Drugs for Breakfast

July 23, 2008 -

John Heald

Let’s talk about Drugs.

Guest: Mr _________ Ref: 002801440A Owner: (EVSI) Evgeniya Ishkova
Cabin: ________ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 07/20/08 – 07/20/08

_______ – Cruise Director Mentioned Drugs at travel talk.

Mr ________ called the desk saying that the Cruise Director had promoted the Red Light District in Amsterdam and the use of drugs. Guest thought this inappropriate as there were children in the room and that she was a drug treatment volunteer at a prison in Philadelphia. Guest wanted to speak to Cruise Director. Purser informed guest that she would advise John and that he would be calling her.


Ok, first of all I called the guest and apologized. Indeed, I had mentioned the fact that the Red Light District did not only contain ladies standing in windows but also Coffee Houses. I explained in my talk that if guests wanted a coffee that these were not the place for a cappuccino but were in fact areas where smoking marijuana is legal………I told the story from the Carnival Legend where two elderly ladies found themselves in the Red Light district after some shopping time………..saw the word Coffee Shop ……went in for a Latte……..and came out with the munchies. …………..

Now, I also told the guest that I had warned people that they should not try and bring anything back onboard and that although my “Legend” story got a big laugh I was also being serious.

The guest said that I should not mention the word marijuana and that she was dismayed that I did…………….I apologized again………..boy was she mad at me…………….and you know how that upsets me deeply. I have therefore decided not to tell that joke again.

You see, when it comes to drugs I am totally naive. I have never, smoked anything stronger than a Cuban cigar and as for sniffing something……well the only bad stuff that’s ever gone up my nose is the smell from my bottom after I once ate 12 Brussels Sprouts one Christmas Dinner.

I guess therefore I never thought that this innocent joke would upset someone so much. I don’t know anyone who partakes and I guess if you want to shovel a ton of coke up your nose that’s up to you.
However, I must say at this point that I have never taken drugs because I would hate anything that would affect my ability to think properly………….why would anyone want to take away the ability to think clearly? ………….I once saw a group of people at my college who’d taken some magic mushrooms. They were lying in the middle of the cricket pitch laughing hysterically at a shoe. And a shoe, so far as I can tell, has exactly the same comedic properties as Simon Cowell

Magic mushrooms, then, do not make you clever, irresistible to women, or give you X-ray vision, all of which would be fine. They make you laugh at a shoe, and that’s not fine at all.

This is another reason why I don’t drink anymore. When I had partaken of a few beers I would marshal my thoughts into a coherent sentence but they would come out as a steam of incoherent rubbish…….I sounded like someone from Japan trying to speak Klingon.

Once, while on vacation in Orlando, I arrived back at my very large hotel and couldn’t remember either what room I was in or my name. So I had to spend the whole night trying my key in each of the doors, a job made doubly hard because they each appeared to have 16 or 17 locks. Fun? No, not really, unless the alternative is being eaten by a lion.

The worst drug though, by a mile, is the common or garden sleeping pill. I tried one once, on a flight from Miami to London, and was so removed from anything you might call reality that to this day I have no recollection of the entire flight except being woken up by the flight attendant who was a pretty young thing from Virgin Airlines………she was blonde and quite attractive ………..yet when she woke me up I opened my eyes, looked at her and said “piss off Brian.”….I then realised what I had said yet couldn’t string a sentence together to apologize. ……….and this was from taking just three Tylenol PM tablets…………….I promised myself I would never take them again.

However, after my overnight trip to California a few months ago to film the USA Character Fantasy thing I mentioned to the ship’s doctor who was an old friend that I wasn’t looking forward to the eleven-hour flight back. He took pity on me and offered me two pills that would help me sleep. I said “no, thank you” explaining the last time had nearly resulted in me being banned from flying Branson Airlines ever again. However, he was very persuasive saying they were only antihistamines rather than proper sleeping pills, so I relented and as the plane took off popped them into my mouth.

The first indication that something was wrong came 10 minutes into the film I was watching. It didn’t make any sense. Matt Damon had become Jean Claude Van Damme who, in turn, was suddenly wearing a leather skirt and high heels. I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t care. And then I fell into such a deep sleep that, if someone had removed my pancreas using only a spoon………I would never have known.

The next thing I knew we were landing at Heathrow and this time as the American Airlines attendant woke me instead of swearing at her and calling her Brian I opened my mouth to speak and a torrent of green stuff drooled out of my mouth.

I vaguely remember collecting a bag from the carousel — I think it was mine — and driving home to the accompaniment of many blown horns and gestures to go away…………… Heidi was in Holland when I got back and I dimly recall climbing into bed telling myself I would have an hours nap before lunch.

And then it was seven hours later, and when I awoke I seemed to have forgotten how anything worked. I stared at my coffee machine for what must have been 20 minutes until the sheer complexity of the thing made me cry.

I’d love to report that the next day I felt refreshed but in fact everything was worse. I couldn’t shake off the crash helmet that had been nailed onto my head………….and my mouth tasted like the inside of Gandhi’s flip-flop.

I sometimes can’t sleep………I count sheep…………I count the tigers that spring out of the field and eat them………I toss and I turn but if sleep doesn’t come I will never ever reach for the sleeping pills again. Having experienced the after effects I know that getting though the next day on one hours sleep is better than trying to get though it with the reaction times, humor, and conversation of a sloth.

Oh, and by the way……………..The Red Light District tour………..is sold out.

What a beautiful day at sea it’s been. The sun has been shining and the people seem very happy and very content. I am not sure if I mentioned this before and if I have I apologize…………but when I first got onboard I wasn’t sure about the new midship pool area and the enclosed roof. However, it has been a godsend.

