I Love Captain Olav

| 10 Comments

As I mentioned yesterday, not every aspect of the my cruise was ideal, but over all, it was pretty darn great. My mom (who made all the arrangements) went with the Holland America Line, known for having nice ships and good service, if also for being somewhat venerable and staid. It was a good decision, we all thought--here's a review of the line and the ship, in case you're contemplating a cruise yourself. We sailed on the Oosterdam, a new and spiffy ship--it really was quite extraordinarily lovely, but the one of the best things about the ship was its captain, Olav van der Waard.

There were a couple of opportunities to meet him, but I never bothered, and I still don't feel I needed to meet him. I was content to let him do his job, and he did it very well. It never occurred to me that in this day of sonar navigation and great big engines, a captain really had that much to do, but I was wrong, and Captain Olav, I soon realized, was really good at his job.

From May to September, there are cruise ships sailing all up and down the Alaska coast. A couple of times we were in port with three or four other cruise ships. But the thing is, Captain Olav always got there first, and snagged the best parking space (or rather, its nautical equivalent). When we cruised up to look at Hubbard Glacier, Captain Olav not only got there first, but got really, really close. We always arrived early; we always left on time, and the journey itself was lovely.

By the way, in case you wondered, I'm feeling better: the puking has long since stopped, though I'm still a little queasy. My friends think it might not have been stomach flu but food poisoning, since I started feeling ill immediately after a meal of fish tacos heavily flavored with cumin. Yesterday I couldn't even say those words without retching, and I don't think I'll ever be able to eat cumin or fish tacos again, but at least the clear liquids and simple carbohydrates I put in my stomach yesterday stayed there.

10 Comments

So glad you're back on land and no longer puking. I could never say or think fish tacos without expecting some sort of internal reaction but that might just be me.

Welcome back! Hope you're feeling better.

When we were kids we used to say that it was the stomach flu if you were "merely" hurling, but it was food poisoning if you got a picture in your head of exactly what made you sick right before you hurled. Sounds like you had a picture in your head.

Welcome back!

Sorry about your tummy. That's just awful... I will be avoiding certain things for a while, myself. I'll put cumin-laced fish tacos on the list as a show of solidarity.

Th important thing is: you are back! Woo Hoo!

When we were kids we used to say that it was the stomach flu if you were "merely" hurling, but it was food poisoning if you got a picture in your head of exactly what made you sick right before you hurled.

You know, I spent some time researching both food poisoning and stomach flu on the internet, trying to find the distinction between them, since it made a difference as to whether or not I'd hang out with Jim and his child. I couldn't find a clear-cut distinction, so I like the one you offer here, Juti. And by that rule, I definitely had food poisoning.

I could never say or think fish tacos without expecting some sort of internal reaction but that might just be me.

That might have been part of the problem, Dale, since I have always considered fish tacos an abomination, but I was in Seattle and there's all this fresh sea food and I should be adventurous blah blah blah. Given that my one and only experience with fish tacos was an utter disaster, I don't think I'll ever chance a second go-round.

I will be avoiding certain things for a while, myself. I'll put cumin-laced fish tacos on the list as a show of solidarity.

Thanks, SO. I'll refrain from drinking heavily in return.

The important thing is: you are back! Woo Hoo!

I feel the same way! I missed you. But now I'm back and that's what matters.

Welcome back to terra firma! What a bummer about the foods which will go unnamed in order to avoid any unpleasantness. I'm an outlier here, apparently, but I love those unmentionables. But eating bad fish, brrrr, I can feel the shivers and fevers all the way over here. I got that turining-yourself-inside-out reaction every time I ate oysters or clams when I lived in Chile. It was not a shellfish allergy -- completely different symptoms -- but it was heartbreaking because I love oysters! I had them once in Canada without the nastiness but I was sure nervous about eating them for a few hours.

I'm just now able to eat roasted peanuts after a bout of flu in 1998, so there is hope.

And welcome back, vertical or horizontal as you may be. The internet was a lonely place with you at sea, whether literally or, well, you know.

I'm envious that you had close encounters with glaciers. I just watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and I wonder how much longer some of these are going to be around.

I learned recently, through hard (or soft?) experience, that eating a bunch of sugar-free gummy products can give you stomach-flu like symptoms (of the lower intestinal variety).

Did you ever take any traditional Chinese remedies for queasy stomachs when you were in Taiwan? My grandparents used to feed me these pills that smelled like burnt rubber and looked like little rabbit pellets. I think they forced your body to get better so you wouldn't have to take anymore.

For the record, "H" ate the same meal you did except for the extra salad that you had. So it seems more likely that it was the salad dressing that caused the problem. However if puking up fish and cumin was the main focus of your experience, I can see how that might make you reach for the chicken breast next time. Thank goodness you aren't a lesbian--not enjoying the smell of fish tacos might prove to be a problem.

I hope your flight back was not too tiring and I hope that all of your clothes and your cat were happy to see you.

Hi John--

I'm envious that you had close encounters with glaciers. I just watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and I wonder how much longer some of these are going to be around.

We were told that 95% of all glaciers are retreating; we were able to see one of the few that is advancing. My father, of course, used the fact that a few glaciers in the world are still advancing as evidence that global warming isn't really happening.

I learned recently, through hard (or soft?) experience, that eating a bunch of sugar-free gummy products can give you stomach-flu like symptoms (of the lower intestinal variety).

I had read that artificial sweeteners can be tough on your intestines. I have felt it viscerally lately every time I've opened my fridge and seen a can of diet coke; somehow the idea of drinking one just makes my stomach roil, while the idea of regular coke (which I hardly ever drink) bothers me not at all.

Hey Kelli--thanks for stopping by!

For the record, "H" ate the same meal you did except for the extra salad that you had. So it seems more likely that it was the salad dressing that caused the problem. However if puking up fish and cumin was the main focus of your experience, I can see how that might make you reach for the chicken breast next time.

You're absolutely right. But even more than the fish in the fish tacos (and we both know there was a specific kind of fish involved, but I still can't say that word without retching), it's the cumin that made the meal an especially vivid gustatory experience the second time around. I doubt cumin is what made me sick, but I also doubt I'll ever be able to eat it again. Then there was the cole slaw on the tacos--I also have a very vivid memory of what it tasted like the second time around, which is a shame, because I (used to) love cole slaw. So I admit I'm scapegoating the fish part of the tacos because it's the most novel aspect of the meal and the one I have the least attachment to. And we also discussed the fact that it could have, in theory been the solitary margarita I had (in case the alcohol somehow failed to kill some germ) that made me ill, but given that I love margaritas and didn't taste any tequila as I bent over the toilet, I'm refusing to seriously entertain that idea, as valid as it might be.

Thank goodness you aren't a lesbian--not enjoying the smell of fish tacos might prove to be a problem.

I think you've just made the one comparison that will forever problematize cunnilingus for me.

I not only enjoy fish tacos -- Mexico has lots of coastline and I used to love red snapper with cilantro and lime -- but I also really enjoy (no way to be delicate about this) cunnilingus. So I'd just like to point out that none of the women I've been lucky enough to be with has tasted or smelled like fish. In fact, they all have had their own unique and lovely scents and flavours. If there is something foetid down there, it probably needs at least a wash and maybe medical attention.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on June 12, 2006 10:47 AM.

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