Archive for August, 2006

With all the negative stories out there about cruising, I thought I’d post a positive one. This is a quote from the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) newsletter:

“A Carnival Cruise Lines ship sailing from Costa Maya, Mexico to the Bahamas recently assisted nine Cuban rafters adrift in the western Caribbean. The stranded mariners accepted water, food and life jackets but refused to come aboard, according to a Carnival spokesman. Staff aboard the Carnival ship notified the U.S. Coast Guard, which rescued the rafters. Several cruise ships from various lines have rescued refugees at sea in recent years. ‘It is maritime tradition to help mariners in distress,’ said the spokesman.”

Mary and I are on a little jaunt to the Oregon Coast. Our trip began last Thursday when we joined my family at the White Rock Resort in Smith River, CA, which is about 5 miles south of Brookings, Oregon. On Sunday we finished our family visit and moved on to the business portion of our trip, which is teaching a class in Port Orford, Oregon. Port Orford is such a small town that we could not find a place to stay that had both a refrigerator and an internet connection, so we are 25 miles north, in Bandon, at the Table Rock Motel. When the class is over, we were planning to treat ourselves to two nights at our favorite, top secret motel in Lincoln City, but we both got sick on Sunday, me only a little, Mary miserably so. So now we’re thinking we’ll just spend one night in Newport at the Sylvia Beach Hotel and then go home.

No fun travelling when you’re sick. Unless, of course, you’re on a cruise ship, where you just order whatever you want from room service and lie about. Mary says being sick on a cruise ship is better than being sick at home. I quote: “A cruise ship is the best place to be sick, in my experience.” She says then Home, then Motel on the Oregon Coast. Which means she’s not a happy camper right now. Especially since we’re watching LA just about to eliminate Seattle from the WNBA Playoffs.

Now for my reviews of our lodgings:

White Rock Resort: Well, I’d say calling this place a resort is stretching it a bit. My mother read about this place in a book about Northern California cottages and cabins. It sounded very luxurious and their web site also makes it sound that way. The cabins are actually park models. I’d never heard of a park model, but according to my very knowledgeable girlfriend, these are RVs that are made to stay put in a park. They were cute park models, but park models all the same. Here is a quote from their web site: “At night, the sound of the waves will lull you to sleep in our comfortable beds.” The problem is that I was really looking forward to the sound of the waves and you can not hear the waves from the ocean view models. So now, in addition to my yearning to be on a cruise, RIGHT NOW, which set in about a week or so ago, I am also yearning for the sound of the waves that I was promised by the White Rock “Resort.” In general, they overhyped what this place really was. Mary, who had read none of the hype, was quite happy. My family, including me, all felt a bit ripped off – we had read the hype.

I have also never stayed in a place with so many rules. There were rules everywhere and locks on some of the cabinets with signs that said we would be prosecuted if we tried to open the cabinets. In our unit there was a laminated list of “Helpful Hints” which were actually all rules. The poor girl working at the front desk had to listen to a lecture from my mother about how she didn’t think they were very welcoming. I felt sorry for the girl, but my mother was right.

Table Rock Motel: Originally we were supposed to stay at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay, but when we both got sick we decided to try to find somewhere closer to Port Orford where I am teaching. We pulled in at a rest stop with wireless and while Mary grumbled, I went to my favorite web site, TripAdvisor. There I found this LOVELY Table Rock Motel. Our room is really quite beautiful, with hardwood floors, a king bed atop an Oriental rug, a kitchenette that really is a full kitchen except the refrigerator is not full-size, a big old flat screen tv and a dvd player. The bed has a pillow-top mattress and a pretty hand-made quilt. We don’t have a view of the ocean or the sound of it (though we do have the sound of the gulls and some sort of fog horn thing when the sliding glass door is open), but we do have a balcony and a view of lovely wind-blown coastal trees. Best of all, it is VERY QUIET. I just love this hotel and highly recommend it. And the beaches here are gorgeous. For dinner tonight, we did not agree, so Mary got take-out fish and chips from the Bandon Fish Market, which were divine. I think they were the best french fries I’ve ever had and the only place I’ve had better fish is Spinnaker’s Brew Pub in Victoria, BC. I had silver noodles from the Thai Restaurant, Thai Talay. Also divine.

Now the basketball game is over. We love you, Lauren Jackson. Sorry you couldn’t pull it off. Now it’s time for bed.

We had an excellent question in one of our forums and I do not have an answer, but I thought I’d write about it here too, just in case someone who might have an answer didn’t read it in the forums. The question is “has anyone else out there has cruised with a child? Is there any special embarkation documentation required for children with two mommies?” If you have an answer to this, please post here:

Link to Forum

Thanks!

Recently I posted about hotels that have become entirely non smoking. Now, in the spirit of fair coverage, I tell you about an article in USA Today. Entitled Despite trend, there’s room at many inns for smokers, the article reports that Extended Stay Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, and Intercontinental Hotels Group will “continue to offer rooms for smokers.” Hyatt says 1% of their rooms are set aside for smokers. At Hilton it’s 15% and at InterContinental 25%. InterContinental also says they have 20 lodgings that are entirely smoke-free.

Last night Mary amused me with a fun little game. There’s an article in the July 24 issue of The New Yorker called “You Shouldn’t Have -The Art of the House Gift.” The writer, Patricia Marx, believes that you should not give people wine, soap or candles as gifts, and suggests a number of alternatives. So here’s the game we played:

Which would you rather have?

  • Wine or “porcelain cups made to look like crumpled Styrofoam with dents and nibbles”

M – Wine; L – Wine

  • Wine or “a fruit bowl assembled from fruit shaped pieces of white resin”

M – Wine; L – Wine

  • Wine or “a minimalist kite that looks like a black falcon”

M – Wine; L – Kite

  • Wine or “plates whose edges curve up into semi-bowls, so that you can adroitly hold your barbecued ribs and balance your drink and silverware…”

M- plates; L – plates

  • Wine or “a beige felt cat mat that looks as if a canine-size feline had been given a light touch by a steamroller”

M – wine; L – wine

  • Wine or “a blue latex bath rug that looks like a manhole cover”

M – wine; L- wine

  • Soap or “strings of tiny paper lanterns in dozens of colors and patterns”

M – soap; L – paper lanterns

  • Soap or “Prehistoric-Planet Dinosaur Fossils”

M – soap; L – soap

  • Soap or “bright-colored stacked lunchboxes”

M – soap; L – soap

  • Soap or “chimeric pillows with the head of a Chinese girl and the body of a dachsund, but instead of a tail, another girl’s face”

M – soap; L – DEFINITELY soap

  • Soap or “coppery abacuses”

M – soap; L – abacuses

  • Soap or “a guzheng, which is a Chinese zither”

M – guzheng; L – guzheng

So I’m curious. Most of the time we chose the soap or the wine. I wonder what other people choose? Are people cursing us when we give them yet another bar of fancy soap and another smelly candle? I wanna know! Play this game at home. Post your comments here! (By the way the guzheng costs $295 which is a lot more than any candle or soap or wine I’ve ever given!)