Thursday, January 31, 2008

Out at Sea


All I have to say is that I’m totally rocking the sunglasses tan. Luckily, however, so is about half of the ship. 7 days till Brazil! I’m taking Portuguese lessons, which they offer one hour a night till we get there. Oi, tudo bem! (aka:hey, how are you!)

It’s one of two days for Drop/Add and it has been CRAZY. We had to pick numbers and then go in one by one to the registrar. They opened at 7am, and kids had literally camped out to get in line at 530am. When I went to pick up a number at 9am, I got 188 and they had just seen #29. I will get seen tomorrow though, so I’m really not stressing out about it. Unfortunately by that time who knows what classes will be open. Every hour they repost all of the open courses, and if they call your number and none of the classes you want are there you either stick with your class or go back in line for another number. I’m pretty sure they’re handing out #s somewhere in the 350’s. If I really didn’t like this class I would never have gone through all of this. Kids are getting pretty bitchy about it too. A lot of the kids on this ship are pretty intense, and I think they all need to calm down a little bit. Kids were really freaking out. I guess it helps that my roommate is really calm and chill, and she totally calms me down as well. Really there’s no need to get worked up about some of the little things that piss you off. On some of the trips in Puerto Rico I heard nothing but complaints about “the bus ride being too long” “the life jackets are already wet, so now I’m cold” and “when do we get to leave;” and I really wanted to slap them in the face. You are in Puerto Rico checking out one of the bio bays of which there are only four lagoons in the world, and you’re mad that you can’t swim in the lagoon (which would kills millions of the bios). Though, I will admit that there are two things I would change about this ship that would make me the happiest person in the world—a sandwich bar where you could make your own sandwiches (other than pb&j) and internet access available in your room. I know I can get worked up about the little things too, but this trip is definitely helping with that (mainly because I’m seeing how unnecessary and obnoxious it is)! Ciao!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

i have some great pics, but the network wont let me upload them. i dont want to waste any more precious minutes, so I will just have to try again later!!

Puerto Rico!!!

Puerto Rico is beautiful! It’s also a really great port to start us off in. Half of the signs are in English; almost everyone speaks English and is very friendly. It’s really pretty safe, and it is a US territory so it’s American currency. The food was also pretty safe to eat.
I spent all morning and the first part of the afternoon walking around San Juan. We first went to Fort San Christobal—made in the 1500’s. The structure was amazing, and it had some really great views of the city. We then walked around the shops and buildings of Old San Juan, which is known for its architecture (and I can see why). It’s hard to really describe well enough to understand how amazing it is. I guess the closest description would be San Franciso-in-the-tropics-a-few-decades-ago. It’s tons of tall, narrow buildings mixed with shorter, squat buildings that are fun, bright colors on cobblestone streets in the hills. There are tons of great shops. There was a pigeon park where a man stood covered in pigeons eating out of his hands. A few other people were doing it as well, but pigeons are way too stupid and dirty so I opted not to do that. We checked out one really neat store and found the nicest guy. He’s American by birth but has lived in Puerto Rico the last 18 years. He was incredibly helpful and told us tons of good cafes to go to and safe places to walk around at night.
In the late afternoon I got ready to go to the Bioluminescent Bay. We had to kayak in two-person kayaks into a lagoon. Amanda and I had a bit of difficulty at first with directions and were pretty much on our own personal guided tour because we were so far behind everyone else. We had two guides with us, telling us which way to paddle every other minute. In our defense, it is confusing to remember which way to paddle when you want to go a certain way, and the lagoon was very narrow and windy, so it was easy to get off course. It was a lot of fun though, and we were definitely entertaining the guides as much as we were having fun. The Bio Bay was AMAZING! I’ll try my best to explain how it works. There are tons of little plankton-type things that swim in the water, and as a defense mechanism they light up when they are disturbed (though I don’t see how lighting yourself up could protect you from predators…it really only shows them way you are). So it’s pretty much like tons of little Christmas lights. If you just look into the water it looks black, but if you swish your hand back and forth in the water it looks like waves of tiny Christmas lights. And on our way back to shore, Amanda and I had definitely gotten the hang of it, which is VERY good considering I have a 6 hour kayaking excursion today. They are also two-person kayaks, but this time I hope to request that I don’t have to be in the back steering. That is NOT my specialty.
We leave Puerto Rico on Monday, so after kayaking today we plan to hit up a few nightclubs and hope to find a place to do some salsa dancing! I’ll probably spend Monday walking around Old San Juan again and making sure I didn’t miss an opportunity for an awesome souvenir. Buenos Dias!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Full Day at Sea!

First full day at sea, and a little seasickness to go with it. Luckily they hand out free medication for it. And I slept like a rock last night, the first time in a week—it was fabulous. Otherwise, my roommate seems very nice and I don’t think we’ll have any problems getting along. Today is Orientation Day, so most of the day is spent listening to lectures and speeches. You know, the basics—academic honesty, meet the faculty and staff, field briefing info, etc. We have a few breaks for eating, so I decided to take a little time to lie out on deck and inform anyone attempting to live vicariously through me with what they’d be doing. It’s sunny with a few clouds and a nice breeze. The sea is a gorgeous deep blue and I’m surrounded by people laying out and getting some sun.
I only get 250 minutes of free internet access, so I don’t intend to be online too often—which includes skype too. Just long enough to check major emails and update the blog. Feel free to comment, ask me questions etc and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can. We arrive in Puerto Rico on Saturday, so I only have one full day of classes tomorrow before heading into port. I’ll probably put in another entry when I’m in/leaving Puerto Rico. That’s all from here for now, but I miss you all! It’s happy sailing here!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Souvenirs? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller...

just as a general note, if anyone has a particular request for a souvenir from any particular place, just email/facebook me at any point over the next few months!