tuftears: Thoughtful Lynx (Thoughtful)
[personal profile] tuftears
I didn't get any sleep that night. x_x

As such, looking at the schedule for June 9th and finding it centered on another Greek theater, and the back streets of a town, and being desperately tired, I opted to stay on the ship instead of going out.

... You will not be surprised to learn that I didn't manage to get any sleep on the ship, either. Boat gently rocking me to sleep, my left hind-paw.



This is about all I saw of Taormina. It looks like a beautiful place though.



Breakfast! French toast, egg, sausage, bacon, and orange juice. I figured I would get veggies on a following meal, surely. For the time being, I wanted salt and fat, since I had been advised by Dracosphynx that drinking a lot of water without taking in enough salt could have adverse effects.

Being worried that my supply of cough syrup might not hold up, I talked to the ship's doctor, and he offered me this:



Foreign medicine! I looked this up-- it turned out to be an antihistamine. I wasn't sure that was the way to go; I already had NyQuil after all, though I had really been slugging down Robitussin CFM to most effectively address my symptoms without the bad-trip issues I'd previously had with NyQuil. (anxiety, sleeping issues, antihistamines, they don't combine well)



I'm pretty sure from the timestamp that this was lunch: a meat-stuffed pepper, and a roasted tomato, pretty good if not especially filling.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures for whatever dinner was. I'm not sure if I was trying to sleep all through dinner or not. I do remember that I decided that whatever "bad trips" might result, I was better off trying NyQuil and Dramamine in an effort to get some sleep.

... Nope. Maybe 10-20 minutes here and there, but I was definitely worried as by this point, I had now been five days without real sleep.

In the morning of June 10th, I consulted with the doctor again. After several back-and-forths over the course of the day, we worked out that Oxomemazine was probably not the thing I should be taking, and reviewed several other drugs I might try:



Hydroxyzine, which turned out to be another antihistamine that could, theoretically, produce drowsiness. Having had poor results from antihistamines at this point, I decided against this one.



Two versions of "hypnotic" sedatives. I asked for some time to review the options, then went with Zolpidem because Dracosphynx had actually heard of the States brand name, "Ambien", and it was a less strong sedative than the other one.

We were both concerned because of the hazard of addiction... but at this point, I really needed sleep more than I needed to worry about withdrawal symptoms.



Along with that, I needed a medicine that would prevent me from coughing at night-- so the ship's doctor prescribed "Acetylcystein", which I had never heard of, but is evidently a decongestant. It worked, actually, so I could go off of DayQuil. (I do wonder if maybe the daytime Robitussin was keeping me up, despite the fact it's not actually supposed to have any stimulants)

This is actually a bit out of order, but well it was a very sleep-deprived day, I think I can be forgiven for re-organizing things a bit for the sake of this journal entry.

At any rate-- I had been advised that I should spend the day normally, rather than holing up in bed *again*, and well, Palermo looked interesting, I didn't want to miss it! So... I prised myself with grave difficulty from the ship's cabin.



Cruising on the Le Ponant was interesting; most of the time the ship was traveling overnight, but sometimes due to the distance to be covered, as today, we would still be sailing through part of the day as well.



Lunch! A seared lamb chop, some salad as penance for not getting much in the way of veggies the previous day, and some roasted tomatoes.



We got off the bus around here: the Cappella Palatina, which was originally the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily. It was actually being renovated at least partially into apartments, but they were keeping the chapel part because it was a big-time landmark.



A royal carriage, I think.





Did I mention I love Italian architecture? Well, I do! This is the spacious inner courtyard.



Abandon all hope, ye who-- wait, no. As I recall, this was over the courtyard's entrance to the chapel.



These wood panels were inset on either side of the entrance.









I'm given to understand that the Normans who invaded Sicily had no idea how to build churches, but they wanted a cathedral. So they came to the Muslim and asked them to do it. "So you want a mosque?" they said. The Normans were puzzled. "No, no! A church!" "A place where you worship God?" "Well... Okay, that."

So, there were a lot of mosque-like features in this cathedral.



I mentioned I hadn't slept for five days, right? I was glad for an opportunity to sit down and contemplate this fountain near the end of the Cappella Palatina.

Following that, we traipsed back onto the tour bus and headed off to the city, which I'm informed is the city of Sicily and the 5th most populated metropolitan area of Italy. We didn't have any real issues with traffic, thanksfully.









