Samuel E Evans

“Fifty Shades of Greyhound,” by Key, “America the Marvelous,” by Gill

Progygm: Vituperation

“The intellectuals, the movers and the makers and the creators, the dinner-party establishments of people who count, are united in the belief—no, the knowledge—that Americans are stupid, crass, ignorant, soul-less, naïve oafs without attention, irony, or intellect,” (Gill para. 2).

Americans are fat, dumb, and lazy. This is a common theory I have heard repeated from countless British relatives and foreign acquaintances over the years, including from my parents, to the point that until I reached some point of teenage maturity or more likely rebellion, I almost accepted it. My parents, grandparents, aunts, nearly everyone will, as a casual aside, as if it goes without saying, remark about how different and inferior the customs, consumerism, mannerisms, and attitudes of the American populace are to those of Britain or Europe.

This attitude is, without a doubt, snooty and self-aggrandizing. It is unfounded, and hilariously quite hypocritical, as oftentimes those same people will be as ready to note the flaws and recent failures of their own cultures. My dad, for example, upon returning home to England will immediately complain about how uptight people are, and how every parking garage, supermarket, and public restroom in his homeland seems to be trying to rip him off. My relatives simply act this way because it is the common farse under which Europe, fading in relevance, reassures itself of its importance.

Britain, once a bastion of global power and wealth, has now been reduced to its current, and possibly righteous position as just another indebted neoliberal democracy on the edge of the continent. With this decline and adaptation, however, the attitude towards its now full-grown daughter across the pond has not changed. This attitude was taught to each generation of British youth through to the ’90s, alongside a heaping pile of imperial glorification and denial. In the end, it’s not their fault that they’re wrong, as the realization that they are in fact believing a lie can be somewhat depressing, as seen in a plethora of modern British media. I, as a dual citizen and someone who has been educated from an entirely different perspective, can see the reality and humor of it. I’ll argue with my parents over it, but beyond that, it appears a lost cause.

This kind of denial is common to many former powers, it seems. Look at the French, who go to the bizarre trouble of “preserving the quality” of their language through the Académie Française, or the Dutch who are the literal kings of holding onto random overseas colonies. When you’re used to being on top, you like to pretend it’s still that way by criticizing the new and reminiscing about the old. America is not dumb, fat, and lazy, it is amazingly weird, clever, and diverse. Just because America doesn’t present its gifts of knowledge and culture wearing up in a suit and tie, that doesn’t mean the gifts aren’t there to be given. There is a reason that immigrants and travelers from the Old World have flocked to the New for centuries, in search of a Hunter S. Thompson-esque Wild West of opportunity. As Harrison Scott Key writes about his learning about America by traveling by the joyous mode of a Greyhound bus:

“They will remember only the people and the America it showed them and the wild and reckless reasons that drove them to it: to see a girl, or a headstone, or a mountain. And they will recall it fondly, as I do now,” (Key para. 63).

Samuel E Evans

“Visualizing lives: ‘the selfie’ as travel writing” by Cardell & Douglas

Progygm: Comparison

The selfie is often maligned, and for good reason. It is symbolic of a self-centered consumerist culture in which appearances mean more than substance. From the lens of the self-facing camera, what matters about your vacation is the 4K picture in front of the Berlin Wall that you took, posing in your ripped jeans and yellow vans, not anything of substance you could say or portray about your travels.

           A selfie is empty, a façade, only showing to your selected group of Instagram followers what you would like them to see about you. The image is framed around you; you are the focus, and the locale is only a backdrop. Cardell and Douglas use the example of Anzac Cove, in which selfies taken center, as per usual, around the individual, but then use the caption to reinterpret the context, connecting it back to the memorial of the Cove.

“These subject choices come together to form a micro story about the author’s journey to Anzac Cove – what elements of this experience are central to her, and what she particularly wants to share with her anticipated readership” (114).

The selfie-taker, wants to portray their life as interesting, as does everyone on social media, and to do so will draw from their surroundings, but connect the importance back to themselves. Their life is likely as normal as anyone else’s: a nine-to-five job, bills to pay, a pet or two, but they don’t wish to show this, because this is not attractive, not interesting. The selfie-taker is not a bad person, as Cardell and Douglas say throughout their article, but simply uninformed or a little short-sighted.

