Saturday, 18 August 2012

Day 20 - Yes, another sea day - August 14th

Guess what?  Another light breakfast.  Much as I love a cooked eggs, bacon, tomatoes, toast etc., for brunch at about 11:15am at home, if I ate a full breakfast on the ship as well as a hearty lunch, plus a large evening meal, I’d need a totally new wardrobe, so a light breakfast it has to be.  Mind you, the prospect of an Indian speciality lunch may have coloured that decision a wee bit.

Before that delight, we had the Shanghai port lecture.  These lectures are always informative especially as we have not been to many of the ports before.  As with just about all activities on board (with the notable exception of dinner) these are a maximum of 1 hour and many are just 45 minutes, which suits me fine.

Whilst Paula worked on her hair, I was trying get the blog up to date (bear in mind this is usually written at least a day later) but the internet is extremely slow on this cruise and that means that after waiting for ages for a connection, it sometimes takes too long to upload and also read the emails on line, so my apologies if you have written but had no response.  Nowadays, just about everyone on board is email savvy and many have iPads, notebooks or lap tops, so it is inevitable that access can be limited.  The signal strength in the cabin isn’t too good either and often, the connection is dropped altogether, which is why at most ports, you see hordes of passengers (and crew) heading for Wi-Fi hot spots, McDonalds and Starbucks etc., primarily for the free internet.  We don’t,  as we are limited by weight restrictions when flying, so the laptop battery stays at home.

Back upstairs for the lunch.  Now most of us are aware that the efficient way to run any buffet is to duplicate the dishes, start at either both ends or both sides.  It also pays to have a good look to check it out first (which I always do...).  In this instance, there were two large hot dishes at one end and two at the other, but what many didn’t realise was that they were all different.  Later, we spoke to several who had missed out on the pakoras, the chicken curry and the onion bahjee and the fish curry, or had missed out on the lamb and pork curries!  The carrot soup was nice too.  Washed down with the house lemonade/squash, it was all delicious.

We blobbed out for a while then headed down for a decent coffee about 3:30 and a copy of our on board statement.  Oh dear! We had been charged for the laundry, so back we went to get that reversed, before the quiz.  We didn’t win and with a score of 12/20, were unlikely to.

Cruise director Warren has been shuffling the evening programme around a bit and has put on the early shows in the Vista and the theatre at a time that suits second sitting diners far better (6:30 & 9:45 or 10pm).  This meant we could go to the Theatre for the 6:30 show by Pingxin Xu – an instrumentalist.  I think he was on an earlier cruise and I was under the impression he played violin.  He plays the dulcimer and this was a stunning performance.  With tunes ranging from Brubeck’s “Take Five”, to Joplin’s “Entertainer Rag” and a load of popular and classical music such as “Rondo a la Turk” and “Flight of the Bumble Bee”, this was a classy act by a very talented performer and I am sorry we missed the previous show.  We bought the double CD...  Sarah, the orchestra leader on piano, once again was also a great support.

Dinner highlight was a lamb rack with thick chops, but the picture is a bit of a cheat as it shows three cutlets but one was originally on Paula’s plate.

To cap off a great sea day, we had another of Alan’s “Sherlock Holmes, Murder at sea, Radio show” mysteries.  This was a premiere presentation and the capacity crowd in the Vista loved it.   Alan had shifted the keyboards and other equipment to the vista for an earlier session and this meant there was no atrium dancing.  Far from an early night, at 11:30pm A & A were still reassembling the equipment!  Along with Daryll and Susan, Boris and Roma, we called at the Wheelhouse bar instead, to dance/listen to the “Moonlight Duo”, who seemed glad of an audience, as we were just about the only ones there. They were pretty good too.

The captain had made an announcement that weather conditions in the area (typhoon) might just mean an adjustment to the schedule that could even mean an extra day in Hong Kong and cutting out Shanghai, but he’ll make an announcement tomorrow.

A long stop in Hong Kong tomorrow and Paula has plans to add to her dancing shoes wardrobe, after a five and half hour morning tour, that luckily for us, doesn’t start until 9am, so a 12:15am bed is not really a problem.  Looking forward to Hong Kong as we haven’t been before.


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