Architecture! I'm pretty sure this was the Palermo Cathedral. I so adore all the fiddly bits. ^_^

It was so big I had to take several pictures to get a sense of how big the front was. The last three pictures are left, center, and right respectively from pretty much the same point. It's wide and sprawling!





These two marble pieces were on either side of the entrance. I'm pretty sure they're memorials.



Souvenirs! Get your souvenirs here! Actually I think he was offering a selection of rosaries and other prayer objects.



An intricately decorated... font? I don't recall seeing any water in it, which is probably just as well. It might be used for baptisms.



Definitely not the bling-tastic main hall of St. John's Co-Cathedral. I like the whites of the ceiling.








Various niches in the cathedral.







Now this is interesting. This is actually a "meridian", an early type of "heliometer" or solar observatory. A tiny hole in one of the domes acted as a pinhole camera, and this line runs exactly north-south. At solar noon (around 12 noon in winter, 1 PM in summer), the sun would cross this line, and signs of the zodiac would mark where in the year we were.

Naturally I just had to make sure I had a picture of Leo.




A solid silver altar. For people who felt that the cathedral was just a bit too tasteful and needed some... bling.



The painting above looked a bit surreal, as if people in heaven were looking down at us or somesuch.



DRAMATIC LIGHTING. I really like this one.



At first I thought this was a confession booth, but Dracosphynx revealed it was actually a door, matching the one on the other side of the church.

Once out of the cathedral, we proceeded on a walkabout of the city landmarks. I'm given to understand there were places such as 'Quattro Canti', 'the Fontaine Pretoria', and other sites, but I'll be honest, I let Dracosphynx handle listening to the tour guide and I just took pictures of all the pretty architecture.




Case in point. I'm pretty sure this was outside the cathedral.




This is a building with style.



Italy! I'm pretty sure I just wanted to capture the feel of being on a city street in Sicily-- there's just a certain sense of age and antiquity. It's a city that has seen things, but grows old gracefully.



This is another building with style.



All these apartment buildings and bam, there's a statue of some guy in a toga in the middle of the plaza.



This was an entranceway leading to an art museum. If we had had more time, and I weren't sleep-deprived, I would have been inclined to look around here a bit more.







This is the Quattro Canti, a Baroque-era plaza with statues representing the four seasons, the four Spanish kings of Sicily, and the patronesses of Palermo. Amazing!



A door nearby the Quattro Canti.



The inscription on the front of the lion reads 'COURAGE'.



It's Dracosphynx, in front of the Fontana Pretoria. Dracosphynx explains to me that it is called the Fountain of Shame by the locals, because it's a fountain that features totally nude people... Between two churches.

Yes. The inhabitants of the time apparently didn't cotton to this very much.



That's okay. BRING ON THE SHAME. Because it is ART.



I'll be honest, I just wanted to get a picture with that mosque-like dome, but now that I look at this, I really like the tiered railing up there too.



The cardboard facade on this construction site is hilarious. "IOU 1 NICE ITALIAN BUILDING."



Dracosphynx explained that the reason the domes on top of this building are red is because they were blown up, then rebuilt.

Finally, done with the city, we retired to the ship and flopped about the cabin like lions trying to shake the heat of the day, until dinnertime.



The menu!



I'm not a big fan of mushroom, but to be honest it's pureed with the broccoli so well that you really can't tell, except that it adds its distinct savoriness to the dish.



A "garlic saucisson cassolette, port wine & confits onions". 'Saucisson' means sausage, evidently. It was pretty good if a bit salty.



The pork tenderloin was pretty good, and the portion of mashed potatoes small enough that I didn't worry so much about the starches/fats.



The 'orange blossom almond cake' and 'mango serbet'. Delightful!



We had asked for applesauce from the ship's crew before dinner, so that I could use it to help make the sleeping pill go down more easily... They considered our request, then let us know that it would be in our cabin.

And it was. Dramatically presented, even!

Applesauce prepared by a French-trained pastry chef. It was chunky and sweet and tart and pretty darn awesome. I buried the 'Zolpidem' pill in a spoon of applesauce, inhaled... And whoosh, with that, I had taken my very first pill successfully. I followed it with a chaser of this 'Acetylcystein' decongestant, and Dracosphynx agreed to shake me awake if it looked like I was choking on mucus.

But I slept without any real issues. Finally!

HUZZAH!
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tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Default)
Conrad "Lynx" Wong

August 2017

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