I waited until the last day to visit the coffee shop because I wanted to see, after a week of cruising, who had become regulars and who, like me, was visiting for the first time.
I arrived at the coffee shop at five minutes to ten.
I stepped up to the counter to place my order for a Chai Latte. No muffin or scone for me today, too much eating had already taken place this week. Also, I had made a commitment to eat as gluten-free as possible on this trip. I tend to do that on vacation, it really helps me to feel so much better and generally not gain weight because of the conscious decisions I make.
After I placed my order, the lovely Serbian Barista said she would bring it to my table, just the same as my usual coffee shop. Only here instead of sliding a ten dollar bill across the counter, I passed my Sea Pass/Room Key over the granite counter and signed my name once the receipt was printed.
I looked for a table with a good vantage point to see the other tables, as well as, the customers who went through the line to place their "to go" orders. I found one in the front right hand corner, my chair facing out towards the seating area and the line of customers.
These tables and chairs were a bit of a challenge to write at. The surface of the marble top table was chest high on me as I sat in the low, taupe colored, leather curved back chairs, making my writing hand much higher than normal. So eventually I wound up putting my notebook on my lap and writing that way. A much more natural position.
The Barista brought out my Chai in this lovely tea pot with an adorable cup and saucer and a little piece of chocolate biscotti tucked on the side. I considered not eating the biscotti, but I thought that might be kind of wasteful, and I did say mostly gluten-free. It was delicious. The Chai on the other hand, although the presentation was superb, the Chai itself was not the best I have had, it seemed to lack a sweetness that is usually present in my Chai. I just added a little touch of sugar and continued on.
I turned my attention to the customers seated at the other tables. Two tables in front of me were two retirement age European couples. They were looking at photos from the trip on one of the couples' iPad, having a hearty chuckle here and there as they scrolled through the photos. As they got up to leave one of the couples decided to have a mini make-out session, which I found fascinating. Part of me thought "Really, you are going to do that right here" and the other part of me thought "Good for them, to still be in love enough to do that".
A newly arrived couple sat down to my left. When the Barista brought their coffees and delicious treats she greeted them by name and presented them with their usuals. They chatted for a brief minute with her about their week and about another cruise they had coming up in June.
Another new arrival, a couple, sat down diagonally across the room from me. The Barista stopped at their table to take their order. I noticed after she left, that even though they sat across from each other, they rarely spoke. After the Barista brought their iced coffees they would occasionally exchange a quiet word, but for the most part they sat there silently, finished their drinks and then left.
By 10:30 the morning rush seemed to be over. The cafe returning to a quiet place once again. About 15 minutes later there was a brief burst of coffee drinkers ordering whatever they got "to go".
As I glanced up from my notebook on my lap at this new group, I noticed a handsome guy that was in line and as I glanced at him, he winked at me. Well now, this might get interesting...
He placed his order and went to sit down at a table diagonally across the room from me, at the same table that the silent couple had been sitting at. He carried with him a book and his reading glasses. He sat where I had a good view of him. I watched him open his book, don his distinguished reading glasses, and settle in. I caught him still occasionally glancing in my direction and a small smile would lift the corners of his mouth. As his coffee and muffin arrived I continued to watch him under the guise of writing. I was intrigued and attracted to this handsome guy. I wondered if I would have the courage to cross the room and strike up a conversation with him.
I approached him as he was finishing his coffee. I sat down in the chair next to him said "hello". We engaged in casual conversation for a short time, then I asked him if he wanted to go back to my room... Fortunately, he already had a key.
As you may have guessed, it was my adorable husband who was flirting with me. He had been reading up in the ship's library and decided to come down to the coffee shop and insert himself into this week's story.
Unfortunately, when we got back to the room, the room steward was in there cleaning. Quite the mood breaker. So we went back to the library and read while the room was cleaned. Comfortably sitting side by side, reading in silence, just like the long married couple we are.
Until next week...