November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving + News + Rome

A happy Thanksgiving from the (rocky) Mediterranean seas! I am very thankful for so much in my life; above all my mom and dad for supporting and encouraging me to follow a challenging and adventurous career. I’m also thankful that I currently have a job, the best cast mates I could ever ask for, and health. I spent the holiday with the cast, at the semi-american thanksgiving dinner on board… there were sweet potatoes and apple pie, and that’s all I need. Every cruise is always different from the last, weather it’s because of the ports, the new passengers (they become good friends by the end), events, etc. This cruise has been different in other ways, in that I performed in the Welcome Aboard show, singing and playing guitar. It was a different element to the show then they’d had before, so I was a bit nervous and anxious, but I felt happy with my 4 song performance. Afterwards, the entertainment team asked if I wanted to play in the lounge area of the ship a few nights a cruise, and I agreed. Since then, I have played a 2 hour set in the "Cova Cafe." I was aloud to play whatever I want (within reason) because technically it's not my contracted job, so I played mostly original music, with a bunch of covers mixed in. In the long run, I want to be able to support myself as my own artist, so I'm glad I can further develop myself in a low key setting as just a solo act for now. I had requests to come back again during the cruise, which I am scheduled to do, and next time in the Martini Bar. Even though it’s much more low key, I feel like this is more of a challenge then the production shows, because I am stripped down to just guitar and my voice, to keep a room entertained. So if you wonder what I’ve been doing, it’s practicing… and visiting… ROME! I finally got the chance to go to Rome one last time on this contract. I went with my friend Takis, who has been on ships for years but has never gotten the chance to go into Rome. He requested special permission to have the day off so we were able to leave in the wee hours of the morning and have an entire day. Arriving early, the city was quite cool, and the crowds significantly smaller being the off season. We were able to walk right into the Vatican (last time there was a 1 ½ hour wait)! The architecture, art, and size of the building are breathtaking. The ceiling itself is really a miracle, with the gold detail and paintings. There are enormous statues of popes and angels, marble floors, stained glass, candles, and so much the eye can’t physically take it all in at once. We also went into the tomb of the popes below the Vatican, which had caskets and information on all the popes. The detail and time that was put into creating this place is overwhelming. I can’t imagine something that is anywhere near that caliber being built today – people were so creative and motivated, and must have been geniuses of a sort to be able to physically put a structure like the Vatican together. We continued our journey across town, of course reveling in all of the countless monuments and buildings along the way. Rome has just too much to see and do, you can get distracted easily. Eventually we made it to the coliseum. From the outside, it’s how I saw it in middle school history class, but the inside asks you to use some imagination to be able to see how it used to look as a stadium. Most of it is gone and ruined, but is still quite large and allows one to walk around different levels. I can’t imagine however, watching the fights and craziness that went on in there. I think I prefer to just see the remnants of the building. Next, we went to the Trevi Fountain and made a wish. After quite a walking excursion, a bite to eat was in order, and we stopped at a quaint restaurant in an alley near the fountain. We had a fresh cheese plate, vegetarian pizza, and pasta. Even the food is good in an alley! I’m beginning to think it doesn’t take much to please me in Europe. Anyways, I’m so glad I got to visit Rome again, and this time be lucky enough to catch among of the most important places to visit in the city, without huge crowds. If you can stand a bit of cooler weather (about 50ยบ F) then it’s well worth it to visit in the off season.

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