there is no escape. I spent several hours just walking and finding new places. It really does seem to goon forever. And yet, feelings of claustrophobia set in every now and then. After all, each and every oneof us is stuck here for the next week.It's also incredible just how slow this thing is. It's been eight hours since we cast off and we just clearedthe eastern tip of Long Island. Even the Long Island Railroad is faster than this, to give you a sense of how incredibly slow an ocean liner can be. But I think in the end I will have gained an appreciation for something we often forget - the ocean is pretty fucking huge. And, for that matter, so is the world. Butzipping around on jets everywhere, you tend to forget that.It's also so much more of a big deal when you leave your home city by boat and it slowly fades awayinto the fog and you push on into unknown waters. (Unknown to me, hopefully not to the people incharge.) But it's hard to experience such a thing without a degree of emotion.The technology on board is also quite impressive. I have WiFi in my room, the net connection seems just fine for my purposes, and the $14.50 an hour they charge is not nearly as bad as what I wasexpecting. (If you dare to use one of their phones, expect rates in excess of $10 a minute. They're quiteemphatic in reminding you to replace the handset properly. I can only imagine what might havehappened in the past to prompt this stern warning.) There's also an email function on everyone's TV set:Each guest is assigned an email address. If you read any incoming mail, it costs you $1.50 per message! Quite outrageous. However, if you simply delete a message without reading it, it costs younothing. Since the subject line is quite visible before you must make that decision, you can easilysubvert the system and receive short messages from anywhere for free. Something we take for granted back home but which feels like an accomplishment out here.There are all kinds of little oddities here such as having your meals and room service already paid for (alcohol not included). You're assigned to a particular restaurant for dinner at a certain time and windup sitting with other people also assigned to that table. I met a very interesting couple from Scotlandnamed Bob and Margaret (they have nothing at all to do with the British cartoon series of the samename) who actually are doing a round trip on the QM2. They got off in New York this morning and got back on this afternoon, spending a few hours walking around the city, going to Chinatown, riding thesubway, visiting B&H Photo, and, oh yes, taking a boat ride around Manhattan. It's amazing the kindsof conversations you can have with people when you're thrust into a situation like this. I learned thattheir entire trip came about because Bob had misbehaved after a night in various pubs and this was howhe was making it up to Margaret. "The most expensive night of his life," she noted. Thatnotwithstanding, they got a really good deal on the whole thing.So these are all only a few initial impressions. I'll either have many more to share in the days ahead or avery strong desire to escape from this vessel.
18 July, 2005
Day 2. I'm still amazed at how slow we're traveling. More than 24 hours after leaving New York andwe have yet to get east of Newfoundland.It's been very different today. Not much at all in the way of interaction as today was the day I recorded"Off The Wall" for broadcast tomorrow. The recording itself went smoothly for the most part and the post production wasn't too much of a pain, new software and all. Then all hell broke loose.