posted by Noah
We weren't sure if we wanted to go to the Ambassadors' Ball. Tickets were not cheap and we are reaching the end of our budget for this voyage. But, well, I already bought a suit back in Vietnam, so why not.
I forget why they call it an Ambassadors' Ball. I'm sure there's some reason, but we had no ambassador in sight, so search me. Basically it's a big "the voyage is winding down and we're sick of seeing everyone in sweatshirts and flip-slops" evening.
We had signed up for the 5:15 dinner, which was slightly problematic, since I was supposed to work in the store until six. Luckily, Yvonne, the most generous boss I have ever had or will ever have, let me slip out early. I still had only a little more than fifteen minutes to shower and dress ... so I was a little five-o'clock shadowy for the evening and I never did fit in that haircut I needed. But my new suit looked pretty sharp, so I felt okay.
Amanda, meanwhile, thought she was underdressed in a black sundress with pashmina shawl. She was wrong, of course. She looked fabulous.
Dinner was quite good. All four people at the table (us and two students -- Shannon and the infamous Big Tom) ordered the filet mignon. Delicious of course, and realistically about as much steak as you should eat in one sitting. I think this trip might have reduced my portion sizes permanently -- an eight-ounce steak is really just fine, after all. Dinner also included shrimp cocktail, a corn soup (not acorn soup, a corn soup), caesar salad, and, of course, potatoes and veg. There was a champagne toast, which meant Amanda got two glasses -- no reason for mine to go to waste. No dessert, because there would be a big buffet at 10PM, though a student organization had left little bags of candy at each table ... and yes, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and Tootsie Rolls did kind of dim the classy atmosphere, but so did all the people wearing flip flops with their suits. All in all a tasty meal, and it really goes to show what this crew can do with quality ingredients.
A long lull followed. We checked out some of the live music playing then hung around in Tymitz Square while people posed for photos with the captain. I like our captain, but four dollars for a photo with him seemed an easy four dollars not to spend. We did get a glimpse of the trouble to come when we saw some girls in very pretty dresses stumbling drunkenly around. It was about 7PM.
Around 9pm there was some karaoke in the Faculty Staff Lounge. It was pretty fun, mostly because the cool kids didn't show up until it was too late to get a singing slot, so most of the songs were a55h0le-free. We enjoyed performances by many of our favorite students, including, of course, Grant and Thomas who had purchased bright orange and bright green suits in Vietnam and were wearing them with SAS t-shirts and matching ties .... giving them a look somewhere in-between Miami Vice, D1ck Tracy villain, and Fred Flintstone. Very sharp. We also both enjoyed the bright yellow suit worn by David Wodka, who organized our safari. I couldn't help but ask him what Curious George was really like.
The girls, of course, took dressing up more seriously, and everyone looked great. There was some international flavor to the dresses, of course, with some sarees and Vietnamese-style dresses in the mix.
We did a little dancing in the Union, but once they had played "Love Shack" and moved on to more recent stuff, it was clearly not our room.
At ten Amanda had to work in the Fac/Staff lounge to make sure faculty members didn't buy drinks for students. It turned out not to be an issue. The kids who really wanted to drink were in the pool bar ... but I'll get to that later.
It took a while to get going, mostly because everyone was in the INCREDIBLY long line for dessert (good, but not as good as dinner), but the dancing in Fac/Staff turned out to be really fun. Nominally it was an "oldies" dance, but, I'm sorry "Poison" by Boyz 2 Men is not an oldy, nor is any song that I danced to at my ninth grade social. Oldies ended in 1974, dammit.
Dancing to "Material Girl," "Walking on Sunshine," "Walk Like an Egyptian," etc was great fun -- they even played "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany, to Amanda's great delight. Amanda seemed reluctant to dance at first until college boys started to ask her to dance (grumble) but once she got out there, she and I remained partnered for the rest of the night. By eleven, when the dance was supposed to end, jackets were off, ties were loosened, but it was clearly not the end of the evening. The Staff Captain was there and gave us permission to continue until midnight. Even then the crowd was chanting "ONE MORE SONG" (and, at one point "TEN MORE SONGS"), even after obvious "it's the end of the night, people" songs, such as "Don't Stop Believing" and "Last Dance" were played.
So, I would say the evening was a total success, and good clean fun, except that after all was said and done we learned there had really been two parties. The enjoyable, a-couple-of-glasses-of-wine dance in fac/staff and the pushing, shoving drunken brawl in the pool bar. That was where people went who had "pre-gamed" with all the alcohol they smuggled on in Hawaii. Look, I have my various hang-ups with alcohol, so I won't go into depth, but even if we allow for "hey, it's our last chance to party together," these kids were acting ridiculous. One stole drinks off of other people's tables, including from the Executive Dean (not wise). Over $1000 of damage was done to the ship. At the moment, that money is coming out of the budget for Students of Service, so that's $1000 that's not going to charity. Nice work, kids.
So pub nights have been canceled for the rest of the voyage and several students won't be getting off the ship in Costa Rica at all.
I'm pleased to say that Aegean was pretty calm. Being on the bottom deck means most of the rowdiness got filtered out -- if you wanted to prolong the evening, you could stop on one of the other decks and find a crowd to hang with. But deck two was mellow -- a few stolen nametags off of doors, but nothing else.
So, since I didn't see too much of the insanity, my memories are all positive. And I think I'm actually going to get through this entry without a "we had a ball" joke, so ...