           De Botton, in The Art of Travel, envisions a mode of travel far different from the selfie-taker. He believes that to see the world as a traveler through the lens of a camera, wanting to capture it artificially, is an empty and poor way to approach tourism. Instead, in one scene he goes so far as to collect the cameras of a Japanese tour group and gives them drawing supplies instead. To study and interpret your surroundings is to better understand and appreciate them, with no lens, no filter. In contrast to the selfie-taker, one who approaches the tourist gaze in such a way will appreciate and learn more from their travels and is more conscious in doing so. Such self-awareness is necessary for respectful travel, and only people who actively consider the ways in which they travel will be able to do so.

           Cardell and Douglas do provide some complexity to the analysis of selfies.

“The contemporary traveler and travel documenter seek to interact with their experience and to create and share an individual presentation of the encounter to an audience,” they write (114).

However, the selfie is still often on the borderline of being disrespectful or self-aggrandizing. A person who, as in de Botton’s view, is self-aware and observant, does not need to tread this fine line. A selfie, even if taken in good taste and with the intent of being respectful, is still likely to be viewed negatively, as a literally self-centered view of travel.

Samuel E Evans

“Journey Into Night,” by David Sedaris, “Trespass,” by Paul Theroux

Progym: Impersonation

I love to travel, and I am lucky to be able to do so, or rather I like the parts of travel that don’t actually involve the process of getting there. I enjoy the destination or the activity, but there is little that is worse than sitting in an airport at 5:00 AM or trying to sleep on a stomach full of rest-stop food in the back of a minivan. Those are the moments that make you wish that teleportation existed, so you could snap your fingers and appear on the beach, at the trailhead, in front of Big Ben, at Grandma’s house.

One such experience for me occurred after the Christmas break of my Sophomore year of high school. My parents, sister, and I had spent the better half of the two-week holiday at our second cousin’s beach house in South Carolina, along with an assortment of uncles, aunts, and grandparents. All in all, there were over a dozen of us crammed into the house, which didn’t have a steady internet connection, on a gated island community that generally had no draw except for the beach. For that week, the daily high temperature never surpassed 65 degrees, and most days saw at least some rain and a whole lot of frigid Atlantic wind.

My one uncle, Pete, who, though we love him dearly, is known for being a little eccentric, arrived for the week already somewhat sick. He proceeded to cough, sneeze, and complain unincumbered the entire time, despite the obvious irritation and concerns of all others present.

“It’s just a cold,” he said in response to our unease, “don’t let me get in the way.”

Halfway through the week, we went into town to a highly-rated, authentic South Carolina barbeque restaurant for lunch. I, being a foolish and daring teenager, ordered a massive rack of ribs, of which I ate four-fifths before beginning to feel quite ill. While walking around the quaint downtown afterward, I quickly became aware that something was up. Sure enough, I subsequently spent much of the remainder of the week, including New Year’s, laid up with what could only be Uncle Pete’s mystery cough.

The week finally ended, and we said our goodbyes, gave out hugs and piled into our rented Ford Focus bound for the Atlanta airport. It was there, in the seemingly boiling hot leather backseat of that automobile that I felt the illness crawl like some animal from my abdomen up into my head over that three-hour journey. Suddenly I appeared, standing in the lobby of the airport in line with our family’s luggage, staring at the ceiling as some demon poured boiling water into my eyes and ears while I internally cursed my Uncle Pete.

And the airport, which I had thought at that moment to be the worst place to experience some kind of mutant full-body flu only paled in comparison to my experience on the flight. Each elevation change awoke me from my ill slumber by sending searing shockwaves down my ear canals. What joy that must have been for the man sitting next to me, having a noticeably sick teenage boy restlessly sleeping mere inches away from him.

The travel experience, and I mean the journey, not the destination, is nearly always bad. Clichés to the contrary which imply some great significance to the act of getting places are lies because I don’t know if I’ve ever really gleaned anything from spending time in airplanes and airports besides the knowledge of how much I hate it. This is, however, the common experience of the airline traveler. Whether you are on your way to a weeklong Mediterranean cruise or off to a business conference in Tulsa, you have to sit together on this speeding tin can for several hours, hating your existence. At least, that’s what I think everyone else is doing, because I am.

Samuel E Evans

“Going It Alone,” by Rahawa Haile

Progym: Commonplace

With its mild humor and compelling, dynamic narrative, I found Haile’s “Going It Alone,” extremely insightful, and topical. It highlights a major human flaw, and one that is very noticeable in our modern American society: we, at large, are stuck in the past, be that in racism, xenophobia, or the like. One could say that this is no longer commonplace in our society, but I would point, as Haile does, to our current political landscape. It appears to be the modus operandi for many, though not all, on the right, is to blatantly ignore or downplay examples of it, while some, though not all, on the left try to elevate the situation for their benefit. One could certainly argue that the former is larger and more dangerous than the latter, but still, both are issues, and the resulting situation is exemplary of the fact that we have not progressed much beyond our troubled history.

