Monday, July 19, 2010

Greetings from: the Amsterdam to Newcastle ferry

I now completely understand what David Foster Wallace was writing about in his essay A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. The appeal and horrors of a cruise ship. The Amsterdam-Newcastle ferry was only overnight, but it had the trappings of a full cruise, including a casino (tended to by two bored-looking dealers), a sports bar-cum-discotheque, a buffet restaurant, and on-board entertainment. And while I can see the appeal of having every whim catered to, I understand the horror of being trapped on the ship for an extended amount of time. After three hours, I was bored out of my skull. The Tribute to ABBA put on by the ship’s ‘Showteam’ killed a short bit of time (one of the male dancers looked disturbingly encephalitic (many of the middle-aged women watching the Showteam with us mouthed the words to every song; fans of Mamma Mia! I assume (also: what is it about Europeans and ABBA?))), but the rest of the time was spent walking up and down corridors, in and out of bars, rolling and listing with the ship. The North Sea was much too cold to stay out on deck to watch, but from our porthole, we could see the distant lights of other ships and unexploded oil rigs. The ferry’s onboard voice soothed us in three different languages.

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