Today is the day of departure for our honeymoon. We awoke at 5am, had the car returned and checked in with Alaska Airlines by 6. The flight stopped over in Seattle before continuing on to LA. We were at baggage claim when we spotted a Holland America person directing people to transportation. We had not arranged transportation since we were supposed to arrive here yesterday. We decided to be safe and ask if we could get on with the van. They let us (for a fee, of course) and we were soon whisked off to the dock in a fancy bus. We checked our passports and called our parents in Spokane. All is well. The doctor thinks Ray’s dad will get out of the hospital today or tomorrow. My mom is better although both Dad and I have the upset stomach. Then on to get our key cards.
We were welcomed onto the ship with champagne mixed with orange juice. Our room is an inside room with no windows. There is a narrow hall that has closets on one side and the bathroom door on the other. This opens into the main part of the room. There is a desk with a large mirror above it and chair to the right side of the room, and a couch with a small oval table on the left. Fresh flowers are in a small vase on the table. The beds are in the back. We pushed them together to make one big bed. The back wall over the bed has a curtain with florescent tubes at the top behind it giving a nice affect. There are lots of lights in this room. It will take awhile to figure out the switches since none of them are labeled as to what lights they control.
Ray is sick today with the stomach upset I had yesterday. I went to a late breakfast while he slept. He was awake when I returned. He read while I unpacked our bags. I then grabbed a book and joined him in bed reading. We read until dinner. I went to the show and Ray read in our room after dinner. The show was a musical called Calendar Girl. Singing and dancing relating to women in the calendar, seasons, and love. It was a very colorful show.
Started today with the Tai Chi lesson in Queens Lounge at 9. That was relaxing. Then returned the room for my tennis racket. Tennis players met on the top (Sports Deck) for a meeting and quick play. A tall graying man came up halfway through. He was my partner for the second match I played. I found out tonight it was Merril Osmond! Found this out by going to the show tonight and recognizing him on stage as the tall man who came late and played tennis this morning.
After tennis, I returned to the room and read with Ray. We went up to the Lido for lunch. The ship was passing the southern tip of Baja, so we went outside and watched for a bit. We saw a whale (well it’s tail anyway). We went and read more in the room. I left a bit before 2 for the gym and Ray went out and continued reading his book. There were a lot of people at the gym orientation at 2. I stayed up there and did some weight machines before the aerobics class started. That was great. I looked a bit for Ray since I left my key in the room and it was before the time we were to meet, but didn’t find him. I sat for about 10 minutes by the room door before he came along. We read then went up for dinner. We were late and missed the photographer (tonight is a formal night) so just went to dinner. I had lamb and Ray had chicken. We then went to the photography session and captain’s reception for the second seating (since we missed the first one we were supposed to go to). We went back to the room for a bit then to the Osmond’s show (where I recognized Merril from tennis this morning). That was fun. It was an hour long. We then returned to the room for a relaxing evening.
Tamer & Laura sent us some flowers that were delivered to our room this afternoon. They are white daisies and red carnations in a low bowl. They are sitting on the desk corner.
Ray is feeling better today but still spent most of the day relaxing with a book (or two or three).
Slept in this morning then went to tennis. Ray and I then had a leisurely lunch. After lunch we went for a walk around the Prommenade Deck. We returned to the room and napped until getting ready for dinner.
We were invited to the captain’s dinner tonight. The dress was formal. Ray wore his suit with a white shirt. I wore a green sleeveless gown. We met in a lounge at 630 tonight for cocktails and hor’dorves. Then everyone went into a small elegant dining room. It was a very fine, fancy dinner. I was seated right of Ray. The woman to my right and I had enjoyable conversation. The ship’s doctor’s wife was seated left of Ray. She was a fine conversationalist. In fact after the party ended Ray, her, the doctor and I talked for a long while in the hall. They are from Calgary.
White wine and Hor’Dorves in the lounge followed by dinner in the dining room:
Mosaic of Fresh Fruit Cocktail in Melon Basket (white wine)
Essence of Roasted Wild Mushrooms (soup)
Seared Jumbo Shrimps, Orange Saffron Sauce
Herb Crusted Roasted Veal Tenderloin, Thyme Jus (red wine)
Chef’s Grand Finale Dessert (chocolate!)
Coffee and Friandises
Hurricane! We awoke just before sunrise this morning to the sound of waves crashing into the side of the ship. The ship was rocking and jerking. There were signs saying not to go outside because of the wind. The wind was blowing hurricane force (greater than 65 knots)! Yet, the sky was clear, the barometer was 30.0 and steady. Turns out the winds are a funnel effect through a gap in the mountains. We went to the Queen’s Lounge and watched the waves. Every few minutes one would crash into the ship, shaking it and sending a splash up to the top decks. According to the ship’s information channel, the waves were about 12-20 feet average. Sea-sick bags were in the common areas. The stewards did a welfare check (opening every room and peeking in to be sure everyone, and everything, was alright) shortly before we got up. The waves settled down by afternoon then picked up again (but not quite as bad) late evening. Sunshine Travel gave us a gift of 4 bottles of wine of our choice. After dinner we went to the theater to watch Mansfield Park. Then we wandered around a bit before retiring for bed.
Today was our first port of call, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We did not go on any of the tours but did get off and wander around. The town itself was very small and poor. Ray found an internet café and checked his e-mail. I waded in the edge of the ocean. We bought 7-up and Coke in glass bottles. We bought some postcards which we mailed after returning to the ship.
Today was our second port of call, Costa Rica. We did take a tour today. We went of a river raft tour of the Calabara River. From the river, howler monkeys and iguanas could be seen in the trees. There was a small crocodile (about 1.5 feet long) in the shallows at one point. Driving in the bus to the river we passed tilapia farms, sugar cane fields, rice paddies, and Brahma cattle. We had lunch at a restaurant. They served chicken, rice and black beans, chips, and some fresh juice. At the restaurant, there are pens with animals in them. One pen had a raccoon and another creature. Something startled it and it scratched my right pinky finger. A tom turkey chased Ray. We again bought postcards. The region was still wet from the rainy season but drying out. The trip took the full day. While at dinner, it was announced that our departure would be delayed while the waste oil was discharged.
Tonight was the Black and White officer’s Ball. The dining room had black and white balloons and crape paper. We did not go to the dance. Frankie met one of the male dance hosts while he was taking a break. He said the room was hot and very crowded.
Frankie tried to read her book on the deck this evening but some people who were on the raft yesterday saw her and took her to the movie instead. The movie was titled Blue Streak and was a fairly good comedy. She did managed to read out on the deck after the movie.
January 26, 2001, Friday
The ship crossed the equator about 11 this morning. When we returned to our room, there were some certificates saying we had crossed the equator.
Frankie went to the banjo show tonight while Ray programmed.
January 27, 2001, Saturday
Slept in this morning then after lunch we took the bus into Guayaquil, Ecuador. The streets were very crowded with open air shops and people everywhere. It was a big city (2 million people). Frankie bought a dress for mom. Ray bought Frankie a red rose. We returned to the ship and watched a folk dance show on board, during which Frankie took some pictures.
January 28, 2001, Sunday
We had a lifeboat drill this morning at 10:30. After which we went to the gym and rode the stationary bicycles for about an hour. We then had lunch followed by a nap. Ray walked 2 miles before we went to dinner. After dinner Frankie did laundry and got caught up on the diary.
