the comment URGENT – PLEASE REPLY. Stephanie has sent those to my raspberry and I have replied via her. Please let me know if you need anything and mark it as URGENT.

Please though keep the comments coming. I read them all, the best wishes, the thoughts and ideas and the fun. I worry a lot when I am not onboard that people will stop reading the blog……………..I hope this does not happen. Please keep reading and remember that I will have breaking news for you very soon.

One more thing, Roberto Castro has left Carnival for pastures new. I thank him, as do you all I am sure for everything he has done and we all wish him health and happiness. Stephanie will I know make sure the blogs and comments are posted quickly as she has been doing for the last few weeks and she will also be taking the blog to new levels as you will see very soon.

It’s time for bed. Despite there being a Tiger on the lose, the ugliest slowest car in the world parked outside and despite the fact that after lifting the Samsonite sisters of that conveyor belt I will sleep well tonight.

Mr. Bell has returned to be amongst his own kind in Paris, my phone won’t ring at 3:00am in the morning because a hotel guest is in someone else’s room and I have to go banging on every door to see where she is.

Thanks to all 1.8 million of you for hanging in there with me until I board the Emerald princess on Tuesday.

Until then, it’s time to move the starfish to her side of the bed and get some sleep

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.