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Geek Cruise - Linux Lunacy 2 - Day 3 - Cozumel, Tulum
The ship arrived at Cozumel Island early, about 6:30am. We were up and had an early breakfast and got ready for our first shore excursion. We were berthed just off Cozumel Island. Our first step was to get off the ship, walk over to that ferry in the photo, and take a three quarter hour, choppy ferry ride to the mainland and the city of Cozumel.
We got off the ferry in Cozumel, and were organised into groups and we walked to the buses. Each group got a tour guide who led us through the streets. The other tour guides started with happy greetings and loud chatting. Our tour guide was a large dour man, who told us to stay together and follow him, and we did. The streets were run down, the buildings were run down, poles in the street carried open wires up to the street lights, and the wires had been cut and spliced and flapped in the breeze. I couldn't help notice the casual use of electricity.
The bus worked and was clean and somehow, Anne and I got the front seats beside our tour guide. One thing that amused me was a large alarm light at the front of the bus. I could piece out the Spanish sign and if the bus went over 95 kph, the alarm sounded. This was apparently to control the urge to take the bus to 150 kph on roads that wouldn't handle it.
There were heaps of ruins of buildings spread around the city. Some have modern names like the Castle and the Temple of the Frescoes and the House of Columns, and some have names based on their original purposes like the House of the Halach Uinik, House of the Chulton, Temple of the Wind, Temple of the Sea.
Anne really liked this building, The Temple of the Descending God. None of the sides was straight, and it had a crazy leaning feel to it. Inside the building are frescoes and a big wall sculpture showing the Descending God, and a large carving of a rattlesnake head, but that's all locked away and we can't see it any more.
Up to the left of the Castle, you can look down on this lovely little beach. Tourists were swimming and sunbaking and it looked really nice. The building on top of the rocks on the other side of the beach is the Temple of the Wind.
After lunch, the geek side of the cruise started again. When the afternoon sessions started, I wanted to do Programming Without Perl presented by Phil Hughes, but he hadn't arrived on the ship, so the class was cancelled. I really wanted to do this one, so I was annoyed. The others were More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Filesystems presented by Theodore Ts'o; Preparing for Incident Response and Forensics presented by Brain Carrier; and Vim for Vi Users presented by Steve Oualline. I settled for the Vim presentation. I already have Steve Oualline's book on Vim, and as I discovered later, I have three of his other books too. The Vim talk was very good. We were jammed into the piano bar, with the heavy ching of the slot machines coming at us from the casino around the corner. I use Vim all the time at work, and have been using a lot of the advanced features, but Steve taught me a heap more. We were only interrupted twice by the Captain and Rockin' Ronnie the DJ, telling us about the gambling and karaoke delights on board ship.
After this session, Doc Searls gave a keynote address. He is one of the editors of Linux Journal, who put on the Geek Cruise. He's written a few things about the cruise, like here.
He runs a blog, so you can go there and have a read of his experiences during the cruise.
He gave a slide presentation on The Silent Majority: How Linux Got To Be Everywhere While Nobody Was Watching. Part of his talk was a quick history of the rise of Linux as demonstrated by a series of photos of little plastic penguins, historically arranged by Doc and his son Jeffrey. This has to be seen. It's supposed to be on the web and available for viewing, but I can't find it. If I do find it, I'll post a link to it later.
After Doc Searls, I rushed off to dinner. Food. All these meals, so much food. Have you seen how chickens are bred for the dinner table? Battery hens? You pack a heap of chickens into a small space, so that they can hardly move, and then you feed them and feed them. That's like a cruise ship. Tiny cabins, nowhere to go except around the ship, and they feed you and feed you. They loaded 7,000 tons of food onto the ship before it left, and there was probably only a ton left when we finished the cruise. Every time I turned around, there was another meal. A huge buffet breakfast, then maybe hot dogs or pizza for morning tea, and then a huge lunch, and then hamburgers for afternoon tea, and then the huge formal dinners, or the giant buffets, and the midnight snacks and the special dessert treats. We heard of one woman who got stuck into the food. She gained 27 pounds in the 7 days, and had to buy new big wrap-around clothes just to be able to leave the ship. Probably an urban myth, but it shows how we felt about the food. On the first few days whenever we went ashore, I watched the slim young girls in their bikinis, and then a few days later I watched the same young girls who were no longer so slim, and were wearing larger one-piece swimsuits. And the men's bellies got larger and larger and every day, fewer people could get into the ship's elevators.
After dinner, Anne dragged me off to the magician's show. I don't get off on magicians much. They're fun, but if you ignore the hand they're waving at you and watch the other hand, you can usually see them palming the doves. Greg Frewin was the magician and the show was pretty good. He used some large birds like a white cockatoo and a huge red parrot, as well as the obligatory doves.
I found that life on board the ship was pretty hectic. There was always something on, so it was always a rush to get changed and get to the next thing. I was glad when it was over and I could go back to work to get some rest.