DAY 58 AT SEA
We continue on a north-easterly course towards the Maldives. We are changing our port because of the pirates. Supposed to stop in the Seychelles but the pirates are around so they decided to be safe and stop in Male. We are still south of the equator and the weather is hot and humid. Feels good to me
Played Mah Jongg for the first time today. I don’t know if I will continue, to many other activities going on. Players are ok, that is part of the problem.
Book group met and most have finished the book about India. It was a fast read and fun to hear everyone’s interpretaion of the characters.
Started knitting another scarf with yarn I bought in Reunion. Not very different or special, good to sit and knit while you look out the window or sit by the pool. Try and keep my fingers out of the food that is always being passed around.
Tonight is formal night in the dinning room and dollar night in the Casino. Getting good at dressing up for dinner. Bill wore his suit just to change the look. Lot of men have white dinner jackets and some wear fancy shirts from India. The theme was tropical and the waiters wore parrot hats. They are good sports to do that. Good time was had by all
DAY 59 AT SEA
This morning is my last cooking class with George Geary. In Mumbai the new guest chef will
join us. Today we made a good chicken salad and pasta salad. George has a good sense of humor and I saw him everywhere on the ship and he always had time to stop and talk. Good PR on his part. Of course he wants a good evaluation at the end. I am sure he will.
At one, bill went to Opera Appreciation and I went to a lesson on my computer.
In a sunny corner of the ship a group of women are doing all kinds of needle work. Lucky for me it was OK for me to join them. Wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to find then. One of the women had a quilting shop and taught all kinds of needle work. Suggested on one of our trips down to Florida, to stop in Paducah and see the Quilters Museum. One of her quilts was chosen by the museum. She is very kind in helping me do my embroidery. Sad to say she is leaving in Mumbai but others promised to help. Maybe I will learn how to work on my project. Amazing all the activieties going on in each and every cornor of the ship. One man is crocheting a afgan and everyone stops to look at it. I keep telling you, there is no lack of activity on sea days. One has to find time to rest so you are ready for the next port..
Then off to Sabbath Services. Rabbi has Rev. Jack Giguere as the speaker. He is the resident bible scholar. Conducts bible study every morning. Lots of people go. Something interesting going on all day long, one just has to be willing to participate. I haven’t even touched on the sports deck.
Tonight we had a most beautiful sunset. We sat on the Verandah and watched the sun go down. Just like in the advertisments, cuddled up close and giggling. How lucky we are to be able to be here and enjoying. Hank called it right, a floating Palace.
Dinner and the Show and day is done. Ah but it wasn’t. at the end of the show tonight the fire alarm rang. At first everyone thought it was part of the act, but you could see it was not. Everyone kept calm and the program director came out and said everything was under control, something in the kitchen tripped the alarm. By the time we walked out of the theatre men were standing everywhere in their fire gear and hard hats. In a few minutes the all clear signal sounded. We came up to our cabin, I went outside to calm down, see the stars and a bird is sitting on the pole holding on to the arm of one of the life rafts. I just said at dinner we haven’t seen a bird or a plane in days and tonight one by my window. HUMMM. We are sailing with lights and our door is locked to the verandah, safety in case of pirates. Something else to keep me awake tonight. Sweet dreams everyone.
DAY 60 AT SEA
Sea mornings have become sort of a ritual. Bill goes to breakfast with Jack, and I have coffee and yogurt in our cabin. Around 9;30 I go down to the Explorers Lounge and say good morning to the “group”. Rabbi and Adele, Pat, Marvin and Margret always sit in the same corner and everyone congregates around them in the morning. Most everyone arrives with smiling faces and they help me plan our days in port. Our mentors since most of them have been around the world many, many times.
The morning lecutre was on India and Mumbai. Sounds very mysterious and exciting. We then met Nadine and Joel for lunch. They are friends of anna lee langman’s and remember I am lucky to remember first names. Leaving to go home in Mumbai. Will be sorry to see them go, she is nice company. When you make a lunch date you meet in the main dining room. Makes you feel like you are doing something different. We are, since most of the time we don’t eat lunch.
In the afternoon we had stone massages. Really a treat. She finds every ache and pain I have and some I didn’t know I had. Earlier in the day we tried to sit out by the pool, to humid for Bill and can you believe to hot for me. So after the massage we sat out on the verandah in the late afternoon and read our books.
Pushed our clocks ahead another hour. We are almost a day ahead of you. On the days we have TV you are watching on Friday and we are watching on Saturday. The Oscars will be televised on Monday morning 6AM.. Some new experience each and everyday.
After dinner we walked the promenade deck and went up to the lido deck looking at the stars and for the moon. Lots of stars but couldn’t find the moon. It was supposed to be the bottom half tonight. Oh well, not everything can be perfect.
DAY 61 AT SEA
Early morning we crossed the Equator. I went out on the Veranda to look, but there was no yellow line drawn in the water to show me the way. We are heading northeast and entering the Northern Hemisphere in the Indian Ocean. I am writing this on Sunday morning, it is Saturday night in Ohio. The temperature is 81 outside and the ocean temperature is 84. The water is a gorgeous turquoise blue. I had coffee outside and watched the flying fish. Just a few weeks ago we were freezing in the Antartica and now we are sweltering in the Indian Ocean. I have a hankering to touch the water and to feel how warm it really is. Maybe when we come into port tomorrow.