Arrived in Callao (Lima), Peru this morning. We tried to sleep in but kept being interrupted by announcements about our arrival, which was late due to fog closing the port overnight. We did finally get up and catch the shuttle into Miraflores, a district of Lima. We wandered around for about an hour. This is the place to buy silver! I never saw so many silver shops! Not just jewelry, but everything imaginable from vases and statues to trays, mirrors, and picture frames. It is not very expensive either. Ray and I bought silver wedding bands for a total of $20. We probably could have bargained down more but didn’t. We went to another shop and bought souvenirs: small reed flute, postcards, and barrettes. In a large market near the boat we bought a round wool mat with a llama made into it.
We got up early to go to a tour of the Lima Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. It turned out to be two tours in one, the museum and a tour of the city. It took 1½ hours to drive to the museum because of pointing out the different places of interest in the city. Although interesting, it did get tedious since I wanted to get to the museum. We had about 1½ hours in the museum. While most of the people stayed in the guided tour, Ray and I wandered around on our own. I was glad of this because we saw many more things than just the main square of the museum, which houses the Indian artifacts. The museum has skulls showing the progress of man from early on. We were shown a small cellar of gold and silver artifacts by a guard. Wow! We also saw deformed skulls and wandered around the colonial period relics. I bought a small woven mat before we left. This is a place I would like to come back to and spend more time exploring.
We boarded the boat and had lunch. Just after lunch the boat left port (with much blowing of the horn) and we taped our departure from Peru.
January 31, 2001 Wednesday
I just had time to get dressed and rush to the dining room for a tour of the kitchen at 10am because I didn’t set the alarm. It was interesting. Everything is stainless steel and large. There is a separate room for just about everything. There was a handout that described the running of the kitchen and its layout. The tour was short but interesting.
Then at 11, we both went to a lecture about constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. It was fairly interesting, although the man giving the talk, Dr. Bill Bendel, couldn’t decide on how to pronounce them the same way twice.
We went to the show. We weren’t sure we would like it so we sat way at the back up in the balcony. This proved a tad embarrassing later. Anyway the performance got off to an energetic start. The performer was George Solomon. He sang, danced and told decent jokes. Well anyway he wanted to give a bottle of champagne to the couple on board who had been married the least amount of time, so I shouted out 3 weeks. I was expecting a joke about that then move on. Well I was wrong. George made his way up to where we were sitting and brought us down on stage. While we were walking down, I heard several mentions that we were “that couple from Alaska”. He also brought another couple that was celebrating some lengthy time anniversary up to the stage.
He asked us our names and then had us dance while he sang a song. First we danced with our spouses, then traded, then traded again so the women danced together and the men. It was fun. I was hoping to get a dance out of Ray on this trip, but never imagined it to be up on stage in front of half of the boat, as the show was well attended. After the dance we were given the bottle of champagne and George insisted we sit in the front row instead of back in the balcony. The rest of the show was fun as well. He called others in the audience up, including an 11-year-old girl to dance the twist.
Ray does not have a tux. He did wear his good suit. The attendants had put new flowers in our room this afternoon. As one of the carnation buds was bent, I broke it off and pinned it in the button-hole of his jacket before we went to the show. I thought he looked handsome. He said afterwards that he thought that flower had good timing since he wore his old sneakers with his suit.
At 11pm we went outside to look at the stars with Dr. Bendel. Although some of the lights were turned off, many were still on and it was rather bright. Many people complained and begged to go up to the top deck where there are no lights. We did not. The ship finally turned off some more of the lights and we were able to see more stars. It was very interesting. We learned that the Alpha star of the southern cross, for which the Acrux is named, is the right star in the four star diamond making up the southern cross. After everyone went in, we did go up to the top deck and watch more stars for awhile before heading in to bed.
February 1, 2001 Thursday
Well, several people spoke to us about our little “performance” last night. It was fun for everyone. Ray rode the bike for about half an hour this morning while I read. After lunch we went on a tour of the artwork about the ship. That was interesting. There was a handout to accompany the tour so we left early and will look at our leisure at the other works on the list. Tonight along with the nightly chocolate, a pin commemorating this trip was left on our pillows.
The show tonight was ok. It was four performers singing Broadway songs. They spent a good bit on Les Miserables.
We stayed up and went to the star gazing session. It was held up in the dark top deck of the ship. It was much better than last time, however the moon is getting fuller. Seems strange because it is getting larger from left to right which is backwards from home.
We are at Easter Island today. We got up early and watched the sunrise over the island. Then it was time to meet for our tour. The tenders took us ashore where we were met and escorted to mini-vans. We somehow wound up being the last of our group so we had a van to ourselves. Unfortunately the driver spoke very little English and us the same for Spanish. The guide for the group was good and was happy to answer questions from everybody.
The tour was a natural history tour. I was expecting to discuss formation of the island and plants and such. We did see the town’s watershed, a swamp filled crater. It was very pretty and reminded me of the Tanana Flats. We stopped at an overlook and were shown a map of the island while the guide pointed out different craters. However that was about all the natural history. The other stops were archaeological. We looked at the site of the birdman ceremony. We also went to look at reconstructed Moi statues.
After the tour Ray and I returned to the ship for lunch. Then went back to the island where we rented horses. That was fun. He rode a brown horse while behaved well. I was on a blonde horse that was pokey and had a mind of its own. A guide went with us. He had to keep encouraging my horse along. We rode to the rebuilt statues we saw in the morning. It was an enjoyable ride that took about an hour and a half. We did some souvenir shopping before returning to the ship.
We took several rolls of film and used most of them. We would like to come back and see more of the island. The ship arranged to have everyone’s passport stamped since this is a very unusual destination. The ship left about dinnertime. When we returned to our cabin after dinner, there were 2 envelopes and 2 limited edition stone carvings based on the island in our room.
The wind was blowing a gale about all day.
Slept in this morning. Spend most of the day reading. We watched the movie, The Saint, this afternoon. After dinner I went to the show. It was the ship’s cast doing popular composers’ songs. I enjoyed it. Ray stayed in the room and read.
The wind was blowing a gale about all day.
This afternoon Mutiny on the Bounty was being shown in the Queen’s Lounge. It was a 3 hour long movie made in 1961. We went to it. We also went to the show after dinner. It was old jokes and corny magic. I went to the doctor about my toothache this evening. The dentist called and said to take some Tylenol and call back in the morning.
The wind was blowing gale or near gale about all day. Showers all around.
Today we circled Pitcairn Island. That was interesting. Doesn’t look at all like a good place to sail. No safe harbor and rather large waves. The island is steep. However, it is very lush. The islanders came onto our ship this morning. They came out in their longboat.
After watching them come out, I had to get to the doctor. Once there, I was told to come back in an hour and the dentist would see me. I did. The dentist did many tests, poking and prodding. He took x-rays. This was painful because the x-ray machine and slides were too big for my mouth. However we were able to get 2 done. Turns out I have a wisdom took trying to come in. No wonder babies cry so much when teething. It hurts.
From the dentist, we went upstairs to look at the items brought out to sell from the island. Mostly t-shirts and postcards. We bought a book and postcards. The mayor of Pitcairn gave a short talk before they left to return to the island. Very interesting.
February 7, 2001 Wednesday
Wind ranged today from strong breeze to gale.
