Even though I wasn’t crazy about Disneyland and it cost me ridiculous amounts of money, I’m still glad that I went. Now I only have two more Disney theme parks to see before I see them all! There’s one in Hong Kong and one in Japan somewhere. I wonder when I’ll get around to that?
Lady, the name I use for my mother (very endearing, isn’t it?), told me to take a cab to the Queen Mary — where I was spending the day, so I did. WHAT A FOOL I WAS! It’s really not all that awful since to go the route I had intended, I would have had to wake up at some ungodly hour, catch a bus, catch another bus, walk, get on the Metrolink, ride to Downtown LA, catch a train to Long Beach, hop on a bus to the Queen Mary, and then walk to the front. EXHAUSTING. So, even though the taxi ride was honestly ungodly expensive, it was justified in convenience. I got to sleep in, leisurely get ready, put together a nautical ensemble (I pack for all occasions. It’s a gift.), and then get escorted to the Queen Mary by the driver, who seemed slightly panicked. Cost a lot (as in, more than I make in a day), but I was glad how quickly the procedure was.
I fell in love with the Queen Mary the moment I saw her docked there in the distance. One of my childhood obsessions was the Titanic, and to me, this was a little bit like setting sail on that famed and ill-fated liner.
I like to think it’s because I’m dashing and a gentleman, but it’s probably just because there was no room ready for me, but I was upgraded to a room with a view and a better bed! I was glad for that. At that point, it sunk in that this was an actual ship, a historic vessel, a true transatlantic liner! I’ve told you my transatlantic dreams before, haven’t I? If not, let’s go over it all again. I’ve never had much of a desire to sail through the Caribbean or up to Alaska or to see the autumn leaves of Maine.
MANDATORY EDITH INTERLUDE:
Ahhh, I love me some Edith.
The only thing I want to do is take a boat to England. I fully intend on doing so and I hope to do so in the next year or so. All I want to do is wear beautiful suits and drink pink champagne and play shuffleboard and have an onboard romance and dance (which I’m incapable of) and run through the boiler rooms and pretend I’m on the Titanic and then pretend I’m in the film An Affair to Remember. Not much to ask for, is it?
“Benjamin!” Somebody shouted at me from down the hall. Who could possibly know me on this boat, I wondered, since nobody calls me by my full name, though I’ve long tried to make them. I turned around, but there was nobody there. Weird.
I got into my room and sighed happily at the old fashioned decadence of its decaying splendor. Good old Queen Mary has seen a lot in her thousand crossings and as a troop carrier in World War II and later life as a hotel. She showed signs of wear, but was still grand. The bathroom had a lever on the wall that you had to press to flush the toilet.
The shower had the option to use sea water, sadly this no longer functioned.
The walls were decently papered.
There was a nonfunctioning heater.
There was a porthole.There was an old-fashioned heating/cooling system. There was a vanity.
It was wonderful.
Because of all this splendor, I knew that I had to change my outfit the moment I finished lunch! I was too hungry to change. Besides, I wasn’t going anywhere fancy, just the cafe on the promenade deck. I was on a promenade deck!
I had some excellent tomato soup and a meh caprese salad with too hard tomatoes. Not awful by any means, but nothing to write home about. I did, of course. I write about everything.
I enjoyed my meal because of the gorgeous view of Long Beach and the looks of the place and the pictures that adorned the wall showing the history of the vessel. My good friend, Wallis Simpson, was a frequent traveler with her husband, THE KING OF ENGLAND. Well, he was the king for a bit. You know the story. If you don’t, you’re a fool. I’m sorry if that sounded harsh, I meant it to.
I was not at all amused by the clientele. I wondered how these horrific peasants had made it onboard. They weren’t dressed well enough to be in steerage, but here they were in our awful modern world, where everybody is treated like we’re of the same class, polluting my vision. I dislike poorly dressed people. It’s not hard to find clothes that fit. That’s really the only problem people have, they can’t shop for their size and don’t know what kind of clothing flatters their body type. BRING BACK TAILORS, PLEASE!
After my luncheon (I had dessert, too. I always have dessert.), I set off to explore the ship. I loved looking at the lifeboats and the operations room and the prow and the stern and all the decks and the little gift shops and the funnels. It was all too wondrous.
I snuck into the Queen’s Parlor or something like that. Worth it.
And what was I to do but recreate Titanic? I headed up to the front of the boat and waited in line to shout out, “I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD!” I went to one of the lower decks to run around saying, “WE NEED HELP! THERE’S A MAN DOWN HERE! PLEASE! HELLO! HELLO!” I received a funny look from the maid at this point. I said, “Capitan, what should we do?” in the operations room. Later on that evening…well, I’ll save that one.
