Monday, November 22, 2010

Raw Hot Dog Fever-Part 3

...And it still continues???  (don't worry, we're nearing the end, sort of)

Sometime in the evening, our buddy John came on the intercom (nothing new by this time), and I remember he had a somewhat serious tone to his voice (this was new), and said something like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this cruise has officially been terminated!  We are unable to locate the problem, and more importantly fix the problem.  We have called for tugboats, which are on their way to get us if we can in fact not get our going under our own power.  These tugboats are going to take us to Ensenada, Mexico where we will provide transportation for you back to Long Beach.  The tugboats will be arriving between 1 and 4 o’clock am, so hopefully when you wake up in the morning we will be on our way to Enchilada, I mean Ensenada, and we should arrive late on Wednesday.”

As soon as these words came from the speakers, I looked over at Emily who was getting tears in her eyes (which is very much unheard of), so instantly my heart began to melt.  She was SO looking forward to getting a break, she had had a very difficult last couple of months and just needed a break, and this was the absolute worst thing that could have happened to her.  Even though this announcement was pretty much inevitable, it was really hard to hear that the cruise was over, yet it was only beginning.

John did come back on a few minutes later and told us that Carnival would take care of us, he wasn’t sure how yet, but he knew they would, and he would let us know as soon as he found out how they would make right.  He also said that they were still trying everything they could to get at a minimum the toilets up and running again.  This is quoted from his blog:
“Our engineers are as I said working hard, especially with the toilet system as we know how important this basic need is……………… and let me tell you our engineers are number one………. in the number two business.”

One positive thing about this cruise was honestly the cruise director and the announcements that he gave.  It was such a huge relief to be updated, and to have a little bit of comedy throughout the trip.  He was always adding stupid little remarks and jokes, yes some of it was a little unnecessary, but I need to put in my plug for John Heald, I would definitely go on a cruise with him again.  In addition, I will put in my plug for the captain; he did a great job in keeping us safe.  The only thing I wish they would have done different (but I understand why they did it how they did it) was to tell us that there was an actual fire. We didn’t know that there was a fire onboard until we got off the boat. Emily disagrees with me, but oh well.  

Now that that is out of the way…after this announcement we decided to go back down to the room and get ready for a family meeting.  I have to put this because it is so funny, so here it goes.  I will say that one of us, I won’t say which one of us, really had to go number 2.  Our toilet was full (but whose wasn’t at this point?), and we had already been using the shower and the sink to do our #1 business.  Believe me it sounds disgusting and gross, but it was all we could do other than go in the toilet and have it slosh onto our bathroom floor and have it smell up the whole room.  So, the aforementioned one of us went into the bathroom with an ipod as a light, and did their business into one of the supplied “feminine product” bags.  This bag was then put into another bag which was put into a plastic Target bag, wrapped up, and taken with us on our way to the family meeting, where we were certain we would find a garbage can so we could dispose of said plastic Target bag which contained unmentionables.  About ¾ of the way to the meeting, we decided that there were no garbage cans, and an executive decision was made to leave the Target bag on one of the evacuated bar countertops next to some other piled up garbage!  I know…GROSS!!!
**Like my bath robe?  New fashion statement!  Someone had to carry the "bag" around because someone else was too embarrassed!  Desperate measures!

This story was quickly spread to the entire family at the family meeting.  I guess that this is as good of a time as any to say that this was a Henninger Family Reunion cruise (Emily’s Great-Grandparents), there were 46 cousins on the ship if I remember correctly.  Not one of them didn’t cringe in disgust as they were told the story of the bag of unmentionables, however, it did get a lot of laughs.  Now being able to look back, it probably wouldn’t have hurt to hold it a little longer as the toilets (well, ours anyway) started to work again!  The majority of the family reunion-ers were without toilets until Wednesday night, because they were on deck #1 and in the back of the ship.  I guess it is a good thing that we were all family!
**You see us but we couldn't see anything in that room.  Literally, could not even see the hand in front of your face.  Jim's using the strobe lights for vision. (I know I've already put this picture but this seemed like a better place for it!)

