Saturday, 7 March 2009

Day Fifty Six: Gulf of Thailand at sea

Last night was a short night as we had to put the clocks forward for one hour, this is most unusual for us as we have been used to them going back and thus giving us an extra hours sleep, so we were both sleepy heads when we were forced to get up to start the day. Showers were in order as we had no time before dinner last night and we only had a very quick wash to get rid of the smell of elephant before we ate and then over breakfast we talked and talked about our elephant back rides yesterday. Hilary had not seen the photos that we had taken on the laptop screen only on the little screens of the cameras so we also spent some time going through them and picking out the ones that might make there way in to the scrapbook. Then it was on to the port presentation about the Indian city of Cochin; we have already booked our tour for this city and it was a good job that we did as most of the tours were already sold out before the presentation began. It was a good reminder of what we are in for when we do get there and it certainly looks as if the trip to see the famous fishing nets will be the highlight of our tour.

The ship today has been retracing the course that it made yesterday northwards up the Gulf of Thailand and today we are pretty much heading due south so that we can go around the lump that sticks out before we head to Kemaman in Malaysia and then Singapore. We have two port stops in two days and tomorrow’s is not one that excites us too much as we pretty well have five or six hours to do what we like in a city that apparently doesn’t have too much. All we know is that it has a famous temple (must have shoulders and knees covered, no open toed sandals and take shoes off inside), some shops and possibly a beach – but no swimming. The Singapore tour sounds much nicer as we are having breakfast in the wild with some orang utangs at least that is what the tour brochure infers, if it is half as good as seeing the elephants it will still be excellent.

One thing that we have learned on this trip that we hadn’t realised earlier is that 28C is 82F (we already knew that 16C is 61F) so whether (no pun intended) we like it or not we are slowly being forced into the world of metric temperature measurement – not somewhere I particularly want to go at my age. However it does give you an idea of the weather that we are experiencing at the moment as we wake to temperatures in the 80’s, skies that are clear blue with the occasional fluffy white cloud and seas that are flat calm and either deep blue or as they are again at the moment, deep green. I don’t know what changes the colour of the sea but it is pretty to look at when you lean over the rail and see the white frothy waves and the flying fish fanning out from the spray. We actually haven’t seen a great deal of them and no dolphins at all in this stretch of water, probably because it is a high sea traffic area with lots of container ships, some oil tankers – there are some offshore oil rigs in this gulf – and every now and then we see another cruise ship in the far distance.

After the port presentation we sat on the promenade deck for a couple of hours, reading my latest Harlan Coben novel (if you haven’t ever read him you really should try, he writes great stories), doing the crossword (yes!) and the Sudoku (no!), eating ice-cream (bad people!) and eating apples (good people!). In fact just chilling out and doing sweet fanny adams until it was time to go into the Theatre Royal to see a comedian called Mike Doyle. He appeared in the evening a few nights back but we had a meal in Gary Rhodes that finished late so we didn’t see him, however all the reports that we heard were good and so when we saw that he was doing a Parkinson type interview with the Cruise Director we decided to go. He had Hilary laughing so much with his anecdotes about his life as an entertainer that she had tears running down her face, needless to say his allotted 45 minutes turned into over an hour and the Theatre Royal was packed to the rafters. When you can pull people away from the swimming pools, the sun loungers and all the other activities going on around the ship in the middle of the afternoon you must be something special and we will certainly keep an eye out for him if the appears on TV or in any of the Plymouth pantos. OK that’s it for me and I will turn you over to Hilary who has been patiently sitting here cutting out her scrapbook photos whiled waiting to tell you all about her afternoon with the elephants. I will add a closing note after tonight’s Headliners Show which has a Motown theme.

Tiz I. At last!!! Well elephants are amazing – they are so calm, cool and collected especially if you happen to have a large bunch of bananas. We met quite a few different characters, Big sister did not like green bananas and spat them out whilst keeping the yellow ones in her mouth, the male one liked to eat the whole bunch (about 4lbs) at one bite, the ex-circus one was a complete ham and loved to show off her special moves and receive applause and bananas. A bigger lady elephant liked to crunch whole coconuts at one bite and spit out the husks. They were so patient when offering the general public a lift up onto their backs. They offered a leg up – one had to stand on the bent leg and throw a leg over the elephants back – unfortunately the leg was not high enough to enable me to get my leg over – so to speak – and I was assisted by the hands of some strong helpers. Not particularly elegant but effective. I rode on the neck of a giant of an elephant and I swear that she held me on by pinning back her ears to hold my legs when I started to slide off either to the right or left. We had no blanket or seat or handle to hang onto – just a wonderful wide head to lean on which was great until she spotted the odd banana on the ground and leant forward to reach it! I had the most amazing afternoon with these special animals. Then we had to leave and get back to our reality and head back towards the ship. The tour guide had the bus stop at the poshest shop I have ever seen – each potential customer was assigned a personal shopper! Sam and I wandered through the incredible expensive gems (starting prices in the thousands of pounds) until I spotted the silk. The rest is history – we have more silk to bring home to be made up into something beautiful. At least the personal shopper felt we were not a complete waste of time.
As Sam has already said we have not done much today except see Mike Doyle and he was so funny – it was supposed to be an interview but he just went off into stories which were just so funny I had to find a tissue to wipe away the tears. Now to thank you for the messages. Sharon the pyjamas are yours if you still want them. Marlene, how exciting, I wonder where he lives or works or spends his leisure time – should be fun looking for him. Sammy – start researching for the Kuaui trip and planning for the summer next year. Jess and Nathan can join us if we go after the beginning of July – Now is a good time to start planning for everyone else too. We are going to try and book both the houses, (they sleep 7 people in each) side by side near the turtle rocks. We will do that as soon as we get home. Well, as usual it is almost dinner time and it’s formal tonight so I have to make an effort with the hair and outfit. The shower is calling. Take care, God bless.

No pictures tonight or extra report as I am running late through helping our friend Alison get on line and set up some additional email contacts. Please note that we wrote postcards from the elephant show but we were too late to post them. One of you may receive a bundle in an envelope to distribution but we have yet to agree on who to lumber with that task. Goodnight.

1 comment:

samw7 said...

Sounds as though the magical elephant experience will linger for a long time. Will start thinking about Kauai. We'll have to decide if this time we want to take a side-trip to the Big Island to see the volcano. last night Jeff and I went to the Manchaca Fire Hall to celebrate one of the poker boys 60th birthday. Friday night is all you can eat catfish night, and they have a live band. Jeff and I both said that we should take you when you come over. I can't remember if you've been there before. However, it is a true South Austin experience with the Bubba's.
Love to you both, Sam