One example of this issue that Haile uses early in the article really struck me, as she intended for it to do, is a response from a fellow hiker she is chatting to after she says she is of Eritrean heritage.

“‘I knew it,’ he says. ‘You’re not black.’ I say of course I am. ‘None more black,’ I weakly joke. ‘Not really,’ he says. ‘You’re African, not black-black. Blacks don’t hike.’”

This, of course, is terrible, and it really shows how ready to jump into this stance he, and likely many others like him, was. There is a good, and even productive way to approach a conversation like this, if he were to be more respectful and interested in her history, and obviously far less presumptive and prejudiced. As a hiker and backpacker myself, I have heard people in the past remark at how notably non-diverse the community is. This is something that could be explored in a considerate way, asking why this is the case, and what prevents people of color from becoming involved in these activities.

Those who continue the stereotyping and categorization of people, especially over small things like hiking, are perhaps not knowingly being racist. They may just be acting upon what they think is acceptable or amusing at that moment in time because they are not aware of the implications of their actions. Not that this excuses it, but quite the opposite. As I, and many who enjoy dad-humor, like to say, “you know what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of you and me.” That is very much the case here: people need to be educated to be aware of how their actions play into a larger system that hurts marginalized groups. Of course, I’m not saying to stay quiet when Uncle Dave makes an offensive comment at Thanksgiving dinner, but rather when you do reply, try to help him learn.

Samuel E Evans

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

Progym: Chreia

“In the Antigua that I knew, we lived on a street named after an English maritime criminal, Horatio Nelson, and all the other streets around us were named after some other English maritime criminals” (24).

Jamaica Kincaid’s writing in A Small Place provides a brilliantly snarky and firm, though very enlightening, perspective on the post-colonial experience. She describes how during the colonial days Antiguans were taught “good behavior,” meaning submission to an oppressive system, as were other colonial subjects. They were exploited and maltreated, only to be left, stranded, once the colonialists decided they’d had enough of the place. This left the Antiguans, as many others, with only a poor, and continually exploitative framework of a government, and an economy that operated much the same.

Kincaid’s writing serves to provide some contrast to more gentle pieces on the subject, as coming from her firsthand perspective, it packs even more punch. She provides an excellent, gripping analysis of the continual mishandling of her home nation by the government and foreign actors. She describes how tourists and foreigners, arriving by plane and escorted to their seaside hotel palaces, employ a highly selective tourist’s gaze, managing to ignore or even find some sense of quaintness in the island’s troubles. Kincaid strips any tourist or foreigner lens away, providing the most direct and wonderfully sarcastic commentary possible to do so.

In some ways similar to A Small Place, I have previously enjoyed reading Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River. Naipaul’s novel, like A Small Place, is a kind of account of post-colonial Africa, in this case from a fictitious first-person perspective, and set in somewhere in Central Africa. However, Naipaul appears to argue somewhat in the favor of the colonizers, saying that post-colonial Africa descended into a kind of Hell, and largely attributing this to the locals. This could be attributed to the protagonist, Salim, being an Indian-African man who is a foreigner in the land he now finds himself in, though the novel still certainly takes a differing stance overall than Kincaid does.

There are innumerous examples to corroborate Kincaid’s argument, from the struggles of post-colonial India to the division of the Middle East to Russia’s many invasions into and long-lasting subjugation of Central Asia. It seems to be the norm, not the exception, that colonized peoples are left with far less than they started with after their colonizers recede. Also, Kincaid’s description of the foreign exploitation of less developed nation is even easier to point out, especially in our now massively globalized world, as well as our ease at overlooking this fact when we buy Bengali-made clothes or travel to stay in luxury resorts built next to shantytowns across the tropical world.

Kincaid has been massively praised for her writing in A Small Place, and in many other works, and is a professor at Harvard University. Her writing is widely applicable, though is also highly specific and personal to Antigua, and her experience there. This makes it both very moving and memorable, and certainly something to ponder on your next voyage to the pink sand and bottle-blue seas of the Caribbean.

Samuel E Evans

“No Reservations – Egypt” by Anthony Bourdain

Progym: Narrative

“Your life: both meaningless in the grand scale of all that nothingness, and somehow meaningful again; which is to say, it’s nice, real nice,” (Bourdain, 36:40).


