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Ojai Orange | The Column of Lasting Insignificance | Books | Wait-A-Minute

February 21, 2009
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  The column of lasting insignificance
     


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 



February 21, 2009

Acapulco

WE WERE SITTING in El Mirador, the hotel where young Mexican studs make their death defying dives several times a day into a rocky cove 135 feet below. Unfortunately it was only 11 am and the next performance was scheduled for 1 pm.

“Let’s go to a massage parlor “suggested my new friend Bob, an old roué I had met at an earlier dinner on the cruise ship from which we had unfettered ourselves for the day.

Bob Lambert, a veteran of five world cruises (each 90 – 120 days) had made himself something of an expert on foreign sexual mores so I was less apprehensive than I might otherwise have been. He advises giving Mumbai’s Red Light district a miss.

With my handy guide and protector, we found a taxi driver outside the hotel who was happy to transport us to his favorite cathouse. A teenager with a loaded carbine patrolled the sidewalk outside.

He even agreed to wait for us while we had completed our visit. “Dos minutos ?”, he asked, jovially holding up two fingers. That’s how long he guessed he’d have to wait.

 
Bob Lambert

Climbing the stairs in his wake we found ourselves in a small lounge, furnished with sofas, a soft drink machine and six young ladies in halters and very short, shorts. Pick your masseur. An experienced negotiator, Bob agreed on a price of $65 plus tip, for each of us and moving back into the waiting room before him, surreptitiously managed to get three seconds of videotape of two of the girls chatting by the Pepsi machine. “Special massages” should be the goddess-given birthright of every adult man or woman. It’s a pity that in puritanical America it’s declared illegal. Then it was back to the Rotterdam, so we never did get back to La Quebrada to see the divers, but I had taped them some years ago and was sufficiently familiar with Acapulco from writing my book, Mexico on $5 a Day, I passed on taking any tours.

Bob’s own book, Wave Lengths, is an amusing account of his adventures both on and off board a typical world cruise, which can cost as little as $28,000 and as much as $250,000 for penthouse accommodations.

Tipping is a controversial issue with the cruise line, Holland American (HAL) now docking every passenger $11 a day in lieu of separate tipping—not only is mandatory tipping outrageous (adding at least $100 to even the shortest cruise) but it’s a fresh admission by HAL that they won’t pay decent wages which must therefore be subsidized by passengers. (You can, with trouble, adjust your tipping fee).

There are endless recreational pursuits, plus the pools hot tubs and library/Internet cafe, but litte inter-mixing between passengers except for the lunchtime encounters which are barely a few degrees above boredom, not surprising, says Bob, "given the limited socio-economic pool cruise ships one draws from.”

And of course that pool really is restrictive. At least three quarters of the guests on a typical cruise are elderly, some very frail, others in wheelchairs and with a high proportion grossly overweight. Some passengers never leave the ship, even at the most enticing shops, and all take advantage of the almost 24-hour food service to eat like there’s no tomorrow.

Wandering into dinner, on an unassigned schedule, is a crapshoot. You’ll be directed to any table where the menus are just being handed out and most of the time you’ll find nothing in common with your fellow diners who are apt to be from small towns and have an imagination (or lack of it) to match. Subjects such as politics, drugs, sex, religion, ideas are carefully avoided and on the occasions I wore my High Times T-shirt nobody had ever heard of the magazine.

As luck would have it, today, I hit the jackpot finding myself across the table from two of the men that HAL had hired to dance with the old ladies. Bob had written that the opportunity of getting to dance was the only thing that enticed some of the older ladies on cruises and my dinner parties confirmed it. If you dance with somebody twice in succession, one remarked, “the jealousy is enormous”. “If you give even a fraction of time more to one person than another there’s hell to pay.”

Being a roaming dancing partner is hard work—requiring one’s presence from the time the music starts in any of the lounges, until midnight—and both men pointed out the hazards of making the slightest wrong move; being put off the boat without appeal at the nearest port.

Both talked of rich patrons they had danced with but neither had been invited to any of the estates, ranches or chateaux they had been told about, although there were legends in the trade about some predecessor who had snared a lifelong partner.

“It’s an exhausting job but you never know what the future might hold”, one said smiling. In addition to the bed and board, HAL dancers are paid a few hundred dollars a month and have other perks such as free tours available to them. There are no female dance hostesses to cater to the many single males. (Bob: “single means all alone; solo is somebody who pretends to be single”).

Bob wrote that the classic myth of the business “rumor, tale or truth—concerns the dance host who did meet and marry the woman of his fiscal dreams, only to return to the same ships on which he had hosted as an esteemed guest, probably living in the penthouse, Lord over all”.

2/14/09

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