Norwegian Getaway, 11/29 - 12/6, DAY SIX - AT SEA

So, yesterday was our final day at sea. After two hectic days in port, it was kinda nice to just relax a little. After popping out of bed at 7ish, we got ready and headed to breakfast at O'Sheehans, of course (I mean, we have a regular table now and everything). After breakfast a quick detour to the Shore Excursion desk, where Greg was again extremely helpful in getting the charge for yesterdays tour corrected. Then another trivia. Since I was late and missed the first 3 questions, I only got 13 right. I am pretty sure I would have had 16, and 15 was the winning score. Oh, well...I didn't really want a coozie, anyway.

After breakfast we went out on deck. A little windy and cooling as we head back to Florida. Ran into Lisa and Karen, and accompanied them downstairs to the photo gallery to look at pictures. I have been respectably successful in avoiding having my picture taken, so that didn't take long. I did, however find two nice pictures of some other couple who obviously didn't know their stateroom number. Which gave me an idea. In future, I think I'll tell all the photographers I DO want a picture, and then just give them random cabin numbers, so I'll pop up in various folios around the ship. Call it "taking photo-bombing to the next level".

That took us to snack time so we ducked in to Savor for some popcorn shrimp and scallops gratin before heading up to the cabin for some down time. Rene, our steward, was in the middle of making up the room, so we sat out on the balcony and just enjoyed the wake and the clouds for a bit. Then laid Steve down for a bit before a late lunch. I finally convinced him we needed to eat at the Flamingo grill, and I am really glad I did. Amongst the other Caribbean-inspired dishes the had what they called Puerto Rican-style roast pork, but which might be more familiar to you as "Lechon Asado". And they NAILED IT!

In case you aren't aware, everywhere in the Spanish speaking world "lechon" means "lunch", and is the generic word for anything you might eat in the middle of the day. In Puerto Rico, the highly seasoned (mostly garlic and pepper) and spit-roasted whole pig is so ubiquitous it is called "lechon asado". Strictly translated "roasted lunch". Like, you don't even need to specify what it is you're roasting or having for lunch, because there really isn't anything else worthy of the name.

When I was a young boy, growing up, in Bayamon, there was a lechoneria across the street from our house. Two guys would walk past my house every morning with a whole uncooked pig on a spit. When I got home from school, I would go grab a plate of the by-now-nearly-gone lechon and a piece of bread. The owner would save me a few pieces of the skin, too, because that is absolutely the best part. The seasoning! the crispy skin! and the mostly-rendered layer of fat right underneath! Throw a little in your mouth, bite down and the fat just flows, carrying the flavors, while your teeth hit the crispyness. I know it's a cliche, but "A party in your mouth" is the only way to describe it. I have tried over the years to replicate this dish, and I have come up with some pretty close dishes, but never QUITE perfect. The thing is you have to have at minimum a whole butt roast or the like, with the skin on, and a way to cook it that gets all the skin crisp. Regular pork roast cuts, or ribs or whatnot can be good, but they can't be just right.

So, I watched in bemusement as the guy in front of me at Flamingo went to great pains with the tongs, to remove that part from every chunk of meat he put on his plate. Because, you know what? Without that top skin/fat piece, lechon asado is just, well...roast pork. I happily scooped up his orts and leavings and ran back to my table and was transported to 1971 Bayamon. The seasoning was right, the skin was crisp on the edge of too-hard-to-bite-thru, the fat was half-burned/half-melted...but I digress. Wow, did I ever digress. Back to Planet Earth, now.

After the late lunch it was time for the Blackjack Tournament. Things started off really well, and I racked up about $5000 in the first 4 hands. I was just behind the leader and the two of us were thousands ahead of the rest of the table. In the last 3 hands, I was dealt 14, then 12, then 13. Managed to push once, and lost the other two, while the leader was dealt a 10 that he successfully doubled down on, a Blackjack and finished with a 19 dealt against the dealers 17. So that ended badly, and I decided against entering again. Some days you just aren't feeling it. But while we were there Steve and I hit a couple of slots and managed to lose the rest of the money I had won on Sunday. So, me and the casino are exactly even this week. I think I'll leave it that way.

By now it was almost time for our big group dinner, so we headed back to the cabin, threw on some nicer clothes and headed to Cagney's. When I got to the cabin, I had a nice cheese/cracker tray and a bottle of wine from the Access Officer by way of an apology for the Disco At The End Of The World fiasco. Nice. So I had a bottle of wine to take up and share with my colleagues. Which I did. Cagney's was it's usual awesome self. Steve had the shrimp cocktail and the lobster and shrimp entre, with a little side of creamed corn. I went with a Ceasar Salad (or, as they call it a "Mexican Ceasar Salad", which seems somewhat oxymoronic, since a Ceasar Salad is a Mexican salad created in Mexico [at Ceasar's, of all places!]). And then the bone-in ribeye, rare, with some mushrooms. And Cagney's Fries, of course. All were as good as I've had them at any other Cagney's. Cagney's is back to being my favorite Norwegian Speciality restaurant. Moderno gave them a run for their money for a while, but...I don't know...I guess the novelty of churascarria has worn off. Desert was the raspberry creme brulee. Typically, excellent.

So, yeah, great food, and some interesting conversation with some colleagues, and dinner took almost 2 and a half hours. Steve was feeling tired, so I tossed him in bed, and headed up to the Glow Party. When we got back to the cabin there was a tray of chocolate truffles from the Hotel Director. Just because, I guess.

Stayed at the Glow briefly, but wasn't feeling partyish, so I headed on home at 11. We have a big day planned at Atlantis tomorrow, and I decided I needed to rest up for that.

Which, of course, I will tell you about in painstaking detail, in my next post.

So, TTFN, mes amies! And just to warn you, tomorrows post will probably be delayed...once these minutes are up, I ain't buying any more internet. I'll wait til I get onshore and find some wifi somewhere.


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