Monday, April 13, 2020


With the entire world closed, it looks like it may be awhile before I can do any traveling. With that in mind, I’m re-posting from my original blog. I created the blog to keep family informed while I took my mom on a cruise to Greece.

Day 10:

Yesterday morning we arrived in Rhodes. The ship entered the port at about 7:45 am. Mom and I watched from the balcony as we passed the fortified entrance to the harbor. We went and had breakfast while the ship docked.

Entering the Harbor at Rhodes

We have learned something about Italian people. They have to be first in line, even is the line is to get into another line and wait for the next line to form. It’s amazing. They will push and shove and do whatever it takes to get in front of you, however, if you say something, they will apologize profusely and wait with you. You don’t have to be angry, just look at them and say “scussi” and that usually gets them to back off.

The buffet is a prime example, we have been avoiding the buffet line and eating in the restaurant because of the carnage of the buffet. The exception to the buffet rule is when the ship is in port. All the Italians are pushing and shoving to get to the front of the line to get in the line to disembark, so the buffet is delightfully empty.

Such was the case yesterday morning. Because the buffet was pretty empty, we had the chance to observe Marco.

Marco is a young Italian boy. He looks to be about seven and is more than a little overweight. Thinking about it later, we remembered seeing him several times over the last few days, but really didn’t take note. The first time I remember seeing him, he was spinning around on a bar stool in the Grand Bar. Yesterday morning, he was getting food while I was getting mom a plate. A few minutes later, as I was getting breakfast for myself, Marco was refilling his plate. It was kind of funny, I could understand what he was asking for, but the server at the buffet could not.

When I went to sit down, Marco and his family were at the next table. There were four adults and a handful of kids. The exact number of kids is hard to determine, because they were running around everywhere. Marco however, was totally absorbed at the task at hand, eating. He wasn’t getting a lot of food each time he went to the line, just two pieces of sausage, bacon and some scrambled eggs. He would then go and sit with the family, eat, and repeat.

Most of Marco’s family had completed their breakfast, and the adults were beginning to get fidgety, I believe they could sense that there was a line forming in the lower decks of the ship and their natural instincts were telling them they had to get there. At one point everyone got up and left. Within seconds, Marco ran back to the table, took a bite out of the bacon still on his plate and ran after the family. He came back again and sat down and tried to finish his eggs. His father came back and was trying to get him to hurry up. Then another adult came over to talk to the father, I think he was Marco’s uncle. From what it sounded like he was telling Marco’s dad to leave him so they could get in line. Finally Marco was hustled off to join the family.

Later in the day, we were looking over the photographs that the crew has taken looking to see if there were any good ones of mom and I. The pictures from the first day were stored in bins on a table. When we got up to the table the first picture I saw was of a smiling Marco dressed as a pirate, complete with painted-on scar and rubber cutlass. I pointed it out to mom and we both laughed.

That night, after dinner and the evening show, mom and I went to the bar. Now I’m not saying we have spent some time in the bar, but our waiter knows us by name and doesn’t have to ask what we want to drink. Because it’s one of the few wi-fi hot spots, every evening we have gone into the Grand Bar with our computer to check e-mail and post to the blog.

Now, just about every cruise ship has a program for the kids. Costa calls the crewmembers who run the kids programs “animators,” I have no idea why. The animators work really hard to keep the kids entertained throughout the day. Even so, it was kind of a surprise when at 10:30 at night, the animators burst into the Grand Bar followed by a parade of kids, dressed in costumes. As they loudly paraded thru the room, near the middle of the group, was the “Dread Pirate Marco” who appeared to be having the time of his life. (Note: tonight Marco led the parade of cowboy’s and Indians thru the ship shouting their best war cries).

Mom had been talking with our waiter, Ryan, about the Philippines (he is from there) when the kids came into the room. Mom and I spotted Marco about the same time, looked at each other and laughed “Marco!” The waiter looked at us with surprise and said, “you know Marco?”

Turns out Marco’s parents have been stopping in the Grand Bar every day for a quick drink. Right down the hallway is the arcade area for the kids. Apparently Marco isn’t much for video games, so he kept sneaking into the bar. The staff took a liking to him right away. So even though he is not allowed to come into the bar with his parents, the staff lets him spin around on the bar stools near the entrance.

It’s funny how you start to notice certain people when you are in a limited community. We have several folks we have given nicknames to. Like Mr. Happy, an American who may be the most impatient person ever, who loudly voices his complaints, especially when it concerns the speed of the elevators. There are others, some stand out because of their personal mannerisms like “swinger,” a really big guy who swings his arms very oddly when he walks. The majority of those who stand out are for negative behavior. There are some who always seem to be complaining, they just refuse to be happy.

I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “we are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.” I’ve always believed that. It’s sad that some others refuse to enjoy themselves no matter how good life is. And then there are those like Marco, who just always seems to be happy, and spreads smiles wherever he goes. Makes me want to grab a couple pieces of bacon and head down to the Grand Bar. Maybe Marco will let me spin on the bar stools too.

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