Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mexico 5: Odds and Ends and Krugman Too

Although I never dined with the Air America broadcasters, I finally had a meal with one of the two invited guests, Paul Krugman, who was just off a plane from Tokyo bearing a cold. Though I tried to sit far enough away not to be infected, I brought it back to Canada with me.
I asked him if he was as surprised as we were by our country's soaring dollar. He said it was because of the "oil shale." Actually, his country has oil shale, Canada has oil SANDS. Different stuff, but perhaps his cold was interfering with his brain. In the seminars, he complained about Obama's health care plan and over dinner, and spoke of the need for instant health care in the US. I gave him and the rest of the diners a capsule history of our own system. As a native of Saskatchewan, I told him how our beloved premier Tommy Douglas fought for 17 years to get it in our province- it was hardly an overnight sensation. He mentioned that Truman tried it in 1947, with the Republicans blocking it then, as now. Thankfully his ignorance of Canada wasn't as contagious as his cold.
Rachel Maddow is my favourite Air American and she finally showed up the 2nd half of the cruise. From the opening night, I'd been part of a conspiracy to promote the re-hiring of her former comedy partner, Kent Jones (whose segment was called Kent Jones Now-hence her shirt). At the opening party, Air America's boss said they couldn't afford him. Hopefully they will be able to afford the Firesign Theatre.
Not long before Rachel took the microphone here, at a seminar about how to make Air America a better network, I stood up and gave a short speech answering that question by suggesting they hire The Firesign Theatre to do some comedy for them. I had been mentioning The Firesign Theatre to various people all week, and when I said "Firesign Theatre," many people applauded and Lionel said, "Cat, they'll be on my show." I hope this actually happens.
At the final party, many people thrust cameras in my hands and insisted I take their picture with the goddess. Someone even volunteered to do the same for me. Her jean jacket did a lot more for her than my black suit did for me.

Every night, I returned from dinner and the usual party in the Crow's Nest to find yet another towel animal atop my bed. I couldn't figure out if this was supposed to be an anteater or an elephant. Maybe Bit would have found it cute, when she was a kid.

The amuse bouche for the final meal. We had dinner every night in a spacious two-story restaurant called The Vista Restaurant on the 2nd level, the same level as the the Vista Lounge where all the seminars were held. The seminars were much, much better than the meals.
The best meal was said to be the Dutch national dish, brisket and mashed vegetables and it was better than anything I ever ate in the Netherlands (Ok, that's not saying much.). I also enjoyed the chicken mole- even though it was supposedly made with a primitive form of chocolate, it wasn't at all chocolaty, thankfully. The surf and turf: lobster and filet mignon, was a disaster. I also remember some crab which was edible, at best. I had other stuff but remember it not. The soups, which looked great on the menu, were immensely inferior to the store-bought soups I'm used to in Vancouver.

For some reason, everyone at my table for the final meal had the duck. It was pretty good.

I avoided deserts throughout the cruise and am particularly glad I avoided this one. Called a Baked Alaska, those who ordered it said it was hideous. Pretty on the plate though.
I didn't come on the cruise to eat. I came to plug the Firesign Theatre and attend some seminars with people I'd been enjoying listening to on the radio for the past several years. Whales, shrimp and dolphins were also greatly appreciated.

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