To say the Caribbean Sea is choppy today would be an understatement. Even members of the crew are remarking how rough the ride has been these last few days, but so far, I’m not having any problems (though Shawn and my brother-in-law both had some sea sickness last night, but everyone’s doing well today now that the motion sickness medication is making the rounds!). The “motion of the ocean,” as it were, is actually kind of nice in that it is a constant reminder to be mindful. I’ve tried to really “be” in the moment, appreciating a single, particular instance of sun, wind or rocking boat, and even imagining what it was like to sail 100 years ago on a ship 1/20th the size of this (and a whole lot lighter).
The thing I’m always struck by is the color of the sea this far from land. It’s the purest, most unpolluted definition of blue one could imagine. Looking down into it, it’s hard to imagine that the Potomac River or Rock Creek back home in Washington were ever anything close to the same color.
Today got off to a rough start with me in the ship doctor’s office. Last night, around 7 p.m., my throat started burning – that hot, raw feeling that comes with strep throat. A strep culture and white blood cell count this morning were both negative, so what I’ve got is a really bad head cold that has slowly moved up from my throat to my nose and ears. It got worse as the morning wore on, so I decided to walk up to the ship’s spa and see if I could talk to the acupuncturist.
I had already read the acupuncture brochure, and it was clearly intended for a mostly uninformed audience. The one thing I didn’t need, for example, is to have my session begin with a brief relaxing massage. I need needles, damn it, I thought to myself, not some greasy-handed Aussie girl rubbing my temples!
When I went up there, the acupuncturist had actually just walked up to the desk, and I explained my dilemma: the need for immediate needle intervention, without all the fluffy stuff they do to “ease” the honeymooners into the notion of letting someone stick needles in their faces. The guy was way cool. No problem, he said, he understood. The price was the same, but I could get what I needed.
And I did. An hour later, my throat isn’t burning nearly as hot, and I’m feeling quite a bit better. The acupuncturist actually went to school right outside of Washington, D.C., at the Tai Sophia Institute, where he earned graduate degrees in acupuncture and herbal medicine. It’s one of the best acupuncture schools in the nation!
The experience was great. Unlike Dr. Wu’s office (my Oriental medicine doctor in D.C.), there were no small Chinese grandchildren running about, and there was significantly less dust in the room. I often imagine that the experience of Dr. Wu’s office, which is the ground floor of his (sorely in need of renovation) rowhouse in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood, is similar to what it would be like in China. Nothing’s in English, and there are glossy government-produced brochures lying around the “waiting room” (his front hallway). These brochures are great because they often feature English summaries for each story, and it’s clear that the Chinese bureaucrats who produce the summaries did nothing more than put the Chinese text into a World Wide Web language translation page.
The on-board acupuncturist also recommended a Chinese herbal treatment to help speed my healing. If you’ve ever had an actual, authentic Chinese herbal treatment, then you’ll understand why I’m going to stop this discussion now rather than go into any more details.
Tomorrow the Brilliance of the Seas makes its first stop on Aruba, and then Curacao the following day, and then another day at sea while we haul butt over to the Panama Canal. I hope to be feeling 100 percent better in the morning, when the entire family is scheduled to take an unusual underwater tour in Aruba. Someone basically converted the Partridge Family Bus into an underwater vehicle, so as the luggage rack floats above the surface, we’ll all ohhh and ahhh at Aruba’s beautiful coral reefs and all of the flora and fauna that hang out there. I can’t wait! No, seriously, I can’t!