We walked 2 miles before the lifeboat drill this morning. Then we read until lunch. After lunch I went swimming and Ray took a nap (I had a short nap too). Made arrangements for a special birthday dinner tomorrow. George Soloman gave another show tonight. It was good again. We then went upstairs and looked at the stars together. We also watched lightning in a thundercloud. The moon is full so the sky is bright. You can see the horizon rather clearly.
Today is my 26 birthday. We had breakfast of eggs, meat, orange juice, and bread delivered to our room this morning. Some of yesterday’s balloons mysteriously appeared attached to our door. A card signed by the captain was slipped under the door while we were having lunch. We were lazy today. Read in bed for most of the day. It was a formal night for dinner, I wore my green dress and Ray wore his suit. We had a special dinner (Steak Diane) prepared at our table. It was quite good. It was cloudy so we did not go out and watch the stars as we planned after dinner, but went back and read instead. All in all, a very nice and unique birthday.
We arrived in Papeete Tahiti this morning. We took a tour of some of the natural areas. We went to an aquarium, a botanical garden, a large cave with a shallow pool in it, and a waterfall surrounded by flowers. In the afternoon we walked around town. Seemed to be a lot of clothing and pearl stores. We only bought postcards.
We wanted to go diving this morning and were not sure about making arrangements so we rushed to get out before the tours left. We were in luck. A diving booth was set up on the pier. We signed up and within half an hour we were in the boat heading out to go diving. We did 2 dives. The first was about 60 feet max depth for 50 minutes. This was in an area just beyond the reef of the lagoon. We saw about 10 black tip reef sharks and one lemon shark. The black tip sharks are about 4-6 feet long. The lemon shark was about 8-10 feet long and all gray in color. That was exciting. The same dive introduced us to many colorful larger fish including a Napoleon fish. Our second dive was inside the lagoon at about 50 feet max depth for 50 minutes. This dive we saw smaller fish (especially clown fish and convict fish), angel rays, an eel in a shallow cave, interesting coral formations. We played with anemones which feel like little suckers.
After a quick shower and lunch on the ship, we returned to the island. We took a private bus tour all around the island. The tour stopped at a shop where we tasted fresh coconut and breadfruit, both of which we enjoyed. We did a little souvenir shopping before leaving for the day. We also went into the local market. The prices were reasonable.
My cold was bothering me today again. Spent most of the day being lazy. We did go to Tom Ecker’s lecture on the Olympics this morning. We ate dinner in the Lido since I am sick. We went to the movie, Mystery Alaska, this evening instead of the show.
Spent most of the day in bed again. Can’t seem to get rid of this cold fully. It is mostly gone but what is left makes me so tired. I watch Girl Interrupted on tv this morning while Ray was playing on his computer. Took a long nap this afternoon. Had dinner in the Lido again. It’s quiet up there and you don’t have to get all dressed up.
We slept through this entire day (or should I say night). We passed the International Date Line about 2 am so today was only 2 hours long.
Tonight was a formal night. The daily program was printed in red ink instead of the usual black today. We walked a lot today. Ate in the dining room again. Read before going to bed early.
We did a lot of walking today. Ray signed up to participate in a game show tonight before the main show. The entertainment crew has to guess the occupation of the guest. He said he was an Alaska animal trapper. They came very close but did not actually guess it. It was fun. They gave him a mug for participating. I stayed for the main show and Ray went to the room.
Well I can’t seem to get over this cold. Ugh! We were at Bay of Islands in New Zealand today. We were on a wait list for a dolphin tour but there was not extra room. I went back to bed. We had lunch then Ray said he wanted a nap. I was also tired. We slept until almost dinner so we didn’t get ashore today. After dinner there was a notice under our door saying we would not be going to Haifa in Israel due to security concerns in the region.
Arrived in Auckland New Zealand this morning. Today ends the first segment of this cruise. This is one of the major places for changes of passengers. We were up early since we had an all day tour. The tour lasted 12 hours (0730-1930). We saw a sheep demonstration explaining briefly each breed in New Zealand and a sheep dog herding ducks. Then we went to Maori dancing demonstration with a large buffet lunch. We went into Rotorua and drove around some gardens. Then went to the Geyser basin where we saw not only geothermal displays of geysers and hot mud but also a Maori cultural center.
Lifeboat drill at 1030 this morning. While standing there we saw dolphins. Read until lunch then again after. We went to the show tonight, a pianist. It was good.
Arrived in Wellington, New Zealand this morning. We went into town and took a cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. They have an amazing rose garden and begonia house. Took many pictures. Went back down on the cable car then to a book shop where we bought some books and post cards. Had lunch on the ship. Took a tour this afternoon of the harbor area and Storm Coast. The harbor is very wide and made up of small bays. Every small flat piece of ground has a building on it, and some not too level spots as well. We drove out to Pencarrow Station, a 2000 acre sheep ranch. Here we saw a sheep dog demonstration. That was interesting. The dog was so excited it didn’t want to stop.
Went to the show tonight. It was a magician. He used a lot of tall taper candles. We enjoyed it. One thing he did which was amusing was “I wish to point out” then he would extend his arm and point his finger. Toward the end of the show he did this and other silly word play jokes like “I wish to say that: That” “And another thing: another thing”. He did very little talking about his tricks. He just did them. I like this approach. This afternoon we went to the gym for about an hour. We also did some walking.
The magician from last night, Leo Ward, was the guest of this morning’s chat. He did questions and answers. Judging from Holly’s comments at the start there were more people than she expected show up. The lounge was crowded. It was entertaining. We went to the gym again this afternoon. We read before going to bed.
Arrived in Sydney, Australia this morning. I slept in a bit while Ray watched us pull into port. We are docked in an ideal location. We are across directly from the famous Sydney Opera House. The Circular Quay (pronounced key) shopping area in right ahead of us, as is the train station and ferry dock. The Harbour Bridge is just behind us. There were some people from a wildlife park waiting for us at the dock. They brought along a koala, a flying squirrel of some sort, and a young kangaroo. I had pictures taken with the koala and the squirrel. Koala fur is short and woolly feeling. We walked around and did a bit of souvenir shopping this morning.
This afternoon we went on a sailboat tour. It was hands on. However, I thought the boat was crowded since we had 10 people aboard. Ray spend a lot of time up front. I was sitting half-in, half-out of the cockpit area. Everyone else was in the cockpit. There was a champagne reception afterwards.
After an early dinner, we got dressed up for a performance at the Opera House. It was a comedic opera titled, Cosi fan Tuti. It was sung in Italian. There is a display over the stage which shows the translations so the audience is able to follow the storyline. I enjoyed it. There are 3 auditoriums in the Opera House. We were in the second. It seats about 1500 people. I thought it was well laid out. However, I learned the box seats were not part of the original design and were added later. These are the worst seats and only have a partial view of the stage. We were in row R in the center. The seating is nicely angled so everyone can see, even the back rows. The performance lasted about 3 hours. We had a snack when we returned then went to bed.
Still in Sydney today. We were not on any official tours today. We went to the information center across the road and found out about the zoo. We bought a zoo pass at the ferry terminal for $25 Aus each, which includes ferry to and from as well as admission. We took the 1015 ferry to the zoo. It lasts 15 minutes. There we waited in a line for the tram to take us p the hill at the zoo. The zoo was great! We saw all sorts of Australian animals. We also saw grizzly bears, which seemed greatly out of place to us considering the heat. It is mid-summer here in Australia now. We were at the zoo about 2 hours. We returned to the ship for lunch.
