Sunday, 22 February 2009

Day Forty Three: In the Coral Sea.

Not a very busy day today as it was a day in transit on the way to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. We had no major incentive to get up early as the first of our lectures wasn’t until 11.15am today so we poodled around by having breakfast in the Al Fresco followed by a wander up to the bow to look for fish – we only saw one flying fish and it was very windy – then we wandered down to the photographers where we talked to them about the latest batch of Hilary’s 3x2’s for her scrapbook. We gave them an SD card with 76 images to be reduced and discovered last night that they had only printed 66 of them and had also charged us for 76 6x4 prints instead of half that amount. They are very good in there but they are really rushed and it is the first mistake that they have made, we are confident that they will sort it out. At the last formal night we had a picture taken with the new captain and I will post that sometime but we also had two close ups taken at the table and I have posted these today as I think that Hilary’s is the best picture I have ever seen of her. She looks really happy and is wearing the new silver and turquoise necklace that we bought in Acapulco, see if you agree with me. Just for contrast I have included the one taken of me, it is much the same as the previous one but I do have my new bow tie on.

We went to the tour lecture about Hong Kong and have seen a couple of places that we would like to take Jess to assuming that she can get away, apparently one of the best shopping streets is called Nathan Road (or Street), how can you resist that. We were advised over and over again to be very wary of pickpockets as they are abundant in the crowded streets, particularly near Stanley Market. Hong Kong by night looks especially good and it seems that we will be berthed in Ocean Terminal which is right in the centre of the mainland.

Then came the slow part of the day when we returned to the cabin so that Hilary could type up the words for the next part of the scrapbook which will take us from San Francisco to Sydney. While she was doing that I managed at the second attempt to complete today’s Sudoku, watch 9/10ths of a movie and a part of the BBC series New Tricks. We did stop for lunch but once again we either missed the lunch sandwiches or they didn’t have them today as they had an outdoor barbecue on Deck 12. Then it was time for our second talk of the day and this one was the second by the ex-detective inspector from Birmingham, his first lecture had been pretty well attended but today word had got around how funny he is and the cinema where the lecture was held was totally packed out and he even had all the aisles full of seated people. The fire regulation people would never have allowed it if they had seen how many people were in the room. This guy does not work from notes, he refuses to use a wireless microphone and prefers the old fashioned one with a trailing wire that he flaps around as he goes and is the best speaker that we have had on this cruise. I only hope that we can get in to see all seven of his talks. They are notionally about how to get the information that you need from a suspect so that you can charge him with a crime but he relates a lot of it to real day inquiries such as a husband who is having an affair arriving home late at night and the best technique for his wife to employ so that she can get the truth. Hilarious, every minute of it.

By now it was 3.15pm and my tummy was rumbling so we headed upstairs for a sandwich – well the plan was for a sandwich and Hilary stuck to that – but as usual I could not stop at one, so I had two and then a small piece of fruitcake and a mini chocolate ├ęclair. As the guy on the table next to us said, “I am a light eater. Whenever it gets light I eat.” Just about sums me up, but so far I am still able to get into my dinner suit which is the yardstick as far as I am concerned and I will need it again tonight as it is a Black and White evening. As we have not been able to do the washing for some time Hilary was able to use the “I’ve got nothing to wear that is clean” strategy to go out and buy a black top which she has decorated with a corsage made from one of our Hawaiian leis. It was not expensive and looks really nice and I will be proud to have her on my arm for then afterwards we will go to the Theatre Royal to see the Headliners, our favourite entertainment group.
It turned out that one of the best parts of the day was not anything that we did but where we happened to be. If you look at an atlas for the route between the northern part of Australia and the islands that make up Papua New Guinea you will see that the last part of our journey takes us through dozens of islands. We first noticed these while munching sandwiches but it wasn’t long before we were out on deck taking pictures but it was WINDY we’re talking Force 4 here and we were heading into it at 20knots. The picture of Hilary on deck is not the most flattering one of her that I have taken but it does show the power of the wind. Enjoy all the pictures and I will pass you over.