Look at today for example………….its sunny…………but its still only 67 degrees outside. Therefore, with roof closed the guests are warmed by the sunlight streaming in through the glass roof and they can still enjoy swimming, the events on deck, the live music and the big screen movies and concerts. Whereas, the Serenity Deck, and the aft part of the ship which unlike the Destiny and Conquest class which have an enclosed space is open……….most of the sun beds are unused. Here are some photos taken at noon today and I think by seeing these you will understand what I mean.

and a few photos of Tallin…………more of these next week when Heidi and I hopefully will get to go ashore.

Here is today’s bio featuring one of our wonderful Housekeeping Staff Dede Hidayat………………people like this is what makes a Carnival vacation simply brilliant.

NAME
Dede Hidayat

DEPARTMENT AND POSITION
Housekeeping, Stateroom Steward

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
About two years. This is my second contract, before here I was on the Carnival Victory

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE
Organizing the rooms of the guests and making sure I meet their hearts desire.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM
Indonesia

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB
I enjoy taking care of people, and seeing friendly faces. I enjoy seeing them smile when they see their nice clean cabin and when they laugh at my towel animals. I enjoy talking to people from all over the world and I am very proud to be doing work on ship.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACK HOME
On vacation, I will visit my parents and we will eat good food and laugh at jokes

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT BEING IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY APART FROM FAMILY
I miss going to the cinema and my friends and church

FAVORITE THINGS

MOVIE
Kung Fu movies

MUSIC
Slow music, anything but rock.

FOOD
Spicy everything.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANY FAMOUS PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO WOULD IT BE
Bruce Lee

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB ON THE SHIP WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AND WHY
I would like to be an entertainment technician. So I could fix things and work behind the scenes in the shows.

I am so glad you all enjoyed the videos from yesterday especially the one of Claude singing his heart out for you. I have been putting copies of the blog in the library for everyone to read and showed Claude the comments…………I wish you could have seen the smile on his face.

This morning we held a senior management meeting which was chaired by the captain. We all agreed that the first cruise had been challenging but rewarding and that we were all very happy with what had happened. The major areas for improvement are:

Filling the pools at different times to avoid the murky water of the Baltic………….I suggested we use fresh water which is something the engineers are seeing if that is possible.

Better organization of the lines at Immigration in St.Petersburg…………..I am responsible for this and Heidi and I already have a plan of action which I will share with you.

The positioning of the gangways in St.Petersburg………….The captain mentioned that the pier is unkempt with railway tracks running right at the end of the gangway itself ………….extra staff will be in position to warn people to be careful. I will be mentioning this in my travel talk.

Welding of the coffee and drinks station on Lido Deck……….we have had a leak on one of the beverage stations………work is now in progress to stop the leak.

The Interactive TV System…………This is still not functioning as it should but work continues and most of the guest cabins have full interactive functions. The Sac Ship display is also not working. This is the TV channel that shows the ship’s route with the same on a huge plasma screen on the Promenade Deck. A technician is due to arrive in Amsterdam to fix the problem.

Breakfast Menus……………With so many international guests it was discussed that we will now add both continental style meats and cheeses to the breakfast set up and with so many Brits we will be serving the Heart Foundation’s worst nightmare, a full English Breakfast of bacon, eggs, bangers (sausages) baked beans, mushrooms and proper well-done toast.

Ah yes, the great British Breakfast. I think its safe to say that to Brits………..breakfast is the most important meal of the day ……….maybe caravanparkmanager would care to comment on this.

During my travels outside of the UK I have visited many an establishment that proclaims itself to be A BRITISH PUB…………but in fact it is as British as Nachos and Budweiser.

The one such establishment I remember more than any other was a pub in Nassau called The Green Shutters which years ago on the Carnival Fantasy’s three and four-day cruises would be a regular haunt of mine.

Now you would think being a past British colony that this island would be teeming with British Pubs but the Shutters………was the only one…………and it was dreadful………not only was food something that a pack of hyenas who had not eaten for a week would turn their noses up and laugh at………..the service was historically rude and the prices were outrageous. However, it was a little piece of home so me and my fellow British crew would head their every time the ship was in port.

One of the biggest jokes was the Green Shutters version of “English Sausages.”

I remember prodding them with my fork and wondering what on earth they’d made it from. Mashed-up rubber with essence of pig probably because, and I’ve tried this, the Green Shutters sausage is the only sausage in the world which, when thrown to the floor, will bounce.

Then there’s The Green Shutters “traditional” fish ’n chips. You look at it on your plate and you think: “Bloody hell, did a fish really give up its life to end up here?” And then you put it in your mouth and you think: “No, it didn’t. I don’t know what this is but it sure as hell isn’t a fish.”

To me, it tasted like a Frenchman’s sock.

Well, tonight I will be in a bad mood………………I have to wear my Dolly Parton dress for the Carnival Legends show. I hate doing this…………I hate the fact that I try sophisticated comedy all cruise long and then the biggest laugh of the week is when I put on a glittery gown with loads of sequins and built in humongous breasts.

This afternoon there was an emergency call for all backstage technicians to report to the main lounge as the main curtain had collapsed. All the technicians and myself responded immediately as this was going to be a huge problem and could have been potentially very dangerous if it had fallen on anyone……….and how would we do the shows?

However, the emergency call was quickly canceled when it was discovered that the mass of material lying on the stage was not the theatres main curtain…………..it was my Dolly Parton Dress……………bugger.

Goodnight
Your Friends
Dolly 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.