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Monday, November 24, 2003

If the way we lived on the ship was an example of the cashless society I've heard tell about, I liked it. I didn't think I would, not when it was an abstract entity with privacy and accountability issues involved, but in practice it worked. I used the same card for everything, like getting on and off the ship, unlocking the stateroom door, and paying for those few items that weren't included in the cost of the cruise.

It was much easier than carrying cash, credit cards, keys and multiple forms of identification. And to my surprise I didn't abuse it. I didn't spend as much as I expected to (or even as much as I wanted to or tried to, come to think of it). It was just there, when I needed it, all the time. I don't think I'd mind living that way back here in the real world, if it ever comes to that.

While I'm on the subject of things that are better on a cruise than they are in the real world, I'd like to mention toilets. The toilets in the cabins are supercharged turboflushers like nothing I've ever seen. I'm sure they're illegal in water-conscious places like California, but apparently there's less need to conserve water when you're in the middle of the world's largest ocean.

One tap of the button on the wall and whoosh! With one loud sucking sound, everything disappears. You don't even know it was ever there. It's amazing, and while not quite worth the price of the trip in itself, it's definitely a contributing factor to my enjoyment. As peculiar as that probably sounds.

Furthermore, I'd like to thank the cruise line for going out of its way to emphasize hand washing. When you have 2,400 people in close quarters like that, it wouldn't take much to spread a little disease around. I'm sure that's how all those incidents we've heard about got started. But more than once we were reminded that vigorous hand washing is the most important key to good health.

Now, I've always been a compulsive hand washer, so this was nothing new to me. But it's good to hear other people (you know who I mean) reminded of how important it is. To be honest, I probably took a little more time than usual with the soap and water myself. I'm pretty sure nobody got sick because of me.

18 October 2003


Okay, one more thing. The first night at dinner one of the appetizers was something called Tuscan tomato soup. It was just about the best soup I ever tasted, and it spoiled me for any other soup I ordered the rest of the cruise. Nothing else was quite as good, although we continued to expect it to be. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I'd give a lot for a bowl of Tuscan tomato soup right now. That's how good it was.

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