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Ursa Major

My Holidays

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I thought I'd just let you know how my holidays went. We went on a cruise with the Carnival Cruise Lines (the ship's name was Imagination), from Jan. 26th to Jan. 30th, and afterwards to Key Largo until Feb. 4th.

The cruise was great, even though they messed up two of my meals. The first time was the first breakfast. The maitre'd had promised me salmon with vegetables and a green salad. Since the only sweetener I can use is maple syrup, the only seasoning sea salt, and the only oil cold pressed sunflower oil, I had those with me. They did have sea salt (it appears that kosher salt is sea salt) and maple syrup, but I used my own oil. I am able to use limes (no lemons, I don't know why lemons contain a lot more salicylates than limes). So, I had let them know that I would like a salad dressing made with fresh lime juice, sea salt, maple syrup and my own oil, which I would add at the table.

Well, sitting down at the breakfast table, it took them a while, but they brought out a nice big piece of baked salmon (baked in a double layer of aluminum foil to avoid cross contamination, they were being extra careful). No salad though. Then somebody brought out a whole bowl full of limes they cut in half, and I wondered what they wanted to do with those, until somebody brought them to me and asked me to make salad dressing. I was flabberghasted! I told them that I needed ONE HALF of a lime, not twenty! So, I squeezed half of a lime into a bowl they brought (having no clue why they made me do this, but too embarassed to make a fuss in front of so many people), added some salt and maple syrup and some of my oil and mixed it. The waiter stood there, waiting expectantly, when I was done. When I asked him to now please bring the salad to go with the dressing, he just dumbly asked, "what salad"?

When I told him that what they just made me make was salad dressing, to go with the green salad the assistant maitre'd had promised me for breakfast, I was told that no salad was available for breakfast. At which point I was ready to have a good cry, from embarassment as well as disappointment. All the while my husband kept telling them it was no problem, I was fine with just the salmon (he of course was having a huge breakfast of eggs, toast, porridge etc.). So, I told them to please take the dressing away and throw it out. I could have killed somebody, especially my husband. He was no help at all.

After breakfast the hostess came to check if everything was okay, and I told her what happened. She was a very sweet girl, who was quite apologetic. She said we'd make sure this didn't happen again, and asked me to come and look at the menu, to choose what I wanted for lunch and supper. We went over the menu together, I picked things I could eat, and we made up my own menu, which she wrote down in detail. The next meals were fabulous, as she would go down into the kitchen to check on the chef frequently to make sure.

That night the other little hostess came to check if everything was alright (it was), and to make up the next days menu. That's the way it was done from then on, and I had no more problems.

Until Sunday morning, that is. Saturday morning I had a beautiful chicken stir fry, which kept me happy until supper (we went on outings in Mexico that day, and lunch wasn't served). On Sunday I was going to have a chicken stir fry again. It looked great, with strips of green beans and carrots, celery, onion and of course, chicken. I tried to ignore the fact that the cook couldn't tolerate leaving food plain, and had put rice on the plate, which I can't eat, as well as tomato for decoration on the side.

After eating several fork-fuls I realized that there were green and orange peppers in it, which were cut into strips that looked almost exactly like the bean and carrot ones. That's why I hadn't noticed (not wearing my reading glasses when eating, bad mistake I guess). I knew I had eaten some of the peppers, and that of course the whole meal was contaminated. It was too late, so I just picked out the remaining pepper pieces and ate the rest of the food.

I hadn't known what specifically peppers do to me, and had no intentions of purposely finding out, as the reactions from potatoes and tomatoes are severe (potatoes cause severe gastrointestinal distress, and tomatoes horrendous migraines). When the assistant maitre'd asked me how breakfast was, I told him that there were peppers in my stir-fry. He was horrified. My husband was angry with me for saying anything, because he thought that I shouldn't 'upset those poor people, they're trying'.

Well, predictably, I had a terrible stomach ache by the afternoon. And when I looked into the mirror before going to bed that night, I noticed a big pus-filled pimple on my nose, and two on my chin. I sqeezed them out and disinfected them, and went to bed.

When I looked into the mirror the next morning it was quite a shock! I had about twenty more, huge pus filled pimples all over the top and sides of my nose and my chin, yuck! I opened them all, had a shower and covered up the mess as best as possible with cover-up. Needless to say, I hated to go anywhere where people could see me.

The last morning I got an excellent stir-fry again, finally the cook had gotten the message that plain is good! We had to be off the ship by 7:00 AM, and went on to Key Largo. We had booked a room in a nice little resort, but weren't supposed to check in until 3:00 PM. We went anyway, because I had asked Ken to see if we could trade the room for a suite with kitchen. Fortunately, they had four of them, and the lady showed them all to us. We chose a cute little apartment with full kitchen, for only $20.00 more a night than the room would have been.

We moved right in, and immediately went grocery shopping for the week. So, I cooked and Ken washed the dishes, and it worked out great. The only time I got sick was, when Ken didn't wash the strainer 'because it looked clean' the night I cooked noodles for him, and the next day I used it to wash my beans. The day after that I wasn't feeling too good, but it could have been worse.

We had a good time, snorkeling, swimming, watching manatees, seeing the sights and just taking it easy. And I am sure my vitamin D levels have gone up and are better than they were! We got lots of sunshine, which is just what I needed. And the sea water fixed my face, even though I had another pimple or two every morning for that whole week. It had totally cleared up by the end of that week, though.

Too bad that there must have been bedbugs, because when we got home we were both covered in bites. Strangely, we must have gotten those only during our last night. And it has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the place, as I read that bedbugs are getting to be a real problem again in lots of good hotels, as people (including maids) bring them in, in luggage, on their clothing etc.

I washed all our stuff again, and just hope we didn't bring any home, as they are much harder to get rid of than fleas, lice etc., and it would cost a lot of money.

So, there you have it. The cruise was fun but stressful, as I hate being where there are crowds, and I very much dislike being the centre of attention all the time, due to autism issues, and the rest of the holiday was good, except for the bedbug issue.

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