Carnival Inspiration, Day One - Catalina

Chilly and overcast this morning.  June Gloom we call it here on the Left Coast.
Up at 6 to do a little writing, smoking and caffeine-level-increasing. 
Traveling with this family is a bit like herding cats, but once I got everyone in one place at the same time (about 10:30), Chris and the kids and I went over on the tender to Avalon.  We rented a golf cart to take a ride around the island.  After 4 ATM stops.  For some reason my card is deciding to be inscrutable, and the locals won't take a credit card for a deposit.  They'd actually rather have $40 than an open credit card...go figure.  But I finally acquired the necessary scratch, and off we went.  It's the best way to see Catalina.  Narrow roads wind up thru the hills around town, and there is another scenic vista and turnout around every corner.  So we did that, and made a little detour to the Botanic Garden.  Though smallish, the botanic garden in Avalon has many native and indigenous California plants that are seen but rarely on the mainland.  I've been a few times, and it's well worth the time to stroll through.
I had left mom and Steve sitting by the pool, so I needed to head back to the ship, but the others stayed behind to sit on the beach and do a little shopping and such.  As I said, I've been to Catalina enough times to not really need to spend time doing the tourist thing.
Got back in time for a little lunch by the pool.  It was still overcast, but warming up.  We enjoyed the music for a bit and just as we were heading to lay Steve down, the keikes showed up.  So we stayed a little longer and watched them frolic in the icy cold, unheared pool.  And the jacuzzi that can hold, apparently, 357 children at once.  I wasn't even tempted to join in either.
After a bit of a laydown, it was over to a sports trivia contest.  We got 16/20.  17 won.  Pretty sure they cheated.  Not sure how, though.
Then it was time to dress for dinner.  Elegant (lobster) Night.  WooHoo.  Whatever.
Since we got our dining changed to Your Time, we presented ourselves at 6ish in the Mardi Gras dining room.  They were quite obviously expecting us.  Straight to our table.  The waiter, Wilfredo, was fabulous.  He called everyone by name, immediately we sat down.  He even got the boys' right, the first time!  Since the younger one is bigger than the elder, even people who know them mess it up from time to time.
On the menu were alligator fritters, which we all shared an order.  Except me.  I have a thing about reptiles and dough.  I had the Greek Salad, and Pumpkin Soup and the Prime Rib.  Cruise ship lobsters are just not worth the effort, to me.  I can get them back home for $5 a piece at WinCo.
The prime rib was good.  Nothing to write home about.  Should have gone for the ribs.  A couple of them ordered ribs and they were excellent.  And plentiful.  In fact, I shared in a couple of them.  So, then...dessert and coffee, and time for the casino.
Again, nothing.  The poker machines are just hateful to me this week.  Stuck our head in the main show lounge, but that didn't seem interesting.  Steve decide it was time to call it a night.  So I dropped him down, and headed back to the casino, until piano bar time.  Poker was still being ornery.  Decided to try a slot machine.  Randomly picked one, because I saw my new piano bar friend, Deb.  Sat down and start hitting all kinds of stuff.  Deb said she had just got up from that machine and it gave her nothing.  I made $10 last over an hour.  I did finally succeed in losing my $10, but I was up over $50 a couple times.
Finally, the piano bar was open, and my man, Tom Grable, aka Tommy  G was in fine form.  We got the place a little crowded for a while.  But it thinned out again, midnite-ish, and by 1am it was back down to just a few of us hard-core cases, so he shut it down, and I called it a night, and headed to bed.

Tomorrow, Ensenada! 
Hasta Luego, mi amigos!

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