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High Tea Time

by Alan Walker

Well, High Wine Time, actually. I arrived at the bar at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver at 4.30 PM on Monday, to get a good seat to see the departure of five cruise ships (the Pan Pacific Hotel is above the Canada Place cruise terminal). I ordered a liter of wine as I peered down on the Veendam, supposedly getting ready to sail.

Friends arrived. Ordered another liter of wine. I told my uninitiated friends that things would start happening at 5:00 PM, when the Veendam was scheduled to leave. Nothing happened at 5:00 PM. Ordered another liter of wine.

At 5:30 PM the Veendam finally pulled out. Wasn't very impressive. I know the captain sits on the bridge with a joystick, and can move the ship in any direction with a small movement of his wrist, leaving the other hand free to play Nintendo. I smugly told people I had cruised on the Veendam, but I didn't mention it had only been for one night. Ordered another liter of wine.

Eventually, the Star Princess pulled out from the other side of Canada Place. After much debate, we agreed that the all-white Star Princess looked better than the Veendam with its blue hull and white top. I crowed that I had also cruised on this ship, but nobody appeared to be listening. Ordered another liter of wine after spilling much of the previous liter.

The first of the ships leaving Ballantyne Pier hove into view, and I told everyone that the lead ship was the Crown Majesty. A little old lady sitting nearby told my table that I was wrong, it was actually the Crystal Symphony, and there was no doubt because she could read the name on the bow. I was having trouble actually seeing the ship.

I ordered another liter of wine, and glared at the old lady when she wasn't looking at me. The Windward eventually blew by, but since I couldn't tell if it was the Crown Majesty or the Windward, I shut up, except to order another liter of wine. I heard the little old lady tell her friend it was the Windward.

Knowing that there was only one ship unaccounted for, I proudly and loudly announced that the Crown Majesty was now passing by. One of my friends observed that it looked remarkably like the Seabus ferry that crosses to North Vancouver. I sat down, but missed the chair. I ordered another liter of wine, but was refused service.

The Crown Majesty apparently came by just after the security guards carried me out. I yelled "I want to be shanghaied," but it didn't get me a berth on the Crown.

In just two weeks time, the same five ships will be leaving Vancouver to do more Alaska runs. If I get out in time, I'm planning a repeat performance, this time without my former friends.

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Alan WalkerOriginally from Australia, Alan has for some time been permanently settled in Vancouver where he is a practicing Attorney. He has been a SeaLetter columnist, reviewer and our resident humorist for some time now.

To find all of Alan's SeaLetter columns, featured and humorous articles, and cruise and port reviews, visit our SeaLetter COLUMNISTS Index.

Alan loves email, and can be reached at: Alan@sealetter.com.

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