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March 16, 2007

Day 9: Rough Seas, Smooth Skin

Rough seas for the 80 Days or Bust blogger
Neptune mixes it up

Tracker1312, thanks to your instructions on how to read my GPS, I can now tell you that I am at: N28 48.505 by W133 36.604, or so my Garmin tells me. Whether this constitutes genuine knowledge on my part is a matter of debate. Fortunately, all I have to do is press the "page" button and a map appears, showing me as a little pink triangle somewhere between LA and Hawaii, pointed west. There is nothing like a nice colorful drawing to appeal to the simpleminded.

Take note of the coordinates, people, because they could be my last. It appears I have angered Neptune. Yesterday's flippant comment about being underwhelmed at the size of the swell on the Pacific was plainly stupid. But I think what finally pushed him into action was the pro-collagen grooming treatment and shave. Before I continue, let me warn you that not all facials are good facials. The last facial I had, in fact, left my face looking shiny for a good week. This was mid-July, I had a tan, and every time I looked in the mirror, I expected the man staring back was going to try and sell me a low-end condo.

Sunrise at sea for the 80 Days or Bust blogger
Sunrise at sea

This facial went a whole lot better. Put simply, it involved my face getting treated with various soothing white creams not once, not twice, but three times. One of these was collagen, or infused with collagen, or something, the other was shaving cream, and the third remains a mystery. In the middle of all this came the shave.

It all felt very nice indeed. That's the thing about spa treatments. It doesn't seem to matter what gets done to your body so long as someone takes great care in doing it. They could dab a pigeon feather ever so lightly up and down your shins for an hour, and provided you were draped in white towels and soothing music was being played at a soft volume, you would emerge a rejuvenated and happier person. I mean no mockery in this. I think that would be a very pleasant treatment.

The shave

Of course, there are also the inner tensions of the spa world. No one ever talks about this stuff. For example, you can get a lemon ginger infusion wrap or a coconut butter wrap. It's an either-or thing. Or so they make you think. But one of them, surely, must be better? Let's examine the world of massage. There's a silent war being waged between the forces of Swedish massage and Shiatsu. You only have to see the two next to each other on the spa brochure to feel the tension rise. Do Swedish and Shiatsu proponents get along? My guess is no. You could recast Romeo and Juliet with the Capulets as Swedish massage kingpins and the Montagues as shiatsu/acupuncture specialists. This would make Shakespeare relevant to a new generation.

Anyway, getting back to Neptune. I think he was miffed by my cavalier attitude and self indulgence. The result: we woke up to quite the swell this morning. Word from the captain, who I bumped into on the elevator this morning, is that this is quite normal for the middle of the Pacific. If this is normal, I thought, what are rough seas like?

I found out at lunch. The couple sitting next to us--from Maine, though moving to Florida bcause the Maine economy has gone all to hell--said they did this cruise a couple years ago. Somewhere between Hawaii and Hong Kong, they ran into a typhoon (as one does). They sailed into it at full throttle and by the time it was over, they were six miles back.

You think that sounds bad? The woman to our right--from Ohio but has been living in San Diego for quite some time--was on an Antarctic cruise. In the middle of the night, a wave walloped the side of the ship and actually broke through the glass in one of the guest quarters. The guests were drenched, thrown up against the wall, bruised and cut. Their stuff was ruined. As compensation, the cruise company gave them a free cruise. Totally worth it, if you ask me.

(For insurance purposes, I would like to announce, prior to any typhoon or rogue wave striking, that I have several priceless Ming Dynasty vases in my room at this time.)

The author can get used to this lifestyle

Tonight the attire is semi-formal. Normally I dread such occasions, but thanks to the very generous people at Luigi Borrelli, I have a Borrelli suit jacket. It's vibrant royal blue. (At least, I think it is. I'm color blind.) Perfect attire for sea, and quite the match for my Omega Seamaster watch, which was also borrowed for this voyage. (In case you missed it, I have been totally set up.  My hope is that Neptune doesn't take notice of nautical styles I'm busting. Otherwise, we're done for.


Dude, it's not a better-or-worse thing, it's about your skin type:

Lemon ginger is an astringent
Coconut butter is for super-dry skin

Any spa-ologist worth her sea salt should be able to recommend the proper treatment. The latter could seriously clog one's pores. This
raises a bigger question: should men really be knowing this stuff? Maybe
someone should buy you a subscription to Allure. Maybe Allure needs to widen their demographic target. Maybe Details should add a Beauty department.

Closer and closer towards Hawaii:

Hi Mark,
As you've discovered, Tracker1312 is a clever one. In case you don't realize this, she's one of the winners of the WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WENDY? contest on my blog last month:
She's the one who guessed my EXACT location. She managed to figure out which cabin I was in -- on a ship with 1,019 cabins! You can learn more about her here:
Wendy Perrin
Conde Nast Traveler


I stumbled across your blog early this morning and was totally amused by your wit and life perspective. Since I'm stuck in place because of commitments, I'll have to live vicariously through your experiences, but expect to laugh throughout your travels. Thanks for taking us with you!

I'm pretty sure Neptune specializes in the Atlantic, or maybe even just the Mediterranean. Surely there's a Polynesian god or goddess who got hired to rule the Pacific. These deities are pretty fussy about boundaries, you know, which is why none of them ever took over Newark.

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The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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