Awake at 4.30am but soon back to sleep it was nice to be away from the hectic moments of the last couple of days where we got up early to go off on our tours it was nice to have a lie in today and pretty much laze around all day. A leisurely shower, a stroll up three decks to the Al Fresco and muesli/fruit for breakfast is a nice rhythm to be in. Hilary left early for her 10.15am class in clay modelling while Sam took his book to read while waiting for the latest SpyMaster lecture. Today the topic was Codes and how to make them and break them. He touched on the Dan Brown book about the da Vinci code and dismissed it almost immediately as pure hokum and then took us through the various codes and ciphers from those as simple as Morse Code to the complex ones that were used in the Second World War. Naturally he spent quite a lot of time on the famous Enigma machine which was used by the Germans and was famously cracked by Bletchley Park after we had captured one of their machines on an abandoned U-Boat after if mysteriously failed to sink. Tomorrow is the last of his lectures and it is Spies in High Heels – knowing a little bit of how his mind works it could be spiced with a few graphic pictures!
With the daytime activity over Sam then proceeded to our favourite shady spot on the Lido Deck (deck 12 i.e. 3 up from our cabin deck – sometimes we take the lift and sometimes we are good and walk the stairs; 6 short flights). With towels reserving our sun loungers Sam settled down with his novel waiting for Hilary to arrive from her class, you can read all about that further down. By 11.00am it was clear blue skies, calm seas and 81F and the pool temperature had risen to 29C and time to put on the sun block even though we were in the shade. A little reading, an attempt at a crossword, some dozing and before we knew it 12.45pm came and the pool started to clear out as passengers started their hunt for lunch, so Sam managed to extricate himself from his prone position and stumble his Croc clad feet across the deck to the pool. Footwear is essential when out in the sun because if you don’t bother to put shoes on you become one of the “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh brigade” as you accelerate from the pool across the open area trying to get back to your sun lounger without your feet touching the floor. I have seen so many people today that I know are going to have an uncomfortable night when they try and put their reddened back onto the bed sheets – there are some almighty lobsters out there today. Most of them are men, but a few women have also had too much sun today, I have nicknamed the women “Robin Redbreasts” for obvious reasons as in “Look over there, another Robin entering the hot tub.” I have yet to think up a nickname for pot bellied men with crimson man boobs and scarlet backs, if you can think of one let me know. I (Sam) have a lightly reddened face mainly obtained from my short excursions into the pool where I do laps as much as I can for about 15 or 20 minutes. Not started wearing my backwards baseball cap or a T-Shirt yet but that could come.
Two of our dining table companions Alison and Bill were close to our normal space in the shade and so quite a part of our day was exchanging views with them. Alison has been having problems getting email exchanges with her daughter so I followed her to the CyberStudy to find out what the problem was. She has one of those little Acer netbooks that claim to let the user get on line and perform simple computer applications. She was burning up minutes like they were going out of style and it didn’t take long to see why for basically she had little idea of many of the simple tasks such as opening and closing windows, getting rid of warning messages and she is an extremely slow “hunt and peck” typist. Just to open her email account, read a message from her daughter and compose a simple one line reply took her 11 minutes. Not her fault as she has a tiny machine, with very hard to read characters (because of the screen size) and no one had shown her how to do type and copy things offline and then paste them on line. She seemed pleased with the stuff that I showed her but I doubt that this will be the last time that we meet in the computer room.
That pretty much sums up my day, read, crossword, sleep, get cups of tea for me and water for Hilary and occasionally sneak a bowl full of fruit when I feel peckish I have cut way back on the food that I consumed during the first week and have even managed to refuse extra helpings of vegetables with dinner. Refusing the desserts is hard, a couple of times I have just had sorbet or cheese and biscuits but last night I did succumb to the crème caramel. Tonight is Formal and for me that means dinner jacket and white shirt, the only choice I get is whether to wear a black bow tie or my Longhorns tie, having worn black twice in a row I will probably go Texan tonight. Not sure if I told you but last night was Country and Western, I spotted a couple of neckerchiefs but that was about it. I wore the new Longhorns shirt with Bevo on the pocket and my new friend Alison told me that she liked the colour. I will turn you over to Hilary now and add my closing bit after tonight’s entertainment.
Tiz I. It is so unfair that I eat less than half of the quantity of food that Sam eats yet he can lose weight by cutting out a couple of meals and I continue to increase. Good thing is that people won’t be able to say they didn’t notice me – being the size of the back of a bus has its advantages. I got to my clay class early so while the previous class finished up I looked out of the windows watching the sea and saw bunches of flying fish. They are about the size of a healthy sparrow and are amazing in that they shoot out of the sea and skim the surface of the sea for very long distances. I was very happy to see them. The class was great fun and I have a tube with feet completed so far. Tomorrow we start to make the head and hat – we put the basis for the head on and let it set a little before we make the face. Peter (from our dining table) is a very good artist and he came to the modelling class, its great to have someone who knows what they are doing working alongside one! I can’t wait to get on with the rest of the model. I spent the afternoon on the sunbed reading and code wording! Our dining companions were on the adjacent sunbeds and they talked a little then wanted to sleep or read. Alison went to the computer room and appreciated the help that Sam was able to give her when it meant that she could save some of the expensive minutes typing on line. Tonight I plan to go to a show - a tribute to Abba – Sam probably won’t! Now I have to transform myself into a vision in formal ware – well try anyway.
While Hilary was successfully transforming herself – and she did look really nice in pale green – I sat on the bed to get out of her way. No sooner had she sat down at our little round table and put her hands on the computer than she had me yelling at her “Look, come quick, dolphins!” Sadly she was not able to get to our window quick enough but I saw first one jump out of the water and that was when I called her then that one was joined by another and they both jumped out, one more jump together and they were gone from my view and were heading for the bow of the ship. This is the first time that I have ever seen dolphins in the wild and I really hope that it is not the last.
At dinner, which was formal, full dinner jacket, the works we had our photo taken as a couple so if it looks decent we will buy a copy and then re-photograph it so that we can email it for all to see. I went strictly vegetarian tonight, tomato consommé and roasted vegetables – the problem is that there are not many vegetarians and so there is an abundance of food provided for us. I keep refusing the waiter but he continues to pile it on, contrary to what Hilary has said I am not losing any weight and I am constantly hungry because I am trying to just eat fruit all day and saving my protein and carbs for dinner.
Tonight’s entertainment was 100% better than last night, this was a singer who could also mimic the various styles of other singers, he did a good Bobby Darin, a good Rod Stewart, an excellent Tina Turner (yes Tina not Ike!) and a really good Willie Nelson. Later in the tour he is doing a Matt Monroe evening and I will definitely go to that. As Hilary said earlier she is at the Abba tribute while I am stranded here on my own – at this time of night I seem to be the only one who uses the CyberCafe.
OK that’s all folks, hope to blog tomorrow and then on Tuesday we have to be up at 6.00am to see the entrance into the Panama Canal. Exciting….