After lunch we walked to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Lots of green grass, flower and plant lined paths, and trees. We paid to go into the glasshouses of tropical plants. That was interesting. We were disappointed in the rose garden. They are having trouble with root rot so the plants looked sick. Also we recently saw the rose garden in Wellington, which was better laid out compared to this one. So, we were disappointed. Ray was interested in the Apollo moon pictures on display at the art museum but we decided $11 Aus was not worth it.
After showering, we went to the barbeque dinner. It was good and we got to watch out the windows as we left port. There were some silly games afterwards. We went to the show. It was a local duo. They sang Australian songs. It was fun. Kinda like going to a nightclub, but without the smoke and beer.
February 24, 2001 Saturday
I did not sleep well last night. Ray left me to doze and programmed elsewhere. We went to the geology talk this morning about plate tectonics and the Great Barrier Reef. It was interesting. The man was entertaining and informative.
After lunch we had our usual afternoon nap before dinner, which was formal. I wore my green dress. We read and I caught up on this journal after dinner. We also went to the photo gallery and purchased the picture of us with the koala.
Went to the talk by the reef pilot this morning. It was about the use of (sea) pilots in and around the Great Barrier Reef. We read in our room instead of going to the show after dinner.
Arrived in Cairns, Australia this morning. We are here until noon tomorrow. We went on a tour out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was about one and a half hours each way to a floating platform. We went scuba diving. The water was quite murky because of the cyclone which went through just a few days ago. We were able to see some interesting corals and fish. We were down 10 meters for 30 minutes. After diving, we went snorkeling. Diving was better since we were able to get under some of the murk. We then went on a semi-submersible but saw very little due to the murky conditions.
Our departure was delayed because a jellyfish stung a woman. She was in quite a bit of pain. They had her air lifted back to a hospital by helicopter. When we did return to the ship, we had lunch. They had kept the Lido open later for us. We then went for a walk around town and found the post office where we mailed post cards.
After dinner we walked to the train station. It started to rain. We walked around the downtown area getting wet. We spent quite a bit of time in a shop selling shells, rocks, and other souvenirs. There was also a photo gallery of wide-angle Australian pictures we browsed through. This inspired Ray.
Mailed a letter with pictures to Ray’s parents and a card with pictures to mine. We also went to an internet place and checked our e-mail and printed out the bike diary from last summer. I am thinking of writing it as a book. We left Cairns at noon. We both think we would like to return here someday.
Did some exercising today. We now get Cartoon Network on the ship. That’s fun. We watched Crocodile Dundee II on tv tonight.
Lifeboat drill this morning. We missed the reef pilot’s talk this morning but watched the tape on tv in the afternoon. It was about the history of exploration around Australia and the Spice Islands. I slept in this morning while Ray went exercising. He volunteered me this afternoon to be a model in a fitness fashion show. That was interesting. There were more models than people in the audience. I wore blue shorts and a short, pumpkin orange jacket. We went walking in the afternoon.
Arrived in Darwin, Australia this morning. We took the shuttle bus into town. First stop was finding to post office and mailing our cards with the pictures. That done, we went souvenir shopping. We bought a 12 pack of little clip-on koala bears. We plan to give them away as gifts. My ears have been hurting were the earring holes are so we bought some peroxide to help rid of any infections. We took a nap in the afternoon.
Our departure was scheduled for 7pm but was delayed until 11pm because the paperwork for the passengers going on overland tours had not yet arrived. We took this extra time to go for a walk before going to the show.
Exercised this morning. Went to a talk by a marine biologist which was an introduction to marine biology. It was interesting. He had some nice slides. After dinner we went to the theater to watch Double Jeopardy.
The marine biologist gave another talk this morning. It was interesting except he used the same slides as last time with few exceptions. He was describing the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef. We also went to the geologist’s talk about the Ring of Fire. Ray went to the show while I read in the room after dinner.
Arrived in Lombok, Indonesia this morning. We took the tender to shore where we were mobbed by hawkers selling cheap watches, jewelry, wood carvings, and taxi rides. We pushed through the crowd and went for a 2 mile or so walk in the country. The people are very poor. They are also very friendly, everyone waved and said hello. The buildings are either brick or thatch. There is little sanitation and litter was in all the ditches. The road was narrow and winding. There were cows, goats and Asian buffalo in the small fields and yards. Everything was very green. We were hot so we paid $1 to a man who gave us a ride in a horse drawn cart back to the pier.
After lunch we rented a taxi for 2 hours and drove out further into the countryside. They were surprised we did not want to go to the city. The driver did not speak English but his companion did so we learned a bit about the area we went through. We stopped at a sandy beach and went shell collecting. We drove back over a mountain road which was even steeper, narrower, and windier than the coastal road. We paid $25 for this nice excursion. We would like to come back here someday.
Today is a holiday in Indonesia. One of the rituals is the rich people buying goats to kill and giving away the meat. We saw some villagers doing this. They were butchering 2 goats, which hung from trees in a courtyard. There were many people sitting nearby watching. When we were walking they were half skinned. Later they were carving up the meat into piles.
We had dinner with the people at the table behind us. They are named John and Elisabeth. They are from Vancouver, Canada but originally are from Hungary.
March 6, 2001 Tuesday
Tonight’s show was a Java Shadow Theater. It was rather interesting. They set it up on the center of the stage, which rotates. It was three parts. The first part we saw only the shadows. The second part the stage was rotated to see the puppets and operator. The third was again just the shadows.
There was a Mariners Party before dinner. We were each given a medal for 100 days aboard Holland America. The party was boring. Free drinks though. Quite a few people took ample advantage of this. It was an acknowledgement of how many days people had. Show off ceremony it seemed for Holland America Line. After dinner we read until bed.
We docked in Manila the Philippines this morning. We did not go on any tour. This was a very poorly coordinated dock. The crew from the area was unloading their goods to send home. There was a very long line of local guests (we were told at dinner that 1900 visitors came on board today). There were a few busses but none were labeled. We asked one driver if he was the shuttle and he said he went to the Manila Hotel only. We asked the crew at the dock and they said the shuttle was “down there” pointing to the busses. Others were just as unhelpful giving conflicting statements and directions. We finally just boarded a bus and hoped. It turned out the bus to the hotel was the shuttle. It went to the hotel, which was just out of the port and that was all. To go anywhere else you had to get a taxi. So in reality it was a shuttle to a taxi stand.
We joined another couple in a taxi to one of the large malls. It was 5 stories tall. Sensory overload best describes it: tower speakers at each end blaring music as well as different music from each shop turned full blast, people shouting to be heard, lights, crowded halls. We went to an internet place and checked e-mail. We then went to the souvenir section of the large department store and bought 2 painted fans, a ship in a bottle, a Coke, a notebook, and some postcards. The total was less than $10US. I had an episode with my heart after returning to the ship.
The roads are divided into lanes and there are street signs but no one seems to pay them much attention here. Other nations claim they are the worst drivers in the world but here I believe it. No one stays in the lanes, no one signals, U turns in heavy traffic, crowding the other guy. It was quite unnerving.