I forgot to mention, the Queen Mary is supposed to be haunted. I’ve long known of this since I used to religiously watch Sylvia Browne and Montel Williams every Wednesday. That show was my very life. I still have not gotten over the fact that the show is over. I won’t get over it. I love my Sylvia. She told me to move to Hollywood and become a producer. Anyway, Sylvia taped a few different things on the Queen Mary and it was here that Montel experienced his first ghost. They often discussed it. (BONUS! READ THIS.) I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of that show and all of her predictions. So, I signed up for the ghost tour. I didn’t want the cheesy version — there’s some horrible thing with lasers and fog, I didn’t want any of that! — and I told them at the ticket office, which caused them to crack up in hysterics. I don’t know why. I appreciate an audience, though. I just like attention.
I had a bit of time before the tour, so I headed back to the room and changed into my finery. I told you I packed for all occasions. I looked resplendent and took myself out to the bar.
“Pink champagne!” I delightedly exclaimed to the bartender.
“We haven’t got that.”
“Champagne!” I delightedly exclaimed to the bartender.
“We haven’t got that. Sparkling wine.”
“Sparkling wine with grenadine!” I delightedly exclaimed to the bartender.
He raised his eyebrow and made my drink. It was pink and there were bubbles. It worked. I was only after the illusion anyway. I’m all about illusions.
Then I pretended I was in An Affair To Remember:
Watch it, reader.
I sat there for a while filling out many postcards as I sipped on my “pink champagne” and talked about the demise of cursive with the gentleman next to me who had had many martinis. Just before it was time to head out on my tour, I paid my bill, sampled some St. Germain liquor, since the bartender insisted on it, and headed back to the tour meeting spot.
I can’t begin to explain how dreadful the peasants were on this trip. Basketball shorts and oversized shirts and ball caps and obese and many dresses that didn’t begin to flatter. I looked like Cary Grant just stepped out of a film into some horrible nightmare. Thankfully, there was one family that had a bit of taste. They were quite into the paranormal and had brought along a pendant to communicate to the spirits with. I stuck around them because they dressed decently. I was annoyed by the host at first, I don’t know why, I think it was his hair — I didn’t like it — but I warmed up to him later. He was alright and he had a great name. Bradford. You never hear anybody named Bradford anymore. He was a sensitive and would often feel ill at various times in different parts of the ship.
One story he told was of somebody calling his name. BAM! I remembered what happened earlier in the hallway and smiled. It had to have been the ghost!
One of the first major haunted locations we went to was Room B340, which they no longer rent out because of alleged extreme paranormal activity. I didn’t notice anything, though. It was just a shell of a room, completely cleared out and the walls were whitewashed. The water is supposed to turn on and off and the sheets fly off beds. I’m not entirely sure why they would scrap such a room. People would pay extra to go there. Kind of like that murderer I met on the way to California on the train. Remember that creep? Anyway, psychics have visited the room and have sensed that somebody had been trapped there. I don’t know. Maybe it’s true.
Next we went to the first class pool, which I adored. I love pools. I love art deco. I love haunted places. I LOVED THE POOL! It was massive and dark and creepy and I adored the details of the design. I would post pictures, but we weren’t allowed to photograph in the pool area because it was allegedly destroying something in there. Not entirely sure what since it was just a bunch of tiles. Oh well. This place actually felt a bit off and is the only creepy place I experienced on board. The story, which is actually true, is that a lady had been raped and murdered down there — details aren’t really known, but it’s supposed to be her ghost down there.
We went to the boilers where an engineer was crushed by a massive door. I didn’t feel anything down there, but there was an odd clunking that Bradford couldn’t explain.
The tour itself was quite a lot of fun and felt honest. I’ve been on other tours that are trying to creep you out, but not here. I talked to the host for a bit after it was over and then scurried back on board.
I was hungry for dinner, but didn’t want to go back to the cafe. There is a very nice place called Winston’s (after the famed English Prime Minister, who was often aboard the Queen Mary), but they didn’t really have anything that appealed to me — all steaks and things like that. Not sure why the didn’t have more vegetarian options. I probably could have spoken to the hostess, but I just decided to have a few appetizers at the bar and listen to the quiet music and watch the lights of Long Beach twinkle on the water.
The experience was lovely, if a bit pedestrian. I ordered the cheese plate and a sidecar. Neither excelled. The sidecar didn’t have nearly enough lemon juice to cut through the alcohol bite. The cheese plate was mediocre in the extreme. On a cheese plate you think you might get a bit of variety. But, I had cheddar, mozzarella, and a bit of bland brie. There were some crackers and grapes, too. I probably should have ordered the hummus or even the kettle chips. Those kettle chips are everywhere and the ship is supposedly known for them. Oh well, I’m sure I will go back again. I fell in love with that boat. So in love that I had to have a Singapore Sling. Very good, that!
Once out of the bar, I decided to go for a few laps around the deck, which was chilly and refreshing. I saw a few people out on the back of the boat looking over the edge and I nobly said to them, “If you jump, I jump!” None of those horrible peasants understood my reference to Titanic. Dummies.
I skipped a bit on my way back to my stateroom. There were no ghosts in there. I then went to bed.