Saturday, 31 January 2009

Day Twenty Two: The sun has put his hat on

Although the day started off cloudy and has occasionally been a bit dark, for the most part this has definitely been a day of improving weather and Hilary and I spent a little while before lunch on the sun loungers of the Lido Deck. We have temperatures back in the early 60’s again and as each day rolls around it gets a little warmer so that by the time we reach Hawaii it should be in the mid 70’s, we can take that any day of the week. We did have some good news today after we chased up the Tours Desk and they told us that we will be going on Tour A as the ship goes through the Suez Canal. We were hoping for Tour D which was the Pyramids, Sphinx and Sakkara but we will settle for Cairo and the Pyramids. Both are full day (14 hour tours) and in our tour we will get to see the Tutankhamen collection including the solid gold mask and we get to see how papyrus is made; we do get to see the Pyramids of Giza and Cheops and a Sphinx so that should be alright then. We think that this means we travel by coach to see all these wonderful things while the ship sails through the Suez Canal but as this is a sea level canal with no locks it probably isn’t as interesting as the Panama.

Once again we did two lectures, this morning’s was by the TV man and he covered the Miss Britain Beauty Contests that he produced over a number of years and this afternoon the BBC talked about the start of Radio 1. Naturally he was very keen to point out that while he was the Controller of BBC Radio 1 it went from strength to strength but since then it has gone down hill. It was actually very good and one thing that he deserved a great deal of praise for was that he did all the radio sound for Live Aid. While I have been typing this Hilary has been down to see a lady talking about makeup and I expect she will tell you all about it when she writes later on.

Hilary had another piece of good news today when we went to look at the photographs that were taken last night. We bought two of them, one of just us as a couple standing alongside Captain Pembridge – incidentally he leaves us in Sydney - and the other was of our complete table of eight, so at last we have a photo of all of us in our best bib and tucker mode and I was wearing my Longhorn bow tie! Hilary is wearing a blue beaded number with Kelly’s necklace and ring prominently shown in both photos. Oh yes I was about to tell you of Hilary’s good news, as you know she is going to make a scrapbook of our travels and we were hoping that somewhere on this ship there would be a colour inkjet printer so that I could print some pictures just 3” x 2”. We have searched high and low and for me to do them is just not possible – even though I brought my own paper – but on the off chance we talked to the photo people on board and they will do them for us, so we gave them an SD card with 122 pictures and they are going to make 61 6” x 4” size that we can cut in half. Magic and for only £12.00 too, plus we can have them tomorrow! They said that they will be happy to do more after we have taken the pictures.

We got Samantha’s message that she has arrived safely in Shanghai so that is one worry off our mind especially when we saw the satellite news about the bad weather that is covering the USA and particularly Kentucky. Now we just need to know that she is safe in Bejing and then onwards to the Ice Sculptures, good luck with the 13 hour train rides Sam!

Tiz I. First a thank you to Kelly for making the necklace and ring that made the blue dress look finished off when I wore it to the Captain’s cocktail do. It made me feel proper posh.
The make-up demonstration was very interesting and I learned that it is best to apply 3 shades of eye shadow on each eye. They fade out towards the edge of the eye and blend together. Now that will never happen in my life time for me, that is three different products for each eye lid! The eye brows should start above the corner of the eye and finish in a line that is taken from the bottom of the nose across the outer corner of the eye and up towards the top of the ear, I ask you does that sound like I would have the patience to measure that and then put on eye shadow, yes shadow on my eye brows? Still it was interesting to watch an expert at work. My haircut in San Francisco was successful. A little Chinese lady cut it for me and she did not stop talking the entire time she was working. I understood most of it, she was nice and friendly and the result is I can now see again and the hair is looking much tidier and is easier to cope with. A message for Marlene. The cream is working again. I must have used a little that was contaminated by the spoon when I transferred it to a smaller jar – or something. Anyway it is good now and the sore face is almost healed, thank you. My other good news is that I have not spread anymore around the waistline… good eh. I can do up all the clothes despite being surrounded by the most delicious food all day. It is hard though. Graham would understand what I mean. I am excited that tomorrow I will get all the photographs that I need for the scrapbook. Now Sam will have to show me how to write in columns so I can get my writing bit to be in long thin strips down the pages. We have another day at sea tomorrow so I hope to spend some of the afternoon getting my pages for the first leg of the journey sorted out and ready to paste into the book. So that is it for today folks. God bless.

