Wednesday, May 15, 2013

People of the Good Ship Rossia

Group travel offers an opportunity to observe group dynamics. With 200 personalities on the ship there is plenty to observe.

The ships open seating dining room is a good place to start. Each guest appears to approach the dining experience in a different and personal way. Travelers can be grouped in a number of general categories.

The Claim Stakers: They stake a claim to a table early in the trip and then protect it from claim jumpers. Often these are people traveling in a group that choses to eat with their friends. That's understandable. But still it an be amusing to watch them spread napkins, coats and other items around to perfect their claim.

The Friendly Claim Stakers: Like those above they lay claim to a table and hold it. But they will allow and, in fact, often welcome "outsiders" to their tables if there is space and/or a regular member is not coming to a particular meal.

Loners: Loners usually come in pairs, since there are no single seat tables. But they seek the two seat tables so they don't have to share the table with or talk to strangers. Some make ready eye contact, as if saying "ha, you can't join me!" Others glance down or gaze out the window as if ashamed of their solitude.

Claim Jumpers: They enjoy disrupting the Claim Stakers either for the enjoyment of being a bit of a rebel or just to disrupt things. Any observant diner can gain some enjoyment watching the reaction of the Claim Stakers when they arrive to find "their" table has been usurped. I have seen some try to reclaim their spot claiming a privilege they don't have. Others begin to wander, bewildered, trying to find an alternative place to sit.

Happy Wanderers: They will eat anywhere. They wander in, often late, and will join most any table. They are resilient. If rejected by a Claim Staker or Loner they just move on. There are always enough seats so, no problem.

Bus seating dynamics are interesting as well. I will have to say our "Orange" bus was peaceful with little territorial conflict. For more on the topic of bus people see THE PEOPLE OF THE BUS.

Are any of these travelers better or worse than any other? Not really. I personally believe you get more out of a trip by meeting new people. Others are happy just to be with friend or family. To each their own.

But I can still enjoy watching them!

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