Backpacking is the activity of greatest self-reflection that one can engage in. It’s you, maybe a few others, on the trail, carrying all of your food and equipment, for days at a time. Each day is a routine: get up when the sun or the birds wake you up, pack your tent, cook some breakfast, shove everything in your backpack, and set out on the trail for the better part of the day. There is no real complexity to it, no emails, no text messages, generally no access to the outside world, or anything to stress you out. It’s sublime, though of course, this is my opinion.

Two years ago, with the summer drawing to a close, my friend and I planned a trip. It was just a short jaunt out, up and around our state’s highest peak, something to grasp onto those last warm days of the season, before fall and school swept in to ruin it. A two-day, 15-mile round trip, nothing to get too excited about. In comparison to various 40-milers and one 80-miler I had been on previously, this was really nothing. Just a taster to get the feeling of quiet and solitude on the trail, nothing much.

We set off late in the afternoon at the trailhead, carrying what was quite minimal luggage for backpacking, only food, water, rain gear, sleeping rolls, and some clothes. By the time we got halfway up the well-beaten state-park track, the sun was already setting. The cool, woody smell of autumn wafted its way through the forest, carried by a cool wind. We soon arrived at our destination for the night, a minimalist, though quite large, wooden lodge maintained by the Green Mountain Club. These lodges, completely bare on the inside besides the occasional wooden bunk, chair, or table, are havens for backpackers all over our state, as well as up and down the Appalachian Trail. With no insulation and only a rusted wire mesh in the windows, they are only to protect you from the rain, though at the same time they are the most comforting locale you could desire when tired and introspective at the end of a day of hiking.

The sun was breaking the horizon, casting us in a rosy light as we collapsed on the front steps of the lodge, setting our backpacks down with a crash and unlacing our boots. An evening mist was beginning to settle across the broad vista before us, and it was utterly silent. We moved our equipment inside, setting it next to the uninhabited caretaker’s quarters, and began lighting our tiny jet boil stove to cook some dehydrated beef stew, before being interrupted by a knock on the side of the lodge.

It was a friend of ours, Steven, who had been spending his summers home from college as a trail manager for the Green Mountain Club, trekking up and down the trails looking out for stranded hikers or downed trees. He joined us for dinner, and we chatted as the sky turned from red to black and the stars came out. After a while, he waved goodbye and set off down the trail, and we retreated into the empty lodge, arranging our bedrolls in the attic.

We awoke to a misty, dim morning. A thick, grey fog coated the mountainside, such that when looking out the front of the lodge the view from the night before was completely obscured. While going out to use the restroom I stumbled around, unable to see four feet in front of me. My friend and I packed up, apart from a small handheld radio I had, and then sat and ate a minimal breakfast of granola and protein bars. We listened to the radio crackle and play slightly mistuned classic rock while staring out at that shifting, morphing wall of fog before us. While I could hardly see a thing beyond the small rocky clearing before us, it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen.

After we finished eating and upon sitting a little while longer we set out, backpacks strapped and ready, shivering from the cold, wet morning air, on the move again. Looking back now, this was one of the most worthwhile trips I have gone on, far more than I could have expected.

Samuel E Evans

“Gendered Environments: Gender and the Natural World in the Rhetoric of Advertising” by Hope

Progym: Confirmation

Advertising nearly always utilizes the attributes and mentality of the viewer, using common cultural queues to portray their product in a certain light. Diane Hope writes about this in her essay on “Gendered Environments,” in which she discusses the use of gendered imagery within natural environments to sell commercial goods. This is a common and clear trope, as seen in the Jeep advertisement above. Her description of this helps show how abundant it is in the ads we see day to day, in everything from the color palettes to the use of certain actors, and of course natural landscapes.

She writes that advertising capitalizes on our affinity towards our gender identity, using this to “cloak the impact of consumption on the environment” and portray their product as a part of that environment, or embodying its nature or gendered attributes in some way (156). She uses examples such as a 1915 ad portraying the Niagara Falls as a young and slender woman, in which

“depicted as a voluptuous woman, the waterfall is a sign of natures unending fertility,” (157).

The falls, ever-flowing, are like the youth and luxuriance of this woman, or so the ad implies. Advertisements such as these, she says, are not only capitalizing on our identities but also reinforcing old perspectives on gender, as well as destructive consumerist views of the environment. In another example, Hope discusses a Marlboro ad showing “the attractiveness of the mystical west for ‘real’ men,” implying a very rigid and traditional view of the role of men (160). In this way, gendered environments are a powerful rhetorical strategy for advertising, though also a potentially damaging one.