This morning is the King Neptune Ceremony. The great sea god reminds all humans onboard to protect themselves from the heat. The sun was out , beating down on us at 10 this morning. No matter, it was fun being part of the induction. First you have to kiss the fish ( felt and looked fresh frozen) and then They smear your body with cream and throw you into the pool. This year they used crew and captain olof and his officers were the judge and jury. Joy was the queen. Very fun ceremony. Surprised how many people show up to ship board activities like that. You would think that they have all seen it before since most have cruised so many times , but they come and participate anyway.
Played a new game of dominoes this afternoon. Called fives. Only can score when the ends are a derivatives of fives. Lois and Jack are really good at it, of course they should be they play all the time.
I know you can’t believe it but I am having fun playing blackjack. Tonight was dollar night again and the all the ladies at our table played. Just try and think of it as a maj hand. Only trouble is the hands go very fast. Bill goes to the show and when he is done he picks me up and we go home.
MALE, MALDIVES MONDAY MARCH 8
Woke up very early this morning so I could watch the oscars. Somehow they were able to have transmission out here in the middle of no where. Very strange feeling to know everyone at home is watching on Sunday night and I am watching on Monday. Which one of us is early and which one behind. Good debate for the dinner table
Male, (pronounced Malee) the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. The Maldives are a chain of 26 atolls all at sea level and 1,200 islands. The islands are the resorts and have great scuba diving. Also the dress code is not enforced, you can wear a bathing suit and regular clothes. Convenient since on Male they tell you to be covered and women were wearing long dresses and heads were covered. The government is looking to relocate because of the ocean being at sea level. One bad storm and they are wiped out. They are decendents of India and Sri Lanka. Dhivehi, an Indo-European language, is the national tongue, also Arabic, Hindi, and English. Most people are Muslim. We walked to the very large golden dome mosque. A man was standing outside and you could not walk up the steps with your shoes on. It was to hot to take off your shoes and walk up, so most did not go. Very white stone, and pristine clean building. To hot to wait for prayers to start.
Men were standing out in front of Souvenir shops hawking you to come in. Motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, cars, very narrow streets and try crossing those streets. The traffic never stops. Only bought a Tshirt. Coral is very expensive and I am not sure what is real and what is plastic. Another cruise ship with mostly Europeans also was in port. They were buying everything in sight. Even the woven place mats were expensive, so it goes.
We followed the street around the harbor to the Fish Market and the Produce Market. There were about a hundred fishing boats along the way that also were where they lived. Clothes hanging out to dry and fish on ice. Your eyes and nose had a big fight. You wanted to see everything but oh the smell. Continued on to the Fish market with men selling fresh, Caught fish of all colors and sizes. No refrigeration and very little ice. On the other side of the building men were gutting and preparing the fish for the people who had purchased their choice. I really don’t know who is going to buy all the catch or how they keep it from spoiling. Very, Very hot. Around the cornor is the produce market. Bannanas, watermellon, mango, papya and funny looking other fruits and vegtables I never saw. I would have bought something to bring back to the ship, but it really didn’t look all that fresh. Found a clean grocery store and bought diet coke out of a refrigerator. The side of the coke has Arabic writing. By this time Bill was ready to go back to the ship. The group that we started out with had left us long ago. If they can’t take the heat now, what is going to happen in Mumbai.
Another certificate. This one “ A Voyage Spanning the Hemisphere” We sailed away and then dinner.
DAY 63 AT SEA
We’re now sailing in the Arabian Sea which is part of the Indian Ocean. The weather is very hot and humid. The water is still 80 and very Blue. Another day of very calm seas.
India is now the focus of our Lecturer Dr. Shreeyash Palshikar. He currently teaches at Yale University where he also researches, writes and speaks about South Asian History, politics and cultures. Spoke on the meaning of all the different kinds of deities .Picked a few of the most familiar figures. He was very interesting and easy to understand. Now when I go into Mumbai I will be a little more familiar with what I am looking at.
Bill went to Opera listening and I went to embroidery. I know I am wrting in detail however my goal is to remember all our activities and how we spend our days at sea. We keep on being amazed at how fast the days go and so many activities at the same time . You find yourself having to choose one or the other.
Tonight is the King and Queens Ball. Lotti and Peter invited our table for coctails in their cabin. They have a deluxe verandah on the seventh floor. Now that is the way to cruise.
Space is twice the size of ours including the verandah. Plenty of closet and drawer space. A private lounge for their floor that has lounge chairs, large TV, newspapers and magizines. Best of all they can have breakfast there in the morning and snacks out all day. We sort of have the same, just have to call room service. Concierge on duty all day. He helps them plan their days in port. Not to shabby. Peters bar was stocked with wine and liquors. They bought Jack Daniels especially for Berry. Wine from every place we have been. Everyone at our table are big drinkers and they enjoyed a free drink. Very lovely and so happy to finally see what deluxe means.
Dollar blackjack was not so good to me tonight. The ladies played for awhile but the dealer was hot and so we all decided to call it a night.
Another week has come to a end. I am still amazed at how fast the weeks go and how busy we are on sea days. Keep meeting new people and starting new activites. My goal this week is to start walking again since the sea is calm and the weather warm. Also we have tried to cut back on eating. Dinner is really the problem. Went up once to see the midnight buffet, thank goodness it was not interesting and I have stayed away from afternoon ice cream. Weight Watchers for sure when we come home..