We do not want to return here. A big city but very sprawled out. Did not seem to be much city planning. Terrible traffic as I mentioned. Pollution, garbage all around. Perhaps if we had taken a tour to the typical tourist areas we would have had different impressions but as it was neither of us was much impressed by Manila.
Tonight’s performer was Gus Wilson. He did humorous magic. We enjoyed it.
Gus Wilson did a demonstration this afternoon. It was good. Tonight was a formal night. We went to the movie after dinner. It was Shanghai Noon.
Docked in Hong Kong this morning. Wow! We decided at the last minute to take a tour to get an idea of what is here. We went on Hong Kong Island City tour. It was all morning. We went by bus under the harbor to Hong Kong Island (we are docked in Kowloon, just across the bay). First we went on a sampan (small flat decked boat) around the harbor where we saw true houseboats, fishing boats, and a floating restaurant. Then to the fish market where every type of live fish and shellfish is sold. A nice drive brought us to a temple by the beach. Very colorful temple. Last we went up the funicular to Peak Tower. There are shops, restaurants, and amusement shows there, not to mention a great view. Unfortunatly, it was misty so we didn’t have a view.
We went to the Space Museum in the afternoon. That was interesting. There were short movies, interactive displays and motion rides to demonstrate different properties of our solar system. I rode the gyroscope ball twice and got quite dizzy.
We are still in Hong Kong today. We got a fairly early start. We walked to the Jade market. That was interesting. The guidebook we borrowed had fairly good maps, except there was a major interchange under the key for that page so we had to guess which way was correct. Also, the scale on the map was wrong. Everything was twice the distance apart than the map. On the way there were many jade jewelry shops. We bought a lapis lazuli egg at one of them. It is small but quite pretty. The market itself is several large buildings which vendors set up tables. Everyone had about the same things: jade figurines, jade necklaces and beads, other stones including amethyst and lapis lazuli. They differed in price and quality. We wandered around to just look then decide what to buy. We bought 2 jade elephants, jade rabbit, jade marbleized cat, gold sparkled owl, and a rosewood dragon. After the market, we headed back to the ship. We went a slightly different way then we came. This took us through blocks of open air shops selling everything imaginable: fresh meats of all sorts, live and dead fish, clothes, jewelry, vegetables, fruit, flowers, and much more. We even saw a man using a propane torch to toast pig head skins and feet. A denim vest caught my eye so we bought it.
After lunch on the ship, we took the Star Ferry across the harbor then wandered around. We went to a camera shop where we bought film and a small tripod. We then went to the botanical and zoological gardens. That was neat. The small zoo is incorporated into the botanical gardens. Very relaxing haven of green among the city. On the way to the gardens we stopped at a linen shop and bought a set of embroidered pillow cases. We had a snack of a candy bar and soda near a fountain in the gardens. After wandering around the gardens we headed back to the ferry stop and ship. All in all, we think we walked about 15 miles today.
We were in Hong Kong until 3pm today. We went back to the Peak Tower. Here we browsed more shops picking out some interesting items. We were literally the first customers of the day, we were peaking in the window when the man unlocked the door. We bought a jade ball of receding sizes, a mini-jeweled globe, and some jade animals. He gave me a small rosewood stand for the lapis egg as well as a manicure set which is in a stuffed doll case. We also went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. That was interesting. All sorts of oddities. They even had an Alaskan King Crab (I guess compared to the small crabs in this part of the world, a king crab is an oddity).
A dragon dance was our ship’s send off. We read in our room after dinner before going to bed.
There was a lifeboat drill this morning at 1030. At dinner the stewards were all excited because they are giving a show at 11 tonight. We had San San and Azis sign the program. We went to their show. There was singing and dancing. They had a symphony of these wooden instruments which are shaken to make sound. It was fun for everyone, the crew and audience. We enjoyed it.
I went to Holly’s talk about scarf tying. That was interesting. She gave a handout so if I forget I can look up how to tie what I want. Ray took a nap this afternoon. We went to walking this afternoon.
Today we are in Singapore. This is another large city. This is nice however. We docked around 10 this morning. It was very pretty watching our arrival. We are docked beside the World Trade Center. There is a gondola cable which runs from there across the harbor to an island. We decided to take this. At the ticket booth there are different tours for the island. We bought one which included butterflies, a flower garden, an aquarium, Singapore history museum with three parts: early colonialization, WWII, and ceremonies. The aquarium was great! It was mixed species in a large tank with a moving floor going through it. It rained when we were in the flower garden. We took the monorail around the island. Then we went to the butterflies. The recent rain kept many of them undercover and out of sight. Still it was interesting. Finally we saw a dolphin show. Then we went back to the ship on the gondola. It was neat because the gondola goes right over the ship so we got some pictures from above.
There was a barbeque dinner tonight in the Lido.
This is the second day in Singapore. We decided to go to the Science Center and Zoo. We asked the best way to get to the Science Center. We took the bus to the train terminal where we bought day passes. We then rode to the Science Center. It was neat. Unfortunatly their gardening center was infected with some sort of bug and the hydroponics lab was completely shut down.
We then took the train to a bus stop to get to the zoo. We ate chicken sandwiches at the KFC in the zoo. We bought tram tickets around the zoo. That was good. We saw many African and Asian animals. There are 4 tram stops. We got off at each of the first three and walked around. There are very few fences. Most of the animals are either free roaming or enclosed with a moat. This was very nice. When we went to board at the third stop there was a long line. We had to wait for 3 trams before we could get on. We did not get off the fourth stop. Because of the tram line, we missed the bus. We waited 15 minutes for the next bus. Then we rode to the train station. We changed trains at the second station. When we got off at the terminal we were late so we decided to get a taxi. That took a while. When we got to the dock we ran through the terminal barely slowing for security. They were ready to retract the gangway when we arrived. The ship was to sail in 10 minutes; we were 20 minutes late for boarding. At least we made it.
Wow! What a great show tonight. Bob Arno was a terrific entertainer and informative at the same time. He did a pickpocket show. We liked it so much we went both times. So did several others. He told what pickpockets look for in a victim and showed how some of the scams are set up.
This afternoon Bob Arno gave a presentation about pick pockets and ways to thwart them. Ray went to the movie, Mission to Mars, after dinner and I read.
good show tonight, Yacov Noy. He used movement and voice to make
all sorts of
situations and characters. He did an airplane ride, three legged
Annie (one of the shipboard characters), woman getting ready for
It was quite funny.
The chefs outdid themselves this morning. They prepared a Grand Show Buffet. We went and took all sorts of pictures and video. They cut and sculpted and arranged the most beautiful food. They also made ice sculptures.
Today we arrived in Mumbai India (formerly Bombay). We did not have any formal tour. We walked to the library where we took a horse carriage to the Taj Mahal Hotel. There we looked around at the shops. We then took a taxi to the Chetwind Market. We had trouble finding a taxi willing to take us there. They get a percentage if they take tourists to certain shops so they kept telling us we really did not want to go to the market but should go to their shops. We finally found one to take us there. It was a maze of narrow, dirty streets. We did not have any local money. We bargained for one pant suit but did not buy it. It was a hot day and I forgot my hat. When we were heading back to the main street for a taxi we passed a fabric shop and picked out 2 large, square scarves. We bargained and paid $2 for both. I used one for a scarf and put the other in my bag. We then took a taxi back to the ship.