OK so this is not earth shattering news but we have probably told you before that each day on the Oriana you can collect a double sided strip of paper with a crossword on one side and a Sudoku puzzle on the other. We have had a go at a few of them with middling success on the crosswords but absolutely zero success on the Sudoku. Well today we had a breakthrough and managed to get the Sudoku out! It must have been one of the easy ones as we have rubbish up to now but it has given us the courage to collect the new one tomorrow and have another try – got to keep the grey cells working, we can’t all afford electronic brain trainers like some of us got for Christmas (Sheila please note).

Final blog early tonight as we are not going to the usual theatre show at 8.30pm – it is a bit classical for us – but we are going to a show at 9.30pm called “We are not Amused” which is about the life and times of Queen Victoria and promises to be very funny. The dinner group was a bit unusual tonight, there seemed to be some tension between Richard and Keiko as well as between Bill and Alison. The latter was pretty minor and was something to do with the dancing lesson that they had taken earlier but one thing they were very effusive about was their experience in the Gary Rhodes restaurant the previous night, they reckoned that the food and the wine was excellent and that they will go back at least once more before their trip is over. Richard and Keiko’s spat was also minor and it seems that she couldn’t find him for dinner and had to arrive on her own. OK that’s enough trivia, I am off now and leaving you with just the one photo – not a very good one as it happens because it is a copy of the print that we bought today and being a shiny print it shows the reflection of me taking a picture of the picture. Night all.


Pat said...


Pat said...

This time I will talk to you longer and hope that this works. My friend Pam has been trying to sort the problem but she is as confused as I am.
Your trip to Egypt sounds good, especially the papyrus making. I'm glad you are sailing into the sun and heat, at least two of us will be warm because it is very cold here with snow forcast for Monday (glad I don't have to go into work).
Hiary you look great in the blue outfit and Kelly's jewellery looks great.
Love Pat

Sharon and Georgia said...

Hi Aunty Tiz I and Uncle Sam,

Enjoying the blog. Great to visualise what you've been up to.

Great news... I am now free of Paul and own 23 Moorland avenue! Well I say 'OWN'...I guess I own my bedroom, bathroom and downstairs loo and the bank own the rest. But who cares! We completed on Fri 31st!

Hope you feel better soon Uncle sam and Aunty Hilary, I knew you would look fabulous in your blue dress.

Much love and happy sailing xx

samw7 said...

Hi There

I am now in Beijing. The train ride was actually fun. It was a straight through overnight trip from Shanghai to Beijing that took about 12 hours. We were in the soft sleepers (first class!) which meant that we had a cabin of 4 beds to ourselves. I slept well although my body still wants to go to sleep at 9:00pm and wake up at about 1:00am. On the trip to Harbin we will be on the hard sleepers which will be a little less luxurious (six beds and more open) but cheaper. However the soft sleeper which went over 800 miles was only about $65.
In Beijing we are staying with Scott and Gayle Silverman who are friends of Nathan's family. They are very gracious, and Gayle is a former Longhorn and so we have spent some time reminiscing about Austin in the mid-80's. We just stayed in yesterday as Jess ate some chicken from Burger King which didn't agree with her. However, a quick trip to the pharmacy and she is feeling much better today. We are planning to hire a car and driver and drive out to a section of the Great Wall that is a little less touristy but has a gondola to get to the top and a toboggan to get to the bottom. Should be fun. Tomorrow we are going to see the Tianamen Square area and then shopping the next day before heading to Harbin. Having Nathan with us is such a godsend as he is fluent enough to negotiate with taxi drivers and because he speaks Chinese we don't get taken advantage of. So far, the people and the food have been wonderful, and I have had no problems finding vegetarian fare. Oh, on Monday morning the Silverman's are hosting a 7:00am Super Bowl party (it is being shown live), so the kids are going to have to get up early (not their strength)!

Glad to hear that the trip is going well and the weather is improving. Hopefully, you'll see some whales the closer you get to Hawaii. The trip in Egypt sounds very much like the one I took when I was 14, and I still remember it as amazing.

Liz - Congratulations on focusing on your own business. It's hard work in the beginning (and I am still very much in the beginning) but so worth it. It's the independence and freedom which are the best parts,and eventually it pays off financially.

Sharon - Congratulations on closing one chapter of your life. Hopefully, it will now allow so many other doors to open.

Oh, and I know you have all been wandering. So far, all flush toilets that have come equipped with their own toilet paper. We'll see what today has to offer.

Love to all, Sam