So I'm back from my California/cruise adventure. We spent last Saturday driving down to Santa Barbara where we stayed one night at the Harbor House Inn. Very nice little place with a mini kitchen and living room and a basket with juices, tea and fresh baked pumpkin bread. We spent that evening at a sports bar on State street drinking and watching the Canucks game, and later the Sharks. It was at this bar we met another hockey fan who told us he was the GM of KTVU for years. We Googled him when we got home and found out he is a racist son of a bitch.
Sunday we headed down to LA and checked into a hotel in Century City. We shopped down in Santa Monica and had a nice dinner at BOA steakhouse. Monday we headed down to Long Beach where we feasted at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. I've heard so much about this place but since I'm not a huge fan of fried chicken or waffles, it just didn't seem that great. After lunch we dropped off the car at a coworker's apartment and he gave us a lift to the cruise terminal. The 4 days of cruising were great. It's basically a 24 hour buffet for 4 days. We were assigned to a dinner table with a funny couple about our age, both of them in the Air Force. One works in finance and the other handles the contracting of projects to the private sector. It was fun hanging out with them and learning about the benefits they get and the kinds of things they do. To be honest I don't know anyone in the military.
The downer of the cruise, aside from catching a cold on the second to last day, was that our head waiter told us that he works 12 hour days, 7 days a week, 6 months at a time. Then gets 2 months off and is back at it again. He said it was fun when he was young and single but after 9 years he's tired and misses his kids. I decided to sniff around a bit and see if he was exaggerating to get bigger tips but .... I found this. And also this. And now I'm not sure how I feel about going on cruises. It's kind of like buying clothes at the Gap and Old Navy. I know they don't monitor the working conditions in their factories as well as they claim they do but then where can someone with a limited income buy clothes? Even if you buy from an independent designer who makes the clothes herself or you attempt to sew your own clothes, who knows under what conditions the fabric was manufactured (my prof in my globalization class brought that up and stumped us on that one).
I think I have more leeway to make sound decisions on where to spend my few vacation dollars though. I'm not sure I can in good conscience do this again knowing that the workers make less than $5 an hour if you count all the hours they actually work. I'm sure there are ways to explore the world without putting money in the pockets of big corporations and robbing the workers in the process. This fellow in Newfoundland has done a lot of writing on the cruise ship industry if you want to read more.
Anyways, time to tidy up and get ready to head to Vancouver tomorrow to spend the rest of my break.