Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Day Thirty Two: 23 hours in a day?

Now that we have crossed the International Date Line we have to go through a different procedure when we pass into a new time zone and instead of adding an hour to the day at 2.00am in the morning, the ship’s time is adjusted forwards by one hour at midday, so today we sat and watched the clock on the promenade deck whizz round by one hour from noon to 1.00pm. Presumably this process will continue until sometime in the Bay of Biscay we will be back on Greenwich Mean Time. The comedian Nicky Martyn last night said that he heard one of the passengers complaining that if they kept adding an extra hour each night then we would never finish the voyage, at least she doesn’t have that problem any more.

The weather has turned favourable once more and we have blue skies, calm seas, virtually no wind and temperatures hovering around 80F, so today we decided to spend it outside. Instead of sitting in the hot shade of Deck 12 with its easy access to the pools we decided to go back down to the Promenade Deck 7 and sit in the breezy, cool shade and that was a very good decision on Hilary’s part. We picked up the Crossword/Sudoku (they are on opposite sides of the same sheet of paper) and within the hour we had finished them both! That’s the first time we have ever done that so let’s hope it is a good omen for the rest of the voyage. The morning was whiled away with us lying on loungers, watching the sea through the rails and with me reading Obama’s book – I am half way through and he does have some good ideas, I hope that he can carry some of them out – and Hilary reading or doing codewords. We stayed that way pretty much until 2.00pm and then as the sun came round to the starboard side (work it out we are heading due south) we grabbed a couple of chairs and sun worshipped for about 45 minutes. Yes we did cover ourselves with Factor 50 sun tan lotion in all the exposed places and as we sat there we both had to agree that this trip was a very good idea indeed and that the decision we made a year ago was the correct one after all. We just hope that the opportunity to do this comes to all of you and when it does that you decide to say “Sod the expense, we’re off.” Trust us it is a decision that you won’t regret and we consider ourselves very lucky to have this chance.

We had planned that our only lunch would be to finish off the bag of Lays Potato Chips that we bought in San Francisco, they had to be eaten as they had an expiry date of March 24th, but having done that and also having realised by 3.00pm that we needed a drink we made the fateful trek up to the Conservatory Restaurant. I say fateful because I always eat more than I intended, this time it was two small salmon and one small salad sandwiches, a fresh fruit tart, a mini ├ęclair AND then I saw someone with scones, jam and cream so I had to have one of those as well. This is not good, I only have one dinner jacket and trousers and it is necessary for me to get into them every few days. At least we were not as bad as one couple who were seen taking away a carrier bag containing at least 15 assorted pastries – presumably to eat later or cynically maybe they are leaving soon and are building up a stockpile to see in New Zealand. Speaking of formal nights we had one last night and we bought Hilary a new dress which she is wearing on the new photos that we will post as soon as we can; I decided that I needed more variety in my bow ties so I now have another with sparkly gold diamond shapes on it. Tonight it is semi-formal so I can get away with a blazer and necktie – I brought lots of those and they have been worn more over the past few weeks than they have in the past dozen years.

We were in the theatre last night waiting for Nicky Martyn to start when a group of four New Zealanders came to sit next to us and while we were in conversation they told us that they had been reading their local newspaper just a few weeks ago and saw that P & O were offering an inside cabin from San Francisco to Auckland (15 nights) for £1000 an offer that they couldn’t refuse so they booked it immediately. Think about that, airfares from Auckland to San Francisco, plus a night there were included and they had 15 nights full board in what is effectively a 5 star hotel with entertainment thrown in. Bargain! But of course you have to be prepared to go at a moment’s notice.

When the captain gave his interview a few days back one of the things that we learned is that the Oriana is registered in Bermuda and because the Bermudan law was changed last year he is now legally entitled to marry couples on board the ship and that so far this trip he has married two couples and will marry a third before he leaves the ship in Sydney. He also does wedding renewals (hmm I wonder what he would think of me in an Elvis suit?). There is also a tradition on the ship to celebrate passengers’ birthdays during the evening meal, balloons are placed on their table (and also on their cabin door) and then the waiters stand round in a circle and sing their own version of Happy Birthday which includes a lot of clapping by all the other diners. It is quite possible that I will be the subject of this ritual humiliation while we are in the Bay of Biscay – pass the sick bag anyone?

I’m putting this out early today as we are intending to go to the theatre to see Marti Webb at 8.30pm and then we plan to rush out of there down to the Pacific Lounge to see a Freddie Mercury/Queen tribute by the Headliners group at 9.30pm. This will be a late night for us – who knows we may not get to bed until 11.00pm – that’s daring for us but what the heck we are on holiday! God Bless I will turn you over to Hilary for a last word and then I will post this.

Tiz I. Just a few words tonight while Sam goes down to reception to get our New Zealand dollars. We had forgotten about the need to get local currency until a quick panic a few minutes ago – we will be on a trip so I’m not sure what opportunity we will have to spend but it would be nice to get a small memento or so! Let’s hope that reception still has some currency left. I had to get a new dress as the change in the weather (being warmer) resulting in all my own formal wear being too heavy and hot, I can still wear Sheila and Liz’s dresses though – thank you very much. The new dress is red and black with glittery stuff on the front – floaty. Nice. Now I have to finish the page in the scrapbook and clear the bed before I get ready for dinner, the bed will be turned back with a chocolate on the pillow when we get back from the shows and I don’t like to leave a mess for Geraldine to have to sort out – bless her. I usually work on the top of the bed as Sam is using the only available table which would be too small for me to work on anyway. I tend to spread out with my paper, glue, scissors, photos, scraps of cutouts, etc. He is back and its time for me to go, will write more tomorrow, take care, God bless.


Liz said...

Hi there, me again!

You appear to be having a wonderful social life on board.. can't wait to see a photo of the new black and red floaty dress, it sounds great.

I think I'm as excited as you must be that you have nearly reached New Zealand. Don't forget to take LOTS of pictures, I want to see as much of it as I can through your experience. It's right up there on my wish list to visit.

Will write some more in a couple of days when I'm not working and have more time.

Take care of each other, love to you both, Liz xx

samw7 said...

Hi There
Glad the weather has taken a turn for the better. I think from now on you and mum should keep looking for those bargains at a moments notice and take advantage of them, as long as your trips to Austin are still part of the schedule.
Jess and I went and had a massage last night. The woman found all my sore spots and really worked on them and so I am a little sore this morning. As an interesting side note, we think the place also doubles as a brothel, which added a little color to the experience. It was all topped off with a really delicious white chocolate and strawberry ice cream that Jess has introduced me too. Have a great time in New Zealand.
Love, Sam