|My cabin on the QE2, 12/2001.|
This took forever.
But finally, we were in Long Beach and thirsty. We wandered around looking for a place to get a drink, stumbling over a pedestrian mall across from the convention center, then heading over on the free local bus to the Queen Mary.
The Queen Mary is docked permanently in Long Beach, and used as a hotel and tourist attraction. I'd previously glimpsed it from the nearby Long Beach Container Terminal aka Terminal Island, where in 2001, I'd left the US for the other side of the world on my first freighter voyage, aboard the Direct Kiwi.
|8/2016, the Queen Mary State Room.|
I tried to not think about the Queen Mary's sister ship as BBF and I walked across the parking lot in the afternoon sun, boarding the Queen Mary and checking into out room for the evening.
The long hallways and our state room looked incredibly similar to my cabin on the QE2 some 15 years prior.
We left our bags, hurrying upstairs to get audio tour headsets. We walked the ship back and forth, following the recorded instructions to the bridge, the WWII exhibit (BFF's father had traveled as a soldier on-board the Queen Mary during the war). Eventually, after visiting the engine room, we were just too tired to continue. We turned in our headsets and headed to dinner.
I enjoyed the ship, but the lack of the distant rumble of ever-running engines was a bit odd. I've traveled around the world on four freighters, the QE2, MV Lyubov Orlova (now known as the rat/ghost ship), assorted ferries, and even a yacht in the Galapagos, and the constant of being at sea is the sound of the engines. And of course the roll of the waves.
Being docked with no engines running was odd to me, but this feeling of something being not-quite-right was pushed aside and overridden by two other gut reactions. One was the sense of tragedy over the fate of the QE2, the other the sharp pain of suppressed nostalgia, as I stared through the porthole over at the world's largest container port, the origin of my most incredible trip and one I'll never surpass, if only because after two trips around the world, running a company in Cairo, and living in...eight?...countries, I am seldom surprised by adventuring. I won't get that back, and that hurts a little.
The giraffe-like constructs of the industrial port called to me, taunted me. Join...us... no...wait...you...have...a...job...
For now, I'd have to settle for a night on the tourist ship.
|Leaving the ship the next morning|