Too Much Information

October 11, 2008 -

John Heald

I wish you could have been there. The new Cruise Director Jen was there………so was Heidi and the thingy………and about 200 guests. It happened just now and I ran ………….. OK, walked fast……..straight from my Q&A, after my travel talk for Athens and Naples ……………to the cabin so I can report word for word what happened. Remember all the Q&As are done with the guests asking the questions over the microphone.

Here we go.

JOHN NEXT QUESTION…………YES……..LADY OVER HERE

LADY AFTER THE CRUISE, MY GROUP AND I ARE TAKING A 15-DAY BUS TOUR ACROSS ITALY AND I AM VERY ANGRY THAT YOU HAVE THE SAME TOURS IN NAPLES THAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE ON THE BUS

JOHN SORRY, I DON’T QUITE UNDERSTAND

LADY I AM DOING A BUS TOUR AND WHEN WE COME TO NAPLES WE ARE GOING TO POMPEII AND CAPRI AND SORRENTO BUT YOU HAVE THE SAME TOURS SO THERE IS NOTHING FOR US TO DO…………WHY?

AUDIENCE (SNIGGER AND LAUGH)


JOHN WELL M’AM, I AM NOT SURE WE CAN BE BLAMED FOR NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU ARE DOING AFTER THE CRUISE AND, OF COURSE, WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THE 3,000 OTHER GUESTS WHO WANT TO SEE THESE PLACES. MAYBE YOU CAN CALL THE BUS COMPANY YOU ARE USING AND CHANGE THE ITINEARY

LADY YOU PAY

JOHN PARDON ME

LADY YOU PAY

JOHN UMMM…….IF IT’S $10 OR UNDER, YES I PAY

LADY – (STANDING NOW) I MAKE COMPLAINT TO CARNIVAL. THIS IS VERY BAD AND YOU ARE NOT HELPING ME

JOHN MY APOLOGIES, I WISH THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO

LADY I GO AND MAKE COMPLAINT NOW

And with that, she stood and walked out and 20 or so of her group followed on behind. I was speechless and just had to laugh……….not a fake or nervous laugh but a real belly laugh………………….and, as I laughed, I noticed 200 or so people were laughing as well.

I know I shouldn’t but honestly…………this lady thought that I should have known that after the cruise she and her minions would be touring across Italy in a bus and, therefore, I should have come up with somewhere they could visit apart from Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri……………..how about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?……….the Statue Of Liberty?……… the shed in my Dad’s back garden?………………………..good grief.

And she did make a complaint at the information desk. I will have to call her later today and apologize that my ESPN abilities are not what that they used to be and maybe I will tell her that I am having the Eiffel Tower shipped to Naples.

Good morning from a beautiful sunny and breezy day at sea. This morning at 8:30 am we sailed through the Dardanelles which is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. The Gallipoli Campaign took place at Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916, during the First World War.

A joint British Empire and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul), and secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides, especially with the loss of many Australian and New Zealand men serving in the operation. Anzac Day (25 April) remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and for veterans in Australia and New Zealand. It surpasses Armistice Day/Remembrance Day.

So, yesterday, I was contacted by a group of Australian guests who asked that when we pass the war memorial set on the hillside could I make an announcement………………and, of course, I did. We have many Australians and a few from New Zealand onboard and I am sure it was a special moment when we sailed past the memorial.

So, I have to admit and I think for the first time on this blog thingy that so far…………..this has been a difficult cruise. I always promised to tell you when we do things right and, of course, when things don’t go so well……….I hope that is one of the reasons you keep reading.

Well, this voyage I don’t think we have done anything wrong — and I certainly have done my best to make everyone laugh and have a good time…………..but……….it just doesn’t feel right. I think this may just be me………or…………it could be that 800 of the guests onboard are of one particular ethnic group who really have little regard for the shows and activities and tend to entertain themselves. I guess what I am saying here is that I just don’t think this group has gelled……….and that’s my fault. Individually, I know everyone has had a great time………..it’s just as a group…………they seem a little strained.

However, if you read letters like this it shows I am talking bollocks.

I loved the poem, especially the last line. Then there was the one about the bathrobe …………. one I know is dear to Big Ed’s heart and his thingy. Yes……..I failed there as well. I tried to get the bathrobes increased in size but so far bugger all has happened. I am now supercharged to get this done and contacted the person in charge of this part of our operations, Vice President Ian Smith, who I know will get this done.

Then there was the letter from the US Army Helicopter Pilot who has just returned from active service in Iraq. I met him earlier today and we chatted for some time, I found his stories fascinating and, once again, I was proud that he had chosen our ship to rejuvenate and re-connect with his wife. I hope he likes the bottle of wine I sent him tonight.

Let’s have a look at some photos. Today, we go to Istanbul.


Before entering the Blue Mosque, worshippers are asked to wash their feet


The Blue Mosque in the background, with the fountains and the gardens of St. Sophia in the foreground


They sell roasted chestnuts at these sidewalk vendors EVERYWHERE in Istanbul!


St. Sophia


nside St. Sophia, huge wooden discs surround the ceiling and represent passages from the Koran. The big “W” shape on this one means “Allah”


Entering Topkali Palace, with the Istanbul flag waving valiantly in the wind


Here is Jaime and I as we sit overlooking the Bosphorous River, with ASIA behind us. WOW!


Here I am in the Grand Bazaar, trying on a belly dancing outfit. I started dancing and a Turkish shopkeeper started to play the drums. Soon a whole crowd gathered!

And here are three new photos of the Carnival Dream. These were sent to me by Placido Libro, Carnival Cruise Lines’ newbuildings deck & safety superintendent. As you can see, the fins have now been placed onto the smoke stack and the forward mast is now in place. Thanks Placido……these are just wonderful

I hosted the Marriage show today and the shows tonight and I have lots of great stories to tell you sometime. But……….if it’s OK with you……..I want to write about what’s on my mind. I hope that’s OK…………..I guess I just feel need to share the last year or so with you and how hard it has been………of course ……….I am talking about our efforts to make a thingy. This may contain far too much information………so let me apologize in advance and also thank you for letting me take a break and talk about Heidi and I for a bit.

We had been trying for a long time ……..having rumpy pumpy every single night ……………… well……………OK……………every other Thursday.

Months went by and Heidi, who has always tended to lean toward the anxious side, bought a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

The book explained that a woman doesn’t necessarily ovulate on the 14th day of her cycle – it might be the 12th – or the 20th — or it just could be that she has married someone who isn’t capable of making a cupcake, let alone a baby.

So, she began to Take Charge. Each and every morning she popped a thermometer into her, plotted her temperature on a graph, pored over the results as if they were the directions to where the Holy Grail was buried. Had the temperature gone up? Had the temperature gone down? Had it stayed up for three days, indicating she had ovulated and the procreative window had slammed shut? If it had, Thursday or no Thursday I was getting bugger all rumpy pumpy.

Then Heidi made me give up drinking coffee (massive doses impair fertility, she said) so not only was I getting no rumpy pumpy but no coffee either…..I was one big grumpy old sod.

Then her temperature was right and the stick was smiling………..and I was ordered to the bedroom………….it was 1 pm……………lunch time.

“You’re turning this into a military maneuver,” I said

“I’m 34 years old,” she said, without looking up. “We can be romantic the rest of the month.”

In truth there were days I wanted a baby and there was the odd one when I didn’t. This usually occurred after an evening with my beautiful five-year-old niece, who commanded me to sip from a play teacup, pretend the liquid had burnt me, and shriek, “Oh no!” until I thought I’d pass out from the tedium.

Or the hours I would spend in the freezing cold, with my incomparable nephew pretending he was driving and I was outside, serving from the McDonald’s drive through…………..the words “can we do it again?” still ringing in my ears as my McThingy disappeared in the freezing temperatures.