Outside of the essay, we can see examples of this imagery in advertisements all around us. Returning to my Jeep example, we see dark, rustic imagery, both in the natural background and the chosen color for the Jeep itself and the clothes of the man who sits atop it. The man is fit, bearded, and wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket. The image oozes outdoorsman ethos, and this is what Jeep is trying to sell, as they try to use traditionally masculine and environmental visual rhetoric in this ad. They are trying to sell Jeeps, in a not-so-concealed manner, using the tactics that Hope describes in a very overt way. This is why Hope’s argument is so accurate, it can be seen everywhere and is often abundantly clear when you notice it. It is also something worth being concerned about, as it is potentially harmful in multiple ways. First, it can be damaging to our natural spaces as the environments used to sell these products are destroyed in said good’s production and use. Second, these ads enforce old gender norms and exploit consumers’ identities for financial gain. This makes Hope’s observations particularly pertinent and useful.

Samuel E Evans

“Parachute Artists or Tourists with Typewriters” by Alacovska

Progym: Thesis or Theme

Media has become increasingly democratized in the internet age through blogs, YouTube, various social media, and forums. This is often portrayed as a beneficial or net-positive process, but Alacovska’s paper provides an interesting argument that in some cases, specifically in guidebook writing, this may not be the case. It may be the case that this democratization is in a way killing this section of the travel industry, or at the very least massively and irreversibly redesigning it.

Alacovska argues that democratization has allowed for several processes to take place: first, it allows the increasingly conglomerated media industry which owns many of the old guidebook companies, to rely on community and non-professional writers. The internet, and the massive willingness of people to share their travel experiences, allows them to moderate and profit from the free work of the many rather than paying the few. This has then had the secondary effect of the decline of guidebook writing as a profession, but rather as more of a hobby. Alacovska quotes one amateur travel writer, who says,

“my problem is that I’d travel, take photos and write in my free time… if I had any free time. I don’t. I’m too busy traveling, taking photos and writing” (49).

This is exemplary of the blurred lines between professional and amateur travel writing in this new age: you can be so involved and invested, yet for most, it is unfeasible for it to be their means of employment.

One argument to the contrary that Alacovska brings up is that this democratization

“empowers users to become media producers who participate in ‘produsage’… and dismantle the professional paradigms of creative industries” (43).

This argument posits that in fact, this process is better because it benefits the consumer by liberating cultural production and allowing the consumer to share voluntarily. However, this same process is what puts professional writers out of business and makes it harder for new, highly productive, “produsers” to turn their hobby into a career. This is not an even tradeoff, as this system benefits the publisher or media company over anyone else, including the consumer or amateur writer.

Samuel E Evans

“Shipping Out” by David Foster Wallace, pt. 2

Progym: Impersonation

“Every public surface on the m.v. Nadir that isn’t stainless steel or glass or varnished parquet or dense and good-smelling sauna-type wood is plush blue carpet that never has a chance to accumulate even one flecklet of lint because jumpsuited Third World guys are always at it with Siemens A.G.® vacuums” (45).

I’ve never been on a cruise, but two years ago I went, for the first time, on an all-inclusive resort vacation in the Caribbean. It was one of those package-deals where almost every tiny thing from the flight-in to the flight out is included: bussing, all-you-can-eat meals, two day-trips, four luxury dining experiences, and an endless cascade of mixed drinks.

Our trip set out from Montréal’s Pierre Trudeau Airport, a massive, bustling, disorienting place that I have come to know nearly as well as my city block, and flew on a cramped ultra-budget flight into the tiny airfield of Samaná, Dominican Republic. The airport there was truly tiny, small even compared to the various other minuscule airports I have seen in my life, and our vacation there began promptly with a 3-hour wait at Customs. The line, which completely filled the poorly-ventilated converted hangar and spilled out onto the tarmac near the planes, was a mash of Canadians from our flight, Russians from a Moscow-originating jet that landed immediately after us, and a smattering of Germans and Spaniards. It would turn out that this exact combination of people would inhabit the same resort as us for the following week, and we’d point each other out, either explicitly or through glances across the dining hall that read, “you stood behind me at Customs.”

