Welcome to The Rock
I hate to admit that up until now, I had only associated the term, “The Rock”, with that badass movie with Sean Connery with his amazingly obnoxious line about the prom queen. I also hate to admit that I wasn’t in the ‘absorbing historical information’ kind of mood yesterday so I didn’t really disembark the ship today with any intents other than to hike up the rock to take in some panoramic views and take pictures of the Barbary Macaques. That is one little fun fact I learned about the territory; it’s the only place in Europe with wild monkeys. Even though I wasn’t so charmed with the monkeys when I went to Indonesia, I decided to give their European brothers a second chance.
Aside from the trip up the gondola to see The Rock, there wasn’t much else to Gibraltar that I was keen on exploring at that time. A walk through the main street in town included the usual tourist haunt of shopping and British pubs. Not having the need or want to buy jewelry and partake in pub food as well as feeling a little paranoid about not making it back to the ship in time for departure, I decided to make it a short excursion day and headed back to the ship.
Making new friends
I think at this point everyone on the cruise had recuperated from jetlag and had gotten settled into their cruise life routine, which meant most people were letting their guards down and conversing with the familiar faces they have undoubtedly passed a few times by now. I too am starting to click with the “locals”.
After returning to the ship I spent the rest of the day lounging at the pool where I indulged in a proper nap. What I forgot though, and this is something I’ve never been able to shake, but no matter how long I sleep I always wake up with a completely disoriented look on my face. In this moment though, it was completely warranted since a few tables and chairs had been shifted around my corpse. But after I fully woke up I looked next to me to find the smiling American-Belgian couple, Rey and Lennie*. Rey, the American, was the more talkative one and he spent the afternoon recounting his life stories to me the way a grandfather does – a really cool grandfather who gives you an insider’s view to the awesome lives of gay men. The best part of this line of conversation was the education about the “bears” or the “grizzlies.” I have a sort of obsession with men with hairy chests so it was pretty exciting to know that if I were a gay mean I’d have my own special niche. However, he did caution that the bears were not simply hairy men, but big and tall too. He then defined for me the weight classes for chubettes, chubilees and chubiloos. This was by far, the most brilliant conversation on ship to date.
I continued my friend-making jaunt down to the Promenade Lounge where I’ve met most of the adult beverage peddlers by now. We have: Bruno – the knowledgeable Portuguese, Mike – the Australian who makes a badass virgin banana margarita, the two Arthurs from the Philippines with perma-smiles, and Joe – the calm Jamaican. After my pre-dinner aperitif I made my way to the Parrot Cay for dinner and was stopped by a couple (Teaser: This was the first of two occurrences during the cruise with the latter one being a bit more of a colorful story). Jack and Claire, an older Scottish-Canadian couple from Vancouver, recognized me as the girl from the pool with the flower tattoo and stopped me for a chat. Straight away I got the sense that I was in the company of one of the world’s most genuinely happy couples. Upon learning my story and that I was traveling alone, they praised me and invited me to join them for drinks whenever I was around. It was such an encouraging experience because at this point in time, I did still have some doubts about the whole idea of traveling around the world by myself. The idea of feeling lonely did sneak up on me at times, but after meeting Jack and Claire I felt assured again that I wouldn’t have any trouble finding myself in good company.
Note: I haven’t mentioned this before but for people with whom I don’t have regular contact, I opted to change their names and yes I’m purposely using Law & Order character names.
The Disney Files
- Day 1 – Introduction & Barcelona
- Day 2 – At Sea
- Day 4 – At Sea
- Day 5 – Funchal, Madeira
- Day 6 – At Sea
- Day 7 – At Sea
- Days 8,9,10 – At Sea
- Day 11 – St. Maarten
- Day 12 – Tortola
- Days 13, 14 – Last Day at Sea & Castaway Cay
- Day 15 – The End