We had a very fun night last night. Lydia put on her wedding dress (with an added purple sash) for the formal dinner, we we sat next to a really nice couple (he was a truck driver and she was a banker). We taught them about the tradition of Christmas bon bons, paper hats and bad jokes (they were actually very high quality bon bons, I had a tape measure inside and Lydia had a sewing kit). We then went to cocktails with the captain and a magic show. We were sitting in the front row, so I got called up on stage which was a little painful. The best part was when he called a kid up on stage and asked him what was his favourite part of the trip - when he said it was swimming the magician replied "Well that's great, you couldn't have done that at home could you? Yet your parents had to fork out thousands of dollars to go swimming in the pool of a cruise ship".
In the interests of anthropology we stuck around for majority rules trivia, which was actually a lot of fun (especially after a few beers). The British cruise director called out questions and the most popular answer won - so this is what a room full of Americans thought other Americans would think:
1) What extreme sport would you want to do? Skydiving.
2) Who is the most famous person in the world, living or dead? Tie between Elvis, Michael Jordan and Jesus.
3) What famous site would you want to visit the most? It was a tie between the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza, but there was an answer for "the leaning tower of Paris" which could have been the tie breaker. Lydia and I said the Okavango Delta, for which he labelled us the best travelled people in the room.
4) What is the best way to pick up a rabbit? By the ears.
5) Who is the most popular animated character? Mickey Mouse.
6) What most attracts women to men? Eyes.
7) What most attracts men to women? Breasts (if boobs, boobies and puppies were combined).
8) Who is the hottest man? Brad Pitt.
9) Who is the hottest woman? Angelina Jolie.
10) What is the second most romantic city in the world after Paris? Rome (Lydia insisted on writing Dubrovnik, which the cruise director mocked).
11) What pet would be cool to have but difficult to look after? A monkey.
12) What car would you most like to have? Ferrari.
13) What is the second best dessert after icecream? Cake.
14) What is the best show on TV? American Idol.
15) If you won the lotto what would you change first? Your job (I guessed that it would be breasts - Lydia was mortified when the director asked who had written that down and then said that nothing was wrong with Lydia).
After trivia night we were feeling mellow and in good humour, so we went to a comedy show by Sarge. It was a horrific car wreck that we could only stare at in shock, yet everyone around us was wetting themselves laughing. It really was not funny in the slightest. His jokes ranged from "imagine if Santa was black, what white kid would believe that a black guy would come around to their house at Christmas and leave stuff?" and "If you are a kid from a non-Jewish family and you show any talent they slowly nurture your interest and skills, but if you are from a Jewish family they just try to work out how they make money from you".
A few more jokes about people with accents and then becoming serious and telling us that the war in Iraq was going well, and we just had to walk out.
So today we are back on land, this time in Aruba "One Happy Island" as the official motto goes. We were quite confused when we got off the ship - there was no passport officer. We walked through and found a tourism counter, when we asked they said "the passport officer must be out at lunch or something, you can wander around in town for a while and if you feel like it come back and go through immigration". Being Christmas Day the capital Oranjestad was essentially closed down, so we just walked through it and looked at the Dutch colonial buildings now brightly painted and heavily decorated.
Anywhere else they would have been garish, but here they looked festive. I really love the Aruban accent, it is slow and rhythmic. We went snorkelling on one side of the island (just sand beads, but with schools of white bait and wrasse, and also a few large cow fish which was great to see). The best part was the small brightly coloured lizards (blue and green) that fluidly flickered across the rocks, and the seabirds (mostly gulls and brown pelicans) diving for fish. Lydia asked our driver what the lizards were and he laconically answered "they are part of the wildlife, and I can't tell you any more than that". We then drove across the island (which is comparatively arid, full of cacti and a few transient wetlands) to the main hotel beach. It was full of people having fun in the sun and with water sports. We walked along the beach and interspersed short swims with sunbaking. It was a really beautiful day in Aruba.