After finally escaping the airport, we acquired our “Bahia-Principe” wristbands from a smiling resort staff member and piled onto a bus packed with our comrades from the Montréal flight. The 20-minute drive to the resort consisted of hairpin turns through barely-paved roads without a stop sign or traffic light in sight, while resort staff provided enthusiastic commentary in French over a partially-functional sound system. The 90% of riders who understood French seemed to enjoy it very much.

The week at the resort that followed can best be described as amazingly, though enjoyably, uneventful. Each day consisted of some ratio of oversleeping, reading by the pool, overeating, reading on the beach, and sunburn. The nights consisted of scheduled events, various creative beverages, and plenty of people making fools of themselves while trying to navigate the resort’s thousands of staircases in the dark, often while intoxicated. Of our four allotted luxury dining passes, we used three before deciding the other food options were equally oversalted and fattening, but required less hassle.

Besides two included and pre-arranged trips, we hardly left the resort all week. The first, a choppy whale-watching venture, was just about what I expected as someone who doesn’t enjoy boats much. The second was a little more bizarre, as it was sold as a “donkey trip to a spectacular waterfall,” which is already a strange premise. Afterward, I would describe it as “uncooperative donkeys, underwhelming waterfall, very nice beach, acquired souvenir dominos.” Could be better, could be worse, but the staff certainly made sure everything went smoothly.

Having gone on a wide variety of vacations, and this being my fourth to the Caribbean, I would say that going to a resort has to be one of the weirdest. Resorts are among the most idealized facets of the imagined American vacation, though I can’t personally say they are my brand of holiday. I had almost no access to the outside world during that week, and I mean that in multiple respects: I hardly left the premises, and I had no outside communication at all. The latter was quite relaxing, apart from receiving multiple angry voicemails from my boss upon returning to cell service back in Montréal.

As for not seeing what lay beyond our little view of the bay and the town waterfront, I felt somewhat shortchanged. I was able to go for runs in town for the first half of the week, but I reconsidered this decision after I required two local gentlemen to scare off several stray dogs who began chasing me. Still, I felt the vacation was not real, almost an illusion by being holed up in our little castle by the sea. This may be where my view of the ideal vacation differs from the norm. I would greatly prefer, for instance,  my previous trip to Jamaica, which provided both relaxing hours on the beach and wild backcountry escapades and spicy street food. A resort, while not quite as secluded and ultra-luxury as a cruise, still seems not the thing for me.

Samuel E Evans

“Shipping Out” by David Foster Wallace

Progym: Fable

“Luxury Megalines’ brochures are always magazine-size, heavy and glossy, beautifully laid out, their text offset by art-quality photos of upscale couples tanned faces in a kind of rictus of pleasure … Every Celebrity staff member takes pleasure in making your cruise a completely carefree experience and treating you as an honored guest (36-37).”

“Vacation is the ultimate form of relaxation,” says a man. He basks in a reclined deck-chair upon the deck of a massive sea vessel floating upon the Caribbean sea, somewhere between Miami and Kingston. He appears to be in his late 50s, is coated in sunscreen, and wears only a pair of swim trunks and flip-flops. He holds a magazine up before him, largely blocking the sun from hitting his face.

“Yes, and cruises are the ultimate vacation,” responds his wife, who lays on a similar chair next to him, her face shaded by an oversized sun-visor as she reads something on her tablet. A man staggers past, his face looking somewhat green from seasickness.

“The ocean is the best place to truly get away from everything, isn’t it,” says the man, as his phone buzzes and he turns instinctively to look at it.

“Undoubtedly,” responds the woman, not looking away from her iPad, “it really is the top-flight luxury experience as well, isn’t it?” As she is speaking a roar of laughter from a nearby onboard bar erupts, nearly drowning her out.

The man nods, and adjusts himself in his chair, flipping the page of his magazine. “We’re just here to pamper ourselves, and the staff is here to make our experience the best it can be,” he says, and looks up slightly as a Filipino waiter offers him a drink, “no, no thank you.” The woman sighs and sits up in her chair, setting down her tablet and turning to look at her husband.

“Let’s go sit in the cabin for a little while, I’ve had enough of the heat for now.” The man nods in agreement. The pair begin gathering their things, and as they get up, the man drops a flier. “Royal Antilles Cruises,” it reads, “Vacation is the ultimate form of relaxation, and cruises are the ultimate vacation. Come on your perfect trip with Royal Antilles Cruises, and escape to the ocean, the best place to truly get away from everything. We offer a top-flight luxury experience, and we allow you to pamper yourself, assisted by staff who are there to make your experience the best it can be.” The leaflet flutters gently to the ground.