Monday, June 06, 2005


Greetings from sunny and hot Williamsburg, VA. We're currently on our 4th day of vacation, and have visited a number of places.

In a nutshell: Colonial Williamsburg and Presidents Park on Saturday, swimming at Virginia Beach and sailing on a tall ship on Sunday (more about that later), and the day at Busch Gardens all day today (Monday).

The Tall Ship we sailed on yesterday was called the American Rover, and full details can be found on their website. It was a nice, comfortable out and back cruise out of Norfolk Harbor past several naval repair yards and cargo loading/offloading facilities. We saw one Navy Destroyer in for repairs (I don't recall the name it was the USS Ross, a Guided Missle Destroyer with an AEGIS detection system. Way cool.).

When you go on a short, two-hour boat tour there are inevitably the same types of people that you see every time. Each of these types of people were on our trip, and are types I've seen before on other trips.

1) THE KNOW-IT-ALL: This is the guy, usually not particularly dressed for a boat voyage, who knows everything about the boat, the harbor, the sea, the relative humidity, every type of business along the shore, the history of the entire shipping industry on the Eastern Seaboard and the various orbital trajectories of all major communications satellites currently in orbit. Ours was wearing a prim Greek captain's hat, which made me wonder if we had gotten shipwrecked for some reason I would have to call him Skipper.

2) THE ENGINEER: Tall and lanky, with a hat that doesn't match the surroundings this gentleman is obviously completely out of place on a boat. He doesn't look comfortable, while he will engage in conversation on occasion he still appears to wish he were anywhere else. I call this fellow the Engineer, because he looks like he'd be more at home back at the lab, construction aerothermal heat sinks for the new series of commercial avionics packages.

3) THE GRANDMA: She's jolly, gregarious and just plain HAPPY TO BE HERE! Especially when the grandkids are here because they are JUST SO PRECIOUS!! Interestingly the lady I'd pegged as the grandma on this trip liked cruise ship cruising like I do, and we struck up a nice conversation about our favorite destinations. Later, the little kids Tink was playing with turned out to be, natch, her grandkids.

4) THE DISAFFECTED YOUNG COUPLE: The folks on this cruise actually also fulfilled a second archetype (BONUS!), THE FOREIGNER. A nice looking couple in their 20's were late arrivals, planted themselves near the starboard bow side of the boat (near where I was sitting) and stayed right there the entire trip. While occasionally they looked at and spoke softly to one another, they didn't interact with anyone the entire time we were at sea. Both my wife and I eventually discovered they were speaking another language, but they didn't reacty positively or negatively to anything they saw. They might as well have been sitting together on the couch at home watching "Everybody Loves Raymond." And coming back it was worse, as each moved apart from each other and the girl cast her eyes downward the entire trip. They looked incredibly sad and out of place, and probably would have been more at home in a small French cafe discussing their problems. I kind of felt sorry for them because they looked so alone and out of place.

5) THE ROWDY: Someone inevitably gets a bet too big for his/her britches - this person wasn't really well represented on this particular trip because the passengers skewed a bit older, but there were a trio of interlopers that could've caused trouble. Yes, I'm talking about the pirates... Apparently this weekend was the Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Norfolk, and there seems to be a subculture of "pirates" out there that like to meet and great, wear costumes, and go rumming and wenching all over town. It seems to be a cross between your local members of the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Klingon Defense Force. Three such participants decided to join us, 2 gentlemen and one lady, and they were in full pirate regalia. And suffice to say, the lady's pirate costume was just busting out all over with Buccanalia, let me tell you... They were all actually fairly well behaved and intermingled here and there with the passengers - in fact, I thought they were hired "atmosphere" players for the boat until I found out different. Well, hey, if people can dress up as Stormtroopers for AdventureCon, I suppose we can have pirates as well. I'm just waiting to hear about ACCOUNTCON 2005.

So there are a few of the "archetypes" on trips. Surely, you have some more...


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