Still in Mumbai today. We wanted to go out into the countryside away from the city. We asked the taxi boss from yesterday but did not like the price. We asked around and found one we did. We went to the edge of town. There are many slums there. The driver then took us to various tourist places. We saw the laundry. This is a big field with people doing all the laundry for the city hotels by hand in tubs. Quite a unique sight. We went to a mosque by the sea. The sea was filthy. People were living on the streets and likely using it as a toilet. It was also filled with all kinds of garbage. Yet, there were kids swimming in it. We went to the house where Gandhi stayed. It had lots of pictures, his library, dioramas of different events in his life. Ray asked to be taken to the small boat harbor before returning to the ship. The ferry docked here as well. We found out this was where the Gate to India was. A group of monks tried to bless us. They tied a yellow and orange string around Ray’s wrist and handed me some sort of white flower bud. We then returned to the ship.
Lifeboat drill this morning. After that I went to a demonstration by Holly and one of the ladies from the shop about sari tying. That was interesting. I did not have one but know how to tie one if I ever get one. Tonight was formal night. Many women wore saris they had bought.
Ray went to a presentation about space this afternoon. I spent the day reading. We went to see Charlie’s Angels in the theater tonight. That was a good movie.
Spent most of the day in our room reading.
Formal night tonight. We ate dinner in the Odessy tonight.
Spent most of the day reading.
Today we were in Aqaba, Jordan. We took a tour to Petra. This is an ancient city carved literally into a canyon. The drive out was interesting. It went through granite and then sandstone mountains. Very dry, desolate, rugged looking countryside.
We were mislead in the tour book. They had done improvement so the horse ride is not necessary any more. We walked down to the start of the narrow canyon entrance called the Siq. It is one mile long and slightly downhill. This opens into the site of Petra where the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed called the Treasury. We were given some history of Petra then saw a man making sand paintings in bottles before we were given 2 hours on our own to explore. We walked about half way up the long stairs to the top of the canyon. Then we went into the amphitheater. The public bathrooms are in a cave of the canyon. Most unusual site bathroom I’ve been in. Then we walked back out through the Siq. At the end of the Siq there is the option of taking a horse to the visitor’s center. We did this. The man leading my horse asked if I wanted to gallop and I agreed. He handed me the rein, which was a thin chain, and off the horse ran. That was fun. When we reached the visitor center we handed the envelope of money we were given for the horse to the handlers. They gave us a hard time about it not being enough. I turned my pockets inside out and walked away. It was fun.
We then went to the fancy hotel for lunch. It was buffet style and had just about everything. It was all very good. We had an hour and a half for lunch which was too much time. We explored the hotel. They had some magnificent inlaid furniture and carved ceilings. Then the busses drove back to the ship.
Today we were in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. We went on a camel ride over the desert. It was a 45 minute drive to the Bedouin camp where we started the ride. There were about 130 people participating in the ride.
We were told how best to stay balanced while the camel stands up then put onto the camels. The mounting took quite a while because of the number of people involved. Once everyone was up, we waited about 15 minutes for some others who were late. The camel I was on was a bully; it kept biting the other camels.
We rode for about 45 minutes to our first rest stop. The woman behind us complained she did not like riding the camels and would be riding in the jeep for the remainder of the trip. (Not surprising. She complained about the sailing trip, she tried diving at the Great Barrier reef but did not like that and only stayed down 5 minutes, she went to Petra yesterday and didn’t like that because of all the walking.) We thought it was fun. After the break we continued on for about the same amount of time. Then we were back at the camp and ready for lunch. Lunch was barbeque: salads, sliced potatoes with stewed tomatoes, rice, goat milk sauce, chicken, goat meat, and 7up. It was good. Then we drove back to the ship. The ship left port at 4pm.
I don’t know how they can find food for all the animals. The camp had all those camels and about 50 goats and sheep. The land was very sparse. Not much grass. Just rocky desert and mountains all around.
Today we cruised through the Suez Canal. The weather started out nice and sunny with a few clouds and little breeze. By mid-morning the wind had increased and by noon a full gale was blowing. This created quite a sand storm. It blew like that until late afternoon. Then it was very dusty in the air. Everything outside was covered in a layer of fine dust.
Because the sand storm limited visibility we weren’t able to see very far from the banks most of the day. What we did see was interesting. Irrigation from the canal allowed some fields and farming. Most, however, was desert. We took pictures of the dredger as we passed. That must be quite a chore keeping the canal from filling with sand.
Around 5pm we arrived at Port Said, Egypt. Our dock was a series of connected floating pontoons. It was a comedy of errors watching them connect it to the ship. It was in two sections connected by a rope. First they unfolded the dock from where it was tied. Then they used a tugboat to pull it out to the ship. They tied off to us then tried to maneuver the rest into place. That took a long while. They moved the platform into position but the rope it was tied to us didn’t allow it to properly be positioned so they had to untie it, move it then retie it.
The next step was connecting the two sections. Each section was made up of several smaller, connected pontoons (about 10 feet long each). This made the whole thing move like a snake over the water. They used the tugboat to move the sections into alignment. Unfortunately the motion of the water moved it out of alignment just as fast. It took quite a while to get them aligned close enough to lock together.
Once the dock was assembled we were cleared to depart the ship. We went down to leave. A few guests left then the dock came apart between two pontoons. It took another half an hour to reposition the sections and lock then together again. While they were doing this, we ate dinner in the Lido.
Today we were in Port Said, Egypt. We did not see much of the town because we took an all day tour. It was into Cairo to see the pyramids. The busses were escorted by police down the desert road into Cairo. The trip took about 3 hours. The guide droned on about Egyptian politics and political history most of the way.
Once we arrived we were given 15 minutes to take pictures of the first pyramid. It was great! Very tall and massive up close. However, only 15 minutes does not give much time to explore. Just enough time to take a few pictures from the front then back on the bus.
Then we went to a high point looking down on three pyramids. We were given 10 minutes here. This was ok since this was only a lookout and nothing around really to explore except a few merchant stalls. Took some pictures then back on the bus. This lookout not only had good views of the pyramids but the great Sahara desert as well. Also, since it was a highpoint at the edge of the desert, the sand was blowing.
Next was to the third pyramid. Here we were allowed the chance to go inside. The guide gave a warning about people with knee and back problems, Closter phobia, breathing difficulties not going in. Then he asked who wanted to go in. About 10 hands went up. He asked this 4 or 5 times. I don’t know why he asked so many times. The number of hands didn’t change. Anyway, we were given tickets and 15 minutes to look around inside. It was a very steep, narrow, low passageway down into the pyramid. Inside the ceiling is about average room height. We went into 3 rooms. Going up the passageway was easier than going down. There was just enough time to take a few pictures outside before the bus left. Not enough time to look around outside after going inside.
From here the bus took us to the Sphinx. Again we were given tickets and 15 minutes to look around and get a few pictures. This defiantly was not enough time for this site. It was a fairly large site with passageways and corridors.
When we exited the site to where we were dropped off the busses were not there! They were down the road. We were not told the busses would be in a different location. So not only did we have 15 minutes for quickly looking around but in that time we also had to find the bus. We almost left without a couple of people. The guide asked if everyone was on board. Some others and us said, “No, we are missing a couple”. Yet, we started to drive on. He asked again with the same response. We did stop and wait for them after the ship escort did a head count.
