Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day Two: Victoria and My BIRTHDAY!

By the time we woke up, we were already at our first Port of Call: Victoria, BC. Our plans in Victoria were kind of sketchy, but we met up with friends at breakfast and then headed to shore. Victoria was great! The downtown near the waterfront had many interesting businesses, including a delicious chocolatier, many souvenir shops and a bug museum! We browsed the bug museum gift shop but didn't enter - later, I learned that several of our friends were inside when we left and I was disappointed we didn't go in with them.

After browsing about for some time, we headed to a tea house for a real English style tea. It was amazing. The tea was warm and lovely - and we all said lovely a lot while we were drinking it - but it was the food that blew me away. Now I know why they made white bread! These little sandwich were so delicate and delicious. There were three-tiered trays of food and enough for us each to have one of everything, so there was no picking and choosing - I tried everything, much to my stomach's dismay, but how could I not?! It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. A, E and I walked back to the wharf after tea and got to enjoy some other sights.

I do regret that we didn't have more time in Victoria, because it was such an interesting place and I was particularly fascinated by the Royal BC Museum. A promised that we'll go back sometime in the summer and enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor activities!

Back onboard, it was time for yet another dinner! This evening, I got my first taste of escargot, which was prepared in a butter and pesto sauce and was delicious! I thought I would never eat this, but Sasha had ordered several orders and was sharing it so I felt almost dared to try it. A tried it after I told him how good it was and he enjoyed it as well. Sasha said that as far as escargot goes, this was really good, but that when it's bad, it can be really bad. Based on that, I don't think A and I will be trying it willy-nilly, but neither do I think that will be our last experience with it. The rest of dinner was just so-so.

It seems that I either shared my birthday with many other cruisers or the wait staff does all the birthdays on Saturday night, because all around the room, waiters were doing birthday cakes and "happy birthday" songs to other cruisers from our dinner course onward. I think I may have been the last person to get cake and a song, which delayed our tables dessert and we were then somewhat unceremoniously rushed out of the dining room, but it was nice to get birthday cake and a song, even if we didn't get to eat it.

After that, I was feeling a little seasick, so I had a nap while everyone else went to that evenings entertainment: a ventriloquist. A said I didn't miss much, but another of our friends were singled out and brought onstage to act as the dummy! When A returned, he really wanted us to take a walk to the back of the ship - he said the view was amazing and that maybe some fresh air would help me feel better. We did walk, I didn't feel better and in fact, looking out at the water brought the nausea on a little more firmly. So we headed back to our room, but on the way, he took me through a door marked "private event" behind which was our entire group yelling "Surprise!"

It was my surprise birthday party, which I almost missed due to my seasickness! A and Kurt had arranged for our private use of the small bar just down the hall from my room for several hours. The group welcomed me in with hugs, offers to buy me drinks and many happy returns. I felt so loved. Another cake and song and then cards and gifts, including a Rubberneck CD and a QueenBee bag from A. Just what I wanted! How did he get it onboard without me noticing? He had Joanne smuggle it on for him, the little sneak! Speaking of sneaking, after about an hour, the party was getting pretty raucous, so I snuck out to go back to bed, still seasick, but happy about a birthday well-spent.

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