The good news: I didn’t burst out laughing during either performance of “Colors of the World” on Friday. The bad news: I did choke on a strand of wig hair in the middle of a number (down my throat, people!!!) and had to leave it in my mouth for another five minutes before exiting the stage. That might literally be a nightmare of mine come true.
However, Handover is now complete!!! We have officially set all the shows we will be doing for the next two and a half to three months. While we have other small numbers and mini shows that we haven’t set on the ship, our Cruise Director has declared that he doesn’t want to use any of them for as long as he’s here, so until we start learning the new Stephen Schwartz show, “Magic To Do,” we’re home free.
Admittedly, I felt kind of silly about being excited about being in Canada, since it’s like a sister country to the US, but it didn’t really ever feel like a different country until I went into Starbucks, in honor of my mother – it’s the Ward women way – and realized I didn’t have Canadian money. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t actually that thirsty, and heaven knows I didn’t need more sugar!)
Now, there’s not all that much to do when you’re in a city from 7 pm to 11:30 pm; fortunately, I was more than content just to walk in peaceful solitude, following whatever instinct eventually led me to turn.
One of the first things I noticed, from years of being around my mom, was what an interesting mix of architecture there was! While there was plenty of Victorian, as befits the area (it is called Victoria), there was also quite a bit of contemporary/modern, though (impressively) it all kept with the quiet feel of the town. I like both styles quite a bit (hope I never have to build a house!), so I appreciated the mélange.
As I continued along the boardwalk, I decided to follow the beachfront itself, since I felt overdue for some quality time with Nature. At some point, I was struck by a simple yet profound thought: the sea is very different from the beach. A little voice in the back of my head had been quietly making fun of myself for drinking in the smells and silence of the beach so deeply, given that we had spent two straight days on the ocean. But I realized that when you’re on the sea, sailing for miles with nothing but ocean around you, the water becomes as boring as the pavement on the highway. What a contrast to a beach, where sea, shore, and civilization brush shoulders in soft lines and swooping gulls.
I think beaches have a deeply calming effect on me. I don’t know, maybe everyone experiences it, but I’ve only ever gone to the beach on a handful of vacations, having lived primarily in landlocked states with a family that found road trips more appealing than beach trips. So for me, beaches remind me of the few times in my life in which I’ve been truly relaxed (I’m terrible at it). I suppose I’m also rather influenced by movies, most notably, in my formative years, The Notebook and Sarah, Plain and Tall and its delicious sequel, Skylark. So there’s a Hollywood tinge of romance surrounding beaches, especially ones with driftwood and seagrass, as this one had.
Eventually, I turned left and walked along the edge of Beacon Hill Park, ostensibly to head into downtown. But I had agreed to follow my instinct, and two urges were pushing me off the path into the park – one to find out what that sound of rushing water was, and the other to find a restroom. (Maybe they were actually the same urge?)
What I discovered was the sweetest public park I’ve ever seen! Flowers were meticulously planted (and maintained) along multiple ponds and streams, and enormous Pacific Northwest-style trees (which I most associate with Oregon) swayed gracefully overhead. Ducks were everywhere, and I even found, by dint of following the most unholy screeching noises, two peacocks tucked up in the treetops. I hadn’t thought peacocks flew! Learn something new every day.
Wandering around, breathing so deeply and steadily it was like I was in a yoga class, I eventually found myself back on the road I’d started on, about halfway back to the beach. I walked briefly towards through a residential neighborhood (happening upon that Canadian Starbucks), and then, as the air had chilled with the disappearing of the soft evening light, headed back to the ship.
There is a beauty to cruise ships, akin to something like a carnival when they’re all lined up next to each other in port, but it definitely pales in comparison with the gently stunning beauty of nature.
Though I am an employee of Princess Cruises, all opinions are mine only and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.