But, despite this I always came away from spending time with other people’s kids thinking that I could be a great Dad. I also came away noticing the sadness in Heidi’s eyes.

Then things got stupid. I wasn’t allowed to wear briefs and my old Y fronted tidy whities were replaced by free and easy boxers. I was told I could no longer have hot baths. I remember one conversation.
“You’re trying to control me!” I yelled.
“I am not!” said Heidi
“You’re not meant to heat up your Albert Halls” (rhyming slang). “Hot baths kill sperm for three months.”
“Men in Japan take hot baths every day. If that were true, there’d be no Japanese children. Now you’re looking at me as though I’m killing our chance to have a baby.”

And that was me out of the bath and into the doghouse.

About six months ago we started talking about adoption and last December made an appointment to see an adoption agency in the UK that specializes in finding children from Africa a home. We had seen the terrible suffering that these children face and thought maybe………..that was our calling.

Some people get all dewy-eyed about Africa. That’s jolly noble, but I don’t see the point because I fear that no matter how much money the countries of the world give to help the people, the gold- and diamond-festooned pigs that run the place will pump it straight back out again, into the pockets of Mr. Kalashnikov and Mercedes-Benz.

The only thing I’d send to the Dark Continent is a team of Delta Force to see Mr. Mugabe and his counterparts in Darfur and give them a double tap from a silenced 9mm Glock.

And, of course, the children of countries like Darfur and Cambodia are the ones that suffer and all Heidi and I wanted to do was maybe give one a better life………in fact …………..we still do. I just read a report that Cambodia which is a country of 14 million people………… but between them they have only about 5 million legs. In fact, there are 25,000 amputees, the highest ratio per capita of any country in the world …………….. because of the landmines, of course.

We arrived at the office to be greeted by a 17-year-old-girl who had gotten into a fight with a stapler and a nail gun. She had more metal in her face than R2D2.

She told us that there was a whole vetting procedure that could take up to two years and that at the end we were not assured of being able to find a child to adopt. …………… why …………..had Madonna and Angelina taken them all? I really didn’t understand. Here we were, two loving people with good hearts and sound minds wanting to take a kid home………….a kid who had been unwanted by their biological parents or whose Mum and Dad had been killed in one of the many forgotten wars that have become commonplace in Africa………………two years on a waiting list. ………………..why?

We left and once again I saw the sadness in Heidi’s eyes.

The descent into the world of infertility is incremental. Those early steps seem innocuous; you don’t notice your motivation distorting, how conception rather than parenthood becomes the goal.

Was it the fact that I was diabetic?…………Well, I should find out. ……………….I won’t go into detail as to how I found out that it wasn’t anything to do with me and my diabetes ………….but let’s just say thanks to the experts at my local hospital and a special thank you to Easy Elsie who was on page 28 of “Big Jugs” magazine.

Then, we spoke about artificial thingy and read up on all the different methods. This included the possibility of Heidi injecting herself with the purified urine of postmenopausal nuns – that’s what the drug prescribed was originally made of. Why nuns? Well, I guess the answer is something to do with the fact that they are ….. ummmmm….nuns……We get pregnant — they get money for a new stained-glass window. Everyone wins.

However, just as we were seriously discussing a visit to see Sister Mary………Heidi got pregnant.
And so, those days of the sadness in her eyes are over and, as she finishes the last few days of her 11-year service with Carnival, she does so with happiness in her blue eyes and a thingy in her tummy.

Me…………..well………….I look forward to either sipping at pretend tea from my daughter’s cup or playing McDonald’s drive through with my son. …………….It was a tough couple of years……………rumpy pumpy on command…………..tears …………..and months of frustration. But I have no regrets…………….well………….maybe one……………..I wish they had let me keep the magazine……………I miss Easy Elsie.

Thanks for listening
Your Friends
John and Heidi and of course……..the thingy

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.