The Sting

May 29, 2008 -

John Heald

If there is one thing that will get you out of a grumpy mood it is of course sunshine, good food and great company……………oh and being stranded on an desert island with Uma Thurman, winning the lottery and seeing the Miami Heat win the NBA championship next year and owning an Aston Martin and having another way to see your thingy apart from shiny shoes are also pretty good………….but after the joys of Easy Jet, the price of fuel and being assaulted by a Hong Kong toilet ……………a day in Naples sure does lift the spirits.

The plane landed and we breezed through Immigration and went to collect our luggage. This is always a worry especially in Italy however the good news is all our luggage is safely by our side.

The one thing I do have to tell you is that someone was having a laugh I am sure at our expense because the luggage carousel was faster than I have ever seen before. This meant you literally had to run alongside the thing trying to grab your luggage. I saw one older lady really struggling and she completely failed to get it of the conveyor………….I offered to help the next time it came around.

I didn’t have long to wait and this time I made a dive for the suitcase and managed to grab the thing nearly taking my arm off. I think Grandma had bought lots of treats for her grandchildren from London or she had Jimmy Hoffa in her suitcase……………..she was really happy though and said a big Gracie and slipped a two Euro coin into my hand. I tried to refuse it but she started waving her hands in the air as though me not taking it offended her…………..so I did. I wanted to stay and help everyone and make some real cash but Heidi insisted we go.

We were met by Adolfo Aloschi. You may remember me mention him before …………….. Adolfo is the owner of the largest and most successful tour operation company in Italy. His family have been in the business for three generations and currently provide scintillating tours and excursions for Carnival and all our sister companies. Adolfo’s father Nino is a true character and knows everyone involved in shipping. During dinner tonight he received a call from Lord Sterling who was the Life President of P&O Cruises and one of the most famous names in European shipping. Anyway, we had a wonderful dinner by the old castle in Naples. Now, although it’s not June 1 yet I did start preparing for my diet by ignoring the pasta and say bollocks to the delicious-looking breadbasket and had tomato and prosciutto for an appetizer and fresh fish for main course…………no bread…………no pasta. I will have to start keeping a close eye on my sugar levels as I start to reduce the carbs.

The hotel we are staying at is superb but it has been made even better by the gifts you have sent in advance and the numerous phone calls I have received. I would like to say a huge thank you on Heidi’s behalf to Catherine and Bob who somehow managed to send a beautiful flower arrangement to our room and to the Johnsons who sent us the delicious basket of fruit and the bottle of champagne. ……………I have no words except thank you ……so very much.

The first phone call came just a few minutes after we had checked in and a special thank you to all of you who took the time to say hello. I stopped counting after 11 calls and as I write I see that I have a red message light flashing so I guess more of you have called to say hello……….once again, you are all so special.

Tomorrow we will catch the ferry to Capri where some great friends are staying. We shall catch up with Jan and Mick who we have not seen for some months. Mick is an old mate and like me he spent years in the wilderness looking for the right lady to come along …………..any lady for that matter. Mick found Jan when he was buying some tropical fish from her fish store…………..she lives for fish………….and now they are the perfect couple and due to be married in Las Vegas fulfilling Jan’s dream to have an Elvis impersonator pronounce them as man and wife.

It will be great to see them and our other friends Mr and Mrs. Packer and Mr and Mrs. Bee some friends of Heidi’s from Holland. This means I will be sitting at dinner with three Dutch people and when three Dutch people get excited and start talking a lot you can guarantee that you will be washing spit out of your hair for weeks.

OK, let’s say huge congratulations to the Carnival entertainment and video services teams for winning some special awards as you will see from the below.

AWARD WINNING

Carnival’s entertainment and video services departments continue to earn accolades, receiving awards of excellence for Web site design and video animation in two recent industry competitions.

The line’s newly revamped entertainment recruitment site, www.carnivalentertainment.com, received two distinguished honors – the Silver Award in the 2008 Communicator Awards and a Bronze Award in the 29th Annual Telly Awards.

Carnival’s video services department received a Bronze Telly Award for its role in creating custom-designed video animation in conjunction with the launch of Carnival’s top-rated teen program, “Club O2.”

Congratulations to all!

If you have not visited www.carnivalentertainment.com please take the time to do so and you will see why they have won this award. Congratulations to everyone involved ……..I am very proud of you all.

I am not grumpy………….I am very happy although I have every reason not to be and it has nothing to do with Easy Jet or Gordon Brown…………..it’s because during dinner tonight I was stung……………by a wasp.

Now, I don’t even know if you have wasps in North America……………..do you? ……………..well let me tell you they have an almighty sting and tonight I met one up close and personal. For those of you who are not familiar with the common European wasp, let me tell you all about them.

Firstly, I think they are aliens………..yep………..they are not from the Planet Earth and in my opinion they are the first wave of creatures sent over here to destroy humanity. Unlike any other animal, with the possible exception of the Duck Billed Platypus, a slug and the French, they serve no purpose.

They’re not in the food chain meaning no other animal or predator looks at a swarm of wasps and thinks “buffet,” they can’t make honey and they’re not fluffy. ………………so why are they still here?

Nature has a habit of extinguishing its more useless experiments. The dinosaur became extinct when the caveman realised that a Brontosaurus tasted just like chicken and the dodo when its wings fell off

But the pointy yet strangely pointless wasp soldiers on. Why? There’s more, too. Wasps can smell a bowl of sugar from five miles away. How? Sugar does not smell. What’s more, they can organize flight paths from their nests to known sources of food. Again, how, unless they have been trained in the complexities of air traffic control by creatures with three heads.

Here’s another fact. Wasps attack for no other reason. Most animals attack when you provoke it. My sister’s cat for example would try and scratch my eyes out every time I sprinkled packets of pop rocks in his litter tray………………but the wasp………………he needs no excuse and tonight while I was happily munching on my fresh piece of fish Willy the Wasp came high out of the setting sun and stung me on my right arm. Now, luckily I am not allergic to wasp stings but many people are and that is why in Europe wasps are responsible for more deaths than lions, sharks, elephants, hippopotamus and piranha combined.

As I writhed in pain and squealed like a girl whose Barbie Doll’s head has just fallen off I wished I had been at home. Wasps are a huge problem in the UK and I like many Brits bought a weapon to defeat this army of alien creatures.

I now have an electric tennis racket that turns the art of insect control into a sport. Instead of catgut, the strings are made from metal strips connected to a powerful battery. One touch will kill anything up to and including a hamster…………I know this for a fact………sorry Henry.

But wasps? They sit there mincing around until you take your finger off the power button, whereupon they sting you and bugger off using their antenna to send a message to other wasps to come and get me…………………….which one did ……………. tonight …………. I am telling you ……wasps are aliens and we should prepare ourselves that one day they will rule the world.

However, being attacked buy a monster from another planet, standing in a line for ever at the airport and having to pay for the right to have a few extra pairs of underpants in my suitcase has not stopped me from enjoying being in Italy.

I want to leave you with one visual……………earlier tonight, as I stood on my balcony looking at Vesuvius I saw a cruise ship sail away into the sunset. This sight always gives me a special warm feeling inside and I never tire of experiencing it. Tonight, as I watched I realised how lucky we all are to be able to enjoy the best vacation in the world ………………. the enjoyment of seeing a place like Naples and the surrounding area and then to return to the safe and luxurious surroundings of a cruise vessel or ocean liner to head to another port and new adventures……………..cruising is a vacation like no other…………….Why would anyone do anything else?

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.