Tiz a very much better state of mind I. First of all I want to wish Julian a very happy birthday for tomorrow, have a great one my son. I have been able to find out that each engine has its own cooling system with a few cooling systems spare as back up, does that help at all? This is from the engineer cadet officer we met at the latest captain’s cocktail party. Also I want to say to Jeff – great news we will definitely be looking forward to receiving visitors and we hope that you will be able to stay a good long while! Let’s hope that Kelly does not freeze this time! Tonight is black and white night- they did not tell me this until late yesterday and we have not been able to use the washing machines on board for the last week! Where do they think I would find anything white at this stage? So, obviously, I had to go down to the shop and find something that would work with the black skirt or trousers. Nothing white but they did have a black top with shiny thingy on the front – it was the cheapest thing they had and it fits me so I came back to the cabin and hacked away at a white lei and made a white corsage to brighten up the black. Good hey. I feel like I should be going to a funeral in the outfit but then I am not used to wearing black. I can’t believe that Sam is going to use that photo – one more wisp of wind and I would have taken off altogether! I was wearing my skirt somewhere around my shoulders until I trapped it between my knees – it made walking difficult but saved my modesty. Tomorrow we will be in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea but not until midday so I don’t know if we will be able to get off the ship. I would like to go ashore as this is an active volcanic island and it would be quite an experience to actually touch the ground, however, as Hong Kong is the next stop and we hope to see Jess there I don’t mind leaving as soon as possible! Now it is time to get the glad rags on and get ready for the formal dinner – Sam never leaves me much time for my bit of the blog, so will talk again tomorrow, take care, God bless.
Last note before I post this with the photos, we have just come back from the theatre where they did their “We write the songs routine” which includes a fabulous number where they all wear boxing gloves and shorts etc. and they punch out the rhythm in great synchronisation, it is definitely my favourite choreography of all the songs that they do in all the shows too. We are running late not only with the ship getting into Rabaul but also with the Headliners show as well because they had a microphone problem at the start so I will get on and post this but not before I add that I have another character for the Murder on the Oriana mystery. It has to be the new Brummie ex-detective that arrived on the ship in Sydney and is now giving these fantastic talks. Methinks that he will have to be the one who finally solves the murder(s). OK Night night.


Jessica said...

Hi Grandma and Grandpa!
Sounds like an awfully good trip so far. Do you have any details as to when you'll be getting in on Sunday to Hong Kong?
I will have to talk to the school about canceling classes on Monday, since it's my full day they may say no. Of course, they don't have much room to make me mad at this point since they want me to resign my contract.
Just let me know!
Love you both!

samw7 said...

I do love the picture of mum, definitely one of the best, and dad you look dapper in your tux as well. Glad that mum is feeling better. I know that Jess means re-sign rather than resign her contract. UT beat Oklahoma in basketball last night, an especially sweet victory as Oklahoma was ranked #2 in the country and the Longhorns have been struggling some. Tonight is the Oscars. I am excited about seeing the dresses and hopeful for Slumdog, but it will be a miracle if I stay awake beyond the first hour. I'm still fighting the urge to be asleep at 7:00pm and awake at 2:00am. Love to you both, Sam

Pat said...

As Sam says the picture of you Hilary is very good and I love the necklace, it lays very neatly on your neck.
Thought you might like to know I have a new car, a Toyota Prius which is a hybrid. Half electric and half petrol. It's a lovely metallic blue and is a very good comfortable ride. It also does 62 miles to a gallon.
Glad you sorted the travel people out. You don't need delays when you have a restricted time for site seeing. The train journey looked brill.

Sharon and Georgia said...

Hi Aunty and Uncle,

Great pictures! You both look relaxed, happy and like you are really enjoying yourselves.

I am glad you made your point Aunty to the tourist office. This can only hope to improve things for other people who take the same trip.Sorry that you had to though.

I hope you are taking photos of your cabin and the different places that you are going to on board. I would like to see the inside of the Oriana!

sending love your way xx