I also need to mention that because there were no lights whatsoever in our staterooms, we had to open the door to allow any light in, and even that little bit of light was from the emergency lighting from the hallway, that barely made it in to the room, but it is all we had.  We became accustomed to leaving the door open for everything—changing clothes, going to the restroom, etc.  We became very non-chalant about life on deck #2.  Everybody that was interested in reading in their rooms had to put their chair outside the room in the hallway just to be able to read.  It would have been great to use a cell phone or something to use to light things up, but the problem is that the batteries would go dead a lot quicker and there was no way to charge them with no power onboard.  Jim even used his life jacket strobe light to provide light (I don’t know about you, but strobe lights just remind me of Chuck E. Cheese’s, and this was no Chuck E. Cheese’s!)  I became very grateful for the little things in our normal lives that we take for granted—electricity and running water to name a couple.  
**We wore grooves in the carpet outside our room.  It was much less outhouse stinky down by our rooms than upstairs.
That pretty much brought Monday to a close for us passengers on the Carnival Splendor, it ended pretty much the same way it started—eating sandwiches, no lights and more importantly, no toilets (for the majority of the passengers)!  We finally went off to bed in our pitch black room, anxiously anticipating the tugs to arrive so that we could get this puppy back to functioning facilities!
Day 2  (Only Day 2??  I know, but from here out it's rather monotonous so not as much to talk about)
Tuesday Nov 9, 2010

After a horrible night sleep, we awoke at around 6 am again.  You see, we live in the Eastern Time zone, and on the cruise we were in the Pacific Time zone, and plus Saturday night (the 6th) we moved the clocks back an hour, so this was now a 4 hour time difference, so my body was telling me it was 10!  Way past my normal “sleeping in” time of 8.  I don’t know where I was going with this, so…

Like Monday, we heard the annoying British voice of our buddy John, say something like, “Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sorry for waking you up again, but I need to let you know that the tugboats did not make it last night, there were two coming to tug us back, and one of their engine’s failed on the way out to us.  So we should be seeing a tug in here sometime around 10-12 o’clock this morning.”  I remember thinking, “Why does this not surprise me?”  I don’t think I was the only unsurprised guest either.  We were now just kind of taking everything in stride, “whatever”.  He also informed us that breakfast would be on the Lido yet again, big surprise there, “whatever”.
**Jake took about a hundred pics of all this stuff!
Breakfast in the Lido, this was becoming way too familiar…walk up seven flights of stairs, stand in line for an hour and a half, grab my sandwich, eat my sandwich, leave all of my garbage on the table, and go and walk around the ship for a couple of hours until it was time to stand in another line for yet another sandwich at the Lido, blah, blah, blah. Emily and I made our way up the stairs, wondering if we should just jump ship now and maybe wait for the tugboat to come and rescue us, or take our chances in the Lido.  Well, we took our chances with the Lido, and believe when I say that the meal was the exact same as yesterday’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner…fruit, sandwiches, cereal and milk (chocolate milk if you got really lucky!)  So we stood in the line, but there was something different today, everybody seemed to be looking outside at something…
I twisted, ducked, tried to get a glimpse, and finally I saw it.  Off of the port side of our stranded luxurious hotel (that was not quite so luxurious anymore) was a helicopter!  “What was a helicopter doing way out here?”  It was just there hovering around us and probably laughing at all of the stranded, vacationing cruisers (I know I would have been laughing).  It looked like a military chopper, the dull gray color, with the star with the three stripes on either side of the star gave it away.  It continued to circle us and pass over the top of the ship.  I pulled out my camera and took a couple of photos (OK, I took a lot of pictures, I was bored, and what else was there to do on a stranded ship?)  Emily always makes fun of me for taking a lot of pictures, “What are you ever going to need 10 pictures of the same thing for?”  I always respond that it doesn’t matter because it is digital and it doesn’t matter, but the real reason is that I am a nerd, and when there is something that I see that I think is cool, I take way too many pictures of it.  Just picture me around the Panama Canal (Emily saw that first hand, and she fell asleep!)
**We are so cool.  Period.