Then the aggravating part-according to the itinerary we were given, our next stop was to be a brief stop at a souvenir shop. Well that brief stop turned into over 40 minutes! This was longer than any 2 stops at the pyramids combined. Even when everyone was on board, a merchant got on and continued to try to bargain with a couple of people on the bus. We had to wait for this more than 5 minutes. The man in front of us yelled out, “Call the police and get this guy off so we can leave already” I couldn’t agree more.
Then at 2pm, lunch on a riverboat on the Nile. I don’t think they were prepared to have such a large group at once. We were at the back of the line and barely managed to find a seat. By then most people had drinks and were about finished with their salads. Then the main course was served. We were not told the main part was coming so everyone thought it was only salads for lunch and got a lot. I asked for wine while they were starting to serve. It didn’t come until they were starting to clean up. I was almost finished eating then. Oh well.
After lunch we boarded the busses to head back to the ship. We drove to a pull out just outside of Cairo where we waited for other busses. Once all the busses were there we were given an armed police escort the entire way to the ship. That was interesting. Some of the busses had guards on them. We had a police car behind us. Whenever we reached an intersection, it was closed so we could pass. Other traffic was forced to the side of the highway while we went by. There were 21 tour busses in our convoy.
Today we were in Alexandria, Egypt. We tried twice to go to the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuggafa. The first time we tried walking. We had the map from the ship. We headed up to where the map shows a river. We were then going to follow the river to the street which has the catacombs. We wandered through a bazzar selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, and live poultry. We passed a shop selling scarves. We bought 4 for $10. We then went up to the harbor and walked along it to the Fort and decided to see the aquarium. That was nothing special like the one in Singapore was. This one was small tanks of individual species. We then took a horse carriage back to the ship.
After a bathroom break we headed back out. This time we decided to hire a horse carriage to take us to the catacombs. We agreed to pay $3 for a one-way ride to the catacombs. He started to go down one street and asked us if we wanted to see something else. We said no just the catacombs. He turned around. We went down another street. He asked if we wanted to go to the bazaar. We again replied no. He turned a corner. After winding around he took us to a site entrance. He said the catacombs were closed. Ray paid the $3 fare and got off. As I was getting off, the driver grabbed my shoulder and said it was $3 each. This is not what we agreed but not totally unexpected. I got off and did not pay him anything.
We went in. The fee was a total of 24 Egyptian pounds. They did not take dollars. The driver paid them. We tried to repay the driver. He refused the money. Odd. We looked around. We were a bit alarmed by the actions of our driver. He did not leave after dropping us off. He returned our money when we tried to repay him. We told him many times we only wanted a ride to the catacombs and we would walk back so he did not need to stay. Yet he did.
When we left we walked the opposite direction from the driver and his carriage. I read the entrance plaque and this was defiantly not the catacombs we wanted to see. He yelled back to us to pay him his money when we were at the corner. We created a fuss. Explained we were taken to the wrong site. We paid him for the ride. He refused our initial try at repaying him for our tickets when we went in. The site keeper got involved. She was paid by the driver so she had no say in the matter. The police had us go back inside. We continued our dispute. This time a man speaking Russian came in and we had a 3 language discussion: Russian, English, and Arabic. We again left the site and continued our dispute on the street. They threatened to go to the police. I said fine and yelled loudly and repeatedly for the police. I don’t think this was expected. Our dispute was quickly settled without us paying any more money. We walked back to the ship. We were about halfway back when he passed us and yelled for his money. We ignored him.
The site was not in good condition. The grounds had trash all around and could use a good mowing. The tombs had ancient painting still inside on the ceilings and some walls. There were some pottery shards and round balls possibly for catapults. Part of the site was flooded. Other parts were damp with moss and mildew growing. The site was discovered in 1901. It was the Necropolis of Al-Anfushi. We looked it up in the guidebook back on the ship. Admission was the same here as for the catacombs we did want to see. The book even says this site is not as interesting as the catacombs.
We are unsure what the driver was thinking when he took us there. He claimed he did not understand where we wanted to go. If this is true why did he tell us the place we wanted was closed when we arrived at this other site? Why not tell us at first? Why did he refuse the money when we tried to repay him at the entrance for the admission? Why try to take us several places we did not want to go before taking us to this site? Why threaten to call the police for the money then quickly settle the dispute when we yelled for the police? Why take us to an out-of-the-way site where no one spoke English then have this dispute? Was it truly a case of misunderstanding or was something else going on? Were we to look around here, pay him back, then have him take us to where we did want to go (paying him for fare again), then paying admission again? If so why say the other place was closed? Would it suddenly be open if we went there?
The port was a bit odd. They make you walk through an empty building to get to the street which runs between the ship and this building. The building is old and smells of cat, some of which were lazing about inside. You walk across the street, through the building, then out and down the street again. Rather confusing. After the building there are several merchants. We bought a small brass vase for $2.
Today we begin our passage through the Mediterranean Sea. I was sick last night with upset stomach so I slept in late. There was a lifeboat drill this morning. After lunch we read and got caught up some on this journal.
Arrived in Kusadasi Turkey this morning. Most people went up to the Roman ruins at nearby Ephesus. We stayed in town. We checked our e-mail then wandered around a bit then went back to the ship. We were here until 4 this afternoon. A short stop. Tonight was country western theme. We went to the show, a song/dance group. I then went to the line dance party and Ray went to the room and read.
Arrived in Istanbul Turkey this morning. We are here until tomorrow afternoon. I am not feeling well today so we did not go out. We went out for a short walk tonight but that is all.
We walked to the D Palace this morning. Along the way we met a group of backpackers who were also heading that way. We finished the walk there together. They invited us to share a guide but we did not want to spend the 3 hours the guide wanted to show around. We wandered around and saw the kitchens, wonderful lawns, weaponry collection, and religious relics. From the palace we went to the Blue Mosque but it was closed for prayers. We then wandered in the direction of the Covered Market but did not get there. We went back to the ship.
We were in Piraeus Greece today. This is the port for Athens. We decided to take a tour to the Acropolis. It also stopped at the stadium where the first modern Olympics were held. That was interesting. At the Acropolis we shot 3 kinds of film: color prints, black and white, and slides. What an interesting place. They restored the outside of one building and others have scaffolding on them. There are large, carved stone blocks lying all around. There is a museum where the smaller pieces and statues are displayed. That was neat. The Romans did very detailed stone carvings. This was one of the best short excursions from the ship we have been on. The guide was knowledgeable. She did not babble or ramble on about nothing. We had enough time at each site without being rushed or too much time. The gift shop at the end was kept to a short stop. When we returned to the ship it was time for the local show. Most of these have been good so we decided to go. Well this one was the exception; the singers were out of rhythm, the dancers needed lots more practice since they made obvious mistakes. We left early.
Kind of cool outside today. We went walking this afternoon. We ate in the Odyssey tonight. We then went to our room and read for the rest of the evening.
