Cue the music to Peter Jackson's trilogy Lord of the Rings. The ancient civilizations, the lush scenery...our trip had all the makings of an epic adventure, and it was epic indeed. An epic fail.
Last week, I embarked on a trip with three able bodied Koreans claimed to be related to me, though I doubt it because two of them planned this trip of death. The trip started off mediocre, and actually decent, when we stayed in Athens and visited the Parthenon. It was pretty standard fare, visiting landmarks and what not of ancient civilization. Not really my cup of tea, but tolerable I suppose. Then we started a trip towards the Greek islands.
We went to Piraeus, the port town near Athens by subway, which was newly built and speedy (Athens was the location of the 2004 Olympics so they had some modernization). From there, we made way to the port where our ship was docked, and went through an unnecessarily complicated boarding process. I took a requisite photo with a peace sign sideways when they were taking an identifying photo of me as I boarded the boat.
Whoa. Where am I? Did I somehow get transported in time? Am I in the Dharma initiative? The "cruise ship" looked like a typical cheap Atlantic City casino with the name "Trump" on it. My sister informed me that the ship was made in 1971. After further research, apparently our ship had recently had a 1.5m gash in the hull after leaving the dock a year ago. We might as well have boarded the Titanic.
Our rooms were around the size of a NYC closet, smelling of dank odor. As we sat on our beds, wondering how the rest of the trip was going to go, the ship took off before we could jump back to safety, before sanity could be had.
We went to the ship dock for lunch. Food on cruise ships were supposed to be part of the reason you go on these things right? Wrong. This food was probably designed for some 6th grade camp, and then cryogenically frozen 40 years, only to be reheated and redistributed over time when passengers boarded the ship. They found a way to mess up almost every food item on the buffet, there was no safe haven food to be found. As we found out, the slightly upgraded dinner was probably edible at best, and the breakfast food was just as bad. They messed up eggs. HOW DO YOU MESS UP EGGS?
So, you might be asking, "Doug, couldn't you just have drank water to fill you up until you got to the islands?" Well, that'd be a decent idea, except the water was laced with chlroine that sailors, mermaids, and Europeans might be used to, but we spent some time on the islands scrounging for bottled water wherever we could find it. And the soft drinks on the boat? 2.75 euro. For a can of coke. WTF? (at the point of this writing that's approx 4 bucks).
What could one do to relieve himself of the insanity? Well, I suppose there's the entertainment on the deck which consisted of annoying trivia games hosted by some MC who had a microphone on way too loud when you just wanted to lie down and relax in the sun, shows at night that probably would turn over Broadway playwrights in their grave, a casino with 3 table games and slot machines, wonderful TALENT shows (notice the repeating camp themes here?), and oh yeah bingo with the geriatrics at 2pm.
Which brings me to my next point. You might also ask, "Hey Doug, weren't there at least hot european babes on this trip?" Nope. There were all families, or old peeps, no one really our age to commiserate with in the sorrow that was this boat.
And the rocking. Oh the rocking. The kind of rocking where you wondered if you really were on the Titanic and were going down. Sometimes you had trouble sleeping because of it. Othertimes, you felt dizzy afterwards on solid ground because you have been calibrated to accept the rocking as normal. To this day, 3 days after arrival back to NYC, I still feel a bit nauseous. B-E-A-YUTIFUL!
The islands? Well they were decent. Was the reward gained from those islands equivalent to the reward of destroying the ring of power and restoring peace to Middle Earth? I think not.