News of the Cruise (Part 5: Don’t Cave In)

Mallorca, Minorca, Formentera, and Ibiza. We’re now a few years past 1957, at which time I was a junior at DeWitt Clinton H.S. in The Bronx. All of us were preparing for the regents exam in Spanish, assiduously poring over the Barron’s review book, which managed to condense three years of study into one yellow covered volume. Vocabulary, verb forms, grammar, idioms, questions about Spanish culture and other items of interest. How else would I have come to know about the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega? And then there were the Balearic Islands. For reasons I still do not understand, I was convinced that they were going to ask me to name the individual islands in this chain. And so, for days on end I went around repeating to myself Mallorca, Minorca, Formentera, and Ibiza, Mallorca, Minorca, Formentera, and Ibiza, until you could wake me at 3AM and ask me, What are the names of the Balearic Islands?, and I would repeat in singsong, Mallorca, Minorca, Formentera, and Ibiza. Much to my surprise, they did not ask me about the Balearic Islands. I did muddle through the exam, and to this day I can still recite the names of the four principal Balearic Islands – which never seemed of any great importance in my life, except that the very ship I was on, the Costa Diadema, was now on its way (full speed ahead) to Mallorca – definitely a long way from E. 208 St. in The Bronx. Continue reading

News of the Cruise (Part 4: Out to Sea at Last)

I could have if I wanted to, but I didn’t. There were plenty of opportunities for me to take a sneak preview of the ship we would be sailing on, the Costa Diadema. Plenty of on-line promotional material from the company: all about the ship, how big it is, how many decks, how many people can it fit, where it sails to, and the like. Plus… this day and age in which you can post anything (except undressed people) on YouTube, there are any number of videos taken by folks on the ship. So I could have done that, check out what a typical cabin looks like, the restaurants, the casino, the spa. But I asked myself the existential question: What good would it do me to know two weeks in advance? The answer I came up with was None At All. The promotional material from the AACI to entice us to sign up had a picture of the enormous vessel with more amenities than I would ever find the time or reason to use. The rest would wait until we arrived at the dock in Barcelona, which we finally did after the cable car ride, which I wrote about in a previous post – in the unlikely event that you don’t remember! Continue reading

When Patience Flu Out The Window

I have steadfastly maintained that Israel has the world’s smartest people and, at the same time, some of the stupidest. I should also add that Israel has some of the calmest, nothing will bother them people and some of the most neurotic, belligerent, in-your-face if they have to wait an extra second or two people on God’s green earth. The following episode will prove my point. Continue reading