We docked in Dubrovnik, Croatia this morning. We stayed on the ship until mid-morning when the orphans from the orphanage to which the ship is donating items came aboard. We watched that then took the shuttle into the heart of town. Well the gate anyway. The center of town is very old and is surrounded by a stone wall 80 feet tall in places. The streets are too narrow for vehicles. Some of the streets are not streets but staircases. The buildings are crowded together. Well, we walked all the way around the top of the wall. We bought a small book describing the wall and its history. It took us about 2 hours to go around (about 1 mile) because we kept stopping to take pictures and look around. After this we walked up to the grainery. This was where the town stored grain. It had several underground holding areas and has a total storage of 1200 tons. We arrived there when it was closing but the woman turned the lights back on and we looked around. Downstairs is looking into the bins. The upstairs was a museum of old farm implements and techniques. We then took the shuttle back to the ship. The town is mostly rebuilt from the shelling of Croatia’s war for independence. The roofs have places where the new tiles don’t match the color of the old and the walkways are being redone. There is a map near the gate that shows where the damage was done. This is a place we would like to come back to someday. We finished the black and white roll of film as well as color prints and slides.
Most of today was a painfilled day. We got up early to watch our arrival into Venice. That was really neat. We watched from up on the Sky Deck above the Sports Deck. I was standing on the railing by a flagpole to see over the tinted glass. I amused others by helping untie the rope from the pole. I was already up the rail, no reason I saw why the crewman should come up to untie it when I was there already. Anyway, on the way downstairs to the Sports Deck I slipped and fell halfway down the stairs. I was holding the rail with my left hand and the fall pulled my shoulder up and back. I went to the doctor and was told I sprained the triceps at the shoulder. He gave me pain pills and a sling. We went on a gondola tour. That was interesting except every time we hit a wave my arm would bump something causing pain. We were also supposed to see a palace in St. Marks Square. My arm was hurting so we left early and did not see the palace. We bought a porcelain mask. We would like to come back here again. It was very crowded because of Easter week.
We had a lifeboat drill this morning. I did not wear my lifejacket because I had on the sling. My arm was still quite sore. I did carry it in case they insisted I put it on, but they didn’t. We ate dinner in the Lido. Tonight was formal. I went to the show but did not dress up. No one said much. The show was Baroque music by a chamber group from Venice dressed in period costumes. I enjoyed it. Ray read in the room.
Arrived in Palermo Italy today. Ray’s cold was bothering him. We walked out to the dock and bought some postcards then went back inside. We would like to return here when we are not sick.
We spent most of the day in our room due to our colds.
We arrived in Malaga, Spain at noon. The reason we arrived at noon instead of morning was that we dropped off people in Motril this morning who were to go up to the Alhambra and Granada before continuing on to Malaga. We took the shuttle into town. It dropped us off behind the cathedral. We found a shop to buy postcards but had no local money. The change bureau was closed. We walked around the cathedral then decided to go inside. That was beautiful. It had a high ceiling. The walls are stone. Inside it is round. There are small c-shaped cathedrals surrounding the central organ area. Each of these is decorated differently and very ornate and elaborate with paintings and sculptures. We spent about an hour looking around inside. We then walked back to the ship. We walked by a street vendor with postcards. He did take US dollars so we bought some. We then went through a nice park. It even had a duck pond. We took several pictures. There is a nice sandy public beach across from the dock. If we were feeling better that would be a great place to swim. We would like to return here.
Today is Easter. We woke up at 8 to watch us pass the Rock of Gibraltar. That was neat. You could see the rock and the European coast easily and barely see the African coast on the other side. We did not stop here but motored slowly by. There were many other ships of all sorts in the area. We then went to take a nap. We went to the show this evening. It was the musical revue company. Ray enjoyed it more than I did.
Arrived in Lisbon, Portugal this morning. We took the shuttle into town. We wandered around the pedestrian square then went back to the ship. We sailed out during dinner and that was pretty. The ship went under the bridge then past the Monument to the Discovers. We would like to return here.
We went this afternoon to watch a presentation by Louise Ashby. That was sort of interesting. She talked about her car wreck and the results. We went walking in the afternoon.
We arrived in Ponta Delgada, Azores this morning. We wanted to go diving so we went into town and after some difficulty finding a phone we arranged to go. We were going to change some money but the bank wanted $6 fee no matter how much was changed. We only wanted to change $5 so that was not worth the fee. We returned to the ship for a quick lunch and get our dive gear. We changed our $5 at a gas station. We took the bus to the town where we were to be met however there was no one there. The bus was very crowded. There are 5 seats per row. We waited. Still no one. We phone but get no answer. We waited more. Finally we decided to go back. We waited for the bus. An empty bus stopped for us and the driver did not let us pay. He took us most of the way back to Ponta Delgada where we changed busses. Along the way whenever Ray wanted a picture he would stop the bus. It was a nice bus. We had a great view from the front. We bought some postcards before returning to the ship.
April 19, 2001 Thursday
Arrived at Horta, Azores today. What a beautiful place. We wandered around the small boat harbor. We went aboard a boat and talked with the couple there for over an hour. Then we went back to the car rental but they were closed for lunch. We ate lunch with another couple at a local buffet. That was good food. Then the car rental was open again. We rented a small car for the afternoon. We drove up to the caldera. That was great. We were the only ones there. There is a small lake at the bottom. Everything is so green. Then we drove to a beach. It was a mix of black sand and small olivine. There was a waterfall. Then it was time to drive back. We went a slightly different route and passed the red windmills. We returned the car and took the tender back to the ship. This is one of our favorite stops.
April 20, 2001 Friday
Lifeboat drill this morning. It was the final one this trip. I brought the video camera. Good thing too since there were whales. We went this afternoon to Louise Ashby’s second talk. That was interesting about how she got started as an actress after her accident. Formal night tonight. I went to the show. It was the last musical revue. It was good. However, there does seem to be a pattern to this company’s performances which only seems that the music changes.
We went walking this afternoon. The show tonight was a magic act. It started out really slow. Then the main performer came on and he was good. He did a simple thing with paper butterflies and a fan which was so pretty to watch. He also did other oriental simple illusions. He ended with an amazing slight of hand trick where cards kept appearing no matter how many he tossed away. He must have used 10 decks of cards. Wow! No wonder he won a contest with that trick.
We went walking then to the gym this afternoon. Tonight’s show was another comedian, Tom Drake. We went to the show but left. He wasn’t able to get our attention and keep it. I guess he got better as we were told by others. Before the show the cruise staff played Liars’ Club. That was funny, some of the stories and definitions they came up with.
We went walking in the afternoon. Tonight was a farewell party. That was interesting. The crew from each department was presented. The captain gave a speech. It was he retirement speech as he is retiring after this cruise. We met John and Elizabeth and their 2 relatives before the party. The six of us ate dinner at the Odyssey. It was formal night. Tonight’s show was Susan Anton. She was ok. She said she is 50. I hope I look that good at 50.
Today was the final Tai Chi lesson. We have been going to that off and on. We ate dinner one night with the instructors, Robert and Bronwyn Newton up in the Lido. Sky had somehow 2 of their videos so he sold us one. We then stayed in the lounge for the disembarkation talk. That was interesting at times. He tended to say too much about some and not enough about others. I went swimming after lunch. We then went walking. We had dinner in the upstairs part of the dinning room with Lynda and company. That was nice. We all traded addresses. I went to the show tonight. It was a mix of acts from this segment: the comic juggled again to music, some unusual musicians (a recorded shaped like a fish, a whistle instrument in a rubber chicken, etc.), the comic we walked out on the other night was good tonight, and the magician. I wandered around after the show and got more addresses and chatted. We then finished packing the boxes.