Sometime while we were feasting, John came back on the intercom system, this is one of those systems that stayed on the back-up generator power for these exact type of situations (yet for some reason they didn’t think to put a flashlight in every stateroom for these exact situations…idiots!).  Anyway, he told us that the U.S. Coast Guard had arrived sometime during the night, and they will be circling us and escorting us back to Enchilada.  He also mentioned that the Mexican Navy was out there and that the USS Ronald Reagan was on its way and would be here shortly.  The USS Ronald Reagan is the newest and greatest aircraft carrier that the U.S. Navy has.  He told us that they were bringing us some supplies, like fruit, toilet paper, you know the essentials. 
After we finished our sandwiches we went down to our room to try and get ready for the day.  When we had successfully put all of our clothes on backwards (I’m just kidding of course) we went to what would become my favorite place for the remainder of the cruise—deck #3, starboard side open deck, directly below the life boats.  It was the only place on the ship where there weren’t 1000+ people.  It became my little paradise on the ship.  Anyway, there we could see the USS Ronald Reagan approaching us, and as it got closer we could see all of the jets and helicopters on the deck—Awesome!  Yes, I took a few pictures.
This was the last time that I saw Emily all day!  She decided to try and make this a vacation anyway, she literally disappeared (I very unsuccessfully tried to find her several times!).  So, I was now all alone, and her mistake was leaving me with the camera.  I know that I take a lot of pictures, but believe me that if I didn’t hear my wife’s voice in my head before I took any picture, “Jake, why are you going to take a picture of that?  I will just delete it when we get home!” I would have had a ton more pictures, and now looking back on it, I wish that I would have gotten a lot more pictures, especially from the beginning of the trip (the check-in lines, and picture lines, oh that would have been great!)

**The aircraft carrier got to close to us.  It was really a neat sight to see.  They were taking pictures of us as we were taking pictures of them.  I wonder if the air force guys are writing as cool of a blog as us??

So, what do I do, now that I am all alone?  Background story: I am currently in the process of taking some pre-requisite science classes so that I can apply to dental school.  I am at this moment taking Chemistry II, it is not the most fun I ever had in college, but it is okay.  During this trip I missed a full week of class (3 classes and 1 lab), so I knew that I was going to have to try and teach myself a full chapter from the book as I had a test the day after I was to get back.  OK, enough of that.  I had every intention before the whole melt-down to study for a couple of hours every day in the stateroom at the desk they provide, but the events of early Monday morning changed that!  I constantly found myself asking myself, “Should I go study now?”  The answer to this question right now was, “Yeah I probably should, but then I might miss the helicopter dropping supplies.”  My mind was made up…forget Chemistry!  I had to take pictures of the helicopter!  Off I went to Lido Deck, this time in excitement!

I made it in plenty of time, thank goodness!  I actually ran into Gary and Becky, they had illegally taken the lounge chairs that the crew had stowed away 5 minutes prior to clear the area for the drop, and they were lounging.  One minute hadn’t passed by before one of the crew members politely asked them to put the chairs back because they needed the space for the drop.  They complied.  We found a couple of chairs that were around a table that nobody was using, and snagged those and got front row seats for the main event scheduled for the day!

 ...To be continued...


Johnson said...

Still a crazy story. I am waiting to hear something about a raw hot dog and a fever of some sort. You poor guys. I am sure Emily needed this break! Hope you were able to catch up on Chemistry.

Ryan and Andrea said...

How gross about the poop! If swine flu starts again, we are blaming you!!

Johnson said...

Part 4?......