Cruise days 1 & 2:
Day One was a day at sea. I literally did nothing. I laid on the sundeck, whether it was warm or not (most of the day it was not), and didn’t read, didn’t accomplish one thing. I lived the entire day in my swimsuit, and I am burned to prove it. It was marvelous. It felt like ‘vacation.’
Tabitha and I have not stopped laughing. I can’t imagine a better traveling companion, even if she is neurotic about germs and things that don’t bother me so much. Her conscientiousness means we are never late, never have to wonder what gate we should be at, etc. Tabs is on top of it. We have cracked each other and ourselves up more than I can count, and have waaayy too many inside jokes going. We have laughed on the ship because we realize we do not present an easy category for anyone to put us in, and this does seem to cause a bit of consternation. She’s the age of one of my children, but we hardly look like mother/daughter, or the right age to be simply friends traveling together. She’s black/I’m white. We aren’t lesbians. We are Americans on a ship of solely British citizens. When the ship’s photographer goes to make our photo, he asks “Are you together?” The captain last night hardly knew what to do with us on each side of us; we just don’t make sense. Add to that, Tabs is the only Black woman on the entire ship. The. entire. ship.
Last night was formal night. I made a little shopping trip last week when I learned I was going to go on a cruise, since I certainly didn’t pack cruisewear when I left Greenville. Following dinner, a disco was to follow beginning at midnight. I didn’t really want to stay up so I went in the room and watched a movie to go to sleep. Tabs left at midnight to go to the disco, and returned back in under 10 minutes. She said it was sparsely attended and she felt awkward alone. So (of course) I pulled back on my clothes and we ran down there, and proceeded to dance for two hours. We even made people get out there that weren’t dancing. Tabs and I laughed and laughed because we truly didn’t care one whit what anyone else thought, so we could just lighten up and have fun. "Those Americans! They really do things differently, don’t they?" I could almost hear them thinking. I still haven’t forgiven Tabs for ignoring the guy in the kilt; he really did want to dance with her.
Morning came early and we arrived in Trapani, Sicily. Tabs would probably have slept later, but I was ready to go. Having done absolutely nothing the previous day meant that I wanted to see what there was to see. So we hailed a cab to take us to the funicular up to the walled city of Erice, high above Trapani.
Our day was golden. Although it was rainy early, skies cleared up and we walked all over the town, through churches, lost on meandering roads, avoiding as much as possible the tourist groups. After about four churches, we decided to go visit the archaeological site “the castle of Venus”. It presented the best views of the day. Although a strict monotheist myself, I confess I did toss a small offering of change over the cliff. It’s Venus, after all, the goddess of love, and I figured I didn’t want her on my bad side.
Before we headed back down the mountain, I was getting hungry. Neither of us felt like a tourist restaurant, and I told her, “I want a REAL Sicilian meal, down to a REAL gorgeous Italian waiter to be solicitous of my every wish.” We found an upstairs-level restaurant that didn’t seem to be frequented with too many tourists. We turned to be seated and there stood… exactly whom I had wished for. Some days, I guess I’m just lucky that way. Maybe it was the coins to Venus. Who knows? But we had the best Italian meal, with ‘scenery’, that I’ve ever had: fresh pasta, fresh pesto, Sicilian beef with couscous, wine, cannoli, real coffee from a little cup with perfectly whipped froth (after weeks of Nescafe as the norm). We left a good tip, because, well, incredibly attentive, attractive men don’t fall from the sky every day now, do they?
Tabitha and me at the Castle of Venus: