Sunday, January 25, 2009


Thank you for all of the comments and emails you have left. I am going to try to answer some of your questions and of course post some photos for you in this blog.

What does your cabin look like?

What are the students like?
We've got a broad array. We had an open-mike night the other night and we saw it all. On the day of check-in I had seen many guitars coming on board. Everyone knows Jordan- the guitar guy from Michigan. He is really talented and takes requests. Then there is Jonathan, this guy with this crazy "flute baby" instrument. He also does stand-up comedy. He told us his instrument is like a combination of a kazoo and a piano- who went off to college, met a flute and had a baby. I don't even know if there's a way to explain that any better....weird but cool. And of course we've got our resident "Piano Man" who is in the piano lounge most nights and takes requests and plays back each request perfectly. And we've got Ashley who writes her own music. We've got poets, priests and politicians. They've got words to thank for their positions. (Okay that's actually just a line from a song by the Police....but I bet we do have at least one of each of those.)

What else? They come from everywhere. Most students are from Pittsburgh, Chapman, University of Virginia and the #1 represented school, which is UC Boulder. No surprise, since those are the four institutions who have sponsored Semester at Sea at some point in time. The gross majority are female and the median age is 20. Of course we've got Lifelong Learners mixed in with this group, who range in age from 20-something to 70-something. And then we've got children since many faculty and staff brought their kids. They are being sea-schooled while they are here. It's a big salad bowl of people.

Do you have "cabin fever"?
No, but I am really looking forward to getting to Cadiz. (CAdeeeTH. Say it with me now. CAdeeeTH! Spaniards have a lithp.) Only two more days at sea. The loooong stretch will be between Japan and Hawaii. So far it has gone pretty fast. Sometimes I do feel like a I am participating in a combination of Survivor and Road Rules though.

Where is the rain in Spain?
Mainly on the plain.

Who the hell is Carl?
Sorry- that one is an inside joke... you'll have to ask my colleague Jason.

What are your colleagues on board like?

Do you sleep on the ship when you're at port?
Yes, unless I am on an overnight trip. I have one in Morocco, one in South Africa, one in India, one in Vietnam and I'm meeting Dara in Bangkok for the duration of our stay there. Oh- and I am also meeting my friend and former colleague Motoko in Kobe, Japan. And hopefully a friend from a class I took, Nupur in India. And I'm trying to convince Kat to come to Honolulu- a friend whom I've never met in person, but was a huge resource for me in regards to this voyage.

Does it look like a cruise ship?
Kinda. Here is a photo of the student union (a class is going on in there in this photo) and the faculty staff lounge (which kinda reminds me of The Jetsons):

Are you going to meet Desmond Tutu?
No, my understanding is that he's not available when we're in Capetown. But he does have an ongoing relationship with Semester at Sea. He came onboard on the last voyage. I *did*, however sit with his Executive Assistant last night at the Faculty/Staff social. Her name is Levinia and she is sailing with us for this voyage. Her home is in Capetown, so she will be getting off to pick up whatever she forgot to pack and then getting right back on!

Are you sick of the food yet?
No, but I've got a confession: I ate almost half the bag of Tootsie Rolls that I brought for the disabled orphans in India. I *knew* that would happen. But don't you fret, because I bought two more bags of suckers or lollypops or whatever you call them when I was in Miami. The food onboard is not bad. Or maybe I just haven't been here long enough to get sick of it....

How do you do laundry?
My cabin Steward does it for me. $5 bucks a bag, flat rate.

Who is keeping Brian entertained while you're gone?
Good question, I don't really know. What are you doing while I'm gone, Cakes? Have you tried to call my office? I really haven't found anyone here to play "guess that song I'm humming". Brian and I often hum to each other songs like "I've been waiting for a girl like you" on the phone and then we have to guess what the song is. (I know. I am easily entertained.)

Are you actually doing "work" Laurie?
YES!! (Joe!)

What would you do with a drunken sailor?
Put him in the hold with the captain's daughter,
Early in the morning!
Make him walk the plank and swim at sea,
Early in the morning!
Put him in the longboat til he's sober.
Early in the morning!
Shave his belly with a rusty razor,
Early in the morning!
Hang him from the mast like a Jolly Roger,
Early in the morning!
Soak him in oil til he's grown flippers,
Early in the morning!
(I kept singing this song in my head in Nassau as several students boarded smelling like booze.)


The Damico's said...

i am loving your blog and the info you are posting! since i am so nosey, i want to know all about this stuff. :)

Rebekah Chow said...

Hey Laurie,
I just got back from Thailand and caught up on reading your posts from the ship. As always, very entertaining and well-written :). I was thinking that I should send you some suggestions for your time in Bangkok. If you want them, just email me so that I'll know which email address to send them to ( Take care and have lots of fun!

LJ said...

Yay for photos!!! Do you have a roommate? Hopefully I didn't overlook that detail. How fun regarding the entertainment - LOL. Unless, of course, you tire of the piano meets flute (I play both and have nooooo clue what the heck he is talking about!!). You will LOVE Cadiz. You're making miss Spain even more. Enjoy!!