February 3, 2007

The Journey Begins

And they're off! (well almost)

January 30th (Tues) we took the redeye to Miami from SFO. Ryder was great! We had an extra seat between us and he slept or nursed most of the way. Never cried a peep on the plane! (and he is cutting two new teeth) After 3 hours in the freezing Miami airport we flew to Nassau, threw the bags and baby in a funky taxi and made our way to our shipboard home.


Nassau is a giant tourist trap for the gazillion cruise ships that pull in and out and in and out every day. Imagine a Caribbean Las Vegas.



The ship itself is AMAZING. It's only four years old, so it's very modern, clean as a whistle, and according to the Captain, the fastest passenger ship on the seas today. That's good news since we are going around the whole planet in 100 days! Our room is fantastic. The folks at the Institute for Shipboard Education who run Semester at Sea gave us one of the few rooms with a balcony. Yes, can't you see us now, sipping our Merlot on the veranda watching the Bahamian sunset. Been there, done that! There is an excellent staff (mostly Pilipino and Jamaican) who make our bed, give us fresh towels, dote over the little one, etc. They miss their families at home of course and have "adopted" Ryder already.

Rocky has been in non-stop meetings for three days. The 25 faculty are already bonding and laughing a lot. A good sign. The F word is key for the voyage. Flexible. We are teaching on a ship designed to entertain, not educate, but they've done a great job. The former casino is now the computer lab and library. There is a wireless satellite connection in most places (but really slow). It's so weird to be on a ship in the Bahamas, using a wireless internet connection and reading the NY Times. What a wild world we live in.

My three classes are "School and Society," "Energy, Technology and Society," and "Sustainable Communities." Two are full at 35 and the Sustainable Communities class has 27, but I'm told to expect it to fill too. The classrooms are very small, so it will be cozy and challenging to teach, but the context and experience will more than make up for the physical limitations of the classrooms. The students come from about 150 universities around the U.S.

Tonite there is a receptions and dinner for Archbishop Tutu. $500 a plate. We get to hang out for 100 days so we passed. Tomorrow the 702 students board (the largest class ever) and tomorrow we head for Puerto Rico! Stay tuned!

Posted by rohwedde at February 3, 2007 4:04 PM